Monday, November 30, 2009

Thought of the day

Imagine a 1950's Jerry Lewis comedy, in which Jerry plays a modern artist who invents "abstract comics."

Hilarious shenanigans ensue!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Work in progress by Gareth Hopkins

Gareth has been working on a 96-page abstracted comics narrative called "The Intercorstal." You can see all the pages completed so far here. To whet your appetite, here are small versions of pp. 10-14:

Gareth writes:

Earlier this year I worked on my own abstract comic, called 'The Intercorstal'... Naively, I thought that I was the only person who'd been attempting to combine abstracted art with a comicbook format, so to find out there was a burgeoning movement that shared my ideas is really invigorating...

I got into it by accident. I occasionally do postcard projects, where I'll hand-draw a series of 10 postcards and send them out to whoever wants them, but I'd run out of cards so sectioned off a bit of an A5 page. Once I'd filled it in, looking at it on the page, it looked a lot like a panel from a comic, so rather than cut it out, I added some more panels to the page, filled those in, and had Page 1. I thought it would be interesting to illustrate a narrative that takes place in a non-physical world -- the basic concept is that the central character accidentally slips into a gap between dimensions and is then tries to escape. But because it's between dimensions, and between time, the story's not told sequentially, and I'm not sure what even happens...

I start each page by ploting out the panels -- I try and set the rhythm for the page with those, and then fill them in bit by bit. I usually prepare three or four pages of panels before doing any actual 'drawing'. When I fill the panels, I do them out-of-order (so, I don't start top-left and work my way through). Sometimes I'll include a central background shape -- a face, or a figure, or in one case a kind of alien bag-pipe -- and then work around that.

As well as the 24 'canon' pages, there're two pages I did on A2 paper which were then cut up and sent out as Christmas cards, and two three-panel strips I did for the art magazine XOK. Now that I review my work on The Intercorstal, I don't think I've done any for a few months, because other projects took over, but I'll definitely be taking it back up again now that I'm not totally alone in my endeavours.

(When you check out Gareth's stuff on DeviantArt, make sure also to read his comments on each page)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Geopolitical animation

or data flow as abstract cartoons:

(found via John Roberson)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The ultimate abstract comic?

Daniel Dezeuze, Chassis, 1967:

Edited to add comparison to first page of Jason Overby's piece from the anthology:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Collage abstract comics by Jeffrey Meyer

"Stepping on Cracks"

"Factory Tour"

"Draw the Pick Yourself"


"Flat Creation"

(all images clickable)

While, according to Jeffrey, all the pieces here were done in the last few months, he has been at this for a long time. He writes:

I've been doing abstract comics since high school (late 80s) and had one called "Nightfall" published in CEREBUS BI-WEEKLY or whatever Sim's reprint series was called in the early 90s (?) -- no idea what issue, and I don't even have a copy of the art. That was just a one-pager with each panel getting progressively darker, filled up with Zip-A-Tone, ink, fingerprints, etc. Pretty obvious, but the important thing is that I was PAID ($150!) haha. I used to do a lot of B&W collage comics (source images photocopied repeatedly until high contrast, then cut up and pasted into panels) attempting to capture simple movements, like car wheels and painted lines on the highway, etc. but none of that stuff survives as far I know.

I tend to obssess over some of the same ideas when I watch movies:

which I'd like to use to make some sort of comics or sequential imagery at some point.

Same with this page I do:

but right now nothing's come of that stuff except collecting the pictures.

More on Jeffrey's Flickr page and on his website.

Circles 1

click to enlarge

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Question

Here's another abstract plus text experiment. This one more abstract, visually than the last. Appropriated text from Google Books, appropriated images from an Alex Toth "The Question" story from 1975.

A less abstract (but more attractive) comic using a similar concept (this time with appropriated art from Jesse Marsh (like my piece in the book).

(For what it's worth, these are both part of a project I've been doing, drawing 30 comics for the 30 days of November. Some are abstract, some are not.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Squares 1

click to enlarge

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Interesting Question

Hi everyone, and thanks for inviting me to contribute to the Abstract Comics community! Andrei has been gracious enough to feature some of my work in previous posts, and posted an interview a while back as well.

I have recently completed a one-page comic, which presents a really interesting discussion point. Before I say more, see the comic, titled "Subway":

So an explanation: The comic is a reflection on living in New York City (which I proudly call home). It is a reflection of the various comings and goings of people. We never really know these people, so in a way they are nothing more than abstract figures in real life as well. This is where the interesting question is asked: does this comic fall within the "acceptable boundaries" of an abstract comic?

