Mannequin Monday – Last Flight from Bordeaux

This week we have fun dressing the blank page with colorful graphic stories and illustrations. Artist Sofia Warren brings us Last Flight from Bordeaux. Warren documents her attempts to leave France and get back home to the States in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And cartoonist Liza Donnelly sketches a graphic memoir of her life in Portrait of the Cartoonist as a Woman.

To cap off the week, I offer a playful writing sample of my own. Enjoy.

This Week’s Story

Sofia Warren, who has been living in France for a time, struggles to return home to the United States in this time of pandemic. Warren has put together for Narrative Magazine a cartoon story titled Last Flight from Bordeaux. In a series of 45 sketches, Warren gives us a taste of her efforts to leave Paris and fly to Boston. The drawings bring to life her frustrations in getting a flight and dealing with the threat of the pandemic virus.

Sofia Warren

We get a feel for, almost bond with, the handful of other passengers on the sparsely booked flight through her drawings. Her drawings capture the emptiness of the airport and the flight. The unaccustomed loneliness of her air travel home.

What I like best about Warren’s trip sketches is #21. No one wants to be out and about in a time of pandemic, but if one has to, it’s comforting to be in the vicinity of real people.

Real other people…

Sofia Warren is a cartoonist and animator living in Brooklyn. She was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, and holds a degree in film studies and psychology from Wesleyan University.

This Week’s Interview/Podcast

We “talk” with cartoonist Liza Donnelly this week. Donnelly’s graphic story, Portrait of the Cartoonist as a Woman: A Memoir, appears in Narrative Magazine as well.

Donnelly’s memoir highlights her journey as she comes up in the 1960s, deals with the label of artist, moves to New York City, and establishes her career as a cartoonist. In 32 frames she captures her life’s story. Her strengths, her insecurities, her relationships.

Frame 12: Donnelly’s mom encourage her individuality. “I don’t want dolls, mother. I like bears.” “Let’s make you a bear house.”

Frame 12

Most of us who would attempt a memoir would produce a 300 page book, filled with anecdotes no one cares to read. Donnelly reveals herself in 32 cartoon frames. That’s a challenge for any writer. Tell your story with the fewest words possible. How many of us could rival Donnelly’s memoir? Reveal ourselves in 32 frames? If you can’t draw, just write the words. Try it!

Liza Donnelly, credit Craig Semetko

Liza Donnelly is the author of Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons and When Do They Serve The Wine?: The Folly, Fun and Flexibility of Being a Woman. Along with her husband, Michael Maslin, she wrote Cartoon Marriage: Adventures in Love and Matrimony with The New Yorker’s Cartooning Couple, and her newest book is Women on Men (Narrative Library, 2013). Donnelly is a founding member of Cartooning for Peace and teaches at Vassar College.

My Current Writing

I’m going to play with writing the copy for a small graphic story, ala Sofia Warren, without the sketches (I am no artist). Imagine the images, or draw your own. My last trip to the market in time of pandemic.

Last Trip to Market

Parking at the outer edge of the supermarket lot.

Walking in empty-handed. No one wants re-usable bags now.

It’s 7 a.m. Store sign says, Open from 6 to 7 for seniors and those vulnerable to the virus.

Paper goods aisle. Empty but for bamboo-based tissues and Scott toilet paper.

All aisles marked with one way arrows and social distancing markers.

No milk, no butter. Worker stocking eggs.

All shoppers wearing masks. Most are homemade.

Fresh-baked goods all packaged now. Bread on shelves not my brand or preference.

Pasta selection sketchy. No rigatoni.

Baking aisle empty of flour and sugar. Are people actually baking?

Checkout clerk covered in large face mask, hat, jacket, apron. No conversation.

Hand sanitizer before leaving the store.

Home, without talking to anyone out there.

Graphic Novels

For solid information on graphic novels, check out the AdobeCreate website. The resource is titled: Stand-out Storytelling in Graphic Novels. Included on the site are downloadable digital coloring books. A fun resource.