Filed under: comics, comics theory, graphic novels, illustrations, my comics | Tags: art, books, cartoons, children's books, climate change, comics, graphic novels, illustration, science, writing
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.
Filed under: comic artists, comics, graphic novels | Tags: animation, art, books, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration, sketch, writing
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 been 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.
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: breaker's end | Tags: art, books, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration, kickstarter, writing
The Kickstarter to fund the printing of my graphic novel Breaker’s End has now begun.
It’s only £10 (or around $18 for US residents) to get a copy of the complete 200-page book, so what are you waiting for? Read chapter one here.
Breaker’s End is about an ageing couple who live their lives in a tent in a dingy forest somewhere in England. Chloe sells paintings and seashells for a bit of money. Isaac wiles away his days playing a tuneless upright piano someone dumped in the forest years before. It’s miserable, but it’s the only life they know. But then the government passes a bill authorising the sale of England’s remaining forests to private interests, and the simple little life they’ve managed to eke out is split apart…
Filed under: breaker's end | Tags: art, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration, writing
On Monday 22nd July, Breaker’s End goes live on Kickstarter, and then we’ve got 30 days to raise at least £5000 to fund the printing of the book for the backers.
This story of Chloe and Isaac living in their shabby forest with an old tent and a piano is one that’s come to mean a lot to me. The artwork is in brush and ink and in the tradition of artful black and white comics of Will Eisner and Craig Thompson. The completed project has come out beautifully. I can’t bear the thought of it sitting in a ring-binder for years to come and neither can you, I’m sure. So I’d like to share it with you, but I need you to get involved.
I worked on Breaker’s End over the course of two years and I really want you all to be able to read a beautifully printed copy of this story. As you’ll know from my earlier posts, the book is completely finished and about 200 pages long and 100% pretty good. All that we need now are your pre-orders so that it can be sent to print!
A printed copy will only be £10, and that includes postage. Once the project makes its funding, you’ll receive your copy within 6 weeks.
I’ll be posting the link for the Breaker’s End Kickstarter page as soon as it’s up. For now, why not read the first chapter of the book here.
Filed under: comic artists, my comics, soft teeth | Tags: art, cartoons, comics, graphic novels, illustration, writing
Of those four new potential graphic novels mentioned last time, I’ve written one as a prose-only novel, one has been ditched like yesterday’s baked beans, and one has been put on the back-burner since I still really want to do it.
The final one of the four has emerged as the victor (cue sound of cheering crowd) as I kind of knew it always would; which is much to my horror, as this is by far the most complex and difficult of the four. It’s probably going to be about seven-hundred-thousand pages long, and some of the first pages (above) have finally starting spewing from the end of my pencil. More on this as it develops.
Also working on short comics for two very different publications. I still think it’s ludicrously hard to fit a complete story into a few pages of comics. Nevertheless I will attempt to do so. Also it means that every page has to look really good since there’s so few of them. You can’t get by on the sketchy-sketchy hoping that the 300 pages will all support eachother like the sticks in a teepee. It actually has to be GOOD: shock horror.
I have a new cartoonist idol who has inspired me recently despite the great difficulties of writing a long book: Simon Hanselmann. Here’s his Tumblr, Girl Mountain. His main comic Megg, Mogg & Owl/Truth Zone is really worth a look (below). Great character designs, very funny, very deep. Mainly I love how loose and quickly-drawn it is. He seems to dash them off at an incredible rate, and this is particularly what inspired me. Sometimes the best things come out of spontaneity and letting all your ideas and wacky notions come through onto the paper without thinking too much about refinement or perfection. I love that. Also, the witch, Megg, is one of the best character designs I’ve ever seen. She’s ridiculously simple, but so well defined and characterful.