Search Results For "drawing"

Drawing the Inhuman

October 27, 2017 — 2 Comments

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of Marvel’s Inhumans.

I recall the Fantastic Four had a fair few encounters with them, and I remember really enjoying that excellent story when Triton popped into the Negative Zone to rescue Mr Fantastic (“Not so fantastic now, eh?” I think he uttered).

I also liked the idea of Crystal as Johnny Storm’s girlfriend. But then I’m always a fan of temporary team changes (especially when they aren’t simply about increasing sales.)

And Black Bolt’s power of talking loudly is kinda’ fun, in that he can’t even mutter under his breath without knocking out someone’s eardrums or causing a child’s Lego tower to crumble (“Now THAT was a waste of a Saturday afternoon!”). I’m sure it’s a bit of a pain for him too. I hear he likes Lego.

The fact that Maximus relies on his intellect and influence without particularly showy super powers, yet seems to be their main adversary is also intriguing.

Yeah, so like I said, I’m not a big fan.

But now there’s a telly show all about them, so I thought I’d show you some of my Inhuman doodles. And by ‘inhuman’ I don’t mean my drawing style, I mean…. oh, you know what I mean.

(For the unfamiliar this is Crystal, Maximus, Black Bolt and Medusa.)

If you’d like to see more drawings feel free to do the click thing here or here. No presh.

Drawing From the Past Again

November 13, 2014 — 2 Comments

After some pleasant responses to my last set of drawings from the past I thought I’d go for a zequel. Again, some doodles from various jobs or speculative efforts drawn from the murky mists of time (or even the odd memory stick). And hey, I’ve even chucked in a rough pencil drawing. I’m really making myself vulnerable and opening up now. Be kind, dear digital friends. (Weak simpering smile.)swimmer1

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Drawing From the Past

November 5, 2014 — Leave a comment

Many years ago I was a freelance illustrator. You may remember my work from such well-known publications as… er… as… (cough) indeed, they were heady days! The all-night parties, the beautiful women, the constantly flowing champagne and oodles of cash – yes, I illustrated all of those at one time or another.

In memory of that creative period, here’s a sampling of doodles, some that did and some that didn’t see print. It’s hard to remember which are which now after all those crazy late nights… lying in bed worrying about where the next job was coming from. Good times!ragnar150colourApanam4workshopparis5dalek

“Where’s your graphic novel, Flicko?”

“I thought you were going to print your comic!”

“Why aren’t you writing your barely humorous blogs any more?”

Are these the questions you’ve been itching to ask me, but for one reason or another just haven’t plucked up the courage to thump your quiet query into an available keyboard? (“No”) Don’t worry, I’m here to ask these questions for you!

Let’s recap: this website’s primary purpose was (and is) to promote my graphic novel ‘Mockingbird: Nightmare on Another Planet’ and when I started blogging I was building up to the grand entrance of this potential best seller (“I admire your confidence”) into the marketplace of digital viewership – via Kindle, Comixology, Sequential and the rest of the those pixellated prose providers.

This happened in July 2015 but for some bizarre reason I didn’t see it ascending the literary hit parade, so my order for a new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S had to remain on hold as the buying public decided to ignore the adjective I just kindly used in describing them.

This was of course a harsh lesson gently dealt out by the world of digital comics. I did have a suspicion it was going to be tough, and would probably need significantly more of a push than I could justifiably give it (looking at my busy schedule of climbing trees, reading Thomas the Tank Engine and pooing my nappy – and that’s before we get to the kids!) – and as they say, indifference is worse than a bad review. (I think Oscar Wilde said that. If he didn’t, then I’m claming it.)

As I mentioned in my blog from the past, the comic readership still seem to be a paper reading bunch. They (and I should also add ‘I’) like to have something in their hands, to feel the crisp turn of the page, to inhale the distinctive odour of an even litho print, to place an item on your bedside cabinet to gather inordinate amounts of dust before not being read.

