Jakk is Back.

The second comic of Jakk is finally arriving this Saturday. The characters… well… they look a bit different from the pilot comic. Here are some character reference pictures to show my point. Sorry for the low quality, but it’s the best I could do in the situation.

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Kokkoro is Jakk’s best friend, a Japanese vampire. He was not seen in the pilot comic, but he will be a valuable friend to Jakk, always ready to help his buddy out of a jam. An umbrella will still be a key part of his character although it is not in this picture.

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Jakk is the main character of the series. He is either a lot less disturbing or more disturbing to look at this time around, depending on what you thought of the previous look. He is neither alive nor dead, but instead walks the earth in an in-between state, unable to perish. To pass the time, he acts as a private eye for paranormal creatures. He has a large amount of powers, such as breathing fire and gaining six extra spider-like limbs.

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The Librarian is a rather young ghost – only two hundred years old. Still, it is said she knows more information than any other being, living or dead, on the planet. Although she certainly knows quite a bit and is Jakk’s consistent go-to for information, her supposed omniscience cannot be proven.

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Scythe is the newest creature to become death incarnate. After her mother retired, she became determined to find a way to allow Jakk’s soul to rest. Even with her and Jakk doing the best they can, she has been unsuccessful so far.

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Valentine is the brother of the poltergeist Psycho. Heavily abused as a child, she eventually willingly became a siren, using her beautiful singing voice to save many children from abuse and “punish” the perpetrator. And by punishment, she means killing and occasionally eating them.

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Psycho is the brother of the siren, Valentine. Unlike his sister, he has no interest in saving the abused. He was killed during a particularly abusive situation and became a ghost, a crazed poltergeist. He has no other intent than to terrify and kill his victims. Although he has many run-ins with her due to his psychopathic nature, he has no memory of who his sister is.

As you can see, they are far more stylized this time around. It’s honestly closer to what I originally wanted. I’ve decided to stick with the dark comedy route I originally planned, but it might not be as graphic as planned.

So stay tuned for Saturday! I have a new technique to translate from sketch to computer, so it should look awesome hopefully!

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Why Art?

I’M BACK. AND WITH GOOD REASON.

This is a very long rant in response to a question that I decided I couldn’t answer through a simple message. It would just take too long. The question was: why is art important?

I think art’s goal is, at the surface, entertainment. Maybe that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. We enjoy it for our own sake. Artists, both musicians and painters, dancers and actors, do their art because there are things they would like to see, and nobody knows what they would like to read or see or hear better than they do.

And that’s where I have to go a bit past the surface. I think if I get to the heart of why I make art, it gets slightly egotistical. I like to think that I can truly change people’s minds. Seriously, I do. I act like I can make society think about itself and its wrongs if I write it as it is, showing all the faults in grisly detail. Maybe I can. I don’t really know. I mean to say that it has happened before. As I recall, one of Picasso’s works influenced the rest of the world to see the horrors of what was going on down in Austria in WW2. I like to believe I can make people walk back into reality and think about what would happen if they kept living their lives as mundanely as they do. I’d like them to question everything. And they do.

You see, the world itself is art. Can you imagine a world without anything but the absolute essentials? Perhaps it would not exist, because a universe is not really necessary. Nothing is necessary. But from the unnecessary comes beauty, and that is art. We are art. Every human being and animal and everything in existence is artwork. The universe itself is naught but God himself throwing what was not necessary into the utter blackness and making light. Why? Because why not?

Art is the foundation of society. It does not exist without it. Art is something that every single society can understand. You can understand how someone who speaks another language and lives in a completely different place was feeling just by listening to a song. You don’t even have to understand the words even if it includes it. It is the ultimate and greatest form of communication.

Yes, art is entertaining. We are entertained by books, splashes of ink on paper, like the Hunger Games. But did you know that the Hunger Games, a fictional book, is banned in some countries? Why? Because of this: art is more than just entertainment. Art is inspiration. And those countries’ governments that ban it fear that it will inspire its citizens to rebel against them. And I’ll be damned if they aren’t right. Art is a scary thing that way.

