"Unfurling” is a graphic novel drawn on a scroll of paper by Isabel Rucker. It stretches 450 feet and is 12 inches wide and is drawn in black ink pen with watery washes. Seeing the comic in person is an awesome experience and the viewer gets the unusual experience of seeing comic panels that can be over 10 feet long.  The comic panels vary in length to mirror pauses, vast scenery, or thought patterns.

The seven-year project began in 2002 when Isabel found a roll of calculator paper and thought about drawing a very long comic on it (she had heard of world record comic strips before and sought to break them...which she did).  She decided to upsize to larger rolls. She likes to be un-bound by the size of a regular piece of paper, canvas or sketchpad.

Isabel plays with word placement and twists around visual perspectives in “Unfurling.”  The panels’ sizes produce experiments in the constant change of a bird’s eye view or taking a wandering thought literally and drawing an extra long panel.  For example, a portion of a West Coast road trip is over ten feet long starting in the Pacific Northwest and ending in San Francisco. And when Isabel is snowed in the mountains of the Wyoming Rocky Mountains, there is a big panel of snowflakes to illustrate the quiet pass of time. Or sometimes there are series of short panels to reflect a quick group of thoughts.

The drawings in “Unfurling” are free and unmapped. Delicate lines are filled with overlapping washes of black ink, wide-open expanses contain realistic details and stacked up crowded corners illustrate the chaos of the city.  The viewer can note subtle changes in Isabel’s style from beginning to end as the work has spanned seven years.

Inhabiting “Unfurling” are San Francisco denizens (street tweakers, rockers and roommates), Wyoming homesteaders, ranch hands and vast scenery.  The comic travels through love and enters the unknown of following the heart.

To see some examples of "Unfurling" check out one of these selections:
Cesar Chavez Street in San Francisco
Moore Ranch in Wyoming
Rock-N-Roll night clubs in San Francisco

Download San Francisco gallery SoMARTS press release .pdf from the Nov. 5, 2009 showing.

photo by Bart Nagel

Read about "Unfurling" at these blogs:


LA Times

Forbidden Planet International

Opening of "Unfurling" SoMARTS gallery, Nov. 5, 2009.

Photo by Georgia Rucker

Group Exhibit with: Isabel Rucker, Mark Bode, Mike Dingle

Photo by J. Katy Vawter

Installation at SoMARTS Gallery:


All work copyright Isabel Rucker. Proud to be hosted by MonkeyBrains! www.MonkeyBrains.net