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Sunday, January 29, 2012
I'm kidding. Thank you very much, Austin! Continue to draw every day, splash around with watercolor and doodle in the margins. The last is probably the most important.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I don't remember why but the week got boiled down to a Sunday. It's an excuse to try drawing like the formidable John Tenniel, whose definitive Alice illustrations show Wonderland in careful, other-worldly detail and solidity. Which was a stupid thing to do, as I discovered after fussing with the counterfeit Tenniels and using up half a bottle of ProWhite on Alice alone. I meant to save the roughs for this and post them. They were nice and loose and got a semi-Tennielly effect in a few quick lines without any worrying but I must have chucked them.
Millions of illustrators have taken a shot at illustrating Carrol's Alice. His characters and situations exert a powerful visual fascination; you want to draw a croquet game with flamingo mallets just to see what it'd look like. For me, of all the other artists who've tried, only a two have brought something worthwhile to putting Wonderland on paper- Ralph Steadman and Deloss McGraw. But neither is likely to unseat Tenniel as Court Painter to the White Queen.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
*Paul Karasik may actually prefer them.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Well, I'm taking some time off. Some more time off, three or four weeks. I'm about to start a program of physical therapy sessions designed for people with Parkinson's. I've only been in for an evaluation, but the therapy largely consists of big, exaggerated movements and sweeping silly walks that will so embarrass your body that it'll start behaving itself, I hope. Also I'll learn ten ways to defeat a mugger by falling on him.
Garry Trudeau likened daily newspaper comics to a public utility that delivers its service so regularly that any interruption is seen as some kind of major systems failure. .Though well aware of this, the kind folks at Universal Press have been greatly supportive and urged me to do whatever I needed to do. So I'm'a gonna.
Friday, January 13, 2012
- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (June 5, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1449419666
- ISBN-13: 978-1449419660
- Drawings of Alice et al by better cartoonists than me.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Each time I redrew it the dialog and the gag changed, Originally Alice is disgusted by the squalor and says Get me outta here! But there's nothing funny about that and it makes no sense; Alice is a slob with no natural objections to Dill's back yard. She'd more likely go home and try to do the same thing to her back yard. And, as someone who has a messy back yard, I've got no business acting all superior back-yard-wise. So out of great struggle and profound deliberation comes this Cul de Sac for January 10, 2012.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I wrote this for Mike Cavna at Comic Riffs. For a little more, go here; for much, much more, go here (it's worth it). For almost too much, but to understand Searle more fully, go here.
For a long time Ronald Searle's work exerted a tidal pull on me, as it has at some point for a lot of cartoonists. The first time his stuff hit me hard was in 1978 when I got a big, lovely art book titled Ronald Searle, and it was like a window opened. His drawings were so potent and dense and alive with comic energy. His pen could do anything; it went curling and spiraling all over the paper, describing a world that was ugly, bitter, grotesque, hilarious and sometimes, briefly, quite sweet. It made me suddenly aware of how liquid ink is, how it skips and splotches and pools when it hits the paper. It was also obvious Searle had a deep appreciation for the history of the graphic arts and an awareness of how he fit into it. This was heady stuff for a generally clueless 20 year old semi-cartoonist to be exposed to, and it took a few years for me to put my own eyes back in my head.
Searle's style was so powerful that any other artist who mimicked its effects was pretty quickly overwhelmed by it and exposed as inferior. I think Searle himself was a little intimidated by his chops. There's a bit in his biography that tells of him taping the fingers of his drawing hand together to slow himself down and avoid becoming too facile. I've heard that he planned his work pretty carefully and his wiry, sprung lines were laid down with a lot more control than might be apparent.
Pat Oliphant said something to the effect that going through a Searle period is good for cartoonists, as long as they pull out of it before it's too late. The best way out, of course, is to draw and draw some more, as far away from the source of inspiration as possible and under circumstances that don't allow for cheating (i.e., a deadline). It's hard but think I managed it.
But still, I'd give my right arm if I could draw like this-