Thursday, 24 November 2016

Soul and Substance

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

We've looked at Dave's notebook #13 three times before, most recently in this past April's The Waiting Dancer. Notebook #13 covers Cerebus #122 to 125  and had 67 pages scanned.

And with all the Bruins games and the season ticket holder event this past weekend that is all I had typed up as of this morning. I had already picked out two pages that I thought were interesting from notebook #13. The first was page 65 with a picture of either an old Oscar or a Sebastian Melmoth. What I thought was interesting was the listing of the phonebooks in the upper left hand corner and their corresponding themes.

Notebook #13, page 65
The dialogue along the side is also interesting - I picture Cerebus talking with Melmoth, something that never happened:

"A guy told Cerebus he would die alone, unmourned and ::blank:: forgotten. He was a judge"

"They are all judges after a fashion, my friend. That is the soul and substance."

The next page is one I picked out because I think it sums up Cerebus - he thinks he'll be happy when he is in Jaka's arms. Sorry to break it to you kiddo, but you can get what you want and still not be very happy. You'd think he'd learn his lesson.

Notebook #13, page 31


Gary Boyarski said...

I love seeing these sketchbook images. It gives one a sense of how Dave constructed a drawing. I wonder, has there ever been, anywhere, a "How to Draw Cerebus the Aardvark" thing? Or a character bible, that showed how Cerebus looks in different poses and expressions?

Jeff Seiler said...

I especially like the note on the lower right side of page 31. Somehow, I think it rings very true after this month's North American election.

Malcolm X said...

Always great to see these sketches. Keep up the great work, Margaret!

Unknown said...

Gary - I did a model sheet very early on with a COMICgraphics logo on it.

The problem is that I was the only one drawing Cerebus so there wasn't much call for HOW to draw Cerebus. As I'm sure you're finding with the JACK GRIMM characters, they evolve on their own -- or, more accurately, somewhere in between you and their Comic Art Metaphysics Socratic/iconic form. The more issues you get done, the more you'll see that happening. You THINK you're drawing the character the same way each time, but the character is actually creating him/her self as much as you're creating him/her. "They" come from a place that really can't accurately be called "you".