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 http://cartoonandcomicarts.tumblr.com/ 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...it 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!