Filed under: comics, graphic novels, sketchbook | Tags: art, books, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration, sketch
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.
Filed under: comics, graphic novels, illustrations | Tags: animation, art, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration
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.
Filed under: breaker's end, comic artists, my comics | Tags: books, comics, competition, graphic novels
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.
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.
Filed under: exhibitions, illustrations | Tags: art, books, cartoons, illustration, science
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.
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.