Going to Print with Jon Claytor
Today, we’re thrilled to announce…
…that Take the Long Way Home is officially off to the printer! With themes of addiction, recovery, and the possibility of redemption, this graphic memoir covers an eight-week, cross-Canada road trip Claytor took in 2019.
“Short vignettes that are funny in the way only truly sad stories can be and hopeful in their desperation are pieced together to tell the tale of my journey to sobriety,” Jon explains.
Read on for an inside look at Jon Claytor’s artistic journey, his process, and his sense of hope that sharing his story will help others find their way.
4 Questions with Jon Claytor
1.You started your career as a painter. Which of the skills you developed as a painter have helped you grow as a graphic novelist?
Illustrating graphic novels and oil painting are so technically different, there actually isn’t much of a connection between the two in my career. That being said, I used to describe my paintings as really short stories, and my watercolour paintings resemble my recent illustrations for graphic novels. So in that way, I guess my work has always been about storytelling, which is a prominent feature in my recent illustration work.
2. You’ve said that graphic novels felt like a natural choice for you—why is that?
I have always been trying to find ways to tell stories through art, from making zines in the 80s, through art films, to painting and now writing and illustrating graphic novels. Through this process I have found that this form of memoir visual journalism is an effective and cathartic way of talking about personal histories and sensitive topics. I’d like my work to create space for healing and sharing.
3. Tell us about your process.
In a nutshell, the process for creating this book was: living life, making a lot of mistakes, trying to fix them, and then going for a long drive. The content of Take the Long Way Home was mostly written during my trip from Halifax to Prince Rupert and back again in 2019, writing it in my head during the drive or on walks and when I sat down to write it all down it came really easily. I had about 70% of it finished by the time I got home.
I post on Instagram as I work and the interaction between solitary creation and internet culture is an aspect of my working process.
4. What do you hope people take away from this book?
The response online to the portions of the book I have posted have been overwhelming, and many people have written to me about how it has helped them on the road to recovery or helped them to better understand loved ones who struggle with addiction. I believe that our stories define us, and my experiences with recovery from addiction have taught me that stories can save us. There is healing in telling and listening, and that’s what I hope people take away from this book.