Chicago-based artist and illustrator Lilli Carré creates magical characters in her comics and animations. Whether she’s telling the tale of a mythical singing sea monster, a stone-skipping woodsman, or a sister-run joke-writing business, she manages to create work that's altogether thought-provoking, sincere, and relatable. I was introduced to Carré’s work with her 2008 debut graphic novel The Lagoon, which also became one of the first works to turn me on to the wonderful world of comics and graphic novels. The Lagoon tells the tale of a swamp creature’s siren call that lilts through windows and the effect it has on a small town—specifically a husband and wife, daughter and grandfather. The sound-driven story also features quirky and quietly profound moments, like the grandfather who plays scales in his sleep underneath his granddaughter’s bed because his “body likes to avoid quiet however it can."
Carré’s illustrations are striking in and of themselves. All of her characters feature a signature colored-in triangle nose and perfectly wobbly lines. Both charming and a little dark, each illustration is injected with incredible character and personality that’s expressed with details and solid, graphic additions. Some of Carré’s other books include Nine Ways to Disappear, Tales of Woodsman Pete, and The Fir Tree. Her imagined pals can also be seen in action in one of her delightfully strange short films (check out Disillusionment of Ten O’ Clock, below).
Lucky for us, Carré is set for a new release on November 7th with Fantagraphics Books. Heads or Tails will be an anthology of short comics and stories, including some seen before, like “The Thing About Madeline” (featured in The Best American Comics 2008), and graphic novellas like “The Carnival” (featured in David Sedaris’ and Dave Eggers’ 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading). Although we still have a few months to wait, getting lost in a murky Lagoon on a hot summer night doesn’t sound all that bad, either.