Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Hamlet really needed:

To be... or not to - Oh you adorable little pupster!!
Right now (when I can get the doggie's tongue off my eyeball) I'm working on Hamlet's encounter with the ghost. And I'm doing all the voices in my head as I work, of course. My invaluable Shakespeare In Production book (Robert Hapgood), which gives you the play together with commentary about how various actors and directors approached each line (so footnotes usually take up three quarters of the page), describes many interesting options used by different actors. Descriptions of the ghost's voice include "deep sepulchral tones", "a graveyard voice", a "spectral wail", "slow, solemn and under", "still seared with purgatorial fires", and - my favourites: "tones [that] seemed to come from another world... without resonance" and a voice like "the wind in a chimney". I prefer a quieter, colder, more distant and imperious dead king who commands Hamlet from a height. No shrieking or wailing for my ghost.

Doing voices is a great challenge on the silent medium of the page. The faces and postures have to do a lot of the work of suggesting the tone of voice, but the shape and position of the speech bubbles and the shape of the words themselves lend a hand as well. One more reason why computerised fonts are generally disappointing in comics - they lack the expression and flexibility of hand-lettered words.

And now I've got to get back to it. Got to work out what "the wind in a chimney" looks like!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Melbourne is such a comics town!

Ok, we have the sort of winters that fill the trains with hideous bronchial choruses, but we also have veritable explosions of comix goodness here in Melbourne (or MelBOURNE, as our American friends call it).

A small sample of recent newslets:

Queenie Chan, graphic novelist, is doing an appearance and signing at Borders bookstore on 25 June - click on the image of the invite to see the details. Queenie has moved to Melbourne from Sydney - a natural progression!

Does two artists make an exodus? Pat Grant has also moved from Sydney to Melbourne. Pat does some of the funniest comics I've ever read, and he's got a new, very spunky website. Check it out here. Pat is also part of the rude-sounding Special Friend Brings Exciting project

Bernard Caleo, the big, big heart (and hair) of Melbourne comics, and editor of the wonderful Tango anthologies, has a new blog dedicated to the local scene. It's called "An Island Art", and it's here. Bernard has also become the roving comics reporter for Triple R radio's art show, as well as appearing on 3CR's The Comic Spot with John Retallick and Jo Waite.

And of course all of us scribblers are here, working away at our little pictures... and trying to keep the heater close enough to defrost the knees, yet far enough away not to dry out the ink.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tales from inner and outer suburbia...

It's been quiet on the blog front once again, because we've had some drama here at the Bughouse. Our darling pup Horace has a broken front leg, so there's been a lot of nursing going on. It breaks my heart to see the little thing all splinted and bandaged and wagging his tail so hopefully, because all he wants to do is frolic and play - but of course he can't.

Right, better change subject before I cry all over the desk and short-circuit something. That tiny pup is braver than us big humans. He's wonderful. Get well soon, little Horace.

On Friday night Shaun Tan's new book, Tales from Outer Suburbia was launched at Readings bookshop in Carlton. It really goes without saying that it's another piece of brilliance from the phenomenal Mr Tan. It's gorgeous. It's wonderful. It's published by Allen & Unwin (yay!). Go out right now and get yourself a copy. The beautiful cover, designed by Inari Kiuru (Shaun's partner and super-designer) is shown here.

Traveling further back in time... Sydney Writers' Festival came and went - great fun, and very busy. We got to stay at a wonderful spot right under the Harbour Bridge, with water all around - a bit of a thrill for a Melburnian. I did a couple of talks for high school students and two workshops for kids, followed by one longer workshop for adults. I especially enjoyed the adult workshop, because the participants were all so keen and motivated and engaged and talented ! There was a terrific buzz as everyone exchanged ideas (and email addresses) and sketched out some fabulous stuff.

This Thursday I'll be doing another talk about Gatsby at Northcote library. Details of the event are here, or:

Thursday 5 June
Northcote Library
32-38 Separation St, Northcote
Melways Map 30 F8

Righto. Back to pupster and Hamlet now.