October 18, 2009

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Art School Chronicles Year 1

Written by Jessica White
Illustrated by Jessica White
Self-Published (Heroes and Criminals Press)

This is the first in a series of mini-comics about Jessica's experiences in art school. Written as part of a 24-hour comics project, it features very brief, simplistic drawings that convey the action without going into the more detailed linework that Ms. White will show in the later editions.

In this chapter of White's life in art school, she describes her decision to go back to school for print making, the move across the country, and the early days of her time at school. She condenses time well, going over paper writing (and the contradictions in the academic world), an early design idea that did not work as planned, and how she became interested in doing zines.

There's also a bit of time to go over her personal life, ranging from a trip home to sleepless nights to finding out she was allergic to her cat. Give the length of time covered and the brevity of the content, I really like the fact that she gives us a personal touch to go along with her thoughts about making art.

I think the most interesting part of the story is when White talks about her thoughts on art itself, debating the merits of the traditional art museum, the dichotomy for every artist between making money and doing the art they want, and the question of comics-as-art. (That's a really thorny one in comics circles--I'd love to see White do a comic just on that subject.)

This is a very open conversation with the reader about White's life change and how it's affecting her. It is a personal comic at its most effective--telling a story that is close to the author's heart while also talking about a subject that any reader can relate to (a life change, being in school, thinking about the medium in which you work). That makes it a mini-comic I can easily recommend.

If you'd like a copy of Art School Chronicles, you can pick one up at Black Light Diner Distro. [A copy of this comic was provided by the distributor for review. It was pretty easy, because I live with her.] You can also visit Ms. White's website for more on what she's doing currently.