Category Archives: SAE Institute

Books which made me think

A student of mine on the Film course at SAE Institute London paid me a lovely compliment this week. He asked me if I could recommend any books which would make him think, as he was “bored” with the ones he had. We had already been discussing the use of symbolism in the Halifax Western TV commercial which I storyboarded a few years ago, and 1984 by George Orwell, to give a bit of context.

I thought about it for ten minutes—I love recommending books—and came up with the following, in no particular order:

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (rough guide to science)

10 Billion by Stephen Emmott (environmental science)

Dispatches by Michael Herr (vietnam war journalist)

Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert M Pirsig (psychology, autobiography)
Stalingrad by Antony Beevor (military history)
Supergods by Grant Morrison  (autobiography)
A Wolf at the Table by Augusten Burroughs  (memoir/autobiography)
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
Fiction
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
1984 by George Orwell
anything by Iain M Banks
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Graphic Novels
Promethea by Alan Moore and others
All Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller
The Mice by Roger Mason (ahem)
Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

How to market a graphic novel

Well, one way of doing it anyway. For a few years I have been friendly with Matt and Fanos at Big Smoke Media, a south-east-based marketing company who specialise in distributing postcards across the London area. When you are next in a bar, cinema or restaurant, keep an eye out for a postcard rack promoting new films and exhibitions. These are Big Smoke’s.

Postcard promoting the new Mice graphic novel, Culture Shock. Design by Roger Mason.

Across London, and further afield I hope, are postcards like the one above, for all to pick up and take away. I have a box of them to distribute myself so these are placed at my studio in Dalston, which sees quite a footfall thanks in part due to Dalston Roof Park, as well as the sheer number of people who either work at or visit the Bootstrap Building each day. I am also placing them at SAE Institute on Kingsland Road, Hackney where I teach drawing skills to 3D animation and film students. Some have been placed on tube trains and last week I went to central London and placed them in comic shops Gosh! and Orbital, and bookshops Foyles and Waterstones. The latter were unexpectedly open to the idea, which tells you more about my prejudices than theirs.

Copy on the postcard promoting the Mice graphic novel Culture Shock. Design by Roger Mason.

I’d like to have a Mice website but am not prioritising creating one, and anyway I figure that Scar’s presence online will compensate for this. The ‘Welcome to Order Nine…’ strap line has served well, but now I am considering something along the lines of ‘Giant Aliens v World-class Pests.’

The postcard has been well-received. I am wondering whether it matters that both of Diana’s hands are cut off and whether Harry (left) resembles a well-built woman.