Saturday, 26 November 2011

Bristol Encounter Festival 2011

Bristol Encounter Festival 2011

This year saw the Annual Animation trip to Bristol take place as usually. It was a great chance to meet people from industry and see what the latest animations were and more importantly catch up with old friends!
Jamie Bakewell from Aardman, was working on Pre Viz currently working in the digital effects department.
A picture of laura Weston discussing the old days with Kolin Humphries Animator and Illustrator, currently working out of Lichfield. He popped along to see what job opportunities there were out there and to network with people from industry. Kolin drew the picture at the top of the page.

All the ex-students were eager to divulge information and chat openly with 3rd years students telling them where the jobs were and more importantly what to expect out there in the big wide world.
 While there Shelly Page from Dreamworks presented her best films from across the world, and mentioned that this was how they found potential employers for the company, and that they had film days there so the other animators and designers could be inspired by what was happening in education.
There was quiet a bit of queuing, especially for the best events such as the Aardman talk on Rapid Prototyping (See Daryl Marsh's blog on that) and also to meet John Krisfalusi the inventor of Ren & Stimpy. He spoke knowledgeably about the animation industry in general and  in the dessert island flicks showed some of his favorite films, including one of my idols Tex Averys work! We're on the same level John K!! He also drew some excellent caricatures of people for a small fee!


Friday, 25 November 2011

Rob Pointion
visit to
Staffordshire University

The other week before we set off for Bristol we had visiting lecturer and all round animator and illustrator Rob Pointon from BigRed Studio came to Staffs Uni armed with 2 Rock climbers to teach students dynamic drawings from different angles. In this short animation below, Rob left his art work of a model he drew in rotation to show the students how to draw people and maintain some consistency to their drawings.

The aim of the award is not to teach students to draw, but to get them experience different methods of mark making so they can develop their drawing styles.

Poltical Comment

Satirical Cartoons
on the
Euro and Arab Uprising

I find it hard to believe that while the Arab world is fighting for democracy, getting rid of the unelected dictators who have ruled their live's with a ruthless fist, that we in the west are looking to have our democratically elected officials replaced by faceless bureaucrats! Put in place with no agenda voted for by the people, this is the way democracy dies, not with guns and explosions but with the quiet ching of the platinum cash tills! Long Live Democracy in Europe!

Before I get rants and raves, yes I realise that Britain is under the control of a government selected without a mandate from the people. I've always wondered what a coalition party would be like and now I know I'm quiet happy to say never again. The only good thing to come out of this, is I understand why the political parties have different colours. Blue for the cold and dead conservatives, Red for the way Labour bleeds the public's money and Yellow for the line that runs down the back of Liberal Democrats. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Weekly Cartoon word

Well done to Cartoon and Comic Arts students who thought they didn't have enough on their plate, so started a Weekly word 3 panel Cartoon. Using words created randomly this is the starting point for the cartoon we have to produce.
The first entry was eyebrow, and the last 2 weeks have been Marker and Stumble. I hope they keep this up as it is just a bit of Fun. Here are my contributions to the wall!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

1st Year of Cartoon and Comic Arts

Cartoon & Comic Arts
at Staffordshire University 2011

The first trip for Cartoon and Comic Arts students from Staffordshire University took place earlier on this week and was deemed a success. Not only was there plenty to see and do while we were down there, we also met Rob Cureton of the independent print company "Orful Comics" and chatted with animator Jo McLellend and the award leader met up and coming stand up comic and script writer James O'Brien.

While in London the students arranged visits to London Zoo to sketch and also Madame Tussuad's for the Marvel 4D Experience

We also visited the National Museum to see the Elgin Marbles which could be interpreted as a form of comic art. We also visited the V&A Museum where there was an excellent exhibition on the first 50 years of Private Eye


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Reading Material

Image Comics

Over the last couple of months I've stumbled on this publication (above) Moriarty. Now I'm not an offical type of reviewer but I thought I'd write a few comments down to try and explain why I picked this off the shelf.
Written by Daniel Corey, drawn by Anthony Diecidue and published by the independant Printing press of Image Comics, it stood out on the shelf for both the content and the style. I've always been a big Sherlock Holmes fan and I've mentioned a few times in the blog about the BBC (Steve Moffat & Mark Gatiss) updating of it, and of course there has also been the Robert Downey JR and Jude Law remake directed by Guy Richie. So here on the shelf was Sherlock Holmes Arch enemy with his own publication. Would it tell the Sherlock stories from his point of view? would it be based in his younger years and show how his down fall (if you could call it that) happened?

