This Week: Research

This last week has been mostly focused on research, a mix of secondary and primary and making-based. I followed a rabbit hole on Ivy Atoms’ instagram (the author of Pinky and Pepper Forever, one of my original sources) and a reference to a comic called Franken Fran.

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I got 6 volumes from ILL and it’s been a very rich source both for the economy of the layouts and the content. I read a lot of manga as a kid but outgrew it and then questioned why. I’ve been thinking a lot about the art that gets written off as childish, girlish, or self-indulgent.

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Panels from  Franken Fran

Panels from Franken Fran

Other comics I’ve been reading include Tokyo Mew Mew and Sugar Sugar Rune, more girls’ comics, and Black Jack, a classic horror comedy. I’ve also been seeing my thesis advisor a lot and she gave me a pile of queer comics from the 70s to present, including Dori Seda and Hothead Paisan. She also offered to help me take reference photos for the comic I’m scripting.

I’ve also been keeping extensive notes on experiences and ideas I have both, mixing the two to sort of write fiction as I go. At the start of IP I mined old journals for comics for the studio marathon, and it gave me a great sense of what kind of notes were the most useful. These pages are a couple of scenes I am planning to rework for whatever longer comics I make.

I’ve also been keeping a regular sketchbook and making smaller one-off comics just to practice layout and design. When I get too focused on a big project, I often forget to do the smaller work that keeps me in shape as a cartoonist, so drawing a lot has been helpful. And I scripted a central scene from the longer story I’m working on for IP.

The story is about a girl (Georgia) who works at a Vietnamese restaurant that her apartment is above. The restaurant sometimes changes completely overnight into a different Vietnamese restaurant with a different owner but no one acknowledges it. One day she meets another girl (Joni) who begins working as a waitress there. Joni needs a place to live and moves in with Georgia, and they end up in a relationship. I haven’t decided yet how it ends, but I have the general trajectory of the plot laid out. This scene is from somewhere in the first half.

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Also, had a breakthrough regarding my final installation! I had already committed to making a fictional narrative for my final product, whether it ends up being one long story or a collection of short ones, but I felt like my notes and observational sketches should figure in somehow. So I had the idea to present the finished book as an installation, with notes pulled out from it attached to sketches, journal entries, and inspiration in my studio. Sort of a behind-the-scenes/making of look at whatever I end up making over the course of the year. I’m still thinking about it, but I’m really excited about the idea.

Next week: finish a longer short comic (16 pages) that I’ve been working on, about female sexuality and baths, and riso print it. Also make a few more test prints in general. I dug up some old daily comics and I realized how helpful making those was, so I’m trying to get back to them. And just write and draw everyday! I’ve also been collecting more sources for my annotated bib.

Catching Up

Been busy at work so much I forgot to write here! I’ve been doing a lot of direct research on my topic including spending time with people who are inspiring some of the stories I’m working on, which is difficult to document. I’ve written about 80 pages in my journal over the last few weeks which I’ll post excerpts from soon. It isn’t clear exactly how all of it will connect to the fictional stories I’m telling, but it is helping to clarify a lot of the relationships and scenes of intimacy.

I’ve also been making a lot! I have a script and partially finished dummy for “You’re Going To Really Like Laura”, one of the stories in the collection I’m working on. It’s at 24 pages, and I’m really excited about the form I’m working with, starting in the center of the story and unfolding pages up and down simultaneously.

(I’ll add an image here when I scan it)

There’s another untitled short story I’m working on about the relationship between developing female sexuality and the space of baths, that I currently have sketched and laid out. It’s 16 pages, and I’m going to print it on the risograph in black and green. I’m loving the experiments I’ve been doing with form, I’m excited to see how it works out to fit them all together in an anthology.

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A few thumbnails.

A few thumbnails.

The third main formal experiment I’ve been working on is a small two page comic called “Knife Play” based entirely on quotes from a couple days that I wrote down. This is the only piece I’ve taken through the full process of scripting, thumbnailing, sketching, inking, editing and printing so far. Neither of these test prints is quite right, but I learned a lot from them!

Two riso printed versions of “Knife Play”.

Two riso printed versions of “Knife Play”.

My next big focus is to figure out what exactly I’m doing with the anthology—there are a couple of longer stories that I think could end up being the focus, and some of the feedback I got in crits was the suggestion to to make a collection of short stories that overlap. I’m considering all of these as options, and in the meantime all of these short stories I’m working on are inspiring me and propelling me forward!

Week 5: studio marathon

Spent this week digging up old journals and marking sections to make thumbnails for possible fleshed-out comics. Here’s a few that I thought ended up with the most potential.

