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Monday, March 17, 2014

Comics Artists Live-Sketch Zombie in Love

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

I was a big fan of the Portland Opera's Comics Night at the Opera program, where they invited local comic book artists to live sketch during a dress rehearsal. It was one of the few social media arts marketing campaigns I've ever felt remotely warmly toward—probably because it was born from a sense of experimentation and fun, rather than being a calculated marketing bid—and I loved that it fostered a sense of community and collaboration between two segments of the local arts world you don't often see in the same room. Plus, some beautiful drawings came out of it.

Portland Opera dropped the program last year, and then Oregon Children's Theatre picked up the idea and ran with it, inviting artists to sketch an afternoon performance. (Full disclosure: My boyfriend works at OCT, and helped organize this.)

OCT's current show, Zombie in Love, is a frankly adorable yet surprisingly gross musical about a zombie trying to get a date for the prom. I saw it last weekend and one of the songs—"The Zombie never gets the girl"—is still stuck in my head. The show is based on a book illustrated by popular cartoonist Scott Campbell, so a live-drawing session was a natural fit—plus, even more than opera patrons, kids *lose their minds* over good drawings. Local artists Lucy Bellwood and Mike Russell, plus Laika's Graham Annabel, joined Campbell himself in sketching the show; the results are currently hanging in the lobby of the Winningstad. OCT's got a blog post up about the experiment, with links to the artists' work.

It's appropriate that they invited Russell; he spearheaded the opera's initial live-drawing experiment, and in fact just released an ebook of his "live comics adaptations" called Opera, Drawn Quickly. I also enjoyed Lucy Bellwood's post about the experience—she was giddy about drawing alongside Scott C., whose work, she writes, she's been reading since middle school.

Zombie in Love runs through March 23; details here.

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