Friday, 16 November 2012

Drawings I've been up to for a while.

Here's a bunch of things old and new that I've been working on. Some of these things date back months and months...

'Two of a Kind' rough production logo.
My housemate and myself sparked up an animation / illustration company for kicks and we needed a logo. I originally came up with this cheesy / corny / crappy idea of having a deck of cards ON FIRE with the two jokers sticking out of the pack (being me and Jason) with the title 'TWO OF A KIND PRODUCTIONS' underneath it all. The idea stuck because of it's sheer stupidity and wackness. Since then the deck of cards idea changed to two cards with caricatures of us jumping out of them. I've added colour etc but still too early to show. The only thing that is left to do is really the designs of the actual joker cards, which i keep putting off for one reason or another.. We're not a real animation company, but it's fun to make belief that we're wealthy professionals with expensive suits and gold watches.

'Ascenseur pour l'├ęchafaud' doodle.
Random sketch I did over the holidays when I was watching the film 'Elevator to the Gallows' (1958)... Not a whole lot to say about this one. Something about it I really like. I think it's the bridge part of her nose. and that alone is why it's here on the blog for your viewing pleasure.

'The Insomniac' early character development
Don't criticise... This is my very rough (mega old) comic book idea about a truly flawed and unexpected hero. I have a lot on this (most of it in my head), but I always find it hard to delve into. Hopefully this guy and his universe will have a future post all to themselves. I'm really keen to run with this idea (it's super layered and deep) so keep a look out for it. oh yeah, I drew the whole darn thing with a mouse / or trackpad thing on mactops just because I couldn't be bothered to go fetch my tablet. It's cool that as a result the angularness gives the design a Mignola-esque quality. This character has since developed in my mind and no longer really looks like this.

Mudman sketches for 'Molok'
Another idea potentially in the works. I. can't. write. no. more. but the story is sorta a hit at twisted religion and how blind faith can cause all sorts of problems. Like that psycho lady from The Mist who convinces the survivors in the shopping to shank people.

The first couple of drawings that helped spawn the 'Molok' concept.
I love that somewhere in Papua New Guinea there are people that make clay pot heads and run around acting like spirits.

The ghoul idea development.
These are the first couple o' odd little doodles i've done for my German Expressionist inspired idea that could quite possibly (if I develop it) tackle some pretty deep insecurities of mine. that is all.

This 'Besties' thing was an idea I had for an animated TV series / or a webcomic or webisode based project. Under construction, not sure right now whether anything will happen with it.

'Besties' character development, showing early Bully.

other stuff

more Bully

Some of Hector, with focus on his overall shape

Early Dermit.
All sorts, and height relation.

Hector 'terminator' gag from episode concept.

other ideas.

cool guys, I hope these drawing were amusing. Looking at them now I feel no inspiration whatsoever. No need to pick up a pen/pencil and draw more. I'm in a weird mental space right now that hopefully I will get out of real soon. Ralph signing out.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cup o' doodle dos

Another crack at the cup o' doodle.
No real inspiration behind it, just a doodle.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

My first Cup O' Doodle

A Mr Squiggle-esque drawing exercise of sorts. Mixed opinions on the result. Kind of looks like Brock Samson. Check out the Cup O' Doodle blog for some awesome stuff -

I want to try another one and do a better job.

Sorry about the lack of updates. Hopefully get some more things up here over next week.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Commission to Mars

So I managed to draw up some mock Sci-fi comic posters for a TV show my folks are working on. These all date back to around the 25th of July.

This is the DC/Marvel-esque logo I came up with. Looks kinda soviet.
It's sort of meant to read as 'I-D' but probably doesn't translate well. Should have put the actual name of the publishing house underneath the logo to explain it like most companies do, but I didn't.

This was one poster. Maybe I'll upload the colour version later on. I prefer the black and white.
I'm kind of over these as I type this up. When I was drawing them I thought I'd made a huge artistic breakthrough.

Poster two.. Back from America recently, I took reference from some of the 60s spacesuits I saw on display at the Kennedy Space Centre. Was really cool!! The like accordion arms actually exist.

In space no one can hear you play the arm-accordion. ehh I'm just joshin' you.

Poster three... I had Frazetta in mind whilst drawing this. Also semi inspired by a war propaganda poster from the 40s of a soldier facing a sky of falling bombs that I saw in a museum in Charleston. The rubble looks shit. Like a shitty box factory explosion... I don't even know why I drew it that way. Didn't even bother to ink them in properly. Fucken sucks eggs. I like the back muscles though.

le werk stacione

lil rough thumb things.

Some titles. I loike these I do.

Maybe post some things tomorrow. Perhaps give it a rest. The kind of typing I did on the last post takes me forever to draft out. And I probably still sound like an obnoxious asshole. Sucks to have an opinion. a boring, hateful one.

