So, while John and I aren’t exactly the same age, we both grew up in Blighty and share many of the same references, and I’m pretty sure John had some notion what I’d do with this.
Monkey was an absolutely formative experience for me. I’d never seen anything like it. It hit the UK in ’79 – and I was nine years old. I grabbed the nearest broom handle from the back yard and was twirling it around like Monkey Magic for hours on end.
Endless school fights.
If you’ve never seen Monkey (or, to give it it’s original Japanese name, “Journey in to the West”) it was an absolutely bonkers adaptation of the a Chinese novel written in the 16th century. And probably my first exposure to asian culture.
I had a couple of notions of how to handle this, the big choice was do I do my own version of The Monkey King or do I do the version played by Masaaki Sakai (who was impossibly charming as the boisterous, and naughty monkey)
And you know, the pleasure of doing your own stuff is you can do what you like. So Masaaki Sakai it was.
Ideally, I think, I would’ve like to have done this as a four colour comic book adaptation or a cover – and I designed a “The Monkey King” logo to drop on it, but I just couldn’t make it work, so in the end I settled for moving some of the text around so I could end on “The Monkey King” trying to tease out the idea of what my monkey king might look like, so in the final panel reveal it’s a neat little nostalgia hit.
A few years ago, while on holiday in Rathmullan (remember holidays?) I decided to try and do some daily comic stripping – and so I did (well, for a couple of days at least). And so here they are. They’re from 2012, when things gosh — when things were so much simpler.
No, I have no idea what I was inking with – I forgot to draw it. Probably a brush.
Watched a lot of Son’s of Anarchy.
Up to a point…
Crafted an entirely new creator owned action adventure series about librarians…
Tried a bit of Simple RPGaming with my son, by asking him to design a guy to fight me, it did not go well.
The 2012 Olympics, back then, the most dystopian thing I could imagine was the fact the Olympics wouldn’t allow not-Olympic funders to show their brand name. Oh sweet summer child.
And finally, Tabitha Devine, dark Gothic Mistress – which made me laugh if nothing else.
You know, for strips I spent half an hour or so on, they aren’t actually too bad. A bit of silly fun. Hope you like ’em!
My initial thoughts was, I’d obviously get The Wave in there, that was a dead cert (it was only a few years ago watching a documentary it was pointed out the boats and crew bowing before the wave as it was about to hit them…) Then I started trying to figure out ways to join the wave with a panel before it that would be a reverse of it somehow – giving me a neat ying yang symbol built in to the page, googling Hokusai I stumbled across another of his pics (I was looking for how he’d drawn a whale – terribly, as it turns out) called Whaling Off Gotō which suited the bill. Some quick research on whale skeletons and boom! we have all the ingredients for a page of comics.
I just had to trace them then!
Maybe the BBC will make the documentary about Hokusai available again, it was fascinating, incredibly prolific artist generally considered the father of Manga.
*Ok, it’s much more than a nod.
NEW: I’ve set up a redbubble store where you can now buy all sorts of cool things with this on it! The original image is 600dpi, A4 in size, so even enlarged up to be a blanket(!) it should still look super sharp. The redbubble store for this strip is here.
Started with a bunch of different kids and ended up being one based on me experiencing all of this, because, you know, I did…
Green Crisps, even to this day I’m still a little wary over green crisps, I’ll eat them, but I’ll be suspicious.
Pips – oh man, one of my best mates in primary school (age about 7?) was a fella called Paul Brolly who would eat an apple whole, core, pips, the bit of twig if it was there. A feat that would leave me wide eyed. It was fairly plausible a tree would grow from your stomach straight up your throat and out your mouth. This seemed entirely consistent with all the facts, and yet, Paul Brolly defied all of them. He was a medical marvel.
Blue Smarties. I was pretty hyper as a kid, so I’m not sure if I ever remember this one, but I’m certainly aware of it now. (Fun fact: red colouring E120 is made from insects, I’m pretty sure that would’ve blown my mind as a kid)
I can actually remember where I was the first time I was told swallowing gum would stay in your gut. I was about 6 or so, and my mum told me. And I remember thinking “but I’ve been doing this for ages, is all the bubble gum gonna stay in there??”
To this day, I’ve no idea what happened to all the bubble gum in my gut.
John Reppion wrote a fun little essay to go with this week’s tweet here.
This strip appeared on our patreon first here. John Reppion has written an accompanying essay here.
Hello! Back! And we’re opening up with a big full colour piece!
Lots of fun drawing this, trying to get a bit of John in the the Jack here (more spirit than actual lookie-likie)
Panel 1 was gonna be the green-man style face, turn on symmetry and just go to town.
The Floral garland King, riding a shire horse is a very peculiar thing. Nabbed some photo reference for the King and then went off to google maps to find a good bit of street to use, I’d already inked the foreground man-on-horse. Was pottering around the google street view of Castleton, Derbyshire when I stumbled across “Ye Olde Nag’s Head Hotel” and by crickey it was perfect for what I wanted. So here it is.
I’m trying to transition my digital drawing over to the ipad and away from the big desktop. Partly this is about space, partly display quality (ipad pro vs cintiq lo res) partly about affordability – if my current big computer system goes (a 27” cintiq and a mac mini) I couldn’t afford to replace it, but I could afford to replace my ipad. (Maybe… probably not actually)
So, my I pencilled, inked, coloured and lettered this on the iPad Pro running Clip Studio Ex.
Now, on to the art. The colours here were inspired (of all things) by a screen saver running on my apple tv (YES, I AM ENTIRELY AN APPLE HOUSEHOLD, I’M SORRY) it was a great shot of Hollywood with a weird coloured sky. It may not even have been pink, but that fused in my head with the colours of cherry blossoms, and here we are.
