I had always been interested in doing something like this, but assumed I didn’t have the patience or the know-how. Then I had the opportunity to set up a project for Advanced Studio, so I started putting images together. Originally, the plan was to make a book about someone trying to make a book about something trying to make a book – the images would start out very realistically rendered, and degenerate more and more into childlike scribbling. To complete the joke, I thought the person trying to make the book should very clearly be me. I started drawing up pages of self portraits in which I would argue with a dead fly on the windowsill, who would act as a sounding board for story ideas, berating any plotlines I might come up with, angry that I had swatted it. This whole book-inside-a-book plan fell through pretty quickly, and I was left with lots of drawings of myself staring down a dead housefly.
I didn’t want to just scrap them. There was something about the wordless imagery that I really liked. When the dialogue was removed, the sort of absurdist element became something more serious. It reminded me of a child poking at a dead thing, trying to wake it up and slowly realizing that it won’t happen.
Not wanting to drop the comedic angle entirely, I split the book into three short sections that address the same issue in different ways. The fly section comes first. The second section is fairly abstract; it’s meant to address the same issues as the first, but in a more internalized way.
The third section is the only one containing any dialogue. Stylistically it’s much simpler and more cartoonish than the first two, and consists of an argument between an umbrella-headed child and a dying/dead fish, which made it the most fun to work on.
Which is all to say that it’s amazing what a little encouragement from professors and a deadline can help you come up with; I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have finished this project without those elements. I’m tentatively sending it around to publishers now, but in the meantime I’m self-publishing on Lulu.com. If you are interested in filling up your eyes with sweet, sweet images, this thing is for sale here. You could also ask for a copy if you see me around campus. I'm usually somewhere around David Hall.