The Great Book Seminar Saga: Part I

The Great Book Seminar Saga
Part I: The Wall

...in which Lisa's studio wall is completely hidden under an inch of paper and Viktor sends a package...

Another day, another bucket of crumpled paper and another handful of passable sketches added to the wall of my li'l studio. The wall next to my drawing table is a veritable jumble of papers. To the untrained eye, it might seem as though my sketchbook ate something that didn't agree with it and was sick all over the wall. Actually, that's not so far off. The wall is covered with layer upon layer of taped-up thumbnail drawings, first sketches, second sketches, color tests, inked versions, failed scratch board illustrations, and (crossing fingers) what might actually be finals for a picture book project.


The Wall is devoted entirely to one class (cue dramatic music and thunder crashes), my Book Seminar. So the project... in August, Viktor (the prof) sent us a short story ("Buying Lenin" by Miroslav Penkov) that the entire semester's work would be based upon. Our initial assignment was to propose a sequential project based on the story - a picture book, comic, graphic novel, illustrated story sort of thing, or anything else that lends itself to a series of related images likes posters or thematically tied pieces.

I struggled with the assignment. To give you an idea, Viktor arrived in class the first day and said, "It's a great story. It has something for everyone - war, death, Bulgaria, loss, communism..."

Hmm...

Yeeeah... great picture book themes, right? Totally fits my work and aesthetic.

Anywho, I came up with an idea that would allow me to do something more interesting to me while still remaining vaguely tied to the story. It was about leaving home and missing home and loss and absence...


Long story short, it crashed and burned. I spent five weeks pulling out my hair and churning out pictures that didn't feel like me. Viktor even nixed the one thing I really liked about one of the images... the goat.
It's not that I hated aaaaall of the pictures...

but honestly it all felt just meh.

Not okay.

So week five, I scrapped the whole thing, pulled an all nighter, and by class the next day had sketches and layout for a thirty-two page picture book.

End Part I


Stay tuned for The Great Book Seminar Saga, Part II : The Picture Book

...in which Viktor lights a fire, and Lisa gets the heebie jeebies...

6 comments:

charlotteinatx said...

so . . . the saga continues? (I'm pretty sure I'm referencing star wars, but the signifying chain is kind of disrupted [can you tell i'm doing a paper on postmodern tv?])

yay for you joining the blog realm. the better for me to procrastinate.

Benjamin Kalish said...

So those are the images you don't like? If it doesn't feel right, it doesn't feel right, but I think they are beautiful! I love the compositions and the linework as well and there is something immediately accessible about them, which is great. They reminds me of a less cluttered version of Boutet de Monvel and other illustrators from that era.

I notice that all of the drawings except the last one, the one you like, have a distant, lonely feel. Do you think that's what you don't like about them?

Allison said...

Can't wait to see the new concept for the book in Part 2! Also, I'm really curious what you ended up doing for that 3 panel narrative project. Did any of our brainstorming help? Thanks for sharing your thoughts and art on the web - I'm really enjoying getting to see what you're working on. I still want to come by your studio sometime and experience this myself, though. I'll bring cupcakes.

Lisa Anchin said...

The saga does continue, though I left the files of my sketches at the studio. Updates will have to happen tomorrow. But woo for postmodern tv! Awesomeness! (We must needs catch up on your Austin style life, Mz. Charlotte!)

Thanks Ben! The overall loneliness of the piece was a big part of what wasn't working for me. I wanted them to have that feeling and am glad they work... but I often work whimsical or silly, and the seriousness of the subject matter made me feel as though I were forcing my work into an unnatural shape.

Part II tomorrow! I'll definitely post the narrative piece... though methinks, it must needs wait until the conclusion of the saga. And come visit with or without cupcakes... though admittedly cupcakes sound super exciting! (Anyone who happens to be in Chelsea, should let me know... visitors are always welcome!)

Michael said...

can't wait to see part 2, im getting excited just imagining it, but seriously how did you do it all in one night? amazing

Tina said...

But the goat and its peeps are so adorable!

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