Art is motivation. Have you ever heard a song that came on at just the right time? I have. I have friends who owe their continuing existence to a song that gave them the courage to keep plodding on in this life when it didn’t seem quite so beautiful and wonderful to do so. Art is so much more than entertainment. So much more.

Art helps us to think in ways we are just not used to thinking. As Valerie Strauss said in an article on this same subject:

 “Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.” 

That’s from the Washington Post article “Top Ten Skills Children Learn From The Arts”. I know that’s not properly cited, but this isn’t an essay.

It isn’t just for children. Art is for all. With art comes awareness. With art comes respect. With art comes understanding. With art comes an outlet for those who otherwise would not have one.

There’s a reason the arts are called visual communication. Art is expression. Without art, we would have no ultimate purpose, no higher calling. There’s more to art than just curricular needs, although it does help with school. It helps with problem solving and creativity and working with others. But it also helps us to grow spiritually and mentally. It helps us to breach gaps that otherwise could not be breached. There are things that cannot be said in monotone. There are some stories that must be on paper, some that must be sung, and some that must be plastered with paint onto a canvas.

There’s a bigger reason that all the religious books have metaphorical pieces to them. There’s a reason Christ spoke in parables. We need more than the physical to help us learn what we cannot see, taste or touch. We need art to help us understand emotion, religion, and thoughts.

There’s so much more I would like to say, honestly; so much more I feel that needs to be included. The problem is that art really is the icing on the cake. But it’s also the cake itself. It makes it more than just a nutritional supplement. It makes it so much less boring. Like, imagine if you had to just eat supplements all day long. You’d go insane. But what if they’re nice tasting, good to look at? Then there’s something more there.

Can I explain every single reason art is so awesome? No. But you may be the reason someone decides to live another day. We hold life in your hands with that gift. Nobody ever decided to avoid suicide another day due to a math problem. But, how about a song? How about for a painting or a theater play? Yes, they have avoided it for that. You can sway nations with some words and a few chords. You can change a king’s mind with some properly placed spray-paint. People have died for the way they put ink on a page. There’s a power in art that can’t be denied, even if we can’t always explain why.

So art is powerful. That is my point. And don’t let anyone take that power away from you.

Why Art?

This is in response to a question that I decided I couldn’t answer through a simple message. It would just take too long. The question was: why is art important?

I think art’s goal is, at the surface, entertainment. Maybe that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. We enjoy it for our own sake. Artists, both musicians and painters, dancers and actors, do their art because there are things they would like to see, and nobody knows what they would like to read or see or hear better than they do.

And that’s where I have to go a bit past the surface. I think if I get to the heart of why I make art, it gets slightly egotistical. I like to think that I can truly change people’s minds. Seriously, I do. I act like I can make society think about itself and its wrongs if I write it as it is, showing all the faults in grisly detail. Maybe I can. I don’t really know. I mean to say that it has happened before. As I recall, one of Picasso’s works influenced the rest of the world to see the horrors of what was going on down in Austria in WW2. I like to believe I can make people walk back into reality and think about what would happen if they kept living their lives as mundanely as they do. I’d like them to question everything. And they do.

You see, the world itself is art. Can you imagine a world without anything but the absolute essentials? Perhaps it would not exist, because a universe is not really necessary. Nothing is necessary. But from the unnecessary comes beauty, and that is art. We are art. Every human being and animal and everything in existence is artwork. The universe itself is naught but God himself throwing what was not necessary into the utter blackness and making light. Why? Because why not?

Art is the foundation of society. It does not exist without it. Art is something that every single society can understand. You can understand how someone who speaks another language and lives in a completely different place was feeling just by listening to a song. You don’t even have to understand the words even if it includes it. It is the ultimate and greatest form of communication.

Yes, art is entertaining. We are entertained by books, splashes of ink on paper, like the Hunger Games. But did you know that the Hunger Games, a fictional book, is banned in some countries? Why? Because of this: art is more than just entertainment. Art is inspiration. And those countries’ governments that ban it fear that it will inspire its citizens to rebel against them. And I’ll be damned if they aren’t right. Art is a scary thing that way.

