The Lagoon by Lillie Carre

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The Lagoon
By Lille Carre
Fantagraphics

lilliecarrelagooncoverA black triangle to one side of the nose is Lilli Carré’s graphic trademark. It drew my attention when I read The Lagoon, and after a while it becomes something you see but don’t notice. It’s like recognizing a person, ‘oh that’s Lillie Carré.’ When I first encountered her trademark nose, I kept looking at Grandpa where he says, “I couldn’t make up a song that pretty, you know that!” The tip of Grandpa’s nose meets his laugh line and flattens the effect of the rendering to make the black triangle look like a hole. An optical effect where the positive and negative shapes swap places.

Carré draws figures with the push and pull of black and white. Transitions between the two poles often employ the artist’s brush in the manner of woodcut illustrations. In woodcut, the tool gouges out the black. Her brush feathers in the black. The gouge and the brush. Hard metal. Soft fiber. They’re strong opposites and they can create a very similar graphic style. Black and white. There’s no crosshatching. The white shapes are as necessary to define the figure and ground as the lines, patterns, and black ink. With this balance, Carré creates a pleasurable line of sight through the book. Her story dances on the surface and has a depth that one must put on a diver’s size thinking cap to plummet.

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