How to Be Happy: Eleanor Davis, Monday Sept 15, 7:30

Monday Sept 15 at 7:30, Eleanor Davis (and maybe husband Drew Weing) visits with her slideshow presentation of life, work, art, etc and also to share her new work:  How to be Happy.  Come talk comics, process, the struggle between freelancing and working on personal projects, etc.  Takoma Park MD Library, 101 Philadelphia Ave, Takoma Park MD 20912.   (or a short-ish walk down the hill from the Takoma Park Metro stop on the Red Line).

Eleanor Davis, excerpt from How to be Happy,  Fantagraphics (c)  2014

Eleanor Davis, excerpt from How to be Happy, Fantagraphics (c) 2014


Eleanor Davis is one of those artists you know, even if you don’t know you know her.

Libraries love her for her stellar all-ages book The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook.  But magazine art directors seem to love her for everything else she does; and you will see her illustrations in every brainy and literate newspaper or magazine on the rack.

A meander through her various online art sites will show a breadth and depth of styles, a vivid and friendly color palette, charming line, and my goodness sooooo many projects.  It is a wonder she gets anything done.  Libraries have been antsy for a follow-up to tSSAatCC eager to catch up with the personable characters of her spunky geek elite crew, but a project like that requires a clear-the-decks level of focus, and clearly she has been very busy doing Other Stuff.

Anxiety: My Monster, My Self  /for The New York Times

Anxiety: My Monster, My Self /for The New York Times


As such, in How to be Happy, we get snippets and inspirations, vignettes and dream sequences, whatever her pen desires to dash out in whatever time she has.  Always charming, often touching, or surreal and disturbing,  here she gets to follow her muse to wherever it skips and dallies.

A few of these stories beg for expansion, introducing artfully imagined settings.   A next century farmer revisits the polluted homeworld to say goodbye to her dying father.  A musician chances upon wild woodland spirits and tames one as a bride with the sounds of his guitar.  A ferryman carries a succession of monsters across the river, trying not to wonder what burdens they carry in their sacks.  Each finishes with a wistful poignancy but while they may serve as allegory or suggest a strong mood, my urge is simply to see more, more, more, and wish someone would kickstart Ms Davis the funds to pick a world, any of them, and sweep her desk of all other projects to dive deep into whatever single long story calls to her to write.

Come see if you agree, check out How to Be Happy, and enjoy an easy fun talk with a working artist.


Oh and a two-fer!


We may also get husband Drew Weing whose Set to Sea is a thoughtful yarn both deep and breezy following a feckless poet who finds himself shanghaied and hauled out to sea.

drew weing set to sea


Beautiful skritchy-scratchy crosshatchy lines and winsome cartoony characters steeped in nautical detail from the Age of Sail.  Comparing their styles you can sense how Drew’s influence affected Eleanor’s work in Secret Science Alliance.  I’d love to see what projects he’s working on if he comes along.







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