Over the weekend, I made the trek to Sydney for the annual Graphic Festival, held at the Sydney Opera House. For those of you that don’t know, Graphic festival covers graphic storytelling, comics, animation and music and consists of talks, workshops and specially commissioned performances.
Let’s start with the highlights…
Firstly, I attended a workshop with Luke Pearson who is an author and illustrator of comics & the children’s ‘Hilda’ graphic novel series. Plus he also does stuff like illustrations for the New Yorker and storyboards for Adventure Time. Y’know – little things like that.
His workshop led us through his process for generating ideas, sketches, thumbs, inks and final pieces with a focus on ‘Hilda and the Bird Parade’. It was fantastic seeing evolution of the pages from rough thumbnail scribbles to the final product and how consistent some of them stayed throughout. His linework was so beautifully clean, I wanted to cry.
He also talked a little about how to become ‘known’ in the industry and get work, which basically boiled down to – make cool stuff & put it online and most importantly; be nice.
My other highlight was a discussion panel with Grant Morrison, Dave McKean & Len Wein titled ‘The Creation Myth’ where they discussed character, plot and their work individually (and together in some cases) within the world of comics, film and storytelling. It was the kind of panel where you walk out wanting to read and experience everything they talked about RIGHT NOW. Props to Justin Hamilton for being the perfect chair for the panel – asking actual discussion questions that prompted great stories and debate. Thanks also to the audience who mainly asked intelligent questions instead of just gushing or asking stupid questions no one cared about.
The opposite of this was found at the Robot Chicken live show. This ended up being essentially 6 guys on stage, answering questions from the audience for an hour. While it had it’s moments, the majority of questions were either stupid (“What’s your favourite pizza topping?”) or useless (“When are you going to bring out Robot chicken action figures?” “….we have”).
I recently did a guest talk at RMIT for the BA Animation students about my work and what I’d been doing since I finished uni all those years ago – and it got me thinking about ANIMATION CLUB!!!
For those of you that haven’t heard of ANIMATION CLUB!!! before, it was created out of the AIM animation class in 2006 and was the earliest incarnation of what is now Loop de Loop.
We had a weekly (yes, weekly) animation challenge on a topic and the winner picked the next topic. There was a while there that every Wednesday was taken over by these challenges (making them, screening them and then celebrating them with dumplings and beer) that I’m sure we drove our lecturers up the wall!
We made short films and entered film competitions and had stuff screened all around Melbourne – generally silly stuff we’d made in a few hours before the Wednesday 5pm deadline.
One of the cooler projects we got involved with was for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, where someone thought it was a smart idea to give us a van and some projectors and laptops and let us drive around the city projecting animations on buildings. A website tracked our position and people could chat to us online and see live feeds of what we were projecting and what was happening in the area around us.
I found a short video online that shows a bit of this setup – the video is pretty dodgy quality, but you get the idea. This is us projecting onto Federation Square. (Should be pointed out that we had no approvals to project there and decided to stop on a whim because there was a nice flat wall. The security guard was nice enough/silly enough to let us go for it)