Archive for December, 2009

Dec 31 2009

ASP’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

Published by under reviews,shakespeare,sketchbook

I went to the dress rehearsal of ASP’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and did lots of sketches. I’ve seen this play so many times,  that I found myself focusing less on the story and more on the differences and surprises in this production. The main plot is solid and moves along well, with good performances and some very nice blocking in the “forest” scenes (read: urban jungle), but what really stand out are the scenes with the players. John Kuntz and Robert Walsh are two of my favorite ASP actors, and they are hilarious as Peter Quince and Nick Bottom, along with their troupe of misfit tradesmen-actors. The end of the play is a masterpiece of comic staging. I also liked Marianna Bassham as a punked-out Titania.

I’m trying to do less sketches per page, so that each piece stands on its own a bit more. Consequently I filled a prodigious number of pages. I’ll put a few highlights above the cut, and the rest below, for those who are interested.

Bottom sits perilously near Titania’s resting place - ASP Midsummer sketches 17

Lysander’s love misdirected - ASP Midsummer sketches 22Hermia tries in vain to hold Lysander - ASP Midsummer sketches 24

Thisbe mourns Pyramus - ASP Midsummer sketches 40

The king and queen of cool - ASP Midsummer sketches 44

more below the cut:

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Dec 22 2009


Published by under reviews,sketchbook,tools & tech

I saw Mongol recently on DVD. This movie is absolutely gorgeous. I just wish the story was as good as the direction, cinematography, costumes, etc, etc. They whitewash Genghis Khan, and they completely skip over the most interesting part: how did this guy rise to be leader of the most feared army in the world? However, like I said, it’s gorgeous, and I had a great time drawing from it. These sketches are all digital.

sketch by Gareth Hinds from the film “Mongol”

sketch by Gareth Hinds from the film “Mongol”

sketch by Gareth Hinds from the film “Mongol”

sketch by Gareth Hinds from the film “Mongol”

sketch by Gareth Hinds from the film “Mongol”

Anyone want to recommend a good book on Genghis Khan?

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Dec 20 2009

Job that got away

Published by under sketchbook,Uncategorized

I got a call out of the blue, from an art director, about illustrating a series of middle-grade novels by a famous author. It would have been a super-tight turnaround time, but man, that would have been a nice recurring gig! Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one they called, and in the end they decided on one of the other illustrators. For posterity, here are my initial character sketches and a sample finish.

Character sketches for middle grade novel, by Gareth Hinds

Sample finish for middle grade novel, by Gareth Hinds

I’m not totally happy with the linework on the figures, but I like the seagull. By the way, I was specifically told they wanted ink with a spot color.

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Dec 18 2009

The Incredible Ashley Bryan

Published by under sketchbook,travel,Uncategorized

Alison has blogged previously about our (first) visit to the FANTASTIC toy & art museum that is the house of Ashley Bryan, famous children’s book illustrator and saint. Okay, he’s not literally a saint, but he should be. Recently we heard that Ashley was in town for a visit to the Cambridge Library, so we went out to say ‘hi’ and see him do his thing. Alison has already written expressively and at length about what an amazing man he is, so check out her original post here. I will merely add that he does a great presentation, and makes the whole audience feel like kids even though half of them are adults.

Here are my drawings from the event.




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Dec 17 2009

Shakespeare Exploded – the good, the bad, and the creepy

Published by under reviews,shakespeare,sketchbook

For those who aren’t aware, the American Repertory Theater is in the midst (or really toward the end) of a program they call “Shakespeare Exploded.” I previously blogged about the reading of Robert Brustein’s play Mortal Terror, but that reading series is the sideline to the three main shows, which are: The Donkey Show, a dance club musical remix of Midsummer Night’s Dream; Best of Both Worlds, a gospel / R&B musical version of Winter’s Tale, and Sleep No More, a sort of… well, not a play, and not Macbeth, but… more on that in a moment.

I bought tickets to all three shows, and I’ve now seen Sleep No More and Best of Both Worlds. Below the cut is my full review, with some mild spoilers and more detailed advice. Here is the summary: unless you are easily freaked out AND really don’t like art that freaks you out, DROP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GO SEE SLEEP NO MORE. Bring someone with you, but be aware that you may be separated in the course of the evening. Also you will be walking around, not sitting in a theater. DO NOT waste your time on Best of Both Worlds (unless you like really cheesy imitation Broadway stuff —  and don’t say I didn’t warn you).

Sleep No More blind contour sketch

Unfortunately it’s too dark to draw in Sleep No More, but these blind contours came out okay. More drawings below the cut.

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Dec 16 2009

Trenton Lee Stewart

Published by under sketchbook

Recently the brilliant Trenton Lee Stewart, author of The Mysterious Benedict Society, came to town, courtesy of Wellesley Booksmith. I couldn’t get to his event at the store, so I tagged along with Alison to see one of his school visits, and did this sketch of his talk.

