All Is Full Of Linky-Love: 3 Questions With Kris Dresen by Dale Lazarov
Her bio: Kris Dresen is an artist and writer living in Chicago. She's the illustrator of the critically acclaimed comic book Manya, written by Jen Benka, and the writer and artist of her solo strip, Max & Lily. Previously awarded the Xeric Grant, Kris and Jen were nominated for an Eisner Award for their work on Manya. After migrating her work to the web, Kris serialized her fist full-length online graphic novel, Grace. She followed that with a graphic short story, she's in the trees, and is currently serializing her next online graphic novel, she said. Kris still loves print and her work is available on paper.
And in between all of these big stories she dabbles in arty-drawings and shorter comics, too.
Basically, Kris draws a lot.
from she said, ©2010 Kris Dresen
First question: she said has the really compelling feeling of both being compact and precise in its choices of moment — it's told in single panel illustrations that cut to the chase — and languid and sensual because of its gorgeous illustrative care. Is there any particular set of influences or aspirations that guide you?
I had no idea what my next project after Grace and she's in the trees would be. Grace was my "comic book" and trees was my "picture book." I was looking for something more experimental. I had also rediscovered my love of drawing with (mechanical) graphite pencils and wanted to do a story drawing with graphite. Late one evening I came across a movie on a digital TV sub-channel. It was a Chinese film about a college girl who rents a room from a cranky old woman. They start out antagonizing each other but end up becoming like family and caring deeply for one another. Each scene was very short and the characters barely spoke, but when they did it had meaning. I really enjoyed it – I so wish I could remember the name of it – and it got me thinking about doing a story where single panels would drive the story. Then the phrase "a relationship in sound bytes" popped into my head and there it was. So I started reflecting on how relationships are remembered. Do you remember the whole story or something key that "she said" (or "he said") that defines the moment? I also thought when going through a break-up there's a lot of venting to friends that starts "And THEN she said." As I was writing and choosing what each panel/moment was, I had to figure out what would be said that would be recalled with "and THEN she said…"
Since the text was minimal and I had allowed myself so much room to draw, I am able to fully illustrate each panel. I love all of the detail work and wanted their surroundings to help tell the story, too. The backgrounds give as much away as the words say. (Which, I think, becomes more apparent as I get deeper into the story.)
Also from she said, ©2010 Kris Dresen
Question no. 2: Other than its purpose as a slice-of-life comic strip, what do you want people to take from she said?
I want people to see she said as a strip that you have to stop and look at to fully enjoy. I didn't design it as something you can just gloss over. It is to be savored. :-) And I also hope that they maybe have shared an experience similar to what's happening in the story. I think, if I'm successful, at the end they will love/hate the comic. But that's a ways away yet.
Also from she said, ©2010 Kris Dresen
Question The Third: What appeals to you about publishing she said on the internet?
The immediacy and, for lack of a better word, intimacy. My work goes up moments after it is complete and that's very satisfying. I don't like my comics or drawings to just sit in my studio for only my eyes to see. I believe art should be public. I like that anyone who has the capabilities can see almost everything I do anytime they wish. I like the "for the people" mentality. I still love print, but when I print 3000 books, that means 3000 people have access to my work. With the internet I make what I do available to the world.
Read she said here.***
Dale Lazarov is the writer/editor of chic hardcovers of gay comics filth — STICKY, MANLY and NIGHTLIFE — published by Bruno Gmünder Verlag . Visit Swanderful, his tumblog of Curt Swan comics art, and his very NSFW gay erotic art tumblog, Fuck Yeah Dale Lazarov.
self-portrait, ©2010 Kris Dresen
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