iptv subscribe
movie news

IPTV Subscribe

Far Side Creator Gary Larson On the 1 Question He WISHED Readers Would Have Asked


Far Side Creator Gary Larson On the 1 Question He WISHED Readers Would Have Asked


Summary

  • According to Gary Larson, he didn’t have satisfying answers to questions like ”
    where do you get your ideas?”
    and ”
    how long does it take you to draw a cartoon?
    ” – but there was one question he had an answer for that no one ever asked.
  • Larson speculated that the question of how long it takes to draw a
    Far Side
    panel stemmed from the American impetus to ”
    quantify everything
    ,” and that it didn’t account for the complexities of the creative process.
  • Gary Larson referred to the creative process as ”
    that invisible beast
    ,” explaining that he had learned it was best not to attempt to fully understand it.



As the creator of The Far Side, Gary Larson dreaded many of the common questions he faced from readers, while one question he always wanted to receive went unasked. To this day, the creative process behind the iconic cartoon – what Larson referred to as “that invisible beast” – remains as fascinating as the thousands comics produced during The Far Side’s fifteen years in publication.

In The Complete Far Side Volume Two, Larson prefaced one section by delving deeper into the composition of his work, while also discussing the questions he did and didn’t want to hear from fans.

While he was dismayed that “where do you get your ideas?” was perennially the query he was confronted with most, he admitted being fascinated by fans asking, “how long does it take you to draw a cartoon?” And yet, there was one question Larson wished someone would have asked, though they never did.


Related

Gary Larson’s Self-Described “Greatest Strength” Defines The Far Side (But Hurt His Public Profile)

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Far Side creator Gary Larson acknowledged his greatest strength as an artist, as well as its side-effects.


Gary Larson Always Wanted Readers To Ask About His Pens

No One Ever Did

Instead of talking about the steps of his process,
The Far Side
‘s
creator was more included to discuss the primary tool of his trade.


According to Gary Larson, the “single-most penetrating and important question to ask any cartoonist” is, in fact: “what kind of pen do you use?” Though Larson stated this in his characteristically tongue-in-cheek style, it speaks to the artist’s more general readiness to engage with the empirical details of his work, rather than the more nebulous aspects. For him, the question of how he generated ideas for The Far Side had no discernible answer. Once he had an idea, how long it took to realize that idea, at least, was something Larson felt he could speak to, on some level.

Larson admitted to being “intrigued” by the number of people who asked how long it took took him to draw Far Side cartoons. He jokingly suggested an “ulterior motive” for these questions, writing:

I think they want to check to see if I’m really working. In other words, is cartooning a real job? If that’s the hidden question, the answer is easy. No – it’s not a real job.


Self-effacing comments about what constitutes work aside, Gary Larson’s comments here are notable for how they further emphasize the idea that readers often asked the artist the “wrong” questions. Or, at least, ones he wouldn’t have asked himself. As Larson explained, there was no set timeframe for drawing a cartoon – and of course, the drawing is just one of several steps.

Larson further elaborated:

There’s also a critical part of the equation that has nothing to do with the physical execution of the comic, and that’s the time invested in just sitting, staring, and thinking. And it’s difficult to know if you’re not, in truth, just doing the first two.


Accordingly, this was why Larson suggested that readers should ask cartoonists about their pens, rather than their ideas, or their work-flow. The creative process is at times, mysterious to the creators themselves, and it is not always a straightforward production. As a result, instead of talking about the steps of his process, The Far Side‘s creator was more included to discuss the primary tool of his trade. Kidding aside, the creation of The Far Side was very much work, and it couldn’t have been done without a trustworthy pen.

Gary Larson Connected Readers’ “Second Most Asked Question” To American Culture

The Need To Quantify

In a way, Larson’s commentary points toward the gradual slippage of American appreciation for art – or, at least, for the idea that not all art needs to be produced on a readily quantifiable timetable.


Though he went into great detail in The Complete Far Side Volume Two, wrestling with what he called “the second-most asked question” he received in his career, Gary Larson ultimately couldn’t provide a specific answer. Instead, he wrote:

How long did it take for me to draw an average cartoon? I can’t compute that with any real certainty. (See why I like that pen question so much?)

The artist did, however, draw an astute connection between the question and what he called, “an outgrowth of American culture”:

We seem to just want to quantify everything. How much horsepower does that baby have?…How much did they soak you for that?…How much does that sucker weigh?…How much time elapses before the female eats the male?

In a way, Larson’s commentary points toward the gradual slippage of American appreciation for art – or, at least, for the idea that not all art needs to be produced on a readily quantifiable timetable.


In the course of his response, Larson acknowledged the value of deadlines for his work –suggesting that if The Far Side wasn’t commercial art, on a regular release schedule, he might never complete many of his cartoons. That said, the actual day-to-day process of working on the strip was far from rigid. Gary Larson worked nightly on The Far Side for years, making him a highly productive creator, but as he described, there were many times when he sat and had to “draw, erase, draw, erase, draw, erase…for hours.”

Of course, these are the details that fans wanted to know about the creation of The Far Side, which prompted the question of, “how long does it take?” to draw a panel. If anything, Gary Larson’s bemused response to readers is an indicator of how fans – given the opportunity to ask their favorite creators about their work – should seek to calibrate their questions in order extract maximum value for the artist. For Larson, there was less utility in the question of “how long?” and more in considering what caused a cartoon to be produced quickly or slowly.


Gary Larson Like To Talk About The Concrete Aspects Of Drawing The Far Side

He Avoided The “Invisible Beast”

Gary Larson thrived as a creator precisely because he learned to accept the limits of his understanding of his own process. This is a remarkable lesson for anyone seeking to actualize their creative potential.

All in all, after unpacking the question over several pages in The Complete Far Side Volume Two, Gary Larson finished up back where he began, writing:

How long does it take me to draw a cartoon? Let it go. Ask me what kind of pen I use.


Larson made no secret of the fact that he relied on a strong intuitive sense to guide his creative work, to the extent that the “how” and the “why” of The Far Side often remained as elusive to him throughout his career as it did of many readers. In essence, that’s what he was saying here – that there was much about his own process that he could not speak about.

As The Far Side’s creator put it:

For me, everything else relates to the creative process, and I have never been able to deconstruct that invisible beast without ultimately being devoured by it.

For creative individuals at any stage of their careers, this is a wonderful piece of language. The creative process is cast as not only a beast, but one that is dangerously intangible. A beast, the attempt to tangle with which often consumes artists. Gary Larson thrived as a creator precisely because he learned to accept the limits of his understanding of his own process. This is a remarkable lesson for anyone seeking to actualize their creative potential.


Consequently, this is why Larson would have preferred to talk about pens. Of everything that went into the creation of The Far Side, the things he could most readily describe were the pen he held in his hands, the desk he sat at while he held the pen, the window next to the desk, and the room that contained the desk and the window. With The Far Side, Gary Larson tapped into a deep, often mysterious reservoir of creative energy within himself, and his pens served as crucial conduits for transferring that to the world.

The Far Side Complete Collection Book Set

The Far Side Complete Collection

$71 $125 Save $54

Fans of the far side can’t pass up this master collection of Gary Larson’s finest work. Originally published in hardcover in 2003, this paperback set comes complete with a newly designed slipcase that will look great on any shelf. The Complete Far Side contains every Far Side cartoon ever published, which amounts to over 4,000, plus more than 1,100 that have never before appeared in a book and even some made after Larson retired. 

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank You For The Order

Please check your email we sent the process how you can get your account

Select Your Plan