Bruce Garrett Cartoon
The Cartoon Gallery

A Coming Out Story
A Coming Out Story

My Photo Galleries
New and Improved!

Past Web Logs
The Story So Far archives

My Amazon.Com Wish List

My Myspace Profile

Bruce Garrett's Profile
Bruce Garrett's Facebook profile


Blogs I Read!
Alicublog

Wayne Besen

Box Turtle Bulletin

Daily Kos

Mike Daisy's Blog

The Disney Blog

Disney Gossip

Brad DeLong

Dispatches From The Culture Wars

Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

Envisioning The American Dream

Eschaton

Ex-Gay Watch

Hullabaloo

Joe. My. God

Made In Brazil

Peterson Toscano

Progress City USA

Slacktivist

Slacktiverse

SLOG

Fear the wrath of Sparky!

Truth Wins Out Blog

Wil Wheaton



Gone But Not Forgotten

The Rittenhouse Review

Steve Gilliard's News Blog

Steve Gilliard's Blogspot Site



Great Cartoon Sites!

Howard Cruse Central

Tripping Over You
Tripping Over You

XKCD

Commando Cody Monthly

Scandinavia And The World

Dope Rider

The World Of Kirk Anderson

Ann Telnaes' Cartoon Site

Bors Blog

John K

Penny Arcade




Other News & Commentary

Lead Stories

Amtrak In The Heartland

Corridor Capital

Railway Age

Maryland Weather Blog

Foot's Forecast

All Facts & Opinions

Baltimore Crime

Cursor

HinesSight

Page One Q
(GLBT News)


Michelangelo Signorile

The Smirking Chimp

Talking Points Memo

Truth Wins Out

The Raw Story

Slashdot




International News & Views

BBC

NIS News Bulletin (Dutch)

Mexico Daily

The Local (Sweden)




News & Views from Germany

Spiegel Online

The Local

Deutsche Welle

Young Germany




Fun Stuff

It's not news. It's FARK

Plan 59

Pleasant Family Shopping

Discount Stores of the 60s

Retrospace

Photos of the Forgotten

Boom-Pop!

Comics With Problems

HMK Mystery Streams




Mercedes Love!

Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz TV

Mercedes-Benz Owners Club of America

MBCA - Greater Washington Section

BenzInsider

Mercedes-Benz Blog

BenzWorld Forum

April 3rd, 2021

Back Again Are We?

I was reviewing my server logs, as I always do, while I was at Disney. My little website gets next to no traffic, mostly because it probably isn’t all that interesting, but also because I do next to nothing to promote it. If I get a lot of traffic I’ll have to pay extra for hosting it and that could mean making a deal with the advertising devil.

But also, I’ve a weird self consciousness about drawing attention to my artwork, which is what I initially set up the website to be a showcase for. The blog started out as a lot of the early blogs did, as itself a kind of public art. Believe it or not, blogs began as open online diaries and people thought when it all started that the bloggers were crazy to put their lives out there like that. But it appealed to me as a way of getting things off my chest, and since the website didn’t get hardly any traffic I figured it was okay. I used to joke that it beats yelling at the TV.

But it gives me a bunch of joy to see what little traffic there is coming in, and especially when someone randomly hits an episode of A Coming Out Story and then binge views the entire thing. It’s a very rewarding feeling. On the other side of that coin are the readers who start binging it, then suddenly stop…and I go look at the episode they stopped at and wonder…why did you hate that one?? And of course then all the insecurities about my abilities come rushing back out. I have to keep reminding myself that a lot of readers are probably looking for the sex scenes and they’re going to be getting impatient and frustrated when it becomes staringly obvious that it’s not That Sort Of Comic. Oh…you finally figured it out There did you…

It’s the repeat viewers, the regulars, that keep me going though. Mostly those are folks who check in from time to time to see if I’ve put up a new episode (I am SO SORRY ABOUT THIS…). They hit the main page where I used to have progress bars (which I later gave up on) and maybe re-read the last one or two (I repeat: I am SO SORRY ABOUT THIS…).

