Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sharing an Article on Queer Theory and Comics

This summer I'm going to try to do more sharing of interesting things I find on the internet about comics, comics techniques, and comics theory.  There is so much out there to learn from!

Today I want to share an article called  "Queer Encounters" by Joseph Ronan and Paul Fisher Davies, which appeared in the online journal Sequentials, V1, #2.

The content itself is interesting, using queer theory to think about comics as a medium, about the dynamics of dialogue, the “duality” of word/image, resistance, what it means to be “immature.”

I really enjoy thinking about how the binary of words/images (which seems a more marked distinction in the US than in many cultures, at least in our history of comics) can be thought about through the traditional binary of gender identity.  It is always interesting to me that one of the main influences that shut down the development of comics as a mainstream form of literature in the US (in the mid-twentieth century), was the Frederic Wertham book Seduction of the Innocent (along with his subsequent testimony before Congress).  Comics were really seen as something that turned readers (mostly boys) into delinquents of all types, notably sexually.  This led to the Comics Code Authority rules, which so gutted storytelling that comics in the US, though remarkable in their ingenuity in getting around the CCA, simply didn't have the freedom to develop as a literature in the way it did in other nations.  So the "fixity of social forms" talking about in this graphic essay, really seemed to negatively impact this medium which was, itself, working against such fixity. 

I thought the comic structure was interesting as well. I enjoyed watching it try to do what it was talking, yet remain readable. It also looks to me like it was done on an iPad... so I enjoy learning from that as well.

Would love to hear what others think of it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Memoir: How to Visually Depict Terror

As I continue work on my graphic memoir (trigger warning:  it includes a scene in which I find a dead body), I'm thinking about how I can use different visual styles, maybe even different art tools, to depict the disintegration of my normal mental state into terror as I realized I was in a life-threatening situation.
That got me thinking about how much I've learned about how trauma is processed preverbally and wondering if I could recreate the finding of the dead body scene with no words at all. 
Anyhow, I had out the pens and paints, so I decided to draw it all again (for what, the 200th time??).  I did not relook at anything I've drawn before, but of course, I remember much of what I've already drawn.  So some of these images might look familiar if you've read this blog much before.

Anyhow this was just for fun, messing around to see what I could learn by doing it.  There's nothing better than playing with art supplies and seeing what other parts of your brain they might open up!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Sharing this Article with Comics Watercolor Artist Jared Cullem

This summer I'm going to try to do more sharing of interesting things I find on the internet about comics, comics techniques, and comics theory.  There is so much out there to learn from!

Today, I'll share an interesting article about comics creator and watercolor artist Jared Cullem which I found on the website la petite palette.

I love how he talks about discovering watercolor as a medium for his art after having no interest in it at all:

If you told me it would become my obsession and passion I would have laughed. It gave me the advantage of working mostly on drawing and value before shifting into painting. I ran across French comics that were watercolored and it changed my life forever. I got my first little cotman box and have painted daily, unable to stop since. 

I love the way the details blur as this character slips more into his internal world.

Check the article out here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

In Honor of Pride, My 2018 Pride Comic

 Last year I posted about how I sketched for hours during my local pride event, then turned those sketches into a commemorative comic.  It was distributed through our local LGBTQ resource center throughout the year.

I won't be home for Pride this year, so I thought I'd post this PDF of last year's comic as my part of the celebration.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Sketchnote of a Talk by the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

I feel so lucky to have been able to attend this talk and Q and Q session with the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. A true change agent for the world. The first and still the only woman in the worldwide Anglican Communion to serve in such a role.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Comics Help Survivors Pull Together Fragmented Stories

In April and May of 2019,  I had the wonderful experience of delivering a two-part workshop on visual literacy and comics for the Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group of Holland Hospital in Holland, Michigan. 

Though everyone in the group is living with the results of a brain injury, we found that we were able to share and laugh about many common experiences and insights as we learned about visual literacy and simple storytelling in panels.

The first part of our work together looked at simple shapes and how placing them inside of panels in different arrangements communicated different ideas. We also looked at simple ways of depicting humans and faces.

In our second session, we looked at a basic six-panel story structure. Participants had time to share a story from their lives that they wanted others to know about. Drawing ability didn't matter... we used simple shapes if we wanted.

In a short twenty minutes, everyone generated a story idea, questions about how they could go forward with this practice, and ideas for how to draw complex things. Several folks shared their completed story, which ranged from depicting the events around their brain injuries to difficulties they experienced with friends new and old.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Comic to Help College Writers

A few years ago I produced this mini-comic to help college students write better papers.

I did it because I had not found a student in years who had read the nearly twenty page-long, single-spaced document the college provided to help them write better.

I thought maybe a comic, which distilled the important points and was maybe a little fun, would help more students.

Anyhow, this comic was quickly adopted by both the college's writing center and the advising staff, and is still in use today.