Monday, May 21, 2012


By Liz Thiers
ROUND ROBIN 3 represented a departure from ROUND ROBIN and ROUND ROBIN 2 since Dani, Jenn, and Katy were no longer working with stand-alone words, but sentences.  The trick was to create a narrative out of fifteen sentences composed by three alternating authors.  When I came into the process, Dani, Katy, and Jenn had created several different story lines.  Each story line started with one artist writing a sentence out of the blue, then all three took turns adding sentences, wildly exploring the possibilities of the new world...  The results were visually stimulating but not always compact nor consistent: most of the story lines didn't feature a strong arc or ending.

The first step was to decide which story to purse...  The thread about sheep walking tightropes was too exciting to pass up!  However this thread was not completed yet: I watched as Dani, Jenn, and Katy sat around Katy's kitchen table and finished the game.  Katy tried to guess where Dani was headed based on her sentence, but ultimately added her own sentence that contributed something unique and exciting to the story.  Jenn repeated the process, trying to guess Katy's intentions.  We ended up with three very different sheep, each of the artists weaving one of their tales after the sisters fell off their tightrope.

Though Dani brought Fuzzy to life on paper, she ended up illustrating Woolala's adventures.  As in ROUND ROBIN books 1 and 2, the artist was not allowed to work with words she contributed.  I thought the matchmaking was prophetic, since I saw much of the artist manifested in her assigned sheep.  I also think the story parallels the Robins' journey in delightful ways.  I'd never call Dani, Jenn, and Katy "snooty" or "tall" (well OK, maybe Dani), but they were certainly forced outside their comfort zone by this project, just like Fuzzy, Flounce, and Woolala.

But how to tie all three sheep's stories together again?  Of fifteen sentences, the first four were dedicated to setting the scene, describing the characters, and imparting the "inciting incident."  The next nine sentences detailed the fate of each sheep separately, creating three alternating character arcs.  Now that the sheep sisters were no longer dependent on each other, how could I resolve their separate stories in just 2 sentences?  They needed to collectively reject their old way of life in favor of their new one, and they needed to do so quickly...

I spent a few weeks drafting various versions of the last two lines.  I would only spend a half hour with the story at a time, tweaking the last two lines till I had several versions to show Dani, Jenn, and Katy.  They chose the variation they liked best and it was off to the races!

Monday, May 14, 2012

ROUND ROBIN exhibition at Galerie Arludik

In 2 weeks we're flying to Paris for our ROUND ROBIN exhibition at Galerie Arludik

This exhibition consists of the 45 original paintings from all 3 ROUND ROBIN books, plus 30 original bookplate paintings. It will be the first and only time to see all 3 series of paintings displayed side-by-side, in the order of the word game. We hope the exhibition will spark your imagination!

Galerie Arludik is one of the first galleries dedicated to the art of animation, film, comics, and illustration...We're thrilled to partner with Diane and Jean-Jacques Launier to display 3 years worth of personal work. The gallery is located on Ile St Louis in the center of Paris:

The exhibition will run from 5/29 to 6/9, opening with a reception on Thursday 5/31 from 18:30-21:30pm.

If you will be in Paris or in Europe that week, we hope to see you at the opening!  And if you can't make it to the show in person, all the artwork will be available on Galerie Arludik's website starting 5/29: please stay tuned !

To make the promo we've worked closely with many talented and brilliant people. Their expertise and generous help has made it all possible. We'd like to give credit to:

Editor and Original Music - Zach Johnston
Motion Graphics - Craig Foster | Zach Johnston
Camera - Tony Kaplan | James Robertson
Producer - Elizabeth Thiers

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rare Device gallery opening

THANK YOU to all who made the gallery opening at Rare Device a success! 
It was a beautiful afternoon in San Francisco this past Saturday, and a wonderful way to celebrate the launch of ROUND ROBIN 3.  We'd like to thank everyone who made it, and those who made it happen: our wonderful hosts Giselle & Phurba from Rare Device, Asaki, who once again constructed a gorgeous window display, our friend and collaborator Liz, who helped produce ROUND ROBIN 3 and the exhibition,  and James, for all his wise advice, not to mention nail and hammer expertise.  Also, a special shout out to our great local printer, Edition One Books in Berkeley, who once again made us a beautiful ROUND ROBIN book !

The exhibition will stay up till 6/1, and the ROUND ROBIN 3 book will also be available at Rare Device !

Stay tuned as we prepare for our next and greatest gallery show of all: 45 ROUND ROBIN original paintings at Galerie Arludik in Paris!  3 weeks and counting...  We can't wait, and hope to see you there soon !

Photos by James Robertson, Karen Chang, Ramya Srinivasan, and the Robins.