Friday, November 27, 2015

Abstract Comics using Code (software art)

Over the last few years, I have been increasingly interested in software and generative art. Software art requires the artist to first think through and set up a system within which creativity and generation of imagery can happen. Tools like, as well as more modern coding libraries, reduce the complexity of actually building code that draws art. For Derik's 30 Days of Comics, I created a system that combined visuals, randomized text, and panel number to create a variety of images. Some are included below.

Apologies for the text in advance, though I do believe the text here is non-representational and used as an icon more than a narrative. Some curation was needed to select good outcomes, but not much.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

Welcome back and… call for submissions to Abstract Comics, volume 2

Hello, and welcome back to Abstract Comics, the blog! 

Let me begin with an important announcement:  I am inviting submissions for Abstract Comics, volume 2.  As you most likely know, if you’re visiting this blog (but then again, you may not), Abstract Comics:  The Anthology was published to glowing reviews by Fantagraphics Books in 2009, was nominated for an Eisner Award for best anthology in 2010, and has only risen in stature since.  It effectively started the abstract comics revolution, with the number of creators engaged in our favorite genre (or is “art form” a better name for it?) rising exponentially since then.  Given all the work that has been produced in the meantime, I expect volume 2 to be even better.

To submit, please post your comic on a well-established social media or blogging site (Tumblr, Blogspot, Facebook, etc.), make sure that, if your site has privacy settings, they are set so that I can see it, and email me the link.  My email address is in my Blogger profile.  Please preface the subject line of your email with the word “SUBMISSION” in all caps. 

I am interested in abstract comics of all stripes, and I am looking forward to be surprised.  Here are the main things I am looking for, though:

a) multi-page abstract comics.  There are already many single-page abstract comics out there.  I would like to see more people explore longer formats.

b) comics with a clear (formal) narrative arc.  For the most part, I’d like to see some sort of formal/abstract logic to why a panel is placed before or after another, and to how the comic proceeds from first panel to last.

c) comics beyond the “moment-to-moment morphing blob” mode.  This should be pretty self-explanatory, right?  

d) comics fully devoid of identifiable shapes.  If your panels have hands or feet or little alien heads sticking out of the abstract shapes, or if they seem to be constructing a recognizable space, consider redrawing your comic without those elements and see if it still works.  

e) comics without text (captions, word balloons, etc.), unless the text is, say, asemic. I am interested in how abstract panels work with each other, rather than how the images work with words which may define their meaning.

That said, every rule has its exceptions.  I am likely to be flexible on points a, b, and c above.  I will probably receive many single-page submissions (already have, in fact), so, if that is what you are thinking of submitting, consider that the competition will be pretty intense and try to make it especially good.  Submissions of two or more related single-pagers are also encouraged.  I am more likely to consider comics without a clear narrative arc if the art is particularly striking, both in terms of what is in each panel and of the overall layout.  And, of course, there are still many good moment-to-moment, morphing-blob comics that can be made.  I am much less likely to be flexible on points d and e.  

One more thing:  by "comic" I mean "comic." That is, sequential art.  Just an abstract drawing does not an abstract comic make.  Panels (whether clearly framed or implied) are crucial.   

Color or black and white is fine, as is any page format (portrait, landscape, square, etc.).  If I like it, we’ll find a way of laying it out in the book. 

Email me with any questions, or, if they’re of general interest, please post them in the comments here.  

Thanks, and I’m looking forward to seeing your submissions!

Oh, yeah.  Deadline.  March 15, 2016.  That should give you enough time, right?  

[Edited for clarity and emphasis 11/9/2015]