Sketchbook. 1.

The words are important, but so are the images. Strangely, they hate each other. If I write I can’t draw. If I draw I can’t write. Why is that?
Indulis, one of the characters in my story, misses a bullet by just a pinky and runs into a nearby swamp. He is chased by Germans (First World Germans, mind you) with their dogs (German shepherds, I assume), so he hides his hide in the most available stuff around him. The good old, life saving mud.
I thought one of the German shepherds might find him, because it is a good working dog and knows how to find any man under any circumstances. But once it finds the man, it is amused and touched by the man’s position.
Here’s a sketch I did of that encounter:

There is the swamp, there is the man and the dog. I cleaned the drawing up into this:

Well, I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if the dog licked the man’s face. You know, as if it was an ice cream, sweaty and shivering but still humanly sweet. The dog would have total control over this wet kiss as the man would be helpless to fight the tongue and would have to endure this act of compassion and love without screaming.
Enthusiastically I set out to animate the lick and realized I am not such a good animator after all. Besides, the task I gave myself was a difficult one – make the licking movement work without moving the dogs head (to save myself a lot of work for this less important scene). Licking without moving the head looked like the dog was giving the man a tongue-job (whatever it means). To make it look as if the dog was licking an ice cream I would have to move the head a little up and little down, in about 5-6 drawings. I wanted to do only 2. So I decided instead of licking to do sniffing. Exactly 2 drawings:

After the dog runs away, without betraying Indulis to his German owners, Indulis is saved from the swamp by his first wife, Elsa. She cleans him up, playfully scolds him for getting into political mess of 1918 and borrows money from her father for her husband to open a new business. Here she is, in a sketched out move:

Cute couple, aren’t they? She cares for him, one can tell. Here’s a cleaned up drawing:

Oh well, the drawing is not THAT clean. I wrote something on it – a quote in Latvian from the script, and my signature. It was meant as a gift for my friend Armins Lejins from Latvia but another friend failed to pick it up to deliver it to him. You can buy it from me now. For only… well… $50. Postage not included. Makes a good gift for a wife on International Women’s Day, which is today, March 8th! She’ll forgive you anything or your money back.

Now, to the next scene. Indulis has a long and complicated life which I am going to explain to you at another time. But at some point he does start another new business with another wife and since he is very jealous of anybody who comes too close to his brand new and young wife Anna, he hires the most ugly men he can find to help him.
– What do we understand under ‘ugly’?- I thought. – What is ugly?
How do I make someone look ugly in a drawing? My style is sort of cute.
I Googled images of “ugly” and here’s what I found. Most of the people in the ‘ugly’ section were women (and I didn’t find them ugly, they just had more character than I did), mysteriously – Sarah Palin and digitally altered images of men. Here’s the top two results for digitally unaltered “ugly” in Google:


It is obvious that Google finds big teeth ugly. I thought I could work with that. Big teeth, big nose, bulging eyes.
Here’s a sketch for my ugly men:

And here’s a cleaned up drawing of Ugly Man 1:

The Ugly Man 1 teeth are moving up and down as he walks, and his big nose too. The moment I sign the drawing it is ready to be sold. It will make a perfect peace-making gift to your best friend you jabbed with a kitchen knife over the right way of grilling 3 day old warm pork or to a warring neighbor.

Here’s undistinguished Ugly Man 2. I thought, no chin was sort of cute-ugly:

Then I remembered the script said Indulis hired 3 ugly men. So I rushed to make Ugly Man 3:

Google had all kinds of frogs under “ugly”, so they got me inspired for the Ugly Man 3. And big, hovering lover lips.
It is hard for me to know if these three drawing men look ugly. I usually test my “ugly-handsome” inner compass by asking how much I would like to sleep with that man. But I don’t want to sleep with a cartoon character, they make too much rustling in the bed.

I went to a life drawing on Saturday and the model had his muscled bulge strangely, as if his arms were braided from three strands. I had an epiphany – why are we wasting our time learning about bone structure and muscles attached to this or that while in fact, they all are just 3 strands braided together, like this:

From now on do not expect me to do any attempts at bones and muscles. The arms are just piggy tails for me.
While the boldest are the bold, did you know that? The boldest object in our vicinity is Moon, normally associated with menstruation, mood disorders and manifestation of feminity. But it can’t be true. The loss of hair is manifestation of an excess of testosterone. While we sort this matter out, the Full Moon is coming up, get ready to get moody:

And while the Moon on testosterone is walking the high heels, get ready for my next Tuesday entry, which will be remotely related. You are in the know now.


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About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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