Trenton Lee Stewart author visit sketch

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Dec 12 2009

Inbound #4 Review

Published by under reviews

There is a cool comics group called the Boston Comics Roundtable that meets in Cambridge. I’ve been to a few of their meetings, and it’s quite a large and enthusiastic group. They range from the young and ambitious to the professional, and they publish an anthology called Inbound. The first two issues were un-themed, but the third issue was about love, and the 4th issue is about Boston history. This excellent theme brought a lot of artists out of the woodwork, and is generating a lot of community interest in the book. It’s their first graphic-novel-length book, at 144 pages, and contains 36 stories about Boston from the early 1600s to the present.

The thing about anthologies is that there’s always a range of styles and abilities. You won’t like everything, and you probably won’t like the same things I did. Overall, though, I think the quality of Inbound 4 is excellent for an anthology book, even leaving aside that many of the creators are still “emerging”. The artwork ranges from very good to rather poor, but even the pieces that are weak visually are clear enough to tell their story, and the stories are mostly quite good, which is the important thing in my opinion. The printing and design are good too, so the overall impression is professional.

I especially enjoyed the first half of the book. My favorite section is probably the 17th-18th century, with “The Granary” by Eric Heumiller providing a strong start. I also really enjoyed the well-summarized “Mrs. Henderson’s First Grade Class Presents: Shay’s Rebellion” by Will Clark — but all the stories in this section were solid. In the 19th century there were pieces with excellent art by Richard Jenkins, Ellen Shaw, and Braden Lamb, but my favorite was Franklin Einspruch’s abstract watercolor rendition of Thoreau’s “Heywood’s Brook”. Using the words of a great writer may be a crutch, but it’s one I make no bones about using myself, because it works. There were also good pieces in this section about Dungeon Rock and John Wilkes Booth.

The next section covers 1900-1949, and I really liked BK Smith’s “Moxie”, Dan Mazur’s “The Amazing… Story of Charles Ponzi”, and Cathy Leamy’s “The Old Howard”.

The last section, 1950-2009, I found less engaging, though there was a lot of humor in “In Da Chowda: A Rough Surf History of Boston” by Kevin Kilgore, and some nice narrative techniques in “William Moulton Marston” by Raul Gonzalez and “A Day in the Life of Al DeSalvo”by Lindsay Moore and Roho.

Scattered throughout, you’ll find many gems of Boston trivia. At $12 I think it’s a fine price for a Christmas present to all the Bostonians, Bostonites, and Bostonophiles in your social circle. You can get it from the BCR’s website or from many local book & comic stores.

Also, they’ll be having a book launch/signing at Porter Square Books on January 21st.

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Dec 12 2009


Published by under sketchbook

A few quick sketches of the kitchen + staff at Sofra (the incredibly awesome local place started by the same folks who run Oleana, one of the best restaurants in Boston). Drawn on napkins while waiting for my lunch.

Sofra napkin sketch #1

Sofra napkin sketch #2

Sofra napkin sketch #3

(yes, that last one is Alison.)

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Dec 06 2009

Mortal Terror

Published by under shakespeare,sketchbook

I have heard absolutely fantastic things about all of the performances that are part of the ART’s “Shakespeare Exploded” festival — — and I am planning to see them all, but events have so far conspired against me. However, I did get to the reading of a new play by Robert Brustein, called Mortal Terror. This is his second play about the life of William Shakespeare, and as I have been seriously contemplating the possibility of writing & drawing a graphic novel on that very topic, I was keen to see what he has done with it. So keen, in fact, that I went out and bought his first play about Shakespeare, The English Channel. I was really hoping for a Q&A afterward, but no such luck.

I suppose I’ll give you a full review of both plays, but put it below the cut for those who don’t care or don’t want spoilers. In the meantime, here are some sketches I did of the (fabulous) actors reading Mortal Terror.

Mortal Terror sketches, page 1

Mortal Terror sketches, page 2

They are: Stafford Clark-Price as Will Shakespeare, John Kuntz as John Marston, Tommy Derrah as Ben Jonson, Jeremy Geidt as Sir John Harrington, Michael Hammond as King James, Merritt Janson as Queen Anne, Ian Kerch as Robert Catesby, and Wesley Savick as Guy Fawkes, with Laura Liberge reading the stage directions.

Apologies if my attempt at a likeness is unflattering to any of these fine actors. I really enjoyed their performances.

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Dec 03 2009


Last week I was on the road, in good old PA, for both business and leisure.

First there was the Annual Convention of the National Council of Teacher of English, my favorite show, which was in Philly. This is the first year that Candlewick has sent me officially, which was pretty sweet in that everything was paid for and I got some fancy dinners. However, I kind of missed being on the show floor all weekend as I have in the past. Even though that’s exhausting, it’s just fabulous to meet so many teachers, almost all of whom are excited about my books! I still got a lot of that excitement, but I didn’t have a chance to meet quite as many teachers this year.

During our day off from the show, we went to see Eastern State Penitentiary, which is awesome, and then to the Philly Zoo, which is aging but quite cool. We didn’t have much time at the zoo before they closed, so we mostly just saw primates. And lions. Drawings below.

After the show, we stayed in the area and had Thanksgiving with Alison’s parents. Now I’m back, and trying to finally finalize the Odyssey cover.

Eastern State Penitentiary 1

LOTS more drawings below the cut:

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