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mural panels


As I drew this view of the Crowning of Labor mural series by John White Alexander, I noticed the way the panels inset between pilasters around the great columned staircase made me think of another kind of sequential art - Sunday colored comic strips. The murals are larger and part of the architecture of the building, but because they extend over three stories, you can't take them in at once - you have to look at one set of panels at a time. Perhaps I wouldn't have leapt to this analogy if I hadn't seen the framed studies for the work (in the glass case below the locomotive panel). But for whatever reason, the flatness of the colors, the distortions of the figures, the layering of shapes, I looked today and thought: comics. And this was created in the same era as the newspaper strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland, Winsor McKay's masterpiece.

I'm also probably influenced in these musings by the fact that Scott McCloud (writer of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics) has just written a new book, Making Comics, which I'd like to read. And then I could begin thinking about the idea that this sketchblog is also sequential, if less plotted and more cumulative and happenstance... but the hour is late.


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