Here in upstate NY, we've been experiencing the doldrums of winter. You know that feeling... cold chilly air, gray cloudy skies... the happy sense of carefreeness that the holiday had brought is gone... a new year has started, and for alot of people that also brings a time of reflection and maybe even some reevaluation. That feeling is well represented by Simon and Garfunkel's 1966 classic, A Hazy Shade of Winter. For those two young to remember back that far, you might recall The Bangles recording of it from 1987, for the Robert Downey Jr. classic, Less Than Zero (yes, the word classic is used very loosely).
I have to admit, all the times I listened to the song, I never really paid attention to the lyrics. I loved the tone of the song and just appreciated it for that alone. While searching for a song about winter to post this time around, A Hazy Shade of Winter popped up and I was intrigued. At face value, the lyrics are pretty depressing. Paul Simon uses the gray bleakness of the season as a metaphor for a midlife collapse of one's vision of their life. The singer has reached a point in his life where his dreams have died. The song uses the past tense and images of regret to convey a sense of surrender to failure..." Time, time See what's become of me. While I looked around for my possibilities, I was so hard to please", "Hang on to your hopes my friend, that's an easy thing to say".
There's even a sense of death, of dreams and perhaps even our narrator... "But if your hopes should pass away, Simply pretend That you can build them again." and "Seasons change with the scenery, weaving time in a tapestry, won't you stop and remember me at any convenient time? "
The singer's sense of despair is so bleak it's overwhelming. Do we as the listeners allow ourselves to be overcome as well, or do we take offense to his telling us to just pretend to build our dreams again ? Do we defend our dreams and keep pushing to make them a reality ? I live on the push side of the fence, and I hope you do too.
So if your leaves are brown and sky is a hazy shade of winter... knuckle down, gut it out, and believe. Warmer weather is coming and with it, clear skies. Stay true to your dreams and don't pretend... believe.
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.