CONFIRMING THE CONCLUSION. As prefaced in the previous blog post on this subject BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.49, I have now completed the final stage of the writing and editing of my comic so that all six chapters can be compiled into the graphic novel format. This includes the previous three separate comics that made up The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi No.1No.2and No.3 that were not initially going to form part of the BLOTTING PAPER comic. The title remains Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics and all six chapters will be made available on my Blog. Below is a photo from the original launch of this title back in 2012 at Hondarake Full Of Books bookshop in Sydney (see my blog report of that event No.11 ) and so now, eight years later the work is essentially finished, apart from any further tinkering with the content that I feel shall improve the overall completed work. Now here is a photo flashback to the original launch.
Product and packaging of the debut issue at the original launch at Hondarake Books.
Without getting too deeply into it at this stage I have started the process of reflecting on some of the dimensions associated with the thinking about comics. Here is an initial basic formula I have put together relative to developing an overall appreciation of the thinking of the philosophical aspects of comics.
In comics, this static, visual form, there exists the opportunity to study its contributing elements in order to examine its design and better understand its propensity for visual communication. Comics are usually constructed from the juxtaposition of words and images in a series of panels on pages, although, alternatively they might be arranged for display on digital spaces such as screens.
As we are dealing with the expression and visual communication of arrangements of words and images in a flat space we enter the domain of the graphical and into the domain of aesthetics and this becomes an appropriate area of philosophy to study.
The thinking of comics as a hybrid form of aesthetics, of a combination of writing and of drawing, of this plus that and not one or the other, and this may become problematic. In some instances a comic may consist solely of words and at other times just drawings, but generally the form is constructed from the combination of words and images. It is not often found to be either one or the other, words or images, but more commonly a combination of the two. In this sense it may be perceived as a dual or hybrid form of expression and visual communication. This juxtaposition of the disparate forms of writing and drawing may be perceived as something of a misfit or, as it is sometimes labelled, a ‘mongrel’ form.
And things start to get messy around this point of breaking the aesthetic aspects down into the contrasting elements of writing and drawing and raising the notion that in comics construction the writing may be “drawn” in an expressive manner and not necessarily remain in a typed or scripted form. Similarly the drawing may be “written” in the sense that it may be “scripted” in freehand with a pen and ink in the same manner as a cursive writing or drawing style, etcetera.
For this initial blog post about the matter, I would simply conclude that comics can be perceived as works of visual communication constructed from a combination of the elements of words and images and, philosophically speaking, may be studied in terms of its aesthetic aspects. More to follow in my next blog post about this subject.
It has taken me a little while to finish wrapping up production of this title but things are finally taking shape. The latest development in my comics creation and production scheduling is that two of my titles will now be merged. These two titles are my most recent project working title The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi and my longer, earlier work Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics. The former, that took the form of some kind of sequel to the previous title, now becomes an additional chapter, actually the final chapter of the Blotting Paper graphic novel. My initial thoughts were to make it a stand-alone comic despite it having some connections to the main title by virtue of sharing some of the same characters. However, I have now opted for the overall closure of the long production period of Blotting Paper, the main title, and decided to wrap it all up in one bundle. This means that The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi will cease being a proposed stand alone comic title and instead become a chapter title of the already established comic titled Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics. However, its associated Blog posts, three in total, that were completed with the different title of The Kappabashi Cat Nos. 1, 2 and 3 will remain as existing blog posts, retaining their original title and date and history, and accessibility on this site. I hope that’s clarified matters.
The above photograph shows a rough draft mock-up of the working title and cover design of the former proposed comic The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi that is now being merged(see explanatory first paragraph above) with Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics as Chapter 6, the final chapter of the intended 300 page graphic novel. Although the Doctor Comics character does not appear in this chapter one of his cats, Cohl, does. Living in the Kappabashi area of Tokyo Cohl learns the Japanese form of woodblock printmaking called sosaku hanga, the same method that Doc had employed and demonstrated to his cats at their home in Sydney whilst making a series of creative prints. This edit wraps things up in terms of the story. In this final chapter of Blotting Paper Cohl becomes, as the title of that chapter infers, The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi.Wherever he was at this time, I am certain the Doc would have been impressed.
