Otis was working late last night, so I took the opportunity to head over to 826 Seattle* for a writing workshop presented by Ellen Forney. You may remember Forney from my report on last year's Comixtravaganza - she's a local rockstar cartoonist, does a lot of work for The Stranger, worked with Sherman Alexie, has a new book out, and is currently writing a graphic novel. As I have said before, she is da bomb.
It was great night. Forney gave a wonderful workshop, particularly because she approached making comics from the perspective of writing. She mentioned a few times how delighted she was to be seen as a writer, or at least as a writer-artist, instead of just as an artist. The art-pigeonhole cartoonists find themselves slotted into doesn't do justice to the storytelling ability and understanding of narrative form anyone accomplished at the craft must have. This is of especial interest to me, since my comics reading stretches back to a time when the writer was king of the book and comics were more textual and less faux-cinematic than they currently are; the writing has always been the aspect of making comics that appealed to me (viz., the prior post).
Forney was personable, informative, funny, and cool, and the crowd of a dozen or more lapped it up as she walked us through her process on a few different works. After a comprehensive survey of nuts-and-bots approaches, we ended with the now-almost-traditional Making of the Mini-Comic. Here's an except from mine:
(Yes, I went meta.)
Whether you want to make comics or not, any chance to hang with Forney is worth it. Maybe she'll tell you the story about her Cougar.
*By the way, 826 Seattle, located inside the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. (a convenient front), is a fantastic non-profit writing center that lets adults attend cool writing workshops only to support all the great FREE work they do with kids week in and week out. It's worth checking out and supporting.