FACULTY GUEST BLOGGER: Dennis Corrigan
Dennis Corrigan: My new book of illustrations, True Love Knows No Boundaries, came about as a result of an email sent out by Dr. Lee Sebastiani regarding the possibility of faculty interest in a kind of Publishing Lab that may become one of the functions of the new Learning Commons building when it opens in the fall of 2015.
I responded, letting her know of my interest, and we arranged to meet in my office to further discuss the unique possibilities of this concept. When she arrived, I was meeting with some Illustration students (Shelby Farrell and Emily Wick) and invited them to stay as we discussed this exciting new idea. At one point, I boldly mentioned that I was working on a series of humorous line drawing, intended for a book, and asked if she would take a look at them, with an eye toward publication. So I showed the little group about 30 drawings, while reading aloud the captions, and the room was filled with genuine and enthusiastic laughter. That seemed to seal the deal, and we have been working on the project for about 7 months until its recent publication. The launch and first public book signing occurred on May 1st, 2015, in the front lobby of the Marywood Library.
Some of the drawings start with a title first, but most evolve from vague sketchy lines and masses that finally take form as a coherent image. The title evolves along with the drawing. My purpose is to make them funny, weird, and somewhat disturbing.
The book itself is square in format on white paper measuring 8×8″. The images, which were drawn first in pencil which was then inked over with black tech pens. There are 114 pages overall with 99 of these containing titled drawings.
Most of the drawings in True Love Knows No Boundaries were created during the summer and fall of 2014, with me curled into a couch corner in a semi-fetal position, armed with mechanical pencils, kneaded erasers, and a few tech pens. I was kind of burnt out on art in general, but had to keep making at least something. The results were a return to a kind of minimalist line drawing style, with an emphasis on humor, composition, and lunacy.
Most of the drawings first evolved on blank paper as random lines and scribbles that would gradually suggest forms, characters and compositions. The titles were developed as the work progressed, or after it was finished, or not at all, as some seemed to be title-resistant.
Technically speaking, the making of this work is very dry and often boring, and tense. Once all the line work in pencil is completed, it is followed by a very controlled inking and strengthening of these lines. This involves the wearing of two pairs of reading glasses and remaining as still and steady as possible for a couple of hours at a time.
Once this stage is completed, it is time to design and apply ink to the areas to be stippled. This provides a kind of graphic anchor and contrast to the simpler line work. And then the drawing is finished.
It’s strange, but I think most artists go through a process of being both excited and afraid when starting a new work, and then totally doubting it in the middle stage, and not sure about its merits when the work is completed. Me too. But I’m happy to say that when viewing the drawings contained in this collection, far removed from the time of their creation, that I really like them. And I hope that they will provide a small mother lode of laughter for a wide range of viewers.
For further information about the proposed Publishing Lab, contact Dr. Lee Sebastiani at email@example.com
Dennis Corrigan is an Assistant Professor at Marywood University