Analytic Drawing: Jason Overby

December 18, 2008


Jason Overby draws comics that might seem poetic.  Really, they’re analytic.  In his mini Jessica, he breaks the seen into parts.  His eye’s tracings stagger, jitter, fall apart; a portrait becomes a squall of lines.  The grid holds them together, as does the story, some boy-wants-girl nonsense I can barely remember.


The style, though, stands out; and not for its realization in Jessica but its promise. Here, it’s Braque with a French curve, but Overby’s Flickr page shows a visual imagination that hasn’t found its limits.  Maybe it doesn’t know it’s supposed to have some. His latest posts show how exhilarating his style could become– a “Blood of Comics” past verisimilitude.


Implied in Overby’s style is how we see. His comics invite construction, just as the brain builds “sight” from a squall of sensory input.

I’m reminded of Jonah Lehrer‘s essay on Cezanne in his earnest book Proust Was a Neuroscientist.  He reads in Cezanne’s paints an intuition of the neurobiology of seeing.  The brain receives two versions of the eye’s intake, one sooner than the other.  They go to different parts of the brain.  The first, the prefrontal cortex, builds the “unifed concept of the object” from the squall; the second fills in the details, colors, and nuances.

Overby’s doing prefrontal comics.  At least that’s my intuition.

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