On Sabbatical Side Projects


The Sketch from March 2018

The Sketch from March 2018

One of the things that I sought to do in the course of my sabbatical you’ve seen little hints of if you’ve followed me on social media. While the modus for my program was/is spiritual renewal, I also wished to work on leveling up some of my art skills (such as they are). From my placemat sketches to my sketch journal, I’ve attempted to pay more attention to the line I’m putting down (the technique).

A few months ago, I woke up with a picture in my head that needed to be put on (digital) paper. In the same way a writer just needs to get a character or concept out of his or her head, an artist has that similar urge, too. So, I drew this little sci-fi scene and shared it on Instagram and Facebook with an open-ended caption like “I wonder who these guys are.” Within a few hours, I received a text message from a friend whose young boys had already begun to formulate names for the characters and components of a backstory. Energized by that childlike gusto, I started drawing a story for them. When I’d get the yen and a free afternoon1 I’d sketch out a new frame or two and eventually have a four panel strip like a newspaper daily. For several months, the characters who would become “Chase Bomber” and his sidekick “Blippf” were shared only in iMessage with a few friends who shared time during story time with their children. (Neat, right?!)

Since I had a name, it’s only fitting to register it as a domain —you just never know— should the opportunity ever arise where I’d willingly let something from my head actually run around on the internet outside of a one-off sketch. I figured since I’ve got the domain and the website, I might as well look at letting others have a look. Towards the end of and after the Camino, I’ve had the opportunity to complete the inaugural storyline. The story isn’t much to speak of, but I’m concentrating most especially on the quality of the rendering of the art (which, presumably you can see evolve a bit over time. I know I can see it, and it’s horrifying). The programs on the iPad give the artist an unlimited pallet of colors without having to carry around tubes of paint! Also, I’ve got a wealth of books with me in handy PDF for study of art theory and technique. This is the longest “break” I’ve had to concentrate a bit more on what has always been only a hobby. Of course, this is all just the realm of cartooning and comic art, but any type of art involves necessary knowledge of things like anatomy, perspective, light, shadow, hue, and value. So, short of dipping over to Florence for a course in fine art (which might be in the next sabbatical when I’m almost 50!), I’ll have to stick with an self-led study.

If you’d like to read Chase Bomber, Episode 1, from start to finish, I’ve got a few pages up already. They’ll be released every Friday from today until the storyline finishes, which should bring us close to the end of my sabbatical (if my math is right and it probably isn’t). By that time, perhaps Chase and Blippf will be off on another adventure!

You can start reading here: Chase Bomber & The Cracked Planet Caper and updates will post to social media (I think?) and to ChaseBomber.com