Sunday, December 24, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
These days I read what I like and if I don't like what the creator are doing I don't read it. I love Daredevil but didn't like Bendis' writing so I didn't read it. Love Batman but psycho Batman did nothing for me and so I've read little of it since Post Dark Knight grim and gritty transformed into unstable psychopath.
Further, sheer economics stopped me picking up the Brubaker Captain America, Morrisons Batman and various others. £2+ a pop was outside my budget. Many times have i seen suggestions that, six months or so later, Marvel and DC should reprint each months output in an essentials style collection for the reader, perhaps by family, rather than the collector so that cheap colour or black and white reprints were available to draw people in to the world of Batman or Superman or The Avengers. In this country we already have something similar, Panini/Titan monthly collections 3 issues for £2.50/£2.60 of top us titles. Titan have just released first issues of Marvel Legends, with Captain America, Thor and Iron Man and Batman Legends, reprinting All Star, Morrison's Batman and Batman/Superman (World's Finest?)I've not read them yet. Brubaker's Captain America is the main reason for buying either but I'm intrigued to see what's happening with these old friends. I'll let you know what I think.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Each card I've done has been within my comfort zone. Early on I loved pen and ink so they'd inevitably be black and white and often animal themed. Later I took to watercolour and inks and cheap colour copying. Still in the comfort zone though. This year I decided it was time to give acrylics a go. I haven't painted in acrylics for over 20 years, not since college, and was extremely nervous. It was hard work, it all felt so unnatural, no line work visible, trying to paint properly. I know I could have taken a more illustrative approach with flat colours and outlines but this was what I wanted to try as it was something new for me. I'm quite pleased with the result, inspired by Studio Ghibli's The Cat Returns.
"The Christmas Fox"
Sunday, December 10, 2006
An interesting aside however. The much lauded Trigun Empire is apparently now owned by DC comics. Maybe they should consider archive editions of that, they'd be the firt Archives I'd be prepared to buy.
Friday, November 24, 2006
This is a view of the yard at my work, a handfull of buses and the sun setting in the background. I just like it and I'm trying to figure out why.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
A very girly affair as you can see and I have to take responsibility for the Barbie covered walls.
Then last night watched the latest Robin Hood. Karen and I seem to be the only people we know enjoying it as most people seem put off by the modern day touches such as last night's Arthur Daly style Pawn Merchant. Karen and I are more intrigued by Robin's character arc as he goes from smug and cocky lord of the manor on a journey towards, hopefully, serious outlaw and freedom fighter. Last night with the death of three more of his "men" and Marion agreeing to marry Guisborne saw his cocky grin take a bit of a battering and I'm hoping this is the direction he's going. The highlight is the pro law and order speech from Keith Allen each week. Allen is obviously enjoying himself as this deeply twisted and nasty character, He's very much in the mould of Alan Rickman's Sheriff but with a greater humanity, afforded by a weekly show and hence less a pantomime character. Allen's sherriff is a coward at heart but willing to fight for his money if he has to and when it comes to manipulating people? When he set Guisborne after Marion, talking of the knife twisting in Guisborne's back after she betrayed him, Allen embued the speech with a mixture of glee and shared hurt that made you wonder about what had made him the man he is. Impressive.
Friday, November 17, 2006
TCM recently showed Bad Day at Black Rock, which I taped and watched a couple of days ago. Spencer Tracy as the one armed Judo expert, Robert Ryan all creepy and evil, totally excellent film, beautifully filmed and scripted with such economy it's a wonder to behold. Moments like this almost make Ted Turners existence acceptable.
Equally interesting if not as well shot was Vincent Price in "The last man on Earth". I'd never seen this before, only the Charlton Heston remake (Omega Man),and was only used to seeing Price hamming it up in his later roles for Roger Corman etc. Finding the film showing on a crappy little satelite channel was a complete accident but one I'm very pleased about. Price is impressive as the scientist who somehow is immune to the zombie/vampire plague that attacks the rest of humanity and the acting throughout was largely excellent, his vampire obsessed colleague was the only real exception. The print was poor but even so it was a very good movie.
