Thursday, May 23, 2024

Paint Marker Updates: Omiowl Acrylic, Posca


5/14/24 Maple Leaf neighborhood during the golden hour 
(This is why I can't give up on my worst bad-boy art material --
 Posca markers. It's hard to beat this easy opaque color!)

It’s been more than a month since I reviewed the Omiowl White Acrylic Marker, and I’ve been using it regularly since early April, so it’s time for an update. First off, the paint itself is still the best opaque white I’ve used. It covers large areas easily with solid opacity, it requires no agitating, shaking, priming, wiping or other annoying high maintenance practices, and it’s inexpensive.

The downside is that I’ve figured out why it is sold only in bulk packs of eight: The paint runs out quickly, and the brush tip mushes down a bit with regular use (although not before the paint runs out). I’ve gone through three pens already, so that’s a lot of plastic rapidly going into the landfill. After I’ve used up my supply, I won’t be buying more. It’s a shame, but it’s encouraging to know that it’s possible to make a decent white acrylic marker with low maintenance (but now someone needs to make a refillable version).

Great paint; bad value.

The next update is not news; I’ve known all along that Posca paint markers are prone to this issue, but now I have graphic evidence of Posca’s worst annoying trait. Sketching one day, I gave a Posca a vigorous, rattly shaking with the cap on (which is essential). When I pulled the cap off, paint exploded from the tip, leaving a spray of yellow dots on the sidewalk (exhibit A, below right).
Exhibit A: Italy and the sidewalk

Relieved that the spray had landed on the sidewalk and not on my sketch, I tried to use the pen, but paint wasn’t flowing, despite the explosion. I primed the pen by pumping the point on the last page of my book that I reserve for this purpose. The abstract map of Italy resulted (I admit, the yellow and blue look nice together) when the priming suddenly released more paint. I closed the sketchbook’s back cover quickly, resulting in the colorful Rorschach (exhibit B below; photo taken after I had filled the sketchbook). The Posca finally under control, I proceeded to finish my sketch.

Exhibit B: Posca Rorschach on the last page of my Uglybook.

What I didn’t think about was that the initial paint explosion had left a puddle of paint inside the cap, which I had posted. So when I recapped the pen, all the paint from inside the cap had transferred to the end of the pen – and then to my hand. (I apologize that I have no exhibit photo for that – I didn’t want to further transfer yellow paint to my phone.)

Exhibit C: Posca is permanent on favorite T-shirts.
When I got home after my walk, I realized that the sidewalk was not the only place where excess paint had landed; the splatters had also hit my T-shirt. Exhibit C at left shows the shirt after laundering.

Never trust a Posca. If it is behaving well, it is just waiting for you to become complacent before it turns on you again.

Will I keep using Poscas? Yes, of course (see sketch at top of post). It’s an ongoing, tumultuous relationship that I know is bad for me, yet I can’t seem to tear myself away. [Cue theme song to the TV show “Cops.”]

While I’ve been generally happy with the Omiowl acrylic marker, its brush tip is too thick for making fine lines in my small sketchbook, so I’m still on the hunt for a fine line opaque white pen. (Yes, I did give up on the white Posca 0.7mm “pin type” pen, three of which I used serially before each clogged in turn; other colors do not clog nearly as badly.) My current contenders are a Kuretake Zig ultra-fine brush pen and a Deleter Neopiko Line Drawing Pen (0.5), both containing white water-based pigment ink. I’m also giving my old standby, the Sakura Gelly Roll gel pen, another try, this time in the 1.0mm size. In the past, I have typically used the 0.8mm size, but Kathleen Moore recommends the 1.0mm size to use with watercolors, so I got one for her classes. I might as well give it a fair shake.

Hope springs eternal.

