Monday, September 19, 2016

THE BROOKLYN BOOK FESTIVAL

CAN YOU DRAW THE MEANING OF LIFE?

The answer is "Yes!" 

The question above was the title of a panel I moderated for the Brooklyn Book Festival yesterday (9/18/16). Although we could have saved a lot of time with a monosyllabic answer, it was so much more interesting to see what panelists Tom Hart (Rosalie Lightning), Cyril Pedrosa (Equinoxes), and Lauren Redniss (Thunder and Lightning) had to say about it.

GOING DEEP

All three books tackle big topics and provoke big questions about art, death, loss, and more. Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart is a memoire of his daughter, her tragic death, and his love for her. Tom is an expert story-teller. His black and white images are so expressive that I could not get through the book without weeping.


Cyril Pedrosa's book Equinoxes just came out in English (yay!) It is a cyclic story taking place over a year and  over millennia. The book follows separate characters through significant and insignificant moments in their lives. The drawing and the writing reflect one another in their thoughtful and loving (yes loving) detail.


Thunder And Lightning, written and drawn by Lauren Redniss is a vibrant form of reportage that uses weather and the elements as a touchstone for relating histories, interviews, and stories about the ecological, personal, economic, and political effects of weather. Instead of using the traditional comics panel format, Lauren arranges her text in and next to her images in absorbing two page spreads. It is fascinating. 

FINDING CONNECTIONS
The three artist/authors had thoughtful and interesting things to say about some of the themes in their work (art, death, loss, etc.) I'm going to write about the topic of Art and leave it there.

Pedrosa

If I was to synopsize (and I was!) the conversation... Cyril has a respect and love of art and the creative process that manifests in Equinoxes as 1) the presentations of creativity (painting, sculpture, singing) in the environments of his story and 2) the incorporation of art making (photography) and its meaning into the fabric of the story.

Redniss


Lauren includes a chapter on the interrelation of artist (writer), environment, and economy with her chapter on Thoreau, his thoughts on living and writing, and his stay at Walden Pond. She provides us with a mood and environment that was important to Thoreau and his writing. She gives us an intimate experience of his influences.

Hart

The ways in which art/comics are a part of Tom's life are inextricable from his and Rosalie's story. He and his wife Lela Corman are cartoonists. For Tom drawing is work, fun, "therapy" and more. His story of grieving shows us how cartoonists use elements of their work organically for their own emotional and spiritual survival.

...And that was only a tiny part of a whole conversation. I'm so lucky to have been involved in this panel!





Monday, August 8, 2016

ANATOMICAL TRIANGLES - Love Stories

SOME DAY THIS WILL BE A MINICOMIC
Use this image to refer back to as you read the torrid stories below.

You can't imaging this image and the word "torrid" belonging together? Read on!








Wednesday, July 13, 2016

FRACTURED FINGER X-RAY MAKES GREAT EMBROIDERY

You know what it's like to start a project, then put it away before it's finished, then take it out for a few days, then put it away again, etc.? Actually, I hope you don't know what it's like. I have a couple of them still going on. But finally I have finished one!

Matt's finger, Tricia's dress

One of my colleagues at Sloane Kettering's Integrative Medicine Service fractured the distal phalanx (the bone at the end) of... it was either his 3rd or 4th finger. Matthew was generous enough to share his x-ray with me right around the time that my friend Tricia gave me a dress with machine embroidery on it. How better to make use of two wonderful gifts than to combine them into a single project?


Monday, May 30, 2016

VISIT MY GUEST BLOG POST

An image from Salvage's Anatomie du Gladiator in the NYAM collection.
VISIT THIS BLOG TO VISIT THAT BLOG
Yes, it's a little ridiculous, but this blog post is here only to send you to my latest blog post for the New York Academy of Medicine's Books, Health, and History blog. Many Anatomy Lessons at the New York Academy of Medicine is my second blog post for NYAM. 

Interested in taking my Visualizing and Drawing Anatomy classes at NYAM? Classes start June 6 so there's still time to sign up!

Monday, May 9, 2016

SMORGASBORD OF UPCOMING EVENTS

FIRST THING FIRST

If you're looking for more information about the Visualizing and Drawing Anatomy class, there's a paragraph below with a link for more info. But I will be writing an in-depth blogpost for May 17th that will give more details.

NOW THE FUN BEGINS!
If I ever whine about being bored in your presence you have my permission to tell me to shut up  and remind me of this spring. The fun doesn't stop until June 28th!

