I did a bunch of comics about my life. Want to see them?
Disclaimer: comics are hard! The quality of humour may go up as well as down! Contains swears! Not approved by the Comic Code Authority! Some pages are scanned in badly!
This was the first attempt at doing something more than a comical pose in my sketchbook. I’d read a lot of stuff about how autobio comics were a good training ground for people who wanted to make comics, and I decided to do them for the two weeks before I went away to Newcastle in June.
One of the problems with autobio comics is that there isn’t really a defined plotline, and you have to make something out of the events in your life. Externally, I live a very boring life, and occupy myself by thinking interesting thoughts. But it’s hard to add levels of nuanced thinking into comics, or the form that contemporary comics are now. They are more like strict third-person narrative with very little description, which kind of sucks when talking about difficult concepts.
“Crossing the line” is a term from filmography, which refers to shooting from both sides of an imaginary line in the middle of the scene. Doing so confuses the viewer.
Each page that’s in this entry really took a lot of time. I could end up spending more time doing a comic page about my day than doing any other single activity – and, as I didn’t feel the results were that good, this was a bit galling.
Also, as I suffer from fatigue-related issues (owing to being really ill, like “long-stay-in-hospital ill” a few years ago) putting in long hours to do one thing with my day was a real struggle. I usually just nibble around the edges of things, slowly pushing forward until I feel something is complete. That’s one of the reasons that, for me, doing a whole page of comic every day for two weeks was such an interesting project to work on.
This is one of the pages I’m most proud of, which tells the story of my first big encounter with fatigue. I don’t think I quite made it clear that I was referring to something in the past, though, which is a shame. I have a recollection of just feeling really boned at this point, and spending all day in bed watching cartoons (apart from the time I spent drawing).
This page also marks the start of my time watercolouring. I really love watercolour paints, and the time I spent doing straight comics really made me miss it.
I usually meet some friends on a Tuesday for coffee, and I enjoy their company very much, but that’s about it for my social life. It’s nice to have lots of time to think, but sometimes it’s a nice day out and I just want to do something that isn’t “read a book”. Plus, I can’t really tell my parents dirty jokes.
What’s weird about this page is that I still lust after each of those things. I’ve been thinking about buying a new bike recently, which has meant just ages staring at bicycle websites looking at ridiculous objects. Also, what is it about those hats? I don’t even suit those hats. Nobody suits those hats. Do I secretly long to be Crocodile Dundee?
Also note that I’m thinking about watercolour painting. The last few strips were done in watercolours, because I missed it so much.
This is the last page of comics I’m going to put up. You can see that I’m going towards a sort of illustrated text, as the format of my blog has been recently, rather than a comic-with-text. This one is about two of my favourite pieces of literature, the comic Bone and the historical Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson. I’d love to write more about these at some point, or just have some good conversations about them, as I don’t think I know anybody else who has read them.
After doing this for about two weeks (there’s some that aren’t shown), I went over to Newcastle for a week and on my return I was shattered. I lay in bed, watching cartoons for a few days, and then went back to doing watercolours – but not comics. I think it’s rare for me to have ideas that I want to explore in a comic format, so I can’t rule it out, but I’m more drawn to prose writing when I need to get an idea onto the page. Which works for me, as it gives a nice separation between my art creation and my thinking. Sometimes you need that.