Friday, 31 July 2009


Long time, no post... It's been a bloody hectic week here so far, and with two days to go it seems doubtful things will slow down for me anytime soon. For anyone who doesn't know I clocked up my ninth straight day at work today, with two more to work before I (thank god) have a week off.

So I've been trying to get some work done here all week and failing miserably- that and I managed somehow to watch the entire series of Macross Frontier which was also a bit of a distraction but now, here I am finally writing something.

Staying on the subject of Deadend I thought I'd go over some of the characters. I wanted to start with my original sketches from back in oh, I don't know 1994 or something but sadly I can't find the folder they're all in. It must be back at my mum's house which, unlike so many of my nerdy brethren I don't live at. That's a real folder mind you- not one on a computer or anything, back when I drew on real paper and stuff. On that subject; is it me or is paper a lot more expensive now then it used to be? I mean, I have books and books and books of the stuff, not to mention literally piles of A3 pads, many of them half empty or wasted with scribbles or just plain crap drawings and I can only conclude that paper must have been cheaper when I was young 'cos I wouldn't dream of being so wasteful these days. Maybe I just have a better appreciation of the value of things now.
That being said my Intuos3 tablet cost £400+ so I suppose moaning about the cost of tree pulp is a little redundant. I should be winging about the cost of consumer electronics.
Today I thought I'd post about Sam, our principle character and certainly the one who's received the most development over the years (again I'd love to show you some of those hilariously bad original sketches) so I'll begin instead with some character renders I did about eight or nine years ago. It's kinda like starting the story at the middle of the book but that's what I have to work with so bleh!

These pages originally had a lot of accompanying text that gave a lot of background information on Sam, but as I never ran any of it past Si I've omitted it here lest any of it contradict stuff he's written. In one of the sketches you can see a little doodle of Sam's shoulder joint. That's because one of the most consistent things I ever intended for Sam was for her to have an artificial arm, powered by a small internal energy cell- which would become important in regards to her 'superpowers' which were intended to include certain energy amplification abilities (I always wanted to draw a scene where Sam overloads her energy cell resulting in an enemykilling blast that would also take her arm with it).

Monday, 27 July 2009

Of all the things I've lost...

Sorry, no picture this evening, I've just spent two hours looking through old sketchbooks and I've found absolutely tons of stuff I'm really looking forward to sharing- things that have never been seen by anyone, things in some cases I don't even remember ever having drawn.
Badly need to dig that old Epson scanner out and get down to some major image capturing!
anyway, I spent so long going through all that stuff that it's time for bed.
Interestingly, I found written in an old sketchbook a conversation between me and an unknown co-conspirator (these days such a conversation would take place by sms and no hardcopy would remain) during a lecture. It includes in it a plaintive and apparently totally serious complaint that "I've been awake since 8.00!" Oh, the idiocy of youth...
Got to go now- I need to be up at 6.00 to be at work for 8.30 and for some reason I no longer seem able to get by on three and a half hours sleep anymore.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

...Said the joker to the thief

Just had to put this up for Si, and anyone else who loves Bear's work...

You now officially wish you lived in California.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

What 'bout my star?

Years ago my best friend and I shared a dream. That dream was to be discovered by a major publishing company and to produce a serialised multi-arc comicbook series called Deadend.

Set a couple of hundred years in the future Deadend would have initially focused on the activities of a unit of security operatives on humanity's most far flung colony. Deadend was a inhospitable mineral rich world positioned at the terminal end of a vast network of interstellar beaming points, hence it's name.

Deadend would be set in a heavily populated universe in which mankind is at the bottom of the pecking order, mysteriously rescued at the last moment from extinction by an apparently benevolent race and cast into a massively varied xenoc culture in which humans are seen as backwards at best and lunch at worst.
Intrigue would abound and of course, as with all great epics everyone would have an ulterior motive.

So why aren't you all reading this every month and salivating at the prospect of the much anticipated movie adaptation?

Fucked if I know. Ask my best mate Simon; he's been writing it for the past decade.

The picture above is of our main cast, from l-r: Martin Baxter (squad leader), Sam Campbell (previously McKnight- named after a random shuffling of a deck of Star Trek: The Next Generation CCG cards, then hastily renamed after a trip to Boots revealed, to our horror that Sam McKnight is apparently a successful hair stylist with his or her own line of haircare products), Rachel Myers (merchant navy pilot and secret heir to a vast shipping fortune) and Anthony Hayes (perpetually smoking genetically modified super genius and all round nerd with a fetish for big guns).

I'm going to go into a lot more detail about each of these guys, there's a LOT of material spread across a dozen sketchbooks after all. I've been drawing these guys literally for years, and occasionally still do- the degree of rendering of one of my doodles is generally an indicator of how long I've been on hold on any given call.

See ya's tomorrow!

Friday, 24 July 2009

They mostly come at night...

