Gareth Hinds's Blog
May 27, 2018
Last night I went to see Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of Camelot. The performers were all wonderful, the costumes spectacular, the set and lighting modern in a way that worked to make it feel fresh, and the ending unexpectedly powerful. Like, really powerful and relevant today. Definitely recommended. Sketches done on iPad Pro with Apple pencil and Procreate app.
December 20, 2017
My schedule is such that I only just barely managed to catch Shakespeare Theater Company’s production of Twelfth Night before the end of its run (which is today). I’m a huge fan of Ethan McSweeney’s work (particularly The Tempest from a few years ago), and Twelfth Night did not disappoint. It features the most powerful beginning of any version I’ve seen, a powerful ending as well, and lots of laughs in between. The set is very spare for STC (there are reasons) while the costumes are spectacular and distinctive. The costume changes of Sir Andrew Aguecheek are particularly wonderful. I did a few sketches on my iPad. I was up in the balcony, so I couldn’t see facial details very well, thus I have no idea if I captured anyone’s likeness, but hopefully I got the broad strokes of their characters fairly well.
December 3, 2017
Happy Holidays, everyone! I have been neglecting the blog this year, as I’ve been all-out trying to finish The Iliad. I just sent out a new newsletter update, and if you’re not on that list, you can view it here. Highlights include delivering a keynote at the NCTE conference in St. Louis, holiday gift ideas, and being almost done with The Iliad. I hope you’ll check it out (and sign up using the “subscribe” button at the top).
May 15, 2017
I finally, just barely, got to see the Yayoi Kusama “Infinity Mirrors” exhibit at the Hirshhorn before it closed. There was a lot of standing in lines involved, but nevertheless it was an awesome and inspiring exhibit. And I used that time standing in line to draw this little comic in honor of her art and the experience of nonduality she describes as inspiring much of it.
February 3, 2017
Earlier this week, I want to see Folger Shakespeare’s production of As You Like It, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch. I really enjoyed the performance; the first half was slow in a couple of places (mostly because Shakespeare didn’t do a very good job of giving the characters motivations) but once things start to come together in the second half it’s a delightful romp, with excellent dramatic, comedic, and musical performances by the entire cast.
Here are my sketches (done digitally with iPad Pro & Procreate app) –
Cast: Lindsay Alexandra Carter, Kimberly Chatterjee, Michael Glenn, Will Hayes, Jeff Keogh, Aaron Krohn, Allen McCullough, Brian Reisman, Daven Ralston, Lorenzo Roberts, Antoinette Robinson, Dani Stoller, Tom Story, Cody Wilson.
January 30, 2017
Last weekend in Atlanta some wonderful things happened to me.
Samurai Rising won a fancy silver seal as a finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award, and Pam Turner and I each got a lovely plaque. It’s really her award, but I was super happy to be part of it. Unlike most of the awards announced at the American Library Association Midwinter Conference, the YALSA finalists are announced ahead of time, and the only mystery is who will get the gold seal. The answer (unsurprisingly, at least to Alison and me), was March Book 3, the wonderful graphic novel by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, published by Top Shelf Comics.
March proceeded to win 3 more ALA awards, bringing the total medals on its cover to an unprecedented six! — National Book Award, Printz, Corretta Scott King, Walter Dean Myers, YALSA Nonfiction, Sibert Nonfiction. I think (as, it seems, did the award committees) that this is the book of our time. We’re in a moment reminiscent of the events of the civil rights movement, and may need the lessons of March and the leadership of men like John Lewis to move civil rights forward.
The real high point of the weekend was the award ceremony for the YALSA and Morris Awards. Since the finalists for these two awards are announced ahead of time, they have their acceptance ceremony right after the award announcements (as opposed to the Newbery and Caldecott, which have their ceremony at ALA Annual in the summer). The Morris is the award for the best debut YA novel. Each finalist for the two awards was invited to speak briefly.
