Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Wednesday 30th September 2009

Recommended bad TV for the season: Trauma, which I prefer to call EXPLOSION DOCTORS because I don't believe in overcomplicated product descriptions, CSI: Miami, because I now believe they're doing it on purpose, and NCIS: Las Vegas, because Linda Hunt and Chris O'Donnel. I'd usually give 90210 a nod except it seems to be veering wildly at the minute between too fluffy or mean-spirited and hasn't managed to make the balancing act convincing thus far, while Melrose Place seems a bit too average and I was kind of hoping for something really trashy. Mercy and the Good Wife seem passable entertainment to pad out the C5 midweek schedule in the near future, but aren't bad enough to be unmissable.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Because I don't twitter...

"A species much like our own" I know he's using a simile, but humans do not transform into cars - I'm not a doctor, but I'm reasonably sure the science will back me up here. Also, prehistoric man lived in an aftershave commercial, from what I can tell. That or he did a lot of drugs that distorted the perception of time. Or tigers ran a lot slower back then.
Crappy robot designs.
Prime opportunity to do some Beast Wars references.
Chinese news is transmitted in English.
New robots and infodump.
Humans with huge guns tearing up the streets and shouting are not in the spirit of blending in that rests at the core of Transformers as a concept.
Are they really that surprised that a robot is pretending to be a vehicle? Really? They seem surprised.
This isn't an action scene, it's just noise.
Hahahah. Chinese are inscrutable. What a hilarious musical gag.
hahahaha. Blacks.
Lady robots = pink.
Noise. Just noise.
Pwned: LAPD style.
Hahaha. Humans. I hope this plotline goes on for at least an hour and a half of the runtime of this film named after and sold on the premise of being about giant robots hitting each other because I think this plotline is fried gold and super-funny.
She's legal and only playing a teenager so this shot of her is okay.
Him not washing his shirt for two years has become a major plot point.
Dogs humping: gold.
hahaha. Little robots.
Why are all the newly-created robots evil? Is this a comment about the nature of the soul? That's pretty deep.
little tiny evil robots got little tiny evil bullets for their guns.
I hate Bumblebee.
Hahaha. Still humans.
That'll never get old, Bumblebee.
She's only playing a teen, so this is okay.
Oh Shia, you're so funny. You should be in everything.
Zero chemistry. They should have like a song that spells out what this scene is about.
Hahahaha. Blacks. They're naturally violent.
Hahaha. Dead servicemen.
Pfft. It's only Shanghai.
I'm not his biggest fan, but I did enjoy Las Vegas, espacially that one with Jean Claude Van Damme.
Aaron from 24.
Their God is Primus, their devil Unicron. Why do I know this?
They're totally gonna break in there.
College is a parr-tay.
Nerds. Probably relevant later.
Hahahahaha. Internet.
They covered that up? FUCK OFF.
Hahahahaha. "Pure champion stuff." El oh el and colon/upper case d.
She's only playing a teen so it's okay.
Hahahahaha. Mothers.
Ravage! Okay, that is the jam right there.
That was an overcomplicated transformation.
Once again, not blending.
They should make a ZOIDS movie.
Who has college parties like this?
She's only playing a teen, so it's okay.
So is she.
Seriously - she has a high-speed internet connection and she's bored? FAIL.
He's in that show Greek. Playing the same character.
She's only playing a teen.
That's it, octopuses - rape his face.
Alien planet - more of, please.
Oh, I get it - it's Bender's crazy robot friend from that episode where they were locked up in the asylum.
Bad Boys 2 was so awesome. The homophobia was my favorite.
She's only playing a teen in slow motion.
My dad has always told me this about women.
Take that, book-learning!
Car chase: noise.
I suspect that fall isn't actually survivable.
Noise and running.
That backflip should have been like the bit in the animated movie where Optimus rolls out to the strains of 'The Touch', but here it's just nonsensical visual noise you have to squint at.
Some odd visual continuity: how is he there, and how did that guy get there? Where are those two at? Did they all split up? How did they get into Bumblebee? Wasn't he chasing him and not the other way around? How is he bigger than him in this scene when he was smaller in the last scene?
Actually, this bit is quite funny, as the need to composite shots of the human in the foreground for scale means that the directer is forced to make the visuals comprehensible for a change.
This is at least the third time Prime has gone out like a bitch in a feature.
That sounds like the voice of the Precursors from Jak 3.
Hahahaha. Perversion is funny.
Armageddon, Michael? Again?

