Back in June, Caitlin and I made this birthday card for our dear Devon. Cait collaged some old screen prints, some rock rabbits (cute, right?) from Wild Life the World Over (1950), and money. Then I drew the Queen Rock Rabbit. Fun in different media, you guys! That’s the theme. Now hold on tight because I’m about to gush.
Remember how I said this was gonna be the Summer of Collaboration? Well, I did. And well, it has been, and actually still is. Just as I started to feel like I’d taken on too many projects, some started to finished, and I’ve realized that this was exactly how I wanted to follow up two years of intensive cartooning study and practice. I got what I wished for! At times, I felt anxious, or like I wasn’t doing any of my own work, but with some distance–and some time spent with family and with old friends–I realized that it’s worked out perfectly, and in many ways better than I could have hoped.
For one, I’ve been a color assistant for Joe Lambert, whose work (posted on Drawn!) got me to take CCS seriously in the first place. Last year, after some discussion that included my offering to be the Center for Cartoon Studies’ indentured servant, James Sturm offered me the gig. Oh, what? Work with my friend, a cartoonist whose work I continue to whole-heartedly admire and aspire to? Yes, please.
Joe’s written and drawn the latest in the Cartoon Studies Presents series of biographies published by Hyperion. It’s about Helen Keller and her mentor Annie Sullivan, but it’s a whole lot more than The Miracle Worker. I’ve tried to treat this project like any other work, which means striving to do it as fast and as well as I can (productivity! America!). So, my read so far has been only cursory, and has focused on finding clues to help my coloring. Even still, it made me cry twice. I can’t wait to sit down and read the finished book.
Jess Abston as Tibby Bonet as Paradisa in Nymphonomena. Photo by Colleen Frakes.
Doing the first pass of colors (Joe has been revising them, and our pal Dakota has co-assisted on the last leg of the project), I felt like a cinematographer, trying to help establish mood or location with lighting and set colors. For the swelter and hazy humidity of a Southern summer, I pushed up the atmospheric perspective. For certain scenes, I aimed at romanticism, or grim drudgery, or shock. I don’t know how much of this Joe has chosen to use, but he’s the director, you know? He doesn’t have to take every suggestion I throw at him.
Speaking of movies, this summer the Nymphonomenauts have been taking our little collaboration about a gender-bending space rock opera in new, exciting directions. More on that later.
In the meantime, I’ve mostly taken a break from drawing comics. I think I needed it. I’ve been doodling idly in my sketchbook, making new oddities, and thinking vaguely about character designs. I’ve been building Legos and coloring/printing some of my comics from the past year. I’ve been reading comics like crazy, and devouring anything I can find about comics online and in the Schulz Library. And now, I miss drawing them! I can’t wait! Sure, I’ve still been making a new Farmy strip every three weeks (and I think this running collaboration is going to better and better places), but I’m truly excited to make some new little comedies, and I’m starting to think that maybe I won’t give up on Petrified Girlfriend, even.
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As things turned out, we became close friends, and he and his wife Becca are one no-foolin aspect of what makes a prolonged stay in White River Junction appealing. Did I mention that Caitlin and I are sticking it out in Vermont for another year? Well, we are. [BACK]
If you didn’t go to art school, that means making things grayer/lighter/bluer as they recede into the distance. Aren’tcha glad you know now?? [BACK]