“Le cheval de bleu” by Marcel Cremer

“Le cheval de bleu” [The Horse of Blue] is a children’s play originally written in German by the Germanophone Belgian author Marcel Cremer (1955-2009). A new French-language production of the play, a collaboration between Théâtre de la vieille 17 and Voyageurs Immobiles, Compagnie de création under the direction of Milena Buziak, premiered last weekend at the Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins theatre in Ottawa. This premiere was paired with the launch of an illustrated print edition of the play published by Lansman Editeur (Carnières-Morlanwelz, Belgium). I did the illustrations, some of which appear below (click on images to enlarge).

Cheval de bleu 1Cheval de bleu 2Cheval de bleu 5Cheval de bleu 6Cheval de bleu 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Rimbaud Warriors” by Richard Gaitet in stores now!

Richard Gaitet’s “Rimbaud Warriors,” out today from Éditions Paulsen, recounts the author’s journey by foot from Charleville, France to Charleroi, Belgium, retracing the route taken by Arthur Rimbaud in the fall of 1870. It was during the course of this adventure, the second of his great escapes from his family home, that the sixteen-year-old poet found the inspiration for what would become some of his most famous poems.

Wrapped around the bottom half of the classically French off-white, minimalist cover is a bright red book jacket featuring a drawing of the “Tintin of poetry” by yours truly. Another of my drawings appears inside. Click here for more information on “Rimbaud Warriors” on the Paulsen website: https://www.editionspaulsen.com/rimbaud-warriors-2054.html

 

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“Il cardillo addolorato” by Anna Maria Ortese

A cover idea for a hypothetical new edition of an Italian novel I just finished reading, Anna Maria Ortese’s 1993 “Il cardillo addolorato” (translated into English as “The Lament of The Linnet.”

Near the end of the eighteenth century, three wealthy young gentlemen from Belgium, the jovial merchant Alphonse Nodier, the beautiful and idealistic sculptor Albert Dupré, and the jaded but ultimately large-hearted aristocrat Prince Ingmar Neville take a pleasure trip down to Naples. Here they meet -and are each in turn besotted by- a wealthy glovemaker’s daughter, Elmina Civile, who appears to be moved by a mysterious determination to reject all possibilities of joy from her life.

Ortese’s storyline is intentionally convoluted, offering ambiguous and endlessly contradictory accounts of events and of the relationships between its various actors. Though I arrived at the end of the novel with only a very confused grasp of what I’d just read, the characters, descriptions, and overall atmosphere of the novel cast an undeniable spell. “Il cardillo addolorato” felt to me a little like stepping into a rococo painting, into one of those gauzy fantasy worlds which, in their knowing insubstantiality, seem to be calling attention to the mysterious void that lies below their surface. As Ortese says of literature and rhetoric in the introductory chapter, “they are golden, chiseled doors, the handiwork of the goldsmiths of dreams. But, once opened, it is only life, dark and cold, that one finds at the foot of the staircase, groaning like water. And you too, my curious Reader, will see, as you follow this story, how behind it there is nothing at all. All you will hear, down there, is a miserable glug-glug.”

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Registration open for my art classes at the Visual Arts Centre!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m very excited to be teaching two classes at the Visual Arts Centre in Westmount this:  “Dessin et illustration/Drawing and Illustration” on Thursday mornings from 10am-1pm and “Illustration de bande dessinée/Comic Book Illustration” on Thursday evenings from 7pm-10pm. Classes begin on April 18 and go till June 6 (8 weeks). They will be taught in both English and French. Here are the two brief course descriptions that can be found on the VAC Fall/Winter program:

Dessin et illustration/Drawing and Illustration

Acquire the essential drawing skills necessary to support your interest in illustration. Class time will be divided between observational drawing and a series of thematic illustration projects based on your own interests. Learn more about form, shading, and perspective, while developing creative links between idea, word, and image. Materials include pencil, ink, and watercolour. No prerequisite necessary. https://www.visualartscentre.ca/register/?action=course_detail&course_id=5267

Illustration de bande dessinée/Comic Book Illustration

Combining images and words, comics are an exciting, accessible means of storytelling and self-expression. Learn basic illustration skills, including expressive figure drawing, inking, layout, character design, and storyline, which will then be brought together in the creation of your own short graphic book. The development of a unique voice and style will be encouraged. No previous experience in writing or drawing required. https://www.visualartscentre.ca/register/?action=course_detail&course_id=5268

Registration for courses at VAC is now open! For more details and/or to download their full Spring/Summer program, go to https://www.visualartscentre.ca/school-of-art/

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Il deserto dei tartari

 

ildesertodeitartari3smaller“Guardateli, Giovanni Drogo e il suo cavallo, come sono piccoli sul fianco delle montagne che si fanno sempre più grandi e selvagge. Egli continua a salire per arrivare alla Fortezza in giornata, ma più svelte di lui, dal fondo, dove romba il torrente, più svelte di lui salgono le ombre. A un certo punto esse si trovano proprio all’altezza di Drogo sul versante opposto della gola, sembrano per un momento rallentare la corsa, come per non scoraggiarlo, poi scivolano su per i greppi e i roccioni, il cavaliere è rimasto di sotto.”

-Dino Buzzati, Il deserto dei tartari, capitolo I

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“One Day I Decided I Wanted to Draw Comics”

Again from Yerp Magazine‘s second anniversary special issue from 1989, here is a comic I drew at age 10 recounting the moment I announced to my parents that I wanted to become a comics artist. For the record, neither of my parents ever expressed any desire that I become a lawyer. I had a weird sense of humour (back then).

 

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My First Poetry Comic – “Yerp’s Battle of Bannockburn”

It has been found! Here is my very first comics adaptation of a work of classic poetry, created in 1989, when I was ten years old. It features Yerp the crocodile, the star of almost all my comics from those years. The poem, written by Robbie Burns in 1793, imagines a speech given by Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots, to his soldiers before the Battle of Bannockburn (1314). The Scots won a resounding victory against the invading English forces of Edward II, thus avenging William Wallace (of Braveheart fame). Yerp’s reactions to Burns’s stirring lines may seem somewhat defeatist, but I like to think they reflect a nascent form of the pacifism that has always accompanied my lifelong fascination with military history.

 

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