30 posts categorized "EDDIE CAMPBELL, guest blogger"

March 16, 2006


Diary of an author, waiting. part 10


The picture above is a nude study i made for my recent book in collaboration with Alan Moore, A Disease of Language I drew this on a tracing paper overlay over a more precise outline drawing. My idea was to evoke a sense of footlights for the theatrical scene of the dancer and the snake. Thus i had candles on the floor, but I had to work quickly or it would have done my eyes in. Also, I drew from a low angle to get an effect of monumental grandeur, so that I was folded up in a bundle on the wooden floor. How we suffer for our art. Part of the interesting effect of depth in this picture seems to be due to the accident of photocopying the sheet of tracing paper over the earlier outline sketch of the subject, which you can see showing through upside down.

Here's another guy who is suffering, (thanks to Heidi at the Beat for drawing my attention to this).


"PETE PANSE is a talented and popular high school art teacher in Middletown, NY who uses traditional techniques to to train his students. In December 2005 Mr. Panse was suspended from his job for recommending that some of his advanced students consider taking figure drawing courses that included nude figure drawings. Mr. Panse is suspended from his job pending hearings after which he may be permanently fired, ending a 25-year teaching career."

Now, anyone who has ever built his life around art, even abstract artists, will tell you that the very cornerstone of an education in the practice of the subject is an extensive study of the nude. The linked article is a very intelligent and balanced view of the story.

Give it a read.

The Fate of the Artist, indeed!

March 15, 2006


[Doodles & Dailies Note: when Eddie sent in this blog entry, he clearly hadn't seen the latest star review for his FATE OF THE ARTIST, this time in PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY. You need a subscription to read the whole thing online. I have one, but can't seem to access the &$%#@ thing.)

Diary of an author, waiting. part 9

While i wait for my book, The Fate of the Artist, to come out in May, I search for early sightings of it in the form of reviews. Don't believe an author who says they don't read the reviews. We're all rampant but insecure egotists who start the day by googling our own names. I enjoy the sight of those words Eddie Campbell so much that I have even read many of the entries on Eddie C. Campbell, the blues musician. I have a passing familiarity with his oeuvre without having heard a note of it.

While searching I read the PW comics week's review of the upcoming autobiographical graphic novel Fun Home from the excellent  Alison Bechdel. It sounds like a childhood haunted by jarring incident

"His (her father's) court trial over his dealings with a young boy pushes aside the importance of her early teen years. Her coming out is pushed aside by his death, probably a suicide."

Fun Home 


I thank Fate that my own story has been so relatively free of incident that I have largely had to make it all up. With three teenage offspring I constantly long for an uneventful week, since even the smallest occurrence usually requires me to dip my hand in my wallet. 

Anyway, it sure looks like it's going to be an excellent year for the graphic novel. Just be patient. I see Alison's book is due to come out in June. She's got even longer to wait than I have.

March 07, 2006


Diary of an author, waiting. part 8

While waiting for my new collection of wise words and pictures to appear in the stores, my Fate of the Artist, my old ones hurry back to haunt me. Actually, upon reading this, it's not so bad. I managed to spice it with enough humor to keep it alive in the bottle. Nearly two years ago, just after the NY Times magazine did their big piece on the graphic novel (Jun '04) , I observed a tendency in our artistic community to waste precious print space arguing about things of no importance (such as what is a graphic novel and why don't we go back to saying comic book?). I attempted to galvanize the practitioners of the form into a state of solidarity by writing a manifesto. It got reprinted widely and I think it may even be quoted in full on the Wikipedia site.

This chappie (I think he's in the Phillipines) just decide to present it afresh for all our readers who missed it the first time around.

March 01, 2006


Diary of an author, still waiting, part 7.

My editor just told me my book, The Fate of the Artist,  has gone back for a second printing even though I'm still waiting for the first one to come out. I have decided to pass the time by having a 'thought for the day', whether i feel like one or not. Today's thought:

Genius is a nuisance, and it is the duty of schools and colleges to abate it by setting genius-traps in its way. 
--Samuel Butler

Now, I don't wish to imply that I see myself in this quotation, that I claim to be the genius mentioned. I would only think such a thing after one bottle of Retsina. And after two I would be no less than the king of Persia. But it reminded me of that day away back in 1970 when, at the age of 15, it was my turn to front up before the school careers advisor. I candidly informed the man that I wished to spend my life drawing comics. He had never in all his days heard of such a low ambition and tried to dissuade me from my course. I can only thank my finely tuned instinct for self-preservation that I kept to myself my whacky theory that the great story of our times could be aptly told in the form of a kind of extended comic strip.

February 21, 2006




Diary of an author, waiting. part 6.

As I sit here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for my book, The Fate of the Artist, to come out, I have time to get jealous of my fellow artists. Like my dear old pal, Nick Abadzis looking windswept and interesting in Moscow in front of exotic minarets on Feb 13 of this very blog. Well, after I finish ironing my pants an t-shirt here in the humdrum familiarity of my living room, I'll get back to carefully composing a 13 page shoot-out in a long-ago demolished Chicago Rail station for my next book from First Second, The Black Diamond Detective Agency. But it's all based on antique photographic reference; it still doesn't get me out of the house. That does it! My next book after this will be set somewhere very far away, like Tierra del Fuego, or Mount Killimanjaro, or the jungle of Beng Melea, and I will be required to pack my pencil case and go and do the necessary
research. Damn it!