Then there are the regulars who come back and revisit what seem to be favorite episodes, or at least episodes that are particularly meaningful to them. I really appreciate these, because it means I actually struck a chord. Maybe even the sort of chord that gets a comic strip put up on a refrigerator. Except my formatting of this story doesn’t easily lend itself to that. (I take full advantage of the fact I can make each episode as long or as short as it needs to be since it’s all on the web.) Maybe someday I’ll gather them into comic book form (hahahaha…sure thing Bruce…)

I can’t tell specifically who it is visiting because IPs are so seldom static these days. But I see familiar patterns, ISPs and locals and I think I can make some educated guesses.

And it’s the semi-regular readers like the one that visited from a familiar Florida ISP while I was down there last week of March, and hit several of the more recent episodes, and then a couple out of sequence from further back…especially that one “Conversation With God” episode, like those particular ones meant something to them, that really lift my spirits and make me want to actually finish the damn thing one of these days.

Yes, life did feel so much more wonderful than it did before. Or since. Maybe I’ll go into that a little more in the next blog post…

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 23rd, 2021

The Following Program Is Brought To You In Living Color…

Being a little more colorful this trip…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

December 9th, 2020

Horrible Draftsman Is Horrible

 

Last two panels of the last strip in episode 31. Notice all the erasure marks on the one on the left. No kidding, I really am a hunt and peck draftsman. It probably makes it a lot more work than it would otherwise be if I had more formal training. I just eyeball everything. But there is a method here to my drawing a figure and you can see a bit of it in the panel on the right.

I start with a bunch of circles and ovals and draw some rough grid lines over them and then start fleshing things out. Circles and ovals for the head, arms, abdomen and hips, a kind of odd triangular form for the chest and rib cage. It gives me a start on where to put things. I have no idea where I came up with this but it’s something I’ve used to help me get a figure drawn for ages. I suspect it’s stuff I’ve pulled from various artist’s guide books over the decades. A kind of desperate dumpster diving for an art education.

Note the bit of tracing paper I’ve taped to that last panel. This is my crutch. This panel was, for me, a complex pose, and I needed to get it just right for the gag at the end of the episode to work. I made several starts on it and wasn’t satisfied with about half of it, but the other half was in the ballpark. So I layed a bit of tracing paper over the part I liked to try various solutions for the part I couldn’t seem to get right. Doing this, I can just toss the paper overlay when I see myself backing myself into a rut, and just start over fresh on another piece of tracing paper if I needed to. I can also move the tracing paper around to see if adjusting it this way and that makes it any better. This saves me from potentially erasing all the way through the drawing below it in a struggle to find the right lines…like I almost did on the left panel (which I’m still working on…). When I get something I finally like, I’ll stick the tracing paper Under the drawing, trace over its lines to complete the drawing, and put it aside. Sometimes I just leave it there when I put the paper I’m going to do the inks over it.

There was more work to do but I know when it’s time to just stop for the night and see what I see when I look at it again with fresh eyes in the morning. Which I did early this morning. I think I have it all good now.

So now it’s on to the inks. The pencils are the hardest part of the work for me, and the most time consuming. And the part I’m always the most afraid of. But I think I’m finally learning that if I just keep struggling with it eventually I get it right. At least I’m getting more confidence in that.

Soon I’ll lay another sheet of the same art velium over this one, stick them both on the big LED light board, and do the inks. That way…and again this is all because I’m really insecure about my drafting abilities…if I screw it up I still have the untouched pencils and I can start over with a new sheet of art velium. It seems the pros all just ink right over the pencil lines. I will never have enough nerve to do that.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Horrible Draftsman Is Horrible

December 4th, 2020

A Coming Out Story, Episode 30…Real Soon Now…

Final strip for ACOS 30 almost finished. I hope to put the new episode up tonight and make it public tomorrow morning. I’ve discovered I need to let my cartoons simmer overnight before going live.

Notice I’m using GIMP now instead of Photoshop. After Adobe bricked the Windows copy I spent 850 dollars for I vowed to get myself off Adobe products. They claimed I’d somehow bought a “bulk” license that had expired even before I registered it. They’d let me use it for two years after the alleged expiration date. Then one supposes, since their new rental software business model wasn’t such a big hit, the tweaked their license algorithm and remote turned off my copy when it failed the new check.

I called their support number to ask what was going on and that I’d spent serious money for that copy, and their service droid told me to be more concerned about all the money Adobe was loosing to Piracy. But I’d bought a legitimate license. They even let me register this so called expired license that cost me 850 bucks and use it for two years.

