The End of Growth | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio
Economist Jeff Rubin and environmentalist David Suzuki might seem an unlikely pairing. But they’ve been touring Canada together, talking about the natural limits to growth from their very different perspectives. We listen in as they try to convince a Calgary audience that we’ve already exceeded the capacity of the planet.
Besides the fact that Calvin and Hobbes is the comic I cherish above all others, Bill Watterson is my biggest creative influence and someone I admire greatly as an artist. Here’s why:
• After getting fired as a political cartoonist at the Cincinnati Post, Watterson decided to instead focus on comic strips. Broke, he was forced to move back in with his parents and worked an advertising layout job he hated while he drew comics in his spare time. He stayed at this miserable job and submitted strips to comic syndicates for four years before Calvin and Hobbes was accepted. About this period Watterson wrote: “The only way to learn how to write and draw is by writing and drawing … to persist in the face of continual rejection requires a deep love of the work itself, and learning that lesson kept me from ever taking Calvin and Hobbes for granted when the strip took off years later.” (Also see the Advice for Beginners comic.)
• Watterson sacrificed millions (probably hundreds of millions) of dollars by never licensing and merchandising Calvin and Hobbes. He went through a long and traumatic fight with his syndicate over the licensing rights, and although he eventually prevailed, Watterson was so disillusioned with the industry he almost quit cartooning. “I worked too long to get this job, and worked too hard once I got it, to let other people run away with my creation once it became successful. If I could not control what my own work was about and stood for, then cartooning meant very little to me.”
• Luckily Watterson didn’t quit and took a sabbatical instead. Eager to reinvigorate his creative mojo on his return, Watteron proposed a radical new layout for his colour Sunday strips. For those not familiar with comic strip lingo, each week a newspaper comic will have six ‘daily’ strips (usually black and white, one tier, 3-4 panels) and one ‘Sunday’ strip which is larger and in colour. Previously, the Sunday strip was comprised of three tiers of panels and looked like this. The layout was restrictive and the top tier had to be completely disposable because a lot of newspapers would cut it and only run the bottom two tiers in order to save space so they could cram in as many comics (or puzzles, or ads) as they could.
Watterson was sick of the format restraints and wanted more space to experiment and push his storytelling ability so he (with his syndicate’s support) gave newspaper editors a ballsy proposition. They would have to publish his Sunday comics at a half-page size with no editing, or not publish it at all. By this time Calvin and Hobbes had been running for over five years and was extremely successful so Watterson had the clout needed to pull this move off. Despite fearing many cancellations, he was pleasantly surprised that most newspapers supported the change. Free of the shackles of tiers and panel restrictions, Watterson gave us visually exciting and beautiful strips that hadn’t been since the glory days of newspaper comics in the 1920s and 30s. He was free to create strips like this, and this and this. “The last few years of the strip, and especially the Sundays, are the work I am the most proud of. This was close as I could get to my vision of what a comic strip should be.”
• After working on the strip for 10 years, when Calvin and Hobbes was at the height of its popularity and was being published in over 2,000 newspapers, Watterson stopped. He had given his heart and soul to one project for 10 years, had said all he wanted to say and wanted to go out on top. “I did not want Calvin and Hobbes to coast into half-hearted repetition, as so many long-running strips do. I was ready to pursue different artistic challenges, work at a less frantic pace with fewer business conflicts, and … start restoring some balance to my life.” Since retiring the strip, Watterson has pursued his interest in painting and music.
It’s pretty incredible when you think about. Could you say ‘no’ to millions, I repeat, MILLIONS of dollars of merchandise money? I don’t know if I could. Would you stop creating your art if millions of people admired your work and kept wanting more? I don’t know if I would.
Reprints of Calvin and Hobbes are still published in over 50 countries and the strips are as fresh and funny as they were 20-25 years ago. It has a timeless quality and will continue to entertain comic fans for generations to come. Great art does that.- The quote used in the comic is taken from a graduation speech Watterson gave at his alma mater, Kenyon College, in 1990.Brain Pickings has a nice article about it. The comic is basically the story of my life, except I’m a stay-at-home-dad to two dogs. My ex-boss even asked me if I wanted to return to my old job.
- My original dream was to become a successful newspaper comic strip artist and create the next Calvin and Hobbes. That job almost doesn’t exist anymore as newspapers continue to disappear and the comics section gets smaller and smaller, often getting squeezed out of newspapers entirely. I spent years sending submissions to syndicates in my early 20s and still have the rejection letters somewhere. I eventually realised it was a fool’s dream (also, my work was nowhere near good enough) and decided webcomics was the place to be. It’s mouth-watering to imagine what Watterson could achieve with webcomics, given the infinite possibilities of the online medium.
- My style is already influenced by Watterson, but this is the first time I’ve intentionally tried to mimic his work. It’s been fun poring through Calvin and Hobbes strips the past week while working on this comic and it was a humbling reminder that I still have a long way to go.
- The quotes I’ve used in the write-up above are taken from the introduction to The Complete Calvin and Hobbes collection, which sits proudly on my desk.
This is showing how you grip a sword
Please keep in mind that I’m not a professional or anything!
