Mr Flibble Talks To... Flibble: Resurrection
As the Red Dwarf web-site goes on-line, Mr Flibble takes his biro to meet the ink and paint of the man responsible for the site's glowing artwork, the conceptual artist renowned for such movies as Alien: Resurrection, The Fifth Element and Gladiator - Sylvain Despretz
20 November, 2000
Sylvain Despretz
Mr Flibble's right hand provided by
Andrew Ellard

What have you been doing for the Red Dwarf web-site?

I've been illustrating characters from the series in a way that is slightly personalised, but hopefully in line with the spirit of the show. I think that these illustrations are really meant to be a little treat which gives us the opportunity to show things which have never quite, perhaps, been shown.

They definitely have their place in the continuity of the series - for example the invention of the coat-hanger, as seen by the evolving cats in cat pre-history. These are the things that are very unlikely to appear in the episodes.

Have you been watching the show?

I've been watching a few actually. I've discovered that I didn't know much about the show, but that I had actually seen the original episode in California when it aired in 1989 on PBS. I was aware that I'd seen the show, but I wasn't aware that I'd actually seen the first moments of it. It took me quite by surprise when I recently discovered that was the case.

I always felt the most striking thing about the show was the opening, the paint-job on the hull and that [camera] pull-back - I thought it was extraordinary. And I still love it actually, it's a great science-fiction icon. It's a nice image.

How do you get the gist of a thing quickly when you only have time to watch a few episodes?

I'm not sure I do! (Laughs.) You never get the gist of it, but that's what makes anything you do slightly unique - you bring in your own warping. I think that if you're smart, you use it. That's the only thing that's going to make any illustration that anybody does interesting.

I'm using my limitations as an outsider. [It's about] seeing characters that were not drawn from photos - recognising that there's something inherently not-so-interesting about an illustration that's conformed to what you expect, recognising that it adds nothing.

They're drawings that make you smile, but are a bit strange. The picture of the guts of the computer [Holly] has a kind of radiance to it, there's something optimistic. I like the way he looks, I like the kind of melancholy stare that he's got. I think it's good to have opposites. I don't think I'm ever enjoying anything that's just plain funny or plain light. The contrast is what makes anything interesting.

See Sylvain's artwork