January 30, 2009
George Orwell gave us 1984 and Stanley Kubrick gave us 2001. Both dates were intended to be ominous and had overtones to worry about. But both years kind of fizzled, although 2001 has its own horrors, that dwarf the movie and make it seem silly.
I almost hate to admit it, but I have an odd obsession with numbers, in spite of the fact I hate math and did everything I could to avoid it (like take Fine Arts in college because there were no math prerequisites).
I even married a math teacher so I could have her balance my checkbook and pay our bills (on time).
When I wake up and look at the clock in the middle of the night and it reads 2:22, I take pause. I don't do much about it, but I do pay attention. What does it mean? Yes, I have a goofy superstition about numbers, although I think numerology is nonsense. Go figure.
As you may know if you've read this blog for more than three days, I am on a mission to complete 10,000 bad drawings at the rate of six a day. This quest was spawned from a comment by fellow cartoonist, Dave Sim (Cerebus)
, who famously said, "Everybody has 10,000 bad drawings in them."
The point being if you have any desire to make it as an artist you'd better purge those bad drawings and get on to the good ones.
While I have always subscribed to the basic wisdom in this comment I didn't do anything about it for at least a decade, but I kept noticing that when I was on deadline for a project and drew every day, I got better. Then I would meet the deadline and not draw until the next deadline. Days and months later I would make the same vow ("I need to draw every day!") and repeat the same arc, make the same promise, only to fall infertile once again.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
—Old Vaquero Saying
I began my quest for the magic 10,000 bad sketches on November 12, 2006 (or was it 2005? I need to look it up sometime just for grins). I've missed only a couple of days (like when I had a heart attack, which, by the way, on the page of that day's sketches, March 22, 2008, there is a very ambitious drawing at the bottom of the page, obviously done in the morning before the Wipeout rehearsal, and then there are chicken scratches across the top, one of which says, "Did I miss the gig?" Obviously, Kathy handed me my sketch book when I came out of surgery and as I filtered in and out of consciousness, I asked for a pen. And, no, I didn't count those scratchings as sketches. Ha.)
When I hit benchmarks (1,000-7,777) I usually kick it into high gear and try and produce something a little more worthy. Last night I noticed an impending milestone. I was at 7,996. Got up this morning and thought to myself, "Gee, I'm actually going to hit 8,000 today." And then, the eternal incentive killer, "These better be good."
I went home for lunch and bailed in. I set a goal for getting four done before I went back to the office. Didn't make it. Here are the results:
Wayyyyyyy overproduced, but there you go. These three sketches represent 7,997; 7,998 and 7,999.
I've got 2001 bad sketches to go. Not that this number means anything to me, but if your name is Hal, don't email me.
"Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears."