Monday, December 07, 2009

LUCKY DRAWING: Art that inspires me while drawing my graphic novel

I've been a professional cartoonist for a long time, about 25 years, and I've picked up a trick or two. When I began drawing LUCKY IN LOVE, I wanted to integrate all of my cartooning knowledge, but I also wanted to forget some of it. I wanted to pare down, and get to the very essence of cartooning. I wanted my work to be elegant, and simple, but very powerful. I wanted my storytelling to be as clear and precise as possible, and I didn't want to manipulate my audience in the least. I wanted to tell my story plainly and economically, to simply explain what was happening. I did not want to clutter up my pages or panels. I wanted breathing room, air---negative space, really, to help the reader along.
So much of what I see in modern comics is right in the readers face, as if characters were behind plate glass pushing their noses amid sweat and steam, trying to get their point across. Sometimes that can be effective, but I wanted to get away from that. I want my readers to feel, I don't want to tell them what to feel.
Towards that end, when drawing LUCKY, I'm most inspired by some of the early cartooning masters---folks who successfully and powerfully told their stories, before "in your face" became popular. Above are some of the strips from my reference files, which help keep me focused in reaching my cartooning goals!


Ian Jones-Quartey said...

This stuff is great. That Milt Gross page is fantastic!
You are a well of inspiration for me Stephen.

Duffs said...

I have the same Swinnerton "Near to Nature Babies" hanging in my living room! I love his Good Housekeeping stuff in general, but that one is my fave.

--chris duffy

Chris said...

Ok, so my timing is a little off here. I just wanted to say that I am currently going to try my hand at a comic strip and the golden age comics are a great source of inspiration to me as well. Barney Google, Popeye by Segar (not Sagendorf), Felix the Cat, Polly and Her Pals, and Salesman Sam by Swanson(not Small, though he aped Swan pretty well) and any Kurtzman from the 40s, are all wonderful to learn from.

I look forward to getting Lucky when it comes out.