12 April 2012

The Beauty of a Do-Over

On Tuesday cartoonist Jesse Lonergan (Joe and Azat, among the notable titles listed in Best American Comics 2011) provided a précis of his writing process. It adds more detail to what I typed out after I met him at the Boston Comics Roundtable:
I'll plot out the story roughly in a notebook. In the case of this book, which I think will be around 100 pages, I wrote two pages of notes. I then sit down with a sketchbook and go. I draw a six panel grid on every page and fill the panels, no thought given to layout at all. The goal is just to get the images down. . . .

All these pages were numbered and scanned. I'd like to think that there is a purpose to numbering the pages, but I think I do it mainly because I like using my little number stamp to mark the pages.
Last fall Jesse shared the results of a wilder creative method: each day drawing a comics page in a notebook without planning the story at all. Some of my favorite pages of that sequence were actually dead ends, where Jesse decided to give himself a do-over.
You can really see the creative process at work.
Or not.
At one point I thought Jesse was using this exercise to work out ideas for his new graphic novel. But that book will be about high-school baseball in Vermont. So now I think one motivation for these little pages might have been the opportunity to use the little date stamp.

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