For tonights viewing I have X3, mainly because Karen wants to see it. Hopefully I'll have cheered up by then but if not at least the film will make it harder to upset Karen with my grumpiness.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The black and white with one spot colour was not particularly original but I was very happy with the end result.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Also been looking at Illustration Friday as a tool for making me draw more. Managed to do this pick for the last subject, but not soon enough to post it. The pig was drawn in biro and coloured in photoshop CS. With a five year old daughter playing games on the internet and a wife running a home business on the PC I get little chanceto get on there and practice with photoshop, but I'm slowly figuring it out.
I've also updated my links to include stuff I've found over the past few months and hadn't added before because I couldn't get the HTML right. Particularly I'm pleased to add a link to PaulHD. Paul was best man at my wedding 7 years ago, is a very fine artist and still one of the best people I know. He's just joined the parenthood club along with his wife, Becs, and has one of the cutest babies I've seen. Most babies really do look like Winston Churchill in his declining years but every so often you see one who actually can be called cute without humouring the parents. Olivia is one cute baby.
That's it for now. I have a Christmas story to be getting on with.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
So I have my cappucino and a raspberry bakewell and still inspiration is rolling around in my head. So I go look around waterstones children's section and there's nothing there like the idea in my head so I drive home and set up my drawing board. Two and a half hours later I have a 16 page story laid out sketched in reasonable detail and all the text written down.
To put it mildly I'm in fucking shock!!! Inspiration hasn't hit me this hard and this fully formed since before I got myself married. I was beginning to wonder if there was something about being married that just didn't agree with inspiration. And there ain't. I can be married, happy, a father and still be creative. It just needs peace and quiet.
I don't know if the story's any good. I like it and if nothing else it'll make a good Christmas card for some small family members.
God it feels good to draw with a purpose other than the act itself.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The wonderful Ray Fenwick and his Hall of Best Knowledge put it best in solitude. You'll have to follow this link if you want to know what I'm talking about.
Napster by the way has been a revelation. My tastes in music are fairly simple, I like clever/intelligent lyrics, simple acoustic arrangements and an interesting voice. The clever thing Napster does is attach a recommendation page to each artist you search for of people with a vaguely similar style. So Bob Dylan takes you to Nick Drake takes you to Billy Bragg takes you to Ben Folds takes you to Vashti Bunyan takes you to Gordon Lightfoot takes you to Grateful Dead. I've discovered more new artists I like this week then in the last four years. Nick Drake, particularly, is wonderful, kind of James Blunt with a soul which grossly undersells him and could even be an insult.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Sunday, October 01, 2006
So I'm flicking through some of the many books I have when I come across mentions of paintings done on masonite. Masonite it says, is a smooth surface ideal for oil and acrylic work. It's not archival but has a fairly decent lifespan. The only thing it doesn't say is what masonite is.
Well through the magic of google and wikipedia it turns out that masonite is just a type of MDF. so that's what I'm trying next.
Which in turn lead to my thought for the day. No one really appreciates what an artist has to work through before he even gets pen/brush to paper.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
So what! you say. The point is I will pay good money to watch movies with men my own age or older dealing with bank robbers, hostage situations or crazy people out to destroy the world, to watch couples in my age bracket going through the painful complications new love brings, In short, to watch people my age deal with the sort of shit that makes for a good story.
I know I know, movies like that exist but for every movie with Paul Giamatti or Pierce Brosnan or even Bruce Willis, there are 10 with Josh Harnett looking moody or the guy from Dawson's Creek looking moody or Orlando Bloom looking moody, For every Julianne Moore there are 10 Hilary Duff-a-likes filling your screen.
Now I'm not unreasonable, I realise there are people in their teens who will pay good money to see the kids I've named, but equally there's a good number of people my age and older who'd pay good money to see an intelligent film with characters they can actually relate to.
What actually started this was reading something either by or about Pierce Brosnan that said he'd stopped being James Bond because he felt he was too old to play the character. Pierce Brosnan was pushing 50 for his last Bond movies and they were the best Bond movies I have ever seen, bar none. He had a world weary edge to him that made him more believable and yet he "believes" he is now too old to play the character. Can you imagine someone saying to John Wayne "Sorry John, you're to old to play this part in "The Shootist". We've got this young guy, Bill Pullman, he's raw but he'll appeal to the kids"
The urge to rant is disippating. I just watched Paul Giamatti in "sideways" He's three years younger than me but the film made me feel like someone out there actually does understand what I'm talking about. Painful screwed up relationships of people who've lived long enough to have real screwups, not teens upset about being two timed or dumped in college.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Thanks to the magnanimity of Film4 in making themselves a free digital channel, I have now seen all the major Studio Ghibli movies except Nausicaa (which I'll catch next week). I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite although I've just watched My Neighbour Totoro with Molly, my daughter, and she sat through the film without hiding behind the sofa and appeared to love every minute, so that's a possibility.
