Will Eisner(1917-2005) was a giant in the comic book world, and was the guy who coined the term "graphic novel" and "sequential art".
The documentary was directed/co-produced by Andrew D. Cooke, and written/co-produced by his brother, Jon B. Cooke (with whom I took a RISD CE comic book class).
They did a fantastic job with this film -- masterfully organizing drawings, photos, film clips, and audio- and videotaped interviews so that the story of a brilliant storyteller could shine through. Many other comic book greats were interviewed, which proved what an influential impact Eisner's career had on so many others.
This film not only paints a portrait of one man, but also gives as its contextual backdrop: the history of comics & comic books. So, can you tell? -- I liked it a lot!
Seeing this documentary is pretty timely, as the movie The Spirit (perhaps Eisner's best-known creation), is slated to hit the theaters Christmas Day. Frank Miller (Sin City), who is interviewed in the documentary, will be directing this major motion picture.
The documentary was screened at the Courthouse Center for the Arts (really nifty place) in West Kingston, RI. This should give you some indication of how passionate about graphic novels I've been of late: I traveled 1.5 hours (round-trip), to a place I've never been before, IN THE DARK, just to see this film.
And it sooooooo was worth it -- thanks for the invitation, Jon!
As promised in my last post, here are Prince Tim Thumbkin and his bride, Li'lvinia, the midget & dwarf couple who met and fell in love while performing at the Freaky Fingers Side Show. Isn't it romantic???
The inspiration for these guys was General
Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren, a couple who performed with P.T. Barnum.
It seems that quite a few little people who were side shows performers were
given a title, like General, for "marketing purposes". Because of this, I decided that
Tim should have a title too.
And what better title for a THUMB puppet than 'PRINCE'??? (In this story, Tim discovers that he actually IS a prince.)
Here, above, is another view of the wedding party on the wedding cake. I have to say a bit about this cake, as it took me a chunk-o-time to make it.
It's basically three cardboard hat boxes, painted and decorated with lace, trim, cording, silk flowers acting as the "frosting". The "dots" on the cake are the innards of some hackey sacks I cut apart. Waste not. Want not. The tiers are separated by columns I got in the cake decorating aisle of the craft store; they're by Wilton. The heart-shaped arch was made from headdress wire, wrapped with ribbon and decorated with a bunch of bride-y stuff. The wedding bells came from the craft store, as did Tim & Li'lvinia's pet doves, whose names are ... ready? Cute & Little. Yeah, I know.
The fence on the top tier was fencing that I had, but it also can be fetched at a craft store. The ladders I made myself, using wooden sticks, glue, and paint. I'm a ladder-making impressario, I tells ya! I really wanted spiral staircases, but who am I trying to kid??? I ain't got enough brain power for all that. Besides, this type of ladder reminded me of the ladder-under-the-window-cuz-we're-eloping kind. You know.
This whole wedding cake idea came about like this: When I first was pondering the idea of a midget and a dwarf, I imagined one of my baker finger puppets trying to coerce them to get on top of his wedding cake, and pictured them getting angry and refusing to do so. Then I was like, "Hmmm, why NOT have them be a bride and groom, and have the wedding cake be where they get married/ live/ etc.?" This worked out well because one of my friends/sources for many of my crafting supplies JUST HAPPENS TO have a wedding-sewing business, so I had plenty of options! Wedding-y type stuff ain't usually my bailiwick, so it's been a surprise how much fun I've been having creating this whole enterprise. Chalk it up to my being a girl. I'll probably start making princesses and unicorns next; just you wait!
I made Li'lvina's right arm so that she can carry a flower for photo ops! Her bridesmaids are plastic finger
toppers for little girls that I got at the grocery store and gave
dresses (lace & ribbon) to and added rhinestones for their earrings/nail jewelry.
These sorority sister pals of Li'lvinia's create the four fingers to her thumb; they dig on looking exactly alike, except for the one who's retaining water. Why, she can't even get her RING on she's so bloated!
None of them are married yet, and they're hoping to meet some new guys at the wedding...
... And here are some now! The thimble groomsmen, Tim's frat brothers from his college days,
are happy to have made it to the ceremony on time ... there
was a stag party the night before. And, yes, there WILL be photos,
much to Tim's chagrin.
It is by complete happenstance that I had four thimbles. I made them bowties on
a Saturday night when other people go out on dates or whatever it is
that people do.
