The Golden Ass is a classic story from ancient Rome whose influence can be seen throughout the subsequent history of western literature in books as diverse as Don Quijote, Pinocchio, and The Midsummer Night's Dream. This adaptation, by classicist/children's author, M. D. Usher, is aimed at children ages 9 and up.
I festooned it with full page illustrations, decorated initials, and graphic dingbats, and packed the images with little gags and visual allusions. Quoth the publisher, "Motley's lively, thoroughly contemporary drawings capture the boisterous, see-sawing plot, while wittily quoting any number of graphic predecessors. Here is illustration at its best, at once illuminating and expanding a text while bringing it squarely into a new century." It's a beautifully printed book, and fun to read and look at. Pick it up and/or check it out, if you please.
Life drawings, comic figure studies, and comic page (c) by Barrett Holloway
In Cartooning Basics, we survey all the topics one has to address to produce a comic story-- from concepts and designs to writing and visual storytelling, composition, figure drawing, inking, lettering, printing, and publishing-- culminating in the creation by each student of a printed minicomic. It's a whirlwind of information but intensely fun work.
Figure Drawing for Graphic Novelists similarly surveys a list of problems one has to address to successfully draw comic book figures. Topics here include figure structure, foreshortening, feature wrapping, action, staging, body language, clothing and drapery, character design, style treatments, ink rendering, and more! Classes alternate between life drawing from the model and figure construction from imagination, in an effort to coordinate the two experiences. More intense hard fun. Come check it out.
Chibi Brando (c) by John Soister
Circus Polka was originally choreographed by George Balanchine for elephants at the Ringling Brothers Circus, to music composed for the occasion by Igor Stravinsky. Jerome Robbins later choreographed the present version for little girls, which became part of the SAB repertory.
Molly performed the dance at SAB´s spring showcase in June and then again at their summer residency in Saratoga Springs, New York. During my turns escorting her to rehearsals, I managed a few sketches of the dancers and their families, which I made into a souvenir booklet to share with the kids and instructors. They all seemed pretty pleased with it.
These students and their teachers work unbelievably hard and the result was truly amazing. Backing them up are whole families bending over backwards to make it all happen. They have my gratitude and respect.
For me, the highlight of last month's Big Apple Comic Con was that on Saturday I was seated next to the table of a lovely model named Marissa Jade. On Sunday, I had to content myself sketching the crowd.
We'll alternate between life drawing from models and figure construction from imagination, to refine techniques for staging expressive figure drawings in the comic book context. Beyond the usual figure study issues like proportions and muscle groups, we'll be exploring some concepts that might sound esoteric but are actually important for comic artists to grasp: tactility, congruence of forces, shape integrity, joint breaks, feature wrapping, and more. We'll try out some different drawing styles and get characters moving through comic story situations.
Okay, maybe I've been hallucinating, but this time I don't think so. Has anyone else been spotting these characters on the trains late at night? If you sight one, please send me a cell phone photo so I can feel vindicated.