Miyazaki's work seems to bear up well to the oft mentioned Disney comparison in terms of quality of animation, but it lacks the emotionally scarring material that makes Disney so Disney. I would happily let Molly watch Princess Mononoke with me, with all it's blood and monsters, but I'd be far less willing to let her watch Disney's Pinnochio, images from which still turn up in my nightmares from time to time. Even the darkest moments of Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke seem positive compared to the soul numbingly distressing key moments in most of the classic Disney movies. Disney's greatest skill in the earlier movies was to be able to create an air of menace and fear that would be carried beyond the watching of the film and go with you into the world outside. The Ghibli movies on the other hand have generally left me carrying away a warm feeling towards the rest of humanity that lasts well past the initial viewing of the film.
Plus Totoro is just so cute/ugly.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
The colleague, a man my age, passed away in his sleep, and his manager, as you always do, said to the grieving family "If there's anything we can do?" That anything turned out to be arrange to project some dvd'd tributes at the service and the job fell to me as the only person in the company even vaguely technology competent. (I'm no great shakes but I can work these things out).
So today I found myself sat with the family at the front of the service with a laptop, projector, screen and two dvds.
I have been thanked so many times by various members of the family for an act, that to me at least, seems so insignificant that I feel alternately supremely humbled and supremely awkward.
An act of kindness towards strangers but I would rather the need had never existed.
Monday, July 24, 2006
I've long been an admirer of Eddie Campbell and once spent two fruitless days at a UKcac(around 1986) shuttling between the bar and the Escape Stand trying to catch Eddie Campbell and get him to sign my copies of the first two Escape volumes of his works. I Followed Mr Campbells work through the twenty years since then, the early Bacchus, the Eyeball Kid, From Hell, Batman all the way through to The Fate of The Artist. I lent to original Escape books to a colleague and never saw them again. Eventually they were reprinted in a collected volume so I was okay.
I recall my frustration when he fled this country for Australia's sunnier climes, knowing my chance of getting a book signed had vanished because he was in a place I would never go. Discovering a history of champagne through the Tales of Bacchus and later wondering how much was true and how much was the work of the author and wondering that again when reading Fate of the Artist.
Eddie Campbell, if he still resides in Queensland, lives maybe 200km from my sister. If I ever do visit her I may spend some time tracking him down and finally getting a book signed after 20 years.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
I was so pleased to be drawing again I bought myself a new bag. £6 from Debenhams sale, about the size of a large hardback novel. Perfect size for a sketch pad up to A5, pencils pens even watercolours.
I have a fetish for bags I don't indulge too often as it would take money away from my book addiction but this was too good a bargain to miss.
Darn. Colour's off in the photo, bag's khaki and the patch is in red and black.
Last weekend I had to do two things I don't usually enjoy. One was a quick visti to our local B & Q DIY depot and the other was attend a church BBQ. DIY and Social situations come very low down my list of pleasurable ways to spend time. But I'm getting in the habit of taking a Moleskine sketch pad with me when I go out and in 10 minutes in the B & Q car park I had two fairly competent sketches finished and in 40 minutes at the BBQ I had two fairly competent drawings done. I found time. I FOUND TIME!
I can do it if I try. Here are the two drawings
Man at B&Q. I identified with his slouching and defeated posture. He looked liek he was being pressured into doing something when he'd rather have been in the garden with a cold beer.
A tree growing out of the remains of a house that had been gone at least 50 years.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
The urge to create is always there. Even on the beach working with sand and shells and a 4 and 1/2 year old assistant. Molly cried when we left the mermaid at the beach because the sea would wash her away. I told her when the tide reached her the sand girl would become a real mermaid and swim away. That cheered her up and she stopped crying.
These days it's Carla Speed MacNeil's Finder. A less than simple tale of a man who helps people in the way they need but is never welcome or wanted anywhere.
