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Hey there once again, internet friends.

This past week has been filled with a number of adventures, both in and out of Illinois.  On Thursday I travelled with my friend Emma Rand to help her perform at Detroit Brain Frame.  The videos of all of the performances aren’t up yet, but you can watch a snippet from Lyra‘s performance and read a short writeup here.

Far right to left- artist Emma Rand, myself, and musician Jen David on keyboard.  Not pictured: guttural dragon sounds.

Photo courtesy Knight Arts.

Besides performing, I got to visit Emma’s hometown in Michigan and meet some of her family and friends.  There were lots of tea and coffee, portrait drawings, autumn walks and crime drama watching sessions.  Overall, good times.

Art-wise, this week has been a little rough.  Having never really studied painting in either high school or college, I decided to start working in gouache in both my figure drawing and advanced scientific illustration class.  So far making progress is difficult and slow, but hopefully with work in two months I’ll be a little bit better than I was before I started.  Wish me luck friends.

On the other end of the practice spectrum, while in Michigan I decided to make my second major project for Engineering Comics completely different than the work I’ve done previously this semester; rather than continuing on to the next chapter in Uncle Davie’s, I’ve decided to do a short fictionalized autobiographical piece instead.  No, I’m not abandoning my my previous project, just placing it to the side for a little while, and yes, I am fully aware that this is completely contradicting what I said in my last post. One thing I’ve learned through making comics over the last few years is to produce the work I want to make, rather than wait until I feel like my skills are good enough to warrant doing so.   With time, I’ll get there.

That said, making autobiographical work is very challenging to me.  It isn’t because being open about my emotions feels unnatural to me, but the inverse; I’m always afraid that I’ll share too much and accidentally overexpose myself emotionally.  I’ve talked with fellow cartoonist friends about this, and a few of them identify.  Having a protective layer of fiction helps, as does making some work that no one will or can see.  That said, the work that has helped me the most not only in my artistic life, but in my personal life as well has largely been autobiographical or memoir-based.  If there is anything I aspire to as a cartoonist and as a creator, it’s to learn how to be a good storyteller, and then to learn how to tell stories that help others feel a little bit less alone.  A few good stories helped comfort me growing up, and they still do.

This week’s non-required reading:

The Best American Comics 2013, edited by Matt Madden, Jessica Abel, and Jeff Smith

best

RASL volumes one and two by Jeff Smith

from RASL #4

An Illustrated Lifeedited by Danny Gregory

What It Is by Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry What It Is Drawn & Quarterly.jpg

“Microculture” by Carter Lodwick 

I got kind of burnt out today trying to learn Illustrator, so I retreated to the safest place there is: Photoshop self-portraiture. There there, little ego…

“We Will Remain” by Andrew White

As the Crow Flies chapter one by Melanie Gillman

Until next time, stay smartie, pants.

j1

sketch of a Polaroid  taped into a communal notebook in a friend of Emma’s co-op

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