Thursday, 6 August 2009

Christophe Blain and a few other things...

I was initially introduced to the fantastic comic book work of Christophe Blain by my fellow artists on the "Up" story team a couple years ago. Since then I've purchased pretty much every comic that he's done which has been translated from French into English.

A few months ago though, I was chatting with Louie Del Carmen about Mr. Blain's work and he brought in a couple books that Blain had done which I had never seen or heard of before. I was blown away.

"Carnet de Lettonie" and "Carnet Polaire".

"Carnet de Lettonie" is my favorite of the two. Here is the cover and a few images from inside:

The book is basically a collection of Blain's amazing sketchbook/reportage drawings. Unfortunately, since I can't read French, I don't really know what the theme of the book is. The drawings in the book are exquisite however, and there's quite a lot to see on every page too since the book is mostly artwork, not text. Blain's command of light and dark values, as well as his use of pattern and texture, especially in his landscapes is incredible. He also changes what media he uses a lot from sketch to sketch-- using a brush with ink, pencil, fountain pen, watercolor, sometimes even some crayons. I've been trying to do more observation sketching myself lately, so this book has been a great inspiration for that.

The other book,"Carnet Polaire" is very similar to "Carnet de Lettonie". But there's a lot more text in french, which I can't read, and it seems to be exclusively focused on a trip that Blain took to the south pole. Here is the cover and a few images from "Carnet Polaire":

This book is awesome too. What I like the most about Blain in these books, beyond his ability as a draftsman and painter, is that he's always experimenting and doing something different. He approaches things in so many different ways, with so many different types of media. He never seems to get stuck in a formula or a rut. His work is always fresh and always different from one page to the next. His ability to capture things he has observed is organic, lively, and honest.

These two books are available to purchase at Stuart Ng Books, or for those who can read french well enough to order them.

The next recommendation I have is for a DVD I purchased a while ago, and finally got around to watching recently. The DVD is called "The Cutting Edge - The Magic of Movie Editing".

This documentary is basically a series of interviews with Film Editors and Directors, covering the history of editing as well as it's vital role in making a film. It's not perfect, but I think there's enough interesting information in it to give it a recommendation. Watching Walter Murch cut together a sequence for the film "Cold Mountain" was the highlight of the documentary for me.

Finally, I wanted to mention an artist's website that I was introduced to recently-- Rodolfo Damaggio. A live action film storyboard artist. Click on his name above to visit the site.

Although I'm personally more inspired by his drawings than his paintings, there's no doubt that he's a phenomenal artist. There's a lot of great work on his site that is worth checking out, especially in the Storyboards section.