Jaded as I am, I’m not holding my breath that any of these will blow my socks off, but hope springs eternal, even among the jaded. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pico Café


5/19/24 Pico Cafe, Ballard neighborhood

The "sky" behind us looks cloudy, but that's white fabric sheltering the patio.
A couple of years ago when Natalie, Ching and I got together on Pico Café’s pleasant patio, I faced the other direction. Instead of a Japanese maple and trellis, this time I could see a fountain behind two guys, a small sculpture of a dog, and Natalie’s pizza remains. I like how the comic-y format brings these disparate items together, giving a wider picture of the patio without having to draw the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Green Lake Starbucks


5/17/24 Green Lake

Although I walk and sketch in the Green Lake neighborhood frequently, I hadn’t sketched at the park itself in a while, nor had I sketched at Starbucks in a long while. When I got a promotion for a half-price beverage last week, I decided it was a good opportunity to do both. I got a table facing my favorite Green Lake trees – a stand of beautiful burly, bumpy ones that I never tire of sketching.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Drizzly U-District Street Fair


5/18/24 U-District Street Fair

After a streak of good weather during USk Seattle outings (well, except for soggy Cinco de Mayo), our luck ran out Saturday: The U-District Street Fair was mostly damp to drizzly. Still, I managed to duck under awnings and trees to catch the general fair ambiance of tents and attendees, a balloon man, and two members of a jazz group performing on the stage.

Eventually I got chilly and tired of being dripped on by trees, so I retreated to Ugly Mug Café and Coffee Roasters, where the windows cast a nice backlighting on patrons.

5/18/24 Ugly Mug Cafe

Our luck was back for the throwdown, when it finally stopped raining and the sun even appeared briefly. (By that afternoon when I was back at home, it started pouring! I feel bad for the vendors, who probably lost a lot of sales to the miserable weather.)

For three decades before the pandemic, the annual U-District Street Fair was one of our favorite summer (or near-summer) events. Begun in 1970 with roots in activism for social and political change, this was Seattle’s first street fair and the country’s longest-running festival of its kind. It came back strong in 2022 after a necessary pandemic pause, but we didn’t attend the last couple years. Despite the rain, it was good to be back last Saturday, especially with USk Seattle. (The last time USk Seattle met there was in 2019.)

Speaking of USk, today is my 12-year anniversary since I joined Urban Sketchers Seattle!

Material notes: The bright blue Uglybook I recently filled was a joy to use, but now that summer is nearing, it was time for a change-up: Sunny yellow! (The light blue paper above is the larger-format Uglybook.) And as much as I love the comic-y look of markers, I had been missing my beloved pencils. In addition to being sunny, I was hoping the high-key color would be light enough to show graphite, especially the water-soluble graphite ArtGraf pencil used above. When activated, ArtGraf is almost as dark as a marker. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s going to work out with my comics style. Even with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens for assist with dark backgrounds, graphite just doesn’t have the solid punch of a marker’s bold line. I’m not giving it up yet, but I’m not feeling it, either.

On the upside, waterproof Pitt pens saved the wet day: Several times my pages got hit by big secondary raindrops from tree limbs above, but no running occurred!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Mighty-O Donuts


5/16/24 Mighty-O Donuts, Green Lake neighborhood (bonus points to Mighty-O for the bright orange sticker that looks fantastic in my blue Uglybook!)

For years, Zoka Coffee was my favorite coffee shop to sketch in. The large, high windows and an interior space that made it easy to see people from various angles (not to mention good pastries) made it very appealing. I really missed it during the pandemic, and it was one of the first indoor places I spent time in during the first winter after I got vaccinated.

Unfortunately, Zoka’s liberal wi-fi policy (free and unlimited all day; it has become a rent-free office space) means that it’s nearly impossible to find a table there unless I arrive when they open at 6 a.m. (which I’m not inclined to do). After walking there on a drizzly, chilly morning, I was disappointed that every table was occupied, as usual. My on-location comic tells what happened. I guess I’m going to have to cross Zoka off my list.

Although Mighty-O lacks a good interior space for sketching people, at least they have plenty of outdoor seating. On a warmer day, I wouldn’t mind spending more time there. (Yes, there’s also the donuts, though a bit too wholesome for my taste.)

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Quantum Installation

5/13 - 14/24 Quantum installation outside and inside our house.

Love the way the orange Uglybook looks against the sky!
Unhappy with Comcast/Xfinity for a long time, I was thrilled to pieces to hear that fiber optics was finally available in my zip code. Even if the installation went well, my fear was that I’d be fussing for hours to get all my devices on board with the new modem. Much to my relief, both the installation and transition to all my devices were amazingly seamless. As for speed – no more buffering when streaming movies, which was a very annoying problem with Xfinity.

