10/11/10

'Peace Cloud'

peace_cloud1_web

Pages from my short comic story 'Peace Cloud', which will be included in the next issue of the comics anthology 'Decadence', issue #8- Futures Weapons.

peace_cloud3_mail

Look out for the Decadence stand at the MCM Expo in London, the end of this month.

peace_cloud5_web


kuniyoshi1

For the scenes of physical struggle, depicted in my 'Peace Cloud' comic strip, I looked at Utagawa Kuniyoshi'd print illustrations for the fourteenth century Chinese Novel 'Stories of the Water Margin'.

The novel tells the story of a legendary criminal organisation that fought against corrupt officials and, who's members were seen as a kind of peoples' heroes. The 108 'honorable outlaws' that made up the gang were from all walks of life and, often, once respected officials that had been banished out of the rigid feudal society of the time. Talented individuals are sometimes persuaded to join the gang by blackmail or by the members eliminating obstacles to them joining- including family members and lovers.

Kuniyoshi began the prints series in the 1820's. The illustrations depict some of the 108 outlaws written about in the novel. Each villain had a special talent or was capable of super human abilities.

I particularly like the expressive way in which the gesture of the figures in Kunyoshi's prints seems to impose on the anatomy of the characters; like the force of the action distorts the physical. The general composition often reflects the tension of the movement.


kuniyoshi2

The character depicted in this print is Kojoso Jisen, also known as "flea on a drum"; a common thief of dogs and chikens, but who has the super human ability to jump amazing heights.

*You can now view the whole 'Peace Cloud' Strip on my flickr.

9/28/10

Five Wounds review at Smṛti-Śruti

A particularly in-depth review of 'Five Wounds' can be read on the Smṛti-Śruti blog "Dedicated to the dark arts of the bibliophile". Plenty of research has been put into it, with web links and further reading.

Cur in the foundry

Cur in the Foundry. One of the illustrations discussed in the review.

8/27/10

Interlude 2




By clicking on the picture below you can see the drawing which will be the four page spread for the 'interlude' in issue 2 my comic 'EL GLOBO'. Theme being communication, the last interlude was loosely based around water.
Al apretar en la imagen de abajo puedes ver lo que será el desplegable de cuatro páginas para el "interludio" en mi cómic EL GLOBO-capítulo 2. La tema: la comunicación, el interludio para EL GLOBO#1 fue basada sobra la agua.


Both interlude 1 and 2 are set in desert like environments. Interlude 2 makes references to dealing with a world of limited recourses; there are various contraptions to enhance wind energy. The themes of commerce and communication are dominant along with inventiveness and craft; a to the left is a kind of open market built from a structure of bamboo and twinning.

The drawing part-way through. The 'market' market structure can be seen here more clearly. I created the illustration as a kind of automatic drawing, inventing it as I went along. Below are photos I took in Tokyo, which came in useful.

cables_tokyo1

cables_tokyo2
Japanese miniatures from the American Museum of Natural History




















Japanese miniatures (netsuke) sketched in the American Museum of Natural History NY.
I used this netsuke (the one depicting two amputees) in 'Interlude #2'; I thought that they represented well the idea of communication and cooperation; important in a world of limited recourses.

I made this sketch in 2007, but was reminded of it again whilst watching Alejandro Jodorowsky's film 'El Topo' in which two similar characters appear.



8/9/10

Five Wounds: Dogs


(a dog in modern Venice/ Un perro en Venecia moderna)

Jonathan Walker has published an article on his blog discussing the use of dogs in Five Wounds.

5/27/10

Five Wounds on 'The View From Here'


Paul Burman recently interviewed Jonathan Walker & I for the online literary magazine The View From Here. The interview gives an indepth account of our collaboration on 'Five Wounds'. This interview is accompanied by a review of 'Five Wounds', also written by Paul Burman.

Escritor Paul Burman ha entrevistado a Jonathan Walker y a mi para la revista literaria ‘The View From Here’. La entrevista explica con más detalle nuestra colaboración en ‘Five Wounds’. Esta entrevista se acompaña de una crítica de ‘Five Wounds’, también escrita por Paul Burman.

5/18/10

The Making of Five Wounds on Spike.

Storyboard Sketch for Plate 1

(A storyboard sketch created by Jon to accompany his written script for 'Initiation')

Jonathan Walker has written two guest posts for Spike, the blog of the australian literary journal Meanjin. In the first post, Jon explains our working relationship and reflects upon the task of writing an illustration brief. In the second post, the wider collaborative process of creating the finished book is discussed, along with the 'Five Wounds' approach to collaboration.

