Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Death of a Salesman.

Just in case anyone was starting to worry about my relative quietness recently following the flurry of DECONSTRUCTED activity, fear not- I have not died (I seem to have to say that with alarming frequency) or lost enthusiasm, I simply have a lot of work to do at the moment.

If any of you have worked in sales at all you're probably aware that the end of the month can be quite frantic as you desperately try to meet those quotas. Commitment to this has meant a few late nights in recent days and I've been left feeling rather drained so my productivity has dropped a little.

Fear not, however for happily I now have two straight days off to indulge my sketchbook so expect some new stuff in the next couple of days.

Speaking of work, the creation you see above is a little something I knocked out during a quiet spell this morning- call it a doodle if you will. Most of the doodles I do at work also have confidential customer details all over them, or it might be fairer to say my confidential customer details have doodles all over them- either way they get filed or shredded. Fortunately this one was done on a fresh piece of 80gsm printer stock so I was free to bring it home.
It's rendered in Biro and depicts one of my coworkers, whom I hate enough to draw having his head squished by a naked demon. He has also soiled himself if you can tell. The demon also raped him. You can't tell from the picture but he did.

In the interest of professionalism I shall not reveal the identity of the individual.

He is not called Steve.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Tales of Acadie

Spaceships, spaceships, spaceships. I love designing spaceships. Have a look in my sketchbooks; spaceships- all over the place.

DECONSTRUCTED requires the design of a spaceship; The Evangeline. I was given the following brief:


Not a lot to go on huh? well, thankfully Den is more than happy enough to furnish me with additional details as required. After a few well aimed e-mails I was able to ascertain that Evangeline was somewhere around the size of Serenity or Betty- a kind of Millennium Falcon affair which needs to be atmosphere capable, able to carry two 'Donkey' size snowcrawlers and capable of microgravity salvage operations. Den also mentioned that Evangeline is private rather than military so large battle cannons and maser guns were pretty much out of the question...

First up I went back to an old design you'll find hiding here and tidied it up a bit but I thought it looked a little too airplane-ish

I played and played and played with the design but every time I ended up with something that looked like a cross between Colonial One and Darth Maul's sith interceptor... I got a little obsessive with the overhanging bridge module element as you can probably tell, and don't even ask what I was thinking about the one that looks like a tugboat with a tail...

It came down to this; I wanted a ship that looked utilitarian but also shaped like it could enter an atmosphere without any of that 'shields' or 'repulsorlift' jiggery- pokery. It needed to be tough, but clearly not military, and about the size of a middling to large airliner. Obviously we needed space to store and deploy our snowcrawlers and also areas to stow cargo both internally and externally. I wanted to have an engineering section distinct from the cargo and command sections.

All the designs I was producing started from a side elevation design and were falling into the same trap- too streamlined, too nice to look at, too aggressive- some even looking like fighters. Pretty cool in most respects but not Evangeline, so I started afresh. Not fair to say i went back to the drawing board as I never left it but I certainly attacked the problem from a new angle and more importantly a new perspective- I started not from a side- on view but a 3d projection allowing me to create the shape and presence I was looking for, whilst simultaneously making something that was pig-ugly from the side. Much more satisfying.

This looks not like an airliner, but a flying Tonka-toy. I can fully imagine this ship being coloured building- site yellow or John Deere green. Certainly a tool rather than a joyride.

Evangeline awaits Den's approval. Or not. He might hate it. Erm.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Delayed and Diminished.

Sorry this post is a little later than I intended. I had planned to spend all of Sunday digging into the delicious character bible that Den produced for me this week and churn out another few character designs but unfortunately I was struck down (for the second time in a fortnight!) with a nasty stomach virus that left me quite incapable of anything other than lolling (and I don't mean laughing out loud) around in bed and occasionally sprinting, as much as that can be done with clenched buttocks, to the bathroom. My apologies to my housemates for disturbing their Sunday lie ins with my noisy BLEGHHHH exclamations.

Anyway, on to the work. I've only managed the one new character sketch and it was probably the hardest, this one actually having to look like someone, and someone I've never met to boot.

My apologies to Steve White if my cartoon representation in any way sells him short.

VARENKOV, – He looks like Steve White. He wears khaki combats and a black t-shirt with the legend ‘PUT YOUR DISEASE IN ME’. He is reading a book on Vietnam.

Note to Den; How do you spell this guys name? The documents you have given me variously have it as 'Varenkov', 'Varenko' and 'Varanakov'. I've stuck with the version from the script, and assuming the second is a typo. The third doesn't fit with his nickname 'Ren' so I'm assuming that one is also wrong...

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

We Live in Exciting Times

Something odd has happened.

For the first time in a few years I am spending most of my free time working on artistic endeavours.

My Xbox lies unused, the Internet unbrowsed and I am at least two weeks behind on all my favourite TV programs.

The reason? DECONSTRUCTED. Around a week ago my estranged friend Den Patrick approached me with the idea of producing a limited run web comic to be serialised online and then, all being well, published in time for next years Birmingham Comic Expo. the industrious little chap had already knocked up a script and list of characters and such to be designed and asked me on board to help out with pencils and design work. Seems he had caught the writing bug at this years event and within hours had passed it to me with all the virulence of swine flu.

I put out the first sketch I did in the previous post but I wasn't sure how much Den wanted circulating just yet so I had to be a little circumspect with the information. After a few (dozen) emails I now have a much better idea of Den's plans (some of which are growing rapidly, fuelled by his burning ambition) and soon there'll be a separate blog charting our progress on the project.

