Friday, August 14, 2009

A Sketchy Past, The Art of Peter de Sève





I'm glad I waited so long to start a blog. Listing all of these things that took so many years to come to fruition might actually make me appear prolific.


Sadly, this is far from the truth.


A Sketchy Past, The Art of Peter de Sève will also be published this October, by Edition Akileos, a French publisher best known for their hardcover collections of bande dessinees (comics, in europeanese) in partnership with Galerie Arludik, a gallery in Paris which specialize in artwork created for animation, film and books (more on all of these wonderful people later).

The book will be a hardcover of about 240 pages, full color finishes and offhand doodles and preliminary sketches throughout. Amid Amidi, an accomplished author with many fine books to his credit and a very popular blog called cartoonbrew provided a great introduction. Chris Wedge, the director of the original Ice Age film, was kind enough to write a very flattering foreword for which I am very grateful. For a preview of the book, please go here:

http://www.akileos.com/coming_soon_from_Akileos_and_Arludik.html

Copies should be available sometime in October through Stuart Ng books and Bud Plant Illustrated Books among others.

Like the children's book, this is another project I put off for several years, but I'm very glad I did. If I had succeeded in putting together a similar book all those years ago, it would have been premature and showed it. This is not to say that I really have done enough work to warrant anything that resembles a retrospective, but at least there is enough material now and enough variety in the work to make it seem worthwhile to some degree. With Ice Age, The Dawn of the Dinosaurs completing the trio of those films, The Duchess of Whimsy and a book of sketches under my belt, at least I won't feel there are any gaping holes in the book. And if it does fall short in some way for its audience (whomever that might be), it at least accomplishes something important for me personally. I've come to think of A Sketchy Past, only half jokingly, as the "End of Part One" of my artistic life. Fifty years is a long time for one chapter, but perhaps, if I can put all of this work behind me, I'll be more open to bigger and more challenging artistic opportunities in the next fifty years. On the other hand, I might just curl up in a ball with a bottle in my fist and pore over the book every night, wondering whether I'll ever be able to draw again.

It's a disquieting thing to see so much of one's work collected in one place; trapped in amber for all to examine. No longer is there an impression of a career, flattered by the viewer's unreliable memory. It's just there, trapped between the covers.
Despite all of this handwringing though, I am delighted with the finished result (at least in it's present pre-printed state) mostly due to the superbly elegant job done by Lori Barra, the book's designer and one of my dearest friends on the planet. A collection like this, a retrospective (unintended as it was), is not something that should be dashed off by an acquaintance. The entire undertaking is heavily weighted with emotion. From self doubt to nostalgia to the stark realization that so much of your life can fit in so few pages; this kind of project should only be done with the help of a very close friend and an expert off-the-ledge-talker. I can't imagine having done it with any one who didn't know me as well as Lori. And anyone who knows Lori, knows that her patience is legendary. She will be mortified to read this but she is known by some as St. Barra. But even someone like her, so Zen and soaked in green tea, would find herself with an uzi in a shopping mall after the punishing months of flipflopping, second guessing and self flagellation that I put her through-on literally, a daily basis.

All of this is secondary however to what makes Lori the excellent designer she is. The book is my dream of the book. It breathes and flows so well because of every minute choice she so carefully and lovingly made; from the fonts, to the witty and playful combination of images- both literal and subliminal. Her personal investment is evident on every page-in the care she put in choosing the paper stock and color of ink, to her agonizing over a 2% difference in opacity of a color, undetectable by a mere mortal's eye. It is a very pleasant book to dip in to and honestly, when it comes to art books, aren't we all just dipping in, hoping for some kind of inspiration, or at the very least, a distraction?

Or is that an awkward confession I just made?
Anyway, thank you again, Lori. As I wrote to you in my acknowledgement, the book is more than a book to me, because of you.









31 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to all of the time I'll spend with your book "researching" while not working on my own. Thanks for both the inspiration and the distraction.

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  2. I am so stoked about this book!!!! Finally! It will be the next one I add to my library. By the way, will there ever be an Art Of book for the Ice Age series?

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  3. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to get my hands on this and comb through it a thousand times and again. Your work is seriously inspirational and speaks volumes about how drawing should feel effortless and natural to really showcase their strengths. Thank you for sharing all the work you have in the past and will, I hope, continue to show in the future.

    btw your blog, Im sure, will become a fast favorite!

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  4. Welcome to the blogging world! I picked up your sketchbook at Comic Con this year (and was fortunate enough to have you draw Sid in it!). Looking forward to seeing your new book. Keep the posts coming...especially any little "crappy" sketches that you'd never publish anywhere else.

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  5. Great to see you on the WORLD WIDE WEB Peter.

    I miss sneaking down to the 11th floor and looking at your drawings for inspiration. Now inspiration is just a click away!!

    By the way - Mr. Post-It is actually code for ex BSky Animator / Aaron Hartline. I started my own blog as well www.thedailypostit.com - Posting Your Daily News On Post-it Notes.

    Take care.

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  6. Great to see your blog. I've been a fan of your work :) Thanks for the inspiration!

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  7. can't wait can't wait can't wait can't wait!

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  8. WOW! great appealing work. I would like to get your book when it comes out.What did you use to color the porch setup?Looks like water color and color pencil with ink.

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  9. Ow Boy!Amazing Cover!Can't wait to see all the book!
    And i can't wait to meet you in Arludik in few month!
    Take care

    Tibo

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  10. This blog is such a refreshing news!
    Looking forward to see the book and all its 240 pages of fantastic work.
    All the best!
    Ale

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  11. Congrats on the new book my friend! It's sure to be superb. Glad you have a blog now too! Keep up the great work man. oh, and BTW, nice contribution sketch to TYE!

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  12. Nice heartfelt post, enjoyed reading it. And the accompanying artwork is gorgeous. Looking forward to showing the finished book to my eyeballs!
    Congrats!

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  13. Wonderful that you began posting, I like your drawings since I found your "sketchbook" in a comic shop...
    I´m looking forward to your new book!!

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  14. I'm excited to see the book. Been a big fan of your work for years.

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  15. Brilliant! I am glad you start blog!:o)

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  16. Wow, Im so happy to have found your blog and to see you have a new book on the way! I love your work and your character designs are always an inspiration. I can't wait to see what you do next. Congratulations to the new blog and new book!

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  17. Looking forward to the blog. Glad to find your blog.

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  18. Great to see you've got a blog, Peter!! Extra great to see you've got two cool books coming out!

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  19. Finally :)...now all you need to do is convince Carter Goodrich to do the same!!!

    Looking forward to the publication of the book and all new posts!

    Best regards

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  20. Nice meeting you at San Diego Comic Con 2009. I should be getting this book as well. Looks very good.

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  21. Man! That book looks beautiful! So glad you're blogging, your work is a huge inspiration to me.

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  22. I don't think those lobsters look particularly cooked. They're in shadow, they could very well be lobster colored. As for red wine with lobster, people make mistakes, even people in drawings. Maybe the people in the drawing weren't as sophisticated as the reader's who made the complaint.

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  23. Thanks a lot for sharing your work!
    I'll be saving some money now to buy your new book :)

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  24. Please, could you tell me how long took you a drawing like the cover of the book? Thanks

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  25. Ahh.. I'm in love with your works :)

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  26. welcome to the blog world Peter, look forward to seing you in Nov in Burbank

    cheers

    DColman

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