The Secrets of Cartooning

Hey everyone, just wanted to update you on what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks which have turned to months… The end of the semester is coming up in about two weeks and our final projects are due in less than a week! I’ve been working on a 24-page comic about monster street team sort of like in Ghostbusters, but there is also human drama to make the hard sci-fi relatable. Anyway you’ll just have to see it! I’m calling it Monster Handler and it’s tagline is: WHO HANDLES THE MONSTER HANDLER.

Mystery!

So here’s the first three pages of my pencils:

And the inks (I’m now in the digital clean up phase):

Also, Lynda Barry (ZOMG buy her books) came to CCS last week to give a two-day workshop and it was the most intense writing experience I’ve had in my life.  She had us writing pages and pages of memories or stories that flowed from “the back of the mind” and we weren’t allowed to check our messages during breaks! But really it was a fantastic experience and she is an amazing, mind-blowing woman. She told really funny jokes and sweet anecdotes. She actually shared the secret of cartooning! I’ll tell you all the secret now by telling you a story. In 1995,  a doctor named Vilayanur Ramachandran treated a patient who had lost the use of his hand but complained of a phantom limb pain where it felt like the fist was continously clenched despite the paralysis. This caused so much anxiety to the patient that he was ready to just have his entire hand amputated. So Ramachandran had the patient put his good hand in this “mirror box” and clench his fist so when the patient saw the reflection of  the hand it looked like his paralyzed limb. And then Ramachandran told the patient to unclench the fist, and the patient was able to feel relief from the phantom limb pain! And that is was our cartoons and our images do, guys. We use them just like a reflection to unclench the fist.

I was able to talk with Lynda for quite a bit after the workshop and at the bar. Her mom is Filipino, but she doesn’t look like it because as she says, “I’m a quarter Norwegian, and Norwegian blood can suck the color out of anything.” Fact, guys. And we bonded over our shared heritage; she referred to me as her Filipino cousin. The thing that struck me the most was how present and intense she was with every person she interacted with. It was so sincere, so real. And thinking about her makes me cry so I will stop. For now.

Also I was in New York a few weekends ago for MoCCA 2011, and I got a rash on my face. It’s okay now. Unclench the fist!

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