Sunday, April 04, 2021

the next 5 out of 10 images

And here's the final batch of images done today.

First up:  my pic for the chapter on UFOs, where the joke, very much in the style of "The Far Side," is why the aliens would be more interested in a cow than in a human being:

Next up is my favorite of the bunch:  the pic for the chapter on vegetarianism.  This, too, is very much in a "Far Side" vein.  Gary Larson loved scenarios in which nature gets the upper hand, and man/nature turnabout is fair play.  In this case, a guy about to eat a stalk of celery is in for a rude awakening.  I often think that, should we ever discover plants are sentient, the argument for ethical vegetarianism will go out the window:

Some instinct told me that the chapter on Joan of Arc would need to be less cartoony and more in the style of a Photoshopped meme.  In my head, I knew the scenario I wanted, but it took a few tries to get something down on paper, so to speak.  I had originally freehanded a drawing of a kneeling, praying Joan torn between spirituality and carnality.  In that scenario, she's vacillating between a sexy guy and the voice of God.  I ended up ditching the "voice of God" concept as perhaps too offensive.  (I suppose the picture you see below might be offensive to some French folks, but I doubt it:  the French are radically secular, these days, and they have a sense of humor that would make most stick-up-the-ass, cancel-culture leftist morons blush).  Anyway, here's what I came up with:

Yeah, the guy is standing in a baptismal font, so I guess that could be offensive to certain churchgoers, and my boss might end up telling me to change the scenario to something blander.  Of note:  I had to Photoshop the dude's eyes to make him look (somewhat) toward Joan.  Dealing with eyes is always dicey; there's that whole "uncanny valley" effect to watch out for.  I think the result is passable, but you be the judge.  Like the Oracle talking to Neo, I have to ask:  would you have noticed had I said nothing?

Below is my pic for the chapter on trees.  Again, this is unimaginative and cliché:  a treed cat is one of the first things one thinks of when one says "tree."  The abstract background is meant to suggest a forest, but I might not have succeeded in that.  This pic is probably the most boring of the lot, but at least the colors are pleasant.  Sort of.

Lastly, a two-frame scenario that will probably have to be redone after my boss rejects it.  The chapter that this will go into is titled "The Heart," and it deals with the physical human heart, not with the lovey-dovey, abstract-but-globally-known Valentine's Day symbols.  I stole this straight from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," but I tried to keep it from being graphic.  Advanced students who have to write about "What do you think happened after this moment?" can say things like, "The prisoner felt better after the evil priest massaged his heart."  The story doesn't have to end with heart-removal and human sacrifice to Kali.  And, yes:  the priest in the Indiana Jones movie was Indian and brown-skinned, but in my scenario, he's just as white as his captive.  We live in an era where the depiction of dusky people doing bad things is automatically considered racist, and simply saying, "Well, I borrowed the idea from a movie" is no defense.  Political correctness spills everywhere and ruins everything, so a humble employee has to be on his guard.  But as I said, I'm probably going to have redo the image for this chapter, anyway.

Drawing toons is a constant struggle to (1) balance colors, (2) make sure different graphic elements don't get in the way of each other or become too distracting, and (3) avoid unintentionally funny scenes when aiming to be humorous.  I really need to take some art and graphic-design classes so I can do a better job of designing my images.  I also need to become faster and more efficient with art- and design-related Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator.  (My Korean coworker, who is our in-house graphic designer, uses Adobe InDesign for the most part.  The program is perfect for publishing things like workbooks.)  Anyway, I'm slow at what I do; each of the above drawings took around 90-100 minutes to finalize (not to draw; that's a separate issue).  This is why I'm in the office during the weekend.

Hope you had (or are having) a Happy Easter.  The work week awaits.


John Mac said...

Great work, Kevin. You don't give yourself enough credit--both artistically and creatively.

My first thought when I saw the spaceship/cow 'toon was that those aliens must not have read "To Serve Man".

I'm also impressed with the intellectual level required to fully grasp these images. Your textbooks are not just teaching English, they require THINKING in English. I'm guessing there are plenty of native speakers who would be clueless about the meaning behind your drawings. This kind of education is what we need now more than ever.

Anyway, great work on all ten of these. I didn't notice the eyes in the Joan of Arc drawing until you mentioned it, but I thought they looked fine after too. And yes, I've seen that reaction to my "worm" as well.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing!

Kevin Kim said...

I understand the generous, encouraging spirit behind your comment (thanks!), but "I'm guessing there are plenty of native speakers who would be clueless about the meaning behind your drawings" doesn't sound very promising. I'm kinda hoping my drawings aren't that mysterious. Maybe I should make changes...?

John Mac said...

No, it was a commentary on how stupid people are these days, not the artwork. I was thinking in terms of history--do they even teach about Joan of Arc in American schools these days? Anyway, it's just me being cynical I suppose. It took a lot of stupid people to "elect" Biden, so they must be out there...