Before written language existed, people drew pictures, everywhere. Representational drawings evolved into pictograms, and some pictograms were abstracted into phonetic symbols which could be strung together to form words. The medium of comics takes these now apparently disparate elements – the picture and the word – and reunites them to create a form of expression greater than the sum of its parts.
Using his own work and that of other cartoonists as examples of different approaches to visual storytelling, Jason Lutes will discuss his personal process of conceiving, researching, writing, and drawing a graphic novel. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this unique art form? How do the physical constraints of the printed book impact creative decision-making? Are improvisational and consciously structured narratives mutually exclusive?
The talk will conclude with discussion of Lutes’ book Berlin, a work of historical fiction about the rise of fascism in Weimar Germany; how it came to be, why it took him 22 years to complete, and its relevance to the current political climate.
Jason Lutes is an American comics creator. His work is mainly historical fiction, but he also works in traditional fiction. He is best-known for his Berlin series, on which he has worked for over 20 years. He now teaches comics at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vermont.