[Media Meandry] Ben’s Van Crew

The idea popped into my head with such force that it needed to exist. When writing, I usually explore enigmas or posit positions. When drawing, however, it’s usually because there’s an idea that took hold of my mind and won’t let go until I draw it to realization. During the ENDLESS WAR Kickstarter, some of us joked about how the Kickstarter was a fundraiser to repair a fictional van, so I took to drawing that.

If you’d like to follow along, click here for twenty-plus screenshots I took while drawing.

I’ve posted everything here I’ve drawn over the past three-plus years here, which isn’t much. I used to draw much more. Seeing all the artistic genius on display, ranging from expert to shall we say amateur, has got me excited to contribute art. I am now approaching it the same way I approach my writing, with the Pareto Principle, specifically interpreted for effort. 80% of it is about speed and productivity. I can spend the extra time on the remaining 20%. For a drawing like this, there’s no need for me to put in that difficult 20%.

I can just draw the idea to a decent level of competency and publish it.

This realization often frees me from the shackles of insecurity. I drew it knowing full well that at most the audience would be a dozen or more people. It wouldn’t be several hundred, and if it is, well, hey, I’m a writer. Drawing is something I do on the side. I figured, worst case, I’d draw the picture and write an essay about it, like I am now. This is all part of my new initiative where I’m trying to orient my life around doing quality things with my life. I listened to an album that I wasn’t enjoying much, but because it’s through some vague Internet acquaintanceship, I figure I’ll be more respectful and not review it than go through all the effort to explain that I don’t like X or Y about it.

It’s all part of that 80% mentality.

If you can listen to something in five minutes and determine you don’t like it, that’s the easy 80%. Spending the rest of the album trying to pick up anything to latch onto, while potentially rewarding in its own right, is the hard 20%. If we loosen our tolerances for what we aim to achieve, then sometimes, getting to that 80% without concerning ourselves with the most exacting details is good. I personally feel stifled by pedantic linguistic gymnastics and stern adherence to rules, and yet I see these as the favored weapons of people that I should, equally, spend the easy 80% effort to figure out if they’re worth the hard 20% to get to know.

That’s my mentality on writing, art, relationships, and everything.

Let’s dig into the format I used for drawing this picture and how I’ll apply that going forward. I have my single screen split into roughly 80% the main program and 20% the secondary program. I usually have a Notepad document open to write notes. I recently realized I can lend out some of that 20%’s space to reference pictures and I recently saw someone use a palette to avoid color [scope] creep, where a dark purple might inadvertently change to a lighter shade if referred to in the picture rather than something stationary.

I imagined this would be in some parking lot.

The vision I had featured all of the people that were in on this “Ben’s Van” joke. We’d all be cheering on everyone else to contribute to the Kickstarter. The idea started out when I gave an example of how advertising isn’t bad with a band whose guitarist told me they were trying to sell merch to fix up their van. I told him that if anyone liked their music, they’d be happy to give them cash, so he yelled it out, and people stopped over to buy stuff. We four ended up perpetuating the joke enough to where Ben, the ENDLESS WAR kingpin that was mainly running the Kickstarter, had a van that had broken down and we were trying to secure funds to get his van working again.

It’s a silly inside joke and I love capturing those moments in time.

I thought of the idea before going to bed. I made a note and began collecting the reference materials I would need, like when I write fiction and some [those 20%] essays. After I secured the reference materials for these acquaintances – because let’s face it, if you’re open to perpetuating such a dumb joke you’re probably on my same wavelength – I found basic references for the van. The van turned into an ice cream truck that sold the Kickstarter reward items. This is the nature of ENDLESS WAR: if it sticks, it’s canon.

I drew a rough draft of the van, drew over it, then drew everyone else.

I left the timestamps in the filenames within the ZIP file I compiled of all the relevant screenshots, minus the context for how the joke became a joke, but all told it took over three hours to draw. I’m happy with the result. The picture built some camaraderie among the team and everyone featured in it appreciated their feature. For a drawing like that, it’s better done than perfect because if it were perfect, I would probably be working on it for weeks after the Kickstarter ended.

Timing was more important for this drawing than perfection.

When I draw other things in the future, if it’s nothing overly technical, maybe I’ll even write about what I’m thinking during the drawing process in the Notepad. Here, I thought of including each character’s weapons until I realized it’d be better that they were raising, well… I guess, protest signs to encourage people to contribute. Capturing a moment in time is what I like most about art, which I feel I can capture quicker, easier, and more comprehensively in writing.

Still, there’s a visceral reaction to art that’s fun on occasion.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences. Taco’s avatar was taken from here, which has a no derivatives license, so, hey, sorry.
Inspirations: I mean, this whole essay was about writing what my inspirations were for drawing the picture below. If I were to include anything else, funnily enough, I wrote “TERBIE-01’s Slimeoid Hat” in less time than I drew this picture.
Related: Other Media Meandry essays.
Pictures: Above was where I started and below is where I concluded. Here’s the Booru entry.
Written On: 2020 May 04 [12:29am to 1:18am]
Last Edited: 2020 May 04 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.