News Across the Spectrum: Good, Bad, and Pending.

So I’m still working on my proposal for the Poets & Writers article–I should be sending a draft to the director of my thesis for her approval sometime this week. In the meantime I finally made it to an art store this weekend and got all of the art supplies I need–except, not. I should have bought a set of nibs, but instead I only bought one nib pen. I need a whole set so I can experiment with the differences. Duh. So I’m going to have to make another trip out and get one. But I did get the Ames Lettering Guide and some ink and brushes, so I’m happy. I haven’t really had time to play with them, but when I get a few sketches in I will be sure to post.

I didn’t realize it until just now, but I am actually scheduled to show some of my sequential art at a reading series next weekend! This is really exciting because it is my very first showing of art, but I’m totally unprepared. So in preparation, I’ll be doing a lot of sketching to show process (since the reading series is based on works in process, not finished pieces). I will also be reading some fiction and/or nonfiction, so that is exciting. :) I’ll be sure to have a LOT of pictures for you all next week because the past few weeks have had less drawing than I’d like.

On that note, I’ve been experiencing some issues with my right wrist (which is my dominant hand) on and off for a few months, but lately it has been more persistent. I am suspecting it might be the onset of cubital tunnel (presents on the pinky-side of the hand instead of the thumb-side) so I’m trying to take care of it and not overdo anything until I can get to the doctor and get a proper diagnosis. With this show coming up, though, I’m not sure how well that is going to pan out.

There are only four weeks left in the semester, which means my independent study is coming to an end. I’ve decided to keep this blog up and running though, at least through the end of my MFA. I have one year left, and I’ll be starting work on my thesis over the summer. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on that as I make progress. :)

Temporarily Switching Gears

I’ve recently come across a bit of a hang-up with working out of Abel & Madden’s Drawing Words & Writing Pictures–I’m missing art supplies! Currently I’m missing an Ames Lettering Guide for, well, lettering, and now I need to get myself a nib pen for inking. Rather than let myself get ahead by going through the chapters “theoretically” rather than “practically,” I’m going to switch gears for a few weeks and work on a project that came up for me while I was at the annual conference for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

While going through AWP’s massive bookfair, I met up with the editor of Poets & Writers and asked if he would be interested in a graphic essay. Last semester I wrote a pedagogy paper on incorporating graphic narrative into introductory creative writing classrooms, and it has always felt awkward being in prose–the essay feels like it needs to be drawn out as sequential art. Even though Poets & Writers does not publish pedagogy papers, the editor gave me his card and said he would be interested in learning more. So as of now, until I can get my art supplies and get back on track with working through Abel & Madden, I’ll be putting together a query for Poets & Writers. Wish me luck. :)

Photograph of copies of books listed in caption

Introductions All Around

Hello! My name is Leslie Salas and I’m a graduate student pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing. This is a chronicle of my personal and professional growth in the field of Sequential Art (also known as “Graphic Narrative”), primarily as accountability and documentation of Independent Study, but I’m hoping to continue the venture long after the semester ends.

Here’s a basic overview of the project:

The textbook, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures: Making comics: manga, graphic novels and beyond, by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden, will serve as my primary text for this endeavor. Along with working through one chapter of this text a week, I will supplement with reading from Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (a comic book about comic books that is very thorough on craft and technique) and Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean (a book on comics theory and criticism).

_Drawing Words & Writing Pictures_, by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden, _Understanding Comics_, by Scott McCloud, _Reading Comics_, by Douglas Wolk

A powerful triumvirate to guide me on my way to enlightenment.

I will post weekly updates on this blog to showcase my growth and reflect on the learning process. For my final project/exam, my choices are

    1) completing a “24-hour comic” that I will send out for publication,
    2) creating a syllabus for a Graphic Narrative undergraduate class, or
    3) writing a formal article on Graphic Narrative for publication in a magazine such as The Writer’s Chronicle or Poets & Writers.

This Independent Study class will require a lot of self-motivation on my behalf, but since I find this field absolutely fascinating, I don’t anticipate having any trouble. I’m a little behind on starting this blog (the first week of the semester is already over!), but I’m hoping to catch up in the next couple of days. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey!