Barry will be at VanCAF this weekend

On May 22, 2012 · 8 Comments

Hi! Sorry I’ve been blogging so little lately. I’m just spending long days every day drawing Hereville. And it’s not just the time; it’s also, somehow, mental creative energy being expended. Even when I have a few hours after work, I just don’t seem to have it in me to write new posts.

Anyway, this too will pass.

I’ll be appearing in Vancouver, Canada this weekend, at the Vancouver Comics Arts Fest. It should be a lot of fun, and I think admission is free; so if you’re in Vancouver, please come see me and say hi.

Here’s the page from Hereville 2 I finished yesterday — and it’s a pretty spoiler-free page. I’m pretty happy with how this page looks.

It has two unusual elements for me. First of all, it’s yet another attempt at an Eisner-style collage layout. I wouldn’t say it’s completely successful — certainly not as nice looking as an Eisner page, but that’s a given, isn’t it? — but I think this works better than the Eisner-attempts in book one did. (Which were pages 31 and 32, if you’re wondering and have book 1 handy.)

Secondly, drew panel one with the kind of over-the-top foreshortening that artists like Jim Steranko used to such great effect, which is not something I can recall ever attempting before. I think it came out okay, but I probably won’t be doing this often in the future — it’s so visually oddball looking (to my eyes, at least) that I think it’s bound to distract from storytelling in most contexts.

8 Responses to “Barry will be at VanCAF this weekend”

  1. Larry Lennhoff says:

    I bet on an earlier page the issue of lashon hara (gossip) came up,

  2. You don’t consider a spoiler that another shabbat takes place in this book? 🙂

    I love studying your page layouts. One of my favorite layout comparisons is between the two pages in the book where first, Fruma is arguing with Mirka and then later, when Mirka argues with, um, her antagonist. (No spoilers here!) It shows exactly where Mirka picked up her debating skills.

  3. Barry says:

    Michael, thank you! That’s exactly the connection I was hoping readers would make between those two page layouts.

    Larry, no, lashon hara doesn’t come up in book 2. Maybe in book 3…

    • Larry Lennhoff says:

      Huh. I felt sure ‘What’s that I hear’ was refering to Mirka speaking Lashon Hara against Metty. I’ll have to read it in context.

    • Barry, I’ve probably read over your book more than anyone else but you. I frequently re-read in on shabbat afternoons. And so, I’ve studied the art. As a comics fan, I tend to look more to the writer than the artist, but some artists make me want to study more, and find out exactly what it is that they do that makes their art “work” for me. At the moment, you and Amanda Conner are the two artists I’m most interested in for studying. (Of course, you’re also a writer, and I’m not sure Conner is, but that’s irrelevant.)

      I think it was Scott McCloud’s work that really made me start to think about how the artists I read make their story’s formalism work well. It’s why I felt that something like Watchmen should never have been made into a movie. The story could be adapted into a movie, but the work itself depends on the comics form. Hereville is very similar.

      (Hm. I’ve just compared your work favorably with that of Amanda Conner, Alan Moore, and Dave Gibbons. I suppose I ought to stop before I inflate your ego to the size of a watermelon.)

      • Barry says:

        No worries — my head is unswelled, because the comparisons you’re making are so out of my league!

        For me, Amanda Conner is one of the very best artists working within the mainstream style right now. (Sara Pachelli, who draws the new “Ultimate Comics Spider-Man,” is another superhero artist whose work I bet you’d enjoy.) Amanda’s grasp of expression and body language is amazing. I talked to her once when we were both at the Miami book fair; it turns out that she and I went to the same high school, although she was three years ahead of me.

        I agree with you about Watchmen. I don’t really mind that they made a movie of it — the nice thing about failed adaptations is that they fade away over time, while the original work lives on — but it’s really not adaptable.

        • I’ve been reading Ultimate Spider-Man — again, for the story — and you’re right. The art is great. But, as noted, I picked it up for story. As a comic reader, I tend to be interested in certain characters first, followed by the writers I like, and then the artists.

          The fellow who manages my local comic shop, Benn Robbins, is an artist as well (he and his wife wrote and illustrated The Mangalicious Tick). He was able to explain to me, just as you did, why I like Conner’s art. You look at her characters and you know exactly who they are and what they’re thinking.

          Similarly, what I like about your character designs is how much you can read of their expressions with but a few simple lines. To give one example, just look at the three drawings of Mirka above. Each expression says so much, and yet look how few lines you actually use to draw her face. How do you do that? For someone like me, who has had only some cartooning training, it’s most impressive.

          • Barry says:

            I nearly always read for the story. A good story can somewhat rescue bad art, but good art can’t rescue a bad story. Or at least, not for more than one issue.

            The Tick is great!

            I’m really glad you enjoy my art. I’m usually very unsatisfied with my drawings, but I’m trying to get better, and the process is often really fun and absorbing.

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