Trondheim’s early cartooning was an energetic exercise in circumvention. Unsatisfied with his drawing skills but obviously eager to create, he made ample use of photocopies of his own drawings, creating lengthy strips in which the same crudely blown-up, halftone images would recur throughout, set to signature witty dialogues. This could not last, however, and in order to improve his drawing, he characteristically set himself the challenge of doing a comic of no less than 500 pages. Created over 10 months in 1990-1991 and published in 1992, Lapinot et les Carottes de Patagonie (Lapinot and the Carrots of Patagonia) is a rambling, free-flowing adventure starring the character that he would become most associated with for the next decade: the rabbit Lapinot.
TRONDHEIM: I’m lazy, but I’m also somewhat stubborn. I knew that if I really wanted to evolve, I had to do those 500 pages. I didn’t really have a specific rhythm or schedule. Some days I wouldn’t do anything, others I’d do up to six pages. I worked on it for 10 months, up till page 424. At that point I decided that my drawing had become acceptable. I therefore stopped the exercise and left the pages in my drawer for a year. Until Menu saw them and encouraged me to publish them. I ended up adding the last pages and doing just that two months later.
This is kind of where I’m at with my drawing skills and… life? Or at least my philosophy for art. I don’t think I’m that bad, I’m just trying to get to the point where I’m comfortable with what I’m laying down, and that more importantly, I’m having fun. One of the things I liked about Quick Step was that it wasn’t a slave to realism or details due to anthropomorphism, and I had a good deal of fun drawing it every night. And it showed too: between Golden Boy and Quick Step you can see a drastic difference. I felt really clumsy on Golden Boy artistically.
I have a longer form story in mind where I could use anthropomorphism again. I’m somewhat worried that it wouldn’t be taken seriously, but then again, I kind of doubt it would be taken seriously anyway due to the subject matter (I can see the drama in it, but the subject typically isn’t well received in comics).
Again though, for me, it is about the story. Once my art is in a consistent place, I’ll be a very happy man because then I’ll be free to tell all the stories bursting out of my head quickly and easily. I envy Trondheim greatly.
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