Been too busy drawing to post blogs… But here’s a little peep at part of panel two, page sixty nine.
In the last week I’ve had to explain to a few people (who’ve been interested) about my meditation practice. Having had to explain off the top of my head, I thought it might be interesting to write it down here and see how it comes out. Apologies in advance to those who come here for drawings, storyboards and stuff about drawing (but hopefully this rough panel sketch of Nao is enough… for now). Read more »
When I last drew comics, it was in a time before Photo Shop (at least, a time before I had Photoshop). Coming back after all these years, I’ve found the technical breakthroughs make quite a difference to me. These days I’m more than happy to abandon half a page here, large panels there… and not necessarily because the drawing’s bad, it can be like this one (above), which just didn’t feel right. I like the drawing… but it wasn’t the right one.
I’m sure, of course, that I could’ve done this before Photo Shop, plenty of artists would throw whole pages away, I’ve heard eye witness accounts of Mike McMahon throwing away beautiful finished pages because he wasn’t happy with them. And I know some artists would cut out and paste in new panels if necessary. But I don’t think I ever did that (although I’m sure I really should have).
But with Photo Shop a psychological barrier has been broken. The fact that I can draw separate segments if necessary and paste them together digitally… and the finished thing looks nice on the screen. Has left me feeling a new sense of gay abandon with regards each page… If it’s not right, I just re-draw it on a fresh piece of paper, getting bogged down, rubbing something out over and over, just gets depressing and rarely ends happily.
Of course it means that there isn’t always that ‘original artwork’ which is nice to have and re-sell. But if you’re too worried about that you’re not really paying attention to what the artwork is actually for. The book is the most important thing really and everything else should come second to that.
Having to move some stuff from one studio to another last week, I unearthed some VHS tapes and one of them was my old showreel from my short time as a director with RSA films. I got my Dad to transfer it on to a DVD for me (because I wouldn’t know where to begin). And I wasn’t too disappointed by what I found. I’d seen the Stina Nordenstam video not too long ago because I posted it up here a while back, but the other stuff I hadn’t seen in AGES.
There’s a short film/music video thing I did called ‘Learning How to Walk’, which was all shot by me on Super 8 and edited by the excellent Seb Monk. It was basically pieced together from a trip to New York in 1999 0r 2000, which coincided with The Yankees winning the World Series, hence the ticker tape parade.
Then there’s two versions of a title sequence I did for a BBC show called ‘The Fear’ which was a fifteen minute, Jackanory style format, with actors reading a story straight to camera. I remember Sean Pertwee did one and I think Sadie Frost did one too but I don’t remember any more and it’s internet presence is nonexistent. Seb edited one of them, but the one that ends with the zoom into the girl’s hand was edited by the wonderful Sophie Muller. I don’t remember why we did two versions with two different editors, but there y’go.
I thought finding this reel coincided nicely with my trip to the Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds this year. I’m going to be on the ‘From Panel to Film’ panel on Saturday (see post below for more details). I was a bit unsure at first, about being on the panel, especially because I haven’t had a film made from a comic or anything major like that… but I suppose I can say I’ve spent the last 17 years doing storyboards, mostly in the advertising world but a few films as well.
I left the comic world behind in about 1993-4 and held great ambitions to be a director and direct my own films. I thought storyboarding might be the perfect route into that exciting, exotic world… But this show reel and a first draft of my screenplay, called ‘Instructions How to Die’ was about as far as I got really. Oh, and this…
Then my interest in comics as a storytelling means was reawakened… specifically after seeing the film adaptation of Hellboy, which, as adaptations go, wasn’t too bad… But when I saw it, I couldn’t help thinking how much I preferred the books… I mean really it’s no competition, gimme Mike Mignola’s beautiful artwork over Guillermo del Toro’s film any day of the week. Basically, with that little epiphany, I fell back in love with the idea of drawing comics (I’d never stopped being a fan of reading them) …but the possibilities of what one person can do, sitting alone at their desk, in their spare time, or full time if they’re lucky enough to get paid… that possibility excited me again… and the siren call of film no longer turned my head… she wasn’t ‘all that’ anyway .
So I’m glad to be back nestling in the big bosom of comics. And I feel very lucky that she even considered taking me back… Mind you I haven’t got my feet under the table just yet.
Today I booked a hotel and secured a pro pass for the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds. I’ll be taking along some photocopies of the work I’ve been doing, they’ll probably be all crumpled up in my pocket. If you can find me, please feel free to ask for a sneaky peak, I’ll be more than happy to oblige, as long as you keep mum. The picture above is the banner from the guests page of the festival website… There’s some great talent going, I feel very honoured to be included and I’m really looking forward to it.
*UPDATE* News just in, it seems now I will be taking part in the ‘From Panel to Film’ Panel on Saturday the 20th at the Royal Armouries Hall between 11:30-12:30, hosted by John Mosby. I’ll be up there with Andy Diggle, Richard Starkings and my buddy Adam Brockbank.
Here’s another little peak of what I’ve been up to… it’s difficult to choose anything that doesn’t give too much away at this point.
At the moment I’ve decided to draw it chronologically… When I last drew comics I’d jump about in order to retain some sort of consistency in the artwork and maybe to prevent boredom… but this time I thought it might be nice to see how both the characters and the artwork develops. Also in terms of discipline it will stop me avoiding difficult pages and possibly reward me with several easy ones in a row.
However, I must confess to already jumping forward for two pages, but one is a flashback, to before the current events and the other one is a dream sequence, which I’ve mentioned before (here) – so they shouldn’t really count.
Well, that’s the plan for now anyway, if I don’t stick to it I’ll let you know.
Meanwhile here’s a few boards I did a while back which I forgot to post (here)
Drawing The Nao of Brown has finally started in earnest… I’m looking forward to developing a proper working rhythm, and to getting some more pages under the belt. I started off doing a few character designs but was getting too impatient, so decided to come up with some characters straight on the page, like this guy. I know it goes against all good art school advice, but I was never any good at keeping a sketch book and besides it’s more fun this way.
I saw something on the internet, can’t remember where, but it inspired me to do this simple ‘two colour’ idea, just quickly for fun. It’s all good, ‘getting to know her’ practice.
Had to break the monotony of doing page layouts, I’m itching to get on with the drawing, so knocked up a quick Nao for practice purposes. I’m afraid I neglected this blog somewhat while I was writing… but I’ll start posting more sneak peak stuff soon, so please keep coming back.