Chris Ware’s Introduction to The Best American Comics 2007
…lately I find myself frequently torn between whether I’m really an artist or a writer. I was trained and educated as the former, encouraged into the world of paint-stained pants and a white-walled studio where wild, messy experiments precipitate the incubation of other visual ideas— though I’m just as happy to sit at a desk in clean trousers with a sharp pencil and work on a single story for four or five days in a quiet and deliberate manner. In short, I’m coming to believe that a cartoonist, unlike the general cliché, is almost—bear with me now—a sort of new species of creator, one who can lean just as easily toward a poetic, painterly, or writerly inclination, but one who thinks and expresses him- or herself primarily in pictures.
A lengthy interview with Anders Nilsen:
When I set out with a clear idea of what I want to do, it becomes super simplistic and neither illuminating to me nor the readers, so that doesn’t work. It sort of just happens by accident, really. I think it’s because I’m interested in these things, so when I draw the first panel, for me to draw the second panel it will have to have dealt with something. The biggest issue is how to get out of your own way, how to explore issues without forcing it, without forcing yourself to do it. If you do ten pages of comics that are just not interesting, you’ve just got to throw it away.
Tim Walker says
Awesome! The second one reminds me of this blast from the past:
Austin Kleon says
great quote, Tim!
“If I had to write a book to communicate what I have already thought, I’d never have the courage to begin it. I write precisely because I don’t know yet what to think about a subject that attracts my interest. . . . As a consequence, each new work profoundly changes the terms of thinking which I had reached with the previous work. In this sense I consider myself more an ‘experimenter’ than a theorist; I don’t develop deductive systems to apply uniformly in different fields of research. When I write, I do it above all to change myself and not to think the same thing as before.???
And as a follow-up to Nilsen & Foucault, I offer Lynda Barry:
“When people try to write stories they tend to drag the stories behind them. They think the story and question it and try to arrange it into something understandable, which is no fun at all! It makes a person feel exhausted and cranky. The best way to write is to let the image pull you. You should be water-skiing behind it, not dragging it like a barge.”
That water-skiing image is perfect.
Austin Kleon says
lynda is the all-time champion of this: