So yesterday we had our Illustration class/seminar with Alan Corbett, hosted by our good friends in 091 Labs. It was an interesting day, with a lot to learn over the few hours.
Alan began by introducing himself, giving an overview of his education, how he ended up becoming an Illustrator after beginning a promising career in teaching Yoga to Seniors and how he approached the charming college assignment of "Child & Pet" by turning it into a tale of a father shooting his son when he mistakes him for a polar bear. We also talked a lot about how researching the local history, maps, characters and stories of your home town - or any town - will give you thousands of ideas for stories/graphic novels/children's books/etc.
Then we ran through the contents of Alan's normal 10 week Illustration course fairly quickly, with plenty of Q&A about various points of interest. Obviously we couldn't cover a 10 week class in depth over just one day, but we got a lot of interesting pointers and ideas on how to generate creative storylines, interesting characters, tips about approaches to graphic storytelling and lots and lots of interesting info about how the publishing industry works. We talked a lot about formats, dummy books and how there isn't enough Irish Illustratative Style out in the world. And again and again we came back to the notion that if you can develop an interesting visual identity of your own, there is opportunity out there for your work to see print.
Then after a short break, we went through the steps that Alan uses to create and process his works, with a step-by-step run through of his approach to drawing, thumbnails, final drawing, scans & printing, adding paint in various stages, using Photoshop Layers & the creative use of teabags! We also talked briefly about image design, leading the eye, the rule of thirds & the evils of tangents (apparently Alan would put you in jail forever for them!). After a quick Q&A, Alan headed for the bus home to get back to work again.
Overall, we had a great day and I have to thank Alan for his time & his generous sharing of knowledge & especially the beautiful print he gifted to 091 Labs. He's going to send us up the handouts from his course on the topics that interested us on the day, and encourages anyone who wants to ask him anything to contact him through his website. His book, The Ghost of Shandon is out on August the 11th. Make sure to visit his site, follow him on twitter and like the book on facebook.
Links to remember -
There's an Illustrated Children's book fair yearly in Bologna which is the biggest exhibition of publishers/illustrators etc in the field.
Blurb.com lets you upload your material to make a photo book you can then buy copies of. Perhaps more importantly, you can experiment with all the standard book formats that publishers use in the illustrated book market.
Alan also gave a great recommendation for this book - Illustrating Children's Books by the Head of his Illustration Degree in Cambridge, Martin Salisbury.
That's all folks! I think the day was very sucessful & is something we will experiment with doing more of in the future.