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.