A Graphic Novel Forged by the Streets of New York

The book tour has only just begun

TheScultporCoverAhead of an appearance this Friday at the Chicago Humanities Festival, author Scott McCloud spoke to Chicagoist about his first full-length graphic novel The Sculptor.

Article author Tascha Robinson, also a senior editor for Pitchfork film site The Dissolve, describes McCloud’s work as a “magnum opus.” Certainly, both the plot – about an artist who makes a deal with the devil – and the process by which McCloud constructed the novel bear that out:

What was difficult was planning and drawing The Sculptor, which became a five-year process of storyboarding the entire book in frame-for-frame detail, through multiple drafts, before McCloud ever finalized a single panel. McCloud took tens of thousands of pictures in New York to use as references for his “obsessively detailed” art. He used Google Street View to map out where his characters live, work and walk, and to draw the actual neighborhoods from life.

He doesn’t consider himself a natural artistic talent, so much as a laborious reviser. “I’m not one of those artists who gets it right on the first try,” he says. “Basically, I draw a shitty figure, and then go through however many steps it takes to make it less shitty. I’ve got an unsteady hand, but a steady eye, and I know what needs to be fixed.”

A most refreshing self-evaluation. McCloud kicked off his year-long book tour at the 92nd Street Y February 2. He’s in Portland today and Seattle tomorrow, ahead of Chicago, and will visit the Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach, California on February 18. Read the rest of the Chicagoist piece here.

Update (February 14):
McCloud’s graphic novel has caught the attention of Publisher’s Weekly:

The Sculptor debuts on our Hardcover Fiction list this week at #23, with 2,082 print units sold. It’s not every week that a graphic novel makes the list, and this one could continue selling well, thanks to plenty of mainstream media attention and an extensive tour.

[Jacket cover via: scottmccloud.com]