Category Archives: books

10 Artists that I Admire

by Davis Ketterer

There are about a zillion better artists out there and I’d just like to bring your attention to a few of them that are so awesome that they can bring tears to my eyes.

  1. The Creator. Without a doubt at the top of the list is GOD. Would any of us even know what beauty was if it had not been created for us? Just walk outside and view the real nature that all of artwork is trying its hardest to imitate. Nonplussed? Then try to create a tree. If you can’t be impressed with anything on earth, take a glance out in space. Now make a moon.

2. Juanjo Guardino. If you have never heard of Blacksad then I am proud to introduce you to Juanjo Guardino. Despite his position on the list he is not second to GOD. GOD takes up places 1 through 5. Still the ex-Disney artist gives a very good impression of what the Creator does naturally. Just check out this impressive shot:He and author Juan Diaz Canales have created a beautiful 30’s film noir detective story featuring a black cat as the detective.

3. Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Not really coming after but alongside of Juanjo Guardino is a really, really old, dead guy called Bernini. Bernini was a painter, architect, and one crazy good sculptor. His statues look like they could move at any moment.

4. Frank Frazetta. Frazetta not only painted scenes well and modeled bodies well, his pictures bring with them their own feeling. He combined technical know-how with sentiment. Compare these two.

5. Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli’s movies also give deep unsaid emotion with their eloquently painted backgrounds and simplistic but highly dramatic characters. Personal favorite: Spirited Away. There’s just something extra moving about a girl crying over her parents being turned into pigs while she eats giant rice balls, that I can totally relate to.

6. Al Hirschfeld. Al Hirschfeld was called the master of line and just a glance at some of his caricatures will tell you why. With such a simple instrument, the plain line, he created an impression of a person that tells you all you need to know about that person to make you feel as though you’ve met them.

7. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The master of shadow and light was born in the 1500’s during Italy’s Baroque period, and his name was Caravaggio. When I was in college, I would sit and stare at his paintings in books. My favorite was The Conversion of Paul.

8. Katushito Otomo. Katushito Otomo created the Akira series. The books body slam the movie into the ground. The panoramic views of the city and buildings are pictures that the reader can sit and muse over for a good thirty minutes.

9. Takehiko Inoue. Inoue may be well known for his basketball series Slam Dunk, but it was Vagabond that brought him to my notice. He has an impressive inking style, leaving lines disconnected or unfinished which miraculously use the reader’s mind to fill the gaps and go with the flow of the picture. Much of the inkwork is dark and zig zaggy giving a violence to the picture even if Miyamoto Musashi is standing still.

10. Akira Toriyama. Bringing up the rear, but far from being a bottom feeder, is Akira Toriyama. I tell you, I used to love me some Dragonball Z! And of all the artists (save GOD, who influences everybody) Toriyama has certainly deeply affected me more than the rest. I love the clean lines, the simple expressions, the straight-to-the-point scenes that never fail to deliver their meaning. His machinery keeps a light feeling, not being bogged down by too much detail. He knows when to stop. 

I found this picture some time ago and had it as my desktop picture for the longest time. I love the two lizard men carrying away someone to a sewer who stop to admire the raging monster in the background. The first says “Whoa” and the second says, “Cool”.

This list is not all of the artists in the world that have left me awestruck, but they are certainly the ones that came to mind first.

In fact as I was checking out chiaroscuro (the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting), I saw Vermeer and I was tempted to bump Caravaggio for the Dutch painter but I stopped. Caravaggio did catch my attention first. And each one deserves a little attention from you, if you ever have the time.

Ideas are driving me crazy!

by Davis Ketterer

On Manic Repressive the world gets a very limited peek inside my head. The current online projects: Seven, Storytime Fridays, Heirs, Opus 3 (Honest to goodness I’m working on getting that put up) is a small sampling of what has already gone through my head.

I’ve written many stories before those that’ll never see the light of day. Sometimes I think back on them with some amusement but  mostly with relief; I got the story out.

One of the bigs one was…it’s been so long I don’t remember the name of it!

 But it had Stanti (pictured) as the main character. She was a soldier in the imperial army in a country/land/world-whatever, that made it illegal to be a woman. So she dressed up as a man and moved up the ranks to eventually help defeat the insane emperor. That story was the first long one I had to get out of my head. Once I managed to write it out (and I do mean write, not type), I lingered on it for a little while but then moved on.

You see, I constantly have a stream of stories running through my head. I write down the gist of the plot to refer to at a later time so I can clear my mind enough to try to get my current project done. Problem is, I have a pile on my list and all of them are chomping at the bit.

Let me try to explain.

It takes time, you know, it takes time to get a story out. It takes time to figure out the whole plot, craft the characters, construct the scenes, and then actually write it all out. Sometimes I wish that was all I had to do, but it’s not. Like most of you, no, like all of you, I have a life I have to attend to and it is always begging for time. I need time to make the meals, to eat the meals, to pay the bills, to plan the birthday surprise, to cut my fingernails, to clean up vomit–whatever, anything, everything! And like all of you, I only get 24 hours in a day.

Anybody wish they had more hours in the day?

I don’t. I don’t think that would solve my problem anyway. The more time I have allotted to me the more life swoops in and pecks at it.

If I get anything written or drawn it is because I have forced it into the day. And I force it into the day everyday, somehow, someway.

Sometimes dinner isn’t cooked, it’s raw. Raw celery is hard to take but , hey, I needed the time. Sometimes the toys stay scattered because I need the time. Sometimes the movie was missed because I need the time. Sometimes the mail stays in the box, the cell phone runs out of battery and dies a miserable death, the laundry piles up and up, and sometimes I forget to turn on the computer at all because I needed the time.

Is it worth it? Stealing snatches of time here or there to pick, pick, pick at a story or a picture that I dump in a box when I’m done and scurry on to the next one?

Absolutely! In fact, it’s imperative. If the stories are left untold they eventually curl up in a corner of my mind and vanish. And bit by bit a part of me, that I’ve always enjoyed, will die. So I rush to finish them but I swear time is shrinking.

How is it that the older you become the days of the week drag past but the months roll along and the years run?

Let’s see…there’s Seven–thank heaven she’s already done. I’ve had her written out since the early 2000’s and I got the pencils done last April. Each week I spend some time slapping ink and flats on a page…there’s Opus 3–that’s written and even drawn, though I am reconsidering drawing more elaborate pictures. If I can get around to it. It’s on the back burner due to sound…there’s The Problem with Hope which has totally been stopped because I switched off to… Swirled  is done writing and I have a few pictures for it but I want to add a voice for an audiobook…Cassandra Parker was started, had a pretty good start, but was put off because…My children requested a story from me and I wrote The Sugar Thief. That short story finished but it was so enjoyed and so enjoyable a task that I began the continuation which is where I am currently stuck.

Can I sit down and just write it out? Sure can, but rarely do I have a ‘just sit down and write it out’ day. There is freelance comic book work to do, small but very time consuming, a family to take care of, lessons to teach, and sleep to obtain.

But the stories are all there shouting now but soon to be quiet…

Cassandra Parker, Partime Detective, The Problem with Hope, Ben and Venus, Pharmland, The One, Total Rebellion…

Ai! I forgot Moonman and Kimbi’s song! They are written and waiting to be drawn.

How will I get it all done?

Bit by bit. Crumb by crumb.