Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy New Year!

After the flurry of finishing up various arts and crafts for Christmas presents, I haven't been doing much. I cleaned out the studio last week -- I mean really cleaned it up and got rid of a ton of junk and put away a bunch of canvases. J asked me what kind of projects I had planned. I really couldn't describe what I have planned, because aside from a couple of specific things (such as a new painting to go over the bed), what I have planned is more a process or idea than an actual "thing."

I think to sum it up, my main project for this year is to do more, and get better at it. I spend more time thinking about really cool projects than actually doing really cool projects. I got two books for Christmas (thanks sweetie!) that I am going to use to help me with this. One is about writing and one is about comics. I have lots of books about writing and lots of books about comics, but there’s something about these two that I think will really help.

The first is What It Is by Lynda Barry (a supercool cartoonist). I can’t even begin to describe how wonderfully amazing this book is. I first saw it at a friend’s house and I came very close to stealing it. It took a lot of willpower to put it on my Christmas wish list rather than going out and buying it right then. So, it’s a book made entirely from beautifully collaged pages that combine cartoons, drawings, paintings, text, old magazine stuff, snippets of a 1940’s era elementary school teacher’s personal papers, and so forth. Part of it is like an autobiographic psychedelic essay about creativity and part of it is a presentation of the activities and guidance she provides in her writing workshops. So for all its technicolor wackiness, it has some great step-by-step activities that focus on learning to write in a way that evokes strong images (both for the writer and reader). I love it. So I am going to work through each activity.

The second book is Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden. It’s a book about making comics, but it’s a textbook based on the courses they teach. So rather than just nice theoretical discussions or specific “how-to” stuff (most books do one or the other), it has fifteen chapters that have information and then specific assignments. Each chapter builds on the prior one, so by the very end of the book, if you have done all the assignments, you’ll have a comic. If I have been successful in my attempt to get through the Lynda Barry book, I should have a story to use as I learn more about turning a story into a good comic.

So that’s the plan. What I haven’t decided yet is whether or not I want to post this process as I work through it. Maybe the comic stuff. Maybe some sketchbook stuff. Like all good wannabe artists, my new year’s resolution isn’t to lose weight; it’s to keep up a daily sketchbook…


Kimberley said...

It is lucky I am not close enough to visit your house...that book sounds AWESOME. I think I need to get it for Tina. She needs some inspiration this year.

Then I can sneak and look at it.


Steven said...

Happy New Year to you, too! Linda Barry rocks.

Here's to a more creative 2009.

Tina said...

Wow, Sharon! That was a lot of words you just posted all in a row. Seemed almost like....writing. Congratulations. If you are taking votes, and I would totally get it if you weren't, I vote you post your process. I would love to read about it. xo, t