The real test, of course, will be the first time I have a problem: How well and quickly will customer service take care of it? But for now, I’m happy – especially with the wider wi-fi reach, which means I can now use my devices out on our back deck! Next time I have to be in a Zoom meeting on a gorgeous day, I won’t be quite as cranky.

(I couldnt get the two-part scanned image to be the same size here, so Im showing a photo of the full page spread at right.)

Friday, May 17, 2024

Diary Comics: Enjoying the Process

5/7/24 Imagination

Although I’m not making them daily as I was during my 30-day self-challenge, I’m pleased to say that I am still making diary comics almost daily, which is good enough for me. I don’t want to be compulsive about keeping up with any activity; I just want to be confident that I enjoy a new habit enough that it will continue to “stick.” Indeed, I enjoy thinking about ideas for diary comics, even if I don’t complete one each day. The ongoing thinking is a big part of the creative process and a worthwhile challenge.

5/4/24 Memory and photo reference

A few more learnings and breakthroughs:

  • I’m relieved that combining drawings from life and drawings from imagination or memory in the same comics has become a seamless, liberating experience. (This was a big hurdle when I first began.) If I were pressuring myself to make all sketches from live observation, I definitely wouldn’t be making as many comics. In addition, some panels would not accurately illustrate what I want them to because I’d be limited by what I can see or draw at the time. Under pressure, they would definitely be less fun.
  • I’m starting to care less about drawing quality and more about the story. While I always want my drawings to be as good as I can make them, if they aren’t quite right but they communicate what I’m trying to say, that’s good enough for diary comics. I certainly wouldn’t re-draw them any more than I would edit a journal entry.
5/13/24 Top sketch done on location; others from imagination and photo reference

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Aurora Borealis from Photos


5/13/24 Aurora Borealis over Seattle (reference photos by Jeff Chin)

The conditions on Saturday night apparently weren’t ideal; most people in my area were not able to see the Aurora Borealis. I wanted to try again Sunday night, but then the clouds came in. Although I was disappointed not to be able to see or sketch it from life, I still had the color palette that I had assembled for Saturday’s attempt. I decided I might as well sketch it anyway, inspired by all the beautiful photos friends had shared online. I was especially impressed by photos taken by Jeff Chin (he’s the friend whose photos of rescued dogs had inspired my pet portrait fundraising project). While many friends had captured the AB colors, Jeff had captured the stars behind the colors!

Making this sketch from reference photos wasn’t quite the same as viewing and sketching live, but it will have to do until the Aurora shows up another time (or perhaps I’ll have to go to Iceland for a better show).

A palette of Caran d'Ache Luminance, Derwent Lightfast and Prismacolor pencils, all among my most opaque colored pencils.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Waiting for the Aurora Borealis


5/11/24 Maple Leaf Park, about 10:15 p.m.

After seeing amazing photos from friends and neighbors on Facebook last Friday, I was encouraged to stay up late enough to try to see the Aurora Borealis on Saturday night. Along with many neighbors who had the same idea, I arrived at Maple Leaf Park around 10 p.m. I waited until about 11 (when I was afraid I might nod off right there at the park), but didn’t see anything. It was kind of fun, though, to chat with neighbors, all of us sharing that same sense of anticipation.

To entertain myself as I waited, I sketched a guy using his laptop under a park shelter. He didn’t seem at all interested in looking for the AB – he just likes to work at night in the middle of a city park, I guess. (Of course I went prepared with my Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Book Light!)

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

The Mountain Delivers


5/10/24 Macrina Bakery, Maple Leaf neighborhood

Several years ago when I had promoted an Urban Sketchers outing to Maple Leaf Park, I oversold it a bit: “The biggest and best highlight is a completely unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier – possibly the best within the city limits!” (I used to make my living in marketing; so shoot me.) On that August day, Her Majesty laughed her head off as she stayed hidden behind clouds.

Caffeine and sustenance before the park outing. 
Seeing that the weather forecast was clear and warm toward the end of last week, I recalled that 2017 outing. As I sent out an ad hoc outing announcement on short notice, I said to myself, “Come on, Your Majesty – don’t make a liar out of me again!”

For early birds, I started the outing at Macrina Bakery across the street from the park entrance. I enjoyed meeting a couple sketchers who were new to USk, and we all had fun chatting and sketching our pastries and coffee (above).

