The Life of a Self-proclaimed Artist
by Barbara G.Tarn – Author
I grew up with Franco-Belgian and Disney comics, and I always loved illustrated stories. If you really wanted to know the evolution of this specific artist here, you’d learn that her first comic (co-written and co-drawn with her classmate Sara) dates from 1976-1977 when she was about 10.
When I finished high school, I looked for an alternative to boring university courses (and trust me, Italian universities DO NOT prepare you for your future working life, it’s all theory and no practice, hence a waste of time AND money). I found an Illustration course which, on the program, mentioned also comics and thought “That’s it!”.
Except I didn’t come from an artistic school and my talent is more in writing than drawing. My anatomy sucks, but I’m very good at tracing pictures! So I spent two years learning to use pencils first (which was OK), then brushes – I ain’t no painter at all. Watercolors? I’m hopeless. And I didn’t even get to oil paintings because I didn’t pass the second year (of three). So, waste of money, even if I learned a couple of techniques (pencils and ink with rapidographs – and I can use the name, as I was using Rotring products -, that was the 1980, computers were still for few elected artists). And no comics whatsoever, by the way.
By the mid 1990s, I started to go to Italian comicons, and doing my own zines. Photocopied, black&white comics, or graphic novels as they are now called, because they’re not infinite series with dozens of reboots like Marvel and DC comics.
So I kept drawing (in spite of failing my illustration course) and some 1500 pages later I guess I found my style. I learned (on my own) Photoshop coloring, so my latest works (available on Lulu) are in full color. My anatomy still sucks, but as long as I get my message through, well… we’re not all divine artists, are we?
I’m not Colleen Doran nor Terry Moore (my graphic novelists heroes), but I’m doing better than most, I think – maybe not commercially, but I do keep producing stuff. Perseverance and passion, they say.
When I finish my current graphic novel SKYBAND, I’ll start a new one which will be set in the same fantasy world but many centuries earlier, when the southern kingdoms are still powerful. I’ll have to learn to draw Indian clothes and Persian palaces, but I don’t mind – throw a blond gay barbarian in that midst, and I’m all set. I thought Shafali’s blog was the perfect place to give this sneak preview on my graphic novel projects because she’s Indian and she’s reading about those southern kingdoms in my novel Air right now!
I also wanted to say that after more than fifteen years I tend to use always the same faces in my graphic novels. Often the model is easily recognizable (my Brad Pitt, Leo DiCaprio and Keanu Reeves interpretations should be famous by now, under different names! ), sometimes it’s a mix (like Ylenia of SKYBAND who is a mix of Connie Nielsen and Blas Elias). I wish I were as cute as I draw myself (see either Lady Ice or Axelle of SKYBAND), but well… blame it on my not so great drawing skills!
Anyway, I wanted to thank the Wonderful Caricaturist for having me here today and letting me ramble on art… Drawings, illustrations, caricatures – aren’t they all great?
Barbara G.Tarn is a writer, sometimes an artist, mostly a world-creator and story-teller. She’s been building her world of Silvery Earth for a number of years – stories comprise shorts, novels and graphic novels. An indie published author, she blogs at http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com
The Caricaturist adds:
Remember happiness is many things…
Happiness also is…