Salford Uni had a 2 day event with Le Gun collective members Chris Bianchi and Bill Bragg. They gave a talk about how they started publishing their magazine whilst still at the RCA, and how it has expanded from 1000 to 5000 runs so far. They started off by inviting students, professionals, and anybody whose work included drawing to submit work for the magazine. Last year around 500 illustrators submitted work, according to Peter Lyle, Varoom Summer 2009 edition. Besides Bianchi and Bragg, the collective comprises four other members, Matthew Appleton, Robert Green, Alex Wright and Neal Fox. They said that sometimes, in their drawing collaborations, there can be as many as 30 of them working together on a project. Their main interest is in sequential narrative illustration, and they suggested they have a more fine art approach to illustration, in that they want to take it in a broader context than just the industry at present, and are also more interested in the "drawings you keep in a drawer" than conventional illustration. They use an old fashioned printing press and letter press and produce the magazine themselves, and are intent on producing the work in the best quality they can. They showed slides of their work, explaining how it came about, and also an animation for Pete Docherty. Studio 8 asked them to decorate the Royal Festival Hall with their collaborative illustrations for the D&AD awards in which they produced life-size drawings of various people in the design world.
In the afternoon, Mark and I took part in a workshop of drawing characters, which I enjoyed. The following day we started on buildings and scenes as an environment for the characters to hang in, hoisted up on string, and it all started to come together really well as a collaborative event.