September 28th, 2008
|05:05 am - Webcomics Nation|
I have edited my comics slightly so they fit over at the Webcomics Nation site. Have been doing this as I will change server soon and in the gap my comics will still be viewable over there, and, actually, I do quite like the format/site layout at Webcomics Nation. Also, It allows me to see what my ‘side scrolling’ comics look like on a flat ‘normal’ page layout (landscape, one above the other, on a vertically scrolling page). It might even be an improvement maybe, I think, surprisingly. I am still in the process of uploading pages but have managed to put a fair amount of the following comics up:
Refuge (serial comic, four chapters so far),
Sand-Pit (Word Comic),
JoJo (Word Comic),
The Knife (Part of Refuge),
The Stranger (old word comic) and
Train Journey (part of refuge separated form new comic narrative),
already uploaded to my little area of the site. More stuff to come!
The Webcomics Nation site is soon to merge with Comics Space. When this happens, in a few months time, people will be automatically redirected to the new site, so I’m told. Not sure what this new place will look like. If it is a problem I will be looking for a decent site to house my comics. At the moment I cringe at a lot of content on Webcomics Nation, that’s when I dare to look. I suppose I can’t speak really. There are some good things I have read there. For me Webcomics Nation good as the design there seems to accommodate my comics well and it may get more people who enjoy comics to look at them. Saves being stuck out in the blogosphere I suppose. I will have to look around a bit more to see what other hosting sites there out there now. Who knows what this new ‘Comics Space’ is going to be like. I am happy currently but in two months time that may change. Be easy to upload somewhere else.
September 6th, 2008
|10:20 pm - A long time ago...|
...I lived in a cramped room with hardly any space on the table to draw. Hunched up against the bed I drew a comic. I had been trying a few drawings, then some writing. Why not put the two together? It was the winter of 1992. Below is the first result. Working with a fine point marker pen. It seemed to come together sort of. It was my first attempt at a word thing.
August 24th, 2008
|07:07 pm - The Knife|
New short sequence in two pages (page one above). Click on image for the full story, Posted at Comics Nation. This is the second story in a series. First one here. Crosshatching or no crosshatching, that is the question? I decide what the hell, whatever fits with the story. Sometimes crosshatching is a good way of creating textured blacks. This enforced fixation with the toy train, the theatrical forest and the plastic Indians is only temporary. Like a dream I think these things fit into some logic somewhere. Inside that train carriage it must be so uncomfortable. Why don't they escape to the forest? I don't know.
July 25th, 2008
|01:01 am - JoJo|
A word comic that I have been working on for too long now and that I have to finally put up online or throw it in the bin. Not complete, not even finished, but it is at least some physical evidence of work, that I have been doing something for the past weeks. I could show you several different versions and they could all be put up. In fact putting this up gives me the chance to bring it to some sort of conclusion. It is a relief, yet I am still fighting back urges to re-do panels and adjust the narrative.
To do something short. To confine a passage to the minimum number of panels. To use words and abstract imagery/signs to suggest space and things happening, just like in a normal narrative only in this the text comes to the fore and the imagery is more integrated into the words rather than the other way around.
Click on image for larger version.
March 13th, 2008
|09:48 pm - Chapter 5 Finished|
I may well of course go back and change details or the angle of something. Things always look different once you go back and look at them again when uploaded. I am constantly seeing things from a fresh perspective. I am starting to work on another comic to be uploaded later in the year. Also looking forward to putting up chapter 6, Starting next week. My scanner is bust so when I get an new, cheaper, one plugged in and working I will put up some more preparation sketches.
January 15th, 2008
|02:31 pm - Comics site change of address|
Just a note to say that my Comics site "Refuge" is still there only the site link has now changed to:
Until further notice.
It was www.refugecomic.com but I have had recent server problems with lycos. As a result some of the homepage links on this blog may not work.
December 14th, 2007
December 6th, 2007
December 2nd, 2007
November 29th, 2007
November 6th, 2007
October 26th, 2007
|07:36 pm - Sketches in Pencil: Dream Sequence|
A shortened version here of the beginning of the train dream sequence. I went off on a journey myself when inking this up and included a whole lot of other panels both to help it read better and also to include an idea I had about a place I wanted my characters to go to. I managed to get it all back to the house in the end. They end up being turned into a child's marble and thrown out of the cabin. This section started with meta morphing and so it finishes with metamorphosis too. I wanted to leave it open as to who was dreaming what and about whom. Essentially the dream is about both of them.
