Short film about Chris Ware: "I distinctly remember being told by my teachers, if you draw women, you're colonizing them with your eyes"

Chris Ware is inarguably one of the greatest cartoonists of the last 50 years. In this short film produced by Ian Forster and Nick Ravich, Ware talks about the challenge of writing stories from the viewpoint of an African-American school teacher named Joanne Cole.

From his home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois, artist Chris Ware shares motivations and challenges for telling stories from the perspectives of others in his work. "I distinctly remember being told by my teachers, if you draw women, you're colonizing them with your eyes," Ware recalls of art school. "Do you not draw women and then maintain an allegiance to some sort of experience that only you have had? Or do you try to expand your understanding and your empathy for other human beings?"

Though it might be uncomfortable, Ware strives to write from a place of empathy, expanding his stories to feature characters whose experiences differ from his own. Among these characters is African-American school teacher Joanne Cole, who appears in Ware's continuing comic series Rusty Brown. "I have to try to somehow push my limits and my understanding of how I feel through other people in what I'm doing," says the artist. "You risk falling on your face doing so, but that's a risk you have to take."

Known for his New Yorker magazine covers, Chris Ware is hailed as a master of the comic art form. His complex graphic novels tell stories about people in suburban Midwestern neighborhoods, poignantly reflecting on the role memory plays in constructing identity.

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Building Stories – Chris Ware's magnum opus includes 14 lavishly presented stories in different formats, all in one box

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Building Stories by Chris Ware Pantheon 2012, 260 pages, 11.7 x 16.6 x 1.9 inches (hardcover, softcovers, boxed) $31 Buy a copy on Amazon

Chris Ware is renowned as the kind of comic artist who makes you expect more from the genre. For nearly three decades, his unfussy, formalized style has given birth to cult strips such as Rusty Brown and Quimby The MouseM. Despite his style being modeled after the simplicity of Tintin in order to express emotion in as universal a way as possible, his style is a vehicle for the minutiae of human struggle. Building Stories is no different.

Largely comprised of strips previously published in national newspapers, but also featuring unreleased material, Building Stories is Ware's magnum opus – 14 lavishly presented stories in one beautifully designed box, itself adorned with extra strips and illustrations. The separation of the stories into physically distinct objects is intended to allow the reader to acquaint themselves with the characters in any order they choose.

Revolving around the lives of the inhabitants of an apartment block in Chicago, his pet themes of social alienation, excessive rumination and the pervasive feeling of being railroaded by mundanity are all present and correct. A number of archetypes populate the building – the lonely old lady, the bickering couple, the single young woman, but Ware imbues each with its own identity.

Arguably the most prominent character is the young woman who has a prosthetic leg, observed at various unassuming yet pivotal moments in her life, whether she's summer house sitting, lying awake at night thinking of her newborn child, or trying to overcome her anxiety in a writing class. Read the rest

Chris Ware's New Yorker cover

As usual, Ware nails it.

All Together Now Read the rest

Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Datebook Volume One 10th anniversary edition

Drawn & Quarterly has reprinted cartoonist Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Datebook Volume One, which came out in 2003. It's a terrific look at the "loose" work of one of the world's best living illustrators.

Acclaimed cartoonist Chris Ware (Building Stories) reveals the outtakes of his genius in these intimate, imaginative, and whimsical sketches collected from the years during which he completed his award-winning graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon). Acme Datebook Volume One is as much a companion volume to Jimmy Corrigan as a tremendous art collection from of one of America’s most interesting and popular graphic artists. Chris Ware has a passion for drawing that is infectiously wide-ranging in style and subject. Acme Datebook Volume One surprises the reader on every page with its spontaneity, its mordant humor, and its excellent draftsmanship. Architectural drawings from Chicago and interplanetary robot comics collide with cruelly doodled human figures, quietly troubling figure studies, and innumerable notes to self detailing artistic doubts and ideas.

Acme Novelty Datebook Volume One (And they've reprinted Volume Two, too!) Read the rest

Chris Ware interview

[Video Link] An interview with Jimmy Corrigan creator, Chris Ware. (Via Drawn & Quarterly) Read the rest