I'm pretty sure that the leather thimble's name is Moose.
Here above is proof that I can learn something new! Having only two hands (really!), I knew it'd be difficult to take a photo of my "two-thumbs-up" idea, and using my Big Toe to push the button seemed like a bad choice. This is where the Ability to Read came in handy YET AGAIN. The camera's manual told tales of a timer! I followed instructions, and lo & behold, BOTH my hands made it into the picture AT THE SAME TIME. I Photoshopped out a couple of freckles. My sister is trying to convince me to get an intern from RISD to act as another set of hands. And I'm like, "How's that ad gonna read? 'Wanted: Student who doesn't mind having fingers photographed'??? 'Who doesn't mind being late to class while Boss tries to figure out what in the heck she wants in a shot'???"
Above: Another finger puppet makes a cameo appearance on the day of the Nuptials and is surprisingly encouraging despite the grim weather forecast!
(See how tiny Li'lvinia is compared to an average-sized finger puppet?)
More of the bride & groom at a later date. To see other finger puppets in this series, please click on these links:
... and an autograph, too! (I doctored his last name to ward against identity theft.)
Brian Selznick, the winner of the 2007 Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, spoke at RISD last night. He shared the trajectory of his lifelong & ongoing love of drawing and "making things" -- from his childhood (drawing on pants and himself; drawing monsters of which the teacher didn't approve), to his decision to go to RISD and his experiences while there (didn't want to be an illustrator of children's books, nor even an illustrator) and at Brown (developed a love of set design while working at that university's theater).
Really candid about his life after graduation and his path to freelancing when he realized that his three loves (drawing, telling stories, kids) might actually mean that he was, in fact, a children's book illustrator. :-) Shared what triggers his imagination and storytelling, and his work process. Can never hear enough about that from artists. That's the good stuff.
Greatly appreciated hearing his stories, inspirations, and seeing his artistic explorations through the years. Thank you for that, Brian, and for being so willing to pass along what you've learned to the current (& former) students at your alma mater.
Brian and I had a couple of classes together while at RISD: Introduction to Freud (not an illustration class), and Theme & Variation (an illustration class) where Brian's images of starving children from a third world country, painted on a Happy Meal box, stands out as a memory. Reminded him of that project last evening, and he told me that it had gotten thrown away from the school's art gallery, because a janitor thought it really was an unwanted fast food container! No!!! Pretty realistic art piece, I'd say!
For more on Brian and his really cool award, here's a link to an article from projo.com.
Had a niece visiting me last week, so we traipsed all over Providence: seeing the sites; experiencing the shops; feeling the rain. :-) Here are some of the things I came away with...
This swivel chair ($13), part of the Designer Chair series from reac JAPAN, was purchased at The Curatorium, a great shop on Wickenden Street that I've mentioned before. Wanted to show you Fabriczio (who loves all things designer-y) sitting in the chair to show scale. I think I really really really need to get some more chairs. They are soooooo cute!!!
Little rubber elephant (50 cents) was another purchase at The Curatorium. Now he has found a buddy in a plastic elephant I have. Big Elephant helps Little Elephant see over the crowds at the parade.
Above, left: Stickers by Bob's Your Uncle; got 'em at The Curatorium. Above, right: Red drafting tape (was in dire need), purchased at The RISD Store. My alumni discount applies. Does yours?
Two hackey sacks ($1.50/pc.), cut up for my own nefarious purposes. (No, I didn't buy them this way.) Purchased at OOP! on Westminster Street.
Movie ticket to JUNO; seen twice in two weeks. It's really really rare that I'll see a movie twice in a theater, but this one is so worth it. The writing; the acting; the animation sequence; the music: go see it. Really great. Also saw: Atonement, and, while beautiful to look at, I'm not really getting all the hype. Just felt kinda empty.
The above book, NOT purchased but rather was hand-bound by my niece and given to me. Nice!
Here are some pix of 'my side' of Ginny's & my booth at yesterday's art sale! The show was well-attended, and, as ever, a good place to view trends in clothing, hairstyles, and glasses' frames!
We didn't have as much space as last year's show, which was probably a blessing in disguise. In other words: we left all of our furniture at home. With the exception of Ginny's demi-lune table (love that word; I try to use it as much as possible), which became the 'stage' for my stuff. Came up with a title for a children's book called The Forgiving Skirt, due to all the stuff we shoved under this table that didn't show to the general populace due to the... forgiving skirt... 1 elf & all 3 snow bunnies sold.
