Lost and Found

Well, what a week it’s been. About a month ago, when I was looking at the schedule of events at the Comics Art Festival in Kendal later this year, I discovered they were running a competition alongside Titan Comics for a 4-6 page comic with the theme of Lost in Space. Now, the deadline was yesterday and 4-weeks-ago-me thought the challenge to write the script and draw, colour and letter the comic in a month would be a marvellous idea! And, well, I finished it on time so clearly 4-weeks-ago-me had faith in current-me, though it was definitely a challenge and a half.
This is the first time I’ve properly written a script for a comic and I felt immensly out of my comfort zone. I made a story for a children’s picture book at University last year, but I didn’t really need to think about the scripting as much as it was a simple story for a very young audience. In terms of writing, we all know I like the go on, and on, and on in my blog, so what’s the difference? I tell you what, I have a new found respect for those who write and draw their own work successfully. Personally, as someone who likes pretty pictures, it was tricky to have to concentrate on words as well as images. But, it’s what I eventually want to do, so all the practise I can get will be beneficial in the future. My difficulty initially was that 6 pages is such a small amount. My section in HOAX: Psychosis Blues was 6 pages, and it took me 6 months, and I didn’t even have to write anything! For a a visual narrative of this length, I knew that unless I drew everything at a tiny size my comic wasn’t going to tell much of a story. With this in mind, and after much confusion, I researched previous short stories in graphic-form and found that more often than not they were a snippet from a story; A brief look into someone elses life, no backstory, no explanations. The story had to be PG-rated, so I decided to utilise this to make a comic that hopefully both kids and adults could enjoy, and after much deliberation I came up with the mutant platybunny idea and started sketching away. The days when I love my chosen path are the days I get to look at cute bunnies on the internet and draw them. Best. Job. Ever. Without any more delay, I present.. Lost and Found! Below is a couple of the pages, and the link to the PDF:

 

Page 1
Page 1

 

Page 4
Page 4

Link to the PDF comic, woo! Read it all here!

I’m not entirely sure if I’m content with the outcome. In the end I had to rush, but that was always going to be the case unfortunately as I came across the competition so late. Anywho, it’s complete and submitted, I doubt it’s a winning entry but it was a pretty good challenge! Plus, now I know how to work for the next competition to make sure I utilise my time in the best possible way. I mainly just want to make people smile with this one, and I hope I’ve been successful. For now that’s all folks! I have the next project to look forward to, and I’ll be back with another update next week. Over and out! x

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Busy, busy, busy

Well, what a busy week its been! Firstly, I’ve taken on extra hours at the paid-job to help me out before I have to drop my hours in September, so that’s been keeping me out of trouble. Then, came Art in Action last Thursday, plus after a full day in London on Saturday the week has begun yet again, and I can feel this busy schedule in my poor aching legs. So, in chronological order, here we go!

I’ve been to Art in Action once before in 2011, which I covered somewhat in my blog here, and I enjoyed it just as much this year as I did previously. It was a great day; The weather was beautiful, if not a little toastie in the depths of the various tents. For those who don’t know, Art in Action is a big arts and crafts festival which allows artists to showcase their work and demonstrate their processes. There is also a giant arts market for loads of supplies, and a makers market in which you can buy various goodies. There are several areas covered including painting, sculpture, jewellery, glassblowing, international artists and illustration/calligraphy, even beekeeping. Illustration always feels a little lacking, though with the amount to cover in the whole event its not really a surprise! My highlights from this year were illustrators Jackie Morris and Shelly Perkins, and printmaking extraordinaires Ian Phillips and Laura Boswell. I’m fairly useless at printing, I don’t seem to be able to practise the same kind of patience in printing that I do on a physical drawing, though I absolutely love the effects printing produces. Watching Ian Phillips making reduction lino prints, and Laura Boswell making traditional Japanese woodblock watercolour prints was pretty gosh-darn super, and I’m looking forward to trying out some more printing if I get the opportunity in the second year of university.

Left: Jackie Morris, Right: Shelly Perkins
Left: Jackie Morris, Right: Shelly Perkins
Left: Ian Phillips, Right: Laura Boswell
Left: Ian Phillips, Right: Laura Boswell

After some much needed family time and cider on Friday came an action-packed day in London with my handsome northerner on Saturday. A couple of months ago Ravi got in touch and mentioned an upcoming HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing being organised at Gosh! Comics in Soho! Luckily for me I managed to squeeze in a trip to the British Library for the Comics Unmasked exhibition (until 19th August), and I’m so glad I did as the range of work and topics was absolutely incredible. Bumping my forehead on glass-cases to try and get closer to the original artwork of comics such as Watchmen and Tank Girl was definitely worth it. Topics covered included politics, sex, heroes, and dreams; It’s not often I enjoy an exhibition as much as this one, I definitely recommend it to anyone who is able to get to London before it closes, whether you’re a comics fan or not. It really was fascinating! After refuelling at Subway, I met up with the other HOAX’ers Ravi Thornton (author),Karrie FransmanRian HughesJulian HanshawIan JonesHannah Berry and Mark Stafford (illustrators) at Gosh! Comics for a happy afternoon of signing. I met Mark, Karrie and Rian for the first time, as they weren’t present at the launch last month, and they are just as lovely as everyone I’ve met so far. The whole afternoon was a whirlwind of squiggles and doodles, requests and new faces though there were some familiar faces as Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier came along to say hi too! I also managed to pick up Dan Berry‘s book Suitcase on half price which I was chuffed about. After the signings we made our way to a nice pub to finish of the day nicely. Here are some pictures from the day:

From L-R: Karrie Fransman, Rian Hughes, Ravi Thornton, Julian Hanshaw, myself, Ian Jones, Hannah Berry and Mark Stafford.
From L-R: Karrie Fransman, Rian Hughes, Ravi Thornton, Julian Hanshaw, myself, Ian Jones, Hannah Berry and Mark Stafford.
What a happy bunch!
What a happy bunch!

