Interview with Tim Hamilton, Graphic Artist

There have been two spectacular events running in Kenosha this month, the “Kenosha Festival of Cartooning” and “The Big Read” of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. And Thursday night, September 25th, the two collided here at Parkside for a gallery opening reception and artist book signing for special guest, cartoonist, Tim Hamilton; who recreated Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 into a graphic novel in 2010. The fun and bustling event was held in Parkside’s Mathis Gallery in the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities. There was intriguing conversation, light food and refreshments, and spectacular art. Hamilton’s original art work from the graphic novel is showcased there in the Mathis Gallery. Free copies of the graphic novel were also available at the event where you could then meet Tim Hamilton and have him sign your copy. I was thrilled to meet him and not only have him sign my book, but also took the opportunity to engage in an informal Q and A.

I first asked Hamilton what inspired him to adopt Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and how he got the opportunity to do this? He elucidated that he was approached to do Fahrenheit 451 after he had adapted Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island into a graphic novel in 2005. Smiling, Hamilton confessed to me that he almost said “no” to doing the graphic novel. Hamilton has always been a fan of Bradbury’s work and many were his favorites as a child, but he explained that the idea of re-creating this magnificent and famous classic was “daunting” to him. Thankfully, he hurdled that fear, otherwise, today, we would not have had such a wonderful adapted Fahrenheit 451 that is as striking and engrossing as it is. As a student, trying to pave my own path in this world, I found it very inspiring to hear that Hamilton, this accomplished and famous individual, had doubts, yet this didn’t stop him. He made the jump and it surely did pay off. His masterful graphic novel has been more than successful and was nominated for an Eisner award in the “Best Adaptation of Another Work”.

As an artist myself, I was yearning to ask Hamilton about his Art background and the process of making the graphic novel. Like me, Hamilton said that he had always been absorbed in art and had been drawing since he was five. He pursued his art at Prat University in New York. I then asked Hamilton about how he made the graphic novel. To complete the whole novel it took him about a year and a few months. He revealed to me that the most challenging and longest part of the process was planning it out and making thumbnail sketches and that he threw out hundreds of the thumbnails before he got the perfect series. After the final thumbnails were perfected, Hamilton then re-created the sketches on Bristol board with India ink. This was his favorite part of the process because as he filled in the lines and shapes with India ink he would listen to the radio. Hamilton then scanned in his drawing into the computer where he used Photoshop to color and edit his work. To personally witness the grandeur of his original art work that was used to compose this graphic novel, the pieces will still be showcased in the Mathis gallery until October 10th. Be sure to find the time to stop in: it’s definitely awe-inspiring!

It was an honor and inspiration to have met and talked with Tim Hamilton. He is a eloquent, kind and interesting man that makes stunning art. I have read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and now Hamilton’s graphic novel and I can strongly say that Hamilton did an honorable, loyal and exquisite job of recreating Ray Bradbury’s original novel. Definitely, stop by a book store and get one sometime!

Article by Liv Gripko

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