Sunday, 28 April 2013

Process: Secret 7s

A few months ago, a bunch of my drawing pals were retweeting a shout out for people to draw stuff. It was for the charity/art project Secret 7"s where people design covers for songs by popular musicians and other people buy them for money. There are other things too like screenings and talks and all the money raised is sent to a good charity to do good things.

I wasn't planning on submitting anything for a number of reasons - mainly that anything that relies on being voted in makes me scared. but also because I thought it was just going to be for proper drawing people that use a selection of pencils or can draw hands etc.. But I also *really* wanted to give it a go and it couldn't be that scary, right? And my drawing pals were being encouraging. Thanks pals!

So, after a bit of faffing about and doing some bravery training (looking in the mirror and saying to myself 'you are a brave and sassy dude'), I got to work.

The seven acts that you could design a sleeve for were Elton John, Haim, Public Enemy, Nick Drake, NAS, Laura Marling and Jessie Ware. For me, it was a toss up between Haim and Jessie Ware but I finally opted for the former.

After sketching out a few ideas, I settled on the idea of the Haim gals flying into action. So I drew them out on paper (along with some other stuff I was working on, hence the dog) and inked them with my fancy pen.

My inking, as always, is terrible - the eyes are wonky, the cardigan is a mess... which is ridiculous since my drawings are so basic. Oh. And there was a ghost in my original idea too! SPOILERS: Poor ghost didn't make it through to the final thing.

I was planning on using my original line drawings so I tidied them up. Stray pixels *really* annoy me. I put them into position after this too, along with the ghost.

Having done all that though, I decided to redraw them again using work paths. I think I just really wanted it to look slick... so that's what I did!

I also rejigged their positions and finally decided that the ghost just did not belong there. Look how unwonky those facial features are now! And how smooth their hair is! Hooray!  I'd made the bits and bobs on multiple layers so, before colouring them in (or even flattening them), I deleted all the bits that I didn't need to show up.

I was finally happy with the layout and the lack of ghost. So it was time for my favourite thing - COLOURING IN! Thanks to the computer, staying in the lines is no longer a concern!

I wanted something really bright and cheerful for the background, to contrast with the more muted colours of the Haim gal's outfits. I spent a surprising amount of time deciding what they should be wearing. Who would wear socks and who wouldn't? Would this outfit work on stage? How practical are their shoes?

But I felt like it looked a little flat. I know my style is pretty 2D anyways, but I wanted to give it a bit more of a polish... so after a bit of playing around, I ended up with this...

And there we go! This is the final version I submitted!

I was over the moon when I got the email to say that I was in the actual 700 and it was a super hard secret to keep. I went along to the opening party and bumped into some pals and we had a great time going through all 700 sleeves, trying to work out what act they were for and whether we knew the person behind it.

A lot of my pals went along to look at the sleeves too and didn't seem to have any trouble pointing mine out to me. I was quite pleased because it means I have a 'style' that people can recognise and being selected for the project in the first place has given me a much needed confidence boost. There were loads of amazing sleeves on display and mine was there, right next to them. And it's not everyday you get the chance to say you designed a sleeve for a sassy band like Haim.

And if that wasn't enough good news enough for one blog post, I was sent a tweet by the person that bought it when they all went on sale. HOORAY!

So, in conclusion... if you ever have the chance to submit something but are worried, stop being a baby and give it a go! You might not be as accomplished or as popular as other people, but that's not always the most important thing.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Long Story Alert!

Don't freak out... but I'm updating this blog.

If you're freaking out now then STOP IT - I told you not to! Why don't you listen? Jeez!

So, it's been ages since my last post. Sorry about that. In a nutshell, I've been working really, really hard at my non-drawing job. It's been a very interesting experience - I think I've learnt a lot and I've done all sorts of new things. But it also means that I'm exhausted and a little strung out.

But whatever. You didn't come here to read about my actual life. You just want funny/cute comics. Don't pretend it isn't.

So, as you have been reading, I was ill for a bit and now I'm not. I've started on making new comics but I sort of fancy doing something different. I went through my files and I found a 26 page story I had printed off as issue twelve of People I Know.

Here is the original front cover!

People I Know #12 was made two years ago - in early 2011, and featured two wizards trying to navigate the perils of the heart. I've been thinking about uploading it onto the website for a while so now seems like a pretty good time.

However, there are a few things that I wanted to flag up before it goes online...

For starters - it was made two years ago and, believe it or not, my drawings look different. Maybe not HUGELY different, but different enough.

I mean, you can still tell that they are the same characters... they just look a little more polished.

Another difference is the characters themselves. In the two years since I drew this story, the wizards have evolved as characters - which is only right. They've got names now for a start! Jones is bossy and desperate to assert himself. Curly is easily led and upset, both a symptom of his sad backstory. Both wizards in the current webcomic are students, whilst in the longer story they have jobs. Maybe it's just a Summer job. Yeah - let's go with that.

The tone of the story itself is markedly different from my regular pun-filled comics. This whole story was made to me read in one sitting, rather than across a month. I've tried splitting it up into sections that make it work as a daily strip, but it isn't big on the laugh front.

This probably all sounds like I don't want you to read it, but that's certainly not the case. It's a good story and I'm proud of it. I just don't want any regular readers (or new readers!) to be weirded out by the sudden change in tone and look.If you really can't cope with it then come back in a month and it'll be business as usual. Or don't come back. I'm not the boss of you.

Enough about me, what about you? Have I missed anything exciting? Will I see you at MCM Expo in London?

Stay out of trouble