This is a couple-of-months-old page from the first draft of Calamity, when I really didn’t know where I was going (as opposed to now — HA!), and there were twin brothers in the story. I like the background a lot, but the layout is pretty boring: a lot of cut-and-paste and stage-like monologuing. The good news, as we all know, is that you learn just as much by failing as you do by succeeding, and considering that I’ve already thrown out a couple dozen finished pages of artwork, I’m learning a hell of a lot…
There’s something about this time of year, when that fall breeze starts creeping into the air, I immediately think: time to go back to school! But last September, after 17 years, that butterfly in my belly was pinched by the disappointing fact: you’re no longer a student.
Or at least a student who pays tuition.
So, today I’m going to post a couple of quotes by different comic artists about teaching yourself how to do this thing.
* * *
“A comics-art curriculum is interdisciplinary. As comics-art students learn to become literate and visually literate, they need to develop a vast array of skills. They need classes in drawing, writing, computer art, literature, storyboard, and character design. They need research skills, so they can make their stories convincing and make their characters behave and look real enough to come alive on the page or screen.”
– James Sturm, “Comics In The Classroom“
* * *
“…[he] discovered Dickens and Lewis Carroll and Thackeray, superb story-tellers whose tales were often co-created with the most gifted comic artists of their time. Dickens would toil over the drawing board with cartooon illustrators like Cruikshank and Browne (Phiz) to get the graphic portrayal of a character like Sairey Gamp or Mr Pecksniff exactly right, considering his novel illustrations an integral part of his books. (In our desolate time, publishers have no knowledge of this and routinely repting Dickens sans the crucial cartoon art.) George reveled over these novel combinations of art and text and longed to tell stories involving his own comic characters developed in depth over time…”
– Bill Blackbeard on George Herriman, creator of Krazy Kat, in his introduction to Krazy & Ignatz 1931-1932: A Kat a’Lilt with Song
* * *
“This book was created on a lark. Actually, it was never even intended to be a book at all — merely an exercise in one of my sketchbooks. Around the time I began doodling it out, I had been particularly interested in a certain kind of storytelling I had noticed several other cartoonists working with — specifically Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, and David Heatley. It’s an approach wherein you tell a longer story through a series of shorter, unconnected comic strips. Cumulatively they add up to a bigger picture….I went in knowing very little about where the story was going. I made it up page by page as I drew it out….The whole thing was just meant to be fun.”
– Seth, “The Origin of Wimbledon Green”