No words allowed!

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Rain on the beach

Recently, I’ve been keeping a daily diary inspired by exercises in Lynda Barry’s Syllabus. One variation on the diary is a 4-panel silent comic showing yourself in scenes from the day.

One way to get to know how four panels do the sorts of things they are able to do is to keep a silent daily diary strip for 14 days. Just draw 4 scenes from your day, spend at least a minute on each panel – more if you like. The scenes can be right beside each other in time or be spread out over the whole day. Include the daily sorts of things – pouring milk on cereal, waiting in line – along with things that stand out – a fight, a kiss, a crazy neighbour.

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Haircut shock!

The shift into working without words has been challenging! I have to be more intentional with the drawings. I can’t depend on the text to carry the meaning of the piece. And, according to Lynda Barry, I don’t necessarily need to have a clear idea of what it is I want to express before I begin. The activity itself can take me there:

Both writing and drawing lean on a certain kind of picturing – not the kind that is already finished in your head and just needs to be put to words or reproduced on paper – it’s a kind of picturing that is formed by our own activity, one line suggesting the next. We have a general direction but can’t see where we are until we let ourselves take a step, and then another, and then we move on to the third.

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I’ll be posting my daily diary and other exercises from Syllabus over on my tumblr page, Divyam’s Doodles.

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