Saturday, February 3, 2018

Hourly Comic Day

Hello all, so on Thursday I made the last minute decision to join in with Hourly Comic Day instead of calling in for supply work. So in order to justify this guys, we have to make sure this makes £130 worth of social media impact. Can we quantify that? Cool. Thank you to Andy Oliver for alerting me to the day being the day, cos I always miss these kinds of thing. Guys I guess that's what it means to be part of a (Broken Frontier) family and be looked out for and stuff. Tears. Heart thump. 

The idea is you draw all day about what you're doing, like a visual diary. 

I literally do not have time to scan all of these pages in, guys the scanner is in a different room to the TV, you understand.

I did convert the photos to greyscale though so they aren't so distractingly subtly different shades of bluey or orangey not white on account of having been taken in different places and at different times of day. Let's all take a moment to appreciate the infinite human capacity to process colour and translate completely different actual visual information into understanding consistent with the complex memory symbols in our heads. Which I think is why children/non artists can fairly accurately copy the tones from a photo of a face in shadow and still leave those eyeballs creepy ice white, or somehow fail to notice that they haven't coloured in the holes inside the letters of a text piece even though they are literally the only uncoloured thing on the whole page. 

I digress. 

Anyway you can read all about my day here super easily. At the bottom I'm going to link to some other people's awesome hourly comics. 

I feel a bit cheeky that clearly some of this is more like hourly illustration or hourly sketchbook which might cast doubt on my comic chops. But what is the medium if not endlessly flexible? 

So that was my day. 
Sorry for any bits where you couldn't read my writing. 

If you want to see more of my actual comicy comics work I recently updated the comics page on my website, it has pages from the 3point52billion/Biscuits (assorted) project you won't have seen. 

These were some of my other favourite #hourlycomicdays that other people did that I saw.

I love how they are all so different. 
Composing this list was definitely more laborious than it should have been. You have to come out of the picture viewer to click on the links to the twitter. 
Ugh formatting whatever. 
I'm not doing it again. 



I hope nobody minds me sharing, 
it's a weird territory of self exposure and joy I'm trying to not think about. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New year New beer

I'm not going to do big epic year summary blog posts this year, I don't have time. Also I already blogged about lots of the illustrationy stuff I did this year, go read those posts. Sorry. 

As a compromise I will try and post a few pictures of some of my favourite fun things I got to draw in 2017 with captions. 
Not particularly chronologically. 

First here is a picture of me and Alex on Christmas day with my favourite Christmas present

If you didn't guess my favourite present was the googley eyes glasses. 

My brain is having difficulty with 2017 as it is, how silly do the things we said this time last year seem? Remember how people were saying 2016 was the worst year ever? Weird. 

This was my Christmas card design this year, commissioned by Claire. 

Yay puffins. 

Here is the single solitary Real TV Wisdom drawing that I did this year. You can read about it here

Muesli cat is the starshine of my life. 

Here is a picture of her in a box at Christmas. 
Please do not get the impression that she is one of those cats that is always jumping in and out of boxes. She only jumped in there because we threw an elastic band in. She bloody loves elastic bands. 

I don't even remember if I have shared this comic page online before. I am thinking of using it as the very first comic page of my comic. But there are other contenders. 

These are my favourite two recent commissions. Because.
This was an absolute joy from conception to completion, thank you Helen!
 When someone contacts you and is like can you draw a tiger and a bunch of cats reading books, you say yes. Yes please. 

That's literally all I'm going to post now, I hope all of you people who put your eyes here also get to put them lots of other good places, and your minds and your bodies too. 

Let 2018 be a year in which shit gets done and perspectives and priorities become magically clear. 

Look after yourselves yeah?

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Eight for a wish, nine for a kiss, why drawing birds is like drawing people.

Summer is basically over guys.

Before I go back to schooltimes this week, I wanted to share with you some birds and words and drawings. Some organic work feeding into work sort of stuff. In case you think I only draw comics and cookie cutters these days. 

In the beginnings of the summer I did quite a few bird pieces some of which are still available on Artfinder and I took quite a lot of in progress pictures. 

