Dark Knight Concept Art by Rob Bliss

Dobby to Dark Knight: Concept Artists in Action at Lakes International Comic Art Festival

Dark Knight Concept Art by Rob Bliss
Dark Knight Concept Art by Rob Bliss

 

The Dark Knight ReturnsScott Pilgrim vs The WorldStar Wars, the Harry Potter movies, Kingsman: The Secret Service… these wouldn’t achieve their box office successes without the genius of concept artists. So the Lakes International Comic Art Festival is pleased to be featuring four of the UK’s leading exponents who have worked on these films and more for a special panel on comics and film, presented by John McShane.

Rob BlissAdam BrockbankGlynn Dillon and Dermot Power  all share a passion for comics as creators as well as ensuring justice is done in the journey from page to screen). In this unique event they will reveal their process, inspiration and some trade secrets too.

It’s an opportunity to find out more about the origins of the look of film versions of characters such as Batman villain The Joker, of whom Bliss says he was “just trying to make him look as unhinged as possible…”

Lecturer and film curator John McShane, who will chair the panel, asserts that film has always followed in comics’ footsteps.

“Films and comics. The links go back to 1895 when the first fiction film to be shown in public – L’Arroseur arrose by the Lumiere Brothers – was also the first cinematic adaptation of a comic strip,” he argues. “Techniques now thought of as ‘cinematic’ – panning, angle changes, bird’s eye view – were created by comics pioneers such asUzes (1885). Fellini and Hitchcock always used storyboards. All the best films do.”

The event, aimed at comic and film art fans alike and suitable for families, will showcase the fabulous work of the four artists and reveal how they move from concept to page to screen, revealing the remarkable artistry of concept artists as well as the process of film making. It will also explore their starting points and real inspiration – which we know to be comics.

"Dobby" from the Harry Potter films, by Rob Bliss
“Dobby” from the Harry Potter films, by Rob Bliss

A savagely talented concept artist who seems to have gotten his design chopscontributing to the Harry Potter movies, Rob Bliss has a knack for inventing utterly creepy masks, ranging from the Death Eaters of Harry Potter to the Joker’s Clown Mask from The Dark Knight.

Harry Potter concept art by Adam Brockbank
Harry Potter concept art by Adam Brockbank

Adam Brockbank has worked on many films since the mid 1990’s, including X-Men, Sleepy Hollow and The ‘Tomb Raider’ films – but the ‘Harry Potter’ films dominated the new millennium, for which Adam designed creatures and props together with visualized sets and scenes for nearly a decade. His more recent projects include Dark Shadows and Captain America and the recently-released Disney project Maleficent and the upcoming Cinderella, which will be released in 2015.

Glynn Dillon has had a wide ranging career, including working as a storyboard artist and concept designer for both film and television. The Nao of Brown was released in 2012 through SelfMadeHero and won the the Prix Spécial du Jury at Angouleme, Europe’s largest comic festival. The book tells the story of a half Japanese, half English woman who suffers from violent morbid obsessions and a racing, unruly mind.

Concept art for Batman by Dermot Power
Concept art for Batman by Dermot Power

Dermot Power, who I worked with on Digitek back at Marvel UK in the 1990s and was always a brilliant artist, started his working life as a comic book artist for 2000AD, working on “Judge Dredd” and “Sláine”. In 1997 he moved into films, designing characters for Merlin – but his ‘big break’ came when he was asked to join Iain McCaig in the Star Wars art department for Attack of the Clones, working on characters and costumes.

• For details of the event and to book tickets visit this page on the official Lakes International Comic Art Festival site 

• Tickets for all the events at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (17th – 19th October) are on sale now. For the full guest list, details of events and exhibitions and bookings visit: www.comicartfestival.com

• Sign up for the Festival’s newsletter here for the latest news! Web: www.comicartfestival.com

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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