Tag: graphic journalism

Pencil and paper, drawing and writing

At PRINT magazine, Steven Heller talks to Washington University American Culture Studies professor and illustrator DB Dowd, whose ongoing illustrated journal of graphic nonfiction Spartan Holiday has just seen the publication of its third issue.

From Heller:

This is #3 of Spartan Holiday. What is your rationale for these “zines”? And why is it Spartan?

Above all, drawing is a kind of sense-making for me, a strategy to remain sane. As you have plainly noticed, judging from some of your recent posts, we are living through a plague of bad faith. What is true? What can I be sure of? I can use my senses. The observed world has come to seem quite urgent. Listen. Look. Make marks. Describe first, interpret second. That’s what’s “Spartan” about the “holiday.” Pencil and paper. Drawing and writing.

As for the zine itself, the fact that I am a writer and curious about other places guarantees me interesting subjects to report on. So I go here and there, near or far, and take on the role of correspondent, both verbal and visual. (I am also interested in visual journalism for publications. Trials, conventions, sports, day-in-the-life, etc. Spartan is proof-of-concept in certain respects.)

Spartan Holiday‘s third issue is focused on France: As Dowd writes at his blog, “French Lesson tells the story of a visit to Paris, woven into a reflection on Massillon, Ohio, the town I grew up in.”

Read Heller’s interview with Dowd at PRINT. Buy Spartan Holiday.


MacNaughton’s “Meanwhile”

Graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton has launched an illustrated column at the New York Times. It’s a new edition of what has appeared in the totally beautiful California Sunday magazine as well as in her 2014 book, Meanwhile in San Francisco.

Wendy MacNaughton NYT graphic journalism

Every Sunday in the Times‘ Business section, MacNaughton plans to “explore the rich story behind an everyday object, familiar place or uncelebrated face — and the effect on our lives, the economy, policy, the environment and more.” Her ink and watercolor NYT debut looks at tallboy beer cans. We liked seeing MacNaughton pop up recently on food writer and chef Samin Nosrat’s very warm and inviting Netflix show.

Documenting situations otherwise unknown

In many cases where photographing or filming refugees has been inappropriate, invasive, or endangered their safety, illustrators are able to document situations and events that may otherwise have remained unknown. A reportage illustrator such as Nick Ellwood can draw portraits of those who might not want to be identified to give us a sense of people that he met in Calais. Many of the reportage illustrators in the exhibition have also said that using the medium of drawing allowed them to engage with people in ways that a camera would not. The much more personal, tactile quality of drawing and the time it takes to create allowed them to get to know their subjects and listen to their stories.

Curator Katie Nairne at the House of Illustration in London (via Creative Review) on current exhibit Journeys Drawn: Illustration from the Refugee Crisis. The show includes the work of graphic journalist Olivier Kugler, who reports from lesser-covered Syrian refugee camps. I wrote about Kugler’s work for Hyperallergic in September.

Hillary Chute on comics and violence in Syria

At the New York Times, comics scholar Hillary Chute looks at several current graphic works that directly relate to a civil war-torn Syria. In her column, she reviews comics from Don Brown, Molly Crabapple (and journalist Marwan Hisham), and Riad Sattouf. Here’s Chute, on the third installment of Sattouf’s autobiographical comic:

It’s as if violence is its own country, free-floating and borderless, which Riad ends up visiting more and more. In one of the book’s strangest, most ingenious sequences, Sattouf dedicates four and a half red-and-black saturated pages to a detailed comics-form rendition — like a mini-“Classics Illustrated” — of the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian,” in which Conan ultimately beheads a man who claims to be his father. Riad and his cousins watch on television, rapt. Later we see — in the icy blue tones of France — how this connects to Riad’s love of cartooning, and even his talent: A panel shows him drawing Conan amid lopped-off body parts, as the book foregrounds his burgeoning artistic ability. “I drew lots of scenes of barbarism,” the narration reads. “I enjoyed the savagery.” If Sattouf grew up inspired to draw versions of violent fantasy movies, eventually he came to draw the violence of his own childhood.

Read the whole column at the NYT. I was thinking about Chute’s recent detailed history of reported and nonfiction comics recently when I wrote about the work that graphic journalist Olivier Kugler does in his coverage of Syrian refugees.