Thursday, March 23, 2006

I N J Culbard (or "Ian" to me)

Now and again you might find yourself in the fortunate situation where you meet someone, both professionally and socially, who you click with. Someone who to most intents and purposes thinks about things as you do, shares the same passion for work as you do, and even, as in this case, matches you for sheer hirsuteness. I was lucky enough to meet one such fellow way back at Art College in Middlesbrough and I count myself very fortunate that he's still my collaborator, confidante and (most importantly) friend to this day.

Ian Culbard is an animation director and comic book creator, and a better draughtsman I''ve yet to meet. Admittedly, upon his arrival at art college and his single-handed success in alienating himself from his fellow students like a proper cockney, we didn't really hit it off. That came with time. And man-cuddles. But a cursory flick through his sketchbooks back then was enough of a sign that he was going to make it, in whatever area of the Arts he turned his (hairy) hands to.

Between us we have many projects in development, and I like to think we're the first port of call for one another when we have ideas we want to bounce around and kick about. In talk with students I can never stress enough the value in someone who can be utterly honest with you, who can give you a straight and constructive critique of where you've gone wrong and how you can improve. Like gold dust, they are, and they have the moxy to say when something quite simply isn't good enough. Helps you raise your game, not settle for something which, be it story or design, isn't the best it can be. The big man has always been that for me.

A wee example is the case of Cheeky Monkey, my latest picture book with Oxford University Press. I was stuck for an ending until I chatted with Ian. He was more than happy to provide it and for that I'm eternally grateful.

If you follow the link from this blog you'll be transported magically via the wonder that is the internet to Ian's own blogsite, which is dedicated to his production work in comic books (and other stuff). He's recently had his first stories published by Dark Horse Comics (as featured here, Wild Talents: The God Machine) to much critical acclaim. His star, hairy as it is, is in ascendency so watch that blog. Hopefully, if he reads this, he'll start adding some goodies for us to look at too. Like I said, as an artist he's a class act, and as a mate he's pretty damn fine too.

Bada Bling!


Andrew Glazebrook said...

It's good to see someone who has survived Middlesbrough who isn't from the place ! Ian's artwork is great !!

Jo Bling said...

Middlesbrough is still close to Ian's heart too, I believe, as we both had a great time there- good friends, good criac, no student-bashing (apart from the variety that we inflicted ourselves!)

He's collaborating at present with us in the 'Boro on a short film I'm making with Seed, so it's a homecoming of sorts for the fella :-)

Bada Bling!

The Sheriff said...

Next Friday for coffee, cake and hands down, balls out comedy - Oh.... It's On!!!!!

I. N. J. Culbard said...

I'm not a cockney.

Jo Bling said...

Mockney then....

I. N. J. Culbard said...

I don't even have a cockney or mockney accent!!!!!

I should point out at this stage that prior to me arriving on the course, one poor fellow from Ipswich was being called a cockney! That's how accurate everybody's geography was. Yep. So when I learned that only up the road from boro people had mistaken a monkey for a Frenchman, I wasn't surprised.

For the record, I was born in Greenwich, I'm from south of the river and I don't have even the remotest cockney or mockney accent.

Jo Bling said...

*hit's cage with stick*

Come on! You can make more noise than that!!

Hey be careful- there's a monkeyhanger who posts on here... ;-)

Bada Bling!