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!


  1. Your research has really inspired you!

    1. Yes, it has... and the comics I'm making reward me each day!

  2. “Comics Compadres!” Sounds like a good title for a comic book… or at least an ongoing comics strip!!! 🤗 - Roy


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