The first reading of Life is a Short Dream is probably even better without context. With this in mind, please enjoy my latest comic and feel free to read about some of my inspiration and process below. Enjoy!
Every once in a while, you read something that moves you so much that you are compelled to explore it visually, to wallow in its possibilities, to follow the path and see where it leads. Such an experience happened for me as I was reading Man and His Symbols, edited by Carl Jung.
Jung relates an experience with a patient who had been gifted a book of dreams by his young daughter. The events that follow, and an exploration of the dreams themselves, can be seen in my recently finished mini-comic "Life is a Short Dream". This was apparently a common Roman saying, one that happens to make the perfect title for this story.
This is one of my few entirely digital works, a choice made because of my limited schedule. It took awhile to get comfortable inking digitally once again (I'm using a 13hd cintiq these days) but I really started to enjoy it about halfway through. The ability to refine and carve away at lines using the eraser tool is such a joy and adds something unique to the process. The half-tone dots as a bit of shadow and texture is really fun to work with and I look forward to refining this look in future projects.
In an effort to make the imagery more universal, more relatable on a primal level, I tried my best to avoid Christian imagery, instead researching alchemical symbols and using lots of figure work, which was a blast. Similar to my work on Leighton Reliquary, I laid out the whole story in a full-sized dummy book, allowing more of a free flow to the pacing and layout, less detailed and precise than my usual thumbnailing process.
One of my more experimental ventures into comic-making, my intention is to leave this open enough to allow for interpretation from the reader, to bring something of themselves to this dream journey and see what they make of it. Much like dream analysis, it's a highly subjective experience that should, in theory, offer something unique to everyone, and perhaps reveal something about ourselves.
Determined to create something that meant so much to me personally, and maybe to fight off that creeping sense of imposter syndrome that tends to afflict many an artist, I put this together in a very hectic three weeks for the Panel One show on June 1st of this year (which was as much fun as ever!) It reminded me of my younger days making mini-comics and stapling them together the night before a show, back when the process seemed so much easier and getting an idea on the page seemed more immediate. It was always personal work, fly by the seat of your pants, anything goes...