Folklore Thursday: Fire

Originally posted at my Patreon.

This is one of those strips you feel smug about how you’ve turned it into to something. John’s tweets can sometimes be so evocative they paint a picture right in my brain and I’ve just got Toppi’s The Enchanted World so the combination provoked a reaction. I’ll not pretend I got any where near Toppi (I am but a bit of smouldering moss to his bright white hot sun) but sometimes it’s about trying something. 

It’s all digital, think this could have benifited from being a traditionally drawn thing. Mark making in digital is so restrictive compared to the same thing in analogue. By which I mean you can get a variety of cool marks from the digital tools but you’re rarely surprised by them. Ink splatter, rough lines, etc. All possible, but all identically repeatable.

Even lifting a stick and dipping it in ink will produce more variety, more surprises, so I am slightly cross with myself for not giving that ago. But who knows, we’ve 10 more strips to do! (TEN??? That’ can’t be right.. but no… looks like that is.. crickey!) so maybe I’ll get to do try this again. 

On the other hand, two very monochrome strips one after the other, time for something radically different (a photostrip?? that would be … weird… doable… but weird…? I dunno, sod it, the idea is in my head now…)

Anyway, hope you like it!

Don’t forget, at the end of all this I’m giving away some art, to the top 5 patron contributors, Patron informs me I can’t RANDOMLY give away sketches to patrons (as it’s considered a raffle), so instead of giving two sketches to random patrons, I’ll give sketches to the TOP *7* patreons (so if you’re on a $1 pledge you could guarantee a sketch by moving to the a $10 pledge fairly easily 🙂

And now a word from our sponsors:

SATURDAY LIVE SKETCH SHOW 9PM ON TWITCH, YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK LIVE AND TWITTER.

I’ve figured out how to multistream and how to get all the comments in one place too, so this Saturday I’ll be sketching. I’ve a full list of commissions to get through, so for one hour, you’ll watch me sketch about 7-8 drawings. Tune in, and if you’d love a sketch for yourself, you can commission for the following weeks show by emailing me pjholden@gmail.com.

Folklore Thursday: Jack-in-The-Green

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.

Stay safe, hold your loved ones tight.

Folklore Thursday: Kodoma

Originally posted at Patreon.com/holdenreppion

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!

Folklore Thursday: Eggs

Bit of an Easter treat, here’s the greywashed version and a b&w version you can print out and colour in (or print out and give to your kids!)

Originally from Patreon.

Hey, it’s an Easter Special!

This one was a bit of a struggle, I admit my motivation is starting to feel a little battered by everything going on, and then I decided to draw animals (I’m not a nature artist). Still, found this one fascinating. Sometimes folklore can be educational! ( nearly included Bugs Bunny in this strip, then thought better of the copyright law…)

Hope you’re all keeping ok. 

Leverets, I had to look up : baby hares.

Folklore Thursday: Henbane

Originally available on Patreon. Which remains free to read, but if you help support us you can see the strips early!

The henbane here is a trace of the henbane image available on wikipedia, and is in the public domain. (Still, I think this is quite a pretty rendition of it)

First step was googling the flower and when I saw that big long stem I thought Oh! I could use that for guttering (literally I make this stuff up as I go along)

Witches flying first was the pointy nose cliched witch that was losely based on my memory of Mog and Meg, then the naked witch after I remembered the painting Witches going to the Sabbath

I don’t mind admitting the Necromancer was loosely based on Alan Moore, but that’s how I feel about all big bearded Necromancers – he’s pretty much the archetype for me. And the demon is, of course, based on me.(not really)

I think I drew the witch holding the flower and I hadn’t thought about the necromancer holding a flower but just sort of drew his arm up and then realised he could be doing the same thing.

It always looks like there’s a grand plan, but, honestly, it’s all made up.

(It did occur to me this would make a nice print)

Folklore Thursday: Shoe

Folklore Thursday: Shoe.

You can support John and I creating more of these comics at: patreon.com/holdenreppion

Phew, just under the wire.

Every piece of art now is an act of defiance. A defiance of the invisible enemy which is both unstoppable and imminently beatable. Patience and cleanliness. Seem to be key.

So as long as John is able to supply me with folkloric tweets, I will supply you with comics. Even if this weeks (and last weeks, I admit) are more just illustrations.

The shoe here is based a little loosely on Van Gough’s shoe (here https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436533) 

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.

Folklore Thursday: Cephalophore

Previously published on patreon.com/holdenreppion and if you can support us there, that would be awesome!

Folklore Thursday: Cephalophore

This particular Saint is St Denis and from a statue in Notre Dame De Paris. (Based on a photo from wikipedia in the public domain)

Ok, today – as I write this – Monday the 16th – Boris Johnson has announced that people should work from home, bars and large entertainment complexes should close and people should minimise travel in disruptions none of us will have ever experienced before (but may be how it must have felt when WWII broke out).

So it’s been a struggle to do anything. Plus, as it happens, some of these folklore tale tweets lend themselves very nicely to a narrative and some … less so. (I think the more sentences the better for me, but it’s been a weird day so I can’t be sure).

Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to do for this one, and googled around for some image reference and I found this.

I thought maybe just an isolated pic of this statue would be good, one drawn with some delicacy – a bolland-like rendering of the line I thought. (Whether I’m very far away from that or not is immaterial, it’s more about where I’m aiming).

