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"The idea of a bus"

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Somehow I fell into comics, despite having no plans to - although if I trace the steps backward to old issues of Nintendo Power and anime episodes, it makes perfect sense. In comics, I often struggle with the balance between drawing "well" and "poorly".

Sometimes the definitions of "good art" are very literal. How "realistic" is it? If the muscles are really rendered then it must be a good drawing, right? If I can't tell on screen if this apple is a photo or a drawing, then this must be the pinnacle of art, right?

I'm much more interested in the communication of "the idea of a thing". Let's take for example, a bus. If I draw a super realistic, perfectly rendered bus, then of course it's a bus. But if I draw a rectangular box with four wheels and a long line of high windows, chances are you'll look at it and also go, "of course it's a bus." Your brain may fill out the lines with the details of the myriad buses you've experienced, whereas the perfectly rendered bus can only ever be one, very specific bus.

Perhaps, in the hands of a very skilled bad artist, the rectangular box magically becomes the idea of a bus, and it's both different and unintentionally very personal to every single reader. Maybe you remember the smell of the vinyl seats on the school-bus of your youth, the worry that your social status is reflected by your position very near to the front of the bus. In a best case scenario, the non-specificity opens the door to specificity of personal experience.

Well - at the very least, this is my justification for drawing very poor buses.

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