Monday, November 29, 2010

Flight, part2b

As I ease myself back into the habit of flying in airplanes, I am starting to remember many of the details of this activity that I had forgotten over the twenty-one years during which I had eschewed flights. One of most prominent of these is that -- once you get beyond any fears of crashing or exploding or whatever, and let your mind drift away from the mind-boggling fact that you are traveling through the air, thousands of feet above terra firma, in a conveyance which weighs more than approximately ten large elephants, is that flying is pretty boring, for the most part.

That's why you see people listening to music on their iPods, watching movies on iPads, reading, etc. And I remember from those flights of long ago that I would, like my other Mirage buddies, spend a lot of my time in the air drawing in my sketchbook. (I recall that on one flight with Kevin back from visiting Playmates in California in the early days of TMNT licensing, I came up with the concept for "Commandosaurs" and did a bunch of drawings for it before landing in Connecticut.)

On our recent trip to San Diego and beyond, I remembered this activity, but I was really more inspired by observing Jeannine. She has a great work ethic, and makes excellent use of these kinds of blocks of time by working on her writing -- pulling out her sheaf of printed pages to proof or edit with a pen, or hauling out her laptop, once the aircrew tells everyone it's okay to use their computers. (Actually, given that she uses a MacBook Air, it's not so much "hauling" as "slipping gracefully" from her laptop case.)

So I got out my sketchbook and did some drawing. I worked on finishing some inking on some pieces that I'd started back home, but also did some new drawings in pencil and inked them to various stages of completion.

This one I started on the second leg of our journey out to California, on the flight from Atlanta to San Diego. (That's not Ben Grimm's sculptor girlfriend Alicia Masters from the "Fantastic Four" comics, in case you're interested.) This drawing was inspired by the book that Jeannine is currently working on, which is a non-fiction piece about a real female sculptor. For some reason, I imagined her chipping away at a monumental statue of my favorite FF character, the Thing. (Given when this woman actually lived, it's a bit of a wacky anachronism, but what the heck.) I almost finished inking this one on the flight back home.

This other one is something I started while waiting for our flight back home in Los Angeles International Airport. We make it a point to try to leave for the airport a couple of hours ahead of our flight time, so as to be prepared for any unexpected delays -- which is great in one sense, because it prevents (so far, at least) missing our flights, but not so great in another sense because then we have hours to kill waiting in the airport departure loges. In this case, I think we had about three hours.

I'm not sure where the idea came from for this one, though it's possible the huge castings of various Mayan stone artifacts we saw at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park in San Diego could have had something to do with it. But I kind of like the slightly Kirbyesque feel of the giant, vegetation-covered figure -- is it just a sculpture? Or an abandoned war robot? Or a giant humanoid in armor, mysteriously frozen in mid-stride ages ago?

I don't know.

I penciled this at LAX, started inking it there, and did a little more inking on the plane. Hopefully I will get around to finishing it soon. -- PL


Miserable Dreamer said...

Thanks for posting the Thing drawing. It looks fantastic!

I find, when I'm flying, that as long as I don't think about it, I'm fine. The minute I start to consider being thousands of feet in midair in a giant metal tube, I start to hyperventilate.

The worst has got to be intercontinental flights, over the open ocean... shudder!

Adam Riches said...

These are great and I'm really happy to see some new non-TMNT art starting to emerge!

Do you find when you're on a plane drawing that other passengers/and or stewards ask you about your drawings? Also, assuming they do, does this ever lead to you revealing your identity to them?

I've always found it interesting that for the most part, regardless of where I've taken my sketchbook, in a vast array of public places I don't get questions or comments too frequently but if I'm on a plane it never fails that I will be asked about it/what I do for a career at least once while on the flight. I've always found that to be kind of interesting, perhaps as you said it's simply a case of people's boredom that leads to their curiosity.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your new art, keep it coming!

Matt said...

I love The Thing in the 1960s comics. Reed and Sue are sensationally boring but the antagonism between Ben and Johnny really made that series, plus the frequent appearances from Namor.