Drawing Comics is Easy by Alexa Kitchen

Categories:  Reviews

Drawing Comics is Easy (Except When it’s Hard)
By Alexa Kitchen
Kitchen Sink Press

Alexa KitchenAlexa Kitchen is a better artist than me. There, I said it—begrudgingly confessed at the top of the review, so we can all just accept the fact and move on. It’s not that I have some uncontrollable ego—I don’t, I promise, especially when it comes to artistic endeavors like drawing and painting. I realized at the tender age of ten that I had plateaued, that it wasn’t going to get any better, so I put down the colored pencils and moved on. This, incidentally, is precisely why I write about comics, rather than actually creating them—to bastardize Woody Allen, ‘those who can’t teach, snark.’

The reason why Kitchen’s superior artistic abilities come as such a blow to my otherwise non-existent artistic ego is, simply put: because, she’s seven.

Yep, I got beat at drawing by a seven-year-old. Honestly, I’m not really sure what I was doing with myself at age seven—the years leading up to 17 are all a bit hazy, though I’d venture to guess that it involved eating paste and reading Spider-Man. The one thing I can state with near certainty is that my activities in no way involved releasing a comic anthology for Kitchen Sink—granted, it certainly doesn’t hurt when your dad is buddies with R. Crumb and runs his own publishing house, but honestly, there’s a 95-100-percent chance that I didn’t even know what the word anthology meant.
Even Kitchen’s tender encouragement, “Art is a thing that everybody does diffrent [sic]. Nobody’s drawing is better than someone else,” serves as little consolation.

Fortunately, it’s hard to stay down for too long, leafing through Drawing Comic is Easy (Except When it’s Hard). It’s every bit as delightful a book as one would hope might be born of the mind of a seven-year-old, often following the exploits of a cartoon cat apparently named for her editor-father, Denis, who seems clearly influenced by famous felines like Garfield and Tom, with glints of Krazy Kat, whose books are no doubt fairly easy to come by around the Kitchen household.

The bulk of the book, however, is something of a drawing course, concocted by someone who has no doubt read her share of cartooning books, complete with step-by-step illustrated lessons, color groups, figure drawings, and tips on everything from composition to writing gags (“you are an ice hater” is my personal favorite). Drawing Comics is Easy is not likely to eclipse Scott McCloud’s work in the academic world any time soon, but it clearly demonstrates the author’s grasp of what goes into a good strip.

Drawing comics is Easy is a fun exercise for anyone who gets a bit misty thinking about that time in their life when enjoying comics was far less complicated, and for those professional cartoonists out there, watch your back—Alexa Kitchen just turned ten.

4 Comments to “Drawing Comics is Easy by Alexa Kitchen”

  1. john white | July 13th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    That’s a wonderful post, thank you! I have a particular interest in comics drawn by kids myself as yuou can see at the above weblink. I think I might try to buy this book! Looking forward to reading the rest of your site.

    Regards,John (Illustrator)

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