A correspondence


The power of pictorial storytelling and making fantasy more potent by adding illustrations is discussed from all angles.

In a series of e-mails the New York bondage artist JOE T. exchanges ideas with Jim Stewart on how a private personal mental fantasy can be added to by others. Discussion about assembling visual material to make a mental fantasy more potent, is mind-expanding.



A correspondence

Artist Joe T's witty bondage situations are exactly on my wavelength and, in a protracted exchange of e-mails, the topic promises to develop into a major illustrated book.

we discuss different ways to make a fantasy more potent. Here are a couple of short extracts ...

A storybboard in one frame

I wrote:
Joe - more on commissioned artwork and story illustration
When people commission a drawing from you do they describe a scenario / situation / predicament? How precise are details of the characters they imagine, such as physical types and what they're wearing? I guess different people go to different lengths - some giving you a long shopping list of images to incorporate in the picture, others leaving you free to bring your own special brand of wickedness to the 'moment'.

I would like to read some of the commissions you receive, and then see the drawings you produced to meet the specifications. I know you've said in the past you won't take on a commission for a drawing unless the topic / subject turns you on personally …

On book illustration
I've been giving more thought to the general topic of book illustration. Most people seem to prefer illustrated rather than non-illustrated fiction when it comes to homo-erotic subjects. Certainly, a few hot pictures help to sell a book of stories.

Two thoughts: If I look at the illustrations in a book before starting to read, the characters become fixed in my Mind's Eye. But when I read an unillustrated well-written text, the author tells me - or leaves me free to form my own 'visualisation'.

Secondly, the placement of illustrations in books has always interested me. Even as a kid, to see a picture of a moment in the story before reading about it was OK, but it could spoil the author's surprise. To turn a page and see an incident you've already read about and visualised, imagined very differently by the artist, this can be a serious distraction. To turn the page and see a picture of an incident you haven't yet read about, can really interrupt the flow of reading the story ...

On illustrating a magazine story
When editors try to liven up a story by inserting pictures which do not match with descriptions in the text - that really is a distraction. I suppose it's all a matter of placement. I love to see hot pictures - but when they pretend to illustrate a story I've written, but are in conflict with my described imagery … it drives me crazy!!!

I can happily accept somebody else's interpretation of characters or a predicament - as long as the artist has read and absorbed all the information in the text. Then it's a matter of interpretation. A bit like casting for a movie.

MENTAL STORYBOARDS: Main focus of this 'correspondence is how a single picture can tell it's own story, but also fire up the imagination to decide what might happen next.


Joe T's 'Fierce Mechanic' picture
I wrote asking if it was part of a storyboard. He replied:


Joe T's garage mechanic decides to teach a local biker a lesson. The dialogue bubble reads
"Be right back. Need more tools for THIS job".

Jim Stewart then develops the plot and characters in a way which can serve to encourage others to 'visualise' their personal-choice fantasies more vividly.

'Theatre of the Mind's Eye' explored by two experts at the game.

Joe wrote:
Yup, I agree Storyboards can often pack an erotic wallop that single-scene drawings can't (I think you're the guy who first mentioned that term STORYBOARD. I used to think of it as 'Comic Book Style').
Of course, all my single-scene pieces are meant to seem to be plucked from a storyboard, since I always know what happened before and after. But to put all the storyboards on paper would take a zillion years. But I sure thank you for the compliment at wishing you could see all prequels and sequels to my scenes.
I can tell you, at least, that the 'Fierce Mechanic' is intending to have his fun on the bound biker by going at him without removing biker's pants. This was mostly inspired by Eddie/Hooder's obsession with masturbating guys through tight denim, leather, rubber. (Of course I sent him a copy of this pic).

The "fierce" mechanic (meaning he's a "great" mechanic, though now fierce is taking on a different meaning) was not somebody to cock-tease. A biker coming to pick up his bike wearing tight black leather pants and shirtless, especially at closing time, would definitely be a cock-tease.

You ask how the mechanic 'jumped' him. All he had to do was require the biker's assistance, to have biker hold the bike in a certain position (where the biker would be clutching the bike with both hands, his arms close to his body, pulling the bike against his chest so his elbows extend beyond his back. Walking behind the biker to pick up another tool, mechanic grabs rope and slips it under both the biker's upper arms, pulls it tight, and from then on it’s an easy victory - Joe

Me again re 'Fierce' Mechanic
Hi Joe, Thanks for description of what happened in the run-up to the predicament pictured. That's what I like about your drawings; each scenario is there in your mind, part of a complete drama. Even in a single picture or two, you embody the prequel and hint at the sequel, leaving space to fill in personal preference detail. For me, knowing more about the background intensifies the potency of my imaginings. We talked about that before my "Visualisation" workshop session last year.

The technical overpowering of the biker, as described by you, helps a lot. Your talent for precise visualisation also includes you drawing every restraint detail so it looks totally practical and achievable. That's why your pictures have always pushed the right buttons for me. However simple the roping or strapping, I need bound men look as if they're going to stay bound.

The fact that a single image like a mechanic ready to 'work on' a bound biker can develop in so many alternative directions - certainly fired my imagination. It's an ideal starting point for my own highly personalised mental storyboard. Looking at the faces of your two characters, I immediately began to speculate on a background situation; who the two characters are and how their personalities would make them behave. Does that sound a bit geekish -or is it because I'm a movie maker if only inside my head?

This whole "Theatre of the Mind's Eye" topic still interests me.

from Joe T's story


For further discussion about 'storyboarding' and pictures see
FORCE RECON (Army video scenarios and stills)


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