Admittedly the men in tights and well-endowed ladies seem to do well in digital (just cast your eyeball over Comixology’s homepage) and there is a definite online presence of comic creators knocking out screen-based tales to delight all tastes. But interestingly many of these guys and gals will still gather their bits & bytes into a printed version at the end of a story arc or set time frame. This is telling in itself. (“Is it?” Yes, it is. “Really?” Yes.)

As I’ve previously harked on about, comic buyers like to meet comic creators (and I’m sure vice et versa) so it’s essential for hard copies to exist so comic cons aren’t just rows and rows of empty tables with nobody too sure who is selling and who is buying, with the odd black-clothed lounger drawing Wolverine for the umpteenth time to cover his drinks tab for the evening.

This then leads to the question I know you’re going to ask again: “Are you going to print your comic then?” An excellent question, and one I will cover at our next session.

You can get off the couch now. My secretary will book your next appointment.

What’s that? Oh yes, sorry, my mistake… I’ll leave.

imageSlightly more than half a marathon, more like three fifths of a marathon! But come on, where’s the excitement in setting yourself a challenge if there isn’t the real possibility that you might not make it? Which, I hold my hands up, is what happened here. My quivering sweaty body lying in the road as tears and embarrassment stain my hopes of achieving that shiny medal of success (metaphorically speaking). Okay, maybe it’s not that bad.

The Comic 365 Challenge was/is a self-imposed project to create a comic strip, one panel a day, over the course of a year. Click that button here for more (but not much more) explanation.

It started well and continued fairly steadily through the first few months, but it did quickly became apparent this was going to take longer than a year! After all, the storyline wasn’t meticously planned out in advance, other than in the vaguest way in my head, with certain images and plot points I knew would happen, then basically stringing individual panels between these narrative buoys. (That’s story writing, kids!)

I also set myself the additional challenge of using blue pencil and art pens (whereas normally I would be found sporting a regular grey-type pencil, brush and ink). But the discovery that blue leads in a retractable pencil are frustratingly fragile, liable to collapse at the merest suggestion of pressure, soon sent me back to the trusty HB. I did stick with the art pen, even though the line became noticeably thicker as the pen got older and I unconsciously veered back towards a variation of line with which I’m familiar (like a brush, y’see). You can see this if you compare some of the early panels with the later ones.

But unexpectedly there was a wonderful delight in using Instagram as a window to the world, primarily from the immediate response and interaction with those viewing my fresh sequential produce.

My illustrating experience is one of spending time crafting and sculpting a tale or doodle, with no audience participation whatsoever, even when it’s gone to print let along during the process itself! I know this can be good and bad, but in regards to this challenge the engagement was an essential flavour of the scheme. Every ‘like’ or ‘comment’ added a joyful skip in my pen work, though there is of course an addictive quality which only becomes apparent when you’ve proudly posted up the Mona Lisa and received a disappointedly muted response. My desperation for the affirmation of strangers reflected back at me by a blank comments box. Sad face.

This is when you remind yourself that actually the ‘normal way’ of drawing is to receive a ‘muted response’ EVERY TIME you’ve completed a panel because… you’re working on your own! Stop being so cloying!

Where were we? Yes, August is when things started to slip, and the odd missed panel slowly started to grow into a whole stack of missed panels. Like Billy Liar stuffing the undelivered calendars back into his wardrobe, it comes to a point (in October) when you need to admit you’re not going to catch up. The priorities of life outside of social networking (is there such a thing?) take precedence over the virtual. The unseen referee holds up my hand to watch it limply splat to the canvas, announcing the match is over, and the winner is not me. 235 days complete, 130 remain.

But let us not be downbeat, fellow travellers! Though the tale is still not told at least we are now released from the shackles of weighty expectation and rattling on the bars of unrelenting deadlines. Now I can continue the story without the constraints. “Maybe you needed the constraints to actually motivate you, Flix!” Hmm, you might have a point. “Thanks.” You’re welcome.

Let’s see what happens next. But I’ll be honest, this isn’t my priority. I am keen to at least scan and present the current panels, and finish off the ‘final’ 130 images. I say ‘final’ because I already know the first 365 drawings would only be Chapter One! This is going to take ages. “Especially if you’re not drawing it anymore!”

