14 May 2007

In the Midst of a Rev(olution?)amp

If this isn't your first time here then you may notice something different about this blog I won't tell you - maybe you can tell me in my comments?

The new blogger template doohickey has inspired me to give the blog a bit of a visual makeoever and that's what I'm in the middle of right now (I mentioned it in reply to a comment yesterday). The origins of the makeover go back to last year if not earlier. While sitting at my pc in my old place on Catharine Street, I would often fill sheets of A4 with these strange ghosty figures, experimenting with different shapes, sizes and placement of facial features to see what emotions they could convey. I felt there might be a greater purpose to them (world peace? saving the hammers from relegation? regular funny strip?) but I wasn't sure what it was. Sadly, I can't find any of those sheets just now or I'd post some examples.

On Friday I switched to the new blogger template, all my template alterations and additions were lost, specifically the sidebar graphics, and I found myself having to learn how to make them happen newstyle as well as create some new graphics for the new features (well, one new feature - labels/topics). A ghosty suggested itself as perfect for the role. Then we had an idea, ghosty and I (well, we disagree about who had the idea first but compromised on 'we had an idea' ). I've always fancied having themed visuals - in terms of style, colour etc - for the blog but have always struggled to come up with a theme. Wouldn't this ghosty and his crew be the perfect theme for this place? Of course they would! So that's what I'm doing now - converting the place to a guild of ghosty gouache graphics. It also gives me an opportunity to experiment with a limited, three colour palette as I have wanted/planned to do for some time. The first example of the new theme is already installed on the blog. The rest will come as and when I complete them over the next week. Here are some half finished examples.




As with just about everything I do, the first stage is to roughly draw the image in 2H and 2B pencil, as above. After that, I go over the pencil ink using various sizes of drip-pen nib. When the ink is dry I rub out the pencil with a mouldable putty rubber.

inked ghosts


It's usually necessary to touch up the ink drawing a little after the pencil has been rubbed out and once that ink is dry, I stretch the paper onto board with masking tape and paint it with designers' watercolour gouache paint and the odd touch of ordinary (non-gouache) artists' watercolour. The ghosty crew will all be painted with Windsor & Newton's Designers' Gouache Burnt Umber and Orange Lake Light, and Rowney Georgian Prussian Blue watercolour.

17 comments:

doppelganger said...

I love them little fellers... nice .... a grand unifying theme...

Lovely to see it all going on round here..

That technique stuff interests me - more of that nature please...

Here's mine:

Doodle on really thin paper, that way bits of various doodles can be combined as paper thin enough to see thru to trace

Go over with a black biro

Scan into Gimpo version 2 (free from your local interweb)

Adjust contrast til all the pencil marks go away

block fill with colours

resist temptation to add cheesy disco effects

add white bits (this is the bit I like best - I'm always much happy when the light's turned on so to speak)

Show to review panel: "Is that his arm?", "He looks fat", "Where's his cool weapons?"

Stick on Flickr....

marja-leena said...

I noticed the changes amd love your 'guild of ghosty gouache graphics' - great idea to have a theme!

Dem said...

Heyup dop - thanks for the feedback on the ghosty graphics - they're rather fond of you too. It's always interesting to hear how people do their arty things. Until I started reading different bloggers'/artists' 'how I do it' blurbs I kind of assumed everybody did it how I did it. I'm envious of anybody who does all the colouring in and what-have-you in software because I can never do it. That said, I mostly prefer the 'fuck-it-up-organic-style' of my drip pens and gouache watercolours but it would be nice to be at least competent at doing it on screen.

Thanks Marja-Leena! It's good to have feedback and know I'm not barking up the wrong tree.

Lolabola said...

they're great! inspiring me to do something on mine......in a while.

I like the Doodle Anatomies one

doppelganger said...

There's a lot to be said for the 'fuck-it-up-organic-style' - look at the lovely biscuity texture to the ghost holding the bogroll - not gonna happen on a computer....

Inconsequential said...

cool
Groovy ghosties :)

CdV said...

Yes the accidents of change bring forth new opportunities

I like the mini treatise on the evolutonary process of your doodlings

I think there should be more talk about the process of marginal activities and make them more central

doppelganger said...

agreed....

