It’s good to see Erin again after a few weeks, but what I’m really excited about is seeing Mona again. We saw her briefly in a flashback but here she actually gets to say things. Thanks so much to the Portland Comics Creators group and Chris A’Lurede for giving me advice on these pages.
Did you know that the tallest building in the town I grew up in is 12 stories tall? I’d never been on the top of it but someday I’d like to.
Thanks everybody for putting up with my week away from updates to Oh, It’s the End of the World. I like to take a little time between the completion of one chapter and the begging of the next to make sure everything is on the right course.
Also, for those who missed it last update, I put PDF, CBZ, and iBooks versions of my comics up as “pay what you want” DRM free digital downloads a couple weeks ago. I’m happy to report that the response has been so flattering! Lots of people have downloaded them and a few kind folks even decided to pitch in. People are sharing them with their friends and posting about them online. It’s tough to express how flattering and reassuring it is to know that, after several years working on these stories, people are honestly getting something out of them.
You can get The Chairs’ Hiatus and the first two issues of Oh, It’s the End of the World on my downloads page. Even if you don’t have anything to pitch in pleasetake a copy of the comics. Email them to your friends, discover them on your hard drive five years from now and reminisce about what you were reading in 2013, print them out and draw all over them. It’s awesome. Comics for everyone!
Portland Comics Creators Group
This weeks pages were made better by the awesome folks at the Portland Comics Creators Group which I highly recommend. It’s a group that meets once every week to show and critique each-others comics. I hadn’t been in a long time and it was good to be back. If you’re a comics creator in Portland I recommend you check it out. Here’s a link to the facebook page where they publish the meeting times.
I don’t like to write. I’m a terrible speller, and I have terrible sentence structure, I use punctuation haphazardly because I don’t truly understand it. I usually embarrass myself when something I’ve written gets published. (Like, perhaps, right now?) When people say, “I don’t know how to draw, I’m not an artist.” I understand. I don’t know how to write, I’m not a writer. With all that being said, writing is simply too useful for me to not do it at all. Text messages, journal entries, scripts for comics, bizarre observations, I might not consider myself a writer but I write all over the place!
I wonder about the reverse. Do the people who have no interest in being a capital “A” Artist feel fine busting out sketches and doodles? I don’t think most people do, and, until I read “The Sketchnote Handbook” by my friend Mike Rohde, it never occurred how much people who write off drawing are missing out.
A page of “The Sketchnote Handbook”
Often people look at drawing and sketching as a superfluous trait akin to being a really good whistler. Good for you if you take it seriously, but it’s hardly in the same league as having an understanding of language, reading, or writing. I think “The Sketchnote Handbook” gives us a sense that drawing is a great deal more useful to everybody. That’s an important lesson to pass on.
Mike maintains that “sketch notes”, which are a combination of words, symbols, and pictures, can be vastly more effective at getting to and retaining the core of an idea than traditional, text only notes. The book bills itself as a toolbox for helping people incorporate sketching into their note taking, specifically in the context of seminars, meetings, classes, and the like. With a lot of fun mixed in, he makes his point convincingly. I think you’d be hard pressed to argue with him.
Yet, while the idea that words, symbols and pictures add up to more than the sum of their parts seems like it would be right up the alley of a cartoonist, “words, pictures, and symbols” being just about our entire arsenal, there’s another important aspect to the book that I think most cartoonists could learn from. Mike points out what little drawing skill you really need in order to kick an idea’s ass. You don’t have to draw like Chris Ware in order to convey gorgeous, inspiring, useful ideas in crude, crazy, stick figures.
A page of “The Sketchnote Handbook”
Mike illustrates wonderfully, through tons of simple, beautifully drawn pages, that sketching is no more complex than writing. Once you’ve learned the alphabet, it doesn’t matter if your penmanship rivals the great calligraphers of the last hundred years. All that matters is that your writing is legible. After that, what you’re writing is usually all that matters.
A page of “The Sketchnote Handbook” A page of “The Sketchnote Handbook”
I’d love to hear what you think. Even better, I’d love to see something you’ve drawn. Anything. I swear. ANYTHING! You might not think I’d be interested in that thing you’ve drawn but you’re wrong. Post a link in the comments or send me a message with it.