I wanted to enthuse this section with optimism, like a wish fulfilment, if only in dream form. Eventually reality slowly enters t nearer to the house the train gets. The self propelling train running along the track.
October 24th, 2007
|07:47 am - Next page of Early Refuge Sketches|
Early drawing again, a following on page from the last post. Originally I had the idea of placing panels at stages with regular gaps of time in between. In some areas this turned out to be unpractical in the final inked up narrative. Also the fat character (smaller) I had to make thin in order to differentiate him from the other one in some scenes. You can see that the initial train scene is shorter. I extended it by almost a chapter (4) in the final horizontal web comic.
I had an idea for Hungarian dancing at one point as I wanted it to be a eastern European dream. However it ended up being more American western, on the prairie. I liked the idea of running through the long prairie grass. Also that landscape and culture is so set that it is interesting to put things in it that are maybe unexpected.
Experimenting with size the characters find them selves in self propelling toy train that stops when it wants to (or when I want it to). The space they are in is a convenient 3D panel with the scenery passing by them only getting out when I have decided that it is the right place. Then they go from claustrophobic interior to open expanse, then back into interiors again but separately this time and each follows his own parallel narrative in his own separate part of the dream. Joining back again having changed from their individual experiences and the dynamics of the relationship have changed (in the dream that is).
I had the idea that the characters would be at once children and grown men at the same time and life would fluctuate between so called childishness and adult behaviour.
The dream behaviour allows the narrative to travel from place to place that are variously linked by objects, words, symbols and a certain amount of repetition along the way.
Further planning pages from Refuge updated later.
October 23rd, 2007
|02:54 am - Early sketches for Refuge|
This is an early drawing for what would have been page 6 in this 12 panel portrait format. Pencil on paper. Trying to create an domestic interior world. I later decided to cut the panels down to 12 and put them in landscape format for more of a left to right reading which I thought suite the narrative flow. Pencil enabled me to quickly suggest form and shape. Having scanned them in to the computer they then seemed to take on the appearance of charcoal or even pen and ink. Something that I may focus on for a finished comic in future.
Further planning pages from Refuge updated later.
October 22nd, 2007
|02:45 am - Refuge Update|
Going to post some planning sketches. Some relating to the rest of the story and others showing the planning drawings for panels already uploaded. It started out quite different to what it is now. I started out drawing 12 panel pages, portrait style.
The characters were also different. I had to do a few redrawings of the first pages in order to create a way of drawing that I was happy with.
I was thinking even of keeping the pencil drawing look or even using charcoal but settled on pen and ink (or a simulation of) for the final version. I may however use pencil or charcoal again in the future.
August 23rd, 2007
June 18th, 2007
|10:39 am - A fine Cabaret|
Line of images tacked on the end. Uploaded for your perusal. A fine Cabaret. Trying to find those lines of reality, from pin ball machine to fairground harlequin, try to develop an abstract feel for light and dark. The characters travel into the hidden layers of the comic, but deeper into nothing I would suppose? Fifty five layers so far and counting. Perhaps at some point I may get back onto the rails. Head for that distant exit and for the next chapter; are characters gestures, lines only, or are the as important as the interiors? Is it because of narrative flow that the protagonists allude to reality or have I lost that already? Sometimes I wonder what kind of space is being created, what kind of meaning the whole thing could have, sometimes its better that you don't know these things, follow your intuition along the track and come out where you come out. I have to start reading back; it can't go on for ever. Can you dip into it, I don’t think so.
June 13th, 2007
Crinkly paper, slips of A4 floating about the desk. A network of wires crossing the carpet. A gradient of light falling on its diamond pattern. The grey dulling to dark grey, then to night black. I sit here staring at the grey-yellow walls thinking, work, I have to get on with the comic.
May 31st, 2007
|09:24 pm - Refuge panels|
Some new images uploaded for the comic. Is the end of this chapter in sight? Not quite yet, some more panels before that Chapter Five end panel. I find myself working at night lately. Cups of tea and toast, wandering too and from the kitchen, staring at panels, more tea, the birds twittering outside marking the beginning of late morning. Under siege, barricaded in to my flat, I turn on my screen and shield it in case all the light attracts attention. Relief comes with the rain thudding against my windows, providing a veil, separating me off, giving me time get on with work. Any excuse will do.