The wonderful thing about commercial software is there are so many different directions they can point their fingers to blame for customer abuse. Adobe of course can blame the vendor I bought the license from that they claimed was already expired when they let me register and use it for two years. But of course, after two years the vendor isn’t much likely to refund my money. And more than likely they’ll claim it was a perfectly legitimate license and it’s Adobe that’s fucking with me, not them. And the fact is, buried inside nearly everyone’s licensing terms, is a clause allowing the vendor to change the terms of the license out from under you whenever they feel like it.

Think about that, those of you who think you have a permanent license for an Adobe product. 

So I’ve switched to GIMP, which has turned out to be a nearly perfect replacement for Photoshop. And it’s open source. But there is one small problem.

GIMP has a well known problem with tablet input devices, like my Wacom. It seems there is a bug in GTK2 that they’ve been dallying with fixing for 5+ years (It’s Open Source!), and the only machine that GIMP works properly on with my Wacom is the MacBook Pro you see here. So for the duration, that has become my art room computer.

Allegedly GIMP 3 fixes all that (real soon now!). There is a development release, GIMP 2.99.2, that allegedly has the tablet fix in it. But what you get, apart from a development release they tell you up front might crash on you at any moment, is a tarball that you have to compile.

I don’t have an up to date Linux system (it’s on my todo list) so I’ll just stick with the MacBook Pro for now. I’m actually really happy with GIMP. It does some things I need better than Photoshop, and its quirks are easily adapted to. I have a reference document I’ve been working on that steps me through a How To in GIMP things I did all the time in Photoshop, like ingesting line art onto a transparent layer. (It’s in Google Docs if there are any GIMP users here who want to look at it…message me) Moving and sizing objects on a layer is very odd in GIMP if you’re used to the way Photoshop does it, but once you understand it the process is very straightforward. Likewise copying line art from one image to another. But I can do everything in GIMP that I once did in Photoshop…at least regarding my cartoons…so I’m happy.

At some point I need to work on moving my photography workflow away from Lightroom. They say there are lots of good alternatives, some of which work way better at things like noise reduction and shadow detail.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story, Episode 30…Real Soon Now…

April 26th, 2020

Sexy Sketching…Almost Finished

 

 

I still see a few tweaks I need to make…but this is pretty much finished. I’m really coming to love Procreate’s charcoal sticks. I’ve tried a bunch of digital drawing apps and none of them get the charcoal sticks right. Procreate gets them almost perfect. Now if it only had a torn kneaded rubber eraser.

[Update…] Okay I’m done here. Tweaks made, I’m satisfied with it. Now to move on to the next…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Sexy Sketching…Almost Finished

February 3rd, 2020

A Coming Out Story…Please Stand By…

A Coming Out Story, episode 29, is…er…coming out slowly. So I’ve been putting up the strips as I’ve finished them, if you want to take a pre-release peak. This is why I’ve been a bit lax in posted to the blog here. I’ve been spending all my free time in the art room.

I have the last two panels up now, but they’re unfinished as yet. As I add details and such I’ll update them. When it’s all finished I’ll post a link, but anyone who’s been following this story already knows where to go.

I don’t know if I’ll continue doing this posting the unfinished strips as I go along. This particular episode is where the story takes an important turn, and soon the kid I once was will have to deal with a wee bit of self discovery…or more specifically the end of denial. After the heart attack last October I’m feeling some pressure to get this thing finished while I still have time to finish it. And there is still a lot of it left to go. This one has been so time consuming. I’m gonna try to make the episodes a bit smaller in size from now on. This one I could have easily split into two separate ones.

The last two strips in episode 29 involve…boots. 60s, early 70s boots guys wore, with a zipper down the side for getting in and out of them. The ones in question were black leather, and before I started work on this episode I had an idea of how to do them in the monochrome/cross hatching technique I’ve been using throughout the series, but I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. Getting a three dimensional lighting effect off a material that’s dark and unreflective to begin with isn’t something I was sure I could do.

This is where my utter lack of formal training really bites me. But I’ve been working with this stuff for decades now, and I had a hunch about how to go about representing it. Plus, and this was a big help, I had a photograph of the incident in question to work from for reference. So I could see what the end result was that I had to get to, I just wasn’t sure I knew how to get there. But I just now gave it a shot and I’m really happy with the outcome. Looks better than I’d hoped. This is how untrained hunt and peck artists get their self respect points.

