Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where Ideas Come From, Revisited

Here's a new The Inquiring Minds cartoon!  The first independent cartoon in a while, since I've been working on the Ghost Pirate Skeletons of Three Craters Lake.  What prompted me to draw a new toon was, of course, the new eBooks that I've been working on (see last two posts).  As a publisher, I need to keep the company moving and growing, and so, right now, I thought it was important to investigate this new venue, the eBook.  I also need to finish the comic book, and get it into comic stores, but at this point that is still a long term venture.

Now, it occurred to me, halfway through drawing it, that the idea is similar to that seen in the wonderful movie UP, where Karl takes his house on a trip with the help of thousands of balloons.  It also occurred to me that some wiseguy was going to point that out. :0)

First of all, creative people are going to come up with similar ideas all the time, and usually independently.  Oh yes, there is idea theft, where people steal other people's work and claim it as their own, and more's the pity.  I mean, if you can't come up with original work, you really should not be a cartoonist, or writer, or whatever.  Me, I have more ideas than I could ever find the time to use them.  Some of them are fantastic, and I wish I could drop everything and work on them. The point is, though, that the truly creative mind never rests, and for some of us we have little choice but to find outlets for that creativity.
More importantly, we don't need to steal ideas, since we already have too many.

Actually, where the above idea came from, and yes, it probably was before I saw UP, is kind of interesting.  First off, let me explain that I have notebooks... lots of notebooks with ideas and sketches that eventually get lost to time as I move onto the next notebooks.  Once in a while, when I am focusing on one project, like the Inquiring Minds, I go back through those notebooks and gather together ideas that I flagged as good, but hadn't used before.  This idea was one of those... I have no idea at this point when I first came up with it.

The idea is probably as old as balloons themselves... I mean, who as a kid didn't dream of taking off into the skies if you bought one too many balloons from the balloon guy in the park? The truth is, though, this particular cartoon came from reading an article about art somewhere, where the author was talking about the deep meaning behind the art, and it was total BS.  I mean, really... sometimes a painting is just a painting and a story is just a story.

And yes, great art and writing often does have multiple layers, which is why we can look at something for years and still learn from it.  Sometimes it is deliberate, and the author tells a story that can be deciphered for those who want to look deeper, or the artist may lace their painting with symbolism.  Sometimes, and more often than not, I guess, from being an artist myself, that meaning is subconscious.  We are driven to create, and sometimes meanings come across that are not deliberate, but are there none the less.  Sometimes we see it, sometimes it must be pointed out to us, and sometimes, it is really the viewer herself who is doing the interpreting.... seeing something that they need to see, or feel, in the work, and not at all what the creator intended.

That can be the beauty of art... the beauty that resides in the eye of the beholder.  But when a critic starts going on and on about "what the artist is trying to say" and the artist isn't around anymore, well, that gets to be a bit too much.

So, angered by some idiot know it all, I created this idea.   I was going to have all the balloons be famous cartoon characters, and have the wagon represent my career, and my desire to get syndicated... a desire that obviously has yet to 'get off the ground'.  I was going to put the meaning into the cartoon, quite deliberately, and debunk it, as I'm doing now. :0)

I tossed the idea aside, for obvious reasons, but brought it back now on it's own merit.  The Inquiring Minds is about childhood.... especially the hopes and dreams and excitement of being young enough to believe, if even for a second, that balloons can carry you into the sky.

Cheers,    JOHN :0)
PS What I'm listening to? Andi Starr, of course. :0)

No comments: