It's psychologically a weird experience to be so aware of the fact that the real time of your life is moving much faster than the fictional time you're trying to depict. You start to feel very weighted down sometimes.— Adrian Tomine
The most sentimental Adrian Tomine quotes that will transform you to a better person
The experience of reading a comic should not be the time it takes to turn each page.
That partially due to the world of media and commerce, the idea of a comic book has been lost in the ghetto, whereas the graphic novel is now being held up as something to aspire to and as something that's respectable for adults to read.
I never go home and take out those business cards and go to those websites.
But if there was a mini-comic here in my hand, I'd read it while I ate my lunch. I'm also probably one of the few remaining holdouts who hasn't consented to making the e-book versions of all my work, which is annoying to some of my publishers.
A lot of the kinship that people notice is not coincidental.
I was very impressionable and trying to find my role models when I was twelve or thirteen.
When I talk to people who have teenagers now, their rooms are filled with screens. There are their phones and their DVD players and TVs and all these things to produce distractions for them, and I think it would be hard to find the time to create something. I think that's really changing something about adolescence.
I get the impression from some people that unless they get direct access to characters' thoughts and realizations, either through thought balloons or narrations or some sort of showy action, then those thoughts and realizations never existed.
I think, to its credit, this is one of the last forms of popular entertainment that I don't sense to be discriminatory in any way. I think there's this general hunger for greater diversity, where publishers are really excited about finding different voices than what has been done.
I get nervous about the effect that the high speed of everything will have on creativity. It's already sad for me to see that a lot of young aspiring cartoonists are putting stuff on the web, doing animation on the computer rather than making zines or mini-comics, which seem to be going the way of the dinosaur.
For me, like, the more interesting a letter is I just get more excited and I know that this going to be great for my friends who are looking forward to reading that in my comic.
I sense a real difference in my work from the time I was younger and single and more involved in the world of music and going out to bars and all that. There were points at which I was trying to use my art to reflect positively on myself, to almost be flirtatious through the work.
In terms of e-books, though, I haven't quite gotten to the bottom of it yet, but for some reason everybody I know seems to want to engage me on that topic, or convert me. I think there are a lot of people who just want to hear me embrace e-books or finally say, 'OK, I bought an iPad and it's awesome!" There are a lot of people who would get a kick out of it, that's for sure.
Maybe you're not even in a position to really judge how good your kid is at that endeavor.
I'm getting to a point in my life where my whole attitude about the relationship between myself and the audience is totally different.
I set myself up for a lot of trouble by wanting to tell a story that is fairly earnest and emotional and expressive, but to do it in the most subtle, realistic way.
When email and the Internet came along, I never publish an email address.
I just stuck with this P.O. Box address.
I wanted all the responsibility to rest on the content of the story.
I tried to make the visual style almost invisible.
I feel like if people are going to go to the effort to get a stamp and, you know, put it on an envelope that, you know, it's a big effort these days. So I often write back.
I started publishing my comic while I was still living with my parents.
I guess there's just a part of me that's not very enthusiastic about finding myself ten years from now halfway through a story that may or may not be any good.
I've always been really impressed with some of the longer graphic novels and thought it would be really amazing if one day I could try something like that.
You start to get nervous when the value of a comic book or graphic novel is relative to the achievements of some other medium.
There are certain artists and filmmakers who, I get the impression, are trying to show off how bad their characters can be, how immoral their characters can be.
Underground and alternative comics existed in a vacuum for years, where money really wasn't an issue. No one would get into doing a black-and-white comic because they thought it might be a route to riches.
The first time I did a reading/signing thing at Cody's, the woman who did the introduction said something like that, and I wasn't the only one cringing. I remember looking out into the audience and seeing people's faces and people whispering to each other, and thinking like "Ugh, can we just cancel the whole thing? I can't go out there after she said that."
I wanted it to be as readable as possible. I had the ambition of reaching a broader audience.
One of the by-products of being allowed to start my professional career prematurely is that the evolution of my work is really evident.
There are some people who may not like precision in their art.
They may like it to be grittier and more gestural, more of a direct expression in the way that a painter would put his strokes on canvas.
I think in terms of getting new artists who are not in that sort of stereotypical teenage boy demographic; there's been a lot of progress recently. And I shouldn't make a definitive statement about this, but my impression is that the main impediment to progress in that regard is the number of people who are choosing to make a go of it.
I wanted to try to create characters that happen to be Asian but who are pretty different from those we generally see in our culture, in our commercial culture.
I certainly wasn't consciously hiding my identity in the earlier work, though a lot of people have brought up the fact that I drew myself without eyeballs.
Look, there's no denying that comics have moved dramatically into the mainstream in North American culture in the last 10 years, and for someone like me who's always tried to make a living at it, it's been great, I'm very grateful for it. But at the same time, it's not a subculture-y thing anymore; it's something that's in the New York Times and the New Yorker.
And with this sort of increased visibility, there's more money going around in the industry, and it changes a lot, in terms of who gets into the business as a creator, who sticks with it, and who gets pushed out. And I do think it's sort of too bad that what once was a safe haven for truly eccentric, outsider artists is no longer that thing. But there are definitely pros and cons. You could also look at it as bringing in a more diverse crowd.
And also, as a consumer now, it's weird that when I used to go to a book signing I would leave with a stack of pamphlets people had made to show off their work, and now I just leave with business cards where people have the URL to their websites.
Without fail, every cartoonist that I asked advice from bent over backward to be helpful and encouraging. It took many forms: some of it was just an implicit acceptance, like being invited along to the dinner with all of the good cartoonists, or sitting down at a drafting table with an artist and him showing me how to draw backgrounds and perspectives.
I was just a guy who did adult or alternative comic books.
And then suddenly to be, like, a New Yorker cover artist was a different thing.
It's important to make a distinction between becoming more precise and becoming better.
I do think it's getting more and more rare in this country to raise a kid with the attitude that creativity is something valuable. The idea of trying to make the effort to produce something, to put something out into the world, rather than just taking in all the stuff the world's putting out at you.
Especially for people of our generation, who really celebrated certain attitudes - the outsider, the loner - it can have a real impact on the art when they realize, I have friends, I'm married, or I have kids. That's certainly happened to me.
I'm always pointing things out to native New Yorkers that I think are weird about this place and their culture and all that. But I feel like my friends and family from California feel like I've totally "become a New Yorker."
When people see me struggling on paper, I think it invites an almost collaborative relationship with the outside world, and that includes readers and other artists.
I think when I finally got it in my head that I was going to do the story, I wanted to avoid doing what I thought people wanted me to do.
There were certainly some people who wanted me to do a feel-good story that affirmed a lot of very commonly held beliefs.
It's cold water in the face to realize you're not nearly as special and as unusual as you might have thought when you were an alienated teenager.
If something's a little weird, it's Kafkaesque.
I think it's harder for each generation.
Even I just feel completely separate from teenagers today who have access to the Internet. And I'm amazed that this interest in video games has never gone away. It just keeps growing.
I think a lot of the bells and whistles that become available to you would be impossible to resist for some people, so it's just never going to be a real stand-in version of your comic. People will have to take advantage of the ability to have sound, or zoom in and out, whatever it is.
I was very aware of the fact that there are a lot of comics out there that I love, because I've grown up my whole life reading comics and I know every little nuance of the language and all the implications.
I think there was a point in the past when I felt that my options as an artist were either to make race a nonissue and deny its impact on life and just say, "Don't think of me as an Asian cartoonist. Just think of me as a cartoonist."
Basically, I know there's no turning back the clock, and it's sort of pointless to mourn what has passed, but I don't know if the alternatives now really replicate the learning experience that I had, in terms of what I gained from making mini-comics. There were certain components of it that are completely gone because of being able to just throw stuff up on your blog the minute you're done with it.