Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Make Us Go Wow

It started with this book, I think. This book was an Impulse Purchase (or perhaps even a - gasp - Desperation Purchase) along with a large, spiral-bound sketch book, for Max. At the time it looked kind of cool, but the reaction of the clerks at the till put paid to any angst I had at the time.

"Cool book."

"I wish someone had bought me this."

Or something to that effect. They were so excited that some kid was getting this book. Even if I had picked up the wrong book and instead wanted to be holding, say, Toilets In The 18th Century or Arachnids I Have Known, I would have still bought this book, just because of those wildly enthusiastic reactions. Call me biased, but geeky guys working at book stores are usually excellent judges of this sort of stuff.

So Max started sketching a bit. We bought some nice drawing pens at Michaels. I think they were Martha Stewart ink pens. Don't laugh - she makes a truly fine ink pen. He did a lot of sketching, then he started making stop-go movies, inspired by a very long obsession with Wallace and Gromit.

Fast forward a year or two. During that time we read through a number of quirky read alouds featuring strange quirky universes that had been made into movies (Howl's Moving Castle), featuring strange entangled plots woven by strange and complex writers (Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, heck even Doctor Dolittle is a little on the odd side). They were all so very— um, how do I put it?— visual.

Max started sketching a lot more. The other two started sketching. We bought more spiral bound sketchbooks. More ink pens. More coloured pencils. Then I started reading this blog, simply because it featured so many amazing (but mostly unknown to me) illustrators. I think it was when I read this post that I thought "Wow." That was all I thought. I didn't think "I want to be that good at painting" or "Wish I could draw like that" or "She is utterly amazing!"

Nope, I just thought "Wow."

Inspiration comes in the most unlikely places sometimes: check out this post here. Forgotten railway lines? Miyazaki? Instead of clustering around a book we were clustering around the computer terminal. Going "Wow!"

Then just recently we found this book. I've written about it before. It was another Impulse Purchase. And inside we found another world of colour and sound and wonder. Even FDPG got into the act of making comics, albeit briefly. Who could resist all that colour and excitement?

But it was when we looked in the back of this book, written by the same author, that the spark burst into flame. He has a mini tutorial, and even gives specifics: Prismacolour Col-Erase Blue pencil; 0.3 Staedtler pigment ink liner; Crow Quill dip pen; Photoshop; scanner. Words that none of us could resist.

Where will all this lead? Somewhere fun, no doubt.


Jennifer in MamaLand said...

And for anyone who doubts that comics are a true literature OR art form, I always recommend Scott McLoud's "Understanding Comics." It is a super-smart introduction to the genre for those, like me, who read comics as a kid and then thought they'd outgrown them.
Just reserved Amulet and Making Comics at our local library to educate & inspire us (they didn't have copper). Thanks!

Sarah N. said...

My daughter's love for the Amulet series and all things Miyazaki continues to grow. Like Jennifer, I'm requesting Making Comics from the library to see what she thinks of it and I found Copper there too.

Suji said...

Max is going to be famous one day...for the right reasons too :) Now you've got me salivating over more books!!