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Also met with Stephanie today to discuss possible thesis directions—my tentative plan is to make an anthology of short comics about loosely autobiographical events focusing on queer sexuality, polyamory, and life transitions. I will print the comics on the risograph, which I am also focusing on learning to use. As a queer, polyamorous, gender nonconforming artist, I see and experience life differently than the mainstream narratives in most media, and I am trying to harness the “gaze” that I hold and make my view of the world accessible to people who otherwise don’t share it.

Week 4: time to get real

I spent this week figuring out mostly how to proceed—got a few things done all over the map in terms of physical making, but focused more on thinking about my plans.

First off, physical products—finished the body of the sweater I’ve been working on! I’m getting confident in my ability to fuck with prewritten patterns to make garments that suit what I want better—for this one I changed the collar, shortened the body by a lot and added an “accidental” purl pattern (the horizontal lines).

I’ve also been drawing a little bit—I pulled back from making myself draw everyday to see how much I would draw if I only did it when I felt inspired to and I found that I really missed drawing when I didn’t make the time for it! Digging through old sketchbooks just makes me want to fill pages.

The first day of October (Inktober) coincides perfectly with the studio marathon, so I will plan on focusing more on drawing for my 50 explorations. However, I found that fiber art was a very useful tool to get myself unstuck with drawing—it feels less intense and calms my brain down a little because the work is so much more routine, and reminds me to slow down and take the time to make things instead of rushing between different ideas. I don’t know how much it will feature in my IP product, but I think it will be an important part of the process.

Last thing—I finally got my camera! When I had a nicer camera, I never took it anywhere because it was so big and heavy, and I was afraid of damaging it. Then someone relieved me of my burden on a night train in Budapest! I finally replaced it with a cheap, small camera I’ve been carrying in my pocket. The photos are not very high quality, which serves my purpose fine—I’m more interested in taking reference photos for drawings, and just getting myself to look at things differently.

Jude at Wasem’s

Jude at Wasem’s

On the river

On the river

My favorite thing in the world at Kroger

My favorite thing in the world at Kroger

Outside CCTC

Outside CCTC

The cemetery near the dance building

The cemetery near the dance building

Plans for now:

  • Get my 50 references together for the studio marathon! Probably mostly drawings/comics, but I already have some fibers ideas coming together too.

  • Keep writing, keep observing, keep taking photos everyday

  • Pull out old journals in prep for studio marathon—I’m going home this weekend, so I can get the really old ones from my family’s house

  • Start doing daily comics/drawing everyday again in October and see how it keeps up. I often find that my old daily comics are some of my favorite work, and the trick now is to see what role they can have in a larger project!

This week's focus: mending

I’ve had the studio for a week and gotten pretty focused on fibers. I’ve moved my plan around a little—I’m still not sure whether ultimately I want to focus on fibers, or go back to doing something illustration-based like a comic I can print on the risograph, but focusing on fibers for now will either take me in a new direction, or give me a break from the focus I’ve held for years to help me see what I really want to do with it.

Some projects-in-progress keeping my studio company

Some projects-in-progress keeping my studio company

My first couple of experiments have been focused on sock darning. In general, I’m exploring mending as a way to look at time, attention, care, material/physicality, sustainability, and unconventional narrative forms (what can a garment show about a person? Or a relationship?). I started out on Tuesday with a pair of my partner’s socks that I really like, but had holes worn in the heels.

The beginning of the darn pattern

The beginning of the darn pattern

The socks are from Uniqlo, which I don’t know much about but I think mass produces clothing on machines (based on the appearance of the socks). I’m interested in what it means for these socks and their life now that I’ve put (probably) more time into mending them than it took to originally make them.

The finished darn! I had never worked with Swiss darning before, it’s a lot more like knitting than sewing.

The finished darn! I had never worked with Swiss darning before, it’s a lot more like knitting than sewing.

Today I experimented more with some socks that have a thinner weave, and suited a woven darn more than a Swiss darn. Traditional darning is more like weaving, which I have less experience with.

I didn’t have a darning egg, so I used an ink bottle

I didn’t have a darning egg, so I used an ink bottle

Beginning of the warp

Beginning of the warp

Adding the weft (wrong, I realized at this point)

Adding the weft (wrong, I realized at this point)

Finished!

Finished!

Swiss darning was definitely more intuitive to me, but I’m going to experiment more with both, and maybe using this woven darning method to patch holes in other garments instead of cutting out patches of fabric. I have a pair of my own pants that need reinforcement, and Brooks dropped off some clothing for me that is full of holes and stories.