In the meantime, you can view the panels on Instagram, you don’t even need to have an account. Of course, feel free to ‘like’ or add an effusive comment. “Stop being so cloying!” Soz.

P.S. If you were looking for an explanation of WHAT ON EARTH the C365 story is about, I’m afraid this isn’t the blog for that. Another time, kindly reader!

Comic 365: Pages 9 – 16

March 25, 2015 — 1 Comment

Hand aI can’t believe how late this blog is! As my school teachers used to say as I handed in yet another post-deadline essay (on the burgeoning economics of La Rochelle’s tourist industry after the unexpected popularity brought on by the Tricolore textbooks had waned, for example).

But this is not homework, this is far more important than homework! (Don’t tell your parents I said that.) This is Comic 365, the internationally recognised (ahem) art (ahem) challenge drawn by a world-renowned and much-loved (ahem, could someone just get me a glass of water?) artist. Yes, I’m still talking about me.

If you’ve only recently tuned in to this experience of terrific a brief explanation is contained in these words.

Pages 9 through to 16 were an interesting bunch. Everything in me wanted to speed this comic strip malarkey up! Twenty four hours between each panel was dee-riving me crazy, Miss Daisy! I was so tempted to step on the figurative gas and punch this narrative into the figurative fifth gear. But I did not step on the aforementioned figurative gas because I quickly recognised that that decision would have turned this whole process into nothing more than simply a series of connecting illustrations, by removing the moment-by-moment imagery. And THAT, my friends, would have made this a charade.

As you no-doubt-well-know-well-no-doubt, a comic strip is more than just a collection of connected static images. A comic strip has movement! Something wondermentful happens between those panels as the eye/s move/s from one pic to the next. I can’t explain it (as demonstrated in that last sentence) but this is more than pretty drawings tacked onto an adjacent tale, this is holistic storytelling (and without words either, non-dialogue fans!).

So what I did is this: I beat down that cloying creature called Instinct, and cuffed the ear of the vile goblin known as Impatience and I slowed it all down even further. Drama is not to be found in haste (as my old drama teacher would’ve said, if he’d existed).

Y’see, after all the excitement has faded away (once it’s started), I want to ensure that we still have a piece of comic strip worth reading, even without the glamour of this Comic 365 Challenge. When this story eventually sees print (digital or inky) I’d like it to be a pleasurable experience for the reader, whether or not they’ve been part of this long drawn out exercise you and I are currently committed to – like an invisible contract you don’t remember signing, with invisible ink, in a room with no windows, at night, blindfolded, a lingering whiff of body odour in the air… sorry, that was too much, wasn’t it?

Righto, chat over, see you back here in a few weeks. Love n’ biscuits for all! Flicko

Comic 365: Pages 1 – 8

February 4, 2015 — 1 Comment

C365So that was January. 31 panels in 31 days? Check. Delivered, as promised.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about look at this or this.

I admit I’m quite surprised at how slow the pace has been; moving the story forward. I’m blaming the fact that this isn’t the normal way to write and draw comic strips.

(Turn away now if you don’t want to read any unwanted director’s commentary or potential schpoilers.)

I assumed our heroine would have arrived at her destination by now. This is still the opening credits! Maybe this is an opportunity for me to flag up that I think this might take longer than 365 days! Comic 731 anyone?

Talking of blah, it’s been interesting to look at the pacing now I’ve laid out the panels onto pages. Unfortunately by drawing one-a-day the tempo of the tale has been (maybe unhelpfully) heavily influenced by ‘real time’. Twenty four hours wouldn’t be the usual amount of time you’d spend in the gutter (technical term for that space between panels, not a literal gutter – though the comment still stands if that’s what you thought I meant).

Also as you may have seen, I’ve been using a couple of art pens, which have taken some getting used to. I normal hang out with the brushes and ink gang, y’see.

And getting some visual consistency has been challenging. It didn’t feel like I nailed the heroine’s ‘look’ till about Day 21.

Apologies, it sound like I’m complaining! This is meant to be fun, Flicko! Soz.