Until then I'm going to post stuff here, and after my first day off since beginning I can offer you the following bits;

Full page. The front end of a large, boxy snow crawler. It is painted khaki green but is covered in ice and snow. It bears the legend ‘DONKEY’, but someone has graffiti’ed ‘WONKY’ just over the top of the word. The grille is opened and a single person is tinkering with the engine. Don’t make it look American, instead opt for that blocky, un-fussy Soviet style. Perhaps decorate the side of the crawler with a big ‘02’.
Orange sirens on the back of the crawler cast a weird light over the surrounding environment. Instead of making the whole thing run on two tank tracks maybe opt for four, like the Jawa Sandcrawler from Star Wars.

This is the Donkey; a futuristic snowmobile-apc type vehicle that features in the early pages of issue one. Den instructed me that it needed to be built like a Soviet era tank and have tracks rather than wheels much like the sandcrawler from Star Wars. The script demands that it have a cabin large enough to sit at least two with good forward visibility and a rear habitation compartment accessible through the cabin. Den didn't specify if it had a plough so I left room for one to fit if needed. I took my inspiration from the photos and drawings that Den handily included in his notes but also from a John Deer combine harvester- recent models of which look awesomely scifi.

NAKAMURA –Behind them, at a kitchenette is NAKAMURA, a Japanese man. He is fixing himself a drink. He wears combats but with a Lab Coat, so we know he’s the science bod. I like the idea of him having goggles pushed back on his forehead too.

Nakamura; A member of the Evangeline (an interplanetary salvage and transport vessel in the style of Serenity or Alien: Resurrection's Betty- more to come on that) crew. Nakamura is described as Japanese and wearing a labcoat, thus denoting his place on the crew as 'science guy' but also wearing combats, so I picture him as a pretty laid back type of dude.

AMENT, – is the chief mechanic. A bear of a man, from Russian stock. He wears dog tags and a black bandana. All his gear is scuffed, ripped or worn. He looks like he escaped from a Grateful Dead concert.

I had a lot of fun drawing Ament. His description, though relatively sparse gave me plenty to play around with, and seeing as I rarely draw the huge, musclebound comicbook type guys you often see in mainstream books it made a refreshing change. By the way- his T-shirt is an actual Grateful Dead tour shirt- summer 1987. For anyone who cares.

I've got lots of things still to design before I can even get started on page comps and this is going to keep me occupied for ages to come. Posts about other stuff may suffer but I'm sure most of you won't mind seeing so much new stuff- yay!

Watch this space for news on the DESCONSTRUCTED blog...

Saturday, 10 October 2009

More New Work!

Technically, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post this. I'm working on a project for Den and this is one of the preliminary sketches I've come up with for a character he's asked me to draw. I'm not 100% sure however, if Den has given me permission to post my workings here. For this reason I'm going to be deliberately ambiguous as to who this is supposed to be.

To Den I would say this- I've tried to include everything you mentioned in your description, however you did say she was wearing both a parka and a toolbelt, which would seem to be mutually exclusive if they were to be depicted at the same time as one would cover the other, so I've gone for a shorter jacket design. As for the gun; I had to go trawling through Intron Depot and the Appleseed Databook to find designs to homage (rip off) and I hope what I came up with was more or less what you envisioned...

I've also been working on the Wonky Donkey (reminds me of the Mucky Pig, ah, memories) and thought I'd combine the ideas you had with a combine harvester style design, replacing the wheels with tracks and the whirly deathblades with a plough, then Sovieting the whole thing up a bit (btw I live with a Russian so if you actually want any Cyrillic text on it just let me know and she can translate whatever you want). Obviously pics will follow either here or, if you'd rather I didn't post, then in an email.

Quite buzzed about this project so watch this space (or don't, depending on the level of secrecy required) for more...

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Not Dead.

Three weeks!? Three weeks!?

It's been three weeks since my last post? Damn. I'd love to say that it's been because I've been off around the world exploring exotic locales or doing volunteer missionary work in the Pacific islands but the sad fact is that I've rarely been more than a few feet away from my laptop.

I have only the Xbox and an overbearing feeling of indifference to blame for my absence and I beg your forgiveness for this.

Now lying in a sickness induced sweat I decided to actually write something, you know, in case anyone was still checking for updates. I know Den has been and I thank him for his concern- and offer of involvement in juicy projects! I was looking forward to providing you all with yummy new work that I have been doing (between bouts of Halo 3: ODST and Fable II) but tragically it seems my laptop had come to enjoy its relaxing period of disuse and hoped to extend it by contracting a particularly nasty virus that locked me out of all functions on the machine other than installing 'Antiviruspro 2010'. Being the naive and trusting individual I am I naturally saw no other option but to format my entire c: drive and start windows again from three year-old settings.

I'm sorry to say that all my recently produced work was lost, including everything I've produced for this blog, saddest of which (witch, lol) was the newly completed rendering of Bellatrix Lestrange I was intending to include in the post. I'm afraid all the new work I had been doing on Deadend is also gone, thus teaching me that using a Wacom, though versatile, is no match for a real sketchbook. Boo.

Thankfully all my older stuff is stored on a backup drive, which means although I cant bring you anything new, I can still give you some Darkside, so here you are; I've decided to skip to one of the later colour rendered strips, just because I like this one, and it's particularly geeky being that you can only really understand it if you've read 'Heir to the Empire' or are familiar with the Extended Universe...