Filed under: illustrations, my comics, sketchbook | Tags: art, books, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration, sketch, writing
You’d be hard-pressed to find any visual artist who would disagree that horses are hard to draw, but I’m working with Greg Neri on a comics project heavily involving horses. Like my short comic If Not Now then When?, we’re looking at working with a nice brown wash on ink lines, which seems to give it the right feeling.
Not going to say a whole lot about it at this point, but it should be a great project.
I have to share Kim Jung Gi’s portfolio with anyone who’s not familiar with him. Somehow I’ve only recently come across his unbelievably rich and detailed and living line-drawn panoramas. Do yourself a favour and spend some time looking at his interiors and street scenes, because I certainly am.
Below: just a little sketch of nothing in particular that was drawn digitally but looks sort of like pencil!
Filed under: comics theory, exhibitions, illustrations, my comics | Tags: art, books, children's books, comics, graphic novels, illustration, writing
‘The graphic novel’ is being worked on and will be for a long time, and that’s all I’m saying.
Although it looks this way, I haven’t, in fact, dropped off of the face of the earth, but I have been extremely busy (haven’t we all?), with, as well as ‘the graphic novel’, a full-time job which I might talk talk about in a later post.
Some of my work from Dreams of a Low Carbon Future is currently on display in The Cartoon Museum in Holborn and will be until 1st June 2014.
Have you ever noticed that to tell another about a planned project intended to be completed on one’s own steam, or a mighty ambition one has every intention of carrying out, often ruins the possibility of making said dream a reality? I read somewhere, at some time, that to explain a hitherto secret idea, for a story, say, to someone else actually gives us some facsimile of the pleasure we associate with great and self-motivated achievement. By revealing that we have every intention of writing the greatest screenplay in history we in fact feel that the friend we simply had to confess this ambition to thinks highly of us for planning to do so. We imagine to ourselves that they are in some way impressed with our plan and our motivation and it thereby robs us of the ability to make real what is already so comfortingly extant in the shared consciousness, which seems almost good enough to replace the real thing. Making something real takes a tremendous, in fact inordinate, amount of time and energy. Making anything significant must by necessity take over one’s life. If we can feel, subconsciously or otherwise, that we have already been a bit impressive to the people whose opinions we value then the effort seems futile. We’ll give over a chunk of our lives to creating or realising something, and to present it to those we first mentioned the idea to will be anticlimactic: “See? I told you I’d do that thing and look at me now. I’ve gone and done it!”
How much grander and more exciting to step out from behind a doorway and present a fully-formed piece of brilliance to one’s peers, the excitement of their response to this wholly unpresaged, fully, or perhaps, at least, mostly, accomplished idea a powerful motivator in the graft of hours upon hours doing the labour of creating the thing in reality. Rather than presenting a now-poorly-motivated shadow of a grandly (or, indeed, failingly) expressed idea, one instead has a grand statement, all laid out and out of the blue, with no grand idea that it tries in vain to live up to.
Resist blurting out every idea to your friends and peers; explaining your bold vision to them. An idea that is just an idea ought to be kept a grave secret until, through work, you ripen it and cause it to exist: make it ready to be enjoyed. Until that time, all you have is an idea and all of the experience in my short life so far has taught me that an idea alone is worth next to nothing.
Of course there are exceptions even to this rule: the idea for chocolate-covered peanuts, for example.
Above and below: VECTOR DRAWINGS. Remakes in fact of some old children’s book illustrations. I liked these and haven’t bandied them about enough yet.
Filed under: comic artists, comics theory, illustrations, my comics | Tags: art, books, children's books, comics, doctor who, graphic novels, illustration, sci-fi, science
Just a piece I neglected to post until now: an ink and watercolour inspired by the Doctor Who episode ‘The Eleventh Hour’, for a big fan of the programme.
The Doctor crash-lands in the back garden of Amelia Pond, and when he leaves, tells her he’ll return immediately. By the time he does get back to her, Amelia’s now a grown woman who’s been obsessed with him her whole life, even though, to The Doctor, very little time has passed. I liked the night-time tone of the greens and blues.
Once again, don’t forget if you’re in Leeds or anywhere nearby, come to the Thought Bubble Festival next weekend (23rd and 24th) and get your free give-away copy of the graphic compendium that is Dreams of a Low Carbon Future, featuring comics and illustration by myself, as well as a mixture of other comics artists, climate researchers, and school-children who have contributed their own work.
Filed under: my comics | Tags: art, books, cartoons, children's books, comics, graphic novels, illustration
On November 23rd, Dreams of a Low Carbon Future will be released at the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds. We’ll be there Saturday and Sunday the 23rd and 24th promoting the book so if you’re going to Thought Bubble then come and get a copy.
Dreams of a Low Carbon Future, with James McKay as editor, is a big collection of stories as comics, prose, and illustrated prose, which discuss the science and history of energy and present projected ideas of Earth in the future as a utopian/dystopian society, based on the different ways we may use energy and deal with climate change in the near and distant future.
Above is an excerpt from my comic in the anthology, which outlines a brief, general history of human usage of energy.
Filed under: exhibitions, illustrations | Tags: art, cartoons, children's books, illustration
Just an illustration for an anthology being put out by the University of Leeds called Dreams of a Low Carbon Future. It shows a potential future scenario where parts of the population live in totally self-sustaining colonies of artificial floating islands in the sea.
It’s ink and watercolour. I thought about colouring it digitally, but the colours came out quite vibrant in the end and it means it has that natural, grainy texture that you can’t really emulate properly with digital colouring.
Along with other work, the original art’s going to be exhibited at The Cartoon Museum in Holborn later this year. Details in the next post.
Filed under: breaker's end, my comics | Tags: art, books, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration, kickstarter
On Thursday the 22nd of August Off Life issue six comes out.
In it is my brand new four-page comic If Not Now then When?
Off Life is a really amazing comics periodical that’s featured such comics masters within its pages as Adrian Tomine and Tom Gauld. It’s available for free in London and Bristol if you find them in a hip coffee house or gallery, but I believe you can also buy them from Foyles on Charing Cross Road and London’s two best comics shops: Orbital and Gosh.
Off Life‘s slogan is ‘Comics for a lost generation’. I like to think I’ve captured that sentiment in my story. If Not Now then When is about a young woman who, with nothing going for her in life and her only friend moving away to Paris, skips town one day and lives out a pathetic little fantasy.
I’ll say no more.
The Breaker’s End Kickstarter campaign only made a quarter of its funding, unfortunately, but copies of the paperback book will still be available to anyone who’d like one. The details of how to get your copy will follow in my next blog post. I just need to iron out the details.
In the meantime, go and buy Off Life issue six!
For their generous help with the Kickstarter campaign, many many thank yous to: Paul Gravett, Alex Fitch, Mia Warren, Tom Lowenstein, Toby Litt, Daniel Humphry, Kenny Penman, Richard Bruton, Joe Gordon, and anyone else who helped in any way. Thank you!
If you’re at the festival, come and see me jabber on about lord knows what.
It’s on Sunday 21st July at 5.45 – 6.45 pm
UPDATE: There’ll be advance copies of Breaker’s End available at the event. I will be signing them and sketching on the inside cover live on the day for the ten people who manage to bag a copy.