Dem said...

Blimey, being told what to do by a pair of casual callers!

I did do a whole series of posts about making the Petunia Petalbum book last year but I think they attracted less interest and fewer quotes than this post so I didn't feel encouraged to do more along the same lines. I feel a little encouraged now.

I am quite happy with the fuck-it-up-organic-style - happy accidents are one of the best things about any creative endeavour. I have seen people get lovely textures digitally but it's all beyond my ken.

Here's to centralising the marginals!

doppelganger said...

There is nothing casual about my calling - I always ensure I'm wearing a tie before I log on...


;-)

Dem said...

like that bloke on the Imagine show, can't remember the blog or bloke now, just that he put on a tie to write his blog and complained that nobody at the BBC wore ties!

Natalie said...

Dem, I love the new look and am soooo glad you're back into the swing of it all. Changing the environment really does clear the mind wonderfully.

BTW, guess who came to my stand at the Comics Expo?? Two people you know and who know you and love your work. Give up?
Jeremy Dennis!! Lovely person AND she bought a copy my "The Joy of letting Women Down".

B.Gillespie (www.koniption.blogspot.com) wearing rabbit ears on her head
and smiling a mile-wide smile. She gave me two of her great "Mr.Maximo & Rabbit' booklets and we happily chatted, mainly about how great your cartoons are.

Molly said...

Dem,

I love those ghosties. They are lovely. Yes, I like those 'workings' of them too. I'm very interested in that because I never draft anything and I wondered if it is the same with drawings and stuff. I admire people like you and Dopp, who can draft things like that. I'm too impatient.

I wish I could do that. Kudosxxx

Thankyou again for the posties. Cheered me up no end.

I played piano in the front of an antiques shop today. An old man came out of his shop. I got a bit carried away. Life is full of music and art. Centralising chuckxxx Centralising. Spilling out from the creativitycentrale!

Dem said...

Natalie - ooh, I really wish I could have been there but it's probably cheaper to travel to mars than to Bristol from here. I'm glad you like the changes but pleases don't condemn me with 'the swing of things' just yet - one swallow does not a bellyful make, especially when there are as many crap days as okay days but maybe I can build some momentum now so that I actually do some new stuff to take to some Expo or the like one day. I haven't had much contact with Brigdeen lately - have been meaning to send off for her Kate Bush comic for probably a year. It's glad to know she didn't curse and spit at the mention of my name! I have actually met Jeremy once, at a comics thingy in Nottingham back in the late 90s - I purchased Closets and Cloisters from her and she signed it for me. I doubt either of us did anything web related back then.

Yay Molly! It's good to see you here! I'm envious of your ability to play piano. My dream is to lull myself into sleepiness at day's end with a tinkling of Satie on the old johanna. So kudos! Glad the postcards had a positive effect - sorry it took so long to send them!

Natalie said...

Dem, I'm not condemning you to anything! It was only joy to see your page resurrected and sparkling.
Btw, my memory made a mistake: it was not "The Joy" that Jeremy bought, it was "Augustine's True Confession".
Hope you do show your stuff at another comics expo one day.Lots of interesting independently published stuff there. You must have known the Page 45 comics shop in Nottingham? I met the very friendly Stephen Holland and he took a couple of copies of TGI for the shop.

Dem said...

Yes! Page 45 was the comic shop that introduced me to so many wonderful comics creators - the likes of Drawn & Quarterly, Joe Sacco, Jeremy Dennis, George Herriman, Eddie Campbell. They even smuggled a copy of Birdland into the UK for me because it was banned at the time (erections). I'm probably in their bad books - I had a standing order which I never collected because I could no longer afford it and I was too ashamed to let them know. Then again, looking at it in another light, I probably spent several thousand pounds there over the years and have always championed their shop and ethos to anyone who'll listen. It was their event that I met Jeremy Dennis at (although meet is too strong a word for saying heyup, buying a book and getting it signed) - Dave Sim was there as well, and iLYA, the blokes from Sleaze Castle, Paul Grist from Kane, ooh so many! Another year they had Donna Barr along as well. I hope they still do those days. Maybe you could go along if they do..?

Dick said...

It's all looking good, Dem.