Hahahaha. Black people and their gold teeth and big lips. They're inherently funny and validate film as art.
Hahaha. And their illiteracy.
Linkin Park. Always a good sign.
Hahaha. Jewish.
Hey, leave her alone! She's only playing a teen!
I used to work in a slaughterhouse - it actually is pretty grim.
Beefcake to balance out the Megan Fox factor. APPROVED.
Considering how that library made out a couple scenes back, I'm betting this museum is gonna do some explodin'.
Actually, it got off light.
Hahahaha. Old Euroscum.
That's it - rape her leg! She clearly enjoys it, like all women.
Hahahaha. Robofarts. Even funnier than the human characters.
The Matrix? Comic continuity!
Blah Blah Blah.
Oh my God: "Starscream in pursuit" - they're captioning the movie like a comic book now.
'Girls' and 'boys'? You people are in your twenties!
Those irreplaceable ruins are so exploded.
This part of the plot hinges on the ethnic characters not getting along. Awesome.
Oh, it's Starscream speaking and not actually captions. That's somehow not as cool.
Where's that old Eurotransformer got to?
Why is it taking so long for anything to happen?
That's so a robot in disguise.
That should be cool, but it's just noise.
All armies but US armies are shit.
Slooooooooooooooooooooooooow mmmmmmmmmmoooooooooooooooooosshhhhuuuuuuunnnnnnn.
And people didn't notice that in there over the last few thousand years?
I know he's survived worse in this very film, but he is dead now. If only this was the end of the first Pokemon movie where tears could revive the dead.
Son. Of a BITCH.
"The power was within you all along."
Optimus Gundam: Schnyder Mode!

They should make a Gundam movie.
Another one, I mean. A good one. Not shite.

Not a good film.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Monday 28th September 2009

Bit of a slow day for telly, as I'm still catching up with my backlog of shows and trying to squeeze in the first season of ER, too. Alien Trespass is pretty duff despite starring Robert Patrick, who I normally like in stuff, and Merlin 'something something something' starring Baltar out of the BSG remake in the title role was unsurprisingly utter pish to the point I've forgotten the name of the actual film.
Reasonable amount of drawing done today, though, so that's something.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sunday 27th September 2009

Smallville returns with a reliably awful season opener: "You were the one who went Thelma and Louise with the Creature From the Black Lagoon!" and "Attacked by a ninja-clad assassin!" as possibly my standout favorite bad dialogue of the episode, if not the year so far. The mixed-metaphor of film references no-one under forty would make is hilarious enough, but the idea of someone dressed in ninjas is possibly the most awesomest thing ever.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Saturday 26th September 2009

Lightning saturday tv roundup:
Vampire Diaries: emo.
Mercy: smug.
Monk: Monk.

That's as insightful as I get when I haven't watched much tv through babbysittin', gymin' and laying on my arse without booze. This is not how you day off!

Friday 25th September 2009

Telly season starting in earnest now, with new shows debuting and old favorites/habits returning. In no particular order, the current viewing season has brought us House, Community, Glee, Eastwick, Greek, NCIS: Los Angeles, CSI: Miami, Crash, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fringe, Heroes, Mercy, Flashforward, the Forgotten, the Good Wife, the Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, Castle, Melrose Place, Bones, 90210 - pretty busy watching period for me. The only new show I'm wary of is Mercy, as me and medical dramas haven't got on since I tried to watch the first season of Grey's Anatomy and found it an aggressively smug and hateful show full of unlikable characters I would have little hesitation in punching in the mouth. Melrose Place I'm not sure what to make of, as I've never seen the original, though the name - via pop-cultural osmosis alone - brings up assumptions of glossy Los Angelinos and soap operatics about their privileged never worked an honest day in their life problems, but it started with a murder and that was enough to intrigue me, even if the rest actually is glossy Los Angelinos and soap operatics about their privileged never worked an honest day in their life problems - all it needs is a naive actress who swings both ways and it'd be complete trash. As it is, it's just kind of trashy and lacking in substance.
NCIS: Los Angeles is trash, however - absolute, unapologetic trash of the first order. I've never watched an episode of the parent series, so I'm at a loss why I gave this one a shot, but the credits revealed that it starred both Chris 'Batman And Robin' O'Donnel and LL Cool J, so my ass was watching this bitch just to see what kind of car crash occurred, and it was just terrible enough to be compelling in the same way that CSI: Miami and Bones are.
Good Wife is typical courtroom stuff but inoffensive enough that I'll probably watch another episode, while Flashforward is laughably derivative and stiff Sci-Fi Channel reject material that pads out the minutes with leaden plotting and shameless lifts of the establishing moments of Lost, and I honestly can't think why I'd watch another episode - none of it is particularly terrible, it's just that none of it is particularly good and there's not an ounce of originality on display.
Modern Family is cynical on the surface, but has a happy ending up it's sleeve in the form of a face turn for the homophobic dad played by Married With Children's Ed O'Niell, and while happy endings were once played-out on tv, they're now so rare that this comes across as a welcome bit of schmaltz that makes the rest of the cynicism and misanthropy more palatable in much the same way that House's season opening happy-ending moment of rare euphoria for the title character was.