The question of "acceptable boundaries" has surfaced many times during my reading of this blog, and my theory is you have to define those boundaries on a case by case basis. There's no black and white delineation for abstract comics, and I think it's impossible to create one. "Subway" has no direct narrative, but there is definitive sequencing giving motion to the rider and the other railcar. The subway cars in "Subway" have definitive shape and character, they are not abstracted in any way...however the other riders were made abstract on purpose.

Another thing to consider is perspective, which doesn't get discussed too often. The role of the viewer plays a major factor in determining if something is abstract. I think many regular readers of this blog would agree with me when I say that "Subway" is not really an abstract comic. However, for someone who has not experienced city life, or riding on a subway, would that make the entire experience described in this comic itself abstract? I am not describing the experience to the viewer, but merely reflecting it, which means they must try and understand the experience.

I am interested to hear your reactions to the comic and this discussion point.

- Chris

P.S.: I have recently overhauled the website, During this overhaul, I have posted all of my comics in full. My abstract comic book "Stray Thoughts" (mentioned in this blog previously) is now available for reading in its entirety online!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Semi-abstract: Pine Away

Double-posting something I just put up on my blog. This isn't completely abstract, but it's the first of a few single pagers I've been working on that attempts to mix abstract image and text. This one's a bit more representational than the other ones.

For a little about the constraint I used in creating this, see the original post.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Please welcome new members!

The blog has four new members, all of whom have been mentioned repeatedly here previously:

Satu Kaikkonen
Rosaire Appel
Chris Kreuter
Aaron Zvi Felder

Rosaire, Chris and Aaron have each been featured in one or more recent posts. We had two posts about Satu's work earlier on. I'm looking forward to their first posts as blog contributors!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rosaire Appel

Third in our series of interview posts.

How did I climb into abstract comics? Decades of working with 35mm negatives in the darkroom lead me to thoughts of animation. At the same time, I was also digitally printing graphic books and developing digital drawing skills. These were abstract works, exploring the language of suggestive forms. Amazed by the infinite, instantaneous possibilities in a digital drawing, I began printing companion variations, playing with similarities and differences. As the dialogues between these duos complexified I added more segments. I called them multi-frames. It was a way to expand the space within a single work. I also liked that the multi-frame/ sequential-image gambit often provides a built-in context, making a work self-sufficient in any environment.
In 2006 I was deeply inspired by an exhibit called "Ehon – The Artist and the Book in Japan", at the New York Public Library. This huge show of picture books from 764 to the present pointed me toward the comics format – the limited color, simplified line, sequential development of some kind of narrative - accordion books as comic strips. Around the same time, another exhibit sparked my interest: "Masters of American Comics" at the Jewish Museum/ New York. There was tremendous energy in those framed black and white pages – I wanted to turn them upside down to see them abstractly without reading either the figures or the words. I like the look of comics. I like how the gap between frames can be slight as a sigh or deep as a black hole. But once words appear, I'm pulled away from looking. This push/pull energy between words and images, this conflict between looking and reading, interests me. Issues of language, both visual and verbal, are and have been the foundation of my practice. I'm gradually working toward adding an abstract verbal narrative to abstract comic imagery, but so far I've erased every attempt.

some images--clickable:

arrived and left -accordion book


drawing untitled

Editor's note: Rosaire has also been making some pretty great abstract comics from photographs, as can be seen on her "seens-rappel" blog:

Crosswalk Cartoon:

Their Paints, My Camera(6):

Paint Trails on Asphalt:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Abstract 20 series 2 What happens when the gutter and panels of a comic are transparent?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rick Veitch's "Abstract Krackle"

Comic-book legend Rick Veitch (Swamp Thing, The Maximortal, Supreme, Rare Bit Fiends, etc etc.) has recently made some abstract comics based on "Kirby krackle." He has generously allowed me to re-post them here:

Rick has also been collaborating with poet Peter Money on a series of poetry comics, which I know will interest many of our readers. Here's one page:

The rest can be viewed here.

By the way, here is a page from Rick's run on Swamp Thing which I bought from him when I met him at MoCCA 2007. We discussed abstract comics briefly (I picked this particular page because it looked so abstract to me, not to mention so beautiful), and look how he signed the page:

(Thanks to Marcus Parcus who first drew my attention to Rick's recent posts of "Abstract Krackle.")