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Thursday, August 17th, 2006

As mentioned in the previous entry, I wanted to try making a simple comic strip, with the criterion that it be simple to produce, but not so simple as to make the artistic aspect irrelevant (which last is often the case with so many 'talking heads' strips).

I then thought of the approach that Larry Marder used in his legendary comic Beanworld. Starting with very simple and iconic forms, he created a complex story with its own unique ecosystem and physical laws. I decided to begin this project by creating some simple forms and combining them until something arose that I could use.

(It should be said that I am not trying to create something as complex as Beanworld by quickly shuffling some forms around. Marder developed the iconography for his characters, and the concepts that underlie his work, over many years. What I'm doing may be a brief distraction, or a minor step on the road to Bune, or (eventually) a complex work in its own right, but at present it's just the start of an experiment.)

I next considered whether to construct the forms by freehand sketching or in Illustrator. I tried Illustrator first, but the basic shapes produced by its drawing tools were offering me no inspiration, and I was inclined to try scratchboarding instead, but first I tried another approach. Overlapping a mass of simple shapes in Illustrator, I used the Division tool to break the mass into a group of puzzlelike pieces. (This worked so well that Laura, looking over my shoulder, at first thought that I was trying to solve a puzzle, not construct a comic.) I selected various pieces that looked promising, and combined them into two basic characters which appear below. I set a few rules to keep things interesting: pieces had to be either black or white, and could be rotated, flipped, and resized, but not stretched, squashed or otherwise edited into a different shape.

All that said, here's the result. I don't have a name for the comic yet; I am expecting the right name to eventually land on it, just as a huge frantically buzzing insect might land on your neck. I may use an old nonsense poem that I wrote as a source of names, but right now the two entities below are likewise tagless.

Experimental Comic 1


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