Life is short, make comics. (Part II)


Notes from Dylan Horrocks's lecture. The first month of SAW, Dylan Horrocks came. In his lecture he talked about how physical drawing was (a sentiment Leela echoed throughout the year). He likened it to singing and said that like a singer, you have to do scales and warm up. Seeing him redraw entire pages, was so freeing—if he didn't get it right the first time, why should I?

So much of what I learned at SAW was not explicitly on the curriculum. Much of what I learned, I learned from watching the teachers and my classmates create.

All of SAW's teachers are taught me the importance of being curious. They taught me to collect what I find interesting, and to consume art and then consume more art. Tom teaches this by example, and Leela and Justine teach it explicitly. When Justine gave creative (as opposed to technical) assignments, she always had us research imagery and to follow the images that grab us. Leela, likewise, taught this in her non-fiction class. She framed research as both a moral duty as a journalist, but she also talked about source material as creative fuel.

At the end of the year, I realized that Tom was in fact, a con-artist. He tricks you into doing things you didn't know you could (sometimes even things you didn't know you wanted to do). He can do this by having you look at different ways of inking tree bark, or by giving you seemingly random prompts (bring a historical event to class) and then letting you follow your curiosity instead. It's hard to explain. I highly recommend experiencing it for yourself.

SAW stretched me in ways I didn't anticipate. I didn't really think much about doing funny comics, or adventuresome comics, or non-fiction comics (other than autobio), but during SAW I made all of those kinds of comics. It felt so good to be uncomfortable.

Over the year, Tom, Justine, and Leela taught me many "hard" skills—how to hold a brush, how to layout a comic without going insane, how to color my art in Photoshop—but so much of what I learned was how to grow, how to learn, how to be an artist when I don't have a pen in my hand.


Guest post from Maxine Marie (SAW class of 2016). Follow her on Instagram at @maxineesque and tumblr at