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A Tribute to Robin Williams

Fri Aug 22, 2014, 10:38 AM

Editor’s Note:

Why did we delay for more than a week the publishing of this remembrance? Because to properly reflect the impact of this loss on the millions of Robin Williams fans worldwide, we wanted to be sure to capture a true sense of the torrent of love for Robin pouring in from the community in the form of heartfelt portraits and other tribute art.

We chose the “best” pieces to accompany our own prose tribute, but the “best” kept being supplanted by “better bests.” There is no end to the river of love for Robin Williams and we expect no end to the fabulous tributes artists will pay to his work.

Why Robin Williams Was Important
(You already knew he was funny.)

The official obituaries are disappointing. Descriptions of his humor rely heavily on “you had to be there.” They are unable to use words to describe the manic madness that was a Robin Williams performance in full flight (improvisational probing of the uncaged and directionless zeitgeist of the youth of the times, 1978–80).

Robin Williams’ early work—zany stand–up comic then hitting big-time with prime time network sitcom—is followed by an appreciation of his skills as a comic actor in the Hollywood studio feature films that followed, the places where most of Robin Williams’ millions of fans worldwide came to know and love him: places like The World According to Garp (1982), Moscow-on-the-Hudson (1984), Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), The Fisher King (1991), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and Good Will Hunting (1997). Robin Williams’ good–natured optimism and genuine love for humanity shined brightly on the big screen.

But to achieve such success in the movies meant disappearing the demonic anarchic spirit that animated Robin Williams’ early comedy club days—the very thing that electrified a lost and “stagflated” post-punk generation. Robin Williams in the movies was all of his wild energy minus any danger. He might have been the next Lenny Bruce, or even at least the next George Carlin, had his be-all, end-all work ethic not dictated that he accept roles in one studio picture after another, regardless of quality. His need to always be on, always pleasing people, resulted in so many of his movie roles being so insultingly far beneath the potentials of his true talents. Edgier projects never had a chance of organically evolving to emerge from his febrile imagination. He had to be constantly working instead of nurturing. It defined him.

Tragically, the same intense drive to always be working plus a ton of sudden wealth resulted in a cocaine addiction that took a serious toll on his health. He suffered through decades of rough divorces, of being on and off the rehab wagon, and a major heart surgery.

For those familiar with his career from his earliest stand–up days, this once whirling dervish’s gradual loss of comedic velocity was as painful to watch as it no doubt must have been for him to endure.  His final HBO special shows him to be just as funny as other HBO star stand-ups, the sadness being he was once pure genius, light-years ahead of the usual stuff. To see him falling back on bits of decades-old improv when new jokes died was a bit of irony the young Robin Williams would have savored and savaged.

The official chroniclers of our society tend to focus on “success” (especially financial) and how a person attained that success as the core narrative of an individual’s life. But very often a performer’s importance in influencing society lies not in being a role model over the lifetime of a successful career (e.g., the emphasis on how much money Robin Williams’ decades of movies made) but in some spark they provided to the inchoate consciousnesses of their audiences in the early days. The no-limits comedic freedom and anarchy represented by Robin Williams in his first few years on the stand-up scene may have been his lasting legacy, the TV and movies that followed reflecting a mere single facet of his talent, rather than a laboratory for honing his improvisational magic.

The word comes in that it was a Parkinson’s diagnosis that finally made Robin Williams fall to Earth. After having lived through his college roommate Christopher “Superman” Reeves’ quadriplegia and his friend John Belushi’s drug overdose death, this final cruel joke on him—this physical comedian extremis gradually losing half his language with his audience—was one cosmic irony he could finally find no humor in.

What will live on forever will be the pure unadulterated, sheer joy the mere sight of Robin Williams’ smiling face brought and will always bring to his fans. This joy is reflected back in an inundation of the deviantART website with over 5000 portraits and other “Robin-pieces” made and shared by the worldwide deviantART community of artists just since his passing. An evening at the movies with this man, even in his most formulaic “dramedies,” will always mean a psychic cleansing for the millions who love him, a receiving of this holy man’s gift of healing through laughter and his talent at transporting us to where we can indulge a return to our most childlike happiness.

But, wow, just remembering Robin Williams burning down the clubs in 1979—and imagining what could have been... Well, I guess you had to be there.

Questions for The Reader

  1. Do you think Robin Williams could have remained a vital comedian and comic actor even as he battled Parkinson’s disease? Have you battled disease while pursuing your art?

  2. Do you think that all great artists possess hidden “darkness” of the heart or mind that adds a powerful poignancy to their work? The funnier the comic, the more intense the suppressed dark side?

  3. Are highly intelligent or very talented people better able to hide their misery from loved ones, thus making it all the harder to “read” them and help them?

  4. Do you think it’s possible for successful artists to fight the allure of the more exotic dangerous diversions, deal with chronic depression, deal with serious diseases, yet still continue to create art successfully? Is a strong community a key to avoiding these hazards?

  5. Almost every comedic interaction from Robin Williams produced an immediate sense of well–being for the audience. Are there works of visual art or literature that have this effect on you?

Suicide Prevention & Support

If you or someone close to you needs additional emotional or psychological support, please contact your local suicide prevention hotline.

If you reside within the U.S., please click here.

If you reside Internationally, please click here.

Milk for The Ugly

Tue Jul 22, 2014, 8:07 PM

of Beauty

Imagine that you are a young social worker, dedicated to finding out the hidden and forgotten old souls who haunt the cold, mean streets of the city. You seek to report on their living conditions, possibly recommending they be removed from their roach-infested “homes.”

So it is that you have come to find yourself sitting at the kitchen table of a cadaverous old shut-in you’ve been assigned to visit. The kitchen is spotlessly pristine while the adjoining darkened living room reeks of rotting garbage.

The sun is setting. You rise to leave. You step over a cardboard barrier separating kitchen from living room, seeking the front door. But it is too late. They have risen. The old woman’s many “children” are awake... and they are hungry.

Let us pause here... this preview of the new Madefire Motion Book experience, Milk for The Ugly, to tell you about the two longtime deviant artists who have created this remarkable achievement in storytelling.

In any case, no prose preview could begin to do justice to the Madefire experience of shifting illustrations in a fully soundtracked narrative. Milk for The Ugly truly has to be experienced to be really appreciated.

