For your pre-holiday pleasure, here are three webcomics that are sparse—no lengthy archives to wade through—but beautiful, all in different ways.
The Undertaker’s Daughter is drawn in a traditional style that certainly looks like ink on paper. The format is a vertical page in black and white, like a traditional comic book—from an earlier era. Artist Eric Palicki explains on his blog that he plans to do 12 episodes, each no more than four pages, with a new chapter going up at the end of each month. The first one is up, and it starts out moody but ends with a twist. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this.
Jen Wang doesn’t have a regular strip, but she draws self-contained web comics that combine a fluid style with a vivid imagination. She has been getting quite a bit of linkage lately for Dance of the Flight Attendant, in which she compares the airline safety briefing to expressive dance.
You have to read French to fully appreciate Les Petits Riens (Little Nothings), a sketch diary by Lewis Trondheim. But even if you don’t, there’s much to enjoy about his detailed watercolor-and-ink sketches. The latest batch chronicles a trip to Cape Town. Trondheim puts several sketches on a page, the newest one at the top, and as you scroll down, they get fainter and fainter until the bottom one is almost unreadable. (Found via this post on The Engine, in which Brian Moore adds that Trondheim will eventually collect the strips in a book.)