Here you can see some of the junk I've collected from the flea market over the months. It all gets used.
3 cows, a fly, and a Polar bear sold.
All of the penguins sold, and 3/4 of the Elepherinas (Ginny's word) went, too. I had made 4 more after the original 2 sold. (Little girls -- and one middle-aged man -- dig on pink)
The right-hand side in more detail, and the Aliens in the way they've been displayed in my home. The eyeball ring is something I've always sworn I'd wear on my left hand if/when I ever get married to crack up my Husband-To-Be at the last minute when we're up at the altar. (Act surprised if you're reading this and you're my intended.) Sold 1 alien and 4 robots, and 3 reindeer.
Friends were kind enough to come out to the show & stop by to say "howdy''. I still feel like a newcomer to this area, but now when I do something RISD-oriented, I like KNOW PEOPLE. Or recognize them enough to say, "Hey!" Am greeted with hugs and kisses on the cheek now. It's kinda funny. Andreally nice.
OK, enough emotion.
Some comments during the day:
"I got it for $10 in Zanzibar!"
"You eeediot! That's not a zit-- it really IS a third eye!!!"
A funny conversation:
Me, to a smile-y Guy: Hi, how are you? Smile-y Guy: Fantastic! Me: "Fantastic"? Wow, that's sayin' something! Guy: Well, to tell you the truth, I'm hungover... and I really like your work! Me, laughing: Do you like my work BECAUSE you're hungover, or in spite of the fact? And maybe I shouldn't laugh this loud, seeing as how you're hungover and all! Guy: No, I really like it! And, you see, our son took us out last night... Me: Oh, sure, blame it on your son! Guy: And he got us this (alcoholic beverage)-- Ugh! I feel like I'm back in college! Me: OK, well, I'll hold your hair back if you have to vomit!
Set-up & Break-down went sooo much easier this year than last, because we had a guy helping us with the schlepping. No Icy/Hot or BenGay this year. We treated ourselves to Chinese food, then home to collapse in front of the TV with chock-lit cake. Thanks for another great weekend, Ginny!
These reindeer finger puppets will be available for purchase at the RISD Alumni Holiday Art Sale, which is THISSaturday, December 8th, 10am - 5pm, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. Click on the link for details & directions. I'll be at Booth #416 with Ginny Joyner, who will have framed & unframed prints of her beautiful watercolors for sale.
I made all these puppets Rudolphs because I figured no one would buy a black-nosed reindeer if given the option of sparkly RED. The gingerbread houses are from the Martha Stewart line found in Michael's Craft stores. They're supposed to be favor boxes, but: nahhhhhh, that ain't happening here. The trees are from Plan Toys, courtesy of my Own... Personal... Santa...
Had fun with my sister Jane coming up with the snippets of conversation seen above. Some of these are universal to any family; others are highly specific to our own "family of origin". Click on image to see it larger.
Got the idea for the above scenario from the last craft show I did, where the majority of people were calling my Gnome "Santa". I thought the 'G' might have tipped them off, but: no. So many people to teach; so little time.
Bring your fingers into the 21st century with these robot puppets I'll have available for purchase at the RISD Alumni Holiday Art Sale, which is THIS Saturday, December 8th, 10am - 5pm, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence. Hit the link for more details.
The sounds the robots are making are ALSO their names, how's that for a happy coincidence?
I used a variety of hardware findings, notions, and crafty bits to make these guys. I knew I wanted to use clocks on them, and located some in the craft store, but: too expensive. Then I remembered: Santa gave me altered book watch faces a bunch of Christmases back! Dug them out: there were six, and there were six gray finger forms! I love when that happens.
When I was in Home Depot's hardware section, the guy who works there asked, "May I help you?" I considered for a moment, then told him, "No." He said teasingly, "OK, if that's the way you feel about it." I explained, "Well, I'm looking for parts to make robot finger puppets, and I think that that's probably something I'll need to do on my own!" :-) Later he saw me and wanted to know how I did with my search, so I showed him all the bits I found and told him how I was intending to use them. He seemed amused.
And, because I just couldn't help myself, here's Crabby the Elf again, stirring up... um... strife... in the workplace. Not only is he crabby, he's also reactionary, but "Reactionary the Elf" just takes too long to say.