Corban Wilkin: Illustrator


But I Can’t
September 13, 2012, 16:48
Filed under: my comics | Tags: , , , , ,

This is a panel from a four-page comic that may or may not be my entry in to the Cape Graphic Short Story Prize that’s coming up soon. I’ve actually finished this one well in advance of the competition deadline, which is a first for me; for the last three years I’ve entered this, I’ve been scribbling away up to the last minute and praying that my entry arrives in the mail in time.

Read the whole story here, in the comics section. I haven’t done loads of short stories lately (i.e. none), on account of working on the graphic novel, but this is a bit of a step up from all my past efforts at short fiction, even if I do say so myself!

I will be working on more stories for the competition though. Lets see if I can top this one.

Enjoy.



When Cartoonists Compete
August 31, 2012, 23:08
Filed under: breaker's end, my comics | Tags: , , , ,

I’m working on several comics right now, with a mind to entering one of them in to the (deep breath) Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize 2012. This is the competition’s sixth year and the fourth that I will have entered. Last year my entry was an s.f. comic called Ripe which you can read here.

The simple little panel above is from the strip I’m puzzling over at the moment, titled But I Can’t, about two girls who have an obsession with ufos and alien abductions.

What I really love about this competition is that, giving them a real purpose and a definite deadline, it forces a lot of languishing cartoonists to force something out. I suspect that for a lot of entrants it’s the first comic they’ve ever completed, or the first after a long dry spell. It’s a good kick up the bum to start and (wonder of wonders) finish a comic, which is extremely easy to not do most of the time.

The graphic novel (Breaker’s End) is on a brief hiatus, but I’m tantalisingly close to finishing chapter three, and well over half way through drawing the thing. It’s been a heck of a learning experience, this one, and I can’t wait to see it finished two years after first dreaming it up and scribbling out the first draft. Still a way to go yet though, mustn’t jump the gun.

 



Drawing a Graphic Novel
July 31, 2012, 19:38
Filed under: breaker's end | Tags: , , , ,

It’s been quiet on this blog for some time now since I’ve been focusing all my attention on drawing Breaker’s End, which, after working on it for so long, has reached a sort of critical mass and is being propelled rapidly to completion.

After creating the first chapter for Myriad‘s First Graphic Novel competition last year, I had to spend a long time working on the story and producing a full rough pencil draft of the book, but now I’m fully in to the phase of producing final artwork and in a couple of months, it will be complete.

I’ve taken on a lot of influences for this book, studying other artists and writers closely for the effects and techniques they use, such as David Small’s extremely loose, ragged, and oh-so-powerful linework or the warm, heavy quality of light in paintings like A Philosopher by Lamplight by Joesph Wright of Derby.

I became particularly enamoured with a Monet painting; Towing of a Boat. Squint at the image and you’ll see how he’s created one big, very dark shape on the left which defines the whole image. No matter how much you squint you can still tell what’s going on in this painting, and I realised this should be used more in comics; figuring out what big shapes define the scene in each panel, and then using that to communicate what’s happening in the story.

You can read chapter two and chapter one and a bunch of other stuff in the comics section.



Norwegian Chess Pieces
May 16, 2012, 22:39
Filed under: illustrations | Tags: , ,

Here’s an illustration I created recently as the front cover for an archaeology thesis regarding North Norwegian gaming counters from the medieval era. I like how this one came out. It shows an archaeologist holding a chess king as found today, and a medieval hand using the piece as it would have originally been, painted and new.

And below, an unused alternative digital-painty version.

chess-piece-painting-lo-res



New Work: Comics and Illustration

I’m working on chapter two of Breaker’s End at last, and really trying to pin down the right sort of style and aesthetic for the whole thing. I will eventually return to chapter one and redraw it, I think, since it was very much a rush job when I drew it last October.

All the images above from Breaker’s End are work in progress, only half inked with pencil lines still in there, but I quite like them in this state and thought I’d share. Oddly it does seem that sometimes inking a panel or page to completion can kill a lot of the life that was in the pencils. I recently read the graphic novel Local written by Brian Wood and drawn by Ryan Kelly. Kelly’s inking is very heavy and impressive, employing a wide range of techniques to get different effects, but at the back of the book, in a commentary about the art, he said something that rang true with me;

“Usually, my methodology follows something like this: I pencil out a face and it looks great. Then, I ink it and it looks like dook. Finally, I spend an inordinate amount of time nit-picking at the face with white-out, correction tape, and numerous power tools.”

Nevertheless, Breaker’s End is fully thumbnailed and I’ll be working on it steadily throughout the year. It’s shaping up to be quite close to how I envisioned it when I originally dreamed up the idea, so I’m going to keep working at it and see it to completion, come hell or high water.

I’ve also just illustrated three articles for the coming Spring edition of Live magazine, one called ‘Culture Awards’ about upcoming cultural events in 2012. Above you can see a couple of cartoon illustrations for that piece. On my portfolio you can see all the little illustrations for that article plus images for pieces about an agnostic visiting different religious buildings, and Facebook bullying/addiction.

Finally, I’ve been doing some work on a short film called Frank Filleh, about a great man who, working his way through solving all the world’s problems, loses his genius. I’ve drawn images for a magazine and book covers to be used as props in the film.



Learning from the Best
January 27, 2012, 12:44
Filed under: comic artists, illustrations | Tags: , , , ,

A few days ago I went to see Craig Thompson in discussion with Marcel Theroux at the St Alban’s Centre in London. He gave a talk about the research and creation process for his book Habibi. The inking style Thompson uses in Habibi is something I’ve been trying to use in my own drawing. He beautifully combines thick and ragged, dry lines with fine little areas of hatching. I’m particularly enamoured with the way he renders trees and rocky cliffs, seen here on the lower-right in a panel from Habibi. On the left is a recent illustration of my own on the subject of technological singularity (predicted to occur in 2045!) which features a cliff in an attempted Thompsonesque style, with the robot atop the peak being rendered more smoothly and carefully. This black and white version really shows the lines nicely, but there’s a full-colour version in my portfolio.

Recently, whilst eating my breakfast, I’ve been copying images from the sizeable collection of art books we have in our house in order to try to learn something by drawing in new ways. Above are a couple of simple Van Gogh studies in fine liner. I’ve never been much involved with fine art (like, I think, most illustrators and cartoonists), but I’ve been growing to love some of the work by those ubiquitous modern masters Van Gogh and Picasso (for Pablo, mainly his early period of work). For composition and line quality, one can find ways of thinking and working that illustrators don’t often use and perhaps find some unique qualities to put in to illustrations. After all, most new developments in illustration spring from developments in the fine art world. Elements of expressionism and impressionism are now widely used in illustration and comics without a second thought, and cartoons themselves seem to me to have been influenced in their course during the 20th century by abstract art and cubism. More than anything, though, one can just learn from the beautiful drawing. Van Gogh’s hard but dynamic outlines are akin to the line an illustrator, working in ink and armed with a brush or nib, might use.



On the Cover
December 1, 2011, 12:39
Filed under: illustrations, my comics | Tags: , , ,

The LIVE magazine winter issue is now available across Britain with the front cover courtesy of me! This issue focuses on the youth protests and uprisings that have taken place over the last year in Britain and across the world, and it has numerous illustrations to reflect that, including my comic After the Protest.

You can see my cover illustration by itself as well as other LIVE magazine illustrations over at my portfolio.

I’ve got two big comics projects in the pipeline right now, which are both in the planning stages at the moment, but which I should be able to get stuck in to drawing come the new year.

That’s all for now!