Seminar in Progress

institute_seminar_smallI recently spent a bit of time (quite a bit of time) carefully reconstructing details of a certain Institute in Europe from memory (I visited some years ago) and some photos in order to set the opening scenes of one of the stories for the book project. (What sort of details? Things like what the layout of the rooms are, the style of the building, the number of radiators along the walls, types of windows and black boards, chairs, and so forth. I’m a tiny bit detail-oriented at times, you may have noticed.) I’ve been laying out the opening splash page and the inset panels have a seminar in progress. This was fun to draw. I started out with this view partially roughly constructed with pencil and then since it was small and fiddly, decided to pop it onto the ipad (legacy model) and finish and refine aspects of the drawing digitally.

I remain in two minds about sketching digitally like this. One the one hand, it does let me make corrections and refine rapidly as I go along – and work in detail on something that will ultimately be quite small, but on the other hand it is… I don’t know… just not pencil-ly enough? I’m not calling up any good language for what I feel right now. Maybe later. By far the best faces and lines in this were based on my pencil lines, I’d say. But there were some nice free scribbly moments on the digital side that I liked, so it is a matter of balance, I suppose.

Anyway, hopefully this is sort of familiar to those of you who sit through seminars of various kinds. One of the things I got wondering about as a draw is “what do people do with their hands during a seminar?”, and so I tried a few interesting variations… While there are no real people represented in this sketch (still rough… will be inked and painted later), perhaps you might recognize some of your friends and colleagues, in a sense. Some of you may even know the Institute in question. More pointedly, one of the people in the seminar can be seen in an earlier sample of the story, here.


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3 Responses to Seminar in Progress

  1. Karl says:

    Dear Clifford,
    yes, the seminar room is clearly the one at ESI, the thick walls of the old building, the spartanic tables.
    There is however one detail that strikes me: the way the speaker holds the chalk. It looks very uncomfortable to write on a blackboard like this. I was told to hold the chalk between the tips of the four fingers and the thumb. In this way writing needs movement of the whole arm and not only the wrist. In most people (but me) this results in larger and clearer writing. Well, I guess there are many ways to get a clear blackboard writing, although there are many more to get a messy one 🙂

  2. Clifford says:

    Hi Karl! Interesting you noticed that. I don’t hold the chalk that way you mentioned unless it is a particularly difficult surface to work on, and so I guess I hold it more like a pen, and made the character hold it that way too! Nice observation though!



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