In a world gone buggy…What do you get when you combine a tough-guy detective, a sultry butterfly, a hungry ladybug, a hard-nosed mosquito, a missing pencil box and a tail the size of Brooklyn?…
You get incoming Illustration Professor Brian Michael Weaver, aka Neil Numberman!
New this fall Prof. Weaver will be teaching Visual Storytelling for Evolving Media II. He’s illustrated such groovy graphic novels as the “Joey Fly, Private Eye” series. He is writer/illustrator of the monster-ific picture book “Do NOT Build a Frankenstein!” And he’s a frequent contributor to Highlights Magazine as a Hidden Picture artist. His most recent picture book series is “Flip & Fin.”
Get to know more about him!
The first story he created was of a cat and a spider under the dining room table when he was three years old: “I’ve always made stories through pictures. A favorite medium was flip books starring stick figures getting crushed by rocks, or a mural on a long piece of paper telling a story, usually about the Ninja Turtles or The Ghostbusters.”
“I want to encourage students to tell stories through their art, because there will always be a need for new voices. I’m so excited to help them grow as storytellers, and find the best way to do it.” – Incoming Prof. Brian Weaver
He won over his English teachers in middle school: “I would add illustrations to my stories, such as my take on Romeo and Juliet: ‘Pencilo and Penliet,’ about a pen and pencil that fall in love. In the end they throw themselves into the gap between the office desk and the wall, never to be seen again. Tragic!”
Finding new ways to tell stories: “I’m keeping a daily journal about my life in the COVID-19 lockdown. I like using standard comic techniques like word balloons, thought balloons, and captions, but also less tradition comic elements. Sometimes I’ll throw in a photograph, a screenshot of a text exchange, or an aside to introduce a character… It’s an efficient, unique way to tell the story.”
Says incoming Prof. Weaver: “I’ve been a guest speaker at FIT for over five years. I am absolutely floored at the quality of work I’m seeing from the students. I swear at their age, I was making the most awful stuff. I think it speaks to the quality of education they’re getting from their teachers, and just as importantly, I believe, from their peers.”
He’s often hired to animate, and tell quick one- or two-minute stories: “I love brainstorming with a director and a team on the best ways to make a visual gag work, or to tell the story in the funniest and most efficient way.”
Engaging the young reader: “I’m also working on a chapter book that’s inspired by the collaborations between Ronald Dahl and Quentin Blake–Dahl with his dark, twisted humor, and Blake’s beautiful loose ink line. The books were chock-full of illustrations. The Twits had at least one drawing per page! I love how the writing and the illustrations work together to keep a young reader turning the page.”
The need for storytellers and new voices: “I live for storytelling–and the more creative, the better. The media is changing faster than a lot of us can handle, but content is king. I will encourage students to tell stories through their art, because there will always be a need for new voices. I’m so excited to help them grow as storytellers.”
Starting amidst the pandemic: “I admit I’m a little intimidated at beginning the school year in this pandemic, mostly because I won’t get the opportunity to meet my students in person. But I was a guest critiquer in early May and it went very well. I viewed their artwork through screen sharing with no problems. It very easy for us to have a dialogue about their projects. They were passionate about their work, with no lack of motivation. If I’m beginning my teaching career in a remote classroom, so be it! We’ll make it work!”
Prof. Weaver is one of 12 incoming Illustration professors. To learn more about the Illustration department go to: Illustration at the School of Art and Design.
All images and videos used with permission.