By Darryl Ayo
Joseph Lambert impresses me as a cartoonist because more than most people, we can see him working. We can see him in the gym doing the pushups. Nobody can question where his abilities come from, he has no fear of drawing, of repetition, of working the same image over and over and over until he’s internalized it and digested it. His tireless exploration of his themes are an inspiration.
All for this.
All of that training and repetition and training and repetition and repetition and training goes into the final product which is… more repetition. Comics are an exercise in sequences. Sequences imply a sort of continuity and continuity requires some degree of consistency and ability to sustain a single thought for a period of time. These are the specific skills that Joseph Lambert has developed over all of these years.
Practice makes better, every time.
Visit Joseph Lambert’s website Submarine Submarine and learn about his collections, his comic stories and his many, many sketchbooks. Two particular recommendations: 1) The Double, one of many stories in which Lambert explores repetition within the structure of the narrative and 2) Early, a comic that follows a tight visual format and features Lambert in a relatively restrained and pared-down drawing style. Just goes to show what a practiced cartoonist can accomplish when they work out their own graphic language. It isn’t contrived, it’s the result of years of studied repetition.
Fortunately, the act of drawing is itself the greatest reward of cartooning. Embrace the process. I’ve been suggesting to cartoonists lately that much of their frustrations about sitting down at the literal drawing board may be rooted in seeing the drawing as a labor which brings about a completed book (or story or strip, etc). Instead, I have been asking people if they could look at the drawings in front of them as the goal; if they could see the process of creating that particular page as their goal. From this perspective, a published book is more of a document or recording of the vital experience, which is the creation.
If you are a cartoonist and you find yourself blocked and procrastinating from your creative duties, try it out. Perhaps a shift in emotional priorities in cartooning will help you through that tough spot.