I googled the Kodoma – and you’ll largely get these cute looking sprites that, I think, are from a Studio Ghibli film so I ruled those out. That said, I couldn’t help myself and added little eyes to the stars of twinkly light-sprites.
Next an animal, I thought fox would be fun, and because I’d drawn two stars it seemed right to draw two foxes. Ditto with the humans.
And the final panel was gonna be black and white but the rest is pretty monochrome anyway, so I thought I’d change the background colour to orange for the fire.
Anyway, that’s it. Just the facts this time. Hope you’re keeping well!
I love Clip Studio and have been using it for years, it IS full featured – to a remarkable degree, but there’s things it doesn’t have (and, unbelievably things it used to have too) and here’s my person wishlist:
Auto Actions expanded to include settings for export / print options. I export for two reasons: one is to send preview png files to editors/writers and the other is to send tiff files. I do both from the export menu, but I need to remember the settings between the two – please let me save those settings so I don’t forget and have to redo exports. It’s driving me mad!
Give me a toggle to automatically hide/show draft layers. Clip Studio is smart enough to allow you to ignore draft layers when you use the fill tool (so if you have four layers and a draft and fill on layer three, it will look at the four layers as a complete unit and ignore the draft, super handy for digital inking) – but sometimes i want to see the lineart with the clutter of the pencils, and I have to go to the layers option and turn off draft layers individually (though, if you’re smart you keep all your draft layers in a single folder)
Smarter perspective rulers – let’s see the perspective line you’re about to draw before you draw it – there’s precedent here both Paint Tool Sai and Lazy nezumi Pro (both windows only) allow you to see the perspective line you’re about draw before you draw it (great for ensuring you’re following the same perspective of a building when you’ve drawn it with gaps)
PDF Export on desktop. Come on! I can do PDF export on the ipad but not the desktop. That’s just bonkers.
AI Flatting. Let me select a layer, ask for flats, and get a new layer with flatted fills in one smart go. Come on. Clip Studio in Japanese apparently has a plug in feature and this (or something like it) exists as a plug in. But I’d love it as a standard feature in clip studio. I realise there are people out there earning money as professional flatters, and I suspect they still will – because any automated flatting will never be as smart as a human flatting (esp if you’re working with a colourist for a long time) but for me who does the odd colour job, what I wouldn’t give for an AI flatter.
OKAY ONE MORE BONUS – please for the love of god, give this to me – feature request:
Let me save and share document presets. I use two document presets, 2000AD and US Comics, and every install of clip studio I have to recreate them (and it’s not easy since the numbers try and automatically correct themselves which means you key it in right, but then find the numbers have changed themselves and now you’ve to fix those) every time I recreate presets it’s a 20 minute job laden with mistakes. JUST GIVE ME SAVED/SHARED PRESETS – I can save and share brushes, why not this one thing?
Look there are probably loads of other features missing, and many people will probably think these features hardly matter – but honestly, I think these are things that could really improve workflow.
Now, someone at clip studio, go ahead and do these, thanks!
Originally posted at patreon this Thursday. I’m running a bit late on the old blog updates.
Ok, I feel like this may make little sense, there’s a logic in here, I swear…
So my first step was to google “Gandreið” which took me to a google book reference, and I kind liked that, but I’m in hock to the words of the tweet, so had to cover both bases…
Google book result was “Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe” and (and I hope I’m not stepping on John’s toes for any blog posts) it covers a Gandreið – (not being as smart as John, I just lifted the paragraph I was interested in and didn’t do any outside reading)
Here’s the paragraph:
“A man in a ream before the burning took place heard a tremendous crash which shook earth and sky, and then saw a man black as pitch riding furiously on a grey horse and holding a blazing firebrand, while around him was a ring of fire. ‘It seemed to him that he hurled the brand eastwards towards the fells, and that a great fire blazed up with such a fury that the fells were blotted out. He though that the man road eastward to the fells and vanished. ‘ When he told this dream, the response was: “You have seen the Gandreið, and this always means that momentous things will happen’
So anyway, thunder lightning (it sounds like a meteor falling to earth, no?) and I wanted to get that in, and the idea of it all being a bit dreamy.
So, does it make sense now? Probably not, but then right now, does anything?
John has posted an article with more background over at patreon.
My all-powerful white-board/schedule has it today listed as “Script Caduceus” – which is the three part creator owned thing I’ll tell you about (I will probably never do, but it’s good to keep your brain occupied, right?)
Anyway, spent the morning at Tescos – my wife and I went (I realise we should probably have gone either me or her, but she can’t drive, and she’s been desperate to get to the shops – next time I’m gonna drop her off).
The queue was snaking around the entrance at the car park, then there were queues to get in to each aisle, so that ate all morning. In the afternoon I sat and realised I don’t function well without a task to do, so spotted a thing on boing boing about making zines, I thought “oh sod it” I’d make one for Thomas to laugh at.
So here it is, Dad-A-Zine #1
I’ll pop the comic here for you to read, and you can download the larger image if you want to print it out to keep (why???) (To print it, just print, the follow the instructions for folding a zine and boom, you’ll have a hardcopy!)
As I once said on twitter, I’m clearly better than Van Gough because he never sold any work and I can keep my glasses on. (This was, of course, entirely a joke)
How to represent malign forces though? well, I grew up on British Boys comics where a stinky old shoe would have pong lines coming from it, so I played with adding a little green odor to the shoe, but it cut across it look like a proper painting (though I admit, there’s still a tint of greeny pong on the shoe if you look). But I switched to using it to represent a malign force. Creating a layer with a claw shaped mask in clip studio, then spraying a colour on that layer give me plenty of scope to experiment and move it around.
Hope it works, next week, I’m determined to draw a more meaty comic. But well, we’ll see – it’s been a weird month.