Caleb Orecchio here with your Monday edition of the Daily News with some thoughts on drawing sparked by Eleanor Davis and the reputable discipline of Leslie Stein and Gary Panter–and remember not to go blind looking at the eclipse
Recently, a friend of mine lent me Eleanor Davis’ recent Koyama Press release, You & A Bike & A Road. I read it on Tumblr when she was serializing it live (I think) as she embarked on her cross-country bike adventure which the book illustrates; but I never really took the time to notice how immediate the drawing is.
From what I understand, these pages were drawn first take as she was making her way through her journey, like a diary, which is really impressive. The drawings are sparse and noodley, yet feel perfectly complete–and they teem with a pertinent energy.
Last time I was in Pittsburgh, Frank Santoro talked a lot about Gary Panter and how he draws constantly. Even while you’re having a conversation, he’s just drawing away, “He’s just someone who draws all the time no matter what.” On the most recent episode of Greg Hunter’s “Comics Decalogue,” Katie Skelly talks about going to a bar with Leslie Stein and Gary Panter and, basically confirming Frank’s story, that both Stein and Panter drew while conversing the entire time they were hanging out.
I think this idea of being a “drawer” is often lost on most cartoonists. I mean, we all draw, right? But how many of us REALLY draw all the time–and how many of us can draw in any other way than our “style?” Now, I’m not throwing shade to style, but I think it’s worth thinking about. When I was going to school for graphic design, the designer Timothy Goodman came to talk to us and one of his big statements I took away from his lecture was, “Don’t have a style.” His reasoning mostly pertained to the idea that having a style will basically hinder your creativity. Now, most cartoonists are not being asked to create an ad in 3 hours for Time Magazine like a highly in-demand designer like Goodman, BUT can anyone really argue that style often does limit the kind of stories a cartoonist can make? In fact, most styles can even limit a cartoonist to a demographic–speaking strictly, and generally, in marketing terms.
What am I getting at? I’m not trying to preach or sound like I have THE answers, but what I like about Davis’ recent book is the fact that it is drawn. It’s not inked with a brush with every stroke carefully crafted and feathered. It’s just drawn. Ever seen a Brian Chippendale comic? He just draws them (mostly). Crumb? Moebius? (Conflict of interest warning:) Frank Santoro? Just drawn. I like “professionally” inked comics and comics where traditional craft is essential, but there is an immediacy that is stripped at every step of the process. It’s like going acoustic, once you add a drum kit, you have to turn up the volume on everything else and the intimacy gradually is drowned out. I’m working out these thoughts as I go–thanks for reading. Next week–Kirby’s 100th birthday:)
yikes! I’ve been so pumped about drawing and Kirby’s 100th that I almost forgot other comics existed in the world. Here are some links I found after I came back to our reality. Don’t miss that eclipse.
- Here, everyone is going to be talking about this so get your info about the eclipse. If you want more info, try a google search.
- Yo, today is Marie Severin’s birthday. You know who Marie Severin is right? Get acquainted.
- Heroes punching Nazis has becoming a particularly pertinent topic lately.
- Speaking of Kirby, I’m suspicious of the new highly hyped-up Mister Miracle comic, but maybe it’s good–who knows.
Suzy and Cecil – 8-21-2017 – by Sally Ingraham
Joanie and Jordie – 8-21-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio