Comics dreaming

Last night I dreamed in comics. I’ve been reading a lot of Portland artist and zinester Clutch McBastard‘s collected works lately, and for weeks now it’s usually what I flip through just before I go to sleep. So I suppose it was only a matter of time before I started working the comics into my dreams. But this was the first time I’ve ever dreamed in cartoons, at least as an adult (Stratos and Man-at-Arms, from the He-Man cartoons, invaded my dreams through my bedroom window when I was in grade school, and the Care Bears and Superman once had a party in my house).

But last night I dreamed in 2-D line drawings very much in Clutch’s style, and the drawings were of me and characters from Clutch’s comics. We were riding bikes. I seemed to be enjoying myself, though there was an underlying sense of angst or ennui (probably both) ready to float up to the surface at any moment — much like in the Clutch comics. Which is why I love the Clutch series — the honesty and simplicity of these “diary” entries are engrossing, a kind of “reality comic” that, unlike the televised reality shows, actually is about real life, in all its mundanity and small glories and minute complexities. It’s simply lovely stuff.

from Clutch: The Lost Years

When I woke this morning, I lay in bed a few minutes thinking about the dream, and I decided to try my hand at drawing this blog post. I didn’t get past the first panel, because I suck at drawing. I mean, I am REALLY bad.

See what I mean?

Which got me wondering, why can’t I just sketch a few lines? Or rather, why don’t I have the patience and equanimity with myself to learn how to sketch a few lines? I know this is as much a learned and practiced skill as it is a talent — probably more a craft than an art — and as a writer, I fully believe in the importance of practice and the role of craft in the work I do. But for some reason I sketch a few lines of visual art and just plain give up.

It’s kind of sad, really, because I love what other people do with quick, simple lines. My wife, for example, can draw a killer caricature of me, and Eirik Gumeny, my cohort at Jersey Devil Press, did a really cool sketch of me for our staff bio page.

Drawing by Jennifer Snoek-Brown
Drawing by Eirik Gumeny

But I can’t draw myself or anyone else for the life of me.

*sigh*

At least I still have Clutch.

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4 thoughts on “Comics dreaming

  1. Samuel, I emailed a link to this post to my agent, who used to be a semi-pro cartoonist, and he replied with an instant cartoon of you. Want to see it? I’m afraid he has given you a massive nose, but he draws everyone that way!

    M

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