Tuesday, August 14, 2007

sruble's new world


I'm blogging over on LiveJournal and just opened this account to comment on Blogger blogs. :0)

Update: Blogging on Blogger now! I've imported some of my old LiveJournal posts into this blog so they're all in one place.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Reading Graphic Novels

In LA, the topic of graphic novels being hard for some people to read came up. With these conversations in mind, I stopped to look at the graphic novel section in the bookstore this weekend.

Disclaimer #1: I'm a long time comic strip reader but I'm new to graphic novels so I'm just going on observations here. Feel free to try and convince me that I might need to look at this in a new way.

The thing that I noticed was that some graphic novels ARE hard to read. They are not as accessible because of the way the art looks or because of small or stylized lettering that makes the text hard to read. (If you wouldn't print a whole regular novel in all italics because it's hard to read, then why would you put all the text in a graphic novel into italics or flowery script that's hard to read?)

Sometimes, in a prose or verse novel, the writing gets in the way of the story. It's too pretty or descriptive, or just plain bad, and you notice the writing while you are reading. Sometimes a character or more will have a thick accent that will take a while to get used to and make the book hard to read in the beginning, but once you get used to it the story comes through.

I'm sure that this applies to graphic novel art as well. Sometimes you need to get used to the look of the images and to figure out the visual accent, but once you do, the story comes through. There are also cases where the art doesn't work well to tell a story. Maybe there isn't enough contrast so you can't really make out the figures or the action, or maybe there's a distracting shading technique or poorly drawn figures.

Just like in a regular novel, a graphic novel should think about the reader and focus on creating a story that the reader will be able to be drawn into. That story focus should include how the images look.

Disclaimer #2: Personal preference plays a part. What doesn't work visually for me, might work really well for someone else.

Some graphic novels are inviting to almost everyone; the story is easy to decipher in both the pictures and the text. These are my favorites, especially if they also have a great story and wonderful characters.

After my trip to the bookstore this weekend, I can see how it might be hard for some people to read graphic novels. Maybe they just haven't found the right one for them yet.

Friday, August 10, 2007

LA part 2

Some notes and stuff - most are not direct quotes - I can't write as fast as people speak!

Walter Dean Meyers: Why is the character's problem important to the reader? Why is his life important to the reader?

Peter Brown told us that the Russian version of Cinderella has a talking cow instead of a fairy godmother. (You know I'm going to have to do something with that!)

Pam Calvert / pamm told me that one of the images in my portfolio reminded her of M.C. Escher. Thanks Pam!!!!

Laurent Linn: The best book ever is your favorite book as a child.

Mark McVeigh: Wait until after a critique is over to get emotional so that you can get everything out of the critique and hear everything the critiquer has to say.

Anna Grossnickle Hines recommended a book, The Zen of Seeing, by Fredrick Franck. Check it out if you're interested in Zen Drawing. (We did an exercise out of the book at her workshop. It was nice to have quiet time to draw during the conference, and I think I can alter the exercise for my art.)

John Green:
-If a writer does it right, it makes the reader feel like it's a co-creation of they story.
-Literature doesn't just come to you - you have to work at it.

Jo Whittemore/ jo_no_anne and I had fun talking about food (and anticipating dessert) at the Golden Kite luncheon. ;)

Mac McCool:
-If you're going to write or illustrate graphic novels, you have to read graphic novels.
-Write distinct voices in a graphic novel, just like you would in a regular novel.

Emma Dryden: Give your characters a personality.

Linda Sue Park:
-Unexpected inevitability is her favorite kind of ending. (Not only is it a great ending, but it's fun to say too!)
-LSP and her editor Dinah Stevenson called unpublished writers pre-published. I'd heard it before, but it stuck with me this time as a really cool way to say you're not published, YET.

Kirby Larson: Sometimes when life gives you lemons, it shops at Costco. (Love this saying!)

Laurent Linn and MarkMcVeigh (on graphic novels): Artistically, anything goes. (YAY!!!)

Want more about LA? Check out Elizabeth Dulemba's great notes from LA here:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

LA (part 1)

The conference was fabulous. Alice Pope has blogged about it here:

I didn't take a ton of notes, but will look over the ones I have and see if there's anything worthwhile in there that Alice didn't already cover.

Here's my favorite quote from the conference:
"Write the book more than you write about the book." - Linda Sue Park

I needed that advice for one of my stories... did someone say Tornado Novel?

It was a different sort of conference for me this year, as I'm still recovering from my injury and wasn't able to do everything I usually do. But I still had a good time, met some wonderful new friends and got to see some old friends too.

Now I'm going to work on the PB request I got during my portfolio review :0)