Yann Kebbi’s set illustrations are a “drawn documentary”
“When I dreamed about C’mon C’mon, I often thought, ‘It’s a drawing, not a painting,'” writes director Mike Mills in the introduction to C’mon Cmon: Drawings From the Set. The book brings together some of the hundreds of illustrations created by Yann Kebbi on the set of the film, which tells the story of a radio journalist’s road trip with his young nephew.
“I envisioned something in color to break up my black and white film and bring something other than ‘me’ and my point of view (and my drawings) to this otherwise very personal film,” Mills writes, who has also directed music videos for the likes of The National and Blonde Redhead. “I loved the idea of another voice in the mix, and had a hunch to bring someone on set to draw while we were filming – but not exactly what we were filming.”
Mills commissioned Kebbi – an artist who has exhibited in Paris and Hong Kong, and worked for the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal – after coming across his work online. The illustrator joined the film crew in Los Angeles and took to drawing with such enthusiasm that Mills said he often had to be asked to “draw more quietly” by the person taking the sound.
Although the director originally planned to include Kebbi’s work in the film, he eventually realized that the illustrations would be too distracting for the audience – hence the book, published by A24. There are over 100 images in total, many of which come with comments from Mills. Kebbi’s scratchy style is perfectly suited to the ephemeral nature of film sets, juxtaposing moments from the film with images of the surrounding neighborhood.
“This book is a weird and wonderful accompaniment to the film, an extension of its mood, a kind of drawn documentary; a view of this world from a different person’s point of view and medium,” says Mills.
C’mon C’mon: Drawings From the Set is published by A24; boutique.a24films.com