Emi Lenox, a local artist and creator of EmiTown, a journal comic covering two years of her life, hosted one of the first workshops of the festival. I was really looking forward to this one. Not only because Emi is pretty awesome and friendly herself, but because I have always had a passing interest in autobiographical comics. With a drug dealer stepfather and too many mornings waking up in strange places and no idea how I got there, I have a wide array of stories I could tell. One of the reasons I keep from doing so is the fact that journal comics seem so freakin’ trendy right now. I guess they have always been around and hopefully always will be.
started out with a history of journal comics including Clumsy by Jeff Brown (which I ended up buying at the festival), French Milk by Lucy Knisley, American Elf by James Kochalka and Craig Thompson’s Blankets.
Another one I have been looking for is Ed Brubaker’s Loser, about his
previous life in the meth world.
then gave us an example of how she would create her daily pages. She
would start off drawing thumbnails about something that happened that
day and then just start writing words down or thoughts from throughout
the day and then draw around them. It is a sketch journal, so sometimes
it is fun just drawing.
also stressed keeping it real. There’s no need to try to please the
reader, something also stressed by Brian Michael Bendis and Erika Moen.
She mentioned how sometimes her mom would call her up, “Oh, Emi” after
she would mention birth control or how she would include stories about
her break ups. I agree. Keep it real. When it comes to autobio comics I
prefer them to be raw and real and not sugar coat anything. Like Clumsy,
by Jeff Brown. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything and shows his insecurities
and blowing up emotionally. These things are what life is all about,
the things that make life interesting. It drives me crazy when I see
someone I haven’t seen in awhile and when I ask them how things have
been they respond, “Oh, you know. Same O, same O. Another day. Another
dollar. Living the dream.” Arrrrgh!!! Some people just can’t see the
beautiful things in life that surround them or realize that they are
having grand adventures every day. But even those perspectives make
good auto bio comics. Experiences, whether good or negative, are all
comics also give you a subject to write and draw. So often people,
myself included, worry , “What am I going to draw today?” Why not your
life? It’s there every day. You can’t avoid it. If you ever need
something to write just start writing about your day. You never know
what will come out of it. And you may learn something about yourself.
the festival, I came out thinking about the various projects I am
working on. I have my long story that is going to take over two years to
produce, but I am thinking of various smaller/quicker projects I can do
as well that will help me get a table at SCF next year or at the
Portland Zine Symposium this Aug. So much I want to do. Time to trim
off the excess and focus!!
She had everyone work on a page for the day. It WAS a workshop!! Here is my page.