5 reasons why I'm not a big fan of Charlie Adlard

I just so happen to be a fan of Kirkman's The Walking Dead. It's a real character driven piece where the characters are so darned believable you could swear you knew them. That sort of believability grabs you and drowns you in the constant tragedy and sorrow that flows from the pages. You get a front row seat to it all. In a way I think Kirkman puts you closer to the impact of a real zombie epidemic than anyone else (excluding Max Brooks perhaps). And all through superb use of character emotion, not just zombie carnage.

Summer, back in 2011, I reread the whole compendium one, 50 something issues (up and beyond the prison saga) listening to Weezer's Blue Album on repeat. One of the best reads I've ever had. The contrast of upbeat pop nerd rock with the depressing post-apocalyptic visuals really worked somehow. It's weird how clearly insignificant experiences like that sort of stick in your mind.

Brains Cuomo

So it's safe to say The Walking Dead is a great read, and i'll keep reading it and recommending it to everybody I can (I still haven't gotten my Compendium edition back from my girlfriend! - somebody who didn't like comics). I have nothing but admiration for Robert Kirkman's writing, but I'm going to be honest here and go ahead and say something I've been thinking for a while now:

Charlie Adlard's work can be a bit screwy at times.. There.

It all makes sense when you realise that the guy puts out 3 PAGES A DAY (I can't even imagine being that productive) when the usual comic practitioner does just 1. I feel bad for even giving Adlard shit when he get's enough criticism as it is in the 'Letter Hacks' letter column at the back of every issue. But damn sometimes I find myself detached from the comic because of his creative input.

Here's 5 whole reasons why Charlie Adlard fails to impress this arrogant comic know-it-all twat wad. And to offend less I'd like to go on the record in saying, this is all just like my opinion man:


- Facial expressions of the characters (especially in the later more recent issues) are often way generic. Everybody makes the same faces in conversation and I don't think it marries the dialogue as well as it should. A bit of variety would be plenty to make the dialogue driven chapters more exciting and inviting to new readers - as well as adding an extra layer of character depth and such. I understand It's probably done this way to make it more subtle and realistic, but I don't think it really works personally.

this page is pretty much 6 panels showing 4 panels worth of imagery.


- Just in general. You can tell production was rushed when the artwork is messy and out of perspective and objects are too large or too little. Small things like that cheapen the book's feel to me. I know it's not Shakespeare but still. Panels can also be generic. Not in their layout, but in their content. So often Adlard uses close ups. Sure you get an intimate feel but it can grow tiresome... Although it does make for one heck of a dramatic juxtaposition when he throws a 2 page wide shot spread at you.

This stuff looks kickass. If only the rest of the pages looked like this.


- Sorta ditto with the rushed panels bit. Because the artwork is rushed, the characters fluctuate in appearance. The panels as stand alone pictures look good, but side by side you notice the eyes or mouth are not where they're supposed to be, or their noses are too big, or they've grown taller since the last page. It grates on me. They look ugly. Perhaps I'm a perfectionist.

These faces aren't very appealing.

- Also more often than not the characters look the same. They all have the very similar faces. That's to do with the style really. But the only thing that really breaks that up is the different hairstyles or the addition of a hat or beard on a character. Otherwise, they'd all look pretty darn alike I reckon.

This old lady looks like an older version of Rick.

And this happens a lot.


- This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, (why can't it look stylised? It's a comic book dammit!) but I don't always think it fits the subject matter. At times it works brilliantly and looks gorgeously reminiscent of Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968). But at it's worst the shadows don't feel thought out, they feel overused and look like they've just been slapped on to fit the part. Kind of like somebody trying to emulate a Frank Miller noir look. The story is all about establishing a realistic, believable environment to fuck shit up in. Throwing down crazy shadowing etc dilutes the believability of the position of the characters and the world to me.

It's broad daylight outside and that guys face is shrouded in pitch blackness. It's stylish, but to me it becomes repetitive and boring...


- It's a cheap way of cutting corners. I realise when you're pushed to meet a deadline you have to make certain exceptions, but it just looks cheap. Small price to pay to get the thing out on time I guess..

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


6. Tony Moore is too awesome (perhaps I'm biased). He established most of the hero lead characters (in issues 1-6), and that makes him a hard act to follow / live up to. I'm probably biased, and I have a feeling my views on the art for TWD would be different if Adlard worked on it from the get go.

(c) copyright Tony Moore

Everything else (c) copyright Image, Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard.

All in all who am I really to be so critical? These are all just my mental ramblings, sorry Adlard. The comic is such a huge success (I might have read somewhere that it's current top chart seller), and it's spawned a massive franchise, and a TV show in production of it's 3rd season. So somebody must like it ha. And after all is said and done I'm still definitely a fan.

I've written a brief comic related post in the past on my other blog to do with Hellblazer and Garth Ennis as a writer if you're interested.. It's kind of trashy -

Thursday, 30 August 2012

One heck of a tree surgeon...