Closer inspection lead to the realisation that it was based 20 years or so after his an Holmes final confrontation, and the super villian had fallen on hard times. His greatest victory seemingly left an empty hole now in his life, where crime held no alure for him.

Now he's approached by the British Secret Service on the eve of the first World War to find Sherlocks brother Mycroft Holmes who has mysteriously dissappeared! There is a big step of faith here as a super villian turns into willing civil servant. It's a little like Osbourne being in charge of SHEILD! Anyway this pans out ok as Moriarty thyinks that this is more a trick laid out by the British than an honest plea for help in the case of the missing Mycroft!

Needless to say a few things happen where Moriarty discovers his hunger and appitite again. He discovers that there is now a new Underground criminal element that controls London and he seems driven to prove their new master isn't as good an under lord as he was!  

Anyway, I dont want to give away anymore of the plot. I mentioned about the artwork that stood out on the shelf to me.  Anthony Diecidue Produces some lovely dark images of old London Town.

There are also so some guest star roles in characters from other literature novels, "Oliver Twists" Fagin appears when Moriarty is trying to find some information out from around London Town.

The lighting and atmosphere captured in some of the panels is breath taking, though as the book does go on, some of the detail is left behind a bit, almost as working to a deadline the artist ran out of time.  

I loved the Photomontage scenes, such as the ones above where images of well known London Landmarks are used to great effects in the backdrops. I wish I thought of this while doing my comic book!

The layout is spectacular as well, here are a few screen grabs to give you a taste of the quality of the artwork and also how the pacing and timing flow.

Overall this was a very good read and I would recommend it to anyone. I also think giving the audience an already established character and doing something slightly out of the ordinary with him that is new and refreshing.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Drawing my own Comic Strip

Tempus Noble

Over the last couple of months I've been drawing my own comic strip and posting it up on as well as doing regular posts on Twitter Cartandcomic. The aim was to get me being creative again, coming up with a story and getting some feedback about how Comics work as a vehicle of Visual communication. Along the way I found some interesting things out about writing comics and putting them down on paper and how they do draw a lot from film, or film draws a lot from comics.
Ed Hooks says always make sure your character is doing something, and this is the same for comics. No one just sits there! If there are walking some where, where are they walking too? You might ask why should we think of this?
Well this determines how you draw the person, how you get the idea of their character across to people. After all it is about visual communication!
I went to a conference once in Bradford Film Photography and TV Museum held by directors and one in particular gave some very helpful tips on how shots should be composed. Using "Dangerous Liaisons" he showed how the main characters descent into madness was portrayed visually, not be having the character shout "I'm going mad, I'm going Mad!" but by tilting the camera, so all the verticals in the shot were off angle. I notice it done in so many films now! looking at comics, I can draw a comparison with this technique and that of film, how the panels are structured or how the image is framed or drawn to put the reader/viewer in a particular uncomfortable position.

Anyway I hope you enjoy the comic if you get round to having a look on tumblr.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Scribbles of a Mad Man 07 Summer Blues

Scribbles of a Mad Man
Whats on TV

Draw, Draw and Draw again.
But what shall I draw?
I think everyone should try this and it's drawing from the TV, try and get a sense of character and proportion of whats going on down on a piece of paper as quickly as you can. It's one of those things where you need to practice and that is what drawing is a skill. Anyone whose done PE knows "skill is the learned ability to bring about the predetermined result with the maximum ability and the minimum outlay of effort!"
Drawing is no difference!
Don't worry about making mistakes and messing things up, have a go and get some feedback from it.
Here have a look at what I was doing last Thursday.
Torchwood & Dexter

Quick sketches of the character of Dexter on FX. OK some work some don't but nevertheless I've had a go. I'm surprised by Dexter's Sister. There is something ever pixie about her, elf like. parts of her face don't match up yet she is some one who you just stare at to try and figure out why... Or maybe it's just me!!
I started to plan out a page for a comic book. One of my recent failing has been the fact I never do a big page spread where the background bleeds in with the other panels. I tried to do it here and give a sense that the reader was in the room and acting as a voyeur on the above scene. The perspective went a bit wrong, but I thought I'd include it so you could see all the mistakes as well as the final image. Maybe you agree with the scene, maybe you'd have drawn it from the victims point of view, you never know till you do it!

Finally a sketch from Torchwood. I've never drawn Gwen Cooper before and while I was watching the program it came to my notice she continually pouts, aka posh spice style. 2 interesting characters. Hope you like?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Scribbles of a Mad Man 06 Summer Blues

Scribbles of a Mad Man!

