The Catholic Illustrator’s Guild Interviews Daniel Mitsui

Here. At one point, our man takes up the question of cartooning:

“I do think that cartooning can teach an artist a lot about sacred art. Visually and compositionally, a comics page from the early 20th century resembles an illuminated manuscript. The figures in mediaeval illustrated manuscripts often look cartoony, simply due to the speed (fast) and scale (small) at which they were drawn. My own figures often look cartoony for similar reasons; I can draw very realistic figures if I have charcoal, a kneaded rubber eraser, and models willing to sit still for six hours, but they’re not something I can improvise easily.

There is also a vigorous comic tradition at the edges of mediaeval sacred art – in manuscript drolleries, misericord carvings, gargoyles, and, ultimately, Hieronymus Bosch – that is very interesting in itself, and even more interesting when considered as an essential part of the iconographic system.

Personally, I credit cartooning with teaching me to compose narratives. For example, I recently received a commission to illustrate a spiritual journey in allegory; it involved a woman climbing a mountain with her family, falling away from them, being led back to the path by a priest, and rejoining them to ascend to the summit. I was able to compose the story in a single continuous landscape. It begins in the top left corner, then moves counterclockwise around the border, breaks into the center of the drawing, and zigzags to the top center. It’s complicated, but I think that anyone can understand the events, and their chronology, without any panels or numbers or arrows to direct him. I wouldn’t have been able to compose that without having read a lot of Popeye and Krazy Kat and Little Nemo. “

But that’s just a snippet. Go thou and read.

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