Ethan Vansciver: Your Time Is Now Mine #6: My Journal
Your Time Is Now Mine #6: My Journal
And that is my reference to feces for the week.
ITEM: You many notice the handsome new photograph of me that heads the column this time around. Mmm...if I wasn't already married! I'd have a piece of that.
ITEM: Half a dozen of you may remember that I promised a lecture on drawing, complete with drawings, this week. And that's what we're going to do. I'm going to pass over the usual format of several worthwhile and timely "ITEMS:" and instead, we're going to spend a long and painful amount of words on how I came to be an artist, and what it means to express oneself pictorially. I think it'll be helpful to many of you, especially if you haven't already learned how to spell out words and still require the help of a parent or guardian in that regard.
People ask me all the time. They say, "Ethan?" And I say, "What?" And they say, "When did you start drawing?"
This always strikes me as a weird question, because I know the bastard already knows the answer. We all start drawing as children, don't we? We all do. Because it's a primitive instinct, and also because Kindergarten teachers really don't know what else to do with us. They give us crayons, they tell us to trace our hands, and then they show us how to make turkeys out of them. You started that way, Rob Liefeld did, Alex Ross did, and believe it or not, so did I. Alex Ross's turkeys somehow looked photo realistic, however, and Liefeld's had an extra meaty breast.
We all do this because it's fun, and because we have to. It's part of growing up. At some point, however, most of us quit. Maybe it's around the third or fourth grade. But it no longer becomes something we are required to do, and so the majority of children either realize they have other creative interests, or that they are dull and witless doorstops who bully the brighter kids. At that point, their progression stops, which is why most adults tend to draw at the level of a fourth grader. A few find encouragement and continue, and thus, continue to improve. Even fewer actually have an extra little spark. Talent. And they end up making art a major part of their lives.
My mother was an artist, and her father was an architect. Drawing was important to my mom, and she wanted it to be important to us. So she gave me, and my brother and sister, blank books that she called "Journals". We were very young. I think I started mine when I was 3. Anyhow, at the end of an interesting day, she'd ask us to sit down and draw our impressions of the events of that day, and then tell her what the drawings represented. She'd then transcribe word-for-word what we told her.
I found the journal the other day. Let's have a look, couldn't we?
It's clear that early on, I had an interest in DC Superheroes, and had fantasies of them committing acts of violence. My mother writes for me, "Superman had a Superfight, and Superman won. I like Superman about 30 pounds." And that's a lot. It's more like 75 pounds now, but I'm getting some exercise. Anyhow, I also drew Batman and Robin, and discussed their "Batfight", but stated that although I liked Batman I wanted to be Superman when I grew up.
It's encouraging to be reminded that I have a long history of sitting around in Superman underpants watching television.
As a child, I had a deep and abiding belief in God. My parents told me that I was both "Made in God's Image" (so God resembled me) and that "God was always watching me." This is why there is a happy man with a nose shaped like a cheese wedge hanging from the clouds watching my mother open the Valentine I made her.
God witnessed me receiving a train set for Christmas....
....But God is noticeably absent from the scene where my mother happily beats my bare backside for some alleged wrong doing.
Yes, that is my butt crack.
This may explain the beating I received. I had "Bin Bad" by climbing out the window onto the roof and leaping from it onto a nearby pine tree. I was caught and punished, as you saw, but I inaccurately related the scene in my journal by accentuating, fiercely, the frown on my face while I was committing the crime. At the time, I felt no such guilt.
Crying tears of anguish in bed. I drew this same drawing on 11 different occasions in the journal.
But there were also happy times! Here's my brother Josiah racing to give me a new package of Superman Underoos while I sat on the toilet. I didn't take my pants down, apparently, so his timing was probably better than he'd figured. We're both pleased, anyway.
The miracle of child birth, as I understood it at age 6. Notice my mother wore a belt similar to Superman's. I cannot explain this.
Back when I was a migrant worker. I suppose my parents saw Harvest of Shame and it inspired them to take us out to pick fruit. This is a miserable thing to do, no matter how much fun squatting in the sun to collect tiny berries may sound. Nobody likes blueberries that much.
Took a class trip to the zoo and a black kid showed me his weener. The monkey was happy, and the sun was happy. Everyone was happy but me.
Guess what movie this is?
At last, one of the final "entries" in my journal. As you can see, I've improved my drawing skills quite a bit. That's me playing with a few Star Wars figures, (bonus points if anyone can identify them) and watching the old Pac Man cartoon on television. Everything that was important to me in 1983.
Ten years later, I was drawing Cyberfrog. Doesn't it all make sense now?
I'd like to cap off this week's column with a thank you for everyone who helped put last week's edition at the number 9 spot on the Most Commented list. It was one slot more than I could have hoped for, and so I humbly thank you all. It's fun when that happens.
A question I'd like some answers to: After Flash, what should I do? With what writer? And it doesn't have to be DC! Some suggestions would be helpful.
At last, we're headed into 2009, and what a strange and murky year this is shaping up to be. I want you all to have a terrific and fun New Year's, and I can't wait to do this again next week!
With the fondest respect,
Ethan Van SciverMake sure you time is fully lost: Your Time is Now Mine, 5 Your Time is Now Mine, 4 Your Time is Now Mine, 3