Saturday 27 May 2017

Gerhard: The Irony Of Drawing Aardvarks

Gerhard, thanks for emailing across your latest batch of convention sketches from the Motor City Comicon. I was wondering, do all these convention sketches become a chore to do after a while? That's a lot of drawing you get done at each convention.

No, not a chore. Though sometimes, like at the Escape Pod signing, it seems like I spend the whole time with my head down sketching instead of interacting with people. But if I interact with people, I don't get any drawing done. I tend to talk with my hands.

That's why it's great to have Shelley there (other than that's it's just great to have Shelley there). She talks with the folks while I draw. When it gets slow, she has her crayons and colours; either a sketch I've done or a black and white print.

After a while, the sketches all start to look the same. If I try to change them up a bit, they take too long or don't turn out as well. So it's better to stick with what I can do fairly quickly. I have to keep reminding myself that these are con 'SKETCHES'.

Although, these days they call them 'commissions'. I guess so that they can charge more. To me, commissions are what I do at home at my drawing board. Cons are for sketches.

Every show is basically the same and yet completely different. We never know who we'll meet, what the people sitting next to us will be like (almost always great!) and what kind of celebrities Shel will bump into. Sometimes quite literally. My personal highlight from the last show was hanging out Sunday evening with Dave Gibbons and bunch of other great folks, having a few drinks and lot of laughs.

When I started doing shows again people would ask for sketches and they would want a Cerebus. Nobody wants a sketch of a lamppost and chair... well, that's not true... at a recent show someone overheard me saying that and he asked for a sketch of a lamppost and a chair. We forgot to take a picture of it (happens a lot), which is too bad. It had a sort of post-modern, surrealist quality to it. Jeff Seiler also has a lamppost sketch and many other 'background' objects.

But for the most part people want a Cerebus sketch.

I would explain that I did not draw the characters, Dave did, They didn't care, they wanted a Cerebus. That's when I started calling them 'Gerebus' because they don't look quite like Dave would had done them.

After having spent all those years 'in the background', the irony is not lost me that it's now ME out there, drawing aardvarks.

Gerhard's 2017 Convention & Signing Itinerary:

Keep up to date with Gerhard's latest news at Gerz Blog!


Tony Dunlop said...

Does anyone ask for rocks? Or potato salad?

Jeff Seiler said...

At one con, I had my copy of Going Home. I sat there, leafing through it for a good long while and conversing with Ger and Shelley. I just couldn't find an iconic image for Ger to draw (sorry, sketch) on the title page. And then I came across a full page where Cerebus and Jaka are in the woods and it's Fall and Ger had drawn the trees and falling leaves.

An "aha!" moment. So I asked him to draw (sorry, sketch) a falling maple leaf. It turned out exquisitely and, to paraphrase Jeff Bridges, it really ties the book together.

Thanks, Ger!