Tag Archives: reality

Dragon Comics 165

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The Horsehead Nebula is actually a lot smaller than you’d think. 

In my original script, The Man’s line in panel 1 reads, “I didn’t even know you had the Horsehead Nebula in here,” but while lettering the comic I realized that The Man did know that Dragon had the Horsehead Nebula in there, because Dragon said as much in Dragon Comics 29, which I drew an astounding 2 1/2 years ago.  And by golly my prediction was correct. I haven’t gotten any worse at it. And clearly  The Man knew that they did have the Horsehead Nebula in there. It had just slipped his mind.

The Horsehead Nebula is definitely made out of cotton candy, right? The one is Dragon’s cave is, anyway.

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Dragon Comics 162

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Light as a feather, thick as a brick.

You’ll have to take my word for it that all those background feathers looked way more amazing without the rest of the comic. But you get the pictures. Those are feathers. Everything is floating after getting through the great pressure of the molten core in comic 161. Mmm…allegory. These feathers took way too long to draw. Dragon flying was fun. The Man looks comfortable, but he usually does.

Alien Anthropologist

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What’s the use of feeling blue?

How do people build entire careers on drawing political comics? I can’t even look at a photograph of our new kleptocratic overlords without wanting to vomit lately. There is so much material–so many things that are clearly not OK and therefore in desperate need of mockery–that picking 1 thing out of the day’s new is overwhelming, and by the time you get to the end of the list it’s not funny anymore, if it ever was. There’s too much of it, legions of alleged humans working with all their might to make the world worse for the mast majority of its inhabitants and acting as if it’s perfectly reasonable to watch other suffer and die as long as corporations profit. Who am I even supposed to shame?

It was another hard day. My sister probably had the right idea, getting her Canadian citizenship, but apart from the racism and most of my elected officials, I really like where I live. Still, running away has its merits.

Further Thoughts on Color Correction in Photoshop

The more I play around with the “Enhance” feature in Adobe Photoshop, the more I question the nature of reality. If a photograph isn’t a perfect visual representation of a moment in time, how can we trust something as subjective as memory?

Sun sets over the cove at Long Gulch on the north side of Lake Roosevelt

Sun sets over the cove at Long Gulch on the north side of Lake Roosevelt

The Man and I watched this sunset, and I’m certain that every moment was dazzling, and that the stones on the lakeshore truly did glow in the golden light of the setting sun. And yet, the original photograph was flatter than memory. Then I messed with the levels in Photoshop; now the stones glow. Still, did they glow to that degree? The sky probably wasn’t quite so blue, and of course the sun was sharper.

Complicating matters, I have long since stopped trusting my own eyes. My vision gets worse every year; I wear prism lenses to correct some of the problem, further distorting my view of reality, even though my brain corrects back to true, most of the time. In addition, I don’t do anything in natural light without polarized lenses, which sharpen everything and amplify colors. The world looks much crisper, and more beautiful, in polarized lenses.

A verdant piece of desert

A verdant piece of desert

This one, obviously, can’t be right. It reminds me of a picture postcard from the ’50s, when, I guess color photography was a novelty and all the colors were boosted into glorious technicolor. The sky is even bluer than in the previous image. This was a fast fix; results would probably be better had I worked on different parts of the image separately: the sky, the saguaros, the rest of the plants, the rocks, the water. At heart, I see with the eyes of a child, and the brighter colors delight me. I’ll take paintbox primaries over reality any day, I guess.

The flower of the saguaro cactus

The flower of the saguaro cactus

This is the most confusing one. I still don’t have a zoom lens for the Canon EOS, and if you know anything about saguaros, you know that getting close to their flowers can be tricky. Most of the flower are on the top of the plant, and a mature saguaro can grow as high as 50 feet, while I myself stand only a touch over 5. We spent days looking for a cactus that was either growing below the ridge, or else had a frostbite damaged arm that hung in my line of sight. No such luck on this trip, and the saguaro only blooms for a short while. I had to resort to the Powershot, which has a great zoom feature, even though the picture quality is of course not as details as with the DSLR.

But here’s the thing: the zoom feature is much better than my eyesight, so good that I have often used it in place of binoculars. It allows me to see things in sharp focus that would otherwise appear as distant blurs. So I couldn’t even tell you what these flowers really looked like because I never really got a good look at them myself. I couldn’t even really see the display since the sun was shining directly on it AND I was wearing polarized lenses. This photo pretty much involved just waving the camera in the general direction of the thing I wanted to shoot and hoping for something to line up.

So, what does the world look like? It’s not exactly what I see with my eyes, even with corrective lenses, and it’s not precisely what the camera returns to me, and it’s definitely not what photos look like after hue and saturation and balance. Every image is filtered these days; everything is Photoshopped. We can’t trust the visual world.

Dragon Comics 77

Be careful what you wish for

Be careful what you wish for

Today was a rough one for me; I had to report for jury duty at 7:30 a.m. and that sort of thing always throws me off course in a thousand ways. But inspiration came nonetheless. You just have to force yourself to open to it. Although I believe in participatory democracy and the right to a trial by a jury of ones peers, the actual process of serving the legal system in this way is oppressive. Getting up early, going through a metal detector, being forced to sit in a room full of strangers waiting for your number to be called, getting questioned by strangers and forced to conform to their mode of speech and behavior, listening to a nonstop stream of dialog inside a windowless room for 7 hours a day, having this all supersede whatever it is that you’ve chosen to do with your life. Plus, the judge cracked a misogynistic joke and made fun of a potential juror’s accent.

Basically, I didn’t want to do it, and when I was excused it felt as if I myself had been released from a kind of prison. The trial was going to be a minimum of 3 weeks! Ain’t nobody got time for that. I was planning of forcing myself to open to the possibility of jury duty. But it was just too much, and instead I was born anew into the early spring sunlight and opened myself to joy and inspiration and found this comic.