April 18th, 2006 | Uncategorized

Okay, I’m just hurling myself into a whole new technological plane here. This is a short video of me working on my graphic novel “Fun Home” last summer, and explaining a little bit about my peculiar obsessive-compulsive process. Video shot by Amy Rubin.

Uh..having trouble getting the video embedded in this new website. Here’s the link to it on YouTube.

26 Responses to “videoblogging”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well. It stopped and started in a sort of challenging way when I played it. But I was fascinated anyway.

  2. Anonymous says:


    and the crush reaches a whole new level.

  3. DerikB says:

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing part of your process.

  4. Joan says:

    Ooh, methods video! I knew you would find a way to lure me into posting, kid. Damn, you reference everything! No wonder you get it all right.

    I fake just about everything, and boy can you tell.

    But what really rivets me here is that you seem to do all your tight lettering during the sketch stage. Then what? You just scan and transfer it over? Jeez. Full of dorked out fascination here.

  5. Pavel Curtis says:

    Wow! That’s really fascinating, and quite unexpected. I’ve met a number of comic-book artists at conventions and, at least when they’re doing con sketches, I’ve never noticed any of them using visual references. Of course, it might be quite different when they’re actually working on pages.

    Do you always use references, or was that only for “Fun Home”? In your experience, are techniques like that pretty common among cartoonists?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hmm… Guess that explains why you weren’t getting out much last year. At least the basement you were relegated to has windows.


  7. Pam says:

    Works great on my reasonably powerful PC. Even goes to full screen. But is that an angry (ignored?) black cat’s tail that appears swishing about by the desk lamp in the last section? If not, it’s a dyke artifact I’ve not yet heard of…

    This may be obvious but have you tried using a remote control for the camera, rather than the timer? You can get little hand-held radio controls for most digi cameras. Or maybe that beep beep beep BEEPBEEP is an essential part of the not-OCD process?


  8. Anonymous says:

    This is fascinating, thanks for posting it. I am hypnotized by the cat’s tail lashing in the last few seconds of the clip… 🙂

    This reminds me a bit of Alex Ross, who makes extensive use of poses to get his superhero-but-realistically-painted style ‘right’ — he takes reference photos with his friends and family with props and dressed up. His artwork is amazing.


  9. AngryDyke says:

    Wow that was great I love seeing artist in their element.

  10. Minnie-sota says:

    Thanks for posting that and giving us insight into your artist process. Amazing how technology can help…

  11. chicklet says:

    That is quite a process, and it shows how hard you work to get your characters’ expressions exactly right… But I’m curious–wouldn’t it be easier and faster to have someone pose for you? Or would having someone around just bug you?

    I’ll definitely buy the hard cover when it’s out!
    Love your work.

  12. Jo says:

    You are using youtube! Youtube is the new google. (Maybe next time Sydney will be youtubing herself?.. no pun intended) I use it for less intellectual purposes and do a random star-search every once in a while, but this is wonderful. I was wondering what you did before digital cameras, so thanks for explaining that. The polaroids must have been quite an ordeal to go through. Looking so much forward to Fun Home!

    – Jo

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes, as fascinating as learning your secrets is, the cat’s tail was the unqualified star of Act Three.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I always wondered which of your characters was you. Now I know: all of them!


  15. Anonymous says:

    Great insite, and great idea for the camera. I’m and artist too and do the same thing. To save on batteries and the camera, downloading them to a laptop and viewing them there seems to work best.
    I’ve followed the strip a long time noticed the increasing development, and improvement of the drawing style. Great work!

    – BigFan

  16. Wow. That was fun. And clever. In the latter part of the clip there’s this strange black ropy thing flickering … ah yes, the cat!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this. Like others said, it was neat to watch the artist in her element. Thanks to Amy, the camera-person, too. 🙂

    An Anonymous Suzanne

  18. raffi says:

    I can’t wait to see the entire ‘making of’ documentary! (hint hint)

  19. Jaibe says:

    How did you guys ever notice the cat? I was riveted by the artist 🙂

  20. Anonymous says:

    Fascinating! Thank you.

  21. e_journeys says:

    Wonderful process — using the camera is a fabulous idea! Thanks for the glimpse.

    Re the first comment here — I’m still on dial-up, so for anyone else who is also broadband-challenged, I just started Play, then hit Pause, and then found something else to do while the video downloaded, so that I could have it play without the hiccups.

    Looking forward to the June release!

  22. Anonymous says:

    That was fascinating — I’m an artist and I also teach drawing/painting/etc. I show a video of how William Kentridge works (for those who don’t know, he’s an artist to makes animations from drawings, except that each animation is only a few drawings constantly redrawn and erased over and over) that reminds me a little of this. Except he always seems to be runnign into his bathroom which has a big mirror while he tries hard to draw in his little sketchbook, and then redraw for his videos. I too think the laptop solution would be easier to see, but I can understand not wanting to take the trouble to download.

  23. Anonymous says:


    Wonderful little bit. I’m a painter and I too wouldn’t last a day without references. You can certainly tell in my work where I was looking at something and when I was just “fudging it!” I used to use catalogs too before digital camera. Isn’t it great! Thanks for the video – I loved it!

    Lauren Zito

  24. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Thank you So much for posting that video.. It gives me so much hope.. I guess it’s sounds kind of dumb, but I always thought that comic artists were just naturally good at remembering all those poses. I used to do figure drawing and painting, and I would always think “darn, this is so hard.. but without the model!? forget about it.” So, thanks, now anything seems possible!

    ps – were you in Sylvester’s in that pic? I hope so, they have nice breakfast there.

  25. Vicky says:

    Can someone help me out and tell me where the link to the video clip is? I must be losing my mind.