Tag Archives: comics

“The Truth of Masks”: How to Describe Characters

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Wilde brings up the idea that the costumes and mannerisms of an actor “get[s] rid of any necessity for tedious descriptions” of their character. A play has the advantage of immediately depicting unfamiliar apparel and weaponry from a particular time and place. (It’s easier to get a sense of a 16th century clothing through a costume than through a lengthy written description of doublets and mandilions.) More importantly, the expression and demeanor of an actor serve to visually describe the character to the audience.

However, this is not unique to plays. Comic strips and graphic novels also show a character’s physical appearance while simultaneously revealing his/her personality within the action of the story itself. This can be used to great effect when the imagery in a comic contrasts or calls into question the meaning of the text.

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march 14: Henry Darger

The Realms of the Unreal, Jessica Yu, 2004

Scott McCloud warns against the “backstory trap” in his book, Making Comics (122). This is the pitfall new writers can fall into when they create elaborate histories behind every character. McCloud mentions Henry Darger as a cautionary tale, but there’s a lot more to him than just a hermit novelist/artist “add[ding compulsively to the backstories of characters no one will ever see” (McCloud, 122). If you have time, check out this documentary-I highly recommend it if you still have some time to procrastinate on homework this vacation!

march 11th: Co-mix, toys, and a walk in the park

I finally visited the Art Spiegelman retrospective exhibit at the Jewish Museum! I read MAUS twice, first for myself and then for class the next year, but I recognized Spiegelman’s New Yorker covers before I knew he was the artist.

The exhibit was really thought-provoking! Here are some thoughts:

There is so much artistic skill (both technical and…creative? intellectual? imaginative?) involved in creating comix. I thought that MAUS must have been extremely laborious (it took 13 years!), but I also thought there was some secret, some technique or shortcut I didn’t know about that made it look so complex without taking so much effort. I was so wrong! There were rows of drafts for each page and tons of sketches to perfect one tiny mouse paw, and those were only a selection of the entire process.

This is true even of comix with simplistic art. Have you tried drawing Calvin and Hobbes? It’s hard! Somehow each of Bill Watterson’s pen strokes tells the specific position of Calvin’s leg or Hobbes’ arm.

Basically, i’m saying that a comix artist doesn’t just draw some lines and call it a day. They draw a lot of lines, then cut them down to capture the essence of their drawing.

What is this blog even for?

Right now the purpose of this blog is to organize the stuff I want to over spring break, which is this week! That includes: drawing comix, watching Jackie Chan and Miyazaki movies, reading 1950’s scifi books/short stories, going to the Art Spiegelman exhibit in the Jewish Museum, searching for summer internships, and doing homework for college…

That’s a lot of stuff.  If I include maybe running, walking in the park, going on a trip  Wednesday, hanging out with family and boyf, that’s even more.  Sometimes I get so excited about unscheduled free time with no looming deadlines that I schedule in everything I want to do, instead of scheduling what I’m likely to do.

I highly recommend “The Exquisite Corpse Project.”  It has some good lines, especially at the end, and it’s really funny.

Sleepovers can be so intimate.  You climb into bed only after being too tired to hang out anymore, after falling asleep on the floor or during a late-night movie or next to each other on the couch, or back from a party.  But once both of you climb under the covers, under the dark, you start talking and talking in that magic hour where you forget that you were (two) separate people during the day.  We lower our inhibitions while falling asleep in order to stay awake.  We know that we must (immediately) pour out our thoughts  from our stream of consciousness in a (constant,) breathy whisper.  Or else we’d fall into sleep, and drown out the other in a sea of our dreams/of our musings.  I highly recommend having a sleepover with a close friend.

I also recommend “The City and the Stars.”

I also recommend carrying a little sketchbook to doodle in and draw people if you feel like it.