I’m so excited for our SAW workshop next week!
I’ve been getting ready for it this weekend, thinking out what I’d like to share with you and taking notes,
and… I’ve kind of decided to pretty much just share all my notes with you now!
I’m going to be bringing some esoteric ideas into our approach to making comics, so I thought it might be fun to share some of it with you in advance!
Please don’t feel that anything listed below is any kind of homework – just check stuff out if you feel like it or have time!
All I ask is that you try to read or at least check out The Idyll of The White Lotus. (More an that below!)
Thanks for signing up! See you all soon!
**CARTOON UTOPIA COMICS CAMP 2013**
I’m sure you’ve all looked at the things I posted online to get your mind aware of the kinds of stuff I want to present to you.
I’ve always approached cartooning in an unusual and individualistic way, and I hope to be able to share some of these aspects with you.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, my new book The Cartoon Utopia is inspired by a lot of mystical and spiritual ideas. I will be talking about some of these ideas, not as a way to preach or present any sort of spiritual beliefs to you, but instead as a framework and springboard to discuss and access aspects of our creativity.
Over the course of the week, we will approach ideas regarding alchemy & mysticism in these regards:
In looking at my work, and wondering what particular things about cartooning I might have to share with you, I realized how much ofThe Cartoon Utopia relies on adapting different kinds of texts into comics form. About a year ago, I came across a short, easy to read “mystical novel” called The Idyll of The White Lotus, by Theosophist author Mabel Collins. It is the story of a boy named Sensa who is brought to a monastery as a young boy. The book is very visual, and I imagined that it would be a fun and easy thing to adapt into comics. I would like you to read this book and imagine a section or aspect of it that you would like to turn into comics. I know it might be a little bit late to get your hands on a real copy of it, but I am attaching 2 pdf versions (one is a googlebooks scan, and the other is typed out.)
Along these lines, a lot of my fascination with digging into mysticism and the occult is the array of interesting characters and stories that I run across. I am going to bring a few books regarding esoteric history and biography along with me that we can all look at. I’ll probably have you pick something to do a comic about. I encourage you to look at this short list, or at the bibliography of The Cartoon Utopia and think of something you might be interested in doing a comic about. Go down the rabbit hole online checking stuff out if you like! Here’s some books I’ll be bringing along:
You may also want to look into the lives and ideas of characters like:
Hildegard Von Bingen
Besides any specific supplies you would like to bring along (your favorite preferred pens and paper and so forth) I would like you to bring some materials to make collages with. Be creative. We will be using source material as a palette of sorts. No need to think about it too much, but select things as if you are picking out paints or materials, as opposed to concrete images you would like to collage with. We will be approaching collage as a non-directional method of divination. Everyone can collage. Everyone approaches collage in a similar way that is often quite different than the structured format of creating something like a comic book. We all open a magazine and select what we would like to cut apart randomly in the moment. Although we make use of our skills and experience, we don’t usually plan what we will be collaging in advance. *That’s what makes it magical*
Last summer I ended up randomly seeing a band from San Diego called “Psychomagia” the night before I was to fly from LA to Massachusetts for a family vacation. I hadn’t brought anything to read with me on my trip, and decided to go check out the spirituality section of the local library where my parents live. I noticed a book called “Psychomagic” on the shelf, and picked it up because I recognized it as the name of the band I had just seen the night before. Little did I know that Psychomagic is the form of Shamanic Psychotherapy / Surrealist Art Therapy practiced by Alejandro Jodorowsky.
I assume that if you are interested in taking a week-long workshop with me that you might be aware of Jodorowsky’s work. Not only is he the director of such films as El Topo & Holy Mountain, but he is the author of many comic books as well. His practice of Psychomagic stems from and illustrates a number of factors that play into my approach to creativity. All my life I have approached my creative impulses in an instinctual way that I could never quite explain. Although I was aware of outsider and visionary art for many years, it is only recently that I have begun to understand the historic roles that shamans, magicians, wizards, alchemists, and mystics play in relation to what we know as the “artist” in modern terms. The practice of creating art is historically intertwined with those ofscience, philosophy and spirituality. The separation between these disciplines has never been as distinct as they are in our modern world.
Psychomagic uses the power of dreams and imagination to access the unconscious in a way that resembles Carl Jung’s use of awakened imagination and archetypes of the collective unconscious. Jung spent the latter part of his life studying Alchemy and relating it to the science of psychology. Alchemy is not simply an ancient tradition that formed the basis of chemistry. The Alchemist’s pursuit of the “prima materia” or “philospher’s stone” is just as much about an internal, psychological investigation, as it is about the chemical transformation of matter.
In his investigations, Jung discovered that the traditions of alchemy contain illustrations of archetypal symbolic imagery that occur in the connected dreamspaces of his patients. These ancient, pre-christian, pre-historic archetypes form the basis of power that exist in western systems such as alchemy, astrology, The cabala and the tarot as well as the ancient traditions of the far and middle east.
Shamans, witches, and traditional healers employ a form of magic that involves unconventional and extreme uses of the human imagination to achieve results that might often seem impossible by scientific means. Their methods may involve intoxicants or other trance inducing states, but also depend on faith, a suspension of disbelief, and an ability to tap into the imaginative side of human consciousness to achieve magical results.
Although it’s pretty late to be able to get your hands on a copy of Jodorowsky’s Psychomagic book, I will be bringing one. Why don’t you read up some stuff about Jodo? Start with his Wikipedia page. Maybe watch the movies if you haven’t. He’s a pretty fascinating character, and anything you come across is sure to entertain. Jodo is a true surrealist, jester and trickster.
THE CARTON UTOPIA
I will round out parts of our week together talking about my own career, how I started drawing comics, how I have approached the medium, and things I have made and drawn along the way. We can also talk about the basis of the content of The Cartoon Utopia. I’ll be presenting some of the things that inspired me, such as the Magic Class community I take part of here in LA, some of the basics of Alchemy, as well as readings involving Theosophy, lucid dreaming, astral projection, and assorted magical ideas
As a final fun thing – here are some youtube clips for you to check out.
I don’t know why, but these two things make me think about or class. Why not try listening to them both and think about how they relate to time?
Finally, check this out: The blade runner soundtrack
I’m gonna keep the reason for playing this for you a secret for now….
SEE YOU SOON!!!!