Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Chat with David Lasky

Welcome, David. We are so happy you'll be teaching again this year.

 Tell us a little about yourself...

I've been a published cartoonist since 1989, when I collaborated with Patton Oswalt on a college newspaper strip.  My first successful comic book was a tiny mini-comics version of Ulysses (the novel by James Joyce). I received hundreds and, in time, thousands of orders for it, which I took as a sign to continue making comics. 

 I have made a lot of short comics over the years, and never had a continuing character or series, which has been horrible for my career, but helped to preserve my sanity as an artist.  

My first twenty years of making comics seemed like a prelude to making Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song, in collaboration with Frank M. Young.  It was my first graphic novel (not counting an Oregon Trail graphic novel for kids), and won the Eisner Award in 2013 for best reality-based work.

I grew up in Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington, DC.  I have lived in Seattle since 1992, and really like the weather here.

Can you describe your creative process?

Sometimes I work with collaborators (who usually do the writing). Sometimes I make the whole comic myself.  I choose ideas that appeal to me and make short comics about them.  

With the subject of the Carter Family, I was fascinated enough with their music and their story that I knew I would be willing to draw nearly 200 pages of comics about them.  Still, Frank  and I divided their story into short chapters, to give us a sense of accomplishment every time we completed a small chunk of the story.

What’s your favorite comic to movie adaption?

American Splendor
.  The filmmakers perfectly conveyed the spirit of Pekar's comics and ingeniously put Harvey Pekar in the movie as himself.  As great as Paul Giamatti's performance was, Pekar himself is the highlight of the film.  Which is only fitting, for a pioneer of autobiographical comics.

 If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

Probably an English professor who writes on the side.  There are definitely days when I think maybe this would be the better career option.  It takes so long to draw a story in comics form.  I envy writers who can very quickly, in a single sentence, express what it might take me all day to draw.  

Still, there are things that can only be told and expressed with drawings.  I think I'm going to be doing comics for life.  I've tried to quit, tried to shake it off, but I keep going back to comics.

Thank you for visiting. We are sharpening our pencils in anticipation of the 25th.

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