Inked up digitally in Clip Studio, then on to colour using a mix of a flat fill, gouche brush (both the normal and dry brush) and then some rough water colour) I coloured it a stone colour and thought it needed a bit of colour (I’ll do that sometimes, mix in some green or blue or red) then I thought it would be interesting to add blood red pouring from the neck. The statues of these saints are curiously bloodless. So I liked the idea of adding something a bit more gory into this very sanitised vision of a headless saint.

I was 50 this year, born in 1969, the year the troubles really kicked off in Northern Ireland (I’m from Belfast) and I spent my formative years in the 80s worried about nuclear armgeddon while watching riots on tv. It’s easy to forget that art is important in that sort of environment. But it was for me. Comics where the thing that kept me sane. And while, my friend Rob and I often joke about how “well, we’d better get on and finish this comic because if we don’t… well… it doesn’t really matter”. Actually, sometimes making comics does matter. Sometimes it’s exactly what you need to keep you sane.

Anyway, take care.

Folklore Thursday: Sin-Eater

Originally posted to patreon.com/holdenreppion (where if you subscribe you’ll get to see the folklore thursday strips early!)

There’s a few things in the pot for this one. Firstly, I wanted to yank some influence in from Laika – I’d been looking at some of my older (’95) work and the stuff that is super cartoony still stands up. So I figured it’d be easy to revisit that style. But it’s not. It’s NOT.

So googling some Laika, and stealing ideas for how far to push things (my biggest sin is that I don’t push things any whee near far enough).

Panel one was tough, I knew I wanted something obviously sinful, but not too awful and I was teasing out the story that I wanted to tell. My original plan was to have the sin-eater present in panel one, either as a participant in a massive orgy (a plan soon curtailed when I remembered how time consuming crowd scenes are so) or as a background, but I just couldn’t figure out the best way to fit him in.

So shelving that problem, went on to the next panel. I don’t think I conceived of him as a vicar just yet, I figured there’d be someone covering up whatever the sin was, I thought wife then shelved that, then father, shelved that, then a vicar (could be a priest, but I knew this was scotland/wales so priest became vicar) then it occurred to me maybe they’re both vicars. 

The Vicar here is best on a memory of Ian Paisley – all brimstone and fury.

The third panel, sin-eater, was gonna be drawn with detail, but I mapped it out and figured this works as a silhouette and I’ll take any way to save time.

Final panel, hammering home the idea it’s a vicar, I googled scottish churches, got that, for the background. Initial plan was to have our sin-eater plugging his six-pence into a bag full of them (to suggest this is a fairly frequent business opportunity) then I thought if I grabbed the girls in panel 1 it sort of suggests this was part of a conspiracy. And I liked that idea – the Vicar conspiraring to keep the dead vicars crimes silent not just from the congretation but from God, by using a sin-eater, and the sin-eater masterminding a plan to kill the vicar and earn sixpence for his sins. I felt it was delightfully Inside No 9.

Anyway, It may or may not work. But I hope it does!

Folklore Thursday: Kālī

You’ll have to apologise for my brevity on this one. I wish I had more time to draw it again. Some individual bits I like but then I feel like it’s less than the sum of its parts. Oh well. 

Initially I thought “this will be amazing”. But I just didn’t have the time, and there was a deadline. That’s the reality of comics, sometimes the job is compromised by the need to get the thing out on time. AND I needed to get it out on time. So I think it’s ok, just not what I wanted to do (and I mean, it’s rarely exactly what I wanted, but sometimes you surprise yourself or it gets close enough that it doesn’t matter.)

(I do feel like I might attack this image again)

Original version of the art had “KALI” which, thanks to twitter user @halfacanuck who said:

You mean “Kālī” (long vowels). “Kali” (short vowels) is the name of the demon-lord of the Kali Yuga.

Folklore Thursday: Dragoni

When I get one of John’s tweets, I try and let them perculate around my head a little.. What does this conjure up? Is there a story in this, can i make it a story, and, sometimes… does this make me laugh?

This one I think I hit, very quickly on the idea that the Island of Dragons could be a wonderful little Richard Scarry city where everything is a dragon. I don’t know if it worked (initially I was going to trace a Scarry piece and just change all the characters to Dragons, I think the joke would’ve worked better, but it was a little too close to death by copyright infringement, so I went my own way). And I’m proud of the little “Scarry Movie 2” film showing in the Dragoplex (2 seemed funnier than just a plain old Scarry Movie)

On panel 3 I hunted and hunted for the exact outline of the Island of Dragons and just couldn’t find it on the map, defeated, and time running low, I traced around a couple of interesting shapes to give me my island (and the sea here was created by making a ‘rake’ brush in clip studio, which let me stroke a couple of lines to get those many many lines)

Hope you like it! (If nothing else, enjoy the little dragon lady feeding the little dragons scraps from her sandwich)

Addendum: As a kid, visiting the library was my first exposure to illustrated books – Asterix the Gaul, Lucky Luke, Tintin, and the books of Richard Scarry (which I loved even as I grew well out of their age range). I will always find those works charming, and I think my one regret as a parent is that we don’t visit the library enough (now, in my defence, that’s largely because we now have a massive kids book library in our home – our kids room had a small walk in wardrobe built into the room and we ended up gutting it and putting shelves in there so they’ve got an extensive library of books, but you don’t get exposure to things that will surprise you when you own your own library). Anyway, Librarys are good, and if you’re in the UK you should join one and then sign up for their digital stuff so you can access audio books, ebooks and magazines.