Today began with a visit from author and illustrator George O’Connor! George talked to us about the process of creating his graphic novel series, Olympians, including the most recent installment, Poseidon: Earth Shaker. He showed us how he begins by “thumbnailing,” or drawing the book out in tiny pictures. He said that this was the hardest part of each book and usually involves a lot of angry naps. Then, George draws a rough draft for each page, called a “dummy” copy. He showed us the original covers for many of the books in the series. Quite a few of the cover drafts were very different from the finished product.
We were excited to see a sneak preview of the next book in the series, Aphrodite: Goddess of Love. George showed us the pages he drew depicting Aphrodite’s birth out of the sea foam. Like in the myth, her dress was made out of water, and flowers grew where she stepped.
As a kid, George told us he was always doodling in class. When he learned about Greek mythology in school, he started drawing the Greek gods. Someone pointed out that George looks a lot like his drawings of Zeus. George said that after drawing Zeus’s hair and beard, he liked the look so much, he got a haircut to match!
We asked George about the mysterious dedication of Poseidon, which reads, “To the Earth Shaker Himself—I hope we’re square now.” George explained that he accidentally invoked the wrath of Poseidon when kidding around one day at the beach. Since then, every place he’s lived in has flooded. On a trip to Rome, George visited a temple to the god, apologized, and left some fruit. George hopes that his gift, as well as his flattering portrayal of Poseidon in the book, will end Poseidon’s war on his apartments.
Next, we went off to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the collection of Greek and Roman statues. George showed us some of his favorites. One of them was a bronze statue of Artemis and a faun.
Many of the statues were missing arms, legs, and even heads! George said that some people had raided ancient temples and smashed the statues. A few statues were saved by being buried in the ground.
We walked around and drew pictures of our favorite statues. George carries a sketchbook around with him wherever he goes. He told us that he sometimes he draws people on the subway.
After we left the Met, we went to the park to eat, read, and relax.
After saying goodbye to George, we headed back to Symphony Space. We can’t wait for tomorrow, when we’ll get to meet Barry Lyga, author of Archvillain!