I was very pleased to be asked by my co-cartoonist and pal, Luke Howard, to talk about my process for The Writing Blog Tour, which is a “Blog Tour” that allows artists, who are also writers, to talk about their work.
The first time I saw Luke’s work was at the Centre for Cartoon Studies grad show two years ago. His work really stuck out to me, in fact I was glued to it, completely blown away by this hidden gem. Previously a filmmaker, Luke has an amazing sense of storytelling, and also has an incredible way of experimenting with new styles you’d think he’d been perfecting for years. Plus, he’s a super sweet guy. Check out Luke's work at http://www.andsothen.com/
Now, more about me…
1) What am I working on?
I just finished a comics journalism piece for Symbolia magazine about an urban farm that grows rice on Randall’s Island in New York City. It was more like an illustration job because the piece was written by journalist Ruth Brown, and not myself, but it was a great experience in creating cohesive visuals about somewhere I’ve never been, and it also taught me how rice is grown, which is pretty cool.
At the moment, I’m working on a few illustration projects. One is a grant project with my very talented pals, Katie McKay and Veronica Simmonds, to create illustrations for a multimedia website that explores lake swimming around Halifax. I’m also drawing up sketches for a poster for a Forest and Nature School in Ottawa and working on some pieces for the West Dublin Monitor, a community newsletter my partner and I put out on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where I live at the moment. This will be our eighth issue. What I’m really working on, however, is a giant librarian puppet with kids at a free art camp that I’ve been running at the Bridgewater library for the past two years.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I try very hard to emulate other artists who work in genres that I like to work in, but for the life of me it always comes out looking undoubtedly from my hand! I can’t help it, I can only do me. I think that’s what is so great about comics, that the individual voice is so strong in each artists work.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Stories make me feel things, and that reminds me about humanity. I write what I do because there is something in the story that has a spark that I want to capture. I’m compelled to make an image of it in order to contain it, to make someone else feel the spark and make it last forever. I guess the spark can be a feeling or an idea, and it usually is something about being human; our compulsions, discoveries, sadness, laughter, heartfelt emotion, titillation.
4) How does your writing process work?
I map out a the story into beats, translate that to thumbnails, blow them up and do the finished art with some help from a light table. It's funny, I don't think of myself as a writer, the process is very visual.
On to next week:
Paul Hammond is an uber-talented Halifax-based cartoonist and screen print artist/designer. He writes one of my favorite strips, “Hey You Guys”, which runs in the Coast and is bizarre and hilarious. Check out his hand-lettering! http://heyyouguyscomics.tumblr.com/ and more at http://yorodeo.tumblr.com/
Eleri Mai Harris is a no-bullshit, hard-working comics journalist who gets the facts and then illustrates them beautifully in informative and entertaining comics. http://elerimai.com/
Aaron Manczyk is a Toronto comics artist who makes some of the weirdest comics I’ve ever seen. I would definitely describe them as “sexual”. http://manczyk.tumblr.com/