Corban Wilkin: Illustrator


Inkin’ it Large

lowcarbonfuture

I’ve been in the habit, for a long time, of drawing TOO SMALL! So right now, working on the Low Carbon Future graphic novel project with Leeds University, I’m drawing these pages at the largest scale I’ve ever done for a comic, and I have to say, it’s very refreshing.

These pages I’m doing are to be printed around A4 size (210x297mm), which is large, so I’m drawing them at something like 500x720mm, not far off A2, which is gargantuan. I think people used to draw comics on paper that large, to be printed on big full newspaper pages, and they scanned them with those massive old drum scanners you don’t see anymore.

Admittedly, I am making this easier for myself by using the ‘french graphic album method’ of drawing two half-pages and then printing them together. It makes having the thing on your drawing board a lot less cumbersome. Anyway, more on this when it’s looking finished.

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Iconographicising

democracy-icons

Also: Democracy 3: Africa from Positech Games is now out on Steam, and above are just a few of the many conceptual icons I created for the game:

This turn-based political strategy game uses a unique icon-driven interface to help you navigate the most complex political and economic simulation ever seen in a computer game, custom-built on its own proprietary neural network. Democracy 3: Africa simulates the myriad interactions between voters, policies, economic and political variables, political parties and the various situations that develop over time.

Every icon I drew represents a sociopolitical statistic, policy, or value within the game which can be implemented or altered by the player as part of your role in governing an African country, and can affect a variety of other, linked values and, therefore, the strength and success of your government.

Sounds complicated, but the picture-based interface makes a complex game intuitive. Really great series of games, these, and really great to play a part in bringing it to life.

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A Way That Works

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My graphic novel project with G. Neri has been in progress for a year now. The end may or may not be in sight, however.

I’m actually now redrawing a number of early pages. I started drawing the book at too-small a size, and I decided I wasn’t happy with it, and reformatted to a weird paper size I’m cutting myself (I’m envious of US paper sizes, since the standard formats we get here in the UK never feel quite right (or maybe I’m just that picky)). So I knew I needed to come back to those pages. Since I’ve had something of a deadline extension, I’m able now to go over some of this huge project and spend a bit more time on what’s be2en some truly tricky drawing.

In addition, I’ve been writing a ton of comics short stories, which has been a lot of fun.
Redraughting and drawing them up is a different matter, though. That’s the curse of comics: it’s all so time intensive, but I’d love to find a way to draw my comics quick n’ dirty in a way that works. At least I’m not an animator.

Currently obsessed with: Toulouse Lautrec’s sketches and drawings. He’s very much an illustrator’s fine-artist. Drawings have to have outlines or my puny mind can’t make sense of them.

Also: Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor. Which I’ve read about four times now and may be the most novel-like comic I’ve ever read. Nothing else I’ve seen by a single creator is as successful as this at giving you the scope and depth of a novel. I understand it divides opinion, mostly due to the kitschy nature of the eponymous sculptor-main-character’s art (according The Comics Journal, anyway), and I’d noted that, too, but in book on this scale, there’s bound to be criticisms of some elements. But the thing as a whole: wow, it’s a great comic.

And that’s Corban’s totally-late-to-the-party review.



Patience is Passion Tamed
June 28, 2015, 16:28
Filed under: comics, graphic novels, sketchbook | Tags: , , , , , ,

One of the things that used to cause me no end of frustration when I would draw outside, from life, would be the necessity, sometimes, of drawing buildings. They’re always there, looming above us, often dominating the field of view. You can ignore them for a while, drawing a person here, a tree there, but if you want to depict any scenes from the modern world, buildings and architecture have to get in on your compositions.

It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve actually taken to drawing buildings: somehow having gained enough self-assurance that I can feel comfortable sitting for long periods of time putting together an office block line by line. When you start to embrace it, it becomes something meditative and fulfilling completely in its own right. These days, in fact, I tend to enjoy sketching urban landscapes more than people, who have the highly disagreeable habit of moving around.

Below: a few pages from a small sketchbook that survived a recent trip to the West Highlands with only moderate water damage.

Meanwhile: back to working on the sketches for my graphic novel collaboration with Greg Neri.

scotland sketchbook (1) scotland sketchbook (2) scotland sketchbook (3) scotland sketchbook (4) scotland sketchbook (5) scotland sketchbook (6)



The Icing on the Cake
March 31, 2015, 18:42
Filed under: comics, graphic novels, illustrations | Tags: , , , , ,

courtroom-cake-illustration-vignetted-small

In addition to writing and roughing the ridiculously long and totally gotten-out-of-hand graphic novel that I’ve been wrestling with for some time now, I’ve been doing some work recently with Stargazy Studios, doing character illustrations and frames and even some level concept-design for smartphone games. Take a look at Stargazy Studios’ portfolio page to see some cool stuff.

Below: scattered with abandon across my studio floor, we’ve got some pencils for game-character frames on the left; to the north-east we have just a few of many-(many)-hundreds of pages of notes, thumbnails, and sketches for a story; and in the bottom right: horse-drawing practice.

montage



Nominated for a BCA!
November 8, 2014, 10:52
Filed under: breaker's end, comic artists, my comics | Tags: , , ,

British-Comic-Awards

At next week’s Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds (15th & 16th November 2014) I’ll be at the awards night for the British Comic Awards, and I myself have been nominated for the Emerging Talent award. Specifically for Breaker’s End and my work on Dreams of a Low Carbon Future.

Looks like I’m up against some serious contenders though, such as the formidable Rachael Smith and Alison Sampson and… I think I might just be the underdog here.

I’ll be sure to keep all of my various digits and limbs firmly crossed for good luck until next Saturday, which will no doubt increase my chances significantly.



Live Drawing at the Climate Symposium
October 19, 2014, 12:42
Filed under: exhibitions, illustrations | Tags: , , , ,

darmstadt climate symposium 2014

Just got back from Darmstadt, Germany, where I was attending the week-long 2014 Climate Symposium as a sort of artist-in-residence.

I spent the week responding to themes in the conference lectures and discussions and producing artwork as visual accompaniment right there in the beautiful Darmstadtium Science and Congress Centre. I worked alongside comics artist James McKay who was also painting all week on themes of Climate Science. We were asked to attend after producing the book Dreams of a Low Carbon Future, which debuted at the 2013 Thought Bubble festival. (And right now we’re working on the sequel.)

The whole event was wonderfully organised and although many of the scientists and researchers attending said they’d never seen anything like this at a science conference before, everyone seemed to enjoy watching the process, especially when I spent some time actually drawing at the front of the main conference hall as talks were going on. Nerve-racking at first, but very exciting.

A number of attendees asked about buying the artwork I produced at the symposium. The work is going into an exhibition for a few weeks, but after that I’ll be able to sell the pieces, which are all A1-sized (594 x 841 mm). Feel free to contact me for details.

painting in darmstadt

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