Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Free Character/Concept Design Class

As part of the ongoing programme of V&A events in Dundee, I'm doing a free class in concept/costume design with Clare Brennan. It takes place on Tues 6th Dec at 5:30 - 8:30pm at Abertay Uni Drawing Studio, and ties in with the Cecil Beaton exhibition now on at the McManus gallery.  A life model, costumes, and Beaton ref will be provided. Get in touch to reserve a place.

Beaton won academy awards for costume design for Gigi and My Fair Lady. We'll be looking at the whole concept design process - function, context, character, anatomy, posing, silhouette, colour, texture, and fabric detail - generating ideas and a final design. Updating Beaton's Doolittle costume designs for a modern production will be our brief. All levels and styles of artist are welcome.

I did ten quick sketches last night in preparation, three of which you can see here next to one of Beaton's original Eliza Doolitle designs (left)

And here's the final costume worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film, and another of Beaton's wonderful designs for Gigi:

UPDATE: This is now fully booked with a waiting list. Thanks to everyone who got in touch.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Dundee Comics' Day

Wow, Dundee Comics' Day was great! So refreshing to see comics of all types treated with academic and fan enthusiasm in equal measure.

Where else do you get to hear John Wagner do a presentation about writing comics, structuring narrative, and establishing character? A masterclass in every sense, delivered with dry humour and self depreciation. I took notes.

Cam Kennedy could be an after dinner speaker! He had the lecture hall in fits of laughter with his evocative reminiscences of painting in Normandy, hanging with Moebius, and drawing Star Wars: "I could have been a millionaire," he said, "but what's the point of your kids coming back from Barbados and finding you dead, slumped over the drawing board?" Also: "Being Scottish is great. If it's raining I draw, if it's sunny I go fishing!". All the while his wonderful pencil drawings were playing across the vast screen behind him. A Cam Kennedy sketchbook would sell out in hours.

Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering, Paul Gravett, Colin Macneil, Robbie Morrison, Frank Quitely and the Commando team all gave edifying talks too. I ran into many old faces and made new friends, which was lovely. It was a privilege to be there and listen.

I distributed some preview copies of Death Sentence 1, just to let people know it's coming in 2012. Here's who took a copy.

Frank Quitely
John Wagner
Richard Clements and Vicky Stonebridge
Lizzie: Graphics Scotland
David Bishop
Gary Gray
Robbie Morrisson
Stephen O'Donnell
Sam Russell
Will Pickering
Mark Smith
Patrick McDonald
Draia Wall
Dave Moyes
Gordon Hannan
John Mcshane
Craig Hastie and Gary Watson
Martin Conaghan

These join the lucky few who took copies at Kapow and Bristol
Andy Martin
Alison Sampson
Phil Vaughan
Chris Murray

There are only 50 preview issues, and there will only ever be 50: 30 for the public and 20 for comic publishers and editors. They're all hand numbered and signed, with the name of the recipient, plus a subtle addition to the interior inking of each issue. That way if any ever turn up scanned on line we'll know who did it. The proper Diamond solicitation next year will have changes to the front and back covers and interior articles, so these are all unique (including the spelling mistake on the inside back cover).

Feedback on the series so far has been really good, which worries me a bit. I'd rather know what's weak about it so we can make the final issues even better. Mike and I are growing as a creative team, and trying out different sequential techniques in later issues to make it as entertaining as possible.

I also got John Wagner's autograph! I've only ever asked for two in the last twenty years, John and Dave Mazzucchelli. Only the legends make my wall.

Final thanks go to Chris Murray, Phil Vaughn and Dundee University for organising such a great day.