Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Odd Transformations... 4

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

The last time we looked at Dave Sim's notebook #7 it was in November of 2015 in Out With the In Crowd. The 115 pages scanned covers Cerebus issues 87 to 95. We've looked at several times before: "Lord Julius", "So...You already said that.", "Odds and Ends", and "Assassin".

This week starts a two part look at the dream sequence in issue 95, Odd Transformation 4. On page 109 of the notebook we see Dave's sketches for the double page spread of pages 12 and 13 (pages 888 & 889 of the phonebook Church & State II) and the double page spread 14 and 15:

Notebook 7,  page 109
And the one from the finished issue:

Cerebus #95, page 12 and 13 
Cerebus #95, page 14 and 15
There are a few noticeable differences between Dave and Ger's versions, and we'll see the next couple of pages next week.


Travis Pelkie said...

Maybe Dave can answer this:

With something like this, where you did a layout in your notebook, did you hand the notebook over to Ger and ask him to go nuts (if you will)? Did he have the notebook nearby as reference, or did you show it to him, he'd do his own thumbnails, and then go from there?

Also, I know the general practice was for you to do the Cerebus figures and for Ger to do the backgrounds after, but for pages 14 and 15 here, did you reverse that? Seems tough to put in the tiny Cerebi (heh) and force Ger to work around them, rather than put them in afterwords.

I'm always curious as to how an artist made their art look the way it did. I know my first exclamation when Ger did the art feature in Wizard years ago was "Dave doesn't even draw the rice cakes?!"

Was there ever anything filmed when you guys did a page? I know there was mention recently of a page where Ger did a sort of "stop motion" series of photos of the page in progress, but I now can't remember where that was mentioned.... I'd like to see more of the Dave 'n' Ger pages in progress, if any records of that are extant.

Paul Slade said...

Travis -

Maybe this was the stop motion thing you're thinking of?

(Scroll down to the bottom of that page).

Travis Pelkie said...

Not what I was thinking of, Paul, but very cool regardless!

No, there was something Dave mentioned where Ger had taken pictures of the artwork every so often for some page or pages. On the Hawaii trip, maybe?

I know a (possibly) disturbing amount of what Dave and Ger did in their adult lives, just based on what was shared in the back of Cerebus....

Lee Thacker said...

Something I've always wondered about this issue: were these drawn as 'two-page spreads' (i.e. using 2 pieces of art board) or was the orientation of the art board turned to landscape and drawn as one large picture?

Unknown said...

Hi Travis! These are Hawaii pages. Rose had come to visit Gerhard and he was taking the week off to spend time with her -- staying at her hotel just off Waikiki Beach while I was in the condo at the Marina -- so I was left to try to figure out a way to keep everything moving forward while actually running up ahead on my own. And that seemed to be the best way to do it: thumbnail the backgrounds in my notebook and then finish my part of the page. I had to get far enough ahead so that I wouldn't need my notebook if he needed it for reference. I didn't LIKE to thumbnail backgrounds because that tended to confine Gerhard to a predetermined "his side" of the page. And I knew from experience he always came up with better things if they were HIS from the git-go.

They're really nice pages -- but they needed to be relatively quick pages for Gerhard if he was going to make up the week where he fell behind me. And that was never predictable. We see -- and saw -- differently. Trying to "do" MY background usually slowed him down and diminished the results. That happened here. I hoped that I could thumbnail "this is pretty much all solid black": "here's where you put in some detail" in a way that made sense to him. Sort of. But not really.

Unknown said...

Hi Travis again! No, you're thinking of the Mick Jagger cover (#86?). That we filmed being produced on Super 8 but that's long gone unless Gerhard has it somewhere.

No, as far as I know there are no A to Z's of any of the pages or if there are, they're buried somewhere.

We were too busy staying on a monthly schedule to document staying on a monthly schedule.

Unknown said...

Hi Lee! I'm pretty sure these were two individual pages. We had to fit the whole issue in a FedEx box when we were done!

Dean Reeves said...

Hi Travis,

Gerhard just did a commission piece for me of the primary setting for Jaka's Story. He filmed his process and you can check it out on his blog:

It boggles the mind.