Indoor Voice – a lovely sketch blog in print.

Published On December 9, 2010 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

Indoor Voice

By Jillian Tamaki

Drawn & Quarterly

Indoor Voice is another in D&Q’s series they call Petit Livre, and I’ve previously looked at works by Sonj Ahlers (The Selves), Seth Scrivner (Stooge Pile), Amy Lockhart (Dirty Dishes),Diane Obomsawin (Kaspar) and Pascal Girard (Nicolas).

Nicolas I loved, Kaspar I didn’t and since those every Petit Livre has been little more than an art sketchbook rather than proper comics – and it’s something I don’t think has any place in a world where any artist can do something very similar online.

My big problem with Indoor Voice, just like it was with all the previous Petit Livre series is that there’s absolutely no reason for it existing. Not at this size and not in this form. If I want to see a collection of the artists sketches, ideas, short comics experiments from the artist I could easily head to her sketch blog – and I did, it’s here and it’s a very informative and interesting place, full of some lovely art.

In fact, instead of me saying anymore about this, here’s Jillian Tamaki herself saying almost the same thing:

“I consider Indoor Voice to be a companion piece to the book I did in 2006, Gilded Lilies. It is not a narrative story (like Skim), but rather a collection of short comics, sketchbook stuff, etc. It’s inspired, in fact, by the spirit of this very blog. (There are some “reprints” of blog material, but much of it is new.) It can be hard to sum up a book like this, but I had some practice talking about it at Comic-con: I think this book is a snapshot of a year or two in a creative life and is probably best enjoyed by others who live or aspire to a creative life as well.”

Precisely. And as good as any of these Petit Livre books may be, there’s part of me that just tends to see them as a nice artist ego stroking device.

However…… having said all of that, Jillian Tamaki’s art in Indoor Voice is really rather lovely. But you probably already knew that, since you recognise her name as the artist of the New York Times 2008 Best Illustrated Book Of The Year – Skim. Her art in that alone is enough to make perusing Indoor Voice, or her sketch blog, a very pleasing experience.

Her comics work here is quite delightful stuff, half ideas, brief strips concerning Tamaki and her life. Her line is loose, sketchy, but lovely and expressive.

I’m one of the few people who hasn’t read Skim – I did mean to, but sadly never got around to it. Seeing just a small, rough section of her work here has made me decide to rectify that at some point.

There is, thankfully, more comics in this Petit Livre than some of the other recent ones and they’re actually very nicely done things. But again, and I know I’m harping on about this, they’re the sorts of comics I see regularly on peoples blogs, little sketchy warmup things, experiments, one off ideas that didn’t go anywhere. As nice as they are, they don’t make an art book.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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