Plan for this weekend:

  • finish darning my socks

  • finish the body of the sweater I’m knitting

  • collect stories about the clothes I own for tags I’m planning on sewing into them

Plans for next week:

  • start patching my jeans

  • start working with Brooks’ jacket as a way to experiment with different sewing and patching methods

  • hopefully get my camera in the mail so I can record videos of my mending sessions and the conversations I have with people during

First few daily practice harvests

I’ve been trying to every day fill one page with words and one page with drawings, as an extension of my freewriting practice to generate ideas and content for IP. Here’s a few offerings.

3 September 2019

3 September 2019

4 September 2019

4 September 2019

6 September 2019, Writing 201.001 with T Hetzel

6 September 2019, Writing 201.001 with T Hetzel

IP freewrite from 12 September 2019

IP freewrite from 12 September 2019

11 September 2019. More on these later, this (drawing? performance? photograph?) sparked a lot of ideas about what to use which media to show and why.

11 September 2019. More on these later, this (drawing? performance? photograph?) sparked a lot of ideas about what to use which media to show and why.

12 September 2019, poem/freewrite. I’ve been writing mostly by getting a line or idea in my head and rolling it around until something sticks—I usually don’t write anything down until it’s stayed in my head for at least a few hours, which is kind of the opposite of a freewrite but I’ve started to trust it and it’s brought me prosperity.

12 September 2019, poem/freewrite. I’ve been writing mostly by getting a line or idea in my head and rolling it around until something sticks—I usually don’t write anything down until it’s stayed in my head for at least a few hours, which is kind of the opposite of a freewrite but I’ve started to trust it and it’s brought me prosperity.

That’s all for now! Keep your eyes out for: STAMPS speaker series notes (they get their own blog post because I learned so much!), musings on the distinction between different media and the purpose of making/marking/upholding these boundaries. Also a big studio dump when I’m home long enough to drag my library books down. Thanks for reading!

First week of IP

IP news roundup:

  • Got our studios today!

  • Spent the week gathering thoughts, looking through old journals (mine and others’) and books for inspiration. Freewriting a lot, for classes and for fun (ie for IP, which is what I’m going to call everything I do for fun now), observing what’s interesting to me. Still a ways from having a central question, but I’m definitely looking at writing, drawing and comics, but maybe also performance? The STAMPS lecture today gave me a lot to think about, and one of the biggest questions/thought lines I got was “How do I take a performance that I experience personally/bodily/internally and externalize it in a way that it can become art for an audience to experience?” I’m also thinking about identity, experiences of the body, pleasure and sexuality and how to map personal relationships onto a larger narrative that more people can access. Good thought from Camille: “Work doesn’t have to be confessional to be vulnerable.”

  • Spent the week working on my daily practices that I’ve set for myself: fill one page with words and one page with drawings. I haven’t gotten to scan the ones from this week yet, but here’s an example from a bit ago.

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Plans for the next week:

  • Keep writing and drawing every day! It’s been a mix of poetry, observational prose and flash fiction and I’m happy with that. The drawings have been mostly observational sketches like above, and I’m trying to push myself to draw non-observationally more as well, and get back into making daily comics.

  • Stick to my curfew: get all work done before 10pm! It’s been going well, but it’ll be an interesting challenge once classes really kick in. So far it’s made me work more efficiently, which is a good sign.

  • Buy a camera!

  • Take my library books and big sketchbooks down to my studio, and get supplies—desk lamp is the number one priority.

IP begins!

Hi all! I’m reviving the blog as a space to post about my BFA senior thesis integrative project (IP). Watch this space for photos, sketches, and text updates, as well as links to my inspirations, brainstorm dumps, and playlists from long studio hours.

IP just began this week, and runs through next April. Next week, I’ll be moving into my studio and starting work. My inspirations for now are language, photography, intimacy and queer explorations. I’ve been reading North Enough by Jan Zita Grover with my partner, finding places to eat on campus that don’t feel like I’m on campus, and listening to a lot of Jessica Pratt.

Here’s a piece of a project I worked on this summer that’s been coming up in my mind a lot when I think about IP. Thanks for reading!

While in Berlin this June, I spent a couple of weeks biking around trying to find all of the Photoautomats (analog photo boots) in the city and writing poems in each one while my photos developed.

While in Berlin this June, I spent a couple of weeks biking around trying to find all of the Photoautomats (analog photo boots) in the city and writing poems in each one while my photos developed.

Silver Sprocket interview

Hey all! I've been a huge fan of Silver Sprocket Bicycle Co. and their As You Were zine for a long time and I'm really excited to share a follow-up to the comic I did in their last volume! Natalye at Silver Sprocket was kind enough to interview me and share some of my work. It's up here along with a brand new drawing and links to purchase!

New site (almost) up and running!

By the time I've got this posted everything should be published and good to go. I'm figuring out along the way if I'll have a use for this—maybe a way to keep everyone updated on projects, commission availability, etc.