Every so often the cartoonists of Portland get an open invite to a local theatrical production. Sometimes it’s the children’s theater, other times the opera. Occasionally it’s something with extravagant puppets. We get free tickets to whatever’s on in exchange for producing a batch of frantic live sketches, which then get used to promote the production.
This month the call was for a world premier play called Redwood, a story about race and heritage and relationships, intergenerational and otherwise. I’d gotten a mailer for it a few days earlier and really wanted to go, so when the invite to live sketch a dress rehearsal came in I was all over it.
They issue all the cartoonists with these goofy clip lights and send them to sit in a row towards the back of the theater. We then have to do our darndest to draw like the wind throughout the entire show, capturing gestures, faces, moments, scenery—whatever we like. Here’s what I came up with! These sketches were all done straight to ink with a Pilot Carbon Desk Fountain Pen (the least well-named implement in my arsenal).
It’s a challenge for sure, but one I always come away from feeling surprisingly accomplished. It’s also nice to be drawing for folks who aren’t visual artists themselves, because anything you produce seems like wizardry.
OCT invited Mike Russell and I to come draw one of the performances, and it turns out they also invited Scott Cambell himself to visit and see the show! Watching all the kids in the audience just mob him to get autographs in their zombie books after the show was super cool, as was watching their eyes widen while Mike drew for them.
I also got to show my sketches to Scott, which was a big thrill considering I’ve been reading his stuff since I was in middle school. The first time I met Scott I was a little babby comics fan at the Stumptown Comics Fest in 2009, and somehow here I am five years later introducing myself as a cartoonist. It is unreal.
So not only did I get to say hello to Scott, but he also brought Graham Annable (another longtime inspiration) along for the ride, so I got to meet him and hear about his upcoming feature with LAIKA (The Boxtrolls!) and see his beautiful live sketches as well. You can see Pat Moran’s lovely photos from the meet and greet after the show right here, and Mike Russell’s hilarious live sketches right here.
Aaand here are mine!
The show was totally charming — I even enjoyed the musical numbers, which usually aren’t my thing — and the actors were all astonishingly good. Also: so many groaner puns. It was great!
Thanks to OCT for inviting us. I look forward to seeing more of their productions this season!
So, as some of you may know, I attended a rehearsal of Don Giovanni earlier this week, courtesy of the Portland Opera. The company runs this great outreach program where cartoonists come and live sketch rehearsals in the days leading up to the show. I’m no opera buff, but the experience was fantastic. Stellar cast, dramatic staging, and no shortage of saucy thrills. If you’ve been wanting more bang for your operatic buck, this is the show for you.
Unfortunately, these sketches fail to capture the pathos and emotional torment of the show itself. I have, instead, chosen to focus mainly on the boning. There’s a lot of that.
And they all lived happily every after!
Seriously, folks, with the flippancy of my goofy sketches aside, I suggest you all go check out this show. I had a wonderful time. To sweeten the deal, those of you in the know (i.e. everyone reading this blog) can get your tickets for the Thursday (11/8) show at 50% off! Head over here and enter the password MOZART to get in on the action.
If you enjoyed this you can find other excellent commentary, artwork, and cheap gags from the evening’s cartoonists and live bloggers on Twitter under the hashtag #pdxgiovanni.
Busy times, everyone! I’ve got a recap of the last couple weeks (including the awesomeness that was VanCAF) up over on the Kickstarter blog, and since I’ll be bum deep in fulfilling rewards for the next lifetime I’m going to let that speak for itself for now.
In the meantime I’ve been buzzing around Portland getting my draw on — most recently with the excellent folks at Live Wire! Radio, who were kind enough to invite me over to live sketch one of their shows. For those of you unfamiliar with Live Wire!, they make audio-based delights to enrich the mind and tickle the fancy of any discerning radio listener. I strongly suggest you check them out. This particular taping featured rock star guests like Lizz Winstead, Ted Rall, Daniel H. Wilson, Mike Russell, Star Anna, and Kasey Anderson, as well as Faces For Radio Theater, the house team of actors and entertainers responsible for keeping things real on stage. And here, in all their messy glory from my much-the-worse-for-wear sketchbook, they are!
Sadly, this was the last show of the season, but I’m looking forward to more of these in September. Keep an eye out!
I’ll leave you all with a couple Vancouver-themed pages from my sketchbook…