Damn I like outsider fiction. Apart from that though these books got me where I live on a mystical level that most outsdider fiction never managed, books like Bruce Chatwin's Songlines hit that same feeling of a mystical feeling in a mundane world. They're about seeing something in your peripheral vision that couldn't and shouldn't exist but somehow you're sure it does.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Pardon the expression, but Fuck Knows! You keep going until you learn to swim.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Add to that, the world cup, (Boredom inducing sport) a new hamster and the gift of a game boy and no wonder i've not updated recently. Back on track though now I hope.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
That actually made more sense when it occurred to me in that brief moment of lucidity that precedes sleep.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The scariest thing in the book was the way Watson put into words, at the end of the book, a summary of my life now. "I'm happier than I've ever been and I'm sadder than I've ever been". Parental existence in a nutshell.
Read this book, buy it off Amazon at a very good price, give it to any friend expecting a child. Gain an insight into what a new father is going through.
Damn I HATE MYSTICAL EXPERIENCES
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Naturally it doesn't seem to work so copy and paste this.
Monday, April 17, 2006
This was my favourite sketch from the day, partly because it caught the birds so well and partly because I rarely manage to put several images on a page and have it work so well.
Friday, April 14, 2006
The film's mistake was to appear in the midst of TV remake fever and not give everyone the nostalgia fest straight remake they expected. Suprisingly intelligent and clever for a popcorn movie despite the sugar coated ending.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
On the positive side, it's Easter weekend so that means 4 days off work and chocolate, Karen will have finished her latest module on her Masters so we'll be able to get the house back together and I can actually get back on the computer. May even fit some drawing in.
Monday, April 10, 2006
I think I do not take disappointment well.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
me and my number two girl
I'm not the most technologically minded of 40 year olds. I know guys older than me who can make HTML jump through hoops and do what ever they desire. That's not me unfortunately. I'm currently cock a hoop because I've just figured out how to email photos from my camera phone. I'm so pleased I thought I'd put the photo here.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Oh and yeah, he's either a fox or a man but never anthropomorphised.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Writing cartoon strips, I have a certain number of touchstones. Fox sees woman, fox falls in love. Not knowing how to woo a woman the fox simply offers her her hearts desire. He tries to outwit her by offering her what she wants in exchange for her heart. Does it work out for him? I'm not sure yet. It's my journey as much as his. Are my creative muscles ready for something like this?
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Without life experience to shape everything the art may be hollow however.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Then I discovered Eddie Campbell and Dave Sim. Dave Sim proved it was possible to do your own thing if you were totally single minded and prepared to make sacrifices along the way. I thought he was a true artist because he was so single minded in pursuit of his vision. Fortunately I wasn't that crazy. Eddie Campbell on the otherhand........ Eddie held down menial jobs, had a life and relieved his creative needs by by transcribing a series of fictionalised autobiographical stories in his spare time. And more importantly he did it all in a scratchy pen and ink style that I could actually connect with on an artistic level.
Now.... titles. For several years, since first hearing Lester Young play the tune, the title "Round Midnight" had reverberated around my conciousness like a tumour growing in my head or a love growing in my heart. Eventually, over several years I turned it into 200 pages of intensely personal comics which I published in 50 page chunks and sold maybe 30 copies of each book. Ten years followed where I desperately wanted to draw another story but every attempt to create something crashed after a dozen pages. Then a title hit me, "Cowboy" and I worte and drew a short story about learning to draw. Now another title is setting up house in my head, "Gooseland". I don't know where it came from or what it means but I'm waiting to see.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Few women her age and older, she's thirty, seem to develop that slavish devotion that lasts a liftime. A relatively small percentage carry on a devotion to Donny Osmond or David Cassidy or the like but they rarely store the mass of data a man dedicated to David Bowie or New Order would have at his fingertips.
I do notice more young girls and women developing this geek like nature though, women who can tell you the history and character growth of every cast member of "Buffy" by just pulling episode details from their heads, Anne Rice's vampire hoards, the growing number of women reading manga. I always thought women were better than us in that they could multitask and lacked this near deranged obsessive nature. Now I think that, soap operas aside, nothing had previously appeared that would engage them to that extreme.
Disclaimer. I am aware that there have been women out there for the last 30 years who have lived in the world of Star Trek and other internal worlds. My point remains that they were far out numbered by men who could explain the meaning of IDIC or the history of the federation.