Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Moon Balloon

The sky started out as a close up of some chino trousers I was wearing, and the ground as a shoe.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The fathers of Vulcanology

Mercalli (L) and Richter (R) both invented scales for measuring the strength of earthquakes. The thing in Richter'slap is a seismograph. He was an avid naturist, hence the lack of clothing in these illustrations.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Abstract Landscape

Some sketches and doodles based on a book of paintings from the cornwall-based painter Kurt Jackson,  composed loosely into a narrative.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

What can the Trees Tell Us?

Another bout of marathon training tonight....clocked two pages in 1 hour 50 minutes, including the script and any background resources. Images of the character were extracted from a youtube lecture on Quantum Physics by Stanford professor Leonard Susskind. (Too late in the evening to listen to it, I've no idea what he actually sounds like, the voice I've given the character is entirely fictional. Thank you Prof. Susskind for the use of the record of the photons you were emitting while you spoke.)

The title was from a competition a couple of years back, I think. The line about God in the garden is borrowed from an old friend. Enjoy!

Thursday, 13 February 2014


An attempt at capturing, and losing, the rather abstract sensation of grasping a good theory or idea, by reference to a physical metaphor. I had a rough idea where this was going, but the images preceded the words, which were slotted in in the last five minutes.

I want to take part in a 24-hour comic creation marathon later this year, and so I'm in training. As with sports training, start off small and build up the muscles. So I'm going to begin with a number of one-page comics created from nothing in 1 hour. This is the first of these.

The training schedule will help with focus, stamina, and technique. Crucially, it's also a way to explore creating shortcuts. A key part of the manifesto I wrote when I started this blog was to find creative ways of cutting corners, and in a 24-hour comic that's crucial to getting a polished finish. I don't want to knock out 24 pages that look like they were done in a hurry, in an exercise jotter with a biro.

So here, I'm leaning on the internet and photos to some extent, although every panel's had quite a lot of hand work.Panel 2 is using some hand-drawn textures that i turned into brushes in Gimp, to give a sort of organic edge to it. I've just started playing with that technique - the image of the diver is 100% digital, and obviously is derived from a photo, but I reckon I can hone this technique to create something that looks much more hand-drawn without giving myself cross-hatcher's cramp under extreme conditions.

Total time taken, 1 hour and 10 minutes, so I ran over time here, and felt like I hurried the script. But I'll be back on the treadmill again soon!

Wandering Aengus returns

There's more than one way to adapt a piece of art to a new medium, and this was a rather extreme exercise in proving it! After last week's emotion-driven, sensuous adaptation of Yeat's poem, here's a highly formalistic, structure-bound, reductionist interpretation, driven by the rational left-brain. There's a  trick I've come across in creative writing exercises, of introducing artificial constraints into a story in order to force creativity in new directions, and this was all about layng down so many rules that I felt trapped!

The poem follows a fixed structure, being composed of three verses of eight lines each. That's twenty-four lines, so I've divided the page into 24 panels, with each verse getting two lines of the comic grid. Within that, each panel is divided into a 2x2 arrangement, which I've allowed myself flexibility about populating, with between two and four images, each literally representing a word from the relevant line of the poem. Playing with words, and with synonyms (that's words that sound the same) is allowed, and repetition is allowed too. But each image has to relate to a single word, not just capture the sense of the line as a whole.

I wanted to get away from the romantic imagery commonly associated with/evoked by Yeats, which dominated my previous interpretation. So the original plan for prosaic imagery was to get every picture from supermarket websites, but I gave up on that and just went for google images in the end, plus a few of my own photos thrown in where they'd fit. (Techno-chef Heston Blumenthal is a mascot/spokesperson for Waitrose, and his inclusion in here stems from that early, abandoned decision about supermarkets, although the reader is free to interpret his presence in other ways too, of course.)

The process helped me to appreciate the structure of the poem. There may be new insights in there for the reader - there are certainly bad puns to spot too, and some interesting jarring between the romantic and the prosaic, and hopefully it becomes more than just a crossword puzzle and sheds some new light on the poem for you.

As I said, lots of images were grabbed from Google Images. I've avoided taking anything with a large copyright notice or any other restrictions attached to it. If you think I've stepped on your copyright, please let me know, and I can update this - every little bit of this is easily replaced.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Drawn from a photo of the artist in his studio, with one of his crucifixion paintings in the background.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Wandering Aengus

Adaptation of W.B. Yeat's poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus", revelling in the lush visual imagery of the poem, and the sensations it evokes, in a full-page-layout, over-the-top multi-media-fest!

All three pages were done as a single file in the Gimp, allowing me to track the visual repetition of elements from one page to the next.

A second, structurally very different, adaptation of the same poem will be appearing in a few days - watch this space!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The Birdcage Husband

An exercise in the Gimp Paint Studio tools to create a mix of photographic and painted appearance.

The imagery is based on a East-Asian legend of a man who turns into a bird by day, until his wife destroys the cage in which he lives, and he must go to serve the gods. I was struck by the curious detal that, when she sees him later, he has been carrying water for the gods so long that he has worn through several pairs of shoes, that he wears hung around his neck.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014