Friday, October 2, 2009


Enough talk! It's time to take action...

This is a collaborative step-by-step project. (Participants signed up in the comments section.)

1. First I, Mike Getsiv made a 4-page layout:

2. Next, Lolabola drew panel borders based on the layout:

3. After that, Steven LaRose drew shapes and textures inside the panels:

4. Here, Nina Roos drew more shapes and/or textures inside the panels:

5. Stay tuned for the final step!



  1. I'll sign up for step 4. If no one else wants to do it, I'd be happy to also do the borders.

  2. Sorry, I posted the above before seeing Steven's comment. So, if that's ok, Steven for step 3 and me for step 4.

  3. Hey Steven! I was just admiring your paintings on your website so that's great you'll do step 3!

    Andrei, I was secretly hoping that Nina would want to do step 3 or 4 but if not, then you can do step 4. I was going to ask you to work with me on step 5 but let's see if Nina is interested in step 4...

    Nina, are you still out there? (Of course feel free to say no. or yes:)

  4. I would like to do the borders (have been following your blog for a while, hi!) where can I send them?

  5. Sure! I am in for 4.
    Can I print the layout maybe to draw in it and then scan the pages when I am finished?

    Or if you can tell me the exact sizes I can make them myself on paper and scan them.

  6. All right, so I've been bumped from step 4. Harrumph.

  7. May I suggest a step before the current step 5? I think it might work even better if a third person draws one more shape or texture in... And, Lolabola--if that's ok with Mike--if you would rather do that than the borders, you could have that.

    (Unless in suggesting this I'm somehow subverting Mike's carefully planned project...)

  8. I'd really like to see the borders drawn so Lolabola, that would be great!

    Awesome, Nina! Printing the layout, drawing in it and then scanning it would probably work best.

    Andrei, you'll love my super secret plan for step 5 (as soon as I figure out what it is...:)

  9. Mike--did you see my suggestion for an extra step?

  10. okay I'm going to post what I did for borders on my blog. I printed yours out and used them as the template so, if the image size might be different, the proportions are the same.

    happy to contribute to any other steps... will keep following.

  11. Yeah, I really want just two shapes/textures artists. I'll explain when I e-mail you about the last step.

    Okay, everybody is in. Give me a minute to write up directions...

  12. Lolabola (may I just call you Lola?)--

    what happened to your earlier post, on Granados?

    And, when you mention Ernesto--you don't mean Priego, by any chance?

  13. Hi Andrei,
    You can call me Lola or any other derivation of lolabola. I do mean Priego, link to his post and how I ended up here is now there. the earlier post on Granados went away to the archives but you can find it through the tag "music" on the right of the blog

  14. Thinking about it, I really hope that step 5 involves icing and sprinkles.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. What's the difference between "icing" and "frosting"?

  17. Your panel borders look great, Lola! I really like that there's a transformation from page to page.

    I'll add them to the scroll here soon.

    In the meantime, could you e-mail 6"x9" 400dpi files to Steven and me?

    Thank you!

  18. sending through sendit soon....glad you like them!

  19. okay sent them via sendit...let me know if you don't receive them

  20. Steven--one is cooler than the other.

  21. And, yeah, what's really cool about Lola's contribution is that, with only the frames drawn, it is already an abstract comic! I wouldn't have thought it possible, but there it is.

    Lola--I guess I get confused on your blog because there is no link to a chronological archive, and only one post on the home page. Are you an artist? Have you done any abstract art before? Because this is really good, and I'd love to see more.

  22. May I suggest one more thing? Let's not keep all the steps up. After all, the layout from step 1 is included in step 2, the frames from step 2 will be included in step 3, and so on. I think it would be better to just have the latest version up, at the top of the post.

  23. Andrei, you're way too hyper for someone who's supposed to be into "ambient comics". It's more like "jacked-up-on-frosting comics".

    Seriously though, I will reformat this post - probably putting the final on top in full-size and then each contributor's pages smaller so they fit in rows with four pages across. (I can add any links to the contributors' blogs where they can feature their hi-res pages, if they want.)

    I got Lola's hi-res pages, passed them along to Steven so he's working on his part now...

    btw, Nina - I had said "black ink only" but Steven asked if he could do gray tones and considering your work too, if you wanted to do anything, as long as it's grayscale, that would be cool.

    Thanks again Team Abcolab! Looking forward to the next step!

  24. I am always searching for fantastic art class metaphors. What comes to mind presently is: "You can't cram a cake under the frosting." That is to say, don't paint the fleas before the dog or a tree before the forest. Lola rocks. I will be presently uploading my bits. My bits that distract from her spring-board. I wonder if Lola could title her contribution? I would call the current state "The Origin of Species" Regardless, I'm off to YouSendit. I hope the layers are maintained. My layer is set at "multiply" otherwise it clips Lola's.

  25. If I title it, I'll just hate myself as all that comes to mind is "Thinking outside the box" terrible terrible!

    Andrei, I was a printmaker in a former life and hope to return to it at some point in the near future. I can't seem to remember if I've done any abstract art intentionally for the blog archives, I just had to get rid of them one day and pretend I'm living in the moment, well at least my blog is, sometimes in the longest moment of banality ever.

    anyway I'm glad you all like the borders, was a little worried my contribution would take up too much of the layering process.

  26. Nice! Lola I like the borders. First time for me to work in so many spaces on one page.
    I have one question left. I can print, but not on a very high quality. So I can go to the printshop and print them there and draw and scan on high res again.
    Steven maybe can you tell me how you work this out?
    So we do not loose too much quality along the way.

