01/16/2017

Juan and Sally here to start your week off with George Herriman strips, Richard Diebenkorn sketchbooks, Illustrated PEN’s State of Emergency, the GOUFFRE anthology, and other comics and news bites.

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A page from one of Richard Diebenkorn’s sketchbooks

Here on the site, Comics Workbook student and cartoonist Jesse Rimler shares a report on the Richard Diebenkorn Sketchbook show that hung at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University last summer.

This exhibit made me think about the general use of a sketchbook. Diebenkorn called his sketchbook his “portable studio,” and it’s clear he took drawing in these beat­up spiral­bounds as seriously as he did etching on a copper plate or painting on a canvas. I think some comics makers, myself included, tend to treat their sketchbooks as something completely different from their final art. The idea of closing the gap between the two is appealing to me, and Diebenkorn’s example is inspiring.

Read the rest of this “Art Trip” HERE.

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Illustrated PEN published an online graphic narrative series called State of Emergency, which is intended to help “amplify the voices and stories of the communities most at risk in this new and hostile reality“. Edited by Meg Lemke, Rob Kirby, and MariNaomi, it features pieces by Iasmin Omar AtaDylan EdwardsThi BuiRachel MasilamaniRobert KirbyWhit TaylorTyler Cohen, and Cristy C. Road.

Check out the whole series HERE.

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Juan Fernandez here. Ain’t got too much to say today, just wanted to share some strips I made with you a while back. I’ve been going through the new IDW 1934 Krazy Kat Dailies book every day this year. It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve been clamoring for an economically formatted collection of Herriman’s dailies for some years now since Fantagraphics started doing their reprints of the Sunday pages. Those are exquisite.

This IDW collection features the complete run of Krazy Kat dailies from 1934, reproduced full size on high quality newsprint, in a chunky, horizontally formatted hardcover volume from IDW’s Library of American Comics Essentials series. Woo boy. That thing is amazing.

In light of this, I’ve been thinking about a couple of strips I made at the Center for Cartoon Studies in 2012. The following strips were made for the second assignment in Jason Lutes’ Cartooning Studio. Aping as the building of discipline. Style as functional raincoat. The objective was to recreate faithfully the visual and narrative style of an American strip artist and to tell 3 autobiographical stories using the strip as the vehicle. The assigned artists ranged far and wide, from Walt Kelly to Scott Adams. You know, a very CCS “traditional” cartooning exercise. I was lucky enough to get George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. Thanks Jason.

It was a really satisfying exercise. I won’t lie, the strips turned out nice but they don’t really work. I had never done comic strips that weren’t just Dada-ist doodle non-sequitors, so this exercise proved to be a challenge. Not because I didn’t want them to make sense, but rather because I wanted so badly for them to make sense. I wanted to express so much in a single strip and it came out garbled. Clean, but garbled. I understand structure, but traditional narrative? Man, that’s hard to do and not ham up! To make these studies I read a great deal of Herriman’s dailies, across collections, but I found that the most useful was a big green copy of Fantagraphics Books’ The Kat Who Walked in Beauty. The “Panoramic” Dailies from 1920.

If you’re only familiar with Herriman’s broadsheets, you really ought to take a look at his dailies. While the broadsheets are beautiful and hyperbolic, the daily strips are immaculately fine tuned little nuggets. It’s staggering to know that he churned out these little finely crafted gems on a daily basis for 31 years. In my opinion, it’s there that you’ll find his genius. Day in and day out. At least, that’s the work that I most want to read.

Speaking to what I said about structure, I want to share some of the process of thinking about Herriman’s pacing. Diagrams of panel organization schemes that appeared throughout the strips from 1920. You have the pacing of his language in balloons but, more importantly you have the pacing across his panels. Horizons dip up and down. Panels tuck themselves behind others. Panel sequences exist as objects, embedded in the desert landscape.

CW Students: I recommend blocking out the essential shapes and forms of any comics that you enjoy. It’s a good warm up for thinking about structure. Roughly block out panels and black regions. Squint your eyes. Take off your glasses if you wear them. Block out a lot of pages and spreads. This can really help internalize the structures of the works that you love. And that can help you synthesize those things into work of your own that you will love.

You can see some of the process work that I did in understanding the patterns of gridding that Herriman would use in his strips. – Juan Fernandez

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The new anthology GOUFFRE from Lagon Revue is now available online from revuelagon.com. Edited and conceived by editors Alexis Beauclair, Bettina Henni, Séverine Bascouert, Sammy Stein & Jean-Philippe Bretin, GOUFFRE combines multiple printing techniques: Silk-screen, Riso printing, and offset printing. A spectacle of daring comics and all out production. Grab yourself a copy and be on the cutting edge of comics. It’s 45€.

GOUFFRE stands for polymorphic, plastic comics. The magazine celebrates new perspectives and unique approaches of the medium: Minimal, maximal, without characters, made of sensations, or of emptiness, mute, aesthetic, close to abstraction. You will discover toxic undergrowth, extinguished suburbs, melancholic sci-fi stories, fake magazine covers, modern love relationships and visions of the near future.

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Tea and Crumpets

  • Maurice, Son of Noah Pt. 4 by Roman Muradov is up on HazlettHERE. You can catch the rest of the story as well – and check out the previous comic series’ published by Hazlett, including the story by Annie Mok and Natalie Andrewson – Straight Expectations.
  • The Will Eisner Hall of Fame 2017 Nominees have been announced. It’s the 100th year since Eisner’s death so the list is a little longer than usual, with four judge-appointed Hall of Fame inductees instead of the usual two, and seventeen names up for the public vote – including the Hernandez Brothers. Check out Tom Spurgeon’s comments on the list HERE.
  • Michael DeForge now has a designated Instagram for his comic series Leaving Richard’s Valley – follow along @richardsvalley.
  • There is an interview with Erik Nebel in Fluide Glacial, the famous French comics magazine. Erik translated an excerpt and shared it HERE.

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Check out Zona #2, a unique look into Frank Santoro’s process. Full color, 24 pages. Magazine sized. Cardstock covers. Edition of 100. Signed and numbered. Get a copy HERE.

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Suzy and Cecil – 1-16-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 1-16-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

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1-16-2017 – by Juan Fernández

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Juan Fernández

Juan Fernández

Juan José Fernández is a Pittsburgh comics community organizer, most recently named as one of “Pittsburgh’s Creative Forces: 12 People to Meet in 2017” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and one of seven 2016 Fuerza awardees by Café Con Leche for providing Pittsburgh Latinx leadership. He co-organizes the annual Pittsburgh Zine Fair, leads the Pittsburgh Comics Salon, and provides educational outreach for the Comics Workbook and the ToonSeum. He currently works at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council.
Juan Fernández

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One response to “01/16/2017”

  1. Love the Herriman riff Juan and thanks for sharing those CCS strips. The Krazy Kat dailies are just as bonkers as the Sunday’s. I believe they originally ran vertically. This was while he was still working on the The Dingbat Family

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