I guess it should come as no surprise that good writers can write really good speeches; that debut novelists can express heartfelt and earnest passion for their work and gratitude for being recognized; and that nonfiction authors can paint a vivid picture of how history relates to the present. But wow, did they ever! I wish the whole video was online, because I’d like everyone I know to be able to watch it. It was such an amazing expression of the passion authors and librarians have for the power of books. Sadly, at the moment, all I can find are handheld recordings of John Lewis’ and Sonia Patel’s speeches on YouTube.
I also did some sketches of the speakers at both award ceremonies:
Afterward we had a group photo in which I sat next to Congressman Lewis, and lastly the photographer had us make a human chain — which seemed rather silly at first, but when I realized (a) that I was locking arms with John Lewis, a man who has done the same thing so many times for real in the service of civil rights, and (b) the symbolism of all these nonfiction authors “holding the line” for facts and advancing truth in this time of “alternative facts,” I was very moved. Indeed I think it was one of my life’s peak moments.
So, yeah. Incredibly grateful to the YALSA Nonfiction committee, to ALA, to Pam, to Charlesbridge, and to the other authors for an amazing weekend.
September 16, 2016
I just got back from a fantastic week on Little Cranberry Island, Maine, helping to teach the Islesford Painting Workshops. As always, it was a complete blast. Look how much fun we are having!
I’m up to my ears in catch-up tasks, so I won’t write too much about it, but once again it was great. I’m sad that this is (almost certainly) the last year it will be held, because the Dock Restaurant & Gallery which hosts it is being sold.
Anyway, here are my paintings/sketches/studies. Some are digital this time — I continue to play with the iPad, and I’ve also been messing about with Kyle’s brushes for Photoshop. On one level it’s silly trying to get painterly effects on a digital device, because a real painting “in the flesh” is SO much more awesome than any print or purely 2-dimensional representation of it can capture. On the other hand, using tools that make different kinds of marks can help one understand more about the problems of painting, and in that respect it’s cool to have a really large toolbox in a small device to experiment with.
My favorite take-aways this year: First, the idea of “carving into” a painting, usually to simplify or define the space better. Second, the realization that I am usually willing to get quite experimental with color but not so much with forms/drawing. I want to play with that a bit more.
So long, Islesford. The workshops may be over, but I’ll be back.
July 11, 2016
I’m pleased to announce that my eBooks are now available via Overdrive and MackinVIA, excellent platforms for schools and libraries who want to make them available to patrons in a single-user perpetual license model. The library must purchase each title, just like a physical book (they aren’t just available automatically), so if your library uses one of those services, please consider asking them to carry any or all my graphic novels (which are e-published under my own name, not by Candlewick).
May 16, 2016
Last night I saw Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new production, The Taming of the Shrew. It features an all-male cast, a craft market in the lobby, a lot of music, and a bunch of other cool immersive touches. As with every Shrew production I’ve seen, it struggles to rise above the misogynist speech in the final scene, but in other respects I thought it was quite marvelous. The actors were all superb, and extremely consistent. The musicality was impressive. You could almost say they turned the play into a musical — which is a kind of an odd choice, and it didn’t work 100% of the time, but there were points later in the story where it really elevated what was going on. It did, however, make for a long show. It ran almost 3 and a half hours. During the intermission they had drinks and snacks in the theater, and allowed the audience onto the stage while the actors continued to do… well, a lot of things that aren’t in the actual play. That might sound odd or gimmicky, but actually I found the result was unique and powerful. In fact I’d say the treatment of the intermission, and some of the threads that emerged from that, might have been the coolest part of the show.
Of course I drew. Some of these I drew on paper, and others on a new iPad Pro I’m testing out. I turned the brightness all the way down and worked on a grey background so I wouldn’t distract my neighbors. You can probably tell which drawings are digital and which are traditional (especially since there are some glaring clues besides the line quality) but I’m pretty impressed with some of the tools, especially ProCreate’s pencil simulation, which uses the Apple Pencil’s tilt sensor quite effectively.
The show runs through June. Definitely recommended.