Corban Wilkin: Illustrator


Touring in Tampa

 

Yes, that’s me up there, talking to a room full of people about drawing horses.

Last week I completed a schools book tour in Florida after Hillsborough County’s school libraries chose Grand Theft Horse as one of their Summer Slam books.

With Greg Neri, I did seventeen talks, and spoke about myself and my background in comics, the process behind creating Grand Theft Horse, and our upcoming project Time Traveling Dino Detectives of Antarctica. We also did book signings, prize giveaways, drawing lessons, posters, and more.

I met a lot of people, adults and kids alike, who were really enthusiastic about what we’re doing and are already looking forward to the new comic coming out.

Also, since it was my first time in Florida, I was grateful for the opportunity to see one or two alligators, swim in the Gulf, eat some key lime pie, and many other very cool Floridian things.

I’d like to say many thanks to Greg and his family, and to the brilliant Kimberly DeFusco for organising the trip. Also to all the great librarians in Hillsborough County for hosting us at their wonderful schools.

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Running the Home Stretch

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After a long hiatus, I’ve just finished drawing the gigantic project with G.Neri (author of Tru & Nelle), that’s been ongoing for some time. I’ve generated a four-inch-thick stack of pages with roughly the heft of a small child. Still much to do, but the complete, unedited thing is there, in a big box under my desk.



What Goes Around

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So cx88spvxcaah7wjthis is just one illustration for an upcoming info-comic-book, pamphlet, public-information type-thing, that I’ve been working on with the Supergen Bioenergy Hub. It shows energy crops being grown to produce bioenergy and reabsorb emissions released by the previous generation of energy crops, ad infinitum. Drawn with a brush and ink, but coloured digitally!

Several other artists have been working on the project alongside me, including the brilliant John Swogger whose blog is extraordinarily active and interesting. Check him out.

More on this project soon. Also, A Dream of a Low Carbon Future, shown in my last blog post, is out in print and digital format.

Here’s a review of it.

 



Keep Dreaming

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Take a look at just-a-few panels from my comic for the upcoming graphic anthology novel science book educational kids thing, A Dream of a Low Carbon Future, presented by Leeds University’s Doctoral Training Centre in Low Carbon Technologies.

The book’s a multi-character exploration of a future Britain shaped by climate change and showing how human society can use technology and new ways of living to adapt to a changing world.

The story I worked on is about a girl out of time, obsessed with a past which everyone around her sees as obsolete. It’s a sort of central narrative which ties together other parts of the book.

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Colouring In

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All I’ve been doing for the last month is colouring comics digitally, but I’m finally done, and not a moment too soon. I need to get my hands back on some physical drawing stuff before I lose my mind!

Above: an unused illustration for A Dream of a Low Carbon Future. Looks like brown crayon in the lower part there, but it’s just pixels.



Inkin’ it Large

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I’ve been in the habit, for a long time, of drawing TOO SMALL! So right now, working on the Low Carbon Future graphic novel project with Leeds University, I’m drawing these pages at the largest scale I’ve ever done for a comic, and I have to say, it’s very refreshing.

These pages I’m doing are to be printed around A4 size (210x297mm), which is large, so I’m drawing them at something like 500x720mm, not far off A2, which is gargantuan. I think people used to draw comics on paper that large, to be printed on big full newspaper pages, and they scanned them with those massive old drum scanners you don’t see anymore.

Admittedly, I am making this easier for myself by using the ‘french graphic album method’ of drawing two half-pages and then printing them together. It makes having the thing on your drawing board a lot less cumbersome. Anyway, more on this when it’s looking finished.



The Long Journey

stewwebres‘The graphic novel’ is being worked on and will be for a long time, and that’s all I’m saying.

Although it looks this way, I haven’t, in fact, dropped off of the face of the earth, but I have been extremely busy (haven’t we all?), with, as well as ‘the graphic novel’, a full-time job which I might talk talk about in a later post.

Some of my work from Dreams of a Low Carbon Future is currently on display in The Cartoon Museum in Holborn and will be until 1st June 2014.

Have you ever noticed that to tell another about a planned project intended to be completed on one’s own steam, or a mighty ambition one has every intention of carrying out, often ruins the possibility of making said dream a reality? I read somewhere, at some time, that to explain a hitherto secret idea, for a story, say, to someone else actually gives us some facsimile of the pleasure we associate with great and self-motivated achievement. By revealing that we have every intention of writing the greatest screenplay in history we in fact feel that the friend we simply had to confess this ambition to thinks highly of us for planning to do so. We imagine to ourselves that they are in some way impressed with our plan and our motivation and it thereby robs us of the ability to make real what is already so comfortingly extant in the shared consciousness, which seems almost good enough to replace the real thing. Making something real takes a tremendous, in fact inordinate, amount of time and energy. Making anything significant must by necessity take over one’s life. If we can feel, subconsciously or otherwise, that we have already been a bit impressive to the people whose opinions we value then the effort seems futile. We’ll give over a chunk of our lives to creating or realising something, and to present it to those we first mentioned the idea to will be anticlimactic: “See? I told you I’d do that thing and look at me now. I’ve gone and done it!”

How much grander and more exciting to step out from behind a doorway and present a fully-formed piece of brilliance to one’s peers, the excitement of their response to this wholly unpresaged, fully, or perhaps, at least, mostly, accomplished idea a powerful motivator in the graft of hours upon hours doing the labour of creating the thing in reality. Rather than presenting a now-poorly-motivated shadow of a grandly (or, indeed, failingly) expressed idea, one instead has a grand statement, all laid out and out of the blue, with no grand idea that it tries in vain to live up to.

Resist blurting out every idea to your friends and peers; explaining your bold vision to them. An idea that is just an idea ought to be kept a grave secret until, through work, you ripen it and cause it to exist: make it ready to be enjoyed. Until that time, all you have is an idea and all of the experience in my short life so far has taught me that an idea alone is worth next to nothing.

Of course there are exceptions even to this rule: the idea for chocolate-covered peanuts, for example.

Above and below: VECTOR DRAWINGS. Remakes in fact of some old children’s book illustrations. I liked these and haven’t bandied them about enough yet.

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