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You could write a comic about this



Karl Ove Knausgaard has written a crazy long autobiographical novel – 3,600 pages long, in six volumes. I’ve only read the first two so far. I sometimes get into trouble writing comics about conversations I’ve had, and making judgements that perhaps haven’t been wise, but you wonder what kind of trouble Knausgaard got into for the intense scrutiny he placed on his family and friends.

Sometimes I think I should swap to made-up comics – you have quite a lot more leeway, and you don’t get into nearly as much trouble when you overstep the mark . Of course, friends and family are still a bit nervous, imagining a character might be based on them. But there’s something fascinating about real life, and the little things that happen around you. Knausgaard somehow makes going supermarket shopping and chopping vegetables enthralling.

As you can probably tell, I am going through an exploratory drawing stage. The more I draw, the worse I feel at drawing, but perhaps, as my sister points out, I am just being more ambitious and trying to do more with my drawing. After finishing Mansfield and Me, I was completely sick of my thick, brushed outlines, but I also didn’t like the pigment liner drawings of my early comics, especially since the ink ran out of my pens so quickly. Right now I am still trying to master the dip pen, but there are an awful lot of splatters and somehow, yesterday, I managed to spill two small bottles of ink, one of them over my sneakers. Anyway, I am hoping that by the time I start on my new project – maybe February – I will find my voice again!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. William laing permalink
    10/01/2017 11:31 am

    Brilliant representation, absolutely true to life

  2. Tim Laing permalink
    10/01/2017 11:50 am

    I’m in a mother fucking comic!!!

  3. 10/01/2017 12:09 pm

    Karl Ove Knausgaard is fascinating because there’s no barrier between reality and fiction, and more and more I don’t think there is, so he breaks the illusion that writing isn’t, as it’s reference point, about ourselves (as I think it can’t avoid) or the suspension of disbelief. [In ‘my circle’ that would be one of the most contentious things I’ve said on social media.] I’ve been reading a lot of the ‘readymade’ or ‘reality-fiction’ authors (W.G. Sebald, et al) in which the theme itself is their oeuvre.

    Mind, going the step to publishing then becomes problematic, especially, in Knausgaard’s case, due to the deleterious consequences on his wife. From memory, both of them had breakdowns over his novel series, but she stuck with him (just). Art versus relations/respect for loved ones versus the need to publish to make a living. The imponderable being, again, for artists, art is life (you can’t separate them, either).

    It gets ‘too’ hard. Interesting watching you in your work and this blog (and this blog, to follow the theme, is your work) fumbling – because there’s no other method – through these issues. It’s why I also love Ashleigh Young’s essays and blog.

    Sorry, thinking out loud (and bouncing off something of my own which this struck a chord with).

    [All the best for the New Year Sarah. Look forward to your work over the year.]

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      11/01/2017 9:00 am

      Interesting thoughts! I feel as though there are signposts throughout the book that it is not entirely all true – it feels like a non-fiction account, but then he tells us about his terrible memory, which would preclude the amazing recall of all those conversations. But he also tells us of the frenzy in which he is writing this book – a fever that lasts all night when most people are sleeping – so it’s as if he’s channeling his recently lived past. He makes it feel so real though. I’ve never read any WG Sebald – worth a read?

      • 11/01/2017 9:25 am

        WG Sebald’s ‘Austerlitz’ is a gem of a novel (if novel is the right term any longer). One of those books that slow-reading is intended for.

        Quoting from this New Yorker piece on why you should read Sebald:

        “The weight of the loss to literature with [Sebald’s] early death [died in car crash at 57] —of all the books he might have gone on to write—is counterbalanced only by the enigmatic pressure of the work he left behind. His four prose fictions, “Vertigo,” “The Emigrants,” “The Rings of Saturn,” and “Austerlitz” are utterly unique. They combine memoir, fiction, travelogue, history, and biography in the crucible of his haunting prose style to create a strange new literary compound. Susan Sontag, in a 2000 essay in the Times Literary Supplement, asked whether “literary greatness [was] still possible.” She concluded that “one of the few answers available to English-language readers is the work of W. G. Sebald.”

  4. Jacqueline permalink
    10/01/2017 6:43 pm

    I like your use of colour here. And exploration is great – I’m enjoying watching how your work transforms over time.

  5. 10/01/2017 7:09 pm

    Your style is looking good. Always playful. I particularly like how the writing ties in with the drawing. It’s kind of as one.

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      11/01/2017 9:01 am

      Thanks! I don’t normally pencil when I write my blog so there is quite a lot of room for error!


  1. Me, Myself and Ferrante – The Self-Portrait. – Books, Films & Art, Plus a Bit of Life I've Squeezed In.

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