Anyway, that’s it for now. I have a competition entry for a 6-page comic that I’m working on at the moment so I shall endeavour to have something nice to show you all soon. x

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Kamino and Make Yourself Comfortable

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

So, since September I’ve been trying to find a happy medium between traditional and digital illustration. I love drawing, by hand, on paper. And painting on paper, because it’s fun! However I’d been finding that trying to scan in traditionally done paintings and make it look decent on screen was a hard task. So, with some tutorials and lots of trials and errors I have finally made my first fully combined piece which I’m happy with. There are examples on my front page of these sort of techniques I’ve been trying, for example Being Human and the girl in the triangle, however I didn’t feel like these were up to my usual standard. So, I decided it was time to put what I’d learnt to good use and do something nice for my partner-in-crime, Chris.

The story behind this revolves around my better-half being an absolutely giant Star Wars fan (nerd), especially with the original trilogy. A few weeks ago we went to a convention over at the National Space Centre in Leicester run by the UK Garrison, one of the foremost non-profit Star Wars costuming groups in the UK. Their movie-standard costumes were absolutely fantastic, and I was blown away by the professionalism and dedication everyone involved puts into being their character. I’ve since learnt that they attend countless events around the country and have helped raise money for a number of charities; it really was such an amazing atmosphere I was completely outstanded. I hadn’t had so much fun in a long while, and I felt like a giant kid at the best toy store known to man. I even got to meet R2-D2!

What a dude.
What a dude.

ANYWAY! One of my better-half’s favourite characters is Boba Fett, and he actually got to meet the actor Jeremy Bulloch, shake his hand and get this ridiculously cool art print signed. Which got me thinking how much I really wanted to do something for him which, although it’s not as cool as a signed print, is something that he’d be proud to hang on his wall. So, long story short this meant I had to delve deep into the Star Wars Wookieepedia and find out all I could about Boba Fett, the infamous bounty hunter and primary clone of Jango Fett. Low and behold, I came up with this idea that with all Boba Fett goes through in the extended stories, andas a child seeing his Dad’s head come off, sometimes he must just want to go home. Home, being the watery planet of Kamino where all the clones were created. I drew up Boba, his home planet, and his EE-3 Carbine, and over the space of a week I managed to piece it all together and Boba’s your uncle, we have…. this:

Boba Fett – I Dream of Home
Final Inks

The hard work paid off in the end! It was a surprise, and I think he likes it! I did submit this as a design to Threadless! so that I could get it on a t-shirt for him, but unfortunately they emailed me to say that any sort of cult-icon can be a bit awkward in terms of legal restrictions, so it can’t be done. But, at least I have a new phone background! Anyway, that’s it for now. I have a busy week ahead and I’m off to Art in Action on Thursday for a day of quality auntie-niece time and spending far too much money on more art supplies I have run out of space for. Until next time! x

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There’s just snow pleasing some people…

So, I’ve been working on a few different projects over the past month, and now I can finally reveal one I’ve been sitting on for a while (not literally, though, I don’t think my laptop could take my weight).

Nitro Snowboards UK recently ran a competition to design a snowboard top graphic to be made into a Limited Edition production run and sold in TSA stores throughout the UK. There was no theme restrictions either, it just had to include the logo. Naturally, as a budding snowboarder I leapt at the opportunity! Snowboard and skateboard graphics are notoriously vast and quirky. Some are very plain, some are just strange, and some are so intricate you need a magnifying glass to admire every detail.On researching previous Nitro boards, a lot of the board designs seemed very neat and graphics orientated, or very intricate. It’s always a gamble trying to design something like this, as the wow factor and images of semi-naked ladies tend to be part of the appeal. At the same time, you do just get some down right beautiful designs, so it really, really does vary tremendously.

Full Snowboard Design
Jump to the left.
Sliiide to the right!

I wanted to look at the relaxing, peaceful side of snowboarding; standing on a mountain looking out at the world, it’s a pretty powerful and awe-inspiring place to be as I discovered earlier this year. Plus, I have a soft-spot for anything Native American so I drew up a dude to put in there too, on either end of the board. The quote is from John Muir, which just sums up the snowboarding mentality! My poor 4-year-old laptop struggled immensely to work with a template so large, but slowly and surely I managed to piece it all together in Photoshop. Remember me talking of scanning in textures to use digitally? Well that’s what you can see! All the colouring of the board had to be digitally done due to the size, so the textures were scanned in and played with to give the different effects I was looking for. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the design; The competition winner will be announced on the 15th July, so I have my fingers and toes crossed for that day.. I’ll be piste if I don’t win.. Get it? Ha! Ahh.. Not really, it was mega fun just making my design. May the best boarder win!

As it definitely isn’t able to cope with this sort of work-load anymore, I have exictedly poured my mediocre savings into upgrading my laptop in a ‘shut up and take my money’ moment of desperation. With lots of storage the best processor I could get, I’m pretty excited for it to be built and sent out mid-July! Finally I’ll be able to reference Chrome and use Photoshop simutaniously without having to twiddle my thumbs for 15 minutes whilst I’m waiting for Photoshop to catch up. How exciting.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’m finishing up another project today which I will be releasing to the world next week, so keep an eye out for that. Over and out! x

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