From the drawing board of Danica Novgorodoff
I remember someone saying that there are two kinds of stories – those about leaving home and those about returning home. I don’t know if I agree with that (there must be a million kinds of story), but it does seem like most of my writing is about a journey away from home (then, sometimes, with an inevitable returning).
I think and write most creatively while I’m traveling. To loosen ideas, shake words from my brain, I need the culture shock, the changing landscape, the perilous cliff-edge bus rides, the train careening through the night, the language blur, the unease (OK, fear), and maybe even the loneliness of being a stranger and a foreigner. Routine and familiarity lend themselves to discipline; traveling to inspiration.
I first started making comics during a year when I was roaming around Ecuador and south of there. I came to the medium partly because it was, simply, portable.
I love New York, but I get a real travel itch if I stay in one place too long. Last winter, on my allotted vacation time, I took off to Yunnan province of China. A year later, now, a couple of stories set in China have started to creep around my brain, haunting me.
My upcoming (Fall ’08) book from First Second, Slow Storm, is mostly about my home, Kentucky, but one of the characters (Rafi) makes the infamous journey across the U.S./Mexico border.
A lot of the imagery (both narrative and visual) of Rafi’s home was inspired by the time I spent in Mexico and South America.
And a lot of the images were drawn from photographs I took then.
So. Go west (or east, or south, or even north), young man.
[UP NEXT WEEK: GRADY KLEIN]