The Ian Gibson column: gentle art

The 2000AD legend talks about his work, and how he goes about communicating his ideas...

A genuine British comics legend: Ian Gibson

I have a favourite place I like to go, where I can meet up with brain surgeons, world-renowned scientists, doctors and IT specialists plus a host of other wonderful and interesting people. I’m happy that they accept me, not as an equal, as I could never hold a candle to their like. But as a friend I am welcomed. It is a happy place where we laugh together and play.

An offshoot, or maybe you could call it an anteroom, of that place is where some of us gather to swap stories, histories, recipes, philosophies, daily joys and tragedies and, as it is a more ‘private place’, where some will bare their souls among their friends.

There is a gentle quality to the communication there. More than just respect and caring, but a compassion and unconditional love between the friends. It causes me to think about communication and why I do what I do. And how I present myself, or at least try to, in what I do.

There are many styles and methods of communicating. Some are brash and in your face; some are there to be clever as peacock displays, and others are there to embrace and welcome.

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I would like to think that I fit, as best I can, into the latter category. My art is ‘gentle’.

I am not seduced by the overblown perspective distortions or the twisted and grotesque for shock effect, nor the clever technical virtuosity that I often find merely empty.

If I am to tell a story, I want it to embrace the reader and viewer so that they feel comfortable accepting my view of the world I’m presenting to them. I don’t need to force it down anyone’s throat or beat them over the head with soap-box concepts. I would prefer to seduce them gently so that they can feel welcomed and comfortable not convinced, coerced or dragged battered and bruised into my worlds.

I guess that’s why I like and admire the artists that I do. Masters like Frank Hampson and Victor De La Fuente, who thrill you not with effects but with the rightness of what they do.

My hope is to one day get it right myself. And I thank all those who have accompanied me on my journey, putting up with my failures and rejoicing in my successes. My intent is to repay you all for such generosity of spirit and faith in me. Your company has been and always will be most welcome.

Guess I’m in a gentle mood tonight. The kittens must have hidden my grumpy hat! Ah, well. I’ll doubtless find it if I need it again. Thanks for your time.

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Ian Gibson writes regularly for Den Of Geek. You can find his last column here.