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When I finally remembered to go shopping for nibs I found a weird-looking gold-plated one with a flexible neck and a soft round point and thought OK it might be an interesting experiment and (of course) tried it for a moment before getting on with this week's strip, tracing over one of the outtakes (I have outtakes this week!), and it just moved so smooth and sleek and responsive that I thought, get on with it, get it done ...

[ Interrupted by a phone call from my boss; as we talk about objectives, unit plans, and the crucial Transforming Youth Work all-day meeting on monday, I'm seized by cramps and my vision briefly dissolves. I lose the chair and hunker down on the floor, but keep the juggle juggle of the conversation going (apparently my detailed plan was "brilliant" but she's generally effusive, which is one of the things which makes her a good communications worker) and as I stare up in pain I notice the sky has gone a fabulous, luminous twilight blue and that the pot plants are shiny lime-green in the office lights and the two of them are contrasting so well, and I even have some 1800 in my bag that might be able to handle that, and if she would just get off the phone I could try and catch it, but she's doing that galaxy-conversation thing, where she keeps spiralling round and round some unknowable central topic without ever quite reaching it and while with most people I can spot the centre and cut straight to it her centres are just too abstracted (or is it obscured?) to get a fix on, so I talk round and round with her, at her pace, stopping off to settle this brief errand, fix that date, smooth that issue, all the time watching the blue fade from the sky, cringing, silent groaning, rolling down into the nausea black and wondering what it is she's trying to get to until eventually I just have to explain to her that I'm feeling sick and I can't carry on (even though I'm trying not to let the migraines interfere with my work at the moment) and even then she's not really happy stopping talking and as I put the phone down I can feel the threads of whatever it was she wanted to talk about still tugging at me, as I raise my camera and find that I've missed the blue and night has fallen. ]

things... it was a really nice nib and I hit a serious groove, which I'm not supposed to do on a work night. So, I thought, I won't colour it, but then I looked at the big monster in panel three and thought, but he's pink. So, back in the groove. Where I'm not supposed to be on a work night. But I really enjoyed it ... Maybe I should switch back to the smaller, faster steel nib next week. Or try spreading the work over two nights. If I can find another night.

I drew the strip to The Life of Mammals (this episode was shrew-bothering and invading the privacy of bats), Headf*** and The Invisible Man (old episodes). I tried drawing to my usual favourite wallpaper Night Videos but could feel my drawing physically getting worse as I listened. Now MTV has bled off all its interesting music (and presumably all its presenters) to "specialist" channels to make more space/money for "reality" television, the amount of effort actually going into showing a current selection of interesting videos seems to have plummeted, and it's not just a case of them only showing chart vidoes or commercial videos or dumbass pop videos, they don't even have a good selection of those, it's just the same old five swing songs followed by the same old five rock songs followed by the same old five of everything else and two old videos somebody thought was cool once, on loop, all night, every night, and even with the fast forward button under my thumb that's dropped below the threshold.

God, I feel grim. I suppose it's pill time.

Comments

( 10 worms — Feed the birds )
applez
28th Nov, 2002 12:02 (UTC)
Nibs?
Metacultural translation matrix please.

cleanskies
29th Nov, 2002 02:32 (UTC)
Re: Nibs?
With the regular pens you buy, the nib's fixed, like on a fountain pen or a rotring or whatever. But you can also buy separate nibs and a nib-holder (pen). That's what I use to do my weekly strip with, I actually take my nib holder, shove a nib in it, dip it in a pot of ink and then draw. At least for the black-and-white bit, I colour it in on Photoshop. Usually.

Or, if you prefer, it's a bit like and C18th graphics tablet. (Styluses for graphics tablets also have replacement nibs! It really is the bit that runs out most.)

There are lots and lots and lots of different nibs, you buy them in art shops, they're not expensive, but it's hard to find one with just the right flex, ink-capaciry, and shape. They all interact differently with how you draw. They also wear out, so you can never keep them. I'm a feckless type, so I've not found a nib I like and settled down with it like you're supposed to, and I can never resist trying out a new one.
applez
29th Nov, 2002 08:28 (UTC)
Re: Nibs?
A ha! Just like cuniform, sortta.

swisstone
28th Nov, 2002 16:02 (UTC)
I don't know if it's the nibs, but TWS this week is really first-rate.
cleanskies
29th Nov, 2002 02:51 (UTC)
the nib helped, but ....
I actually just hit a seam of focus.
crazycrone
29th Nov, 2002 01:21 (UTC)
Nibs?
Whatever you're using, I want some...uh, apart from the falling-on-the-floor-migraines,anyway! Yer right, Thing in panel three, couldn't be anything but pink. Thing in panel five must have hopped aboard at Tate Modern...
Extra-cool stip, yeh.
cleanskies
29th Nov, 2002 02:36 (UTC)
Re: Nibs?
Well, assuming you've not been moving around or anything, I've got your meatspace address, I'll send you some.

The new thing in panel five is a sort of Marsyas/bat drool combination. I love working to wildlife documentaries ... :)
jinty
29th Nov, 2002 02:45 (UTC)
If we're naming panels, I particularly like the things balancing on yer head in panel 7. Beautiful colour. Which reminds me -- you were going to colour me a piccy (above in userpic) sometime, so I can see if I'd go for that as my tattoo someday?
cleanskies
29th Nov, 2002 04:08 (UTC)
gods, that had completely slipped my mind !
I'll look out the artwork.

I think you can guess which panel I liked best. Woo, I like it so much, I made a new userpic :)
dr_beep
30th Nov, 2002 12:15 (UTC)
This one is my favorite!
( 10 worms — Feed the birds )