05 Why the pen is mightier than the circuit board

By Lianne Drewett, Researcher

Creatives have got no end of tools at their disposal. But without that seminal idea, it doesn’t count for much…

The worlds of special effects, protest art and surreal animation may seem completely contrasting at first, but everything starts by putting pen to paper. You may well end up getting arrested in New York while wearing a gold ball gown, or even wind up with an ASBO, but all is fair in the pursuit of great art – as Red Setter found out a recent Glug gathering.

Friday 15th March saw illustrator and 3D animator Laurie Rowan, print artist The Fandangoe kid and David Sheldon-Hicks, co-founder of Territory, chat to the 300-plus crowd at Patterns in Brighton about how an original idea has to be at the root of everything. The media, the technology and any added flash can come later.

The night kicked off with Laurie Rowan, whose very surreal but still ‘human’ work really took off when he started posting regularly on Instagram.  He extolled the virtues of the latest technology but said that, when push comes to shove, there is nothing like picking up a pencil and sketching out ideas.

Next up was The Fandangoe kid, AKA Annie Nicholson. For her, art was a way of surviving the loss of several members of her family in an accident. Emotionally charged poster campaigns helped her to exorcise her grief – but, again, everything started with a notepad and the written word.

And finally, David Sheldon-Hicks from Territory, the studio behind the amazing effects on Blade Runner 2049 and Prometheus, took to the stage to explain that even the most impressive and out-there graphics have their roots in the organic and down-to-earth – in his case microscopic close-ups of bone and carbon with added lens flare (though we did learn that there is such a thing as too much lens flare!).

As speaker events go, this one certainly got all the senses going – epic music, special effects, heightened emotions – but there was one clear and simple message through everything. If you want to get creative and express yourself in a way that will resonate with others, pick up a pencil and a piece of paper.

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