Here’s how you make a cover for a book …
Step 1 – spend weeks drawing lots of different ideas
Step 2 – have many arguments with graphic designer wife
Step 3 – don’t give in
Step 4 – realise that wife probably has better sense for this stuff than you do … and compromise
Step 5 – Draw the title, draw the outlines of two dogs about to have a scruff using the only lightbox you have available (the sun)
Step 6 – Colour in the texture of that big shaggy dog on the back cover!
Step 7 – Finish the writing on the back (some endorsements from Jennifer Mills, Rod Moss and Tom Singer!! )
Step 8 And add the spine.
Here’s the spine up close!
Step 9 – scan and relinquish to graphic designer.
At Documenta in 2012, the most interesting piece I came across was this historical oddity by Charlotte Salomon. It is a Gesamtkunstwerk of sorts, an ambitious fusion of visual art, poetry and perhaps other hidden artforms by a young Jewish German women who eventually found herself in Auschwitz. The entire work was made in 1941-42 and is a series of about 760 gouache paintings that retell the story of numerous suicides in her family, mostly women on a background of suggested abuse. It was mostly in German which I found difficult to fully understand (my German not being up to scratch despite being married for a number of years now to a beautiful German lass) but the intense visuals were quite astounding. I realised very quickly that this kind of artwork, which was laid out in a series of cases (as you’ll see in the images below), was a form of comics. It also happened to coincide with the period where I was organising the first of the Sleuth series of exhibits, which mostly involved me using entire sheets of paper as panels for comics that were to spread across walls. I found it very interesting indeed. I must get my mitts on a copy of the book of these images.
The S&B was first performed by Chris Downes and Josh Santospirito as part of the 2011 Sound to Light evening which pitted a visual artist with a sound artist. Josh approached Chris in early 2011 about doing something together and they slowly developed the idea of performing a ghost story based on the Derwent River near Hobart, Tasmania.
Chris came up with the slow-burning 20 minute story of a young Shipwright meeting a banshee on the banks of Derwent River and Josh wrote the music and created the soundtrack and the music that he also performed. The story was cobbled together from various myths about banshee’s.
The second performance was at Chugnut (comics camp) in Victoria on the 31st of March 2012 where it was watched by every comicer worth a damn in the country (except for all the others) … who loved it.
The performance was then dissected for its weak points and turned into an interstellar monster with the addition of the idea of having an animated component along with Chris’s drawing … then we decided against that.
Then we asked Brian Ritchie (of the Violent Femmes) to include it in the MONA FOMA – an awesomely amazing music and art festival in Hobart, Australia … where Chris and I both live. The video is from the performance at the Rosny Barn as part of the festival.
Joshua Santospirito and Christopher Downes perform The Shipwright and the Banshee on Friday the 18th at the 2013 MONA FOMA in Hobart, Tasmania.
It’s a performance that combines comics and sound – better make sure you get into the act!!
Those lovely people at Framed Magazine did an interview with me regarding The Long Weekend in Alice Springs- Read it here.
In other news – Nadine and I are slaving away laboriously at turning the comic into a book as you read this!