Walking across the street to the park, I looked up at the clear sky and breathed a sigh of relief. This time, I delivered on my promise of a fantastic view of Mt. Rainier. While Her Majesty was the main attraction, the Maple Leaf water tower and the Confluent Boulders sculpture were also popular subjects (good backup material in case The Mountain was under cover).

5/10/24 Maple Leaf Park

It was the first outing of the year that felt like summer – and it’s only May! I know that doesn’t bode well for the climate or the snowpack, but right now, I couldn’t be happier.

"Confluent Boulders" by Patrick Marold

Jim and Paula make homage to Her Majesty.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Thornton Place


5/8/24 Thornton Place, Northgate

After an appointment in Northgate, I remembered that it had been ages since I last sketched at Thornton Place. Although it has lots of nice umbrella’d tables, it’s not sheltered, so it requires at least a little warmth and dry weather to be comfortable. A bit breezier than I like, it was still a comfortable 63 degrees and with clear skies to spare.

This page isn’t much of a comic in terms of a “story,” but it’s one of my favorite page compositions so far. According to Scott McCloud’s criteria for modern comics, maybe my “story” is simply wanting to capture the feeling of spring (at long last) when café umbrellas open and people want to be outdoors.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Third Place Commons


5/7/24 Third Place Commons, Lake Forest Park

Third Place Commons is an ideal spot when Roy and I want to talk about and make comics. It’s a huge space, so we can choose close-up, middle-ground and distant compositions, and it’s full of people meeting and talking and who tend to stay around for a while.

Recently I had been thinking about some exercises I had done in Taylor Dow’s Observational Cartooning workshop three years ago. I remember clearly the exercise that I had enjoyed most: Going out to Volunteer Park to draw from life while speculating about what people or things were saying or doing. Even though the “characters” were real people and not imaginary, I could use words to add an imaginary layer. I especially had fun making up dialog between inanimate objects – it was comic-making that felt easier than anything else I had tried.

Hearing all the chatter around us as we sketched, I warmed up with the blue Uglybook (above) to capture some of the yackers (and a young woman who was quietly studying). The page was a way to get back into that fun frame of mind from the workshop.

Then I immediately started a second comic spread in a larger, lavender-colored Uglybook (below) to capture the different types of communication going on with more speculation. Fun! I think I’ll do this more often when I sketch in places with lots of people.

The scanner cut off the right edge, so I'm also showing the photo image below.

The "bible" of autobiographical comics.

While at Third Place Commons, I stopped in at Third Place Books to pick up the book I had ordered: Lynda Barry’s Making Comics. I had read a library copy three years ago. Back then, my focus was on learning to draw from imagination more than on making comics, so I didn't get far with Barry's remarkable teaching methods. But if Scott McCloud’s books are seen as the “bibles” of all comics-making, certainly Barry’s books are the “bibles” of autobiographical comics. Making Comics is rich in creative exercises and techniques to help people mine their personal stories and get them out in comics form. It was time to own a copy.

Comics campadres are at it again!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

UW Quad Protest


5/9/24 UW Quad

The day before USk Seattle’s outing to the University of Washington Biology Greenhouse, student protests of the university’s involvement with support to Israel started heating up. News reports said the pro-Palestinian protest encampment was still relatively peaceful, though, so I wasn’t concerned. I was, however, a naughty USk admin: After leading the group into the greenhouse, I went out to the Quad, where the encampment had been set up. I saw a good opportunity for sketch reportage!

OK, that’s what I told myself, but if truth be known, I just wanted to sketch in the sun. Two winters ago, USk met at the greenhouse when it was chilly out, so the greenhouse’s warmth was welcome. On Thursday, though, the hot, humid greenhouse was less appealing; I preferred 70-degree sunshine!

Even if my primary motivation wasn’t journalistic, I did find it an interesting challenge to tell the story of the encampment on a comics-like page (above). How different the Quad looked, covered end-to-end with tents, compared to the last time USk Seattle met there to sketch the fairyland of cherry blossoms.

After finishing that montage, I found myself suddenly hungry, so I wandered over to the HUB for a snack. I’ve been inside the HUB maybe three times since I graduated in 1985, and every time I’ve been shocked by how much everything has changed since I was a student. I open the same doors I opened nearly daily for six years, but inside, nothing looks the same.