Art is motivation. Have you ever heard a song that came on at just the right time? I have. I have friends who owe their continuing existence to a song that gave them the courage to keep plodding on in this life when it didn’t seem quite so beautiful and wonderful to do so. Art is so much more than entertainment. So much more.

Art helps us to think in ways we are just not used to thinking. As Valerie Strauss said in an article on this same subject:

 “Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.” 

That’s from the Washington Post article “Top Ten Skills Children Learn From The Arts”. I know that’s not properly cited, but this isn’t a freaking essay.

But it isn’t just for children. Art is for all. With art comes awareness. With art comes respect. With art comes understanding. With art comes an outlet for those who otherwise would not have one.

There’s a reason the arts are called visual communication. Art is expression. Without art, we would have no ultimate purpose, no higher calling. There’s more to art than just curricular needs, although it does help with school. It helps with problem solving and creativity and working with others. But it also helps us to grow spiritually and mentally. It helps us to breach gaps that otherwise could not be breached. There are things that cannot be said in monotone. There are some stories that must be on paper, some that must be sung, and some that must be plastered with paint onto a canvas.

There’s a bigger reason that all the religious books have metaphorical pieces to them. There’s a reason Christ spoke in parables. We need more than the physical to help us learn what we cannot see, taste or touch. We need art to help us understand emotion, religion, thoughts.

I think I’ll end there, because if I continue this, nobody would still be reading it. But maybe I’ve helped. I’d like to think I have done some good with this, and maybe answered a few questions. And if you’ve read this all the way to the end, and think you have more that needs to be said, please add to it!

On Writing

So I’m not feeling well, and I’m ahead on a lot of my school projects, so here goes. I’ve done posts like this, but not one that is going to be quite as in-depth as this one.

The question is… why do I write?

I think my goal is, at the surface, something similar to that of most people: my own entertainment. I write for myself. I write because there are things I would like to read, and nobody knows what I would like to read better than I do. And so I ask myself questions. Is there more focus on plot than intensively realistic characters in what I’m reading? Then I write stories with relatable and realistic characters. Are there too much “teenager saves the world” kinds of storylines? Then I write one without as much at stake. Is there not enough POC representation in the books I’m reading? Then I write one that has lots of it. Is there too much concentration on merely entertaining the reader and not enough on making them think about their own life and society? Then I write something that makes the reader think.

And that’s where I have to go a bit past the surface. I think if I get to the heart of why I write, it gets slightly egotistical. I like to think that I can truly change people’s minds. Seriously, I do. I act like I can make society think about itself and its wrongs if I write it as it is, showing all the faults in grisly detail. Maybe I can. I don’t really know. I like to believe I can make people walk back into reality and think about what would happen if they kept living their lives as mundanely as they do. I’d like them to question everything. And most of all, I’d like to imagine that I, a short, scrawny dude from Upstate New York who’s never done anything of consequence, can change people’s minds with a some words on a page.

That’s why I chose my pen name as it is. I do it not as a lie, but only because I like to write as politically incorrect as possible, and I don’t feel like people tracking me down on Facebook to give me hate mail.  So, the name Gabriel Penn was concocted, because Gabriel is a both messenger and warrior angel according to the Bible. I would like to be that: a warrior for what is good and a messenger to those doing wrong. And I’d like to do it all with pen and ink, per se.

I think it all comes down to what a writer, or any kind of artist, is meant to do. Writing surely must entertain, or nobody would read it. But aren’t we called to do more as artists? Are our works not supposed to change society, or at least represent it as it is? And maybe we can do the former by doing the latter, who knows? I’d like to think we could. So entertain your audience. Write epic fight scenes. Paint beautiful lacework or pure abstraction. Write tales of dragons or aliens or 19th-century romance. Construct sculptures that take twenty minutes for people to realize what it’s supposed to look like. Write stories of vampires, ghosts, ghouls and demons. Draw original, goofy characters or hyperrealistic celebrities. Write about everyday life, for all I care. But to end it there, that would be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Do more! Be more!

We bear a massive burden as artists. When you make art, the audience hangs on your every word of your pen and stroke of your paintbrush. When you make art, both poor and rich, both commoner and royal, are all equal. So whatever you’re going to say, make it count.