Anna & Kate

Rarely do artists of the deviantART community exemplify the skill, creativity, spirit and sheer arts career tenacity of Anna & Kate, the deviants we profile here, who have become, singularly and when working as a team, favorites and real role models within our community.

Anna Podedworna (akreon) & Kate Redesiuk (vesner) were born and raised in similar households in Poland by similarly “overachieving” parents who wanted only the best lives for their daughters, both girls being told, “You can choose whatever you want to be in the future, as long as it is a doctor, a lawyer or an architect.” Anna, being torn between natural science and the fine arts, chose a compromise in pursuing architecture. Kate was “persuaded” to choose architecture by her parents, who just happened to work in construction. Anna & Kate met over doodlings of mutant zombie bunnies at the university. Drawn together by their similarly off-kilter tastes in illustration, they eventually became roommates hooked on digital art, working on projects together.

During their time at the university they learned from one another and their roles started to slowly reverse. Ann grew to like the technical part of architecture, and Kate got more and more into art.

Anna works as a freelance artists while finishing her masters degree. As a freelancer she has worked on illustrations, comics and recently gotten into the world of fashion by working for Ewa Minge and creating a few designs series for her new brand Eva Minge Milano. Once she gets her master degree she wants to get back into architecture and continue pursuing her career as an architect.

Kate dropped out from the university just before becoming an engineer, after realizing she was living someone else’s dream. She decided to become a professional artist. At first she worked as a freelance illustrator for advertising companies but has now made her way into the game development industry and works full-time as a concept artist at CD Projekt RED.

Anna & Kate are known by their deviant followers to sometimes to embody and inhabit their peculiar alter egos, “Pugbun,” a bunny-eared pug dog and “Tailcat,” a cat with a second head on the end of her tail.

Battles over unwashed dishes and strewn crayons have led to war between the two characters. Pugbun of Pugbunistan usually upholds the Anna banner, with TailCat of Tailcatica being a spokescat for Kate’s positions.


But it is Off-White, the ongoing adventure tale of a wolf clan on a mythic journey that has become a phenomenon for Anna & Kate as their premier collaboration. This project began as an experiment, a 5-page one-shot, but generated such a warm reception from the community that more pages were created and soon the tale snowballed into it’s current six chapters. The success of the story has spun off its own group on deviantART and a product line of Off-White artwork and collectibles. What Anna & Kate have achieved here is truly an ongoing fulfillment of the deviantART community spirit put into action.

Not satisfied to rest on their laurels, Anna & Kate have now raised the bar of comic storytelling by utilizing the cutting edge comics sound and motion technology of Madefire, in which illustrated panels come alive at the tap of your device’s monitor screen.

This time out, as befits the subtle movements of light and shadow enabled by Madefire, Milk for The Ugly is more twisted to the playfully macabre tastes of creators, presenting what can be enjoyed as if it were a lost episode of The Twilight Zone. But upon deeper reflection, their little story would appear to be commenting upon modern times at several different levels. In this inside-out classic children’s cautionary tale, the terror in the “woods” has been transplanted to the environs of an urban apartment building.  The old crone’s face has been drawn to hint she might be Death him/her/its self, regenerating discarded half-eaten edibles into human-eating little monsters—making for a horrifying “cycle” of environmentally rational endless re-use.

Or possibly the darling little girl’s rejection of the street hag at the tale’s beginning is simply meant to raise the question of who are the true “uglies” of society? It’s the sort of “instant classic” must-have story that will be returned to again and again by readers. Best of all, the creativity and stylistic artistry (especially in their characters’ facial expressions) achieved in Anna & Kate’s book makes Milk for The Ugly is one of the most beautiful Motion Books you’ll ever experience. It will no doubt be regarded as one of the seminal issues of the "new comics."

Interviews with Anna & Kate

1.As master storytellers and world builders with a wonderful and attentive fan base on deviantART; What excites you most about how Milk for The Ugly looks and feels in terms of storytelling for an audience?

Art style in comics is a great tool of conveying mood and atmosphere of the story. We were very excited to try out a different style that isn't really signature for any of us. It's creepy and grungy, but also cartoony and expressive. It's a nice contrasts that hopefully makes the story feel even darker and more eerie.

2.Can you share what you feel are the most important aspects of telling ongoing episodic stories? Specifically as it relates to cultivating a fan base?

Since internet communities became a thing there have been tons of works written about cultivating fanbases. It takes a lot of time and effort but the theory is rather simple and can be narrowed down to a few most important points.

To be successful be sure to update your story regularly, so fans have something to look forward to every one or two weeks. Stubbornness is the key here, especially with webcomics—it's hard to have a fan base with just one or two pages. The more and the better story you deliver, the more people are going to get hooked up.

Be respectful to your readers and interact with them as often as possible. Answer questions, have fun in the comments, share your thoughts, organize small contests or giveaways.

Try keeping a relatively consistent style of art and writing. It doesn't mean that all parts of the story have to have the same mood and/or art style but it's best to pick 1-3 genres and stick to them.

Or just be like us—scrap the theory, do none of the above, and hope for the best.

3.What are the essential elements of building a complex escalating story world? Order of importance of these elements?

Have a top-down approach. When imagining your world, set a few basic rules for it and start from there.

These rules can be anything from "all animals can speak with humans", through "rain raises instead of falling down" to "ghosts are real and everyone knows that."

Build your story around it and keep questioning everything.”

Make sure your story makes sense within your universe. Think what would happen if your rules were the same but the story different. Always come up with more than you want to tell. The world you build is as important as your story, and can greatly enhance it. The rules we set in our stories are usually bits taken from different mythologies from around the world. We don't like to hold to them too tightly though and usually try to twist and turn them in a way that makes the stories fresh and interesting.

4.How does your process work as far as art creation and the actual writing of the story and dialogue?

Story, art, dialogues. We love telling each other stories while drinking tea. We tell each other's ideas and come up with new ones on the fly. Having someone who listens to your stories is very important. There are always plot holes and mistakes that need to be patched up or reworked, so critique is always important. If you don't have a partner to work with in a team, tell stories to your friends, family or people on the internet. After the story is ready, we sit down and come up with art sequences that could illustrate it. Rough thumbnails showing what's most important to show in a given panel are enough to plan everything out.

At this point we still don't have any specific dialogues, but rather a few important words that need to be spoken or emotions that need to be conveyed.

Only after the art for the comic is done, we once again sit down and try to figure out what would each character say in a given situation.”

