18 Aug Dwell: A Short Comic By Christian Arnder
It’s not very often that I buy something out of impulse. I’m usually the type of person that will research a specific item to death before I hit the purchase button. When I saw the cover of artist Christian Arnder’s short comic Dwell while flipping through Instagram (shoutout to Wax Bodega for the post) I was immediately fixated on the artwork. Ever since childhood I have loved the illustration and stories of comic books. The boldness of Arnder’s black and white cover combined with the intentional lack of internal details had me ordering a copy within 10 minutes of finding the link to his webstore.
I won’t give away any of the details, but I will say that this little 4×4 accordion style book packs a huge illustrative punch. Arnder utilizes his unique style to develop a vibrant story that anyone can appreciate. It reminds me of some of my favorite vintage comics from the 40’s and 50’s, but the content within feels fresh and deeply rooted in the present. It’s something you really have to experience for yourself, so why not pick up a copy? If you’re lucky, Arnder might customize your shipping envelope with a personalized sketch. Besides comics, he has a huge portfolio of work that encompasses everything from custom prints to tour posters for bands. Some of them are even up for sale along with Dwell at his webstore.
Since I enjoyed Dwell so much, I caught up with Christian talk a little bit more about his artwork. Check out our conversation below:
Tell me a little bit about who you are / what you do.
My name is Christian Arnder. I am an illustrator and graphic designer from Virginia. I love comics, cartoons, Hibachi grills and punk music.
How did you get started with illustrations and graphic design?
I’ve always loved to draw. It’s always been something that I wanted to do and felt like I should do. My earliest memories of drawing start in kindergarten, I was really into robots so I drew lots of those. I got into comic books at a young age as well and remember really wanting to make my own. I actually made my first comic over the course of 6th and 7th grade called Tofuman, and I don’t wanna brag but it was pretty well received by all my 12 year old peers (laughs). I was also very into cartoons, so I’ve always been fond of narratives and the part illustration can play in that.
I got more into what people would call “illustration” once I entered college. I didn’t really know much about graphic design before then either. Honestly, going to university has had a pretty big impact on what I do and how I do it. If nothing else, I got more serious about my illustration work, wanting to improve, wanting to do bigger projects, wanting to learn, just wanting to do everything I could. I try and do all the work I can. I love doing new kinds of projects, challenging myself to tackle bigger things.
How would you describe your graphic style?
I just like to have fun. And I think my work reflects that. Of course I’m focused on improvement and doing new and interesting things but overall, I want the work I’m doing to be fun for both myself and the people who end up seeing it. I’m not a tortured artist, I think that whole aesthetic is boring. I love what I do, and I’m lucky that I get to pursue it.
What inspired you to create Dwell?
Dwell started as a project for my Narrative Illustration class. The assignment was totally up to us, the only requirement was that it had to tell a story. An accordion comic was an idea I had been toying with for a little while and I thought that assignment was the perfect opportunity. There is a spread in Dwell that was heavily inspired by Nick Edwards’ Dinopopolous. Other artists that are constantly inspiring me are Ben Sears, Andrew Maclean, Ed Piskor, Mike Giant, Daniel Clowes, Aaron Draplin, the list goes on and on.
What type of media did you use to create the comic?
It’s really, really simple, I used Micron pens and a Sharpie.
Will this be a continuing series?
I wasn’t planning on it, no. I want to do other mini-comics, but as of right now, none that will be directly related to Dwell.
Will you be creating any more comics?
I’m glad this is one of the questions. I currently have three comics, all in various stages of production, that I’m working on. Refer to the last question to see where you can keep up with all the progress on these. I don’t wanna give away too much though, don’t wanna reveal all my secrets (laughs). I also have a couple other projects in the works that you can also keep up with by following those links.
Anything cool you’ve come across recently that you’d like to recommend?
I just got Aaron Draplin’s book Pretty Much Everything. The work in that is absolutely amazing. Everyone who is pursuing any kind of graphic design or illustration should check that out.
I also just picked up Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea Volume 1 by Frank Espinosa. I’d never heard of it, I just happened to stumble across it and fell in love with Espinosa’s style of drawing.
Music recommendations are one of my favorite things to give people so here’s a few records that everyone should check out:
“Hypercaffium Spazzinate” by Descendents
“IV” by Badbadnotgood
“Telefone” by Noname
“The Dream is Over” by PUP
What are some places where people can find about what you’re doing?
Dwell (and associated images) © Christian Arnder 2016
All Rights Reserved