All in all, the new season is off to a good start, but we'll see what I'm still watching in a month's time.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Thursday 24th September 2009

Minus color and a couple of white-out clean-ups, that's pages 6-7 in the bag. Not a stunning pace considering I started last monday, but I am at least sitting down and getting into the work. Possibly once I cut the booze, late risings and lie-ins till 1 playing Oblivion and mainlining cheap energy drinks I'll get more done in a day, though for the moment I'm enjoying the slower pace of life away from the routine of a regular job.

As regards Oblivion: good game, but I still prefer Fallout. The main quest is far too easy and most of the fun is in the side missions like the Dark brotherhood assassinations or the Thieves Guild tealeafing, though I've been told that level 10 is quite high for someone running through the game and not deliberately leveling-up - I suppose it's entirely possible that the game version of me may be just as awesome as the real thing, but it makes things too easy, and while that's great for getting laid back, sometimes I want my games to be a little exciting and frustrate me now and then. Only a little, mind.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Wednesday 23rd September 2009

Just finished Crash season 1, and while I've never seen the film upon which the series is based (though my brother's one-line review was "We are all racists"), I can only hope it was a little less dipped in cliche than the televisual iteration. Not that it was bad per se, but it felt like the whole thing wandered off the reservation around episode 10 and fell too easily into cop show tropes, forgetting the more interesting periphery characters - though their plotlines weren't the height of originality, either.
All in all, an above-average drama, but not the apex of the form suggested by the Oscar-winning pedigree.

Watching: Crash (but I'm done with that, I suppose) Lincoln Heights, CSI Miami

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Tuesday 22nd September 2009

Watching: Crash s1, Big Bang Theory, Castle
Listening: War Rocket Ajax, Everything Comes Back to 2000ad

Monday 21st September 2009

Just a quick post to make my daily quota.

Watching: Crash s1, Leverage s1, Drop Dead Diva
Listening: Podcasts! 4th Letter, Small Press Big Mouth and War Rocket Ajax

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sunday 20th September 2009

Still not up to the 'drawing 5 pages a week' mark, but nearly - a lot of distractions this week kept me going this way and that rather than getting focused on the GN, but four pages and a bit, counting the weekend off (sorta) is good enough as a starting point, but still lots of room for improvement.
Those communist scum in the Guardian and the Observer have given away free booklets on drawing and painting, so I suppose now's as good a time as any to give both a try from the ground up, as I've got stuck in my scribbly ways of late, and getting back to basics might help me creatively - and God help me, the results are going on this darn sketchblog come hell or high water...

Watching: Leverage season 1, Crash season 1
Reading: Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, Fantastic Four 570,

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Saturday 19th September 2009

It's a measure of how seriously I take my saturdays as down-time that the only reason I'm back at the computer doing the art thing on a saturday night is because I wanted to watch Monk and can't be arsed looking for the USB flashcard to watch it on the PS3, so my laziness has actually resulted in more work being done.

Though mainly, I'm arting because it's that or drink, and the town looks grim tonight with a stag/hen double act prowling the main street.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Still redrawing the sample pages of the GN, as they were the wrong resolution and dimensions - D'oh! Remarkable how crisp lines and a chance to fix some SHOCKINGLY POOR ANATOMY (that luckily didn't sink the submission) can keep me happy enough redrawing pages I thought I was done with.