Well it's that time of year the students have all gone, some forever as they seek their fame and fortunes in new pastures and I'm sitting in the office, planning new lessons and setting new goals. The aim of the summer break was allow me to do some more drawing get use to pushing out ideas and learning new techniques, but alas, once you become a home owner all that slips away! The only good thing to happen is my plastering technique has really taken off! (Maybe another career beckons!)

So... watching 9th Gate last night with that heart throb Jonny Depp (I can't see it myself ladies) and I got thinking about all things supernatural!

I got thinking about "The Four Horse Men of the Apocalypse" and here are my initial sketches. Those who don't know the Horsemen were/are from the book of Revelations and are suppose to arrive to announce Armageddon or the end of the world. The Four are War, Death, Pestilence and Famine. So I was thinking that must be a cool name for a band, and what happens if the 4 were the lead members! so I got drawing, the first idea was everyone should look a little like what they were, so war was a bit of a heavy metal nut, death a skeleton, pestilence was dirty and scruffy and famine was also a bit of a skeleton. Then I got thinking, why not reverse it a bit, may be there is always a famine going around with this bloke because he eats all the time, death might not be this sad morbid character but the life and soul of the party, Pestilence immaculate in presentation and War a Hippy!

Maybe they just want a break on earth of the good time.

Anyway it was an idea that I quickly put down on paper. I wanted them to do an X-Factor thing in Heaven for a chance to make in big down here and in winning they start off the end of the world. Ideas in the making and it's always good to share!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Staffordshire University Graduation 2011

Staffordshire University Graduation 2011

Friday 15th July 2011 saw the Staffordshire University Animation cohort graduate and in time honoured tradition we had the photo shoot afterwards to show how delighted we were!! Above is the old 3D Character Animation & Special Effects Award who were mixed together with the animation cohort. Some did departed to VFX as well, though to me they'll always be 3DCA, I shaped and modelled them (there is a pun in there somewhere for 3Ders!) Unfortunately Dave Gower and Chris Leonard are missing from this photo but from Right to left
Dan Waterman (Creative producer for Carse & Waterman, google them and see what work they've completed while at university!)
Mitch Taylor (Brilliant 3D modeller and you can watch his film Beachcomber on Vimeo)
Chistopher Hazeldine (Another excellent modeller and a source for unwanted knowledge!)
Adrian Tooth
Devon Stewart (our own course DJ and has more fingers in different pies than anyone I know, he's moved to Bristol to be closer to the animation scene!!)
Iain Batchelder (already as a few freelance options signed up, so good luck with that!)
Colin Kaszynski (One of the hardest working individuals I know whom Microsoft Games at FMX wanted to talk to! I hope one day that he discovers his bed and has a lie down!)

This is the whole cohort along with Barry Purves who was awarded a honorary doctorate by the university for his work in the field of media and art. Barry has worked on many TV shows from postman pat to Wind in the Willows, and films as diverse as Tim Burtons Mars Attacks and alongside Peter Jackson on King Kong.

Well done to the Class of 2011

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cartoon and Comic Arts at Staffordshire University

Cartoon & Comic Arts at Staffordshire University

Just to let you know the wheels are turning and the new cohort is getting ready for the imminent arrival at Staffs uni in September. I've started to deck out the new Comic Arts studio with Ikeas finest, starting off with the comfy area, a place where the great minds can relax and contemplate! I'm very keen to make this into an actual studio rather than a teaching room, I want the students to come in a feel that there is a definite step up from further Education into a more professional based curriculum aimed at developing a work ethos!
Anyway enough of the big words, just have a look at my spotty sofas!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Degree Show up date.

Degree Show
Staffordshire University

The degree show has been running for a couple of days now and there seems to be a never ending supply of the public, teachers and school parties making there way through the building. 
here are some high light that I've put together of the show from my point of view. 

First of May Jowd, Tom Grainger,Alex Young and John Colenso film that I storyboarded on a little earlier on in this Blog.
You can have a look at the images I drew off their designs and how they  ended up in real life!!

Above and below from concept in the storyboard process to the finished article, Alex Young became a dab hand at the creation of Latex foam puppets.

John Colenso's Fox, there was an offer of £40 for the final model

Same Edwards life size Robot brought to life in his animation.

John Fox received an award, not for the home made Spiderman Suit but for one of the best and imaginative CV's. He did his as a comic strip!