Portland’s Stumptown Comics Fest is fast approaching, and I’ll be participating on Sunday, April 25th, with a signing and presentation.
For those of you who are local or able to attend, I’m curious what topics, images, and formats you’re craving. It seems like the last three years
I’ve just talked about progress on HABIBI — at least this time it’s only a couple of months from completion. What can I do to make this round
more fulfilling for the audience? … My apologies to all of you that aren’t local. In 2011, I promise to be touring EVERYWHERE!
The poster this year is created by my good buddy Theo Ellsworth. (couldn’t find a decent jpeg…)
In other news, Mathew sent a question about the Atlantic Center for the Arts residency. Send in as many ideas/proposals as you wish!
However, since I can only choose eight “Associate artists”, the more realized the proposal the better.
First off, some quick answers to your questions. Tina, hopefully these are in time for your school project. 1) How would you describe your style of drawing?
Plain ol’ cartooning; but whereas Chris Ware talks about cartooning as typography, I think of it as calligraphy.
I like the panel borders, lettering, brush or pen lines to all read as the author’s handwriting. 2) Why don’t you call “Blankets” a graphic novel but “an illustrated novel”?
No good reason. I think, at the time, I was considering “comic book” or “graphic novel” and found them both lacking.
Since then, the latter has become such a widely accepted term that I’ll likely adjust the heading on the new edition. 3) Would you say that Blankets has started a new form of comics as you included some pages which you wouldn’t find in a
comic book normally like the pages on which there is only one big panel or all the drawings in which you can see just nature?
That technique of letting the eye breathe on full-page images has long been used in manga and bande dessinée. And super hero splash pages! 4) Why did you insert those detailed drawings of nature and why did you insert so many of them?
When I think about it a second longer, it’s definitely a manga-rip-off. The “wandering eye” transitions that Scott McCloud discusses in his books.
Corban, I never actively sought out a publisher. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Upon moving to Portland in 1997,
I got in contact with Brett Warnock who ran a one-person operation called Primal Groove Press, and I helped as a grunt for midnight
photocopy sessions. Contact some publishers to see how they prefer project proposals. There’s editorial advantages to both methods.
Sorry, Allison, but I am looking for writer-artist-in-one cartoonists to work with at the ACA residency.
And finally some visuals! This recent page reminded me of a drawing I did in 2005 for a charity auction for my friends the Decemberists.
The lyrics at right are, of course, copyright Colin Meloy. Random trivia: What Decemberists’ video sneaks in copies of BLANKETS?
Happy New Year, Everyone! HABIBI progress updates coming soon(ish). In the meantime, heads-up that the Atlantic Center for the Arts
Residency program is focusing on GRAPHIC NOVELS in October 2010. Each year they provide interactive work spaces for writers, artists,
choreographers, composers, etc., hosting fancy folks from Robert Rauschenberg to Edward Albee to Saul Williams. This year – Paul Pope, Svetlana Chmakova, and myself will be acting as “Master Artists” and hand-selecting eight “Associate Artists” (a piece) to work with.
HABIBI should be wrapped up, so I expect to indulge in new projects and have plenty of attention to devote to other artists.
I mention it now, because May 21, 2010 is the deadline for applications. And here’s what I’m asking of applicants: “Applicants should submit a proposal for a graphic novel: an outline of the narrative, and samples of finished comics pages (from previous work or the current project). But artists will benefit most if they can bring a finished first draft in an edit-able form to the residency. This could be in typed screenplay format, though I favor a hand-drawn thumbnail which includes text AND image, and is drawn legibly so others can read and offer comments. In this form, we can discuss narrative individually or as a group, hone preliminary craft like reference poses, or dive into finished artwork.” Pictured above:
a self portrait by Paul Pope (an obvious influence on my own work), the ACA studios nestled in a sea of pine, and a pile of BLANKETS thumbnails.
A toast to you, blog readers, for staying in touch year round!
If women, water, and trees are what I most enjoy drawing, than BUILDINGS rank last. Chapter seven has lots of them, and I keep getting slowed
down by tedious perspective drawings. Here’s a photo reference from an overpass construction site near my house — along with pencils and inks.
Even though my schedule slipped a bit in December, it’s safe to declare that 2010 will be the year HABIBI sees completion.