Would they have the time for a few sentences or would they be too shocked to say anything at all? Would they use complicated words or simple ones? In some cases dialogues aren't even needed and the story tells itself by images alone.

Milk For The Ugly Character Creation In SketchBook Pro

Kate Redesiuk shows us how to create a character for Milk for The Ugly using SketchBook Pro.

5.Do you see Motion Books online as the inevitable next level of our increasingly mobile society?

It depends. Motion Books are a relatively new medium that still needs to be fully explored. On one hand they add a new value to the traditional comics, but on the other they require much more work. They have the potential for interactive storytelling, but could also go completely opposite direction and get closer to animation. It's all up to creators, and the more motion comics we get, the greater the chance for them to grow into something unique and irreplaceable.

6.As visual artists telling a story, what is the most valuable storytelling innovation enabled by the Madefire process?

Subtle movement! A gentle nod of the head, a flinch of the body, a twitch of an eye. In traditional comics it's incredibly hard to illustrate something that ephemeral without big close-ups or repetition. The motion tool makes it very easy and intuitive.

7.Fans are most familiar with your work as a team on your wolf clan adventure epic, Off-White. But does the darkly humored Milk for The Ugly better reflect your comic sensibilities?

We're very happy that we had the chance to work on something so different to our ongoing comic, but we honestly feel quite free in all sorts of different styles and stories. Off-White is a collaboration that is quite different from both our individual works and personal comic tastes. Milk for the Ugly brought together our joined love for dark and twisted stories, but on the other hand required a more work in finding a middle ground in terms of our art styles. Who knows what the next Madefire Motion Book collaboration between us will result in!

8.Will Off-White continue for as long as fans ask for it, or until you decide your own logical end for it?

Off-White is planned from start all way to its definite end. Our fans will know for sure which page is the very last one in the series.

9.How are Pugbun & Tailcat getting along? Or is that stalemate situation best left uncommented on?

Anna Kate'sArtists You Better Be Watching

Pascal Campion


“Pascal's works may seem simple at first glance but that seeming simplicity is what makes me love his art so much. Thanks to his minimalistic approach the amazing array of emotions he puts into each painting shines trough even more brilliantly. Every of his paintings tells more story than many movies or books can only dream of.”


Yoann Lossel


“All of Yoann's works are heavy in atmosphere. His unique technique of mixing graphite and gold is simply an epitome of class.”


Stephanie Pui-Mun Law


“My favorite contemporary watercolorists hands down. Her paintings are rich in detail, colors and texture. I especially love when she approaches mythological themes in her artwork. She has this wonderful gift to make the stories she illustrates seem satisfactorily familiar and at the same time amazingly fresh.”




“I'm always impressed with how Levente Peterffy can archive realism with the simplest of brush strokes. In every one of his painting you can find a very creative texturing, strong composition and moody lighting.”


Noah Bradley


“Noah Bradley is not only an incredible artist but also an amazing teacher. The advice he shares on his blog helped me grow as an artist and allowed me to become a successful freelancer.”


Hannah Christenson


“Hannah Christenson is by far one of my favorite illustrators. Thanks to the finesse of lines and incredibly tasteful details, her art is always full of life and emotion”


Serge Birault


“My daily dose of beautiful women and tentacles. Serge's art never ceases to amaze me with how clean and fresh it looks without losing its realism. I'm in love with his unique stylization and lighthearted approach to all of his works.”


Michal Ivan


“Michal is a master of color and composition. He tames and controls chaos, creating incredibly detailed and yet perfectly clear compositions that flawlessly lead the viewer's eyes.”


A revolution in digital comics

When future anniversary celebrations mark the release of Madefire Motion Book Tool, much will be made of “under-the-radar” revolution this event precipitated in the creation, production and delivery cycle of content distribution.

With the Madefire Motion Book Tool on deviantART the artist controls the full creative, production and distribution chain, making it possible to self-publish digital comics for free or for pay, in motion or static, with or without effects, episodic or periodic. But it is really any “book” form that has become liberated—the Full Spectrum Narrative comes to life. And fans are empowered as well to directly engage in the the equivalent format with their favorite stories.

A new dawn is breaking in the online digital and mobile comics world—and Madefire is leading the creative caravan into the new day.

Questions For The Reader

  1. Have you had to make hard decisions between pleasing those who care about you in your family and following instead your own path to achievement no matter how difficult your chances might be?
  2. Who would you choose to have your alter ego or avatar befriend choosing between Anna & Kate’s Pugbun & Tailcat?
  3. Do you have an alter ego who can talk on your behalf. If you do, please place a picture in the comments?
  4. Motion Books open up a new medium between storyboards and animation. What would be the perfect fit for this medium?

Nelson Mandela

When image must speak for the silenced voice


Ruth is the Editor-In-Chief of MILK Books and PQ Blackwell Ltd., based in Auckland, New Zealand, publishers of Mandela: The Authorized Portrait—a photographic history of the great man. Ruth's heartfelt and insightful article represents the intersection of the artistic and the newsworthy. DepthRADIUS is honored to present Ruth's memories of Nelson Mandela as well as her as well as a unique perspective on his mastery of image and visual communication. From round the other side of the world, thank you, Ruth, and welcome to depthRADIUS!

DepthRADIUS is proud to present this remembrance of Nelson Mandela by guest reporter Ruth Hobday as part of the July 18 international celebration of what would have been Mandela's 96th birthday.  Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary and one of the great moral and political leaders of our time, dedicated his life to fighting racial oppression and remarkably forged peace in South Africa.

Ruth Hobday

Quote by Nelson Mandela

“During the worst years of repression, when all avenues of legitimate protest were closed by emergency legislation, it was the arts that articulated the plight and the democratic aspirations of our people.”

The Power of Art & Photographs

of Nelson Mandela in the

Transformation of South Africa

by Ruth Hobday

Nelson Mandela
Mandela poses in a traditional kaross after his arrest in 1962.Robben Island Museum Mayibuye Archive/Eli Weinberg

In August of 2004, our boutique publishing house in New Zealand, PQ Blackwell, received an e-mail informing us that Mr. Nelson Mandela had granted us permission to produce the definitive illustrated book on his life, Mandela: The Authorized Portrait.

That message remains the single most exciting moment of my working life and it marked the beginning of my involvement with a man who had always been a personal hero. I was a trifle overawed and approached my new role with enormous trepidation.

