Mixed Up Media

I had a pretty agonising yet entertaining experience with making the recent stimulusresponse piece “Babies Don’t See Colour“. It revolved around the obsession I had with line drawings and “proper” cartoon style when I first thought of the idea for the comic.

The basic format of the piece, the vertical presentation of a cliché followed by a kind of “switcharoo” was inspired by the stuff over at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. I’ve been enjoying the style of those comics, particularly the general rug-pulling gag that goes on, often by being literal or by hyper rational or something along those lines. So I was pleased to have an idea which fit into that mode: racist babies.

Thus, I assumed I’d try to draw it, if not in the same style as SMBC, at least as some kind of cartoon line drawing. And at the time I was doing that sort of thing a lot, so it seems like it’d all fit into place. Except it didn’t. I struggle at the best of times with drawing figures, and I could just get away with my ambiguous silhouettes for this one. And the biggest catastrophe of all was… I just could not draw the goddamn babies. Not to save my life.

So the idea languished for a couple of weeks, taunting me until I just threw it in the trash and gave up. Then, randomly, while in London last weekend, it occurred to me I was allowing myself to be held hostage by this assumption about the style of the comic. That’s something I’ve been trying to break out of again with thing like “Man in a van” as well. It was liberating to realise I could do it any old way, and I immediately wanted to do it as a collage, since then I wouldn’t have to draw anything if I didn’t want to. Plus, I’ve been wanting to do more collage-y stuff lately anyway.

And so off I went, and I was actually able to get the babies off my plate, so to speak.

15 July 2010
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