February 16, 2006


Diary of an author, waiting. part 5

While waiting for my book, the Fate of the Artist, to come out, I often find myself wondering: what is the business of the artist anyway? I mean what is he supposed to be about? When he has not had a new book on the market for some time, it's easy to start thinking it's all got a bit abstract, like saying a word over and over until it becomes absurd. I  just came across a quote which fits the bill:

The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep. 

-- Marc Chagall


January 31, 2006


Diary of an author, waiting. part 4

On Friday last, the 27 January, it was Mozart's 250th birthday. The cd stores have lately filled up with box sets comprising everything by Wofgang Amadeus in every recording company's back catalogue. MY next door neighbor went off to a 'Mozart party', where, i imagine, all the participants take turns at banging out 'Rondo alla Turk' on the old upright. The town of his birth, Salzburg, is awash with tourists and there are Mozartian entertainments around the clock. All over the
world, in fact, they are playing the great man's works.

What has this got to do with me, you ask?

It has made me a little concerned that my Mozart anecdote in Fate of the Artist, the first page of which you can read here
http://www.firstsecondbooks.net/FOA/FOAgift007.html and which I drew two years ago, long before I had found a publisher for my book, may now look like a piece of shameless opportunism.

oh well, move over and make some room on that bandwagon.

January 26, 2006


Diary of an artist, getting nothing done. Part 3.

Mr Campbell is very rarely photographed working at his drawing board.
Here we see him there, but not doing very much work.


January 18, 2006



Diary of an author, waiting. Part 2

The duration of a year, between sending in his book, the Fate of the Artist, and seeing it released, is enough time for the author to create in his imagination a completely different version of the work from the one he’s eventually going to have to live with. This author was still making changes and additions and subtractions right up until the moment the editor said it’s too late it’s gone to the printer, and it didn’t arbitrarily stop there. It must always have been so. Picture some second rate crime writer on the phone to his editor: “I’ve had a better idea: the butler didn’t do it!” Picture an editor pulling his hair out.

But there’s little point in telling his readers about that other mythical book, as it will never be seen, and anyway will continue to be replaced ad infinitum in his restless sleep. Life must proceed. There are other jobs to be done. However the author wants to share with you a quotation he found after it was too late use it on his frontispiece and thus give the impression that his title was quoting a noble source:

“Often he who has chosen the fate of the artist because he felt himself to be different, soon realizes that he can maintain neither his art nor his difference unless he admits that he is like the others. The artist forges himself through a continuous to-and-fro between himself and the others, midway between the beauty he cannot do without and the community he cannot tear himself away from." Albert Camus

And while I have your attention, check out the new issue of Comics Journal this week (no 273). The author gets the cover-featured interview. It was some five hours of blather, much of it about The Fate of the Artist. You can see the cover showing the author with a dagger in his back at http://www.tcj.com/. An editor is helping police with their inquiries.

January 13, 2006



Diary of an author, waiting. Part 1

In the field of the graphic novel a new attitude has grown up over the last twenty-five years. We tend to think now in terms of comics for the bookshelf. At first the artist used the available machinery of the monthly periodicals, serializing his ambitious narrative in parts, with a view to collecting them between two covers later. There are even a few, that I would number among the great graphic novels, that never got assembled together for one reason or another. And due to the vicissitudes of the publishing business, there are even one or two that never got finished.

Eventually the successful author in this field finds himself (or herself of course, but I’m really talking about myself, Eddie Campbell, here) in the position, like successful authors in the realm of the literature generally, of being commissioned to create a work that is all of a piece, to deliver his so called graphic novel all at the same time, without serialisation in parts. Now he finds himself in the unexpected role of the recluse. It’s a new experience for him.

Removed from a regimen of monthly publication and the rigmarole of conducting a readers letters page and other sociable activities, he inhabits his own hollow head, with its reverberating echoes. The emails dry up: somebody offering him the jackrabbit vibrator… can he use more length… minimize his mortgage… somebody in Africa has got six million dollars for him...

The doubts start to arrive. What was he thinking, doing such a complicated book? Why did he go so far out on a limb? He has revealed to much of himself in this one. It’s too much of an open nerve, all this real pain and joy. The Fate of the Artist, indeed. Why didn’t he pick up another superhero job, like his quaint, odd little version of a Batman book of two years ago. That would have been much safer

His editor, Siegel tries to put him at ease by telling him the book looks splendid. What? Siegel has an advance copy? He cajoles and wheedles and coaxes Siegel into sending him the one advance airmail copy.

Now the author is the only person in the world who has one, as the rest will still be some time coming from Hong Kong and even then it won’t be released until April. What if they never arrive? What if they all go down to the bottom of the sea?.

The author gets his book out again. He admires it. Tears of happiness come to his eye. At last his eye falls upon the one typo. He convinces himself he is a crushed failure. This too passes.

Days go by. He admires his book again. The only copy in the world. The author begins to imagine that he has entered into some ‘vanity publishing’ arrangement.

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