Me at TCAF in 2014 presenting some anatomy about muscle strain.
The fun never stops!
GUEST PRESENTER AT TCAF
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) has invited me to participate in their Word Balloon Academy Professional Clinic on Friday May 13th at the Bloor Yorkville Marriott. I will be available to answer questions about injury prevention and good drawing habits and will have copies of my mini comics (No) Pain! and First Aid for Drawing Injuries for sale. I will also present a self care workshop on back pain prevention on Saturday May 14th in the early afternoon, AND will be reading from some of my less educational comics for a Carousel Slide Show on Sunday the 15th late afternoon, details TBA May 11ish. TCAF is still working on their schedule. Can’t make it to Toronto but still want to buy a copy of one of my mini comics? Click on the title and you will be takes to Birdcage Bottom Book "shop" page.

Just when you thought there was nothing left to injure!

NO BACK PAIN! ANOTHER GUIDE TO INJURY PREVENTION FOR CARTOONISTS
Yes, there is a third volume of injury prevention and self care in the works! No Back Pain! Another Guide to Injury Prevention for Cartoonists focuses on... you guessed it - back pain! This mini comic explains the anatomy behind three common causes of back pain: muscle spasm, muscle tear, and disk herniation. It also gives some guidelines for self care and injury prevention, and presents breathing and conditioning exercises for relaxing and strengthening the core muscles of the trunk. (As usual, if you use this book instead of medical advice you are out of your mind.) No Back Pain! is still in-progress but I will have excerpted draft copies for preview at TCAF.

The past meets the present on June 7!

Visualizing and Drawing Anatomy Workshop at the New York Academy of Medicine
I am very excited to announce that I am partnering with the New York Academy of Medicine to offer an anatomy for artists four week workshop on Monday evenings June 6, 13, 20, and 27. As per usual I will be drawing the musculoskeletal system onto live models, but the most exciting part is that each class starts with an exploration of body parts and other systems in the Academy’s Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room! For registration and  information you can visit the NYAM events page. And, as stated above, I will be posting an in-depth description and sneak peak at some of the images we will be working with at NYAM on May 17th.



Monday, March 28, 2016

MoCCA FEST 2016

IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

If you like Daniel Radcliffe as an Arabian horse, 
wait till you see who I paired Elijah Wood with!

That's right! It's time for MoCCA Fest! This year I am tabling with my spouse R. Sikoryak at Table B128. It has been a year or two since I vended at this super-fun event. As usual I expect it to be a blast. In addition to the anatomized kitten comics and tales of your digestive system for sale, I will be offering some postcards and an entire poster that reek of physiognomy (see above). Although it is poor science to associate a person with a breed of horse and attribute a personality to them based on the temperament (cold, warm, or hot blooded) of the breed, I couldn't help myself.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

MINI COMICS, THE BODY, HEALTH, AND MEDICINE

SHOWING AND TELLING

Last night I took the subway uptown with a grocery bag full of mini comics to show and discuss with a monthly Graphic Medicine Workshop that I attend regularly. 

The Workshop is facilitated by Pat Stanely and Marsha Hurst, both of the Columbia University Narrative Medicine program. Typically we read a graphic novel or memoir in the realm of graphic medicine, and when we meet, have a conversation somewhere between a close reading, an analysis of writing and/or drawing, and a discussion of anything else that might catch someone's eye. 

The group varies, but attendees are often faculty teaching narrative medicine; students and graduates of the program; writers; people with social work or other healthcare backgrounds; and/or cartoonists. The groups is as interesting as the books we discuss. I learn at least 3 new things every time I go.


This month, as a change of pace, I brought my medical/bio/health- themed mini comic collection for the group to look over. Graphic novels are a rich resource, but minis offer an incredible range of topics and insights, too!

The authors of the minis included Emi Gennis, David Lasky, Whit Taylor, Box Brown, Mindy Indy,  Georgia Webber, Kate Lacour, Anuj Shrestha, Liesl and John G. Swogger, Shing Yin Khor, Joyana Mc Diarmid, Andy Warner, Sarah Mink and Corinne Mucha, Claire Sanders, Cathy Leamy, and many more...!

I think minis can be underrated as dynamic teaching tools. My collection ranges in topics from mental health to cancer diagnosis to genital mutilation to science fiction. They are memoir, instructional, fiction, and journalism  or manifesto. Most of them are not for children. 

Many minis in my collection weren't drawn with education or bio/health/medicine readers as a target market. They just happen to fall into that category. ANY topic you can imagine is likely addressed in a mini comic. They're (usually) cheaper than comic books or graphic novels, the art and writing are comparable, and are an excellent way to target an individual short story rather than wading through an anthology for the work of one particular cartoonist. 

Minis often are self-published and don't go through an editorial process. If you are interested in public perceptions of science, health, and the body, minis will give you a more diverse sample than graphic novels. Some of them are very opinionated (to put it mildly!)