When I first met Mandela, I heard him long before I saw him. He was coming down the corridor at the Nelson Mandela Foundation that separated his private office from the formal sitting room where he received guests, and he was joking around with his assistant, Zelda la Grange. He had a deep, booming voice, filled with laughter and, it seemed to me as we waited rather nervously in the sitting room, the voice of a much younger man than the 87-year old I was expecting.

When he entered he was leaning heavily on Zelda’s arm and I was to learn later that the great icon’s knees had become so bad he could barely walk without assistance. Mandela, however, steadfastly refused to use a walking stick because it would make him appear frail and, as it became quickly clear to me during our conversation, there was nothing frail about the warmth of his welcome, his quick and ready wit or his obvious affection for his former cellmates.

I have spent some considerable time looking at images of Mandela. Every piece of art, every representation of Mandela I could find, was based on a photograph. Clearly this makes sense… it’s rather hard to ask one of the world’s most famous people to sit for you, particularly if, as in his case, he was rather enjoying his retirement. But it did make me remember Mr. Mandela’s knees, and think about his stubborn insistence on not using a cane: to wonder about Mandela’s desire to control his image; how his life and his immense presence on the cultural and political map of the late 20th and early 21st centuries can be understood through those representations.

To better understand Mandela’s desire to project a certain exterior image of himself as a source of empowerment, we must reflect on events that shaped Mandela from an early age. He grew up in the Eastern Cape of South Africa at the knee of his father, a respected advisor to the Chief Regent of the Thembu people who meted out ‘justice under a tree’ in the age-old African practice of people gathering beneath a tree to discuss important matters. When Nelson’s father died, the acting king of the AbaThembu people became the 12-year-old boy’s legal guardian. It was there in the royal household that Mandela learned the incredible power of image and imagery. One of the young Mandela’s tasks was to press the king’s many suits, and he learned the king’s attention to his wardrobe was not simply one of vanity; it was about dignity and self-worth. It was also about projecting an image of himself as a leader. This was a man who, in the rural Eastern Cape of the 1920s, would travel amongst his people in the back of a chauffeur-driven Ford wearing a three-piece suit and hat. A more impressive display of his royal status would be hard to imagine.

A film still from ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ depicting the regent in his chauffeur driven car.

Keith Bernstein/Long Walk to Freedom (Pty) Ltd.

Early on in his legal career as a young ‘man about town’ Mandela knew that his own car and expensive suits were going to be important accessories in establishing his status as a successful attorney and up-and-coming politician.

The young Mandela’s stylishness was more than vanity. It was about his control of his image. This was a projection of himself and his position at a time when writing or voicing any kind of opposition to the apartheid government was forbidden by law. The dignity of his wardrobe and his bearing cried out in their contrast with his silenced voice in a way more powerful than a protest chant rising from the impoverished streets.

Nelson Mandela
Mandela as a young law clerk in Johannesburg, 1953.Ahmed Kathrada/Herbert Shore

Mandela the Advocate became “Mandela the Chief” when he arrived in court after his arrest in 1962. By this evolution in his rebellion, Mandela had been a wanted man for some time and the white South African press had dubbed him the ‘Black Pimpernel’ after the fictional ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ of the French Revolution. Arriving in court to be charged, he chose to dress in a traditional kaross instead of his trademark suit to proclaim the heritage and history of his people. The effect on the crowds of onlookers was electrifying and, as he was hauled off to prison to await trial, the call and response cries of “Amandla!” (“Power!”) “Ngawethu!” (“Is ours!”) were taken up in the streets. The Black Pimpernel may have been captured but he was now the hero of the people. Unknown to most of them was the fact that Mandela hadn’t been able to get hold of an actual kaross, traditionally made from a leopard-skin, but instead Winnie had provided him with one made out of jackal skins stitched together.

Another important decision made by this people’s leader—suddenly facing the next 27 years separated from his people on Robben Island—was the decision to grow a beard. His more conservative African National Congress comrades were wary of the more provocative radical look. Mandela remained steadfast and his creation of a new ‘Mandela the Revolutionary’ look became the enduring image of him throughout his Robben Island incarceration. According to friend, comrade, and fellow prisoner Ahmed Kathrada, who occupied the cell next to Mandela’s on Robben Island, “By the time he went underground in 1961, his most recognizable feature was his beard. Among other things he had to forsake his stylish and expensive clothing. But above all he had to shave his beard. He agreed to most suggestions but simply refused to shave.” A photograph of Mandela taken at an Algerian training camp earlier in 1962, complete with a revolutionary’s beard, made him one of the most instantly recognizable figures in the world and led to him being dubbed The Black Pimpernel. Ironically it was this same image that became the touchstone of the international anti-apartheid movement.

Nelson Mandela
“Release Nelson Mandela” Poster 1.South African History Archives, courtesy Historical Papers, University of the Witwatersrand Library

Nelson Mandela
“Release Nelson Mandela” Poster 3.South African History Archives, courtesy Historical Papers, University of the Witwatersrand Library

The ‘Black Pimpernel’ image forms part of the backdrop to the 1988 concert at London’s Wembley Stadium, 26 years after it was taken.

Robben Island Museum Mayibuye Archive/IDAF Collection

Once he was jailed, Mandela had been silenced.

Nelson Mandela
“Release Nelson Mandela” PosterSouth African History Archives, courtesy Historical Papers, University of the Witwatersrand Library

Even quoting Mandela in South Africa became a criminal offence, so the only available voice became an artistic one. The ‘Mandela the Revolutionary’ photo became a template for art that called for an end to apartheid. It also became the basis for thousands of international campaigns around the world that used it on posters advertising anti-apartheid meetings and rallies, and at fundraisers and concerts such as the watershed concert at London’s Wembley Stadium in July 1988 celebrating Mandela’s 70th birthday.

One sometimes looks back on history as being somehow inevitable. But was Mandela’s eventual release and the dismantling of apartheid inevitable? Perhaps, but what is absolutely clear is that Mandela’s beard and the ‘Mandela the Revolutionary’ images became the most potent symbols of the worldwide movement that eventually made the inevitable actually occur. Artists used these images, re-interpreted them, added their own artistic vision, and plastered the streets with these re-imagined Mandelas, and in turn played an important role in contributing to the international pressure that led to Mandela’s liberation and the collapse of the racist and oppressive regime that had incarcerated him.

