Q & A with Andrew Rae

IMG_7210

I’d love to take a walk around the inside of your head; I imagine it would be like a journey through The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. How did you come up with the idea for Moonhead & the Music Machine?

For a while I’ve liked the idea of telling a story about music visually and how that might work but the Moonhead character gradually formed from drawing, prints and sculptures I’d been doing. It started off as an asteroidhead character in a print I made of mob of characters, something about him stuck with me and I kept finding myself drawing things like a Moonhead band or a group of planet heads. Then in 2011 my wife Chrissie Macdonald and I did were asked to do an exhibition together in Stockholm. We hired a house in the countryside to make work for the show and it just happened to have a telescope which we used to look at the moon one night after the pub. I guess that inspired us to think along those lines as we called the show Objects in Orbit and made lot’s of Moonhead and planet sculptures and drawings. As all this was going on I started imagining what the Moonhead character might be like and how his head could float off into imaginary worlds while his body remains behind in the real world, an idea that I relate to a lot. I decided to stick with a familiar high school plot and to add all the bizarre Moonhead stuff on top as I wanted it to be grounded in a familiar reality which is offset by the bizarre imaginary landscapes.
In my review I listed some of the things Moonhead & the Music Machine reminded me of; could you tell us what your actual influences were, if any?
 
There are so many things that influence me from day to day that it’s hard to compile a list but I guess Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli was a big influence in the way it used style and drawing to tell the story, I also loved Sir Ken Robinsons TED talks about education and creativity, The Breakfast Club by John Hughes needs a mention, also An American Werewolf in London by John Landis as I’ve always loved how the characters behave like real people even though bizarre things are happening, throw in some Cream, and and a bit of Kandinsky and Bertrand Russells celstial Teapot and we’re probably getting somewhere close.
 
One of my favourite characters in the book was the aging record exec (he reminds me of The Dude from The Big Lebowski) Did you base this character on anyone? 
 
He started off a bit more like Phil Spector and I toyed with a kind of Brian Wilson look but somehow I wasn’t feeling the drawings. I wanted him to have more of an ageing, spaced out, hippy look without actually referencing a living person so I went with a combination of Keith Richards, ZZ Top and Dude.
 
Nobrow are cool, how did you get the gig? What was it like working with them?
 
I can’t remember if I already new Sam and Alex when they first asked me to be in Nobrow 5 but I got to know them mostly from going to exhibitions at their gallery and at Pick Me up at Somerset House. They asked me to be in a few of their publications so I made a short comic story called Deity School for their Graphic Cosmogeny and another called Space Cadet for Nobrow 7, both of which got a good reaction so they asked me to come up with a book idea. I didn’t realise it at the time but looking back Moonhead is actually somewhat a mixture of these 2 strips.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process? 
 
I sketch a lot and constantly keep notes in my phone of ideas and thoughts so that when I’m looking for inspiration I have things to turn to, it helps to remind me what my work looks like sometimes. I guess the most important thing however not to sit around waiting for inspiration but to turn up every day just try to make work even if nothing comes. If I have have an editorial job on there isn’t time to wait for inspiration so I just have to force it out of my brain there and then but more often than not inspiration turns up at inopportune moments, while out walking or on a bus or chatting in the pub so it’s important to keep notes so I don’t forget the throw away ideas. I still need to make sure I sit down and draw out the idea though, if I’ve thought through an idea enough it’s easy to forget to actually do the drawing it’s as if all the works been done thinking about it.
 
I see you are part of the Peepshow Collective, I’m kind of familiar with this: Spencer Wilson let me use his magpie illustration for the blog (he’s also part of the collective). Can you tell us what it is? How many people are involved? What kind of things do you do as the collective? 
 
Peepshow stared as a shared portfolio website for a group of friends who’d just graduated. I evolved over time into exhibitions, a studio and eventually a company. There are 10 of us and these days it mostly functions as an animation studio and group of friends.
 
Can you recommend 5 graphic novels for me to read? 
 
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
Building Stories by Chris Ware
Black Hole by Charles Burns
Habibi by Craig Thompson
 
And last of all, what are you working on at the moment? 
At the moment I have regular monthly piece with the New York Times Magazine, I’m finishing an art history book called Where’s Warhol and an activity book called My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook with Laurence King, I’ve just finished a piece written by Will Self for BBC Culture online and I’m working on a pitch for a kids book.

Q & A with Victor Hussenot

Victor Hussenot, the creative talent behind the Nobrow graphic novel The Spectators. Victor studied the Fine Arts in Nancy (France) and now lives and works in the capital, Paris.

Q1: Where did the concept for The Spectators come from?

The idea of ​​Spectators came from the identification of a link between several stories I had written. I realised all my thoughts were based on the observation of a town.

Q2: Your artwork is spectacular, can you describe the process?

Thank you! I worked in several stages. First text then the storyboard, then I pencilled boards. Only at the end did the realization of watercolour appear on the final boards. But I wanted all the stories to be connected visually as well. That is why the person embodies each role, the mind / actor. The true character of the story is his shadow,

Q3: What’s next for Victor Hussenot?

I am preparing a comic that will be a reflection on time … And following the comic book output in Chronicles “The Land of lines”.