  27. I printed out Lola's pages. Then I drew some panels directly on those which I later scanned but had to cut out in an effort to keep my contribution on a separate layer. I also cut up some pieces of paper that were roughly the proportions of the panels and began to improvise. This allowed me to get really wet with some sumi ink. I could then shuffle the bits around and sort of orchestrate a flow. Interesting that I really had to fight the notion of narrative as even little dots started to take on personalities. Anyway, I then scanned individual pieces in and pasted them into their appropriate panel using the "multiply layer" option in photoshop so my marks appear to weld into Lola's. I'll try and find your email and send you the links Nina.

  28. Check out the new development!

    Thanks Steven!

    Nina, it's your turn up to bat!

    Go Team!

  29. Very cool result so far. Love the crawling paint splash.

  30. I don't usually type this but "OMG"
    Nina is a genius.
    My visceral first response is tonal bliss. What a wonderful hybrid of dry medium, ink, and computer. Nina has added a sense of place with her atmosphere as well as motifs or themes that complicate or enrich the narrative. . . if we are allowed such things in Abstraction. I am still struggling with my own definition of Abstract Comics since I've stumbled on this site a week ago. My birthday is coming up and I've put the book on my Amazon wish list so I'll have to wait to compare my thoughts, but the powerful gutter principle seems to imply time and space in such a way that I can't ever succumb to Pure Abstraction. I'm not even sure I would want to. And panel to panel non-sequitur of wacky Dada associations wear thin for me fairly quickly. But this. . . this is different. Oh. . . and since I'm gushing I'd like to point out how friggin' fantastic the collaborative process is. Its the closest activity those of us who paint and draw get to being in a band. I'm wondering if I should pick my jaw up off the floor or just leave it there for step 5?

  31. Hey everyone, look at Nina's additions to the piece! Pretty nice, eh?

    I am currently discussing plans to engage in the final phase of this endeavor. On behalf of everyone at Team Abcolab, I would like to thank you for your continued interest and support as we work towards completion. Every effort will be made to have it delivered to you as soon as possible with frosting and sprinkles...

  32. Hi everybody--yeah, Nina's contribution is brilliant. As a matter of fact, at every step of the process this has been an amazing comic--even when it only had frames! Mike has "commissioned" me to do the last step, and I will, but I just want to let you know it may take a while: in about five days I have to leave for a comics conference in Chicago, and leading up to it I actually have to write my talk! Bad timing, I know, but I very much want to do this. I hope everyone is ok with the last step not being up for a week and a half or so...

  33. Right on, Steven! Thanks again for your excellent contribution to this jam. It's so cool that you connected to this blog and the very next day, started working with us on something.

    Andrei, I definitely want you to work on the last part so we'll just have to wait... (To pass the time, we can all keep very busy by making more abstract comics!)

  34. Good to read that you like my contribution here.
    Working together is difficult to me. But I really like this experiment.

    It looks nice, but I think the story from page to page is a little too vague/accidental. Good looking panels but not 'enough' coherent story maybe? They relate to each other definitely,.. well I can be to stringent of course.

    Andrei it is up to you to make these pages talk to each other!

  35. I've been holding back my critiques until it's finished but I agree that it's going to be tough to make a really good readable comic out of this.

    I do think it's possible though. It's always possible. (That's part of what I love about working in abstracts - the unpredictable challenges!)

    Maybe instead of finding a narrative in what is already visible, think of a personal narrative and make a way to fit it in there. It might find harmony or conflict along the way. It can be very exciting to try this!

    I'm tempted to do it myself because I have found an interesting sequential order to it that I want to highlight - but I'll allow Andrei to have his hand at it first.

    In the meantime, if anyone else wants to start another collaborative experiment, I'm all for it, as long as I get to draw more than I did on this one!

  36. Actually, I think it flows really well! I'm really not that interested any longer in strips that flow too easily--to some extent, I think what's more interesting is sequential contrast, graphic event clashing against graphic event... From that point of view, it's really successful.

    So I'll do my bit, but I really don't think I'll somehow try to make it more sequential, because it's perfectly fine for me this way.

    Mike--you say "I'll allow Andrei to have his hand at it first." I assume that means you'll do another version, starting from the state it's in now, right? Because I'll conceive my step as being the last step in this process.

  37. Don't get me wrong, I am not looking for a too easy flow here!
    You know my work Andrei, they do clash in pages sometimes and that's the adventure. I agree complete.

    The only thing I had in mind was that I would like to have some urge to put page 2 after 1 and 3 after 2 etc. Now they are maybe (can be) a little random, so you can either put 3 after 1 or 4 after 2 for example.
    (But 1, 2 , 3 , 4 after each other can also sure)

    Above all I like these pages a lot.
    And I will test my patience and wait for your contribution Andrei.

  38. Andrei, I should have made it clear that I want to highlight a narrative, not as a step in the process of this comic but more like a cover version of it.

    I tend to lean toward 'narrative flow', even in abstracts but I can get into 'graphic event clash' pieces too and good use of both obviously makes for better comics.

    Anyway, I'm excited to see what you do with this comic to finish it!

  39. hmmmm. . .
    "sequential contrast"
    I like that. . . except for the assumption that the result would be "clashing." How about "complimentary" instead? Or would "occult" work? Or maybe "Open-ended narrative flow"? We are the architects, but the audience, the readers, the makers, are allowed their own narrative.

    hmmmm. . .
    does freedom equal anarchy? Is Abstraction the self centered Cowboy of Western Civilization?

    Personally, I dig it (when done right), but it seems to be an almost evolutionary hurdle. (Not that I've cleared the hurdle mind you, but at least I've got scrapes and bruises from smashing against its sides).

  40. While we continue to wait for the final step, here is a beautiful comic by Heather Penn, who says she was inspired by this project.

  41. wauw , that is beautiful.

    And true, I cannot wait for Andrei's final step.


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