And Then One Day Sketchbook

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of And Then One Day Sketchbook Creator(s): Ryan Claytor
Publishers: Elephant Eater Comics
From: USA
Price: $8.00

Not so much a comic as an illustrated diary. At one hundred pages this latest insight into Ryan’s life is far longer than previous editions of this comic. This coupled with the fact that it is really a prose diary with ample illustrations means that we are presented with a ‘denser’ read. The problem is that just as in previous editions not much happens, it just takes longer. And yes this is a criticism, but a mild one.

If you read ‘And Then One Day’ read it with the realisation that it is an autobiographical slice of life that deals with a really nice and infinitely normal guy. A guy who leads an infinitely normal life and, as is the case with all of us who live ordinary lives, out of the ordinary events rarely happen. At times I wondered whether taking a break from reading and making myself a cup of coffee could well prove to be far more exciting than the events I was reading about. This then is the dilemma the reader is faced with; is a beautifully presented ,well written and well drawn ‘comic/diary’ in which very little happens worth the effort?

By nothing ever happens I mean what does happen is pretty routine. Ryan moves to San Diego, has a house warming party, goes home to visit his folks, frames some pictures, buys cereal, goes out for dinner, hears about a murder scene a couple of blocks away, paints his kitchen, takes a book making class. You get the picture. Today I finally fixed the dripping tap in the kitchen, visited a café, went to work, push started a car etc. You get what I am saying, I live a life like Adam’s [ except I am older and don’t live in San Diego] therefore do I need to read about it?

In the previous short format this title worked well because it was short and light and had a real feel good air to it but I question whether it has made the transition to the longer format where it runs the risk of well, becoming a little•boring.

It is reassuring to have a life portrayed that is full of niceness. Nice people, nice Ryan, nice weather, heaps of niceness. That has got to be worthwhile in a world that is so cynical but just how much sugar can you pour into a cup of tea before you ruin it?

I must stress though the ‘cartoony’ art is a treat, it somehow reminds me of the Thurber illustrations that charmed me when I was young.

Hey maybe I’m just jealous that Ryan is such a happy positive bloke, na´ve certainly but he revels in this innocence. So much so it can be a little disconcerting, I found myself nervously turning pages fearful that something unpleasant was going to happen to him [ more unpleasant that the dishwasher breaking down that is].

Look, my advice to you is that everyone should read at least one copy of ‘And The One day’ I just think you should start with one of the shorter volumes just too make sure that you do in fact like sugar in your tea.

Finally I salute Ryan as a person because if he is being half honest in his writing then he has found happiness and contentment in a world that can often kick those traits out of a person. Carry on smiling Ryan.

In a Word: Cute.

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