Once I wrap up Sunnyville Stories #14, I’ll be taking some time off to not only rest and reorganize, but I also plan to take a sabbatical.  What do I mean by that?

In spite of the night classes I took at the School of Visual Arts from 2009 through 2011, something seems to be missing.

My detractors have been attacking me for having poor drawing skills.  To an extent, they have a point.  When I wrap up my present story, I plan to take a sabbatical from the time I finish into spring of next year.  I’ll be working on basic drawing skills.  

The Plains Art Museum in Fargo offers life drawing classes on weekends so that’s one strategy.  In my favor, I have a ton of art instruction books at home.  Besides the life drawing sessions, I’ll also be honing basic drawing skills and this time, I can stick to a regular regimen of improvement since I will not be burdened with producing the next installment of Sunnyville.

Some of my planned texts for study will be the Art of Basic Drawing by William J. Powell and Drawing Basic Subjects by Barron’s.  In addition to practice with these, I also have a number of the Draw 50 series by Lee J. Ames.  These texts are not only cheap but like workout videos too – they provide a good set of subjects to practice with (cars, buildings, boats and so on).

I will continue to draw any and all comics in pen.  (I refuse to give up my nib pens for a brush.)  However, I want to practice more with the pen, especially in making a wider variety of lines.  The planned text for study & practice will be First Steps Drawing in Pen & Ink by Claudia Nice.  I’ve already read this book but this time, I plan to do the instructional exercises and complete them.  On backup, there’s Rendering in Pen & Ink by Arthur Guptill.  I don’t know if I will do an in-depth study during my sabbatical with that book, but I am intent on reviewing it.

Also on the list for sabbatical is a review of perspective.  While I don’t intend to abandon the flatter look of Sunnyville, I do want to review the basics.  On the reading list will be Perspective for Comic Book Artists by David Chelsea.  This book is handy for reviewing the basics of Western perspective and I might just review it on the blog in the future.

However, drawing practice is not enough.  There needs to be a review for me of the basic format of comics.  For that, I’m going to have to review Scott McCloud’s books.  I do have Making Comics (which was reviewed before on the blog) but I want to understand the medium itself and look closely at Sunnyville in relation to how it represents that medium.  To that extent, Understanding Comics is another text of mine I need to review.  (That’s another text I may review in the future.)  It also may be necessary to go over Will Eisner’s texts on the comics medium itself.

And that, readers, is my plan.  This sabbatical will probably last about a year but the learning process is going to have to be neverending.  The adventures of Rusty and Sam will be delayed for awhile but it’s my aim to make those stories better and richer.



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About Max West

I am a freelance artist and the creator of Sunnyville Stories, an independent slice-of-life comics series.
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