Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Field Trip to The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival

On Saturday 15 October we took a bus packed with students to The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in Kendal for the day.

Here's some of what we saw...

Martin Rowson a multi-award winning cartoonist and writer, whose work over the past 30 years has appeared regularly in The GuardianThe TimesThe Daily MirrorThe SpectatorThe Independent on Sunday and many other publications painting a savage political mural just off Kendal's main drag.

The University of Cumbria's Comic Book Collective stand in the Clock Tower manned by Edwin 'I'm a Tiger!" Burrow

  Oliver East (of Elbow cover art fame) signs one of his book for a fan.   

 Hotting up at the UOCCBC stand.

 Sponsored by The University of Cumbria...

 Here's a comic car.

 Ken Niimura 'Making a Scene' at The Brewery Arts Centre

Ken Niimura.

José María Ken Niimura del Barrio was born in Madrid in 1981, he’s lived and worked in Brussels, Paris, Montreal and Madrid under the pen-name Ken Niimura. Three years ago he moved to Tokyo

 Various big-name talks were attended including Mick McMahon and Tom Gauld (above)

Tom Gauld is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives and works in London. He has weekly comic strips in The Guardian and New Scientist and his comics have been published in The New York Times and The Believer.In addition to his graphic novels Goliath and You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, he has designed a number of book covers.

His most recent book is September 2016’s Mooncop, published by Drawn & Quarterly, which recounts the deadpan adventures of the last police officer on the moon.

 Happy (and tired) campers spilling out into the twilight back at our Brampton Road campus.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Olivier Kugler visits Grillust Towers

As it says on his website, Olivier Kugler loves to draw on location. Sounds simple. Is simple. Often the very best things are.

If you're not aware of Olivier's work, a quick google image search will show you just how much work the London based German illustrator produces. Prolific indeed. Google has, handily, put Olivier front and centre on his own image search.

Olivier's work is typified by global subject matter. Glasgow, London, Burkina Faso - he's drawn them all and then some! His lines are both accurate and kinetic. He doesn't create a simple snapshot moment but rather a multidimensional collection of moments that tell an entire story in a single image. Handwritten notes are incorporated into images as are quotes from the people who Olivier meets on his journeys and who become his subjects. For all his global travels, it's still the human connection that is core to Olivier's work and our engagement with it.



Burkina Faso

Recently Olivier's been working with Doctor's Without Borders, proving once again that illustration has the potential to make the unpalatable palatable, to bring home uncomfortable world truths in an incredibly humane, poignant and direct form. We're not going to publish any pics of the work that Olivier showed, as clearances are yet to be confirmed and the work yet to be published. Suffice to say that illustrator's talks aren't usually this emotional.

Olivier Kugler, in action. Not pictured - a packed room of not only illustration but also graphic design, fine artist and games design students.

Here's a couple of pieces...

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Olivier for the visit - despite the 5am arrival!!! It was a real statement of the power of illustration to do so much more than decorate or beautify our world and it was a pleasure to welcome Olivier to Grillust Towers.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

First Years Attend Frank Santoro Comics Masterclass

As part of our involvement with The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival we took a group of First Year students to attend a lecture and workshop given by the legendary comic artist (and theorist) Frank Santoro (33).

The venue was 'The Box' in Kendal, an 'interesting' piece of architecture so modern it hasn't been finished yet.

Yes 'The Box' seemed a bit wonky to us too. 

Frank gave a very entertaining and informative lecture on the construction and pacing of comics, ably assisted by Aidan Koch and ex-Marvel artist Connor Willumsen.

 Frank in full flow

Geometric construction of a comic page

 Connor, Aidan and Frank (all 33)

Artwork by Frank

Wolverine artwork by Connor

Artwork by Aidan

After the lecture the students (and staff) attended a comics masterclass with Frank and Connor.

 Nick Dodds (33) thoroughly enjoying himself in his special 'comics glasses' (his workaday pair are on the desk)

We used frames taken from various Alfred Hitchcock films 

 The ambidextrous and double right-handed Gemma (21)

 Hard at work

 Frank dispenses pearls of wisdom = Nick gets very excited

 The inevitable post-workshop group photo

Thank you Frank, Aidan, Connor, Kendal College and The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Gig Review - Holiday (featuring two ex-Grillust students)

Two of our recent graduates Nathan Linney and Peter Aspey, returned to serenade us at the opening of the Phono+Graphic exhibition with their three-piece band Holiday (with Joe Hiscoke on drums).

Their unique blend of West-Coast (Cumbrian that is) Rock and 90s Emo (think Built to Spill meets Aqua) went down a treat with the lively, home crowd.

Here's a video clip of their triumphant encore, Tin Opener to give you an idea of what we're talking about...

