Archives For January 2015

Previews of Previews V

January 28, 2015 — Leave a comment

DocA copyOkay, so let’s get back to what this website was set up to do: to bring the wonders and pleasure of reading ‘Mockingbird: Nightmare on Another Planet’ the graphic novel to a watching (possibly) and waiting (unlikely) world!

And for those who are struggling to contain their anticipation and excitement (all of you!) I will be announcing some smilesome news very soon. Consider this a teaser, if you will. Or even if you won’t. Either way: high fives for everyone!

Dear Wolverine

January 27, 2015 — 3 Comments

imageDear Wolverine

I trust this letter finds you in good health.

It has been a few years, I admit. Time stands still for no one, as they say!

How are your anger management issues now? (If that question doesn’t cause you to fly off the handle!)

Do you remember, you used to be so mad and full of rage, such a temper, like a tiny seething time bomb of bristles, that stank of cigarettes? You were like an animal! (If there’s an animal that smokes half chewed cigars.)

To be honest it was kinda’ sad, as if your angst defined your identity so much you didn’t know who you were anymore.

I’m not dismissing your past, mate, I know you’ve been treated badly, betrayed, ripped apart. It’s just feels a little bleak as I know you had so many friends who seemed to genuinely care about you and look up to you. It’s a shame the love, companionship and community of your mates and ex-mates didn’t seem to factor into your healing process.

I always thought maybe you just needed a hug. Not that I was going to try! I left that to one of your many female admirers – who worryingly all seemed to be a lot younger than you!

You certainly were popular though! Everyone wanted you at their party, to be seen with you, everyone wanted to be like you. Well, maybe not the hair.

I recall you were pretty adamant about that haircut. Actually you were just adamant all over, weren’t you?

But joking aside, there is something serious we need to discuss. I think the thing that disturbs me most, the thing that truly upsets me is that you used to be a role model for guys like me (well, maybe not the smoking) – no, you were one of my heroes because you were short! What changed? Now whenever I see you around you’re like over six feet tall! Where did THAT growth spurt come from?!

And what’s with the Australian accent? I don’t know who you are anymore.

“Join the club, bub” I’m sure you’d say, “And stick another moose rib on the barbie.”

Kindest regards, I look forward to seeing you again soon.


Watch the Birdie

January 20, 2015 — 6 Comments

untitledIt’s important to enjoy this moment, my friends. This time next year we’ll look back and smile as we recall this period of digital tranquillity when it was just you, me and the three other regular readers of this blog, sitting here shooting the virtual breeze.

Oh yes, this time next year small children across the globe will be rushing into their nearest toy emporium, knocking cheap plastic Mockingbird action figures off the shelves – because they’re in the way of the loom band display – ha ha, no, because they want to get the latest Mockingbird-related product of course. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from watching Wars in Space (or whatever that film’s called) it’s this (a) makes lots of toys of your thing, (b) make more lots of toys of your thing, (c) don’t stop making lots of toys of your thing.

I’ve done the maths and the math (depending on whether the Atlantic Ocean is on your left or right) and I’ve systematically calculated that the world of media is ready for a bird-based fictional character.

Think about it: Sir Walter Disney had Mickey the Mouse, Stanley Lee had the Spiderman, and Bob Kane and his mate had Mr Batman… you can see where this is going can’t you? Mice, spiders, bats… it’s now the turn of the birds!

Not in the Hitchcockian type way obviously (sorry, Daphne), where you can’t leave the house for fear of having your eyes poked out like two tasty balls of suet by a horde of mad crazed feathered rascals.

Look, people clearly love cartoons and comics that are associated with a furry or creepy-crawly creature. We’re a nation of animal lovers, as the parrots are fond of parroting. I could cite many white-glove-wearing animal folk who have won the hearts of the worldwide population, and so I will: Bugs Bunny, Pink Panther, The Green Hornet, Spit the Dog, Roland Rat, Bear Grylls, Russell Crowe, that cat in the funny video. And some of them weren’t even wearing gloves! How many more Dalmations do you need to convince you?

Do not be surprised if by the end of the year, whilst sitting quietly in line in Specsavers, you find your suet eyes focussing on a poster for the latest optical insurance being advertised by a small cartoon girl in a yellow jumper!

Enjoy this non-Mockingbird world we live in while there’s still time. You have been warned.

image“You’re always pushing me around… I can’t give you what you want… This isn’t working, maybe you should be with someone else…”

Sound familiar? We’ve all been there, haven’t we? When you realise your choice of art material isn’t giving you what you need. It used to be so good.

