Sunday, 31 May 2009

Here's looking at Haiku, kid!

It's been such a beautiful day outside today, which makes it difficult to sit inside and draw... so I didn't! But after the sun went down, I did come inside and illustrate another haiku.

Saturday, 30 May 2009


I was looking through some of my various scribbled notes and proposals from early on in my course, and came across an idea I'd originally had to illustrate some short poems, as a way of producing some work. As with a lot of things that I write down, I hadn't actually gotten any further with this idea. I've also been thinking recently about my comic strips, and how I could use this form of narrative illustration in a slightly different context. Mixing these two thoughts together, with a teaspoon full of my interest in Japanese culture, I had the idea of taking the Haiku – the traditional 3-line Japanese poetry – and presenting it in the form of a 3-panel comic strip!

The rules for constructing a Haiku are that it should consist of 17 syllables, divided over 3 lines into units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Because the Haiku I have chosen to illustrate are literal translations of the original Japanese texts, the number of syllables when translated into English, does not follow this formula.

My aim with the visuals was to retain the style of my daily comic strips, but to pick up on the colouring of Japanese prints. I was interested in trying to achieve a combination of both the modern and the traditional, plus it also ties in with some of my more recent experiments with using a more limited palette.

I am really enjoying creating these, and have a number more I want to illustrate!

**Update 30/5/09**
By a strange coincidence, when I came online to upload these images, I noticed that my classmate Jenny Capon has also been doing some illustrations based on Haiku over the past few days. She even looked at the same website as I used to look for Haiku to illustrate. It's a small world after all...

Sketchbook Scribbles

It's handy carrying a sketchbook around with you. It gives you something to do when you're stuck in traffic on the top-deck of a bus...

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Surviving Picasso

A few sketches I did today while at the Picasso: Challenging the Past exhibition at the National Gallery, London...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Illustration Friday: Cracked

This week's Illustration Friday theme is Cracked. I had a few ideas for this theme that I scribbled down on the bus yesterday, but in the end decided to go with this little comic story about two eggs. I've got a lot on this week, so didn't have a lot of time to spend on it, but in a way, I quite like the simplicity...

...Also, I've just realised that this is my 100th blog post! Wow! Happy Birthday, Blog! Now where's my telegram from the Queen??

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Simone Lia talk

Today at college we had a talk from Simone Lia. Simone is an illustrator and comic artist who has published several comics and children's books, as well as other illustration work. I was already familiar with her work, and really enjoyed her book Fluffy, so I was looking forward to listening to her talk about her work. I was thinking about it just now and thought it would be useful to write about some of the things I took away from the day.

I was interested to hear Simone talking about her experiences with self-publishing. I'm getting more and more into creating comics lately, and have been thinking about how to continue with this after the course. Self-publishing, either physically or online, strikes me as a good way to promote your work and, hopefully, get it into the hands of someone that may be interested in taking it further.

I couldn't help smiling when Simone mentioned how it helps to be around other people, as opposed to working in isolation, as it was something I had definitely experienced during the past week, and was discussing just the other day with my friend Arina. Also I raised an eyebrow when Simone showed an image of her old studio space, and I realised that it was above a cafe in Wapping that I use to go to a lot with my friend Laura when she lived in the area.

I came away from the talk, and the tutorial session afterwards, feeling a lot more upbeat about things than I have been the past couple of days. I want to continue to develop my comic ideas and push myself. One thing I'd been contemplating recently was that while I enjoy doing my daily strips, they didn't really have that much commercial appeal to those people that don't know me. I want to spend the next few days working on coming up with some illustrations for characters I can use to build some new comics for the Final Show.

Something suggested during the tutorial was building up a larger story from individual strips. I liked this idea a lot which would enable me to build on the work I've done with my daily strips, while working towards creating some more developed stories.

The image at the top is a quick sketch I drew in my notebook during the talk of Simone talking about her characters Chip And Bean, which I've added some colour to in Photoshop. Well, I couldn't do a blog post without any images...!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

3-page comic: The Amazing Adventures of Bobo the Unhappy Clown

I haven't posted any new work for a few days as I was working on creating a short comic story. I really enjoyed the process and it was interesting to see how it compared with drawing my daily strips.

I decided to take the clown character that I drew a few weeks ago and use him in my story. From there I sketched out some thumbnails to work out how the story would work over a few pages, as opposed to a couple of panels...

