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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Milhouse From Memory: A Belly Kids Book by Kieran Gabriel

Kieran Gabriel explains what inspired this intriguing project and explains how you can get involved.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Josh Wayles MH
Josh Wayles.

Cult indie book publisher Belly Kids is collaborating with Kieran Gabriel to produce a book dedicated to the Simpsons character of Milhouse. And you can get involved: to find out how read on.

Jean Jullien MH
Jean Jullien.

Tom J Newell MH
Tom J Newell.

What inspired the creation of Milhouse From Memory (why him, a lesser known character from the Simpsons) and why is it so important to you that artists create their artwork from memory?
It originally started as a silly game I would play with some friends, challenging each other to draw different Simpsons characters from memory. We’re all huge fans and it seems quite easy initially and ended up providing hilarious results. I then took it to Twitter in the Summer of 2013, asking a few people on there to try it out and it quickly snowballed into a much larger project from there. I chose Milhouse, partly for the alliteration of the title, but mostly because unlike the main Simpsons family, Milhouse doesn’t necessarily have a strikingly prominent feature. He does however have 3 vital features that make it key to getting right, a lot of people forget some of these and that’s where the fun begins. I wouldn’t say it’s important, after all this is just a silly experiment, it’s more interesting. The results people come out with, especially as you watch them struggling to draw it in front of you, are really fun and give an insight into the person themselves.

roseblake MH
Rose Blake.

How did a Simpsons uber fan hook up with Belly Kids? Who encouraged who?
I self published the first book in 2013 myself and it was a really limited edition that sold out in the first week, I had always said to myself that if I did the project again that it would be a much bigger and better version. A few weeks ago I received an email from Matt Groening himself, saying how much he loved the book (I sent him a copy back in August 2013, on a whim) and it pushed the project to the front of my mind again. I’ve been a big fan of what Mike’s been doing with Belly Kids for a while now and he was the first person I thought of when I was mulling over the idea. I shot him an email and it turns out he had heard of the idea the first time around and yep, the ball started rolling there.

Ping Zhu MH
Ping Zhu.

How have you got top artists such as Jean Jullien involved already? And how many artworks are you looking to publish in total?
I pretty much just emailed a bunch of my favourite illustrators and artists, it was how I was able to get such great people as Olly Moss, Rose Blake and Ping Zhu etc, last time. These guys are all great and just approaching them personally seemed to work! We’re aiming to have 100 drawings in the book itself, and we will exhibit however many submissions I receive, which is looking to be around the 200 mark at the moment.

kristyna Bazcynski MH
Kristyna Bazcynski.

What are you looking for when you choose which artworks to include?
I’m planning on including every single one I receive into the exhibition, as my ethic with this project originally is that every single Milhouse drawing is as great as next, no matter the creative talent. Some of my favourites are drawn by the people who claim that they cannot draw. The book will indeed be more of a challenge to curate but I think I’d like to have a good balance of the naive and the creative.

Gemma Batten MH
Gemma Batten.

Are there any other technical specifications that artists should know in advance?
The book is going to be A5 and the image needs to be grayscale, but other than that there are no other technical limitations, any medium or method is encouraged, just don’t cheat!

Miguel Martin MH
Miguel Martin.

The book is scheduled for release in May with an exhibition to follow in the summer: where can people buy the book from and where will the exhibition take place?
Belly Kids are now taking preorders of the book and you’ll be able to buy it directly from there when it’s released, as well as stockists around the country. The exhibition will be taking place at Beach London in Shoreditch and we have some really cool and fun things planned for it, there’ll be more information on that closer to the time.

Preorder Milhouse From Memory here and find out how you can submit your work here.

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