Thoughts on rewatching Smallville season, 1 which I have on in the background to keep me amused while I scribble:

1) I'm struck by the generic 'menace of the week' format and lack of glaring story-arcs, but it seems to suit the format, not least because it doesn't make the show seem inaccessible and up its own ass like current seasons, which seem to start every installment with stuff exploding and people shouting even though most of this has little bearing on the actual plot of the episode that follows.
2) I was once asked by a younger family member of Clark/Lex "why are they friends?" and I had no answer then just as I have none now. For the most part it seems to be barely-sublimated attraction tinged with a bit of frisson created by neither character trusting the other, and this is slightly troubling because of how likable Michael Rosenbaum is in the role of Lex Luthor: despite later turning into a sneering panto queen before the character was killed-off Ernst Blofeld style in an exploding truck, you really get a vibe off the guy that he's trying to be a better man than his dad, and despite knowing metatextually how the Clark/Lex dynamic plays out in lore, there's no indication of Lex actually being evil within the confines of the Smallville show itself, he just seems to come from a bad home but is trying to be a good guy by fixing the damage his massive asshole of a father caused to a rural farming community. So when Pa Kent gives Lex the evil eye in early appearances, it's baffling to see that behavior from someone held up by the main cast as being a paragon of heartland American values, unless you're willing to stretch the homoerotic attraction subtext to read Pa's hostility as a dislike of what he sees as a growing attraction between his son and another man, but that would make Pa more than a little unlikeable, and he really doesn't need any more fuel for that fire, because one of the main things that struck me about early Smallville was that

3) Pa Kent is a self-righteous, sanctimonious prick. I don't just mean because he hates gays - though that doesn't help - but because he really is a stifling presence best summed up when he goes to one of Clark's football games after telling the boy that he didn't trust his son around other kids. Clark makes an effort to reach out to his dad by telling him that he's glad his father is there to see him play, only to be rebuffed with "I don't support your decision, I'm just here to see no-one gets hurt" in much the same way Dewey Cox's dad tells him that the wrong son died.
4) Clark isn't much of a hero. I don't mean because he doesn't have a costume or get into fights, but because he has to be guilted into acting by believing himself responsible for the deaths caused in the meteor storm that bore his starship to Earth from doomed Krypton. Before this, he's basically "fuck those armed robbers and that baby that's dying in a crackhouse fire - my dad wants me to hang at the farm" which is just bullshit. Superman can help people so he does: that's what makes him not only a hero in a long-running series of funnybooks, but in popular culture as the ideal American, acting out of good conscience rather than a guilty one, with nothing to gain and no guilty secrets to keep at bay with bravado and funny quips. In other words, the antithesis of that cocksucker Spider-Man, who I've never cared for and don't give a toss that the Devil showed up and gave a divorce in a comic one time that fans are still bitching about.

Watching: Smallville
Reading: Scott Pilgrim 3, X-Factor, Batman and Robin
Listening: player on shuffle
Playing: Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Thursday 17th September 2009

In a vain attempt to keep posting stuff related to comics rather than my increasingly-poor taste in television, here's a strip from (according to the file properties) early 2007, apparently run up out of boredom, as I'm pretty sure it wasn't submitted anywhere.

And as bad as this is, it's not the worst I've done, but does at least show improvement from earlier strip work.

I'm still scribbling away at the GN, though not in as fast or organised a manner as I'd hope.

Watching: 90210, Kamen Rider W, Warehouse 13, King of the Hill
Reading: Wolverine/Power Pack, Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, 2000ad
Listening: Zen Creative>All Tracks>random play: some surprising blasts from the past
Playing: Oblivion, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Wednesday 16th September 2009

Watching: 90210.
I try to be careful not to bring too much of my inclination to assume the worst about racial portrayals in television (otherwise known as "Clark and Pete grow up together yet Pete still manages to talk like a dude from the hood QED" syndrome), it's hard when the makers of 90210 make a point of getting across that an interracial relationship doesn't have any sexual componant, then when they do a 180 on the latter, the white chick is driven batshit crazy by the fact that she's doing a black guy. I'll be biting my tongue about that for a while, I think.
Also watching: Greek, Drop Dead Diva - all the quality shows this season has to offer.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Tuesday 15th September 2009

Still scribblin' away, time permitting. Lie-ins don't help my schedule, but then neither does staying up until 4am watching pro wrestling, but I can't help that - how I roll, see.

