Sunday, December 12, 2010

#19 - Sean Gordon Murphy

Your style of drawing is very specific. It’s realistic but with cartoonish elements (especially facial expressions). Do you think, that using cartoon style is good for showing emotions of the characters?

Cartoons are hyper-expressive and show emotion beyond what a normal face can do, so I think it’s great for showing emotions. Because drawings can’t speak or move, it might be important for an artist to incorporate some cartooning to make up for the deficiency of photorealism in comics.

You’re working with other writers, but you also write your own original graphic novels. Is writing your own things is your priority in the future?

I don't know yet. Writing and drawing everything yourself is a lot of work. After my next book is done, I’m sure I’ll want an easier book where all I need to do is draw. I’ll probably switch back and forth for the rest of my career.

When you’re thinking about your story – first, you have the images in your head, which you draw and then you write a script? Or you start with words and after that you think about images?

I start with words – a plot, a three act structure, dialog, everything. I only start drawing once I’ve worked the script out in complete detail. Some things will change along the way, though. Having to draw a script out slowly helps point out the flaws in the writing.

You’ve worked with many writers, drew many different scripts. When you have a script, you’re tryining to change your drawing style a bit to make it adequate to the story?

Yes, I try to make the art work for the story as much as I can.

Cinema has movement and music has sound. And what – for you – distinguish and make comic books a different medium?

Comic books are about art – it’s the one realm where we defeat cartoons, movies and books. Because of that, the art should be trying things that aren’t possible in these other three formats.

Many critics say, that everything in art had already been said and done. If that’s true, what are the new solutions and horizons for comic books?

Since the invention of the camera, art has been forced to shift from realism to expressionism (and all the other movements surrounding them – impressionism, modernism, etc). At this point in history, I believe that art has basically explored everything it can. But not comics. Because comics rely on story, there will never be an end to our journey, because there are infinite stories out there. The kinds of art we see in comics might be limited, but not the stories. And while art might be vast and expansive, I would still argue that it is limited. There are only so many styles, that one can study before being able to rightfully claim: “I’ve seen it all and now I’m bored”. And while there might be a limit to stories, I think think it’s much larger than art. And as to your question about “what is new on the horizon for comics?” – because media reflects modern events and history, perhaps a better questions would be “what's on the horizon for us as a species?”

Instant photography, like Polaroid, captures the evanescent moment. And what is evanescent for you?

The present. Wish I had a fancier answer.

If you could take only one picture, what would you photograph?

A photograph of our planet in 100 years, so I could show the media where we were headed – for better or worse.

You can also find Sean Gordon Murphy here:
- The Comic Book Database

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