Still, I enjoy the vibrant energy of the UW campus, especially between classes when students stream by in all directions. As I caught snippets of conversations, I realized not everything changes; students still talk about the same kinds of things.

I may be a naughty USk admin, but I always show up for the group photo!

Friday, May 10, 2024

Pink Dogwood (and Comics Lesson)


5/5/24 Maple Leaf neighborhood

Chilly and wet on a recent drizzly walk, I wasn’t excited about getting even colder by pausing to sketch. However, a pink dogwood I had admired on previous walks was at peak, and I knew that the coming storm would likely take down a lot of petals. It was now or never.

Process note: As I put in the dark green background behind the tree to make the blossoms stand out, I chuckled to myself about the irony: Learning to put in solid, dark backgrounds in the comics pages I have been making has taught me “not to be afraid of the dark” (quoting Roy). That’s what creativity is: Learning one thing teaches me another.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Ellie’s Show


5/5/24 Caffe Ladro, lower Queen Anne

Lively landscape by Eleanor Doughty

When we heard that Eleanor Doughty currently has a show at Caffe Ladro in lower Queen Anne, Ching and I decided to check it out. First we had lunch at nearby McMenamins (the same one I visited about a month ago). Then we walked over to Caffe Ladro to see Ellie’s vibrant, color-filled Pacific Northwest landscapes.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Like a Double Espresso

5/4/24 1-minute poses

On the first Saturday of the month, Gage Academy offers a three-hour life-drawing session of one-minute, two-minute and five-minute poses. It’s like a double shot of espresso: If you weren’t awake when you got there, you surely will be after a round or two of poses going by so fast that they hardly count as “poses.” Our fantastic model gave us a huge variety of strong, dynamic poses that kept every minute fun and challenging.

With 5-minute p0ses, I have time to use water-soluble graphite with water.

Although I prefer shorter poses to long ones anyway, the usual short-pose sessions I have attended are no shorter than five minutes (and ramp up to 20 by the end of the session). I had been wanting to try a super-short session for a long time but always seemed to have a conflict on the first Saturday. Now that I’ve had a taste, you can bet I’ll be back for more. These sessions are especially great practice for urban sketching.

For 2-minute poses, I used the same brush pen as I did for 1-minutes, but I had time for a little shading with a waterbrush.

Shown here are just a few of the 80 or so sketches I made. I always like to compare my first one of the session to all the rest after I’ve warmed up. Below are the stick men that were the first sketches of the day!

My first two sketches of the session... a bit stiff and out of proportion, but at the rate we were going, I warmed up quickly!

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

More Walk Comics


5/2/24 Northgate and Ravenna

My recent post about trying to include urban sketching as comics started getting too long, and I still had a backup of walk comics, so I saved a few for this post. No geeky comic analysis this time – just an observation:

Although I do enjoy fitness-walking simply to be outdoors and to see what’s going on in the neighborhood, the potential opportunity for sketching has always been a primary motivator for getting out each day. An added benefit of my latest focus on comics is that it gives me something else to “do” (besides walk and sketch): Now I am always actively looking for a theme, a story or anything that ties together a few sketches into a sequence. I’ve become more observant in a different way than I usually am when I’m “only” looking for a sketch (which is already a very active way to take a walk). I’m more engaged with making connections.

5/2/24 Maple Leaf and Ravenna

5/3/24 Maple Leaf

Bonus benefit: Making comics motivates me to walk more.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Soggy Cinco de Mayo

5/4/24 Cinco de Mayo celebration at El Centro de la Raza, Beacon Hill neighborhood

As I drove to the Cinco de Mayo celebration at El Centro de la Raza, the rain was just starting, and I thought how fortuitous it was that we had chosen an indoor venue for our second International USk Week outing. The weather got the last laugh, though, when I saw that while El Centro is a former school building, the festival was outdoors! Nonetheless, a few other hardcore sketchers showed up for the festivities, which included lots of traditional Mexican music and dance, food and colorful vendor booths.

A bit soggy but no less festive.

When I made a pit stop inside the school, I spotted a Dia de los Muertos display for the social activist Roberto Maestas. One of the floral-decorated skull heads called to me, especially since it was a way to sketch without getting wet.