Mandela recognized this only too well, saying after his release,

“During the worst years of repression, when all avenues of legitimate protest were closed by emergency legislation, it was the arts that articulated the plight and the democratic aspirations of our people.”

It was Art in the form of those shared images carrying his message to the people. It was Art that had the power to transmit that message around the globe. It was Art that helped shape and change South Africa and the world for the better. And this should be something worth noting by present day artists.

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandelaby rolandtelema

Nelson Mandela
INVICTUSby MarkRaats

Being an artist can be a lonely business. There are times when an artist wonders if what they do is either worthwhile or important and times when not creating art can seem a much easier prospect than continuing. But, as the artistic renderings of Mandela show, art and images have power, and that power can change the world. One need look no further than the Banksy-inspired graffiti on the streets of the world's largest cities to see how artists continue to fight oppression with the power of shared images. Or the Mandela/Obama ‘Hope’ poster mash-up with its collision of images and meaning that extends their once individual use as a means to continue to convey ideas. Today, more than ever perhaps, art continues to be one of our most important and powerful voices and, thanks to the free and unfettered sharing of images in communities such as deviantART, individuals are able to distribute their art more quickly than ever in order to exchange ideas and effect change.

To return to The Black Pimpernel and his infamous beard, it is interesting to note that this particular image is seldom, if ever, used as a template by today’s artists. This may be because upon his release Mandela created a new image, a new persona for himself; one that immediately consigned his beard to the back catalogue of history. As Mandela completed his long walk to freedom in 1990 he left prison in a crisp white shirt, suit and tie, arm raised and fist clenched in victory. He had become ‘Mandela the Politician’ and was soon to become ‘Mandela the President’.

This was not, however, the end of Mandela’s powerful use of wardrobe and image.

At the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final Mandela chose to manipulate his image once again. Rugby was the sport of choice for the white Afrikaner population and the jersey of the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team, was a strong source of Afrikaner pride. This, in turn, had made it a symbol of white oppression for the black population during years of the apartheid regime. When Mandela walked onto the pitch to greet the victorious South African team at the end of the game wearing that jersey, he captured the hearts of the largely white Afrikaner crowd and in so doing toppled one of last remaining barriers to reconciliation in South Africa without saying a word.

Mandela dons a Springbok rugby jersey at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final.

Picturenet Africa/Paul Velasco

After his retirement Mandela adopted his now famous ‘personality’ shirts that signified a more approachable, less political figure.

Nelson Mandela
Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday with Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg 2006.Nelson Mandela Foundation/PQ Blackwell

Nelson Mandela
Mandela wearing one of his famous ‘personality’ shirts with longtime friend and comrade Ahmed Kathrada.Nelson Mandela Foundation/Debbie Yazbek

It is these ‘Mandela the Elder Statesman’ shirts that most of us now remember him by. It was what he was wearing the day I first met him. I was shaking with nerves, of course, but the combination of colorful shirt, immense charm, and his delightful, somewhat mischievous sense of humor put me completely at my ease. It’s always daunting to meet your heroes but it’s an intensely gratifying experience when you discover they are everything you’d hoped they’d be and much, much more.

It was ‘Mandela the Elder Statesman’ I met that day. An old man stubbornly refusing to bend to the tyranny of his aging knees but also a man who had always been keenly aware of his image and its various meanings. Advocate, Chief, Revolutionary, President, Unifier, Elder—all images carefully thought out and deployed as vital tools in the struggle against, and victory over, apartheid. I feel tremendously grateful to have had the subsequent privilege of working on a number of books based on his life and his writings over the last decade of his life until his passing last year.

Since that moment he has been transformed one final time, into ‘Mandela the Icon’.

July 18 has been designated Nelson Mandela Day to “inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and to empower communities everywhere.” The message behind the campaign is simple—that each individual has the ability and responsibility to impact positive change every day. Indeed, the image of Mandela walking free from prison in 1990, fist held triumphantly in the air, is the basis for the official Nelson Mandela Day logo — a powerful graphic derived from Mandela’s very last steps in his own personal ‘long walk to freedom’.

Nelson Mandela

Mandela spent more than 67 years serving his community, his country and the world. This number is symbolic of how people can start to do the same—one small step at a time—and in so doing become part of a continuous, global movement for good. I invite you to use 67 minutes today, tomorrow, and the day after that, to create or share art that reminds us that we can all make a difference, however big or small, and make every day a ‘Mandela Day.’

Because, ultimately, it’s not only the creation of art, but the sharing of it that makes it so potent. Sharing and distributing your art empowers it as a vital and important tool for change and reminds us that as long as we have art, we have a voice.

“Good art is invariably universal and timeless.”

Nelson Mandela, from a letter to his daughter, Zindzi Mandela, written on Robben Island.

Let it Ring Out Forever

There is a name, three syllables, that is a totem, a poem, a song of liberation and freedom that every day lifts lives pinioned by barbed wire and disappeared behind walls of cold stone. It is a name that sparks a burst of light in the brain of she who speaks it or he who hears it—a burst of illumination lighting pathways out of oppression that eschew violence in favor of the more powerful truth and strength of peaceful and creative protest.

There is a name for a man whose living example burst asunder the invisible manacles of enslaved millions in their own lands. That man’s “long walk” has now crossed him over from living role model to global spiritual legend.


May it ring like a garland of brightly burning bells revolving in our minds and guiding our hearts. DeviantART salutes Nelson Mandela and all those whose life’s art, like Mandela’s example, steadily cut like purifying streams of water through the hardest stone of prison walls.

Ours is a time of petrified ideology, non-negotiation and deafness hailed as strength. It is a time when we need not despair of any forward progress. We have the life of Mandela to guide our efforts, our art and our lives. In facing impossible obstruction with joy in our hearts—this is how we do honor to the great man.

Mandela! Let it ring out forever.

MILK Books is donating 67 cents for everyone who joins its database, plus the chance to receive one of five framed gallery prints from the Nelson Mandela Quotations Collection featuring original artwork based on Mandela’s words.


For The Reader

  1. How have you experience racism in your own life?
  2. Can art be used to cure racism?
  3. How did you first become aware of Nelson Mandela and his struggle to free South Africa from apartheid?
  4. Have you ever created and displayed art as an expression of protest? Do you think your artwork amplified your message? Better than a manifesto? Did you feel liberated in artistically presenting a political expression? Did you feel in any way endangered?
  5. What’s the most powerful protest you’ve ever witnessed in your lifetime?

