(Enlarged image of comic here)
I have always enjoyed reading comics. I started when I was about 7 or 8, with Disney comics and Archie and Tintin and Beano then in puberty progressed on to underground comix by Crumb and BodÃ© and Hernandez Bros. etc. In the last few years I have been into Seth, Ben Katchor, Jason and Kochalka.
I have never particularly enjoyed super hero or fantasy comics. I like small stories that reflect reality in an interesting way.
I am often struck by how little does happen in these stories and I wonder to what extent this is a reflection of the enormous amount of work involved in making comics. If you have to learn to draw so well and then draw so much to tell a story, do you lose the opportunity to have a life? There are so many comix about guys who have no life, no girl, no clue and I wonder if that’s a reflection of their creators’ experience or lack thereof.
Anyway, I have decided that I will work in this form for a little while, just to strech myself. It is a difficult assignement as it violates so many of the rules I have set up for drawing over the past decade or so. It means drawing from my imagination rather than from observed reality, by and large. It is also takes a certain amount of forethought and planning. And you have to be reasonably neat, or at least a lot less loose than I am.
This first comic tells the the story of a recent incident in which, while walking up 6th Avenue with my family on a Sunday afternnoon, I got a huge gash in my head from a hockey puck.
As you can see, the comic is pretty awful. It’s so tiny ( I drew it in my teeny moleskine) and cramped and ill-planned and messy. Still, for me, it sort of captures the event in a way that ‘s more satisfying than my usual approach of just drawing a puck and then surrounding it with calligraphy.
I am starting to turn the members of my family into characters that can be drawn over and again in different poses and be recognizable from frame to frame. Again, this is so dffferent from how I normally work. I am drawing in sumi-ink and working very small. My lettering virges on the indicipherable for which I apologize. Write me with strenuous complaints.
I imagine that comics aren’t your cup of tea. Still, think about them and how they could effect your own journaling. They offer a good way to use drawing to tell a story and force you into some dfficult design and drawing problems that may teach you something.