where the writers are
Eureka! I've been discovered by the graphic novel
From "Forget Sorrow," a graphic novel

My adult books contain images I've painted, but the pictures suffer because they are submerged in the sea of words. With the maturation of the graphic novel, words and images carry equal weight--support and play off one another--and have the flexibility to illustrate history and memoir.

When I was a kid in Japan, I loved my telephone book sized manga, but when my family emigrated to the US in 1967, I was no longer able to buy my favorites--they arrived a month late or were too costly in the San Francisco Japan Town bookstores.  (When I attended my first American elementary school, I was wearing my red vinyl shoes with a manga character emblazoned on top.  Boring sneakers soon became the norm.)

It's a kind of culture shock for me, now forty years in America, to finally see the manga tsunami sweep across the United States.  I find that I am not as interested in the manga style as I used to be.  I prefer the quirkier European attitude to drawings and storytelling: the  "alternative graphic novels"  The manga line work is "slick" whereas I like more of a bite.


Next graphic memoir entry

I don't like to be asked why my graphic novel with WW Norton (Alane Mason, editor) won't be in full color as if black and white were inferior.  I love black and white.  Bold yet understated, elegant, succinct AND colorful!  Any good Chinese ink-wash or Japanese sumi-e painter will tell you so.

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What an inspirational post.

I think black and white is actually more dramatic and adds a subtle mood. I'm a bit curious what your favorite manga were as a kid, and if you are reading any manga currently?

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Obakeno Q-Taro and Tetsujin

were a couple of favorites--but they were anime. I've been given a big stash of manga by a virtual friend I met on Librarything.com but have yet to explore them. The art has to really grab me and the manga-style is no longer as attractive: the line work has a too mechanical feel--too perfect. Marckris, can you recommend favorites of yours? I am mad in love with the style of David B., the author of "Epileptic." One can easily see how he has influenced Marjani Satrapi. Her work is striking because the dramatic use of black. I created a color comic strip piece about the Tiananmen Massacre for the Washington Post Book World. It appeared as the centerfold of their July 1 issue of 2007, just in time to irritate the "Communist" Chinese government on the tenth anniversary of their takeover of Hong Kong. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2007/06/29/GR2007062901263.html Belle Yang WaPo Comic Strip
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First I love the panels you posted, so cool!

The colors are rich and I like the line and story. I can't believe you were a witness to the Tiananmen Square protests!@!! How scary that must have been, but what a privilege.

I've only been recently introduced to manga, I've been reading Bleach, but the style is more fantasy-supernatural oriented. Also this website: http://www.onemanga.com/ has tons of free manga that has been scanned from the original.

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Thank you

for the wonderful link.  Now I have access to a great range of manga styles at my fingertips.  I love to study the way the artist/writer divides the page into panels to support characterization, environment or action.

I only began working in the comics format last October when the editor at Norton suggested that I'd take to the medium like duck to water.  Indeed.

Wish I'd started a decade earlier, especially since comics medium is expansive and young enough to allow the quirky, the flip right alongside the serious.  It allows a nice, reserved, placid, and law abiding Chinese gal to go nuts, someone who has always wanted to hang out with comix geex ;)

I've been working all fall to finish up a new picture book but just talking about comics make me antsy to take up the graphic novel project where I'd left off. 

I've loved to doodle since childhood.  It's curious that I am making my living doing what came first and what came most naturally.

Marckris, any chance you are creating comics too?  It's an absolutely democratic form of expression.  Any kid with his Xeroxed and stapled work is a comic book creater.  Ya don't have to wait for a publisher to claim that title.


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Thanks for the encouragement

Ah so you sense the frustrated artist in me do you! I'm a horrible illustrator, I love to write though. Awhile ago a friend and I colloborated on short little work. We got a few panels done but never finished it. Honestly, I wish I could draw a bit better.

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Truth be known

the underlying story is more important than the art, Marckris.  I've said that words and images support one another but without a strong story, no matter how good the drawing, the piece won't work.

I love weird, child-like drawings.  Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" is so endearing for it's "awkwardness."  I'm not so sure that I would like Leonardo DaVinci's perfect drawings in comic book format.

Please don't feel inhibited.  You'll develop your own style--even what may outwardly seem like flaws are charming.  When the creator of Peanuts, Charles Schulz, started to shake with age, his drawings looked even better than his youthful, steadier lines. 

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Beautiful stuff, Belle

I can't wait to see this thing published. The colors are tremendous. Are you doing the lettering as well?

 I love David B's Epileptic as well. What an amazing piece of work. I can see his influence on your panel composition. It's beautiful. Congrats! 

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The graphic novel format is definitely something tailor-made for your talents. And B&W is beautiful, as most of the great graphic novels can attest to. It should be a hit, I think.