DeviantART Presents Artists’ Alley


The heavy metal enchanted trace leukocytes (midichlorians) that course through the systems of all deviants are coming to life as internal compasses begin to all bend all time and space in one direction, to one set of co-ordinates, to one ultimate destination:

San Diego Comic-Con

It’s that time of year again. Pass your Voight-Kampff test, grab your OTP and patch up your sunken ships. COMIC-CON 2014 is nigh.


Blade Runnerby chrisfkn


It’s time for the caravans to organize the clans in their multitudes and for the outlier lone wolves to pack provisions. It’s time for the cosplayers to retrieve their Wookie suits and Pegasister Wings from the cleaners and for true fans to organize their maps and plans for ultimate zeitgeist intake. And it’s time for the heart and soul of Comic-Con, the artists and writers themselves to gather their wares and wonders and set their sights on pieces of prime real estate in Artists’ Alley, the Mecca of Comic-Con’s holy and unholy sojourners.

It’s time for you to make a decision.

The Universe requests your spiritual presence in a communal elevation of the global pop arts movement.  You can do your part in making the human connections that make the world a better place.

Or you can spend some me-time in the inflatable backyard swimming pool.

What would Cthulhu do?

Also, join us for a deviantMEET!


801 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92101

Date & Time:

Wednesday, July 23rd at 10:00 PM PST


FREE, no one under 21 permitted

What to Bring:

ID card, phones/tablets, sketchbooks, cameras

deviantART Panels



Wolverine in Actionby aamir-art

Comic-Con How-To: Introducing Maya 3 3D modeling software with Fella

3:30-4:30|Room 2 Upper Level

Come see an introduction to Maya 3—a 3D modeling software used for games, film, and so on—presented by an Autodesk University instructor. At this session, a copy of Maya 3 will be given away randomly to an audience member by deviantART’s Fella! Come and get it and come and get educated!



Injustice: Gods Among Usby MadefireStudios

Comic-Con How-To: Break into Digital Comics using the Motion Book Tool

6:00-7:00|Room 2 Upper Level

From Batman to My Little Pony, Madefire and deviantART have revolutionized the comic book online. Learn how to publish your comic to deviantART in less than 5 minutes using Madefire's unique cloud-based Tool!



Comic-Con How-To: Building your Fan Following with Superstars of deviantART

3:30-4:30|Room 2 Upper Level

Host Angelo Sotira—deviantART’s co-founder—interviews some of the community’s leading members to get guidance on building your audience and your rep, as well as tips for expanding your experience as an artist.

Hear Stanley Lau (Artgerm), Wenqing Yan (yuumei), Anna Podedworna (akreon) & Kate Redesiuk (vesner), Stjepan Sejic (nebezial), and other mystery guests.

Ron Martino—editor in chief of depthRADIUS, deviantART’s editorial arm—will join Angelo.



Samus Tributeby Wen-JR

Comic-Con How-To: Fans, Love, and the Law with deviantART and Organization For Transformative Works

3:30-4:30|Room 2 Upper Level

Fan art, fanfic, and fan video are delightful passions and like all such things, if they go too far, someone might get angry. deviantART and the Organization for Transformative Works, together holding the largest collection of fanworks in the universe based on any intellectual property within any media, will bring out their lawyers to explain how you can go to sleep at night, dream the dream of fans, and never have to hide under the bed. “Lawyer Up” with Betsy Rosenblatt and Heidi Tandy from OTW and Josh Wattles (makepictures) our own Advisor in Chief.



Sherlock is back!by Feyjane

Comic-Con How-To: We the Fandom with Kay Purcell (damphyr) and Aun-Juli Riddle (aunjuli)

12:30–1:30|Room 2 Upper Level

Let’s discuss relationships and fandom. Bring your OTPs, gather your Armada, and cross over into an expert presentation by two deviantART masters as they help you navigate more ships than have ever crossed the worlds of fandom at one time and in one place on a lovely romantic cruise.

See You In San Diego!

A Quote by Charles Bukowski

Wed Jun 18, 2014, 2:15 PM


“We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing”

Maya Angelou

Safe At Last.

About Artists on Writers


Writers will always find inspiration in the visions of artists, always feeling compelled to tell the stories behind the moments captured in artists’ unforgettable images,

Just as,

Artists will always find inspiration in the words of writers, always feeling compelled to lend visual reality and habitat to the characters described in the scribe’s haunting words.

Critics consider Maya Angelou’s most important writing to be her seven autobiographies, thinly disguised as novels, beginning with
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969). The depiction of her childhood rape, compounded by institutionalized racism, which serves as the core of her first book, has resulted in the work being regularly banned by schools and libraries, yet praised as a lifesaving resource by rape victims and counselors.

I Know Why… has become almost a rite of passage for teenaged girls. Her mother’s boyfriend raped her. Maya told her brother about the assault. The rapist was arrested and found guilty. He served his sentence of one day in jail. Justice awaited him upon release. In four days he was killed. Maya’s uncles were suspected. Young Maya’s psyche was gravely affected. She became mute, unable to speak for the next five years, knowing her voice, her words, had the power to kill.

Her respect for “the word” would evolve into her becoming not only a particularly sensitive and acute witness and observer of her life and times, but a writer and poet whose voice has inspired and changed the lives of generations of the oppressed and the rebellious.She would come to be friends with other masters of the written and spoken word who “moved mountains” with their voices:Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and James Baldwin among others.

Maya went on to become a Renaissance woman of the working-class and lower depths of the Black American experience.Her resume reads as if written by Dante, but it’s accented throughout with the arts. Maya Anelou was a prostitute, but also a cast member of Porgy and Bess.She was a fry cook and a trolley-car conductor, but also a nightclub dancer and singer.In later life she became the Northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a leading organization in the American civil rights movement, and worked as a reporter doing dangerous duty in strife-riven Egypt and Ghana. She taught as a professor, received major recognition including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, and lectured internationally at colleges, churches and other venues incessantly, mostly about civil and human rights and poetry.It was as if she were making up for her years of being voiceless by never again allowing for even a moment’s silence when she could be continuing her conversation with her “prayer” for life.

