Or Where I Try out a Neologism
Had a long chat with my editor the other day, and we agreed to do something a little different.
My editor is never at a loss for an idea, and since they are generally good ones, I’ve learned to play along (and then claim the credit afterwards.) So far, we’ve done three books together, and each one has been a pleasure to do, besides affording me the possibility to ramble on at length about subjects that are dear to me.
So, when she suggested I do some more rambling, but live, I pondered the idea for a few seconds and agreed to give it a try.
Here’s how our conversation went:
“I have an idea,” she said.
Fantastic!” I replied
“A great idea,” she added.
“Fantastic-er,” I concurred.
“Web-in-ars,” she repeated, with that voice reserved for the slightly challenged or for non-English speakers, in the hopes that speaking slowly and clearly will somehow help them comprehend.
“??” I said.
But, I did get a thorough explanation. The barbarous neologism “webinar” means, of course, “web seminar”, and as outlined, does sound like very good fun; all the advantages of a real seminar, without having to look for a parking spot.
So, to this end, and to figure out if it’s worthwhile for all, my publishers have asked me to post these questions. Please do take the time to read and carefully consider replying, and whatever we do eventually do will reflect those thoughts.
1) Would you be interested in participating in a real-time online workshop
with John Howe that would give you direct live access to him via your
2) If so, what would be your main reason/s for participating?
3) Which subjects would you like to see him cover in the workshop? Please
choose from the following:
* How to find inspiration for your fantasy art
* The importance of drawing to great fantasy art
* How to develop, draw and paint fantasy characters
* Starting out and working in the fantasy art industry
4) Please give your:
* Location (state/county, country)
5) Would you be interested in sending in your own artwork for John to
If you follow this link, you will find the questions on the SurveyMonkey site. Simply fill in all the blanks and you’ll have done your bit to perfection.
So, in case you’re wondering why I would contemplate getting involved under the banner of such a barbaric neologism, here’s why. I enjoy giving talks, and do give quite a few, depending on where I am and what I’m up to. But right now, being both rather busy and living in what is best termed as off the beaten track, conferences and talks are not really a possibility.
So, this will be a unique opportunity to try something new – interactive and online, with somebody else looking after the complicated technical bits. I promise to speak exhaustively on topics that interest not only me, but hopefully you; all this backed up by loads of visual materials. I will also break one of my own rules and give critiques of work people wish to submit and generally chat about illustration, pencil sharpening, the judicious use of sketchbooks and the like. It should be fun.
It will be fun.
My editor said so (and I do trust her judgement in these things).
Next month will see two new books of mine published (two books at the same time simultaneously together (how does he do it you ask; by not having a life outside illustration is the answer). More on LOST WORLDS in the next newsletter, and a bit of a preview of FANTASY DRAWING WORKSHOP in the one after. (I haven’t actually seen either book; I mean, not finished, of course I’ve “seen” them since I did do them, but you know what I mean.)
With delight and a certain disappointment (but only because I cannot be there for the opening) I’d also like to announce an exhibtion long overdue. The Meryn Peake exhibition in Yverdon-les-Bains, at the Maison d’Ailleurs promises to open a few eyes, and warms the hearts of those who have fought long and hard for such a thing to happen. If you can make it, go. I’ll be there in spirit.
Here are a few words from the Maison d’Ailleurs web site.:
Lines of Flight
Mervyn Peake, The Illustrated Work
From 4th October 2009 to 14th February 2010
Opening October 3rd, 2009, 6 PM
In the presence of the Peake family and Michael Moorcock
Mervyn Peake (1911-1968) is celebrated today as the writer of the extraordinary series of novels about Titus Groan (often referred to as the Gormenghast books). Yet, during his lifetime he was more known for his graphic work.
From 1939 and for almost two decades, Peake produced illustrations both for his own work (Captain Slaughterboard; Rhymes without Reason) and for classics (Household Tales by the brothers Grimm; Alice in Wonderland; Treasure Island). His mastery of the pen and the pencil were unrivalled. Visually, his style could be disarmingly economical, using very pure and clean single lines to create a striking sense of volume. But with cross-hatching and dots Peake could also make his drawings look like engravings, providing the characters and objects he depicted, or the background to them, with rich and varied textures and a wide range of shades.
Mervyn Peake shows in all his images a fertile imagination, an inclination towards the grotesque, and towards the darker side of the soul. For throughout his life Mervyn Peake walked a razor’s edge as sharp as one of the lines he drew in indian ink: on one side lay his own mental fragility and on the other the fierce heat of his creative powers. Whether in writing or drawing, his pen defined the border between beauty and deformity, the familiar and the strange, and expressed a balancing act between his repulsion and attraction for the human race. It is tempting to compare the comet-like career of Mervyn Peake, the brilliance of his life and the lines of his drawings, with those “lines of flight” dear to Gilles Deleuze (A Thousand Plateaus, 1987) that characterize the trajectory of those who live their lives under the sign of experimentation and liberation.
As the hundredth anniversary of Mervyn Peake’s birth draws nearer, it is high time to pay homage to this fabulous one-man-band by displaying his illustrative work, somewhat forgotten today. The illustrations shown at Maison d’Ailleurs are seen for the first time outside the British Isles.
Just finished shooting a long interview for an upcoming Tolkien seminar in France. More on that, and of course the seminar itself, in the next newsletter.