I was going to launch straight into my life's labour of love- Deadend but riffling (not a typo, look it up) through my scans folder I happened upon these gems. For some reason years back I created these caricatures of the old gang as zombies- the why of it is completely lost to me now but upon seeing them again it seemed only natural to post them today, after all these are the precise people I was writing about in yesterday's post. Well, not precisely- obviously the real ones are a little more lively.


Two of those zombies got married last weekend. Congratulations, you smelly rotten lovebirds!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

After, in the dark...

Post the 2nd:

One second... Right, good- the USB powered flexible fan that now acts as my lappy's primary cooling system is plugged in and jammed up against the cooling intake on the underside of the machine. Demons of heat and frustration: 0, Chris: 1

So, as I tried to say yesterday; welcome to my blog!

A few quick notes about what I hope to accomplish here and why I'am bothering.

Most of the people I speak to on a day- to- day basis don't get me. They're friends, sure, but they don't, by and large get me. They like football and clubbing and 'Britain's Got Talent'. They're pretty normal in fact, and that's the problem. They're the kind of people who would say 'dice' instead of 'die' and then be decidedly put- out when the proffered item has anything other than six sides. They don't know how to play files on their PC's through their Xbox 360, come to think of it they dont know how to get those files in the first place. They don't know the difference between an Ork and an Orc. They don't know who Yoko Kanno or Bear McReary are (tracks by both of which have been spun out by my whimsy- making mediaplayer since I started writing this). I dont resent them for this, it's just that well, they don't get me. They're not my people.

My people know these kind of things. They know the name of the only rebel pilot to survive all three original Star Wars movies. They know how he's related to Ewan McGregor. They know the words of power that must be spoken before lifting the Necronomicon Ex Mortis. They include Sisko in their discussions about the best Star Trek captain. They know the best way to use a towel to escape the ravenous bugblatter beast of Traal.

My people are geeks.

Years ago all my friends were geeks. I surrounded myself with them and felt pefectly at ease amongst them, back in the days when it seemed a perfectly good use of an evening to stock up on foodz at the 24h Tesco (when it was the 24h Tesco, before they all were) LAN up a bunch of PCs and play Aliens Vs. Predator on the commandeered Univercity front projector. Happy days.
They were certainly some of the happiest, most carefree days of my life (perhaps a little too carefree; I really should have gone to some lectures between slacking off) and through those days one thing was constant- I always carried a sketchbook with me. Everywhere.

I've lost touch with all those friends now, well, not exactly lost touch. They're mostly on my Facebook, which I hate. I hate Facebook. It seemed like such a good idea- never lose touch with your friends! Always know what they're up to! The sad fact however is that if you're anything like me you suffer from Facebook overexposure. So many status updates, so many phototags, invitation after invitation after invitation. Its just too much. These days I mostly check Facebook through the app on my Blackberry, which provides just about the right level of information for me to handle, but I actually fear logging in on my laptop. The sheer deluge of information can overwhelm me in seconds with the upsetting effect that I find myself ignoring people I really shouldn't be- if I talk to him I'll have to talk to him too... It's horrific that anyone should think that but thats what Facebook does; it gives you so much that you're forced to pick and choose, or become a slave to the bastard 'F' logo.

In recent weeks I've realised that I currently know more about whats going on in Wil Wheaton's life than I do in some of my once- close friend's. Wil Wheaton, for any of you who don't know played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: TNG. If you haven't read his blog try to find the time to do so, its a very surreal experience to discover how much like you he is. He loves real ale, he remembers playing video games at an arcade as a kid. He plays Warhammer 40k. He spent his childhood roaming the decks of the Enterprise-D... ok, so he's not exactly like you.
The fact is I found myself taking far more interest in his writings because they were there for me to read if I felt like it and not jammed down my throat, Facebook style.

That's the crux of it. I don't for one second expect anyone to take half as much interest in my inane prattle as they might take in Mr Wheaton's writings (they are really very, very interesting you know) but I'm hoping to maybe coax one or two of those friends back and start chatting again about stuff that I actually like to chat about at a level that leaves most people zoneing out and begging for a tactful exit.

I'm going to be following a 'pic of the day' format following specific themes or taking a tangent, whatever takes my fancy. Feel free to make requests if there's any specific piece you'd like to see from my back catalogue.

Yes, I will be posting the Tales From the Darkside.

Peace out, y'all!

I Blog, Therefore I Am.

It's 00.36 so you'll forgive me if this is a little succinct.

This is my first blog entry ever and I had written out quite a little statement of intent about what I planned for it over the coming weeks. It was witty and insightful, well formatted and punctuated with geek culture anecdotes and references throughout which I assure you would have had you slumped over your keyboard sobbing tears of nostalgic mirth.

Sadly that all went away when by decrepit shitbox laptop decided to overheat doing nothing more taxing than livestreaming text onto blogspot.

Fuck you, HP.

Here's a picture. It's random and I'm not going to write about it because I should be asleep already so you'll just have to settle for the assurance that I'm going to start this properly tomorrow, or later today as it now is. Shit.