An author of searing indictments against the injustices suffered by Blacks and the other groups of the American underclass, a firebrand activist during the Sixties, a radical feminist present at the birth of modern feminism, why is it that most Americans know of Maya Angelou only as “the poet” who read a poem at Bill Clinton’s inauguration? The answer would seem to be that in all the things Maya did and in all of the roles she assumed, the label of “poet” has always been the safest choice for polite society. Unlike Europe and throughout the Arab world, in America “poet” means a frail old man in a sweater at the library rasping the lines of what might as well be a dead language. Poets are not dangerous and upsetting in American culture. Poets are safe. To call Maya Angelou simply a “poet” is a missed appreciation on the scope of her art and the power of her revolutionary spirit.

But what of Maya’s many volumes of poetry? Her poetry is as much about actual survival as it is about the beauty of the poem as art. American academics label her poems “African-American anthemics,” meaning they are often written to be more the scripts for pieces of audience-involving performance art known as “call and response,” rather than lines on a page to be delicately dissected for hidden meaning. Her Audio Books are where you will find the amazing power of Maya Angelou’s poetry, far more than reading lines on the printed page. It is her voice, in all that a voice can be, that distinguishes her art.

With her death, at 86, last week, her books of poems are now artifacts of her life, which was itself a living poem - a once raging fire that has now been extinguished but lives on in our memories, in her words and in her voice.

It seems appropriate on deviantART to say with conviction, live your life as Maya Angelou lived hers and if you can, speak as she did.

featured poems by maya

passing time by maya anagelou


Your skin like dawn

Mine like musk

One paints the beginning

of a certain end.

The other, the end of a

sure beginning.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

till the current ends

and dips his wings

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings

with fearful trill

of the things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn

and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom.

byMaya Angelou

And Still I Rise by maya anagelou


The Triumph Project



Some of us in Community Relations invite you to participate in a new Project in remembrance of Dr. Angelou, one that grew out of a suggestion by Aeirmid. Together, we'll be creating art about triumph, be it personal, societal, or even hypothetical. At the end of the project, all deviations will be featured. This isn't a contest; it is a way for us to use our talents, following Dr. Angelou's example, to enrich our community.

What counts as triumphant? That's up to you. It could be a non-fiction biographical account of an historic leader, or an autobiographical poem about a personal moment of triumph. It could be a painting that captures a victorious feeling, or a photomanipulation that tells a story of triumph. Start with the theme of triumph, and see where it takes you!

Check it out!

Questions For the Reader


  1. Did you ever attend a lecture by Maya Angelou? If so, what are your memories of her passion and fight?

  2. Have you ever attended a poetry reading that turned into a genuine Call to Action or full-scale protest spilling into the streets?

  3. What are your impressions with how teachers and professors teach poetry, especially the poetry of radical revolutionary poets, in classes you have attended?

  4. Is the political or human message of a poem more important than a poem’s structure, or is the artistic crafting of the poem just as important?

  5. Are there living, working published poets today whose poems have inspired you?

Bloody Crowns, Diaphanous Gowns

Thu Jun 12, 2014, 7:00 PM

The current popularity of the bloody and salacious Game of Thrones and a host of paler imitators may have roots in Cate Blanchett’s Oscar-worthy performance as the historical Elizabeth (1998), the Queen who was perhaps the most important ruling Royal, King or Queen, in British history.

The politics and imputed romances of her reign embroiled both her throne and bedchambers. Released from her half-sister’s dungeon to go on to successfully stabilize a country wracked by religious war, all the while being threatened by Spanish invasion from without and overthrow by the plots of her male “suitors” from within, her life was epic and an intimate human drama rarely captured in fiction.

Then the British import The Tudors (2007–10), brought us an updated lusty beautiful/horrifying portrayal of King Henry VIII, this time focusing on the athleticism of his youth—before he was gravely injured (crushed under a horse while jousting) and became the iconic morbidly obese figure we’re more familiar with.

The Tudors casting of the svelte and smolderingly sexual Jonathan Rhys Meyers (as well as the alluring Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn) marks one of those important departures from the collective story we all carry in our heads, created from childhood on through college and beyond. We call this general narrative “history.” We become incensed over what we feel are profane depictions of our heroes and their beliefs and intentions—as if we could ever know what roiled the mind of a monarch in 1532. Protestants are understandably upset when the Reformation is de-emphasized as “back story,” the better to focus on a King maneuvering wickedly and recklessly in order to secure a divorce both secularly legal and religiously Hell-free, the better to pursue the super hot girl of his dreams.

There is Jeremy Irons in The Borgias as Pope Alexander VI in the late 15th Century committing every possible sin and debauchery that moderns minds could project or imagine for any man of power, much less a Pope surrounded by a family and College of Cardinals just as ruthless with privilege and wealth. Watching this re-casting of the past you need to pinch yourself to remember that the action is set within the Roman Catholic Church which was then and apparently still may be a political and social quagmire. The critics favor a modern French production of this story, Borgias, where they cavort and garrote in the same fashion. This version’s episodes are still in production.

The Nixon Presidency (1969-74) has long been held in the collective American consciousness as the high-level mark in Presidential criminality. But only fringe conspiracy theorists believe that the Nixon ninjas actually murdered political opponents and witnesses. Yet that’s currently accepted as “believable” plotting in popular dramas like Scandal and especially the American remake of House of Cards, in which Kevin Spacey’s deranged politician, Frank Underwood, has no problem with assassination as a method to attain his vengeance and promote his personal advance.

And that’s what it is all about on these current shows: politics as a means to personal revenge, enrichment, and power for sheer power’s sake. The good ol’ days of Henry’s romancing of Anne, let the world burn, seem naïve now.

Do viewers really accept this current storytelling as credible, that this stuff is really going on in the White House, in the royal court of the Tudors or at the Vatican or is this just “political science fiction” grounded in reality but played out into another world altogether?

Game of Thrones, adapted from a series of novels still being completed by fantasy writer George R.R. Martin, might just be the craziest-ever mash-up of wildly divergent time periods, some actual historical events, dragons, mysticism, warring Kingdoms of tangled bloodlines, political marriages, incest among the nobles all soaked in the blood of a thousand traitorous sword-thrusts and festooned with heaving bosoms in (and often out of) designer silks and satins. The interior and architectural decoration of the times of this tale seems to have been informed equally by combinations of ancient Babylon, Egyptian archeology, Conan the Barbarian and Victoria’s Secret. Ruminations by grizzled older warriors trudging toward the next battle touch upon the great themes of crime & punishment, political corruption, religion, loyalty and true brotherhood—but never rise above standard wooly maxims. Never has so much superlative acting and massive production value been expended on comic book level human drama.

