It’s summertime! Ok, not technically as far as hemispheres, axial tilt, and journeying around the sun, but culturally as spring semester ends and there are several toasty months until fall semester begins.
Today marks the middle of spring and I’ll be exercising my nascent drawing/cartooning skills by posting cartoons, sketches, drawings, etc. here on the blog until the middle of summer. (I wish we had a word for the times between the halfway points of seasons — sprummer?). I see this as near-daily to more-than-daily posts of, and about, cartoons and cartooning.
I attempted something similar to this in the spring of 2020 but the pandemic rearranged my brain (in a metaphorical/symbolic sense) and I dropped my drawing exercises.
My guide for this effort is Lynda Barry’s Syllabus. I read Barry regularly in the 1990s. Not by seeking her out, but because she was one of the random nutrients in my information diet at the time. She dropped off my radar at the turn of the century and popped back on my radar after she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2019.
As is the case with many adults, I’m embarrassed by my childish scrawls and crude drawings. Even as a child I never really went through a drawing phase. However, I’ve decided to trust in Professor Lynda and give it a shot for the next few months.
In between posts about cartoons and cartooning I’ll update you about my ASS (arbitrary stupid spirituality aka arbitrary spirituality system). Let the summer begin!
2 thoughts on “Cartoon Sprummer”
Something recently reminded me of Barry’s characters: on their front step, eating “panney-cakes” (?) and observing new kids across the street. Story, setting and drawing were all more clever than just the word-hook to my funny bone, sure, but all these years later, that’s what swirled out of my mind-swamp and made me smile. Something about pancakes, and I remembered Barry. Lol, to not lose her again, I followed her on Twitter. (There’s my repository, my list for as long as it lasts, of admirable or interesting or funny people, though mostly the algorithm for me is just people engaging in a roundrobin of societal disgust and criticism, making me possibly more communist, a minimal balance against the American footballmoneygunjesus ideal. Who knew that the dystopia we expected would feel like this? I think I didn’t factor in so much humidity. Perhaps we should all be wearing headdresses as counterbalances. Unfortunately, were I to design one, I couldn’t make any graphical representation unless maybe it involved glue and scissors and lots of magazines…with headdresses pictures.)
I hope you share a lot of comix! If there’s any embarrassment, I imagine it acting as an aspect and asset of the artist’s psychology informing the comic? Some communiques are just best formed as comix, aren’t they? I have a feeling that the style of drawing, if you give it a chance, maybe is the best style for the ideas they’re showing. Well, in an ideal world. Maybe assuming this is ideal is a secret method for skipping some disappointment. I know an animator, someone who’s capable of drawing photorealistically at her best, but she likes Sam Harris. I dislike philosopher/commentator people who are logical fallacists, so, so what if a cartoonist isn’t a great draftsperson? Hopefully they don’t like second-rate thinkers. Though honestly–she is funnier than me because my head is way up my butt and hers isn’t fully up many butts at all. I think she probably just mentioned him but isn’t really “into” him.
So yeah, never mind.
I came across one of my drawings from about 30 years ago while trying to eliminate tubs of old notebooks and mail and paystubs, unfulfilled ideas on napkins…. I think the purpose of the drawing was to remind myself of parts placements on a broken vacuum cleaner, so that I would remember how it went back together when i got the part later. It’s very characteristically, pathetically unique. To me, it somehow *looks like me* and I am funny-looking and being funny-looking becomes more appealing relating to a funny vacuum cleaner drawing. It’s funny maybe in the same way we might accidentally make a joke and when everyone laughs, get it and laugh along…rather than interrupt any follow up jokes, we can just let people believe we knew we were making a joke rather than throwing off everybody’s timing, you know? Revel in awkwardness. Life is so short and confusing. A lot of things are best whipped out while the joke is fresh. I mean, really, what a freaking gift, if there’s the energy to engage an idea that way and to follow through drawn poorly –that is FUNNY. Ok, right, not all graphic storytelling is about humor. Sad.
All that crap said, drawing is amazing. To me, it’s very brave of you to work at it. I took a drawing course. For, I guess the final, we were there for the full four hours of class, standing, drawing. The way I had to continually concentrate in this different way, keep bringing my mind back to looking how I’d been learning, in order to be able to render a subject–it was more than exhausting. On the way out, I tripped on a pea-sized pebble and fell down, tearing a big gash in my knee. The vehicle I was driving those days, I could barely shove-shift into gear to manage getting up a nemesis hill on good days. I got, though, to the daycare to pick up my child, oblivious to the blood still flowing and covering my leg. Stricken faces greeted me and with hushed tones, I was taken aside to clean myself a bit before children might see me. Honestly, trying to see and think to draw…it’s too hard for me. AND…people who saw any of my drawings still saw something comical about them. Maybe that’s what I’d suggest to you is that your humor’s going to imbue your comics, whether the drawings are better or only whatever. You know, or if they’re not funny, maybe whatever else is going on there is going to show.
Thanks for the suggestion about “Syllabus”! I doubt it will help me throw away all my notes on napkins, but it’s probably NOT DEPRESSING, which would be nice.
Sorry I just had some wine and typed a lot. Oh well.
Hi June, I love the long comment! thanks. And the words of encouragement.
I mentioned I started a cartooning project and then abandoned it in 2020. I started following Barry on instagram at the time and she started posting drawings for sale to raise money some group disproportionately harmed by the pandemic/political cruelty. Eventually I finally saw a post early enough I was able to buy a little Barry original! It is now framed and hanging near my home desk. (Hmmm, maybe I should take pic and write a post about it…).
So many potential posts! But now, back to the book mines…