cartooning: an art of story telling
Epic cartoonist Harry Bliss visited the class today and gave us a presentation on his life and work. He was not always successful but his passion for sketching and design was so simple yet valuable to him that he never stopped doing it. After 16 years of working at a restaurant he has now illustrated popular kid books and is now a constant cartoonist for The Newyorker. I was amazed by his work.
I think that for many his presentation could of been a simple fun experience but personally for me I can say I took away a lot from it.
First, given that I am a very visual individual I could really see the value in communicating an idea through little words and text and how a small sketch can many times transmit a clearer opinion than a two page long persuasive article.
When we asked him if he had a specific audience (a factor we concentrate through all our projects) he said that he works for himself. This first was shocking to me as the NEW YORKER has a huge and important audience (NY CITY) But he's concept was also very interesting because he said that when he tried to please others through the jokes he told in his 'one-glimpse' stories, these came out UN natural.
This made me think that YES, having clear who your target audience is, IS important but it is also important that YOU appreciate and feel proud of your own work.
I connected this instantaneously to writing articles for the break and journalism in general. When you write about a subject you don't believe in, the article will not feel natural, real or even could turn out kind of mediocre. Lesson for self: judge your work honestly with your own taste before exposing it to others.
He also enhanced the importance of technology because in his time, passion was all that mattered. He had to take long walks and knock on doors to get his work out there when now; we can show our work online and this way following a passion of this sort is not as rough as it was 20 years ago.
I admire his way of perceiving failure because every time they reject his work he doesn't take it personally. The rejection rate in The New Yorker was 90% when he first started working for them so he had to do lots of work to get that 10% out to reach a public (IF the work was good of course). He used this as a motivation for improvement and NOW even though not all his work is published if HE likes it, he keeps it and shows it to others to make them better.
A technique I noticed that was characteristic of him was that his work was much like visual poetry. For example he used metaphors by giving humans animal features or even comparing them with action figures (hulk).
Check out some of the highlights of today!!!!
Now that school has shown me this new view to work through a squared window I have pushed aside this idea of sketching from time to time. I think I might have to start again...
doodling can be considered a childish hobby but it some times can be a great way to take the social, financial and even personal happenings and complications that surround you and make a joke out of them - making life a little less serious ;)
Thank you Harry Bliss! Your work was very inspiring!!!