Q4: Where do you find your inspiration? Which illustrators do you admire?

The inspiration of my life come mainly from questions I ask myself about the world, about life. But also of philosophy, film, comics and illustration.

I am greatly influenced by Albert Camus or in other areas, Eric Rohmer, Bergman, Fritz Lang, for example. Or, André Juillard Francois Ayroles, the publishing house “The association”.

Check out these photographs of Victors creative process – there are some lovely imagaes of early sketches.

Cyber Realm by Wren McDonald

A Dystopian World where Mad Max meets Robocop

During the end of days, all technology and robotics were locked underground in what has become known as the Cyber Realm. The oppressive leader now uses this technology to control the population.

Coming soon – published by Nobrow as part of its 17 x 23 series.

Moonhead and the Music Machine Andrew Rae

Meet Joey Moonhead. A normal kid in every way.  Except one… He has a moon for a head.

Published by Nobrow

Moonhead and the Music Machine

A psychedelic coming of age story.

Recipe

First stir in the title sequence to Saved By the Bell

Sieve in the sound of The Jimi Hendrix Experience

After that add two drops of the essence of Wassily Kandinsky

Sprinkle with my fading memory of Galaxy High

Then add 2 ladles of surrealism from The Mighty Boosh

Fold into the mixture the triumph of Napoleon Dynamite

Mix together with a bottle of talent and an awesome story and… perhaps, you’d end up with something close to Moonhead and the Music Machine.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

El Deafo is a 2015 Newbery Honor Book and deservedly so. It is a story all of us (young & old) can relate to. Starting a new school and making new friends, we’ve all been there and it can be difficult, try doing all of that with a large hearing aid attached to your chest

Cece Bell’s charming autobiographical story is both funny & moving. A graphic novel that tells the story of her formative years as she learns to cope and adjust to her hearing loss. Cece loses her hearing at 4 years old. She experiences education in a school for deaf children and then later she experiences main stream schooling. More than anything Cece just wants to be treated normally, to fit in and make friends.

Published by Amulet Books

Pablo by Julie Birmant

Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie’s award-winning graphic biography of Pablo Picasso captures the prolific and eventful life of one of the world’s best-loved artists. Pablo takes in Picasso’s early life among the bohemians of Monmartre, his turbulent relationship with Fernande, and the development of a career that began in penury, continued on through scandal and frustration, and reached its climax with the advent of Cubism and modern art.

This stunning graphic biography shows how Picasso’s art developed through his friendship with the poets Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, the painter Georges Braque, as well as his great rival Henri Matisse.

Self Made Hero

Fantasy Sports No.1 by Sam Bosma

Sam Bosma‘s debut graphic novel finds our unlikely duo come face-to-face with “He of the Giant Steps,” the ancient guardian of the bountiful tomb they have set out to plunder. In order to fulfill their mission however they’re going to have to abide by the ancient law of the land and better their opponent in a game of hoops! The question is, can they trust their bandaged adversary to play by the rules?

Fantasy Sports is a funny and action-filled graphic novel that will capture the reader’s imagination and re-invigorate a love for the art of comics.

Nobrow

Vincent by Barbara Stok

Barbara Stok has become a well known comic artist in The Netherlands for her candid autobiographical comic strips. In 2009 she won the Stripschapprijs, the most prestigious comic awards in the Netherlands, for her entire oeuvre. In addition to her work for newspapers and magazines, she has nine books to her name.

Follow Barbara Stok on Twitter.

Stok spent three years working on Vincent, about the artist Vincent van Gogh. In this graphic novel, artist and writer Barbara Stok takes the reader on a journey to the brief and intense period of time that the painter spent in the south of France.
Vincent dreams of setting up an artists’ house in Arles for himself and his friends. However, his attacks of mental illness confuse and disorient him, culminating in the notorious incident with his ear and leaving his dreams shattered. Throughout all of this, Vincent’s brother Theo stands by him, offering constant and unconditional support.

– www.barbaraal.nl

Published by Abrams & Chronicle

The Spectators by Victor Hussenot

I am proud to present this AMAZING graphic novel to my readers. If you haven’t heard of Nobrow before, they are an independent platform for graphic art, illustration and art comics. They started business in 2008 and since then have made a name for themselves as a leading proponent of quality in book design and a standard bearer for original creative content in print publishing.

You’re probably familiar with their children’s books, published under the name of Flying Eye Books.

I’ve said it many times before and I will say it countless more… I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of everything they do!

Marvel at the mesmerising illustrations by Victor Hussenot.

What if we are merely shadows, our characters defined by a simple inflection of light? The realm of possibilities opens up, because in our world we are nothing but spectators.

The Spectators unfolds as a poetic and philosophical introspection on the nature of man. Hussenot’s palette is awash with subtle colour, gently carrying the narrative and allowing the reader to envelop themselves in the lyricism of the work. Reminiscent of French New Wave cinema with its clipped dialogue, gentle pacing and departure from a classic narrative structure, The Spectators is an exciting new graphic novel.

Nobrow

Follow Victor on twitter.

Check out Victor Hussenot’s blog to see more of his beautiful artwork.

victor

Image by Victor Hussenot