Monday 14th September 2009

At last getting down to drawing the GN, but starting with the sample pages, inked digitally at too low a resolution for print, originally.
/teeth grind

But at least I'm started!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sunday 13th September 2009

But gotta post something, so photoshop>file>open recent and last damn thing I scribbled at before giving up and going off and - if I recall correctly - nipping down for a 'quick' pint at my conveniently-located local not thirty yards from my gaff (hence it not being finshed.

This is the rough end result of characters slewing around my noggin going through various refinements, and might make an interesting post one day on how things change from conception to final product during what laughably passes for a 'process' with me. One to stick a pin in, I think.

Meanwhile, always worth a listen:

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Saturday 12th September 2009

Searching my pc for the damned elusive files of previously completed pages of the GN, I came across the roughs for a FutureQuake strip I recently drew (and which appears in screen-grabs in some of the blog's earlier posts if you check them out), but which got bumped from the next issue for space reasons - no biggie to me, it means the FQ lads at least have a surplus of material. It shows the rough working process I'm trying to stick to at the moment:
1) a rough thumbnail of the page layout and any details I might need to remember come the scribbling stages (textures to sample, lighting effects to use, visuals to reference, etc). This went to the writer Dan Hill and he was happy enough with the layout, so I sent him a rough version of--
2) the lettered page (as I was doing the letters, too). Dan suggested some changes in caption placement and breaking down the bigger boxes across larger panels, so I went away and somewhere along the line came--
3) the finished art. There was a lot more to this part of the process, actually, as I scribble the page a couple of times, first as thumbnails, then as rough art. I wouldn't call it the 'pencil stage' as I don't have the room to pencil a full A3 page at home at the minute - space has always been a bother in that regard - and instead do the rough 'pencils' entirely on the PC. I'll maybe do another pass over that stage of the work, then a final version, wiping out the older versions once I'm done with them as any files over 30mb tend to make my PC agonisingly slow and prone to crashing - I probably should upgrade to something decent. Then--
4) I just bung a copy of the line art onto the separate file I did the letters on earlier. You can see the changes Dan suggested in this final version of the page, which is what went to FQ - sans credit box, which is dropped onto the pages by comics-producing machine Dave Evans, who does so much for the small press that I feel guilty if I don't personally letter anything I send his way so he doesn't have to waste time on it himself.

Strange but true - the rough layout and attendant note on the last panel is possibly the only example in recent memory of me doing a lower-case letter 'i' without doing the dot like a little circle and making myself look like a total girl.

Friday 11th September 2009

Edits finished on the Accent UK strip, so I'm back to scribbling for a bit until I finish up the thumbnails for the first chapter of the GN.

Eight years since 911. Damn, but I remember that like it was yesterday.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Thursday 10th September 2009

Like a luddite, I still do all my lettering Photoshop. Illustrator is the industry standard, I gather, with some outfits even using Quark Express (a functional alternative I used in my copyrighting days). I'm sticking with what I know for now, as I've already dragged the arse out of this deadline as it is.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wednesday 09th September 2009

Aaaaaaand (hopefully) done with the Accent UK strip tonight one way or the other. Just the lettering to do and then deciding on greytones or plain linework.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Monday 7th September 2009

Back to the scribbly grindstone. Now I've unemployed for a bit, I've been trying to get into a routine for drawing and trying to take it reasonably seriously, but we'll see how that goes. Today I have been doing laundry, scrubbing the bathroom, giving myself a haircut (ha ha - badly it ended), cooking a proper meal, navigating the dole office procedure for signing on, and somewhere along the line trying to draw a bit, so the routine isn't off to the greatest start so far, but it's early days. Day one, actually, but there you go.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Friday 4th September 2009

Finished my SS jobby placement today. No more 11 hour days for less than a paperboy's wages for me! For a bit, anyway...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Thursday 3rd September 2009

Scribbling late in the day, but moving forward slowly and surely...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Wednesday 02nd September 2009

Sharks with robot legs armed with lasers:

Sharks armed with torpedoes tied to smaller sharks also armed with torpedoes:

And sharks armed with lasers:

Actually, that last one seems almost small potatoes, but these and many other ideas (including arming dinosaurs with missiles and then attaching them to other dinosaurs armed with missiles) are the kind of ideas that make me wonder why - and regret that - this man is not our leader by now:

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tuesday 1st September 2009

Strange that even though you know the money you're stuffing down a dancer's thong is pretty much thrown away, you just can't stop yourself.
Just one of those things, I guess.