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not an informal chat

Today I gave a seminar on making children's picture books and comics to the MA Illustration students at Camberwell art college, where I studied. I'd been told earlier it would be an 'informal chat', but I double-checked with the course leader the day before, and she said she'd booked the lecture theatre for the two hours. Yikes! It really was the longest formal talk I've ever done (with a podium and everything!); my last few talks have either been panel discussions or workshops. When I did a talk for the SCBWI conference with Layn Marlow, we found the room early and switched all the chairs around from formal lecture style to a cosy little tea party around a table. But there were too many people today for tea party dynamics.

I think the talk went well, one guy afterwards at lunch showed me he'd taken five pages of notes, so hopefully he wasn't doing that just to stay awake. I presented some of my work and working process and basically told them all the things I remember wanting to know when I was at art college. They had lots of good questions. The one thing I wasn't very confident about was when I showed comics on the screen; how long to let them read them. I didn't want to rush them and I could hear them tittering while they read, but I didn't want to stand there for too long without saying anything, either. Tricky. I read through some of them, but perhaps I should have read through them all. I was trying to remember how Alison Bechdel does it in her presentations. (She's the master of using comics to give a talk.) I think she breaks down her slides to single panel comics, so they take everyone about the same amount of time to read. And when Posy Simmonds interviewed Art Spiegelman, they read in turns and alternated with the voices. I didn't feel particularly nervous, but I think a little shyness kicked in at that point.

Edit: Hey, have a look at the website of one of the guys on the course, Thomas Flintham. I need to spend more time exploring his stuff but I'm really into it already! His 'about me' self portrait reminds me of Wendy in reidsrow's comics, that made me laugh.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
shame i didnt know you were coming in for that or i would have snuck in :p
Jan. 28th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
Aw, sorry about that! It would've been great to have had you there.
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Jan. 28th, 2009 07:21 am (UTC)
And I bet there's loads you could teach me about manga! ^__^ (Haha, that's my first attempt at a manga-verson smiley face!)
Jan. 27th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
Excellent talk
Hey there Sarah just a quick thanks for today's talk, it really reinforced a lot of stuff we've been hearing from other illustrators about how to get from where we are to doing successful commisions.
I too had quite a few notes by the end! I think your talk was one of the best ones so far in part because you do a pretty decent job of keeping it interesting and also having not long been out of Camberwell it's a lot closer to where everyone is at - although I'm sure it seems like a life time ago for you.
Jan. 28th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
Re: Excellent talk
Thanks so much for the feedback, Guthrie! I'm really glad you found it helpful.

It was really good to see Jan and everyone, doesn't seem that long ago at all! In fact, I thought it was a bit premature of her asking me, that she should ask someone who'd been in the industry for longer, and I suggested a couple people. But I think she liked the fact that I'm fairly fresh out of college and right in the middle of things you guys will be dealing with fairly soon.
Jan. 27th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
So did you get to wear a cap and gown. Or get to cane unruly students
Jan. 28th, 2009 07:26 am (UTC)
No cap and gown, but I brought my pet python and kept it wrapped around my shoulders the whole time for reassurance. Except when I was caning people, then I took it off and let it do some ratting in the corridor.
Jan. 28th, 2009 12:10 pm (UTC)
Good Show Madam!
Jan. 28th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC)
Well done. It can be intimidating but the thing to do is always remember that they are all there because you have something they want. They respect you for that and if you respect them for being there it will all go swimmingly :-) Well, clearly it did.
love the Flintham stuff.

Jan. 28th, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Andrew, good words from a real pro! :-D
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Jan. 28th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Matt! And I'm thinking that drawing must be Wendy's long-lost English brother or something.
Jan. 28th, 2009 12:31 pm (UTC)
NICE work yesterday!!! You is definitely the best we've had so far! MUCH appreciated. Hope you will become one of Jan's regulars (time permitting, of course). The monster book is looking fantastic! Sorry I had to dash off afterwards. Just wanted to say well done & a great big Thanx!
Jan. 28th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, Paul! Yes, I missed saying hi to you at the end, but glad you thought it went well.
Jan. 28th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC)
Sarah, many thanks for the talk yesterday. It was incredibly interesting, covering many vital issues! And I'm glad you mentioned livejournal :)

Jan. 28th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Hi, Arina, glad you liked it! And glad to hear you're another fan of ЖЖ! I wish I could do more with the Russian LJ community, but it takes me absolutely AGES to type in Cyrillic.

Learned a new word from polinina yesterday, though: сногсшибательность
I could only find it in the Russian-Russian dictionary, but I think it means 'striking, or unexpectedly touching with magical quality'. Is that right? It sounds like a fabulous word.
Jan. 28th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
hehe... yes the translation is quite close... it's definitely would be said about something mind-blowing :) or striking that it would make you loose your balance and fall (literally)...
however, it is more often used as an adverb "сногсшибательно", while "сногсшибательность" is a noun and seems to be a made-up word, but everybody would understand what it means :) I like making up words, it makes your language more colorful!

...and seeing abbreviation ЖЖ in English language blog is really impressive!
Jan. 28th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
Hey, fascinating, thanks for that! Haha, I think most of my Russian words are made up. :-D

So how would I use it in context, say, 'Она сногсшибательно читала нам поему'? Could you say, 'Я смотрела сногсшибательный фильм'?
Jan. 28th, 2009 06:51 pm (UTC)
Most often (90%) this word is used to say "You look fantastic!" = "Ты выглядишь сногсшибательно!" Thinking of other examples as an adjective: "Сногсшибательный результат" (incredible result), "Сногсшибательный наряд" (killer dress)... or could just say: "Сногсшибательно!" when you think something is a smasher!... and I bet it's not easy to pronounce!
Jan. 28th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
Brilliant, thanks so much! And I like how it starts with the English word 'snog', that's funny. :-D
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah McIntyre

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