EPIC | Illustrations by Gareth Hinds

Dates: Fall 2019
Admission: Free
Visiting hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm

Artist Talk

Friday, September 13, 2019


This exhibition features watercolor illustrations from Gareth Hinds’s graphic novel adaptations of the epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Hinds uses traditional and digital media to create vivid depictions of the action and emotion in each epic. His dynamic color palettes and careful details differentiate the numerous gods and heroes. This exhibition presents his work in pencil, digital pencil, and watercolor, before word balloons and sound effects were added digitally for print publication.

About the Artist

Gareth Hinds is the creator of critically-acclaimed graphic novels based on literary classics, including Beowulf, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. Hinds is a recipient of the Boston Public Library’s “Literary Lights for Children” award. His illustrations have appeared in such diverse venues as the Society of Illustrators, the New York Historical Society, and over a dozen published video games.

For more information about Gareth Hinds and his publications, visit his website: https://www.garethhinds.com.

Statement from the Artist

Each time I transform a classic into a graphic novel my primary goal is to capture the emotional range, power, and epic scale of the original work and to retain as much of the story, feel, and author’s voice as possible.

This process involves abridging the text to make it a reasonable length for a graphic novel — shortening long speeches and scenes and looking for places where I can summarize a sequence or smoothly jump from one scene to another, providing readers with just enough visual or textual information to infer what happens in between.

I start by re-reading the original text several times in different translations, noting key story points as well as sections I can potentially cut or compress. I then set to work writing a first draft of the script, which is largely dialog with brief descriptions of the action. At the same time I conduct visual research, explore the available historical references, and sketch out ideas for all of the characters, settings, and costumes. Once I’ve determined those elements, I begin drawing the whole book in rough sketches, incorporating the dialogue from my script into the page layouts as I work out what should appear in each panel and how the those panels are arranged on the page. I make quite a few changes to the text as I’m going, playing with the text-image relationship to find the best means of telling each part of the story. Sometimes a picture is really worth a thousand words, and can replace large swathes of text; other times words convey the information more clearly and efficiently.

After I’ve mapped out the entire book, I send the rough layouts to my editor and a few trusted readers for feedback. I make edits based on their input, then move on to the final art – creating detailed drawings to replace my rough sketches, and finally filling the world with color that (I hope!) brings it all to life.

I created the final art for the Odyssey with pencil and watercolor, while the Iliad was drawn on an iPad using the digital pencil simulation in the ProCreate app. I then printed those drawings on watercolor paper and painted them with watercolor. In both cases I then scanned my painted pages back into the computer, adding the speech balloons and panel borders digitally before delivering the full book in a print-ready form to my publisher, Candlewick Press.

Gareth Hinds