Chris Ware on the Creation of Comics

Reading a single page of a comic book takes about 15 seconds. Creating it, on the other hand, takes 40 hours on average, according to artist and illustrator Chris Ware.


Of course, now, Ware is best known for his New Yorker magazine covers, as well as the wildly successful stories of Quimby the Mouse, Rusty Brown, and Jimmy Corrigan. One of Ware’s most personal projects was Building Stories, a box-set of 14 printed books in a range of formats including cloth-bound books, newspapers, and pamphlets, which can be read in any order. That work took him an entire decade to finish.

In an exclusive interview with Art21 filmed as part of the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” series, Ware describes the labor-intensive process of bringing his characters to life on the page. “Every strip, all the lettering that you see is all a product of my hand,” Ware explains, adding, “It’s not pictures with accompanying text. It’s a psychological process of reading pictures. It’s a symbol system.” 

Artnet’s introduction to the Art 21 Chris Ware explanation of comics.

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