Thursday, 31 December 2009

'09 Inspiration Constellation p3

The Ouseburn : Open Studios / OxJam / The Late Shows

These events down in Byker have been fantastic tours of bizarre industrial work spaces, basements and pubs full of art and craft and music. The Open Studio's are restricted to the Ouseburn - as it says on the tin, but The Late Shows include venues across both Newcastle and Gateshead. Really great to talk to all the artists while they attempt to persuade you to drink wine and eat pork pies. Anyway, highlights:
Peter Dillon's Screen Writing course at the Tyneside Cinema

An extremely enlightening course by Peter Dillon at the Tyneside Cinema, relevant to any kind of storytelling, but specifically aimed at Cinema. This covered some things you kind of know but maybe forget to put into practice when writing. Some stuff that I should have really considered when writing Tales of the Hollow Earth, like that your characters are meant to want something and be active, not sort of just hang around watchin' stuff.

Very useful, and there's an advanced course early in the new year that I'll try to get on if it hasn't sold out already. This page should list it but hasn't been updated in a while. Good. I might still have a chance.

'09 Inspiration Constellation p2

Suggestibles : Improv Comedy Workshops

I went to these earlier on in the year. The Suggestibles are a well talented improv. comedy group who also do workshops for beginners. You don't have to intend to be a stand up comedian for these to be useful though, the emphasis (at least at the start) is not on being funny (which was useful), but excercises to loosen up and sharpen up the brain. Which is handy sometimes.

Learned a lot about storytelling on the fly which I've found useful, how to keep things moving in a scene, how to bring new elements to a scene and knowing when a scene is complete. I met some fantastic people at these classes. I'd recommend these to anyone.

Their website doesn't seem to work, but they've a MySpace page. You can normally catch them at their best at the Cumberland Arms in Byker.

Mister Fusty : Over the Rocky Mountains

Rob Gibson's first album with vocals, and it's cracking. This is still one of my favourite albums of this year and tracks from it are on most of playlists. It's hard to say whether the fact that I know Rob and did the cover have any bearing on this, but the fact that he's came up with something as great sounding as this is amazing to me. He just needs to figure out how to sell more now! You can help by obtaining a copy: Mister Fusty explains how on his website.

Anyway, I was also pretty pleased with the artwork, my first work for someone else for quite a while. It was collaged together from Rob's own photographs, and I think the result is 'right' for the sound.

'09 Inspiration Constellation p1

2009 was a pretty good year for me. Met loads of new people and started to spend a lot more of my time doing creative stuff and a lot less worrying about work. Might as well list ten of 'em to remind myself of what should really continue in 2010.

The Bondgate Gallery

My sister and dad's shop went from strength to strength this year, selling original art, prints, framing and arts materials.

The battle for 'whose shop actually is it' in the hearts and minds of the Bishop Auckland public still rages on, but the main thing is that it seems to be getting known for good work and has really became part of the town I think, if you see what I'm getting at. There seem to be lots in the pipeline for 2010, including Bondgate Gallery The Movie.

The gallery has its own website, but the main news and updates are still mainly coming out of Eric Thompson's site at

Larry Marder's Beanworld

I've probably mentioned this to you before, but Larry Marder recently got out of the business end of comics and back into the drawing and writing of his fantastic Beanworld. That more people I know who are into comics haven't heard of this is completely amazing to me, they should. You should.

Anyway, this year saw two reasonably complete reprints in really nice hardback book form and an entirely new story which develops the growth of the beanworld, characters, physics and ecology. With the root system repaired and better established, beans are now starting to grow UP.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Face Front

I've noticed that a lot of my scenes are being drawn in an over the shoulder perspective, so that the camera can see what the characters are looking at. The problem with this is that it means that my characters are always being drawn from behind and in silhouette. They only seem to get facial expressions in inset panels and talking heads sequences not in the dramatic scenes.

So i'm going to study how other artists handle similar scenes for a bit, then maybe redraw some of my Angler Fish comic for Daniel (yes, I've drawn some at least already).

One of the things I learned in the Improv Comedy Workshops earlier on in the year was to face the audience and where to put yourself on stage, I wasn't very good at that, but maybe I can apply some of that to my drawing.

Currently working on at the moment:

  • Lure
    the 4 page comic about Angler Fish mentioned above.
    STATUS: Currently Inking.
  • WormDream
    an 8 page comic that will hopefully appear in Show and Tell.
    STATUS: Layouts and Pencils Done.
  • Gabriel Fosco
    written by Ian Mayor - a 6 page story that will become part of Martin Newman's epic project Z.
    STATUS: Character and Set Designs, Script in progress.
  • Tales of the Hollow Earth 2 : Entomology
    16 pages which I'd better finish soon because Mark Leonard has designed a fantastic origami monster and Stacey will probably kick my head in if I don't.
    STATUS: 4 pages to go :-)