Seminar: Töpffer and autography

Tracing, re-tracing and transferring -an experimental and artistic approach to Töpffers use of autography

Gunnar Krantz 2024 – After R. Töpffer. Lithographic print.

Materiality plays a significant role in all artforms. In comics, it is predominantly the inked black line that is used to construct the narrative. Inking – putting black india ink on top of pencil drawings to make them suitable for mechanical reproduction is a practice that is deeply intertwined with comics and often taken for granted.

Inking comics has not been subject to any deeper artistic problematization, nor extensive scholarly interest. This is unfortunate since inking was a crucial part of Swiss artist, author, and cartoonist Rodolphe Töpffer’s (1799-1846) innovation “literature en estampes” [graphic literature]. What did Töpffers artistic practice consist of? What kind of paper did he draw on, and what pens and ink did he use?

Other methods relating to Töpffers work that need further attention are tracing and autography. Did Töpffer, as Kunzle suggests (2009) trace his own drawings, how does the autographic printing method work, and finally; how does this relate to contemporary comics?

In this seminar, Gunnar Krantz, comics artist and professor within the arts in visual communication will present the results of an experimental workshop in autography conducted in Febraury 2024, using the method described by Töpffer and relate it to a survey of relevant literature. The seminar will be held at Malmö University and on zoom.

Wednesday 20th of March at 13:00 (CET)
Location: Malmö University, Niagara building, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1. Room: NIC0541-K3 studio

Zoom: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/62522949096

Kunzle, David. (2009). “The Gourary Topffer Manuscript of Monsieur Jabot: A Question of Authenticity. With the Dating and Distribution of Rodolphe Topffer’s First Published Picture Story, and the World’s First Modern Comic Strip” in European Comic Art, volume 2, Issue 2. doi.org/10.3828/eca.2009.2