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  • 16 May, 2008

    On the other track. . . .

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 9:41 am permalink

    Here’s an in-progress shot of the block for the relief print I’m working on based on Tobias S. Buckell’s most excellent new novel, Sly Mongoose. It’s changed substantially from the original sketch, mostly because I’ve decided to treat is as a comic-style splash page, and include some of the dialogue from the scene I’m depicting in the space above the figure.

  • 8 May, 2008

    Silly Sketches and Secret Science

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 7:29 am permalink

    Yesterday Liz and I cut out early from work (shhhhh.) to catch the Dave Eggers-curated exhibit at apexart, Lots of Things Like This. It was a short, fun little show featuring humorous combinations of words and pictures (or ‘cartoons and prints’, to the less pretentious among us) by people such as David Mamet, Shel Silverstein, Ralph Steadman, R. Crumb, and Art Speigelman, among others. It was a wonderfully funny, precious, and well-put-together show, precisely what one expects from Eggers and co.

    Lex caught up with us at the gallery, and we then made our way to Union Hall in Park Slope, where we finally caught one of their Secret Science Clubs. Up on stage was Dr. Wallace Broecker, Columbia professor and author of Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat–and How to Counter It. Dr. Broecker spent some time talking about his research into climate change, and his opinions about what we could do about the situation, on a large, pan-national scale. No compact fluorescent light bulb initiatives here: the man proposes taking CO2 out of the atmosphere and ‘burying’ it in saline aquifers, or the deep sea, among other methods. Unfortunately, though, these solutions cost lots of money and equipment, money that governments are traditionally very reluctant to spend. Because then they couldn’t pay for, you know, their war machines and shit.

    Anyway, in all: a very stimulating and informing afternoon and early evening.

  • 22 April, 2008

    Watchmen ad creation contest.

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 1:02 pm permalink

    Zak Snyder has announced a contest for people to submit fake ads and other, Veidt Enterprises-related promotional material, here. The winning entries will be used as in-story content in the upcoming Watchmen movie. I’m split three ways about this:

    The fanboy in me is incredibly excited to see this film. Snyder outdid himself on 300. Watchmen, from what I’ve seen so far, looks to be of the same caliber and fidelity to the original comic. 

    The web-denizen in me is very interested to see a motion picture from a major studio integrate crowdsourcing into its production. 

    However, the creative professional in me balks at the idea that this is, in effect, a muti-national conglomerate (and member of the MPAA, no less) soliciting spec work from the masses, to be used in a profit-generating film. I have absolutely no doubt that some of the entries will be of professional caliber, and the thought of some hapless fanboy giving away his hard work for mere geek-cred just rubs me the wrong way. While, upon reading the fine print, one does find that there are cash prizes to be won,the legalese seems a bit sketchy to me. I’m inclined to speculate, but I am not a lawyer, and I have trouble parsing legalese, so I’ll keep my mouth shut. Anyone else have any thoughts?

  • 21 April, 2008

    New York Comic Con 2008

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 7:39 am permalink

    Comic Con this year was amazing. I had a blast, met so many people, saw so much kick-ass work, and learned so much! It was also a great opportunity to spend some time with the amazing people I work with, outside of the context of the day-to-day bustle of the work week. 

    As opposed to last year (when I only had a day Saturday pass), this year, by virtue of volunteering to staff the Tor booth on Sunday afternoon, I was given a full weekend pass. It made a huge difference: I got to walk the entire floor on Friday afternoon, before the fans were all let in, so I could sort of get an overview of the entire Con, and was then in a better position to go and look at the particular things I wanted to check out in detail later on; I also got to attend a bunch of panels, relevant to me both professionally (Manga-related stuff for our Tor/Seven Seas collaboration) and personally (I got to see Neil Gaiman read from The Graveyard Book, w00t!); I also got to create a continuous thread of day-to-day interaction with some of the professionals I met, which hopefully will help establish more permanent relationships with my colleagues. In all, a wonderful experience. 

    Highlights include:

    I went to a panel titled Working Digitally, moderated by Dan Goldman, and featuring Frazier Irving, Héctor Casanova, and Lincy Chan. All four discussed their process, and showed us slides (or should I say screen shots, really?) of their work in progress. It was fascinating to see how the pros put it all together—as a person who favours an all-digital process as well, I found the session highly informative. One of the main points that came across while listening to them talk, and something that I discussed afterwards with both Héctor and Dan, is the fact that as the artist finds s/he has more control over the process, and faster tools at his/her disposal, there is a deliberate rejection of the old ‘division-of-labour’ workflow (penciller, to inker, to colorist, to letterer) of Marvel and DC -style comics production. In the words of Héctor Casanova (accompanied by a look of abject dismay): “I couldn’t imagine having someone else ink over my work. I just couldn’t imagine it!”. The only one caveat I would add to this, is that I don’t necessarily agree with the elimination of the role of the letterer. Coming from a typographic perspective, I can attest that a lot of artists (there are exceptions) who insist on doing their own lettering are doing themselves a huge disservice. Typographic communication/expression is its own craft and mode of communication, requiring skills and an eye rather different from that of an illustrator. Sometimes the two skill sets are present in the same person, more often than not, they aren’t.

    On Friday night, my boss, Irene Gallo, was gracious enough to invite Theresa DeLucci and me to dinner with a bunch of illustrators, including Arkady Roytman, Steve Belledin, and Doug Cowan. The latter two being Pratt graduates (Doug and I actually graduated the same year, and were booth-neighbours at the Pratt Show), we had plenty to talk about. I had a particularly fascinating conversation with Steve about the state of art education at Pratt (and universally, to a certain extent), lamenting the fact that the curriculum is not set up to encourage the collaboration between Graphic Designers, Illustrators, and (to a lesser extent) Photographers. This then segue’d into yet another iteration of the e-books conversation, pieces of which can be found in the comments sections here and here. The clock is ticking—everyone’s thinking the same thing. It’s time to move on this before someone does it for me!

    In all, a wonderfully positive experience. A weekend full of comics (I’ve doubled my to-read pile, ohnoes!), fun people, great times. The one shame is the lack of good images from my camera. I really must get myself a real camera. The crappy phonecam on the iPhone really is a poor substitute for the real thing. In the meantime, check out some pics from Irene here, along with her own Comic Con write-up; and from ignorancehere’s photoset here.

  • 19 April, 2008

    NY Comic Con. w00t.

    posted by Pablo Defendini at 6:37 am permalink

    I’m attending NY Comic Con at the Javits Center this weekend, mostly going to manga-related panels (manga is huge this year), staffing the Tor booth on Sunday afternoon, and generally geeking out. A full write-up to come, but in the meantime, I’ll throw a few adjectives your way: fun, fascinating, exhausting, heady, big (I shudder to see San Diego!), informative, Neil Gaiman! Ok, Neil isn’t an adjective, but I got to see him read live last night, which was really really cool. More to come. That is all.