20 LINES by Matt Madden
Published in a limited edition of 40 copies (only 20 of which are for sale from the press), 20 LINES is available for $8.00 including domestic postage (+ $2 non-Canadian postage). To order please email derek beaulieu.
I recently finished a one-year drawing project called “20 Lines”
The initial inspiration was a prose book by the American Oulipo author Harry Mathews called 20 Lines a Day, which is a partial document of a period where he wrote 20 lines of prose every morning he was at his desk as a warm-up exercise. He was inspired by a quote by Stendhal to the effect of “20 lines a day, genius or not”. He took that notion literally in a somewhat wry way and I did the same kind of thing: well, 20 drawn lines, how is that so different from 20 lines of writing? (It’s faster for one thing, most of the time.)
I took it on once we moved to France because one of my goals here is to work on my drawing, which lags behind my writing and my structural/linguistic thinking about comics. My goal was to concentrate on the most basic elements of drawing–lines on a ground–to reflect on how lines fill space, how they fit together. Maybe not so much “reflect” as simply to put my drawing hand, my brain, and my eyes to work to see what would come out of it. How all that will translate back into my comics I don’t really know, but I see it as part of a process of taking more conscious control of my drawing both at a physical as well as conceptual level.
Matt Madden is a cartoonist who has taught at the School of Visual Arts and in workshops around the world. His work includes 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style (Penguin), a collection of his comics adaptation of Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style; a translation from the French of Aristophane’s The Zabîme Sisters (First Second); and Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics, (First Second), a pair of comics textbooks written in collaboration with his wife, Jessica Abel. For six years the couple were also series editors for The Best American Comics from Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt. He is currently on an extended residency at La Maison des Auteurs in Angoulême, France.