October 18, 2009

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Art School Chronicles Year 2

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

Just by looking at the cover, you can tell there's a major change in the artistic quality between year one and year two of Ms. White's ongoing series about her decision to change her life and go back to art school for print making.

Part of this is that she is no longer doing it as past of a 24 hour comic project, but I think a bigger aspect of this is a greater interest in the medium of zines and wanting to invest more time in the finished product.

Or maybe she just likes drawing a ton of rabbits. I'm not quite sure.

In any case, there is a strong focus on White's love of drawing and it shows from the first panels on, as wood paneling gets intricate details, clothing is more completely covered, and incidental drawings abound.

Year two finds White struggling to find an artistic identity, using various influences to refine her style and critics like Scott McCloud to find out more about creating comics. They're on the move again, to a new city that will help further White's degree. This time, there are more people working with her, and it helps to make the transition easier, I think.

However, all is not perfect. White's work is not quite as much as she'd hoped, and then there's an academic issue to deal with. All in all, it's a scary time, but she's going to press on into year three.

The craft takes center stage this time, both in discussion and page layout. White plays with the structure of a comic, using changing camera angles, and character size to reflect mood. What's a bit lost, however, is the touch of the personal. White only mentions her non-art life in passing, and mostly at the end, almost as an afterthought. I liked the balance of the first year a bit better, personally.

Art School Chronicles continues to be a good read, however, and definitely worth following into year three.

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.