I've been working on updating my showreel with proper animation for a good couple of weeks now. My idea of a good showreel (whether it's right or wrong) is to include a good measure of what it is you love about the industry. Showing that should land you a job doing what you love with like-minded people right? Well that's my theory anyway. Something else I've definitely wanted to include on my showreel is 'versatility'. I need to prove to people that I'm not just some knock off failed Jamie Hewlett/Passion Pictures fanboy or whatever and that I can be a blank canvas to studios. Something they can build upon (i.e. give me their characters and trust that I will know them and stay on model etc)... That's asking a lot for a first job when mine will probably be running around making sure all the folks have enough caffeine gas pumping in them, but I just like to try and keep my bases covered.

It's good to have influences and identity, but I think sticking to one strongly could be somebody's downfall, and I don't want it to be mine. I just don't think I'm in a place right now to force my so called 'voice' upon people. Nobody's gonna listen to a guy that's all talk. I still have plenty to learn before I can even aspire to take creative control, realistically.

So the plan is to kill two birds with one stone by studying what I love: Tex Avery MGM shorts, Looney Tunes, and Hannah Barbera shows, all those bloody great reruns I grew up watching. What I've been struggling to emulate for weeks is the style of Tex Avery's team on

'Ventriloquist Cat' (1950)
(c) copyright MGM

Directed by Tex Avery

Produced by Fred Quimby

Animators -
Walter Clinton
Michael Lah
Grant Simmons

With every new skill comes that grinding period. Though I can't remember what the street name for it is, it can be compared to that tedious, brutal phase of gaining experience points in an RPG. The part where you can't progress until you do some serious levelling up. In the art world it breaks many a man. Heck it's probably broken me and I don't know it yet. It doesn't help that copying Avery's character designs is like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle ON FIRE. The character's expressions are like rubber and squash and stretch out of imaginable proportion. Seriously Spike looks different in every scene. It works pretty seamlessly somehow. It's particularly magical.

Hey Spike


Spike? Is that you?

Oh god! What happened to your face?!

How does it work?

I love Avery's version of Spike. He's a stripped down and basic lump/sack of a character. Though he's basic, the details are slight and are surprisingly hard to replicate. So I've been trying to emulate the various dumbfounded expressions for a performance piece I have in mind. And I'm struggling.

If you compare Spike here to what he looked like in the first few shots you'll notice his head shape and general physique are quite different. Sometimes the top of his head is flat, sometimes it's curved, he looks a whole lot chunkier earlier on, whereas here he's slimmer. That's just a few things. His jowl for instance changes regularly with expression. But it works. Why? Because it's a cartoon.

This bit is fantastic how the stalk parts of the fruit are animated to look like eyes. I didn't notice it the first time I watched it which is weird, cause it seems pretty obvious now.

And finally, here's the best of what I've been up to. It's pretty embarrassing how off model I am. It's tough but it's amazing how much you learn from emulating the old styles. My understanding of pose, weight, expression, and construction have all improved from doing this exercise.

The expressions are great. Cartoony and extreme. It's because of this that the cartoon has so much life. Not a lot of modern animation goes to such great extremes. It's a real Avery trait.

Poses like the one above, right are absolutely wack. Can you imagine even trying to do a LAV for a run cycle like that? You'd probably pull something brutal. The point i'm trying to make is that the pose is extreme, but in full flow you don't question it.

I think this is the most dog-like you ever see Spike in the short, the rest of the time he's on his hind legs all anthropomorphic. 

A truly sucky attempt at breaking down the face. Trying to understand how the facial features wrap around the head on a 3/4 angle... Obviously going about it the wrong way. Why a square?

Assymmetry = liveliness. Nothing natural is perfectly symmetrical. Something I learnt from reading John K's discussion on Ed Benedict.

Dumb-founded expressions. The roll of fat on the back of the neck is a great observation.

Prime example of the elasticity and looseness of Avery's designs. Totally readable though.

the baggy physique is hard to detail.

construction attempts from memory... Arms are far to big (I think I have a tendency to draw lankiness), and torso is to elongated.

What the body should look more like. Big gut.. less barrel chest. I'm mistaken, the shoulders shouldn't always be raised, it only occurs when the arms are brought up.

Too angular for starters. attempts from memory probably 24hrs later.

That awesomely stupid expression. You can tell which one was traced.

original poses. more construction.. Too humanistic. Not extreme enough.

Struggling to teach myself to keep the details basic and curvy. 

Sort of rough thumbs/keys for my performance idea.

Already lost it. A long ways off capturing the look...

So this is one thing I've been up to. This prelim phase of sorts has turned out to be quite a lot more challenging than expected.

 It's worth mentioning why I started doing all this in the first place. Basically John K recommends the drill on his blog. I recently discovered how brilliant his blog is. Pretty educational stuff and it's FREE!

Till next time.