It has been an interesting experiment so far, and I’m sure there will be more interesting developments to note along the way. I appreciate I’m making a massive presumption that you’re interested in these meandering shoe-glazing reflections!

If you’re still here at the end of February we will chat again, and on that occasion I will try to turn up with a smile on my face rather than the contemplative visage I’m currently sporting!

Don’t forget you can see the brand new panels every day here. Just a push button push away!

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”)

Showing Your Age

November 3, 2014 — 2 Comments

globalAThem kids today don’t know how good they’ve got it. And when I say kids, I mean kids of the Digital Age (should that be capitalised? I’ll check my History of Man wall chart later).

I remember, last century, when drawing comics was a lonely affair. Scrawling away, locked in a darkened room. Well, not locked, that’d be strange – and not darkened either (“Exactly, how would you draw?” Okay okay!). Sitting in a well-lit unlocked room. But definitely on your own. And far more on your own that we would even imagine today!

When I first started writing and drawing comics, I didn’t know anyone else who did (discounting my older brother). I knew SOME other children who read comics, but actually writing and drawing them, there was no one to my knowledge within a reachable vicinity who did such a thing. I’m sure they were there, but I didn’t know them (probably locked in darkened rooms somewhere).

It’s incredible thinking about it today, that you can tap a few simple words into your lap tablet or talking/listening device and find a whole world of other creators, just a mouse ride away.

When I originally self-published my stuff I had no idea how to get it under people’s noses (the original comics had a scratch n’ sniff promo). So I put adverts into the main UK comics journal at the time, Comics International. I sent some copies to reviewers that I’d seen in the main UK comics journal at the time, Comics International. I sold them to my friends, family and people in my church, who religiously read the main UK comics journal at the time, Comics International (see what I did there?). I sat in the small press section at the UKCAC 1997 comic convention feeling way out of my depth and slightly perplexed as to how I was actually going to shift all these boxes of pristine and freshly printed comics, that I’d rammed between the shaky legs of my trestle table.

To be fair I’m still thinking that today, except the boxes are now in the garage.

Of course, I’m not saying things would’ve turned out differently if Mr Internet had invented his global communicating machine at a more convenient time for me.

Alright, maybe I am saying that! Things would’ve been SO different if the internet had been around earlier! 1995 to be exact. Them digital kids don’t know how good they’ve got it!

(Do you like the way I bookended that? Thanks.)

Badger D“Why on earth has that character got the head of a badger?!” That is a question I’ve heard many many times (twice). And I’m expecting to hear it even more once this crazy graphic novel is released and rockets up The Times bestseller list! (That. Is. Not. A. Joke.)

“Stop avoiding the question, Flicko!” Okay. We’re talking about anthropomorphism, as in, applying human forms or attributes to something which isn’t human. Of course, we all know this has been going on for years!

The ancient Egyptians had their share of animal-headed deities (e.g. jackal, falcon and crocodile), the Hindu pantheon as well (e.g. elephant and monkey) and in centuries past European explorers would often return home with tales of distant lands populated by men with the heads of dogs, even up to the medieval period.

But really it’s from literature and other media that I’ve taken my influence. Whether it’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, Alice in Wonderland, Une Semaine De Bonte, The Magic Finger, Jungle Book (which I hear has been made into an excellent book-of-the-film), Snoopy and any number of animated ‘funny animals’.

But in the early Rupert Bear stories, that’s where I particularly found talking animals to be pretty creepy and disconcerting, yet fascinating, especially as they lived alongside their human counterparts without anyone necessarily commenting, “Er, excuse me, but do you know you have the head of a hamster?”

So that’s my justification, y’honour, for including an evil mad scientist with the head of a badger in my comic! It’s grounded in an established history of literary anthropomorphic acceptance.

It’s handy as well, as it communicates – without words – this is not a normal situation; this is a fantastical world you are entering. I like to think it stimulates curiosity.

And if you’re drawing a black and white comic, a badger is ideal! I know, based on that, he could have been any monochromatic animal. But to be honest, there’s a certain simmering malevolence I was going for that I don’t think a Friesian cow could exactly pull off. Let alone squeeze those udders into a lab coat! I rest my case.