Yes faithful viewer, your eyes do not deceive you – I have updated my blog for the first time in a month or so. Unfortunately, the old Inane Reviews have taken a bit of a back seat, but hey – why lie? You know you’re not going to be missing much! So.. what have I actually been doing that’s stopped me updating this little blog-type thing? Well sit back with a cup of cocoa, wrap a blanket around you, cosy up… and I’ll begin.
Back in April I ended up in hospital for a week with a nasty bout of cellulitis (there’s a post about it earlier on this blog). It was fine for a few weeks, but the affected leg never really went back to normal, so I booked a doctor’s appointment to get it assessed again. By a strange quirk of timing, the day of the doctor’s appointment was the day the infection flared right back up, so all the sweating, shivering, vomiting and aching meant it was a trip back to hospital for me! Greeeeat.
Another week was spent in hospital, with IV’s of antibiotics and such, and this time I’m confident it’s sorted, even if the leg still ain’t the right size. The hospital staff were great, the food was good, my fellow patients were ancient and pretty poorly, and one bloke just kept staring at me. Ceri didn’t believe me until she visited me one day, and then she got stared at. Creepy as hell! Also one of the bank nurses looked just like Sean Connery. Amazing stuff. The time out at least allowed me some time to doodle a little, catch up on Moonbase 2 podcasts (including a terrifyingly long interview with Transformers writer Mike Costa), and also script the hell out of another comic project (more on that in a mo).
So apart from the little health blip, what else have I actually been up to? Well, working the day job, which now is starting to build to the point where I do some actual work, but hey – let’s not get into that. Let’s talk about comic books and digital colouring for a change! I’m going to roll this on a project by project basis. Let’s hit it! I’ll start with the pro bono work…
- Bots Of Honour
I’d promised people the lineart for this aaaages ago, and my hospital stay finally allowed me to finish all five pages. Pretty happy with it, apart from my inking, which is pretty uniformly rubbish. Hoping to remedy that soon by shifting my inking to Illustrator, but that’ll take time.
- Auto Assembly comic 2011
I’m colouring five pages of Ed Pirrie’s lovely lovely artwork for the convention magazine. I’ve got three pages done, and just need to conquer a double page spread before the end of June. It’s flatted up for the most part, so now it’s a matter of finding time in betwixt paid work to get it finished. It’s looking well naughty though, it’s nice to colour Transformers again! I hadn’t realised how long it’d been…
Whipped up some super fast colours for a possible pitch piece of art by fellow Transformers alumni Robby Musso, at the behest of Martin Fisher (of Battle Beyond The Stars and numerous Mosiacs fame). No idea if it’ll go anywhere yet, but fingers crossed. End of line.
- Doctor Who
I wrote a brief article about my colouring work on the good Doctor for a Deviantart based fanzine. I’ll throw a link up when it’s online, it was fun to write. I titled it ‘A Madman With A Paintbox’. Fnaaar. Did you see what I did there?
- My OWN Website
In the midst of a redesign because the last version was a bit poo. My mate Johnny Luu gave me a bit of a kick up the arse on this. It was almost all done until the USB stick I had all the graphics stored on went kablooie. Now I need to try and find time to reorder and resize all the graphics again. Hopefully within the next few weeks. http://www.kriscarter.co.uk will be where it’s based, in just a few days, time allowing!
- A Music PR firm website
Another bit of web design I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into, it’ll be a very small 6 page site, but it’s doable even with my slightly out of date HTML skills! Will throw out a link when it’s done in a few weeks.
- Super secret project I can’t tell you about.
No, really. Non-Disclosure Agreement and everything. It’s not Transformer or Doctor Who or anything like that though. Definitely something new for me, not comics based!
- Mascot design for another music label
This got a little lost in the hospital crapola, so I need to knuckle down and get this done – and apologise for being such an ill bastard too. Still, it involves drawing gun-toting robots. Hopefully will be my first proper Illustrator-based inking work. BI-WINNING!
- The Pride
Joe Glass’ comic about homosexual superheroes was picked up by Deadstar Publishing at the Cardiff Comic Con earlier this year, and in May I began laying down colours for issue #1, over Gavin Mitchell’s lovely ‘Paul Grist’ styled linework. I’m 6 pages in so far, on track for an end of June deadline, and it’s looking very pretty! Some delightful preview art is alongside…
Dunno if this is known news yet, but looks like I’ll be helping colour Joe’s other comic project from issue #2 onwards. Mmmm, Welsh Valley zombie goodness. I was involved with this project yeeeears agom, when it was still called Zombie Death Squad, so it’s nice to be brought back onto it in it’s freshly minted form!