Here at Grillust we are always are happy to offer our students  helpful, constructive criticism and we certainly feel qualified to offer Holiday  the kind of advice that will swiftly propel them to ' the next level' so, with that in mind, here is some quality, post-gig, Grillust feedback:

Pros: Well done! Jolly, lively, toe-tapping numbers with a good range of contrasts (quiet/loud, fast/slow etc.) Would work well at weddings, birthday parties and also at Maxwell's, Hoboken.

Cons: Holiday need to try harder with their song titles (please see the set list below):

As you can see, these titles are far too surly and blunt, often exhibiting a poor grasp of punctuation - where's the apostrophe in Peepin' Tom for instance?  We therefore strongly suggest that Holiday should seek inspiration from the more literate stars of yesterday (Chris DeBurgh, Sting, Enya etc.) and give their tunes more poetic and/or explanatory titles. Here are some alternatives we have prepared for them to use:

  • Kirby Misperton home of the blues
  • François Truffaut's experimental jet-pack
  • Frankly my dear I don't do the Lindy hop!
  • You've got me feeling Coeruleum Blue
  • Not as clumsy as a blaster
  • More tea vicar?

Group Members

Joe Hiscoke (drums)

Pros: a very pleasant and well mannered young man with a nice, simple drum kit although this could be further improved with the addition of a large, six feet diameter, brass, oriental gong positioned to the rear of the drum stool.

Cons: Needs to smile more and learn how to throw his drumsticks theatrically up into the air (and subsequently catch them) at moments of extreme passion or pathos.

PS Joe, you've got your bass drum on upside down. All the low notes could fall out!

Peter Aspey (bass)

Pros: a very smart and supportive team player who performs well throughout. 

Cons: our only beef with Peter relates to the close proximity of his bass to his chin. This presents us with both a health and safety and 'coolness' issue. At present it's far too Mark King and not enough Peter Hook. 

Mr. Aspey, extend that guitar strap forthwith and let's answer the age old question; 'Bass, how low can you go?'

Level 42's Mark King - NO!

New Order's Peter Hook - YES!!!

Nathan Linney (guitar/vocs)

Pros: a gifted instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. 

Cons: Nathan does tend to mumble his words and needs to focus more on both the projection and pronunciation of his self-penned lyrics. You have a lovely speaking voice, please apply this to your singing.

Nathan also 'lets the side down' through his unfortunate choice of stage attire. His apparel, while being eminently suitable for a hobo or tramp jamboree, has no place in the 'glare of the spotlight'. It's time for you to smarten up your act young man!


For Holiday to make it to 'the big time' only one drastic measure needs to be taken... 

...learn the important lesson from the popular beat combos of yesteryear - kit yourselves out in sharp, matching suits and sophisticated Cuban-heeled boots!

Gerry and the Pacemakers, forgettable songs, memorable suits...

Phono+Graphic - The Exhibition, Vallum Gallery, University of Cumbria

The University of Cumbria Institute of The Arts' Vallum Gallery is currently hosting the exhibition 'Phono+Graphic'(as part of our involvement and support for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival).

Phono+Graphic explores the work of 60 comic artists who have created artwork for vinyl record sleeves.

Cartoonist Robert Crumb, Gorillaz creator Jamie Hewlett and Judge Dredd artist Brian Bollard are just some of the graphic artists to have designed artwork for record covers featured in the show.

Curated by internationally renowned comic artist Sean Phillips, Phono+Graphic showcases a selection of classic and contemporary record sleeves – the only criteria being that the design work has had to feature on 12 inch vinyl.

Also featured is a rare outing for some comic related albums owned by Grillust's very own Mr. Tony Peart (33). 

A small selection from the Peart Archive

Tony describes his collection as varied, but also mostly un-listenable (featuring as it does much Prog Rock and Hardcore Punk). However, it is remarkably effective at scaring small children and keeping cats (and bats) well away from the Peart household.

The exhibition was kicked-off with a private view last Wednesday which also included a set from the band Holiday - featuring Graphic Design graduates Nathan Linney (33) and Peter Aspey (33) along with Joe Hiscoke (whom we assume is also 33).

Holiday perform under the watchful eye of event security ('Dwayne' Dwayne Bell and 'Future' Dave Robert - both 33). 

University of Cumbria illustration student's work also features in the exhibition.

A small selection of what's on offer.

Here are a few more highlights...

 Jack Davis

 The Peart Archive, Part II

 Jethro Tull 'Stand Up' inner sleeve

 Ron Cobb

 Oliver East (who had an exhibition with us last year)

 Jean Giraud (aka.  Moebius)

The exhibition runs until Friday 18 November and everyone is welcome.