Below, a photo from my birthday in the frigid Pacific waters. Here’s to the new year!
Sorry about the blog neglect. November rain is falling; and I’m still working on rewrites. Embarrassed that I have nothing new to show.
Here’s the desktop today, my waterlogged jack-o’-lantern, and a reference doodle from the sketchbook.
Along with Leonard Cohen, I share birthdays with Stephen King. His ON WRITING offered some fuel during these past months of revisions.
This sentiment matched my own for most of the summer. Then finally, on Thursday the 17th, a BREAKTHROUGH.
(it may or may not involve smithereens.) HABIBI‘s undergone four drafts: 1) The spontaneous sketchbook-bound version from december 2004. 2) The first draft presented to my publisher in july 2005. 3) My overwrought second draft “completed” september 2006, AND 4) micro-scribbles
that unveiled the ending to me just a few days ago. In the same time of rewrites, my rib(s) healed. Today’s my birthday, and I’m going surfing.
Thank you, blog-reader-friends, for the constant support! And thank you to those who have sent snail mail. I apologize that I almost never
get around to replying. Each of these deserve a personal response, but I’m lousy enough corresponding with family & friends. Hopefully it’s
reassuring that I read each of them and cherish them. Michael asked about getting his GUARDIAN ANGEL poster signed, and I need to decline,
but I would love to personalize that for you at a future signing. And Neil informed me that he’d like to collaborate on another poster soon.
In other news, I spent the summer physically incapacitated. Fractured rib(s) after being struck with a surfboard, and three weeks of NASTY
sickness from inhaling mold (not recreationally). No lumberjack photos this year! And here’s a shot of my dear brother Phil enjoying our
childhood comics stash. Who remembers “CYBORG GERBILS”? Also a 3-D comic drawn by Phil as a wee lad. We made lots of these as tikes,
though most of mine were destroyed in that ol’ burn-barrel session.
This recent email from my friend Allison was too bizarre and well-worded not to share with the rest of you. “Today I had a strange experience in a creepy used bookstore. I was walking past the sci-fi/fantasy section,
and from the piles of unsorted books on the floor, a familiar blue color caught my eye.
I jumped for joy at the thought of buying a discounted copy of Blankets, even though this copy was oddly shelved
with fantasy novels and tales of Wiccan overlords. I thought, “what a strange place to put …”
But when I opened the cover, I found the entire book printed upside down and backwards …
… with most of the panels shoved up into the margins, or buried in the gutter.
Even with this defect, the bookseller wanted $18 because it was the only graphic novel he had in the store.
I thought maybe it was a sign to support my current theory that the stars have turned upside down and backwards,
hence the madness of our modern world and the obvious fact that humans are bored and taking it out on one another.
I left the book in the store, but not before I re-shelved it next to Nutritional Healing.
Just as I am doing with the universe, I will return in a week to see if it has righted itself.”
Fresh home from my midwest excursion. BIG THANKS to the librarians that made it to the panel and are fueling support for
graphic novels in the literary world, not to mention fighting on the frontlines of public confusion over the medium.
I’m restless to dig into work on the final chapters of HABIBI. In the meantime, here’s some treats I excavated from the ol’ cubby hole at my
parents’ house. Above: Congressman Dave Obey and Tom Cruise (yes) presenting an award to 16 year old me for a national high school art
competition. Below: decaying childhood art (approx. age 9) and a photo of my brother Phil and I with matching bowl haircuts.
It might be old news to those in the industry, but I wanted to acknowledge the great loss of NICKELODEON magazine, especially the
COMIC BOOK insert. It was one of this generation’s best forums for cartoonists – publishing everyone from Laura Park to Art Spiegelman!
– and providing them with a living wage (though Art was probably doing fine on his own).
I’m greatly indebted to editors Chris Duffy and Dave Roman for being great bosses and pals, for financially fueling the production of both
CHUNKY RICE and BLANKETS, and for indoctrinating the youth into the medium of comics.
Plus they let me get away with bizarre and tasteless strips like this CARTOONIGAMI strip above. (published eight years ago!)
CARTOONIGAMI is sort of like a MAD FOLD-IN, only I stole the idea from Lewis Trondheim and his OuBaPo experimentations
— a comic strip which, when folded, transforms into two entirely different gags.