April 13th, 2007
|10:22 pm - Back to Refuge|
Been away for some time but now I am back. I have had to do something compulsory, useless and very tiresome. Now I am slowly conditioning myself back to the old habits of daily comic’s creativity, institutionalising myself again in my work room. Got some new ideas for further comics but these I put aside now to push on to finish chapter 5 of Refuge. I have a basic plan drawn out in pencil from which I am gaining most of my narrative but the urge occasionally is to fantasize, much like the central character, to dream and follow that dream where ever that may go, even if that might mean traipsing off the path slightly and having to go back and edit. Such is the strangeness of drawing comics.
February 11th, 2007
|02:44 am - The history of the world|
Haven't posted for a long time as I have been traversing the history of the world. Traipsing over prehistorical ruins like a time tourist. It is filling me up untill I can take no more. I am puking it all up with images of Zeus, Athena and the broken down rounds of Greek temples are falling down everywhere about me. I am trying to pile round upon round on top of each other to make columns and then attempt to balance pedestals and triglyphs on top to make a grand entableture. Still it doesn't look right! Yes, i remember now, the terracotta slabs, the terracotta roof slabs!
November 30th, 2006
Well. I am having to do a course to encourage me to look for work (compulsory) and this is inhibiting my ability to keep up with comics drawing. The course is only temporary so it is a question mostly of trying not to be influenced by the mindlessness of it all. I will not say to much about the "course" save to say that it is the closest I have come to attending a prison. I am of course looking for escape routes. Am going to start taking my sketch book along as there are plenty of good characters to draw in secret under the desk while I am supposed to be job hunting. As they have online computers there I expect that I will be blogging a lot in the next three months. It will all be done incognito while the staff aren't looking, which is most of the time as far as I can tell. Like a child at school I will be scribbling at the top of my page and leening my chair against the wall at the back of the class, being told to sit properly. I twoudl all be so nostalgic if wasn't so very much for real.
In my first week of corporate surveillance I will draw a plan of action up to enable me to pass time in over the following weeks in a more creative and less yawn inducing fashion than the one they have set out for me. As the Tutor said to me on the first day; "why are you here?" To which I had no answer. I am here to jump through hoops and be observed for three months. Important time in which I could be doing important comic work. It seems to me though, looking around the place that only the deranged job searcher would not end up screaming all day and continually banging their head against the wall. I'll end up with one of those helmets that are put on the mentally insane to stifle the blows as they rhythmically ram their foreheads against the asylum wall.
I suppose the comics are my buffer against stupefying boredom of the place and the hours of walking around having to humour 21 year old ex-convicts who pass the time by reminiscing endlessly about fights and who beat who up and how big their injuries were and how they have supposedly turned the corner and are rehabilitating themselves with compulsory anger management classes and work in the community. In the mean time they are at the institution CDG, a holding place for employment defectives, the social services answer to Abu Graib. For them, this is just one in a long line of institutions, for me alienation. The plot is bound to thicken; it is all going to be hell. Apologies for this autobiographical insert and the deliberate withholding of details, but, safe to say, I have been criminally using handouts from the government to subsidise my comic output (although it has slowed down of late). I cannot put "doing comics" on my CV so I put teaching which I do on a Monday but this is not enough as I am still sent down to this government funded concentration centre to pay for my ills by way of rap music torture and speed freak irritation.
November 26th, 2006
|07:44 pm - The Queue|
"The queue" 6ft x 2.5ft. Oil on linen.
Old painting here that I did in 1987; that seems so long ago now. As a background to this I had spent some time (several years) drawing at Leeds train station waiting room; standing like an eccentric street doodler in the middle of the white expanse, trying my best to transfer workers and wanderers crossing past me to my A3 sketchbook. Sometimes they stared threateningly back but I was on a mission. I was the dark figure mysteriously attempting to follow them, trying to get the rest of their head or jacket lined onto my page. The art was what mattered.
In the painting above I have used the familiar ticket counter queue around the side of the main waiting area (probably all changed now) as the main idea and have placed the people with a different background, as if standing and waiting for a bus. looking at it now I think the queue can be symbolic for many things in British society; we learn as Primary school children to stand in order in a straight line; we must wait, be patient, not complain, submit ourselves to the order of things, be told when we can move and when to stop. Us British are good at queuing, we are so polite, unless, that is, someone steps out of line and jumps in, resulting in a row of threatening stares and shouts of "aye'...you! Get to the back! So we resign ourselves to forming a queue to prevent the feared stampede that would otherwise follow.