- A new comic mag called Strip Magazine will be hitting stands in October courtesy of Print Media Productions, and Crucible will be appearing in it from issue #5 or #6 I believe. I’ve finished colouring part one of John Freeman and Smuzz’ crazy fantasy-come-sci-fi actioner, and it’s looking lovely – a crazy mix of fantasy landscapes with bits of tech here and there. Highly detailed art with some truly barmy character design and story, this is proving to be a fun if challenging colour project! Feast your eyes upon some art from it. Go on, have a look. Mmmmm. It’s got sword-fighting and hot chicks and everything. And it’s got a battle in the middle of a rainstorm. Which looks deeply cool… but is turning out to be a right bitch to colour. Still – lovin’ it!
- Unnamed Digital Comic
Very early days, but it looks like I’ll also be throwing colours down on another project of John’s. Sounds exciting, and I’ll hopefully have more news soon!
So as you can see, I really need to get off my arse and sort out my time management skills if I’m going to get this all done. Also, most Thursday evenings I’m now meeting up with my mate Johnny Luu, who’s getting me trained up in After Effects, compositing and all that jazz to try and get me doing some freelance work in that area of the media industry, so that’s going to be exciting to watch develop.
Finally, the project closest to my heart at the moment is this…
- Lou Scannon
- Ladies and gents, a history lesson if you’ll indulge me. About a decade ago I was in university studying animation. One of my friends on the course was one Daniel Mortimer Harris. As part of his third year film, Dan had created a character called Lou Scannon for a sci-fi comedy. The film was never truly finished, but over the years Dan had still gone and developed a tonne of backstory and character sketches and concepts for Lou Scannon and his crew. I’d always enjoyed Dan’s style and take on this character, and I bugged him repeatedly over the years to make a comic of it. After a few failed starts, Dan got a comic started, but it was never finished, never really getting beyond large thumbnail status. At this point I’d also started drawing one-off Lou Scannon comic one pagers, as I was enjoying writing the character. in 2008, myself, Dan and fellow animation alumni James Quentin Bampfield had a stab at writing a full Lou Scannon comic (about a pub crawl that ends in disaster). This too, never really got off the ground.
I was getting a bit annoyed at this point, as I knew the potential was there for this to be a really fun comic book. On a looooong flight back from Australia in July 2010, I worked up a full 22 page story called Lou Scannon in The Wolfman Of Astrotraz. Dan was duly badgered to draw it, but time being what it is, it never got properly started. At this point, throwing caution and common courtesy to the wind I began drawing it myself. Bit by bit this time, it started actually coming together, and the more Dan and I saw of it, the more exciting it was. By April of 2011 the entire comic had actually been drawn up and grayscale shaded, mostly by me but with help from Dan pencilling 4 of the 22 pages. And it was pretty good! Looked distinctive, had a good story, funny gags and good humour, interesting characters… Dan and I were really proud of it. It’s now in the process of being properly printed as an indepedant comic, with a further five issues planned. We had the proof copies back a few weeks ago, they look really good (it looks like a real comic! Squeee!) and we’re almost done fixing some typo’s, adding a few extra panels here and there and also finalising all the exclusive stuff for the print version that we’re not putting online. And it’ll be for a reasonable £3.00. Once it’s all printed up I’ll nail down a proper dedicated blog post for it here to pimp it out. In the meantime, there’s a gallery of the comic up at http://drivaaar.deviantart.com. Give it a read, and if you like it, grab the print version, which has some slight changes and more exclusive stuff in it!
We’re just starting out on issue 2 already, we’ve got a good vibe on it. Issue 2 sees a more organised and varied creative team. Myself, Dan and Jim thrash out the story, which I then script and Dan & Jim script edit. Dan then pencils the pages based on my thumbnail sketches, that reliable stalwart Johnny Luu will be lavishing digital inks which I’ll then colour and letter. As good as issue 1 looks, issue 2 will blow it away. We’re hoping to have that all put to bed ready for December.
So that’s about it. Been a busy boy of late! And Auto Assembly 2011 creeps ever closer… seriously I can’t wait, I had a BLAST last year. I’m also trying not to focus on just how much Ceri and I are up Shit Creek with money – no matter how much work I seem to get on the go, I can’t seem to earn anywhere near what we actually NEED to survive. Case in point – my mum just gave us £50 to try and help out, which I was going to put straight in the bank today, as there’s like £9 left on my overdraft – and my train fare to work just cost me £44. So you can kinda see why I’m fretting about this crap… I keep telling myself things’ll get better, that my work to try and improve things isn’t a complete waste of time…