Alison’s former housemates host an Easter egg dyeing get-together every year. We usually go, and I have a lot of fun with it. I sometimes feel like I should bow out of making art socially because I make some people insecure. Usually there are more voices on the side of “don’t worry, join the fun” than “you make me feel like crap, I give up”, but I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about making art.
Ok, wait, this was just supposed to be show and tell, not a guilt-trip. Here are some shots of my cool eggs!
With every book I do, I feel compelled to tinker with the style and materials. This is just my own eclectic taste asserting itself. However, a more deliberate and practical form of tinkering I do with each book has to do with the process or workflow involved in going from a rough idea or text to a finished page. A good or bad process can have a huge impact on the speed and efficiency of doing the book, and moreover it can color the whole experience for better or worse, and can affect the creative process in subtle but profound ways.
For example, I did King Lear in a very unstructured way. The positive result was a very creative, non-rigid structure to the page layouts, and some surprising creative solutions to problems. The negative result was that I never really knew where I was in a scheduling sense, and ultimately the book took an incredibly long time and involved a lot of waste (redrawing pages that had major problems, redoing the lettering, that sort of thing).
One challenge I’ve always found a bit difficult is (consistently) leaving the correct amount of space for the text in each panel. So I’m trying a new, all-digital workflow (using my new tablet pc), where I draw my rough layouts directly in the layout program (in this case, InDesign) around the actual text. This lets me quickly scale and reshape things, eliminates the scanning step, and hopefully makes things faster and easier all around. We’ll see how it works out — so far, so good.
Here’s an example.
I saw ASP’s performance of The Tempest on Friday night, and it was awesome. I highly, highly recommend it. The entire cast was great. Alvin Epstein’s Prospero wasn’t quite as compelling as his Lear, but he delivered the “our revels now are ended” speech with more weight than I’ve ever seen. Marianna Bassham was a sexy and funny Ariel, And Robert Walsh as Stephano did probably the best drunk act I’ve seen on stage. I don’t want to spoil any surprises of the art direction, but it was a brilliant treatment. If you don’t mind possible spoilers and want to see my sketches of the performance, read on.
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You may remember that Booklist gave me a starred review recently. Well, they just released their special graphic novel supplement, and in it is their “Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth: 2008”, and King Lear is one of their picks!
This link will probably stop working at some point, but for now…
I don’t get a lot of fan mail. Back in 1998 when I did Bearskin, people were more into that whole “writing on paper” thing, and I got some mail then, but I was pretty bad about answering it. Most of my Beowulf fan mail comes in electronically, and I usually respond, albeit briefly. The other day, though, Candlewick forwarded me a great letter from a young fan, and I decided to answer it properly. Here, with his permission, are his letter (edited for privacy) and my response.
No, I won’t always answer my mail this way. And no, I don’t know how to pronounce ‘Sjon.’ 😉
Sjon’s letter, page 1
Sjon’s letter, page 2
My “letter” back to Sjon
I went to the Flower Show yesterday. I’ve missed the last few years, which is a shame, because I find it an awesome place to draw. Got there pretty late, which limited my time, but meant that the crowds were not bad at all. I recommend it, if you’ve never seen it or if you like plants. It’s up until the 16th. http://www.masshort.org/New-England-Spring-Flower-Show
Here are some of my sketches:
Flowershow – more displays
Flowershow – more plant sketches
Flowershow – carnivorous plant, and table arrangement
Well, this was intended to be a sketch blog, but most of what I’ve been putting up are really materials experiments, which is not quite the same thing. Clearly I need to establish better sketching and scanning habits, and that starts now.
Alison and I went to the aquarium the other day. I hadn’t been in years (though everything I drew this time was still very familiar from previous drawings). Here are some selections…
Seals at Liesure
Feeding time in the giant sea tank
More giant sea tank
Turtles, rays, and octopi
The inventor of Dungeons & Dragons, and hero to nerds everywhere, has passed on to the ethereal planes.