The rest of the sketches are of some vocalists, a vendor booth and a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (El Centro de la Raza means “the center for people of all races,” so many cultures are honored there). Every sketchbook should have at least one page containing drops of the local DNA.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

On-Location Comics: A Sequence of Being Alive


4/21/24 Maple Leaf and Northgate

A couple of months ago when I first viewed Drewscape’s video about how he makes urban sketches as if they are comics, it blew my brain wide open. A short time later, he made another brief video about an activity he calls “real-time” autobiographical comics –basically sketching on location and completing a diary comic on the spot instead of further refining it in the studio later. While I’ve had intermittent interest in comics for a few years, what Drew was talking about opened my mind in a new and different way.

As is my habit whenever a creative idea grabs me, I dove in deep, first on the Internet (which was mostly unsatisfying) and then in books. I’ve had my nose buried in three of Scott McCloud’s books ever since: Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics and Making Comics. Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art, which preceded McCloud’s books, has long been considered “the bible” of comics creation. However, I think McCloud not only goes deeper and wider in his probe of all things comics-related; I also find his books to be more readable and less academic than Eisner’s.

Other books I am planning to re-read are Lynda Barry’s Making Comics, Syllabus and Picture This. I had initially devoured these “bibles” of autobiographical comic-making a few years ago when I was working on developing imaginative drawing skills.

Although I’ve read a few graphic novels that I’ve enjoyed, I’m hardly well-read or knowledgeable of comics, especially fictional stories. For example, I’m not sure I’ve ever read an entire action/adventure superhero-type comic book. As always, my primary interest is in urban sketching, and my fascination is with how it can be approached as a non-fiction comic – a form of autobiographical comic.

4/24/24 Maple Leaf and Northgate

Throughout my reading of McCloud’s books, I kept getting hung up about two aspects of comic-making that he believes are integral: the “sequential” nature of comic art and the “story” aspect. A comic tells a story through a sequence of drawings (and usually, but not always, with words). Yet when sketching on location without the opportunity to edit or rearrange panels later, it is very difficult to know what the sequence should be or what the “story arc” will be (in a traditional fictional way).

McCloud is very clear about one thing: The medium of comics is not defined by content. Any type of content can be presented in comic form if the result falls within the definition that his vast research (not to mention geeky pondering) has led to:

Comics (n.) plural in form, used with a singular verb. 1. Juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer.

I could have chosen to be like Drew and simply enjoy sketching on location with a comic approach (he doesn’t discuss the concepts that trouble me; he just happily sketches). But I’m too much of a geek myself and maybe also a bit of an academic: If anything could be comics, then I wanted to understand the comics genre enough to find a way to make comics from urban sketches. (I also enjoy the study to find the answer.)

It was obvious from both McCloud’s and Eisner’s books that sequence is a key criterion to qualify as comics. McCloud goes so far as to state that single-panel comics appearing frequently in newspapers (he showed The Family Circus as an example), which typically include a drawing with words, technically do not qualify as comics because one drawing is not a sequence.

4/28/24 Maple Leaf

If I made a series of related urban sketches (all from the same location and within a small span of time, for example) and put them with words, would that qualify as comics? Drew would probably say yes, and I wanted to, but I was troubled by the term “deliberate sequence” in McCloud’s definition. If I rearranged the sketches, wouldn’t my page of panels have the same effect? I might have a common theme, but if there’s no story arc to determine the sequence, it’s not a deliberate sequence, is it? Hmmm.

4/29/24 Northgate

I kept reading, and the answer came in McCloud’s second book, Reinventing Comics: the Evolution of an Art Form, which continues where Understanding Comics left off. I realized that I had been taking the term “sequence” too literally – a series in a particular order such as A, then B, then C. Showing a simple example, McCloud indicates that a “sequence” does not necessarily have to follow a story arc or logic:

For even a few simple lines, when placed in sequence, can capture the rhythm of the unbidden images our eyes encounter every day.

In the very next panel (all of McCloud’s books are written in an ingenious comics form), he puts to rest the other aspect that I had found troubling:

The rhythm, not of a narrative, a story, or a play put on for our benefit, but of the simple experience of being alive on Earth.

From Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud
(apologies for the poor image; the book will not lie flat in my scanner,
so I had to shoot it with my phone)

What is an urban sketch if not a drawn observation of the simple experience of being alive?

And with that, I felt satisfied: My urban sketches – the simple stories from my walks – can be comics, too.

Geek-worthy study

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