REAL Artist Salaries

My roommate recently had a conversation with his parents in which he told them he was planning on switching his major to Fine Arts. His parents were immediately opposed to the idea because they believed that there is no money in the art realm. This is a post that I have made to disprove that. Here is what artists actually make. 

 Now there are lots of possibilities in the art room for jobs. There are marketing jobs, animation jobs, book illustration jobs, comic book artist jobs, fashion design jobs, and the list goes on. But let’s look at just these jobs. 

When I say marketing, I am actually referring to an art director. You would be designing concepts and present possible marketing campaigns to your company. The role is so important that the average yearly income would be around $90,000. Ooh, baby! But let’s not stop there!

Now it’s tough to be an animator, sure, but the work is rewarded in gold, trust me. The lowest yearly animator salary I saw for Pixar is $75,000 yearly. That puts them at higher middle class almost instantly. The highest? Now this involves some knowledge in 3D artwork, but the answer is: 

$167,000.

All right, that’s probably going to be the highest one on this list, but let’s not forget the other jobs because of it. Maybe you want to illustrate books. I have a friend who’s doing this right now, so she can attest to this. The average pay is about $55,000 a year. Let’s admit it, it may not be as high as others, but it’s not a bad gig by any means. And that’s the average. If you’re really really good at your job, well, you can make far more than that. 

Now maybe you’re like me, and you want to be a comic book artist… as a secondary job to my writing, of course. I’m not going to lie, it does make probably the least amount of money of all I’ve mentioned so far. The average yearly income in the U.S. For comic book artists is about $30,000. But what is that based on? Well, comic book artists are paid per page rather than per hour. A freelance artist gets paid often between $10-$200 per page. A pencil/inker, about $75-$200. But what about a DC Comics artist? 

$500-$1000 per page. 

So unless you’re doing two 15-page comics a year as a DC artist, you’re probably not doing too bad money-wise. In fact, you are probably making anywhere from $30-$80,000 a year. And if you’re an elite artist, you can get into the six figure range. And that’s not so bad. 

Now what about fashion designers? Well, the average is about $75,000. The lowest is about $35,000 (still above poverty, trust me) and the highest? About $125,000 yearly. But you’ll need a good portfolio, or you’re going to have a really rough time. 

But let’s say you don’t want any of these jobs. You just want to live by yourself as a high school art teacher doing what you love to do. A high school teacher’s average yearly income is $50,000, but a more realistic sum is $41,000. And that’s enough to get by. 

And this is just a small list of possible jobs! So if anyone claims that you can’t get by through doing what you love to do, show them this and walk with your head high like the epic person you are. And never EVER take less than you’re worth.

New Things Coming 

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I don’t intend to leave WordPress, as the people here are way too fun. But I will be doing some things differently. For instance, because I am a Fine Arts student, you’ll get to see some really sweet artwork. Like this!   Now because not everyone was able to get the meaning of the piece, the painting that I sketched this for will look a bit different. But I loved this sketch so much that I can’t…

View On WordPress

New Things Coming 

I don’t intend to leave WordPress, as the people here are way too fun. But I will be doing some things differently. For instance, because I am a Fine Arts student, you’ll get to see some really sweet artwork. Like this!

 

Now because not everyone was able to get the meaning of the piece, the painting that I sketched this for will look a bit different. But I loved this sketch so much that I can’t just throw it away. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but I’ll figure it out. 
In other news, I am excited to announce that my first planned agency for the novel I’m working with is the same that did City of Bones! The second would be the agents behind Emmanuel’s Veins. It is easily one of my favorite books of all time, if not my favorite. Never heard of it? No worries! Because that will be this month’s “Read and Review”!

New Official Art (Coming Soon)

A drawing of the Bandit Queen, Zenti, is being worked on. I only heard of it last night after a delightful evening with A. Sams (the illustrator) and her family. But those who have seen it in progress have had only good things to say about it. I also heard the hair design is a key part of it. But she won’t show it, not yet, not till it’s done! So now it’s just a matter of waiting…