Monday, November 30, 2009

To Editors and Friends

Hey, everyone. Sorry for the gap in posting. I try to do it every week, but the Thanksgiving holiday sort of got in the way this time around. But here's an update, as best as I can give:

Two weeks ago, Bill and I tacked up every page of my finished and photocopied pencilled draft and went through it, spread by spread, to figure out where everything fit best and how to make things flow better, as well as other miscellaneous edits along the way. My spreads took up about the entire wall of the classroom, and Bill and I took about two hours going through them. I apologize-- I was so caught up in the process that I forgot to take pictures or video during it. Now those photocopies are circulating amongst people I've picked to edit my piece so outside sources can check for errors. (It's all well and good to edit yourself, but a fresh pair of eyes or two is always a good thing.) One of these days soon, when I get all my edited pages back and in order, I'll put them back up and take some pictures.

It occurs to me now that I'm giving this to people I care about to edit-- people who were there with me, or there in spirit. Yet, on this blog, I have shown very few (if any) pictures of these people who shared this experience with me. As sappy as this sounds, no experience is solitary, and trips are more than the places you see. So, in the spirit of friendship, here are some great snapshots of my wonderful friends.

From left to right: Janet, Haley, Allie, Julia, and Simi at the Queen's Larder all toasting to President Obama after his inauguration speech, which we watched in SU London's student lounge.

From top to bottom: funny-faced Haley, Janet, and Allie being silly at Absolut Icebar. It was our roommate Kate's birthday, and we surprised her by bringing her there.

Me and Allie at one of our favorite clubs in London, The Social.

We had a snow day early on in the semester, so Allie and I spent the day making delicious pancake creations, including these guys.

Me, Chris (my boyfriend), and our mutual friend Jackie on the Tube during Chris's four-day visit to London for Spring Break. (I met Jackie while studying abroad-- Chris told me he had a friend also studying abroad and that he thought we'd hit it off, and he was right.)

My birthday celebration at a tiki bar!

I miss London every day, but luckily most of these people I am still close with, and we have these memories to share. London wouldn't have been the same without them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sketchbook Edits

Last night I had another weekly meeting with Bill, my advisor on the project, and he gave me the plan for next week: as I will at that point have all my first draft spreads pencilled, I am going to photocopy them all, and in our next meeting we are going to tack all the photocopies up on the wall for some serious editing. I'll make sure to bring my camera and post the pictures from that session on the blog.

In the spirit of editing, I thought I'd share some pages from my journals that have been pretty well worked over. At first, when I started my journaling, I was very careful to think about exactly what I wanted to say before writing it down so as to preserve the pristine paper in my cute little Moleskines. (Many artists I talk to say that expensive or very pretty sketchbooks are intimidating-- they feel they have to create something immediately beautiful inside. I definitely struggle with that too.) But I very quickly got over that, and learned that rearranging sentences, crossing out entire paragraphs, finding a better word, and changing my mind in the middle of a thought was part of the beauty and spontaneity of what I was trying to do. So here are some lovely, scribbly notebook pages, just for fun.

This is a piece entitled "Disasters"-- which, through all the edits, made it to the final cut of my graphic novel, actually. If you look closely, above the title, there is a little aside in which I say, "Before I begin: Bill said yes! I am making a graphic novel for my Capstone!"

This piece, also included in my final graphic novel (but seriously cut down) I wrote during my trip to Istanbul. This is probably one of the best examples of on-the-spot self-editing I could find in all my books.

Even as I was leaving England, I was still editing. This piece I wrote in London Heathrow airport and on the plane ride back to the U.S. (Up top you can see a sketch I did in the Heathrow waiting area of a mother and daughter sleeping on a row of seats, probably in between flights.)

So I hope you enjoyed these little edits. Get ready for some big ones next week. See you then!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Hello and welcome to November! I've actually only got a handful of spreads left to do in pencil, then it's on to editing, coloring, inking, all that good stuff. But for now, I thought I'd share two of my most important influences in the world of independent comics.

I first discovered Scott McCloud freshman year of college when one of my professors gave us an excerpt from one of his books, Understanding Comics, as a part of a homework assignment. I loved his style-- the way he used comics to explain comics. That same year for the holidays, I got Making Comics (the third in his explanatory comics series) and read it cover to cover, and have read it many, many times since then. Aside from one class I took here at Syracuse called Narrative Drawing, I have not had any real formal sequential art training. Most of my understanding about comics as a storytelling medium comes from Scott McCloud. Also, fun fact: my freshman year, he came to speak to some students for a symposium. I couldn't go because I had a class at that time, but that same night, Art Spiegelman (who is certainly an inspiration as well) came to speak on campus, and Scott McCloud stayed to see him speak. So while I didn't actually get to meet Scott, I was in the same audience with him. Just a funny little circumstance.

While Scott McCloud serves more as a technical and formal inspiration, my most significant creative inspiration comes from Craig Thompson. I can't remember what I was doing before I read his graphic novel Blankets, but it really couldn't have been that important. Blankets is hands down one of the greatest books I've read of any genre. It really opened my mind up to the possibility that comics and graphic novels were more than just a medium for kids and superheroes. Craig Thompson uses the medium of comics to tell painfully and beautifully personal stories. His visual language and his visual problem-solving skills are amazing, and showcased wonderfully in Blankets. (He's got some other great graphic novels, too-- his first, Goodbye Chunky Rice, made me cry, and I've been trying to get a copy of his travelogue Carnet de Voyage for some time now, but it always is out of stock wherever I look for it. Also, he's got his longest graphic novel to date, Habibi, coming out in about a year or so. I can't wait!) Sometimes I worry that I am getting too personal in my own work, that I am too much in my own head and that no one else will be able to relate to what I'm putting down on paper. Re-reading my favorite passages from Blankets reminds me that even the most personal, intimate things can resonate with others. And if I can make something half as good as Craig Thompson can, I will consider it a great success.

And, because I think it would be a shame to post on this blog about my inspirations and not post something from my time abroad, here is a photograph of trees lining the edge of Dublin Port, decorated in shining blue lights. These felt so magical to me.

Please check out the links of the artists I mentioned, and please tune in next time for some more graphic novel goodness.