I've loved Leon Russell's Tightrope since I first heard it back in the 70's. I may not have seriously listened to the lyrics back then, but the music was infectious... filled with piano riffs that echoed both a traveling circus and an old black & white silent cartoon jumping back and forth from thumping bass keys to the twirling dancing higher notes. The fact that it was so different from what was being played on Rock FM stations back then is a large part of what made it so appealing to me, and apparently millions (perhaps) of other listeners.
Once my musical tastes matured, some years later, I learned to appreciate the lyrics (and most other lyrics from Leon Russell), as well. He's one of my favorite songwriters because, for me at least, his lyrics paint very vivid images. The lone person on a high wire at the circus is a perfect metaphor for a person in a relationship. Straddling the choices that can result in either pain or pleasure, love and hate, comfort and discontent, their struggle going unnoticed by their partner.. I can only imagine Leon's relationship status when he wrote this.
Now to the art... I created this using Ambient Design's ArtRage app. I sketched it out very very loosely on my ipad and then imported it over to my iMac and breathed new life into with my desktop version of ArtRage. I like it, but I'm not thrilled with it. I see room for improvement, but I'm still learning the program and getting a feel for the tools. I originally wanted to try and see what would happen working just with the pencil tool, but found it too limiting at this time, so I switched back to the paintbrush and watercolor settings, which I'm more familiar with.
The Martytoon Newsletter
The Thoughts, Designs & Process of Marty Qatani aka MartyToons.
Hi and welcome to the first blog post / newsletter of the all new revamped MartyToons website. Where to start ? I suppose a quick intro is in order for those of you who may be unfamiliar with me and what I do. I'm a cartoonist / character designer/ humorous illustrator. That sounds like a lengthy title, but none of those by themselves seems appropriate enough by themselves to describe what I do.
If I call myself a cartoonist, people tend to think I create a comic strip.... not true. If I call myself just a character designer, it seems a little limiting to me. I like to think I do a little bit more... make people think... wake people up, help someone remember a happy thought.... maybe even put a smile on people's faces.... hopefully. Calling myself just a humorous illustrator, just doesn't seem to have any "punch", "pizzazz", "sparkle"... you get the picture. I do like the sound of "Creator of Visual Enhancements for Artistically Challenged and Cartooning Impaired." It has a pretty cool ring to me, but it's a little hard to fit on a business card and still look cool.
What can you expect here ? How's a little doodle sound ? A little peek into what goes on in my working process and maybe even in my thought process ? That's my plan... I hope you enjoy. So let me dig into my archive, maybe shed a little light on happened and then invite you to comment. Sounds good ? Good... then lets get to it.
This is an early sketch of one of my favorite designs I'm working on. It's inspired by one of my favorite music artists, Cat Stevens, who know goes by the name of Yusuf Islam https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens . Check him out if you get the chance and are a fan of 70's "Soft" Rock, and especially if you're a fan of songs about being positive, hopefullness, and becoming a little wiser.
Music is playing more and more a part in my designs. I love many styles of music and I always have it playing in my studio while I'm creating. Alot of times I let the music direct what I'm going to sketch when I intentionally sit down to sketch, sometimes I'm not planning on sketching at all, but I hear a song and an image will just pop into my head, and I have to get it down on paper. I believe that's what happened here, but to be honest, I came up with this sketch several years ago, and I can't remember the exact circumstances that gave birth to this.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy it. Got any questions ? Feel free to comment below.