Category Archives: Blog

Wedding sketches

This week I’ve been working on writing scenes for a graphic novel idea about a wedding. Writing is hard! But I’m learning so much by really trying to understand structure and character development, building moment after moment into a comprehensive story. I’ve had positive feedback on the project this week from an agent with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and from Rich Johnson (Publishing & Graphic Novel Consultant, formerly with DC Comics) during their respective visits to the Center for Cartoon Studies. My hope is to have a full proposal and a rough dummy by the end of the semester!

Running Bride

RISD Fall Sale 2009

Our booth before the show opened at 10:00am

We are back from Providence after a full day of selling cards, comics, and book jewelry at the RISD Alumni Fall Sale of 2009. It was a great success! We did very well this year and extend our great thanks to all of you who purchased our merchandise and shared your stories. If you are interested in any additional items from us please email me at and we can easily get it to you right away. Our store is currently under construction; our sincere apologies. Happy Fall everyone!

The Big City

We’re back after a delicious whirlwind trip to New York City! I hope all of the SPXer’s had a great time; I’m sorry to have missed it.

It was a great honor to meet David Small and his wife Sarah Stewart on Tuesday night after David’s presentation on Stitches with his host Jules Feiffer. The book is his first graphic novel after a long career as a children’s book illustrator, and it looks to be a wildly successful addition to the canon of the genre. It is deeply powerful in its silence and masterfully drawn. I enjoyed hearing his thoughts on walking the line between absolute fidelity to Truth and telling a cohesive story. David’s and Sarah’s combined energy and shared passion as a powerhouse creative couple is very encouraging. Good luck on your tour!

"Cut the adjectives-- they tell you what to think."
"Cut the adjectives-- they tell you what to think."

Language, and matters of the soul

Flaubert wrote to his lover in his second year of working on Madame Bovary that “everything one invents is true,” and that “poetry is just as precise as geometry. Induction is as valid as deduction, and after a certain point, one is never wrong about matters of the soul.”

Roald Hoffman, Nobel Prize winning chemist, finds that science has a great deal in common with poetry. “The language of science is a language under stress. Words are being made to describe things that seem indescribable in words– equations, chemical structures and so forth. Words do not, cannot mean all that they stand for, yet they are all we have to describe experience. By being a natural language under tension, the language of science is inherently poetic. There is metaphor aplenty in science. Emotions emerge shaped as states of matter and more interestingly, matter acts out what goes on in the soul. One thing is certainly not true: that scientists have some greater insight into the workings of nature than poets… Poetry soars, all around the tangible, in deep dark, through a world we reveal and make.”

Graphic designer turned rock star Chip Kidd states in an interview that books are very much theater of the mind, and that “writing is really designing with words, taking language to create a pure experience in the reader’s mind.”

I like all of these ideas.

They inspire me to be a better writer, a better designer, and a better visual storyteller.

Now back to work!

Madame Bovary!

Madame BovaryChick Lit! The very first!

I have just finished reading Flaubert’s classic masterpiece for the first time and I am not at all ashamed to say that I truly enjoyed it. How can one resist such a ‘vulgar’ protagonist as Emma Bovary, who finally yields to her lover’s advances with the “real” (translation: “obscene”) scenario of an eight-hour ride in the back of a carriage?

“Without any fixed plan or direction, [the cab] wandered about at hazard… From time to time the coachman on his box cast despairing eyes at the public-houses. He could not understand what furious desire for locomotion urged these individuals never to wish to stop. He tried now and then, and at once exclamations of anger burst forth behind him. Then he lashed his perspiring jades afresh… demoralised, and almost weeping with thirst, fatigue, and depression” (227).

Scandal! Can you imagine?! That kind of flagrant sex scene in media today?!

Emma is a cross-dressed version of Flaubert himself who lusts for the romance of gods and fairy tales while bound to her adoring bovine husband. She writes letters to her lover “in virtue of the notion that a woman must write to her lover,” but meanwhile loses sight of the man himself beneath the abundance of his attributes (296). Flaubert has clearly used his own lust and Parisian lovers to navigate the events of his plot, and the novel is just as “real” today as it was in the 1850’s. Thank God for the censors and critics, and the trial that launched the book into fame and infamy.

Today, romance genre literature apparently make up fifty percent (50%!!!) of the publishing industry. What are we all doing in cartooning?!

School begins!

Our second year at the Center for Cartoon Studies kicks off today with Alec Longstreth’s Professional Practice class! Yahoo! I’m very excited about this year and all of the opportunities ahead, but also determined to make the most of my time and the work I have to do. David Macaulay has agreed to be my thesis advisor for the year, resuming his role as a mentor and editor from my days at RISD as a sophomore and junior. He is insightful, encouraging, and very critical; it’s all about the work to him, and I deeply appreciate his objectivity. I think it will be a great fall!

Perfume: a novel by Patrick Suskind

Perfume CoverLast week I finished reading a copy of the novel Perfume by Patrick Suskind. I loved it! What a delicious sensory experience, fresh and engaging from beginning to end and a masterfully woven thrill. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born among fish guts and market refuse in the slums of 18th century France with one unlikely talent: a genius gift of scent. His miserable life unrolls before him, from foster home to foster home, from master to master, until at last his fate brings him to the door of a famous perfumer and he dares to prove his cursed gift.

Suskind’s writing breaths scent, a unique reading experience that titillates the senses while enfolding you in story. How often do you experience any work of art or literature that hooks you by the nose? An unforgettable ending, two thumbs way up for Perfume.