I talk about Love and Rockets on Studio 360

A short segment about the influence Love and Rockets had on my artistic development aired recently on the public radio program Studio 360. You can hear it “here”:http://studio360.org/episodes/2008/10/31.

Have a book!

Out on the Wire is out in the world + USA book tour dates

Out on the Wire: the Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio, my comics documentary on the narrative ideas and techniques of the new generation of top audio producers hit the bookstores last Tuesday. And I’m making a few stops for book events in the USA in September. I hope you’ll come see me; I’d be thrilled to get a chance to sign your books for you.

Punk Rock Jess

be a poser

I’m just gonna come right out with it: I am a poser.

I’m a cartoonist who didn’t go to art school.
I teach, but I have no teaching credentials.
I wrote two books about how radio producers make stories, but I’ve never* made a radio story.
I write articles that have no basis in research whatsoever.
I’m not punk enough.
My French sucks.


How Jessica met Ira

This strip is responsible, in a roundabout way, for Out on the Wire. Ira Glass came across this strip when it ran in the NewCity in 1996, clipped it, and stuck it in his files. When he was looking for a cool idea for a pledge drive premium two years later, he thought of my strip, and called me…in Mexico City, where I’d moved six months earlier.


YOU ARE HERE: a “comics window” gives your writing grace and power

What you need is a new point of view. Reorganize, pare down, dramatize, and reassess your work. This activity is designed to tear away the layers and give you new clarity on what you’ve really written. You can use this method to streamline and make your work zoom, or you can use it to build a rock-solid skeleton on which to build layers of clear and specific description.


Hey artist, how do you make it work?

I don’t accept the notion that if I get out in front of developing an engaged audience and selling my work, and if I make a strategy for my creative life that acknowledges that one of my goals with my creative work is to pay for me and my family to be housed, clothed, and fed (and even occasionally entertained), then I have to change my basic affiliation. I now I have to call myself a “creative entrepreneur”? I’m a cartoonist and a writer. I do this work because I have something I want to communicate. Communicating that (and continuing to produce it) requires selling it, and so selling it is part of the job. Shakespeare had to sell theater tickets. DaVinci had to sell paintings. Dickens had to sell magazines. Being in the business of selling my work does not suddenly make me a “business person.” It makes me an artist.


Ça y est. Out On the Wire is in the can.

You won’t believe this, but it took exactly 39 work weeks to begin and complete the 176 pages of new artwork (and 24 revised pages) for Out on the Wire. It’s practically a baby, you guys.