Comic Non-Sans: Rudeness Abroad?

I used to have a soul-sucking job as a teller at a credit union.  There was nothing to do on one’s downtime, and there was always a massive stretch of downtime in mid-afternoon between the lunch rush and the after-work rush.  And even if there was absolutely no one in the building, if you were caught reading or playing a video game or listening to music, you caught a bit of hell for it.

I fancied myself a bit of a sneaky-girl.  When we’d print out slips, we’d end up occasionally with blank sheets that wouldn’t go back into the printer (we used tiny little grindy perforated things).  When that happened, we were to put said blank sheets in a little paper rack next to us so we could use it as scratch paper if necessary.  Me, I used my own Post-Its for scratch and brought my drawing pens and pencils to work with me.  There was just enough space under the tilt of the printer for me to hide my paper and my hands while I drew.

That lasted maybe three days before I had my paper rack confiscated.

I’m not sure if it’s fidgets, workaholism, or just something about being an artist, but I always feel a bit naked if I don’t have drawing implements to hand.  That’s fine for a convention or a long trip (and other situations, I’m sure).  But then I’ll go to a friend’s place to watch DVDs and I instinctively avail myself of a flat surface and my supply of paper to get stuff done while “Gurren-Lagann” is playing to infect their minds, and I have a moment where I wonder …

… is it possible for a webcomicker to be outright rude that way?

Granted, my grasp on that sort of thing is a bit off.  I used to knit in my Arthurian lit class and get away with it provided I did my homework.  Come to that, knitting and other such needle-y arts seem to be the hand-occupying activity of choice when in a group.  Myself, I watch things which I draw because I can’t stand silence, and I can pay attention to both.  I multitask excellently.  But, from a non-artist point of view, is something that takes that amount of concentration from at least one part of the brain “rude”?

The normal response I get from my friends is “Don’t be silly, of course not.”  Much in the same way I’d likely respond if a teacher friend felt the need to ask if they could grade papers while I was over.  But with the stereotype of many webcomickers not getting out of the house (perpetuated by their own filler comics depicting them not getting out of the house — and yes, I’m guilty of this), it can seem to drive home the sense of the art being more important than the socializing.

No one cared when I was in England keeping a sketch diary.  They just looked over my shoulder and asked how long I’d been drawing, prompting me to begin drawing exponentially better for the course of their viewing.  With that in mind, I have no idea if, among friends while actually doing something at their place, working on tomorrow’s comic falls in the area of knitting or the area of going off and talking to your mom on the phone the whole time.

I’ve yet to figure out if I’m in the clear or if I just have particularly nice friends.  So, by way of this dead-end question, there is only one course of action I can take.

I will figure out how much attention they are paying by drawing progressively more freakish things over the course of the night.  This may not have the desired results with my friends currently reading the collected works of Lovecraft, but it’s a valid experiment.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  In the meantime, what do our Geeky readers consider to be socially acceptable when it comes to bringing out work or hobby-work while visiting with a friend?

Posted on May 3, 2011 at 01:00 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, The Written Word, Webcomics, Webcomics