I’m done with Photoshop and anything basically to do with Adobe. I paid full price for a Windows copy of Photoshop so I could run it on my Windows laptop if my art room Mac crapped out on me in the middle of something I was working on. Some months ago Adobe bricked my copy on the basis that I’d bought a bulk license copy from the reseller and that license had expired…several months before I bought the copy. This despite the fact that Adobe went ahead and activated my copy anyway, and let me keep on using it for two more years. So one morning I start Photoshop and instead if getting my desktop I got a HUGE popup telling me my copy was invalid and demanding I fix the problem. And of course the fix would have been to start renting the product instead of buying a new perpetual license since they don’t sell those anymore. Now it’s all rental software. And I am not the only one by far who isn’t taking that bait. But that’s obviously why they bricked my copy.  It wasn’t a problem when I activated it, and I’ve spent thousands over the years on Adobe software and before now considered myself a loyal customer. But their software rental policy isn’t working out very well for them, judging by the static they’re constantly getting on the social media forums, so they started looking for excuses to turn off anyone’s copies they could, to try and force those of us who were standing pat on CS6, the last perpetual license they sold, to become renters. 

When I called support and complained that I’d paid full price for that copy the corporate droid at the other end told me to feel sorry for all the money Adobe has lost to piracy. At some point I need to make a Sorry For Your Loss sympathy card to send to Adobe for all the money they’ve lost to artists who’ve gone elsewhere due to their software rental scheme. I’ll make it with GIMP.

The current version of GIMP is working out very nicely for my online artwork. In some ways it’s even better than Photoshop. At some point I need to find alternatives to Lightroom. mark my words, sooner or later they will turn off everyone’s perpetual licensed copies because they can. Somewhere buried in all those license agreements you have to agree to, is a clause allowing Adobe to unilaterally change the terms of the agreement whenever they want. When you buy software that can be turned off remotely whenever the maker wants you have bought nothing.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story…Please Stand By…

October 30th, 2019

Throwback Thursday Only Wednesday

Facebook tossed this memory back at me earlier today…

This is the winter of 1971. I’m 17. The artist at work. 

I love this one, unruly hair, oversized canvas jacket that I thought was oh so stylish, and mismatched shirt collar though it is. It was taken by a friend with my camera for possible inclusion into the yearbook. In my senior year I was staff cartoonist for the student newspaper (The Advocate…really) and was also made staff photographer after the previous one had a tiff with the editors and quit. What I like about this shot is my friend actually managed a snap when, for an instant, I got into the drawing I was working on and was actually concentrating on it there for a moment. It’s not often I get to see my concentration face.

I’m posing at one of the art room desks, not pretending to draw but actually drawing one of my newspaper cartoons. Even though the shot had to be posed I insisted I would be working on something for real, not faking it. That has always been my photographic style. In this shot you can’t see my hand with the pen in it, but that’s the drawing on the board and paper in front of me. The tackle box also in front of me is typical. The artist’s tool boxes they sold in art stores were Expensive and I noticed they looked a lot like the tackle boxes they sold in the sporting goods section of most department stores, which were a lot cheaper. To this day I have a tackle box full of drawing stuff on my drafting table.

And this by the way is why to this day I draw on a horizontal surface and not with the drafting table top tilted at an angle like I see a lot of other artists do. All my grade school art rooms had tables like these and I just got used to drawing that way. And see the board I have the paper on. I still cut Masonite boards to use for drawing and tape the paper on them. Then I have the paper on a nice smooth solid surface I can turn this way and that while I’m working on it and even tilt if I really need to.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Throwback Thursday Only Wednesday

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


What I'm Currently Reading...




What I'm Currently Watching...




What I'm Currently Listening To...




Comic Book I've Read Recently...



web
stats

This page and all original content copyright © 2015 by Bruce Garrett. All rights reserved. Send questions, comments and hysterical outbursts to: bruce@brucegarrett.com

This blog is powered by WordPress and is hosted at MomoWeb. Some custom design was done by Winters Web Works. Some embedded content was created with the help of Adobe Photoshop for MacOS and/or The Gimp. I proof with Firefox on either Windows, Linux or MacOS depending on which machine I happen to be running at the time.