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Gareth HindsDescribe your latest project.
My new book is The Merchant of Venice. It's a graphic novel adaptation of Shakespeare's dark comedy about feuding merchants, religious intolerance, and the entanglement of love, hate, money, and justice. I won't give you the full synopsis here, but the women outwit the men quite handily. I've set my version in modern-day Venice and drawn it in a very graphic style. Most of the art is drawn from life the backgrounds on location in Venice, and the characters from real people. I've also adapted the language more than in my previous books, but always with a very high degree of respect for the original.
I had a life drawing teacher at Parsons named Dave Passalacqua. He was a force of nature. He liked 15-second poses, and wouldn't ever let you spend more than five minutes on a drawing, and if he thought you were slowing down and getting too comfortable he'd yell, "Change!" so the model would switch to a new pose. When most of our teachers were telling us to settle on a particular style and look for freelance work, he'd tell us to create our own project, market it, create spin-off merchandise basically create a package that a publisher couldn't refuse.
He died a few years ago, and Parsons had a memorial gathering for him, where his students and colleagues shared amazing stories about him. The famous illustrator and teacher Murray Tinkelman was there, and he talked about how long Dave had been teaching (something like 40 years!), and told amazing stories about the crazy stuff he had done with his classes, like having a model bring in her boa constrictor to pose with. I really, really miss Dave except that I still have him in my head, encouraging me to take on bigger projects, push them farther, keep drawing from life, and never get slow or hung up on one drawing.
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Gareth Hinds is the creator of Beowulf and other graphic novels based on classic works. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.