Or maybe this is a new relationship and you’ve just got to stick with it. Change and adjustment is required to make this work. Yes, I’m still talking about art materials.

You can’t expect acrylic paint to act like Indian ink, or a 2B to act like a 2H, or a scalpel to act like a rubber (ERASER, I mean!).

Over the years my choice of instrument has been the brush, to ink my pencil lines. But recently I’ve been using an art pen and, I’ll be honest with you, it’s not the same.

The brush and I had such amazing times together. With just a minor amount of pressure the brush performed a varied and beautifully thick line – whereas the pen insists on providing the same width no matter how much I press and cajole. It’s so uncompromising!

With just a minor caress the brush gave the gentlest and finest of wondrous lines – whereas the pen insists on fading away when there’s even the smallest let up of pressure applied! It’s obstinately consistent, I’ll give it that.

“That’s the line you’re getting, sunshine – no more, no less!”

But why should I be surprised? It’s unfair to expect a new relationship to be the same as the last one. You’re right, I need to value the qualities the pen does have, rather than projecting my seething perturbation on it for my own lack of artistic prowess.

If I remember correctly it wasn’t easy with the brush at first. We had to get to know each other: what it was I was after, and the parameters within which the brush could meet those needs. YES, JUST LIKE A REAL RELATIONSHIP (it’s all about me).

Hey, I’m a big believer in commitment, even when the other party constantly needs me to pick them up and lend a hand to do even the simplest of tasks!

“I’m fine, can we start again?… And no more eyeing up my thinner friends… or the thick ones either…”

We’ll make this work. Now where’s my old mate, Tipex?

Comic 365.15

January 5, 2015 — 5 Comments

Comic 2015A couple of weeks ago I had this incredible idea (“Sounds like you, Flicko”). I admit, it’s not particularly original (“Sounds like you, Flicko”), but as the Famous Five would say, I think it’s jolly exciting.

I know there are many off-the-shelf and established drawing challenges and exercises out there. Some involving a daily sketch on a particular subject (e.g. the Joker laughing), others a drawing-a-day for a month utilising a specific technique (e.g. the Joker laughing, in watercolour), others more collaborative in a relay race type way (e.g. I draw the Joker then you draw the next image in that sequence, possibly the Joker laughing?). And from what I understand, the intention of these various artistic undertakings is to bring some discipline and inspiration to the creative process, and maybe dare I say… fun.

Anyway, back to me. As we were slowly creeping towards the end of the year, I thought it would be fun (there’s that word again) to set up my own (possibly unoriginal) comic drawing project stroke challenge stroke exercise. If you’re still reading I’m going to assume you’re interested, so here it is:

– Draw one panel a day for 365 days (or in common parlance, ‘a year’).
– Each panel is the same size.
– Do not plan ahead, story-wise, but see where the images lead.
– No roughs or advance sketches.
– No dialogue.

Now, this is where the problems start, because once I started mulling (yuletide pun, relevant at time of writing) over the idea I invariably started to plan ahead. I began constructing a story arc! I couldn’t help it, dear reader! I had an initial image in my brain head, and from that I started to craft and fashion what I can only describe as, a spiffing tale. At least, that’s what me and Enid Blyton would call it.

But rather than beat myself up (which is actually quite difficult to do – no need to offer assistance, thanks!) I just revised my self-imposed rules. They were only self-imposed, after all:

– Draw one panel a day for 365 days (or in common parlance, ‘2015’).
– Each panel is the same size, but double panels are allowed (still counting as one day, mind).
– You can plan ahead for the sake of clarity.
– Minimal roughs only.
– No dialogue.

Y’see, I didn’t want to spend a year drawing something that I feared would end up being a rambling mess (“Sounds like you, Flicko”). I’m not as avant garde as my care-free off-the-wall regular musings may suggest. Stop sniggering! I wanted to make sure that anyone following this strip wouldn’t feel it was a wasted journey by the time they got to the thirty first of December. And when I say ‘anyone’ I probably mean ‘me’.

So, if the curiosity light on your control panel is currently flashing you’ll be pleased to know I’ve set up an Instagram account to record the daily panels. At the end of each month I’ll collate these images together nicely and present them here.

Post script: If it all goes face-shaped and I fall flat on my pear, I will immediately delete this blog post and deny all knowledge that I ever committed to such a task! (“Sounds like you, Flicko”)