I just took some art classes when I was younger, so these are just a few things I remember or have learned since then!
Anyways, this ‘tutorial’ is just something I made very quickly…and I’m not good at explaining or teaching.
So please don’t take this seriously lol
This made me laugh and then cry and then
You know what. If you really think about it this man knew the mind of most artists.
He knew that most of us lack a lot of self confidence and are scared of making mistakes and so on. He knew that those fears are the ones that keep us from grown and becoming better artists. He knew that if we focused in the good we would keep moving forward without ever looking back or dwelling on our mistakes.
That or I’m over-thinking it. :0
How to Prevent Watercolor Paper from Curling
As a watercolor artist I have felt the frustration that can rise up when, after hours of careful work, the paper I have slaved over begins to buckle and curl. I have found several ways to avoid this problem over the years.
The most traditional and time honored of these methods is to stretch the paper on a rigid surface (masonite drawing board, gator board, etc.). This is done by soaking the paper in water to thoroughly relax the fibers in the paper. Then the paper is placed on the surface and taped or stapled in place. I have always used paper package sealing tape that has an adhesive that becomes activated by wetting the glue on one side. The paper is then allowed to dry completely. As the paper dries, the fibers tighten within the paper and stretch to an extremely taut surface, almost like the skin of a drum. This stretching holds the paper in place and water and washes can be applied to it without it resulting in buckling or curling. This method can be frustrating because sometimes the tape does not hold completely and the stretching process can result in buckled paper from the get-go. One great benefit of this method is that the artist can stretch paper in whatever dimensions he or she desires. The other methods I’m going to describe later require the artist to work in the dimensions predetermined by art supply manufacturers. Another plus to this method is that the artist is free to use lighter weight (thus cheaper) paper and still get a good, smooth result.
I should mention here that one way to avoid the problem of buckling and curling watercolor paper is to buy a really heavy weight paper (300 lb +). This is a solution that I don’t frequently use, because to me the cost of the paper is prohibitive. However, this is the most straightforward solution to the problem. If the cost is something that is not an issue for you, this is the easiest way ensure your paper will not warp.
Another almost fool-proof way to prevent watercolor paper from buckling and curling is to work on a watercolor block. This is a pad of watercolor paper that has each sheet glued in place on all four sides with just a little opening in one side. Each sheet is thereby “stretched” and ready to have paint applied with no additional effort on the artist’s part necessary to prevent warping. This is a more affordable way to preserve the smoothness of the paper than the heavy watercolor paper, and it is much easier and reliable than stretching the paper in the way mentioned above. Much of my work is done on watercolor blocks. They come in various sizes and styles of paper. Just a note to mention that watercolor paper comes in several types of surface: cold press, hot press, and rough. Each surface has its benefits and characteristics. It’s best for an artist to experiment with each type of paper to see which fits his or her style and objectives. Once the painting on the watercolor block is completed and thoroughly dry, the artist simply carefully cuts the finished painting off the top of the block using an exacto knife and the next sheet is revealed and ready for the upcoming masterpiece! The small opening in the glue surrounding the watercolor block is designed to be the place where the artist can start the cut to remove the top sheet once the painting is completed.
The last method for keeping watercolor paper in good shape when applying washes is the watercolor board. This is a relatively new invention, and it is great for allowing artists to use light-weight papers and still use very highly liquid washes without dire consequences to the integrity of the paper. The board consists of a wooden panel with a metal frame around the perimeter. The board works similarly to the paper stretching method I described earlier. Instead of stapling or taping the wet paper to the board, the paper is fastened through the use of the screws spaced around the metal frame (see picture). I have never had a failure when stretching my paper with the watercolor board. My board is large, accommodating a full sheet of watercolor paper. This is my “go to” paper stretching method when I want to create a large painting.
I purchased my board several years ago for about $120. The WatercolorBoard is available at Judsonsart.com.
If only I had known this years ago.
Blood Falls, a Natural Time Capsule Containing a Unique Ecosystem
This five-story, blood-red “waterfall” pours ever so slowly out of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valley. Geologists first discovered the frozen waterfall in 1911, and believed the red color came from algae. Its true nature turned out to be more spectacular.
Roughly two million years ago, a small body of water containing an ancient community of microbes was sealed beneath the surface of the Taylor Glacier. Trapped below a thick layer of ice, the microbes have remained isolated inside a natural time capsule, in a place with no light, oxygen, or heat.
The trapped lake has very high salinity and is rich in iron, which gives the seepage its red color. A fissure in the glacier allows the microbial subglacial lake to flow out, forming the falls without contaminating the ecosystem within.
More photos of Blood Falls can be seen on Atlas Obscura
“There are street artists. Street musicians. Street actors. But there are no street physicists. A little known secret is that a physicist is one of the most employable people in the marketplace - a physicist is a trained problem solver. How many times have you heard a person in a workplace say, “I wasn’t trained for this!” That’s an impossible reaction from a physicist, who would say, instead, “Cool. A problem I’ve never seen before. Let’s see how I can figure out how to solve it!”. Oh, and, have fun along the way.”-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Body drawing review - translated version.