Corban Wilkin: Illustrator


Ambition
February 25, 2013, 21:20
Filed under: illustrations, my comics | Tags: , , , ,

final-lo-res-new-version

In this illustration for the latest issue of LIVE magazine I’ve experimented with using pencil alongside my usual inks. It’s for an article about the possibility of a non-white British prime minister in the near future.

I’ve also been thumbnailing a new graphic novel project. It’s coming together rather well, story-wise, and it’s going to be a long one. Maybe not Habibi long but far longer than anything I’ve done before. I don’t want to give away any details yet; not even the title, since it’d be a total let-down if I decide not to take this to completion, but when the time is right things will, of course, begin appearing on this blog.

The process of ‘writing’ that first draft is always extremely intense. Once you have the first draft you have the scaffolding: a leg to stand on, but it’s filling those blank pages with the raw stuff of thought, with only research notes to shore you up, that proves to me to be equal parts terrifying and cathartic.



Breaker’s End is Finished!
December 22, 2012, 19:55
Filed under: breaker's end | Tags: , , , ,

every-page

The title says it all. I’ve finished drawing my graphic novel; Breaker’s End. It’s ended up being just over 200 pages long and, even though it really doesn’t look like there are 200 there, you can see every single page in the image above.

Nice to get it done before Christmas and the end of the year. I have two big projects in mind that I want to do next; both very different from Breaker’s End and I want to get started on them as quickly as possible since I’m super-excited about both.

Onwards and upwards.



Heads and Shells
November 30, 2012, 12:40
Filed under: breaker's end | Tags: , , , , ,

shells

A long-belated blog-post thank-you to The Observer, Jonathan Cape and Comica for selecting But I Can’t as the winner of the 2012 Graphic Short Story Prize. I still can’t quite believe I won, actually. It’s incredibly flattering to be chosen in a competition with such great past prize-winners as Joff Winterhart and Stephen Collins. Many many thank yous to all the judges and everyone involved.

Apologies for uttering the cliched admonition of every person who’s ever written a blog, but it’s been very quiet on here lately and I apologise for not posting more frequently, but (there’s always a but) it’s only because I have been frantically working on Breaker’s End; the cartoon sweat beads have been flying out of my head as I’ve furiously scribbled my inky path towards finishing this 200-page book. All I can say is that the drawing will be finished very soon, perhaps in two weeks, and then I can maybe start getting things on paper for the other two, three, four long comics that have been brewing in my addled brain during this last year.

The image above is my collection of shells that I’ve gradually collected and bought whilst drawing Breaker’s End. I’ve got nearly a hundred, including ones I’ve collected on multiple expeditions in Folkestone and Clacton, including periwinkles, limpets, mussels, oysters, hermit crabs, cockles and really big scallops in the middle there. There were about a million of them covering the harbour in Folkestone in the summer, so I went down at low tide and helped myself to five or six. The shells in the basket on the left are much more exotic imported shells I bought from a shop, imaginatively named: Shell Shop.

Below are two of the model heads I made for reference purposes for Breaker’s End, allowing me to get all the difficult angles and to really figure out how the characters look in three dimensions. They are pretty creepy. It might be because they’re bald. Hair is hard to sculpt.

heads



Isaac’s Stronghold
October 18, 2012, 15:47
Filed under: breaker's end, illustrations, my comics | Tags: , , , ,

(Click the image for a larger version.) Just a recent scene from Breaker’s End. I thought this one would look nice with a splash of colour. I’m on chapter four of the finished art of the graphic novel now. It’s rather exciting.



Don’t Plan. Just Draw.
October 15, 2012, 22:43
Filed under: comic artists, comics theory, my comics | Tags: , , , ,

Inspired by Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Seth’s Wimbledon Green, and a little bit of Irvine Welsh, I drew a comic called The Wonderful Experience straight in to an A4 sketchbook with no planning, character design, scripting or roughing. This is the method Seth used to create the entirety of Wimbledon Green, so I thought I could have a go at a short comic.

Now I’ve tried this sort of thing before; going straight in to finished pages, making the story up as you go along, and my god does it rarely work. Most of the time you get three pages in, declare that what you have done so far is irredeemably awful and is only going to get worse. Then you go away and watch the telly or something. You’re always so inspired when you start out, that’s the sad thing.

Only on two other occasions have I ever completed a comic using this method. In 2007 when I drew a 180-page comic called Wasp and Bee in just five days, and in 2009 when I completed a 24-hour comic called Or, which has since been lost/destroyed, but involved a weird collage of orange and white cardboard and very little story.

This time the ‘no-planning’ method came out fairly well. Although I sort of did plan quite extensively in my head as I got further in to it, but I refused to write anything down. I thought it might ruin the natural flow I had going.

Anyway, it’s a comic about a pitiful character trying to come to terms with his paralysing lack of sexual experience. This is very much me writing from the point of view of a character whom I dislike, but still feel empathy or sympathy for. This is something Irvine Welsh does that I really love, especially with the character of Begbie. He lets you get inside the head of this horrible, violent bastard, and you can’t help but begin to understand his actions just a little bit when you see them from his point of view.

Everyone is the way that they are for a reason, after all.

Click the image to read the whole comic.



Entering the NSAC
October 1, 2012, 15:26
Filed under: my comics | Tags: , , , , ,

Last year I entered the Thought Bubble festival’s Northern Sequential Art Competition with Phoenix, and above are some panels from this year’s effort, Boundary. Click on the image to read the whole comic.

The aim of this contest is to create a single A3 comics page that tells a complete story, at least six panels, black and white or colour. Sounds simple, but the hard part is getting a coherent story (with a beginning, a middle and an end!) in to one page. My secret? A whole load of tiny panels. Chris Ware eat your heart out.

This one is about a young man who, to say the least, isn’t very well traveled. The drawing style was inspired by David Small’s Stiches, Joff Winterhart’s Days of the Bagnold Summer, and Seth’s Wimbledon Green (which continues, year after year, to be a big source of inspiration). As for authors who are inspiring my writing and storytelling right now, Alan Bennet and Paul Auster are the current big influences. No wonder this comic is so bleak (and listening almost exclusively to The Smiths doesn’t help, either.) It’s undoubtedly a far cry from last year’s entry to the contest both visually and in the tone of storytelling.

Anyway, what am I trying to say here? I hope you enjoy it. That’ll do.



Illustrating Asimov
September 17, 2012, 22:31
Filed under: illustrations | Tags: , , ,

There’s an Isaac Asimov story; The Fun They Had, that I’ve wanted to have a go at illustrating for a while. It’s a kid’s story in many ways, but also a science fiction story that’s still relevant 60 years after it was published. Though it is certainly dated, you can’t blame someone in 1950 for not knowing exactly how computers would progress. It’s about two children in the future who come across a book. You can actually read the full text here, it’s not a long story.

Over on my portfolio page there’s another piccy for this story, plus two illustrations for another short tale; The Wall of Darkness, this one by Arthur C. Clarke.

Currently working on another short-comic for the Cape Graphic Short Story Prize, it’s about a post box. I think it has a lot of potential… It’s about a post box.