Thursday, 30 October 2008

Settle down me tawnie yeks...

At last a page from Dinlos and Skilldos appears on the blog! This is a page I'm (almost) happy with, it's page one of a three page strip that appears throughout the book, I guess there will be 6 or 7 Bedtime Stories in all. It's not typical of the book as a whole and I apologise if it verges on the unintelligible. Hopefully you find the language fun even if you don't fully grasp the meaning. As someone whose idea of 'reading' comics as a dyslexic child was just following the pictures I wanted to have at least one strip in Dinlos where the words decorated the illustrations rather than the other way round. 

Kackernory speaks in a kind of pidgin-Romany, that may not even be understandable to some Gypsies. There isn't any standard written Romany, it's a spoken language that varies from one area to another and from one country to the next. All the same I'd hope that Gypsies from a number of countries would recognise enough of the words to have as clear a grasp of what's going on as an English reader.

Like I say, the rest of the book is set out to be very immediate and easy to read so this is the exception.

I've been using this page to experiment with different techniques and trying to avoid ending up with a total dog's dinner. I doubt there will many pages with quite this amount of texture and competing ideas on, but I've learnt a lot doing it. 

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Orangie Boom!

Here's last month's spot illustration for Doctor Who magazine. It's for an audio adventure called Time Reef. Mindful of other illustration blogs that  include roughs and pencils I'm sticking up the process for this illo. 

I produced a quick colour rough with my faithful wacom in Photoshop, DWM approved, then I did some finer, "proper" figure drawing type stuff (also in Photoshop) before exporting it over to Illustrator. I should point out that the folks  at DWM, aware of my various styles, asked for something  not too cartoony. 

In Illustrator I just draw over the top of the image freehand using the pencil tool with the stroke set to zero. Most illustrators use the vector tools to make perfect shapes. The truth is I didn't understand how to use illustrator when I started (still don't!) and so picked up the pencil tool and started drawing shapes of colour and sticking them together. The Monk and Cat image from the Guardian that sits in the top right corner of this blog page is an early example of my Adobe Illustrator stuff.

I'll be starting on my next spot illo for DWM soon (a Colin Baker one! Eek!), I've had the brief for a couple of weeks, but I haven't got a clue what I'm going to do with it yet. It'll certainly be done in Illustrator though, I love the way it leaves drawing looking so immediate and fresh. Perfect for spot art that should have impact without becoming dominant and distracting. Basically Adrian Salmon's Time Team illustrations are perfect for the magazine in that respect, mine are attempting to do a similar job.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Day Job

No, I'm not a professional mesmerologist, man of mystery and hokum cloakum dazzler to the stars. I am the bloke wot does the pictures on them Horrible Histories and Murderous Maths books. Well, not all of them. My master and keeper, Martin Brown, still has a hand in pretty much everything horrible in history and Philip Reeve was responsible for all the old Murderous Maths stuff (whatever became of him, eh? Oh, that's right, he went on to write the marvelous Mortal Engines books.) 

Actually, this cover was yesterday's job. These covers don't earn me a fortune, but they are very quick to do - couple of hours at most, so they are a pleasure really. I'm currently doing a full colour 96 page book for MM which is taking considerably longer. And as I have three other books lined up between now and January I should be getting on with it rather than blogging.

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