A page from The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi , now Chapter 6 of the graphic novel Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics.
Above, another page from Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics showing Doc at work making woodblock prints, an act that Cohl would have observed on several occasions back in Sydney when Doc and the cats lived together, and that would have possibly inspired Cohl to take up woodblock printmaking once he arrived in Japan.
Another page from Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics showing Cohl being impressed by examples of the the art of celebrated Japanese printmaker Shiko Munakatta that Cohl’s new Japanese friend Moto takes him to see…and below, another page from the same title showing Cohl’s visit to an art supply shop in the Asakusa area of Tokyo to purchase woodblock printmaking tools, again thanks to his knowledgeable art school friend Moto.
Yet another page from The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi , now Chapter 6 of Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions of Doctor Comics, showing Cohl’s artistic development with his printmaking and his creative juxtapositioning and merging of his prints with panels and pages from randomly found manga during his travels in Tokyo.
I hope these alterations and edits of the original plan will bring these separate units harmoniously together under the one title of Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics. It seems the best solution at the moment
Continuing my Blogging with another post profiling the design and production of my art postcards…(see links to the previous five POSTCARD posts below). This time around I am looking at the process stage rather than the finished outcome that has been shown in my previous POSTCARD posts. Generally the postcards are given multiple layers of graphic treatment, whether through painting or printmaking or a combination of the two. In this post I have displayed four examples of the first stage of printmaking, and one of the second stage, of a series of cards from selected different editions over the years. These images have been taken from the design and printing of the base layer of the image prior to adding overlays such as additional detail, colour, embellishment and logo stamping. The photos show the first pass of a printmaking run, of putting down the base layer, except for the third example that has two layers, one base layer plus one overlay. The initial layer will be the first of more layers, perhaps two, three, four or more, that will follow.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect at this stage of the printmaking to discern is the noting of differences in the design of the cards in the same edition. Although the completed print run of cards will carry the same title no two cards will be exactly alike due to variations in the printed layers. There are no exact duplicates. This is no accident but a deliberate approach and is the reason that all of the postcards in the batch will technically be classified as monoprints i.e. not identical despite the whole batch carrying the same title. At the end of the print run following the addition of a few more layers this difference will remain discernible. So all of the finished cards will have minor differences from each other whilst still sharing the same nomenclature and date of production.
Here is another photo of a set of postcards that was taken following the design and printing of the base layer of the image in the studio. The variation and difference in appearance of these cards, from the same batch and print run, is already discernible.
This group have had two passes across the print table, the base layer and then a second coating or overlay as can be seen in the photograph. The two layers of ink that can be perceived, a base layer in blue-black and a second that has been overlaid with a bluish-purple tint. The ink-stained wooden block used for printing the layers is located at the bottom right of the print table. In the printmaking process the block is inked and the blank cards laid face down on it then pressed into/against the ink, then left, wet side up, to dry.
This lot have quite a disparate base layer design, almost as if it has been altered during the run. This can happen but in this case there are three distinct base designs in play using a similar tone and hue of ink. This will result in three separate series of postcards. Note the musical accompaniement to the printmaking process, David Bowie on this occasion. I find listening to music whilst I work both calming and inspiring.
Finally, here is a set of printed postcards with a lot of variation in the base layer of the cards both in terms of pattern shape and intensity. Despite the differences the cards in this set will be regarded as “of a series” and carry the same batch title.
NOTE: These photos were taken over a period of a few years and document the establishment of a work methodology that I maintain today with one or two improvements. I thought it would be interesting to show how my procedure developed and I plan on doing further Blog posts on other aspects and the subsequent stages of a typical print run of my art postcard design and production.
All photos postcards, postcard art and printmaking by Dr. Michael Hill aka Doctor Comics.
