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Interview

Eli Bishop p3

San Franciso minicomics creator Eli Bishop talks about sketching, zine fests and comic-cons...

READERSVOICE.COM: What got you interested in scratchboard drawing like the one in Busybody #2?

ELI BISHOP: I like scratchboard because I’m too lazy and sloppy to do woodcuts or etchings. It gives you a really strong visual reward right away, like unleashing a bright light in a dark space. Not a very popular medium for comics because it’s more time-consuming than ink drawing, but a few cartoonists have done great things with it: Krystine Kryttre, Penny Van Horn, Eric Drooker, Thomas Ott.

RV: Do you do daily sketching of people, like the page of people and their comments at the 2017 Comics and Medicine Conference in Seattle?

EB: I wish! I used to do a lot of sketching on trains and buses when I lived in New York, but I fell out of the habit because I just don’t take so many trains and buses any more— plus, it got less fun when everyone started looking down at their phones. But a daily sketching practice is important, and I need to get back to it. Something else I find valuable, even though it’s frustrating, is to try to draw people in situations where they’re not standing still and there’s not enough time— like if they’re walking past you on the sidewalk or dancing or something.

RV: Do you read a lot of true stories and autobiographical comics, like in The Drip and if so which other autobiographical comics or mini comics have you liked?

EB: I like too many to list. I just read a great memoir comic about nursing and AIDS, Taking Turns by MK Czerwiec. And Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor made a big impression on me at an early age.

RV: What’s your daily routine in San Francisco?

EB: Drinking coffee, trying to drink less coffee.

RV: How many festivals would you attend each year, like the SF Zine Fest and Short Run Seattle, and what do you like about them?

EB: I do SF Zine Fest as often as I can; I used to go to APE every year when it was in San Francisco, and I’ve been to a few conventions in Portland; this year is my first time going to Short Run. What I like about them is the chance to see lots of people doing lots of very different things. Unfortunately sometimes these events are a little hard for me to deal with, for the same reason: people are doing so many things, and if I myself am being really unproductive, I find that irritating (even though I know it should just be inspiring).

– See errorbar.net for many of Eli Bishop’s comics.
– copyright Simon Sandall.

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