There’s dozens and dozens of figure drawing sketchbooks on my shelves, so I’d thought I’d occasionally post a drawing. Almost all of them are executed with those Pentel pocketbrush pens straight to paper with no pencils or erasers or fussing like my comics pages. And the subjects are admittedly almost always pretty girls/women. Occasionally I also draw trees. Here’s a couple drawings – one of Gabrielle and one of Miriam.
It seems a lot of artists prefer the drawings that come from their pens when they aren’t thinking or paying attention.
pardon my lag… distracted with side projects lately, including this collaboration
with poster-king Mike King for the upcoming Stumptown Comics Fest.
Stumptown is a bit like camp reunion when many of my cartoonist friends roll into town.
Here some sketch portraits of one said reunion last year — Gabrielle Bell…
— and Trevor Alixopulos —
— and Julia Wertz, Mari Naomi
Leaving in a day for LA where the Menomena boys and I will attend the Grammy’s. Wish us luck!
Big gratitude to all of you for your sweet words and good wishes and patience! It means lots that you still care during these long lapses in books. Your blog comments are such a comfort that I feel guilty for not updating more regularly. The third chapter of HABIBI is nearing completion. I’ll post a couple images upon celebration. There are all sorts of things I’d like to share with you, but the internet makes me secretive. For tonight, here’s a couple of pages from my journal with doodles and excerpts from Henry Miller and Karen Armstrong.
And here’s a sketch of E on the stairwell of my old apartment.
Joba and Vanessa asked about what European cartoonists inspired me. When I was first went to Paris in 1995 for a community college art scholarship, I scoured the bande dessinée shops and was disappointed to find that France had a glut of science fiction and fantasy books like the US has superheroes. Then I stumbled upon a series of 24 page pamphlets published by Cornelius, including David B.’s Le Nain Jaune. I constantly poured over David’s work, and included it (along with Dylan Horrocks and Tom Hart) in Chunky’s sacred stash. His epic Epileptic is translated into English and may be my favorite graphic novels ever.
The first French cartoonist whose work I was able to appreciate in English was the inspired Lewis Trondheim. We met during his US tour in 2000 and he was generous enough to invite me to visit him in Montpellier in early 2001. Here’s a sketch of his studio then. Of course, you’ll see more of him in the pages of my Carnet.
Also seen in Carnet is Blutch. I am a slobbering fanboy for his virtuoso drawing. My work has been criticized for ripping off his style; and while the influence may be apparent, I am an amateur in the shadow of this master. Unfortunately, only short pieces of his have been translated to English in the Drawn & Quarterly anthology.
Another master is Baudoin. We met at the Haarlem comics festival outside of Amsterdam. He was vibrant and full of energy, dancing and sketching everywhere. Watching the lines flow from his brush is fairly heartbreaking. We had an enthusiastic and clumsy conversation in our foreign tongues, and Baudoin drew this doodle on the left side of my sketchbook to describe the experience of moving away from his hometown of Nice. On the right, I scribbled out my own story that brought me to France.
I’ve spent enough time in Paris now that I’ll randomly run into people I know in the streets. This happened once with Charles Berberian on his birthday along the canal. Charles always impresses me with his kindness and pure “well-adjustedness”, in contrast to us neurotic American cartoonists. Lucky for all us monolingual Americans, his and Philippe Dupuy’s work has been published in two pretty volumes from Drawn and Quarterly: Get a Life and Maybe Later. Here’s Charles (right) and my Dutch publisher “Uncle” Hansje (middle) in the Netherlands.
One French cartoonist I’ll never have the chance to meet is Aristophane who tragically died at age 37. His “heaven” book Les Soeurs Zabîme and “hell” book Conte Démoniaque give me the shivers.
Other Frenchy favorites: Sfar, Christophe Blain, Nicolas De Crécy, Nina (Une par une), Capucine, Guy Delisle, Frederik Peeters (Swiss)
In Italy: Igort, Mattotti, Gipi ~ In Spain: Munoz, Max ~ In Germany: Martin Tom Dieck, Anke Feuchetenberger… and definitely seek out this book: Cargo/comics journalism Israel-Germany
Continual thanks to everyone responding to this blog. My apologies for being lazy with anything correspondence or ‘puter related. Soon I’ll try answering some of your questions… In the meantime, the blog seems like a decent forum for being transparent with the process of comics-making. I still feel secretive with HABIBI, but we’ve three other books to show-n-tell with — Here’s some doodlings from my notebook/sketchbook when I began writing BLANKETS. Kenneth Koch, Marcel Proust, Gnostic Gospels, Ballpoint Pen, 1999!
…to keep breaking your heart until it opens.
Here’s a couple of his ditties “illuminated” with ballpoint pen in my sketchbook.
Aaron Renier is one of my bestest of buddies. He’s a Wisconsin homeboy raised on brautwurst and fried cheese curds just like me. (Now he eats tofurkey brautwurst). He’s also one talented, brushtastic cartoonist with a great book — Spiralbound. The French edition was released this January on Delcourt’s Shampooing imprint (rodeoed by the brilliant Lewis Trondheim); and Aaron and I flew to AngoulÃªme (Europe’s premier comics festival) to celebrate. I documented some of it in my sketchbook, but then Aaron and my trip drifted separate directions and the diary sort of disintegrated. Oh well, here’s a glimpse of it anyway.
And just for proof, here’s a photo of Aaron’s ‘stache when we first hopped a train from Paris in our grubby jetlagged splendour. The second photo is in Paris along with Alban Rautenstrauch and Alex Holden. The third photo is me getting horrifically ill at Charles Berberian’s place. Charles is one of the most charming human beings in the comics industry and a true inspiration, but I defiled his bathroom in a number of ways with my food poisoning. I couldn’t eat for four days, lost ten pounds, missed my plane back to the states, and was diagnosed upon returning as host to three varieties of parasites! Merci to MylÃ©ne for looking after me.
Also, just so Aaron isn’t embarrassed by this advertisement of his ol’ soup-strainer, here’s me rockin’ four of my own.
PS – please, excuse the obsessive “links”.