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First Times

Lucy Knisley [pronounced nie-zlee] is my all-time favourite autobiographical comic book creator. But I'll get to that in a minute.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my fall from the comic book world and how I wish I could get back into it. I still like to illustrate, but since getting dumped hard by my former best friend, an increasingly famous comic book creator, I've found myself avoiding the scene out of absolute heartache. This year has been extremely rough for me. I have several friends both on and off facebook who I am only friends with because of this guy, and (on top of the fact that my wall gets flooded sometimes with news of his next big project) about half of them don't really talk to me much anymore, which brings me down (however, I think a lot of it may be my imagination, but I still can't help feeling like they know something I don't, like he's told them the reason he dumped me, which is probably full of lies, considering what little he's told me about his decision to drop me). I just feel like, if I'm not well-known in his world, he doesn't want anything to do with me.

And thinking that made me just give up on the whole 'try to get into comics' thing. I was never good at it. I have character style, I think, but no real comic style, you know? I used to make my panels too detailed, because I thought something would get lost in the context if I didn't. And I hate backgrounds, so doing it discouraged me, which is the first reason I never broke into comics. My heart wasn't into it.

But now I'm thinking, I shouldn't try to start by putting so much work into it. I should just be getting my ideas onto paper, even in sketch form. I do have sketches for one project, the pet project that'll probably never see the light of day.

But at this point in my life, I think I need to start over. I want to break back into comics with what I know. And what I know, finally, after my whole life has been lived, is me.

Lucy Knisley is my favourite autobiographical comic book creator. I was a fan long before I knew who she is. I met her and spoke to her a couple times before I really got to know her work. Even now, I only have a little bit of knowledge of who she is, I only have a little bit of her work. She does a great web series called Stop Paying Attention that's always helped me feel better about myself and the world around me. And she has gorgeous and informative travelogues.

I've always loved autobiographical comics, actually. I never thought about it before, but some of my most cherished comics, the ones that really stuck with me, are autobiographical. Here are some of my favourites:

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These were my first two. I still have A Year In Japan. The illustrations inside are beyond gorgeous. Aimee Major-Steinberger is a staple of American Lolita artists.

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My Lucy Knisley books - the Hogwarts one was my first of hers, only available as an ashcan at conventions (edit: and apparently downloadable from her site). Relish is sticky with ingredients, because a book all about being a foodie must include recipes, and the book is so worn, it automatically opens to the sushi instructions!

This is the latest in my autobio collection. I met the author a few years ago at my school. He had a gallery setup, and his raw comic images are incredible! He was an absolute dream to talk to, also.

So here's what I'm thinking. I've got a lot of First experiences I've always wanted to write about. I've already written about my First Date. I think I want to make it into a comic theme.

Firsts. Hmm...

I have a list of about ten or so Firsts. I started a new sketchbook for this. I'm hoping winter blues won't harsh this project too badly.

Here's to First Times.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
Good luck with your comic book projects! There will always be somebody out there that is better than you. You will never get anywhere comparing yourself to others. What is important is to do your own thing, and tell your own unique story. The hardest part is getting started, right?

I don't know too much about the current graphic novel and comics market, but it is cool to see so many different styles and subjects. When I moved to the US all I saw was superhero comics and they did not interest me in the slightest. I prefer shojo manga and slice-of-life comics. But all the creative new stuff coming out looks really interesting.
Dec. 26th, 2014 12:12 am (UTC)
Definitely try to jump back in there again, ignoring everything that has gone on related to it. Things may have happened that discouraged you and if you think about them now, they might seem discouraging, but you've grown in the passing time. Like you said, it might be good to start by putting a lot in to it. Then as things happen, you'll adapt. You might fail, you might not. You won't know unless you go for it right? And what do you have to lose? Nothing.
Dec. 29th, 2014 03:26 am (UTC)
I forgot to reply earlier, but thank you so much for these words. I think this is the best advice I've gotten about my art all year <3
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )