Riffin’ on Krazy Kat

Ain’t got too much to say today, just wanted to share some strips I made with you.

The following are strips that were made for the second assignment in Jason Lutes’ Cartooning Studio. The objective was to  recreate faithfully the visual and narrative style of an American strip artist and to tell 3 autobiographical stories using the strip as the vehicle. The assigned artists ranged far and wide from Walt Kelly to Scott Adams. I was lucky enough to get George Herriman’s Krazy Kat.

It was a really satisfying exercise. I had never done comic strips that weren’t just Dada-ist doodle non-sequitors, so this really proved to be a challenge. I understand structure, but traditional narrative? Man, that’s hard to do and not ham up! I read a great deal of Herriman’s Dailies, across collections, but I found that the most useful was The Kat Who Walked in Beauty. If you’re only familiar with Herriman’s broadsheets, you really ought to take a look at his dailies. It’s there that you’ll find his genius. Day in and day out. While the broadsheets are beautiful and hyperbolic, the dailies are immaculately fine tuned. It’s staggering to know that he churned out out these little finely crafted gems on a daily basis for 31 years.

If you’d like to learn more about Herriman and his dailies, Matt Seneca wrote a little bit about why these dailies are so important earlier this year.

Below you can see some of the process work that I did in understanding the patterns of gridding that Herriman would use in his strips.

On a different note, I’d like to share with you piece that I love. Check out the following print by Valerie Arruda.

Nice, right? The colors are beautiful and she handles the gradients with such subtlety. There’s a quiet ecstasy to the piece that I really enjoy.

I came across Valerie’s work at MICE in Boston in late September. Out of the many creations that people had brought to MICE, this print was the one that caught my eye the most (obviously, I’d already seen Alabaster’s “The Complete Talamaroo!”). She’s got a great fluid line quality that breaks up the page into super clean white blocks. I love it. Hop on over to her tumblr to check out more of her work.

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