Corban Wilkin: Illustrator


A Travel Book Picture Book
May 15, 2022, 08:49
Filed under: illustrations | Tags: , , , ,

Is it really beach time?

Currently working with some talented people on a travelogue like no other.

Comics and diagrams, fantasy and reality, maps and diaries, history and the modern day, illustrations and photographs. This book is bringing together so many of the cool things you can do when images and text get together.

So often we use categories like ‘picture book’, ‘graphic novel’, ‘illustrated novel’, book formats with their own specific rules and design principles: a set of things that are allowed. But recently, we’re starting to see more and more crossover between those different formats. If the only rule is, “It’s images, and it’s text, on a page,” the possibilities might be limitless.

Can’t wait to share more :)

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A Graphic Sketchbook Novel
March 21, 2022, 15:09
Filed under: illustrations | Tags: , , , , , ,

The great cartoonist Seth subtitled his brilliant Wimbledon Green with the words, “A story from the sketchbook of the cartoonist Seth.”

Wanting an excuse to make some fun comics just for himself, he decided to put aside a bit of time each morning to draw a little comic in his sketchbook. Without planning ahead, he drew what came most naturally to him, and gradually a story emerged, eventually ending up as the complete book.

I’m working on something with a similar approach: a graphic novel called Amy & Kay.

Every page of this comic is drawn without any under-drawing. It’s just me and a pencil, drawing it as I go along.

Working this way permits a lot of spontaneity to come out in the drawings. The standard way of drawing comics, and the way I’ve usually done it (as detailed in my last post), is to create a careful underdrawing and then ink over the top of it. This is a tried-and-true method that’s served people well for countless great comics, but the results can look a little overwrought, and lacking in the focus and emotional immediacy that a spontaneous drawing can give to a character’s expression and gesture.

When I noticed that a lot of my sketchbook drawings and doodles were stronger than my more careful illustrations, I knew I had to find a way to make my comics more like my sketches.

I’m quite deep into this book, and I’m starting to see the result: a story in pictures where the drawings may not be technically perfect, but where the immediacy of the drawing hangs together in a natural way and seems to give more life and character to the story than I’ve managed to acheive before.

More info on the book coming soon! Until then, here’s a few snapshots from the drawing board in the last few weeks.

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Making a Comics Page, Start to Finish
March 21, 2022, 11:16
Filed under: illustrations | Tags: , , , , , ,

When I was giving school talks about Dino Detectives I spoke a bit about the process of going from script to full-colour artwork when making a page of comics. I thought I’d share here the examples that I used from the book, going from a script, to thumbnails, to scrappy roughs, to blue-line underdrawing, to the final line drawing. Then the process of layering the colour on, from background, to characters, then adding details, then shadows, and finally a few special lighting effects.

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Awesome Con 2021
September 10, 2021, 16:59
Filed under: illustrations | Tags: , , , ,

Big thank you to Washington DC’s Awesome Con for having me alongside Greg Neri to talk about our comic book, The Time Travelling Dino Detectives of Antarctica, releasing to coincide with the new big screen documentary, Dinosaurs of Antarctica, from Giant Screen Films.

We appeared via video along with a panel of scientists to talk about dinosaurs and comics, and also to show off some new drawings as answers to questions about life on the frozen continent (how do you take a shower in Antarctica?)

Attendees can take an epic journey back in time to a prehistoric world now lost to ice, with this sneak preview of the giant screen adventure, Dinosaurs of Antarctica. Meet the scientists, Libby Ives, Dr. Patricia Ryberg, Dr. Nathan Smith, G. Neri, and Corban Wilkin who explored the frozen continent’s glaciers on a quest to uncover its secret past, and learn how to draw a dinosaur with the award winning team behind the comic, “The Time Traveling Dinosaur Detectives of Antarctica.” (Panel details: “Dinosaurs of Antarctica” – 3:15PM – August 21 – Room 144AB)

https://geekinsider.com/awesome-cons-science-fair-brings-another-year-of-innovation-exploration-and-fun/

Huge thanks to Deborah Raksany from Giant Screen Films for organising this!

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Touring in Tampa

 

Yes, that’s me up there, talking to a room full of people about drawing horses.

Last week I completed a schools book tour in Florida after Hillsborough County’s school libraries chose Grand Theft Horse as one of their Summer Slam books.

With Greg Neri, I did seventeen talks, and spoke about myself and my background in comics, the process behind creating Grand Theft Horse, and our upcoming project Time Traveling Dino Detectives of Antarctica. We also did book signings, prize giveaways, drawing lessons, posters, and more.

I met a lot of people, adults and kids alike, who were really enthusiastic about what we’re doing and are already looking forward to the new comic coming out.

Also, since it was my first time in Florida, I was grateful for the opportunity to see one or two alligators, swim in the Gulf, eat some key lime pie, and many other very cool Floridian things.

I’d like to say many thanks to Greg and his family, and to the brilliant Kimberly DeFusco for organising the trip. Also to all the great librarians in Hillsborough County for hosting us at their wonderful schools.

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Making Sense of the World
July 29, 2018, 10:15
Filed under: drawing, drawing theory, illustrations, sketchbook | Tags: , , ,

devon-sketches-update

Recently, I took a small sketchbook and a pencil to Devon.

In drawing landscapes and scenes from life I’ve been thinking in terms of ways of handling particular visual elements, i.e. how do you make sense of the world in front of you and actual have your drawing appear immediately to the eye as being the view you were looking at?