I had a magpies commission to do and it was a while since I had drawn any, so I did a practice piece of a magpie taking off to the left, which was a lot of fun. Tapping into this territory of planning combined with quick, fluid working is so good - each individual stage is quite loose and quick, but you have to wait for each one to dry so that the ink doesn't just bleed into the lighter areas completely out of control. Like watercolour, using ink is a lot about patience and a lot about balancing chance and control. 

So then I did some more magpies pieces

Ah, good old magpies. 

Also I drew some hypno barn owls. Because. 

 And then, because I had some photos of a swan that I took on a walk along the Regent's Canal, I did this swan piece which is still for sale

One thing about drawing birds in sequence like this, (as well as the satisfyingly obtuse combination of regularity and irregularity that reminds us that though we live in a world of mass reproduction there is still infinite variety - yes I am good at arty bullsh*t thank you) is you can include some of the angles/poses of bird that don't really look like what the brain reads as a bird.

Confused? Let me explain. Drawing birds is a lot like drawing portraits. Because 90% of the time, the position a bird is in and the angle you can see it from, don't fit our mental template of bird. The mental template requires either a bird standing still on a branch/wire/post or swimming, with it's head up and in profile so you can see the beak, or a bird in flight with the wings flexed and visible. 

This on it's own, would never be read as a swan

I mean what is that? 
Some fluff? A carelessly ejected dollop of whipped cream? A shaggy baseball cap? 

But in context with their 8 swans a swimming siblings, we can read it as a swan. 

How is that like drawing portraits? Because despite living in the real world and looking at real people all the time, we still are slaves to photo and mirror faces when it comes to considering what those people actually look like. 

When I teach portraiture I always make sure to emphasise how hard it is to break down our mental conditioning to read a face as a symbol. One of your very first jobs when you are born is to identify fellow humans, to find your tribe you are basically looking for a coordination of eyes and a mouth because that's about as far as your visual processing goes. Which is why we love emojis so much. 

I mean probably, I'm not a scientician. But this makes people who are bad at drawing faces feel better. 

Training yourself to process the visual information of the eyes being half way down the head not up at the top is the first step to de-emojifying your brain. You can do that drawing on the right side of the brain thing and make yourself forget it's a face you're drawing and just look at the shapes. Which is fine if you're drawing from a photo. But problematic if you're drawing a person in real life who moves a bit whatever their intentions. 

Live drawing from July

I actually prefer to draw people from real life because of this. 

The infinite tiny movements your face makes give a wealth more information than any photo could, and so many of us are in the habit of putting on that practised smile as soon as a camera points out way. A smile that's usually nothing like the smile we give when we're genuinely amused, or contented. Not like the bird posed on a wire or wings out and up for a fraction of a second. To capture a real likeness you have to see both - the photo face and the face behind it. The person behind it. 

That's what I think anyway. I do also LOVE drawing faces straight from a photograph. It's not that I don't like that. With the facebook project I mostly have the advantage that I know the person in question in real life, so I can tell which of their facebook photos are good representations of their real life presence, and which are the ones that were chosen as a profile pic because they look more like what we wished we looked like. If I'm doing a portrait for a client I always ask if they can send me multiple photos as well as the one they want me to use as primary reference. So I can check the angle of the features as an average, and make sure I talk to the hind brain of the people that know the real life person I'm drawing. 

With this little guy for example, I had to make sure I got his sleepy eyes and his chubby little neck.

Another recent commission for an editorial illustration in UCL Alumni magazine had me drawing a small brown child, but this time with lots of colourful reflecting water. It was for an article about how over protected today's children are.

One of the joys of art is such that what one draws/makes, one often wants to draw/make more of. Which is why life feeds into practice and practice evolves. So this commission in a way lead to the look of the swan piece, and to me choosing this photo to draw of Julita from her facebook albums. 

I think I've got reflecty water out of my system now. 
But we'll see. 

Maybe I'll think of a way to get some into the comic. 
In black and white too, what a delicious challenge.