I recently finished a one-year drawing project called “20 Lines”
The initial inspiration was a prose book by the American Oulipo author Harry Mathews called 20 Lines a Day, which is a partial document of a period where he wrote 20 lines of prose every morning he was at his desk as a warm-up exercise. He was inspired by a quote by Stendhal to the effect of “20 lines a day, genius or not”. He took that notion literally in a somewhat wry way and I did the same kind of thing: well, 20 drawn lines, how is that so different from 20 lines of writing? (It’s faster for one thing, most of the time.)
I took it on once we moved to France because one of my goals here is to work on my drawing, which lags behind my writing and my structural/linguistic thinking about comics. My goal was to concentrate on the most basic elements of drawing–lines on a ground–to reflect on how lines fill space, how they fit together. Maybe not so much “reflect” as simply to put my drawing hand, my brain, and my eyes to work to see what would come out of it. How all that will translate back into my comics I don’t really know, but I see it as part of a process of taking more conscious control of my drawing both at a physical as well as conceptual level.
I’ve been really pleased with the reaction I’ve had from friends and from my Tumblr and Facebook postings of these pages. I expect you’ll be seeing some printed versions and maybe even some exhibits of this work in the future.
For starters, I was flattered and more than a bit surprised to receive an offer to publish a limited-run selection by No Press, a micro publisher of visual poetry and conceptual writing run by Derek Beaulieu. That should be published in the not-too-distant future, though to judge by his website I can’t say it will be easy to get your hands on.
Here are a few more selections from the 80 or so drawings I have done so far:
A Sol Lewitt homage series:
You can find the whole series browsing back through my Maddn Tumblr