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”).