“Thrones” is a new extension of Hollywood storytelling nonsense with every scene crafted to push my buttons in some pleasurably cathartic manner.

Worries over what conservative or liberal or sexist or pro—or anti-gay messaging is going on here must be laid aside as there is no algorithm detailed enough to explain what any of this story really “means.” It really is just a “game” to be won or lost by its ever-shifting rules. Being naked in its intent to be no more than sheer entertainment makes the series immune from serious academic, philosophic, historical or literary criticism. Game of Thrones frees us to enjoy it for what it is: a feast for the senses on the way to the next big lunatic lunge on the narrative rollercoaster. A sampling of tributes to the show as imagined by its many deviant fans is a testament to what will go down as one of the most marvelous box of chocolates one could ever hope to have opened. It’s undoubtedly not good for us—but it’s just oh, so good.

I wait every Sunday here in Los Angeles, attending screening parties when I can, for this glorious, masterfully crafted, and richly creative tour de force which acts as a deliciously sweet nightcap after another in an endless series of 80 hour work weeks.

How about you?

withWilliam Simpson


What is the most important information that needs to be expressed on storyboards at this point in production?  This information usually flows from who (director/editor) to whom (set designer, etc)?

William Simpson:

In prep, the storyboards are full of the essential camera movements and green screen CGI elements. As always, Storytelling is the essential element, something that will be understood by the various departments, from Director of Photography and the camera dept, through the VFX green screen CGI dept for visual composites through to producers, determining what can be afforded to be shot.

I work directly with the director, interpreting his/her ideas, and sometimes with the line producer, working out the logic of the storytelling to give us a 'heads up' as to what may cause problems for the actual shoot.

The information flow, is usually from Director, to me, then on to production, before they distribute the sequences to all others who may need them.


Is there much "pre-editing" being done in the sequencing and layout of scenes?  And if so, what is usually being emphasized by directors, editors and others in their input?

William Simpson:

There's quite a bit of pre-editing being achieved in the sequences, the process enabling a ' nailing down' of shots, especially for the cost constraints. Part of what we determine in prep, is what is logical and artistic to film, and then combine it with the shot list allowance of what we feasibly can actually have, What can be practical live filming, and what has to be an VFX shot.


William Simpson is an international artist, whose career began in comicstrip art, working on a range of character icons: Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Batman, Transformers, Hellblazer, Tyranny Rex, Aliens, and Vamps. Now he's primarily in movies.

In recent years he has developed his work in the film industry providing conceptual art and storyboards for a variety of feature films, such as: Reign of Fire, directed by Rob Bowman, Freeze Frame, directed by John Simpson, Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto, and most recently, Game of Thrones for HBO, David Gordon Green and Danny McBride's Your Highness for Universal, Lord Richard Attenborough's 2006 production, Closing The Ring and the Tom Hanks produced, City Of Ember. Currently on Game of Thrones for HBO.


Is there a tremendous amount of detail on storyboards on a big production like Game of Thrones that wouldn't exist with a more modest production—or is the functionality of deciding how a narrative is going to be told the key consideration always in any production?

William Simpson:

I think functionality of narrative is pretty essential, but, there's a lot of storytelling, good directors know, and don't need to be visualised in a board first, but on a show like Game of Thrones, the details in what will have to have CGI elements, a primary concern for compositing real with unreal. We’re creating Westeros here, and we have to see what can be achieved by drawing it first. It must be considered worthwhile as I've been there for 5 years already.


Is there a special feeling you get from being so deeply involved in the internal "DNA" of what is obviously going to be an important landmark series?

William Simpson:

I think the delight is in watching so much of what you've done, realised on screen. Game of Thrones is a vast production and requires quite a lot of prep over the ten episodes in a season, and so many drawn sequences turned into film footage is always a buzz. It's definitely great to be an essential part of fandom's fav series.

We’re creating Westeros here, and we have to see what can be achieved by drawing it first.


How did you come to get your job doing storyboards for Game of Thrones? Is this the usual pathway to being considered for such jobs, or are there others for interested deviants to pursue? What can you tell artists who want to do storyboarding as a dream job?  What should they be doing?

William Simpson:

This is a really big question and there is a massively convoluted answer to it. You see, there's a lot of being in the right place at the right time, and having 20 years of comic strip experience doesn't hurt!

I was brought in to do some concepts, while I was working on Your Highness. I wasn't told what the project was, just given a few key pages of script, and asked could I come up with some castle images and knights and a few interesting location shots, one being the beheading scene at the beginning of the story. These images were then sent in a package to HBO, and they seemed to help them decide on coming to N.Ireland to film with their production base. When I was told we had the series, while still on Your Highness I asked my producer friend Mark Huffam, " do I have a job then" haha, to which he said "of course".

I asked my producer friend Mark Huffam, “do I have a job then” haha, to which he said “of course.”

William Simpson:

After I finished my concept art on "Your Highness" ad did a day of 2nd unit directing for it, I then moved on into Game of Thrones and started conceptualising weaponry. I created the designs for all the hero weapons, at that time, 'Ice', 'Needle', 'long claw', etc, were mine, as well as developing the very first set of images of the "White Walkers", "The Godswood Tree", "Cersei's" carriage, and "The Three Eyed Ravens". I helped on some of the armour and helmet elements for Costume. I did a pretty neat version of the 'Hound', pretty close to what was made. After that, I went on to Storyboarding.

The comic side of me has generated a diverse artist, so having been recognised as such, I was used properly to generate ideas in the beginning. I've since storyboarded all four seasons, and will be getting into the fifth, coming this year.

It's not been the usual pathway, but then I don't think there actually is a 'usual'. Sometimes, I pitch myself at films, if I know in advance they're happening, though now, most of my time, I'm called up and asked, when am I available. It's nice when you get a call, which has a value on what you do as an artist with experience.

For anybody wanting to do any form of art, including storyboarding, you have to be in love with drawing, and storytelling. You have to have a perverse nature that allows you to work long hours drawing as a job, and then finding yourself also drawing for fun. You have to love this pursuit. No half measures. I try to bring all the sensitivity I had in comic strips, into what I do in storyboarding, though some may do it as a job, I tend to come at it as a solver of problems in storytelling and somebody who says, 'great, I'm going to be drawing all day!' No fear! It's another great mode of self expression.

For anybody wanting to do any form of art... You have to love this pursuit. No half measures.