...After sketching out the initial idea for the story, I looked at how best to present the ideas from my thumbnails, removing some ideas condensing others, and letting some parts have a bit more space. At the end of this process I'd reduced the number of pages to 3, with more panels per page than in my initial sketches, as I felt that this allowed the story to move along at a more comfortable pace.

I made the decision to allow the story to play out mainly in pictures, limiting the text to sound effects. I think some of my more successful daily strips are the ones that don't rely too much on text in order to get the idea across. This presented me with an interesting challenge and meant that I had to make sure that my drawings were able to convey the story on their own.

I am pleased with the end result and think I've managed to achieve what I set out to do. I'd like to continue working on some longer comic stories alongside my daily strips...

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

20/05/09: Back in Action!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

19/05/09: ...


I'm not sure where my brain has been the past few days. I've been able to do some drawing, but I've just been finding it difficult to concentrate, and lacking any real motivation, although I know I really need to be doing lots of work right now. Hopefully it's just a momentary lapse in creativity and I'll be back to my usual self very soon.

In the meantime, today's strip is... well, I don't really know how to explain it. I guess that due to the day's lack any real event, it seemed like an accurate pictorial representation of my current state of mind – devoid of substance and without any real purpose...

Normal service will resume shortly. Promise!

Mythology really IS everywhere...!

...not really sure why I drew this, but I like the lettering, and am quite pleased with the character. I guess what I was trying to do was take a mythological creature and give it a more contemporary feeling, sort of fitting in with some of my other character illustrations where I've attempted to represent an alternative to the normal representation of certain characters: a fat, drunken mermaid, or a sad, pensive clown for example...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Creative Project: City

Here's my submission for the latest Creative Project theme which is City. Cities are springing up everywhere these days. Even on the back of this poor tortoise while he was having a sleep on the beach...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

"Books & Literature"

So, I've been working on this idea over the weekend for the theme of Books & Literature. While I'm happy with the drawing of the characters, I was having some issues with the colouring. Originally I had tried a full-colour approach, but because there is quite a lot going on in the backgrounds, I was not happy with the overall effect which looked too busy. After trying a few other approaches to the colouring yesterday, I decided to give up for the day...

Today I was working on something else, and was looking at a black and white print out of the outlines I did yesterday. A few scribbles on the page later, and I decided to try a new approach, adding flat areas of colour to the backgrounds, while leaving the actual figures uncoloured. I quite like the effect which is something different for me.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

16/05/09: Artistic block

Friday, 15 May 2009

Thursday, 14 May 2009

"Gerald Scarfe-ish"

Yesterday, I went to a talk about working as a freelance illustrator. One of the speakers for the evening was talking about another person's work, and described their style of drawings as being "quite Gerald Scarfe-ish".
For a minute, I thought she'd said Gerald Starfish...

...and if that isn't the most tenuous reason for a drawing ever, I don't know what is...

13/05/09: Half Empty Glass

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

12/05/09: Pop-Up Pirates

Monday, 11 May 2009

Friday, 8 May 2009

Illustration Friday: Parade

This week's theme for Illustration Friday is "Parade".

This penguin parade – or maybe it's a March of the Penguins – is a chance for these black and white birds to highlight the dangers of Global Warming. But a parade isn't a parade without a bit of confetti, so it's a good job the little chick has remembered to bring some along...

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Impossibility: revised

I seem to be slightly obsessed with drawing pigs at the moment! Here is a reworked version of an earlier pig illustration. I am happier with the colouring on this image which I think is subtler than the previous version...

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

True Story ...Swear to God! (CIA 2009)

This is my submission for the Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2009. The subject for this year's competition is "True Stories".

This old sea dog is entertaining his friend with his tale about The One That Got Away. But is he telling the truth? His open-mouthed friend seems convinced, but the parrot seems like he's heard it all before...

Monday, 4 May 2009

Pig Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest

I was sick last week. Very sick! Unfortunately my sickness coincided with the outbreak of Pig Flu, and when I wasn't becoming very familiar with the inside of my toilet bowl, I lay on the sofa while more and more ludicrous claims were being made on the reactionary news channels, and tried to remember the last time I'd eaten a bacon sandwich...

Happily, I hadn't miraculously become infected with the Piggy Pox, just some random 24-hour vomiting bug (apologies if you're eating your breakfast while reading this post), the effects of which pretty much prevented me from doing much work towards the end of last week.

This is the first drawing I've done in a few days, and so it seemed somehow apt to create an illustration of a poorly pig. Get well soon, little piggy!

**Updated 15/05/09**
I thought this image seemed perfect for this week's Illustration Friday topic, "Contagious".