I have done more paintings and drawings of Leeds train station, of the transient flitting of people caught mid-journey or sitting and waiting on a old red circular seats. I shall be uploading them to the Refuge site in the Drawings section together with my archive of drawings and artworks from the past sometime soon. I might as well; if anything it is a storage place that I myself can go in and take a look at.
When I look at the painting above now it does seem slightly unfinished. I remember at the time not being able to decide when to stop painting and leave it. I wanted to remain as true as I could to the drawings but also I was trying to sculpt the figures, to give the simple line drawings a strange fleshed out life through the act of filling in with paint and the adding of tones. The result, I think, is a cross between caricature, cartoon and an observational painting. The source drawings for this were lined black charcoal on white paper.
This painting is not representational of my Fine art work overall but it is one of my first attempts at producing stuff for a gallery. Previously my work had been influenced by illustration and later gradually became more abstract. Anyway I will try and upload some of it to the site just to give my comics some background. I don't know whether, seen all together, it will cohere or even link up at all. See what happens. (Click on image to enlarge)
November 22nd, 2006
|11:57 pm - The imagined world of comics|
I have been interested in comics for some time now but I did not “grow up" with comics, apart from the children’s weeklies an annuals of the seventies i.e; Beano, etc. I mean by growing up all of the super hero comics and Judge Dredd stuff. I was introduced to comics by a friend and was first struck most by the artists that focus on an outward display of drawing skills in the traditional sense. I was also one of those that were drawn towards a comic more by its surface look or style. Many of the comics that I scoffed at at first later became my favourites. Once I had gotten over any prejudices that I may have had these comics seemed more original and personal in their approach than others that I had read previously (I began to cultivate more patience for different or new things, a continuation of my personal development in fine art, having once walked around galleries completely discrediting artworks that late came to have a big influences in my own work). I have come to realise that it is very much the combination of narrative flow and use of written language, it’s compatibility with the drawing style, that is the judge of whether a comic works or not and that these aspects of narrative require plenty of time and effort to appreciate fully.
Being involved in Fine art at the time of my first attempts with comic art I also liked the fact that it was a very easy area to get involved in, the practitioner needing only a paper and pen to get started. The medium also has a similarity to film and some of the structures of writing. Being interested in film and writing I found it interesting to combine these interests with drawing which has formed the basis of all of my artwork thus far.
I did not or do not feel that the bridge over to comics from painting is necessarily a difficult one but is subject to the personal prejudice and habits developed by the individual artist: Painters (Fine artists) tend to be perfectionists in a different way to comics artists. They tend to focus on refining the look of something and are much more concerned with keeping the art open to interpretation so as not to block off a viewers imaginative response. In comics the artist is much more involved in directing the viewer through a series of avenues and up to a point dictating their response. While working of my initial experiments with comics I tended not to be bothered so much with clarity or definite meaning in terms of signs or symbols. I steered away from conventions, wanting to create something “individual”. I followed my own intuition and did not have a thought for other comic styles (although these did seep in as I progressed). Seeing where something went seemed like a more exciting way to go at that time. Sometimes a narrative can have a more organic feel, more true to a thought process, each segment being drawn one after the other, building like a pile of bricks only anylising later what you had done and then editing.
You can tell that I had spent a long time with Abstract expressionism and had digested all of the rhetoric. It is a handy way of starting something off as 1. You produce a lot of work and 2. Initially at least it does not require any fore-knowledge. As a consequence of this process I began thinking of comics as being a good medium for expressing psychological realities, a way of expressing a minds eye view of the world. Areas of Fine art that cover this area tend towards the precious and the obscure, whereas in comics it takes on the mantle of documentary making, story telling, to tell a story that develops from somewhere in your psyche and is an expression of your inner reality. To have it directed and not hinted at or hidden inside unfathomable complexity to me was the opening of a new avenue of interest, one that I wanted to explore further.
November 20th, 2006
|10:31 pm - New Comic online (or part of):|
|A new comic here that I have done, having drawn a version of this some years ago and now I thought it was time to give it a re-draw, experimenting with this kind of nineteen fifties style tonal drawing. I tried to keep it sketchy and may add some dialogue to the final page if that works. Also I plan a longer story in mind to include this scene and perhaps put it out as a book. I am going to get on with Refuge for now.|
October 26th, 2006
October 9th, 2006