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.