You’d think it would be simple. If you just draw what’s in front of you accurately then you’ll end up with a good facsimile of what you were looking at, surely. This is often true with highly skilled impressionistic painters, dabbing carefully chosen colours onto the canvas, and literally getting down what their eyes see until gradually it builds up into a coherent image. But for many types of drawing and painting simply getting down exactly what you see is not enough. More than that: it doesn’t work.

Say you’re drawing with nothing but a grey pencil on white paper. You sit down to draw a landscape. You see an area of bright white sand next to an area of dark rock in shadow. This doesn’t present any real problems. Leave the area of sand mostly white on your page, and make the rocks very dark. But then you look up, and above the sand is the sky. The sky is neither light nor dark: it’s bright. And it’s very distinct from both the sand and the rocks. You’ve already used a light area and a dark area, so do you put the sky down as a mid-tone? That doesn’t really work, it’s too bright. It should be white on the page. But the sand is white on the page, already. So you end up drawing a dark line of pencil to show the line where the sky and the sand meet, even though that line isn’t there in real life. You might even see someone’s electric blue windbreaker or hot pink parasol against the sand and the sky, and that will have a different quality again.

These are the things I’m trying to find ways to handle when sketching recently. A drawing is not the same thing as real life, and I’m trying to find methods to interpret things so that they communicate on the page. I’m trying to define shapes of certain qualities, colours and textures so that they are immediately distinct. It’s all too easy for a pencil sketch of a scene to devolve into a mess of lines, where everything has the same quality and nothing stands out from anything else, because I’ll have tried to draw everything in the same way, just marking down what I see. But by using defined areas of pattern and tone, and differentiating objects and areas by using varying qualities of line, and by treating identifiable objects as separate and clearly-defined against what’s behind them, I’ve been able to get a lot more clarity than I usually do out of some very simple pencil sketches.



Drawing Consciously and Subconsciously
May 18, 2018, 21:03
Filed under: drawing, drawing theory, illustrations, sketchbook | Tags: , , , ,

life drawing april-may 2018

Can you learn new things unconsciously?

Skills like riding a bicycle aren’t really skills until you can perform them subconsciously. No-one can ride a bike well if they have to think consciously about the movement of each arm and each leg, and consciously keep balance and so on. You’re not really riding until you’re doing it without thinking about it.

I’ve been doing a lot of life drawing recently, and I’ve started to notice a distinct pattern in the quality of my drawing.

Here’s how it goes: sometimes I tell myself to buckle down and really concentrate on executing a careful, tightly-observed drawing, taking note of as much as possible, and relating as many areas to as many other areas as I can. What usually happens when I do this is that I do some interesting bits of drawing; some novel local observations, but I do not do a good drawing, which is to say, a good, whole drawing; the parts do not hang together into something harmonious.

Usually the drawings I produce when I focus very consciously in this way make me frustrated because they end up being ugly to look at and I can see how unsuccessful they are at capturing the person I’m drawing, so after a few of these perceived failures I tend to stop focusing and relax into drawing very quickly; more quickly than I can think; letting my hand take over from my brain; drawing subconsciously. Almost invariably when I do this, I end up producing quite nice, harmonious drawings and it gives me a lot of pleasure to do. Additionally, it takes little energy; indeed, I often end up invigorated after drawing this way; I feel full of energy, as though I could draw all night.

So what’s the problem? Just draw subconsciously, right? By delegating responsibility to my hand, my subconscious understanding of drawing takes over and makes things easy. But I started to think about this, and it occurred to me to ask: how did I gain that subconscious ability to draw? Because I didn’t always have it. Surely it must have been through the struggle of drawing consciously, and so paying attention to things very closely and actively and, through long, difficult work, committing the knowledge that I picked up consciously to my subconscious.

It makes me wonder: when I draw in this nice, very enjoyable, subconscious way, am I learning anything? Or do I only learn new things and improve my drawing by doing the difficult thing of being fully-aware and drawing consciously? And isn’t life-drawing, when you’re trying to learn rather than create your best, illustrative work, the time to do that?



Running the Home Stretch

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After a long hiatus, I’ve just finished drawing the gigantic project with G.Neri (author of Tru & Nelle), that’s been ongoing for some time. I’ve generated a four-inch-thick stack of pages with roughly the heft of a small child. Still much to do, but the complete, unedited thing is there, in a big box under my desk.



What Goes Around

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So cx88spvxcaah7wjthis is just one illustration for an upcoming info-comic-book, pamphlet, public-information type-thing, that I’ve been working on with the Supergen Bioenergy Hub. It shows energy crops being grown to produce bioenergy and reabsorb emissions released by the previous generation of energy crops, ad infinitum. Drawn with a brush and ink, but coloured digitally!

Several other artists have been working on the project alongside me, including the brilliant John Swogger whose blog is extraordinarily active and interesting. Check him out.

More on this project soon. Also, A Dream of a Low Carbon Future, shown in my last blog post, is out in print and digital format.

Here’s a review of it.

 



Keep Dreaming

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Take a look at just-a-few panels from my comic for the upcoming graphic anthology novel science book educational kids thing, A Dream of a Low Carbon Future, presented by Leeds University’s Doctoral Training Centre in Low Carbon Technologies.

The book’s a multi-character exploration of a future Britain shaped by climate change and showing how human society can use technology and new ways of living to adapt to a changing world.

The story I worked on is about a girl out of time, obsessed with a past which everyone around her sees as obsolete. It’s a sort of central narrative which ties together other parts of the book.

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