Friday, April 15, 2016

Ouch!

In 1992 I illustrated one story for the late Dennis Eichhorn that appeared in his comic book series "Real Stuff" that was being published by Fantagraphics at the time.

Most of the autobiographical comics that were produced in the 1990's leave me kind of cold because they are essentially whiny and self absorbed.

So, that in Seattle during the zenith of the "Grunge" era, which was essentially whiny and self absorbed, a writer like Dennis Eichhorn was a very unusual animal to appear on the scene.

Since he had truly experienced an interesting life with adventures, his autobiographical short stories were actually simultaneously funny, terrifying, interesting, and filled with intrigue.

Besides which, he had an excellent eye for pairing illustrator with story. So the aesthetic moods of the images always worked in the strongest possible fashion.

He was also extremely gracious to me and very easy to work with.

Dennis Eichhorn was like an Alternative Paul Bunyan, and one time I got to be Babe the Blue Ox.

Thanks Dennis and R.I.P. 








Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Walking The Toy Cat And Reciting Algebraic Equations

Mixed Media on Paper - 1984
For a while in the 1980's I had a great painting studio in San Francisco's Chinatown. It was a real dive and that made it perfect. From time to time I used to see this guy on the street, a grown middle aged man carrying a dirty stuffed cat toy clutched tightly to his breast.

He had a determined look and recited algebraic equations to no one and everyone in particular.

I had studied enough mathematics to understand that he wasn't spouting nonsense.

I wondered what had happened to him to cause him to behave this way.

Friday, April 8, 2016

You Draw Like A Girl

Graphite on Paper - 2013

In the late 1980's the short stories of mine that appeared in Weirdo were signed with my last name.

Aline Kominsky-Crumb told me that almost everyone thought that the work was made by a woman.

I think it was a combination of the drawing style and the fact that all of my main characters were women and girls. Aline agreed with this, I never asked Robert what he thought about it.
 
It struck me as a very narrow assumption for people to make, but I ran with it for as long as I could.

If you say so, so be it. Why should I question or correct the perception of the audience?

We both thought it was amusing that people thought this, so for a while I continued to only use my last name in comics. This was not the case in the world of illustration and fine art, but the three areas rarely cross paths, especially in those days.

Eventually Aline mentioned my full name in an interview in The Comics Journal, and the charade came to a close.

Sometimes I will give myself a problem to solve, like writing and drawing a story in the voice and manner of the character who is the narrator.

This is interesting and can be intriguing, especially if the narrator is unreliable.

Or drawing each character as though they drew themselves. Not only as they would see themselves, but how they would draw style wise based upon who and what and where they are.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Last Rock Star


Twenty-two years ago today, Kurt Cobain killed himself.

I was living in Seattle during the "Grunge" era, a fact that helped my illustration career at the time.

This is strange because my work is my work no matter where I am geographically.

David Carson of Raygun magazine asked me to do a full page illustration for Mr. Cobain's Obituary.



All of these years later I still think the whole affair is terribly sad.

And I do believe he was the Last Rock Star. God Bless You Mr. Cobain and Rest In Peace.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Violent Bear It Away

Mixed Media on Paper - 1985

One of my very favorite writers is Flannery O' Connor. This large drawing is an illustration of the scene from her novel "The Violent Bear It Away" where Francis Tarwater simultaneously baptizes and drowns the little boy Bishop.