At last my first blog of 2012 …rather later than I hoped. Though nothing much has happened, I seem to be full of things to say, not least because I have had no voice for the past week after a nasty cold. I was actually in bed for the whole weekend but spent my time trying to master colouring in Photoshop on my laptop according to the methods laid out in the ‘DC Guide to Coloring and Lettering‘.
On this quest to convert from Luddite to Technophile, I came across an interesting quote in ‘Digital Artist‘ magazine regarding studying composition design in classical painting:
‘Somebody who only reads newspapers and books of contemporary authors looks to me like a near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses… There are only a few enlightened people with a lucid mind and style, and with good taste within a century. What has been preserved of their work belongs among the most precious possessions of mankind.’
With that in mind, I have been doing a kind of tutorial time travel for my drawing techniques. In tandem with updating my digital skills, I have invested in two fantastic books by Andrew Loomis: ‘Figure Drawing for all it’s Worth‘ and ‘Drawing the Head and Hands‘. Loomis was a classic American illustrator of the 30’s and 40’s and if you get a chance to look at his beautiful work you’ll see they are almost photographic. What I love when I do the exercises is the way Loomis instructs… he sounds like a wonderful, kind inspirational teacher who you want to please.
Speaking of old things that keep renewing, I watched both episodes of BBC2‘s adaptation of ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood‘ by Charles Dickens, which was absolutely riveting. Then I switched over to watch Arena‘s documentary about Dickens on film, which demonstrated how Dickens’ dramatic, picaresque writing just made the transition to the screen organic. No doubt there will soon be a plethora of his works in graphic novel form. The documentary showed how Dickens periodical work was enhanced by Cruickshank‘s vivid illustrations.
Still in couch potato mode, I also watched Film 2012 and was amused by the debate about CGI versus old film techniques. I was behind Antonia Quirke who was all for the classic film techniques and the empathetic quality of real actors in real locations. She showed a scene from Peter O’Toole addressing throngs of Arabs in ‘Lawrence of Arabia‘ juxtaposed with Brad Pitt rousing hordes CGI Spartans in ‘Troy‘.
Which brings me round to my graphic novel. I don’t want to divulge too much about it, because it’s my baby in gestation, but it is set in the 1930’s in the film industry. Now that ‘The Artist‘ is out and garnering rave reviews, I hope I am catching the zeitgeist and not missing it. What it has made me do is to galvanise myself into some sort of forward planning. I’ve got a desk calendar sitting in front of me with all my to-do’s for the book. First off is finishing the script for it, which I’m nearly two thirds through. My blog from now on is going to chart my progress… or not… with this epic project.
Found this lovely new year ‘blessing’, which top graphic novelist Neil Gaiman wrote to himself a number of years ago. He’s not doing too badly. I wish it for all of you and for myself. See you soon!
“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and like in return. And most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”