Monday, September 21, 2009

Kick Out the Jams

This last weekend a few of us got together for another cartoon jam. There hadn't been one for quite a while (summer in Alaska tends to preempt a lot of activities) and this was a good jump-start for some upcoming cartoon related events. Plus a little show & tell of some recent acquisitions and autographed books, and caught up on shop talk. Inari Kylänen, Heidi Atkinson and myself are also all educators as well as artists so that was a bonus connection - how cool is that to hang out with teachers who cartoon.

Sometimes in the past a lot of folks that attend these, so this was a nice change of pace, a little more intimate and relaxing, more like sitting around drawing with some friends. Of course, these gigs aren't ever advertised per say, just word-of-mouth, a spam email announcement and a Facebook events page.

Getting the juices flowing sometimes takes effort: exercises like these can really torque the brain, not knowing what to draw much less how to draw it in the allotted time tends to inspire all sorts of random, spontaneous weirdness. Staring down a blank sheet of paper is like the square-wheel syndrome at forty-below, trying to smooth off the rough edges and get rolling.

The timer was abandoned early on, as we seemed to be pretty much in mutual sync, and we also each penciled stuff out first before going over them with an assortment of pens.
The goal - shown here with these posted samples (click for larger image) - was for each of us to take a blank strip of paper (a tabloid/11x17" cut lengthwise in two) folded in thirds and begins a story on the first panel. After that's completed, the strip of paper is folded over so as to hide what was just drawn, and exposes only the third/final panel before passing it over to the next person.
This second person then does a drawing on the third/last page that completes a story, and lastly the task of the third person in line is to unfold the strip, viewing both panels one and two, and attempt to construct, if possible, some sort of a narrative bridge between those two random events or depicted scenarios. The resulting non-sequiturs run the gauntlet between hilarious to disturbing, making some sort of twisted sense more often than not.

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