This is the third and most likely final post in a short series of reports documenting the production progress of The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi, the sequel to my graphic novel/artist book Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics that was completed in 2016. Somewhat similar in vein to its predecessor in its graphic narrative approach it differs by being both less autobiographical and less of a graphic memoir and markedly more fictive and humorous. There are strong links between the two publications, however, and I am having second thoughts about keeping them as separate entities. There is even a remote possibility that I will somehow link them together…merge them in the same publication as they feature several of the same characters from Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics. So we will see! In the meantime, owing to the absence of the Doctor Comics character in this new comic, it contains hardly any of his anecdotes and even fewer human characters as it drifts more in the direction of the funny animal comics genre. The principal character, Cohl the cat from the Blotting Paper graphic novel, has some adventures in the Asakusa area of Tokyo to which he has travelled in search of his missing friend and flatmate, the other cat, Busch.
In the Asakusa area of Tokyo where Cohl goes to look for Busch (page from the Blotting Paper graphic novel).
Doctor Comics researching the bookshop area of Tokyo. (Photo by Louise Graber.)
In addition to the restaurant supplies district some scenes take place in Kanda, the bookshop area of Tokyo. Cohl initially explores the manga shops but then extends his search to sources of traditional woodblock printing books as well as books about yokai and other spirits.
UPDATE 21 MAY 2018: I have since resolved that this title, The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi, will now be added to the original and previous publication Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics, rather than remain as a stand alone title. It will be incorporated in Blotting Paper and become Chapter 6 of that comic. This will require some alterations and editing of both titles and so will delay completion of the finished publication.
This is the second in the series of reports documenting the production progress of The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi, the sequel, or possibly even continuation of my graphic memoir/artist book Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics that was completed in 2016. Essentially similar in vein to its predecessor in graphic approach it will be different through being less autobiographical, less of a graphic memoir and more fictive. It will contain fewer anecdotes, fewer human characters and is much more of a funny animal comic. The principal character is the cat Cohl from the Blotting Paper graphic novel and his adventures in Tokyo to which he has travelled in search of his friend Busch.
At the end of the Blotting Paper graphic novel (page 286 above and page 287 below) Cohl is content to remain in Berlin but is attempting to contact his friend Busch who had left Germany for Japan with his new mate Barks.
A second and a third draft of the new comic have been written but the design and artwork are still at the preliminary stage. As in the Blotting Paper graphic novel printmaking is being employed along with other forms of image-making including drawing, typography, handwriting, calligraphy, collage and photography. As with the earlier publication the intention is to make a comic in an artist’s book/graphic novel type of format.
This is the first in what I intend will be a regular series of reports documenting the production progress of the sequel to my comic/artist book Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics that was completed in 2016. The current draft title of the new book is The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi.It is in a similar vein to Blotting Paper in its graphic approach but different in that this comic will be less autobiographical and less of a graphic memoir and much more fictive, however, several strong links remain between the two titles. It will contain fewer anecdotes of Doctor Comics and much more about his cat Cohl’s adventures. Nevertheless, strong links between Doc and the cats may persist to the extent that, initially, I thought it could fit as an extension to Blotting Paper, even as a further chapter within that title. We’ll see. A first draft of the comic has been written but the design and the artwork have yet to be commenced. As in the earlier comic printmaking will be employed along with other forms of image-making including drawing, typography, handwriting and photography. As with the earlier publication the intention is to make a comic in an artist’s book type of format.
The story begins in Berlin where Cohl, having heard no word from his friend Busch for almost two years, decides to follow him to Tokyo and try to find him. Cohl has been very comfortable in the German city and consequently reluctant to move but his curiosity has awakened him from his cultural slumber.
Continuing the profile of my art postcards here are some more recent examples from this year on various themes. These cards are hand-printed, created from a combination of drawing and printmaking in low print run editions. Once I finished a session it meant the end of that particular batch. I would not repeat the design or reprint it. Cards in an edition are all original prints, similar in design but are mono prints in as there are no exact duplicates. They fall within the standard postcard size dimensions of 10cm x 15cm or a near approximate. More information about this project is contained on the four previous POSTCARD posts (see the links below at the bottom of this post).
This is the third post on the fish prints I made with woodblock printmaking techniques for the experimental animated film Toxic Fish. The fish in this sequence is the Kohada or Gizzard Shad. Its static shape on the woodblock contrasts with the flooding of coloured toxins around it.