Jonathan Walker will be appearing at the Sydney Writers' Festival this weekend, along with award-winning comic writer/artist Josh Neufeld and 'Five Wounds' designer Zoë Sadokierski.

4/30/10

'Five Wounds' is Released!


This Saturday, the first of May, is the official release date of 'Five wounds'!!
For anybody in Australia; Jonathan Walker will be signing books tomorrow in the Kinokuniya bookshop in Sydney.

the first chapter is downloadable free from Jonathan Walker's website.

¡Este sábado, el primero de mayo, ‘Five Wounds’ sale a la venta!
Si estás en Australia: Jonathan Walker estará firmando libros mañana en la librería Kinokuniya en Sydney.


el primer capítulo se puede descargar gratis desde el web de Jonathan Walker.

Visual Writing

Zoë Sadokierski, the graphic designer of 'Five Wounds: An Illuminated Novel', has made her thesis available to download from her blog.
Zoë examines the use of graphic devises with written text in, what she refers to as, 'hybrid novels'.
I am currently reading it myself.

4/23/10

EL GLOBO #1


The first issue of 'EL GLOBO' has been completed!
El primer número de 'El Globo' se ha terminado!
Up-date: June 2010:


EL GLOBO #1-¡¡¡ la primera edición ya se puede comprar en Barcelona y pronto a través de Internet!!! La edición hecha a mano todavía se pueden comprar en Vallery y Ras.
EL GLOBO #1- the first edition can now be bought in Barcelona and soon over the internet!!!
The hand made edition can still be bought from Vallery and Ras.


He incorporado en las viñetas de 'Camino Interminable', en El Globo, una adaptación de un cómic que creé en 2005 Para el comic Decadence # 5, que se puede ver aquí.

Below are the two earlier strips that I fused for the above strip- one imaginative, the other biographical :

a comic strip I created in 2005 for Decadence #5, which you can see here.


In Feb 2008 I began a comic in which I am the protagonist. Based upon a mixture of dreams and memories it has a non-linear narrative, punctuated with 'interludes' and was created unscripted, a page at a time.



4/16/10

Five Wounds: 'BARATTARE' IS TO 'BARARE' AS GABRIELLA IS TO CUCKOO


These two images appear on either side of a double page spread. The brief was as follows:

126-7: 2xB [Blow-up fragments of Bagatto, or redrawn images to exemplify the themes of banker / moneychanger (Gabriella) and gambler / trickster (Cuckoo). Whatever appears here should ‘rhyme’ with the Bagatto stand-alone. Don’t really want to just ‘quote’ the stand-alone pic. These two pix should probably also refer back in some way to the double Cuckoo pix at 60-61.]


This is the image of Bagatto used in the separate Plates section, which is referred to in the brief.


The brief Jon provided for the original Bagatto stand-alone illustration was to create a scene similar to the ones shown on these Bagatto playing cards, which were sent as reference material.
The three illustrations accompany a chapter in the book in which Gabriella and Cuckoo have their first conversation, a kind of ice breaker between the two, discussing the iconography on playing cards. Jon describes this as a 'seduction scene', but one carried out entirely through dialogue on an apparently unrelated subject.
In the narrative Cuckoo explains that the 'Bagatto' card, which Gabriella knows as the 'Magician' in the Tarot, has more than one meaning, or at least that its meaning is obscured by its name, which relates to two words: 'barattare', which means 'exchange' and 'barare' which means 'cheat'. Cuckoo believes that the image shows a money changer and/or a con-man playing the game where you have to guess which cup the ball is under (sometimes known as 'Three-card monte').


After some deliberation, I started work on 'Gabriella the banker' & 'Cuckoo the trickster', but losing the silly hats from my original doodles. The two figures and compositions in the new illustrations had to oppose or complement one another in a similar way to the figures in the original Bagatto stand-alone illustration.

'The Conjurer' Hieronymus Bosch -1500's.
This image was sent to me by Jon. The painting shows a 'fool' being distracted by a ball & cup game whilst having his purse stolen from behind by the trickster's accomplice. Tourists visiting Barcelona, who are obviously unaware of this painting, still fall for the same trick on the Ramblas, so much so that recently the council erected posters warning of the cup & ball trick, with the slogan in English 'This is Not a Game'.


'The Money Changer and His Wife' (on the left) Quentin Massys -1514 (on the right) Marinus van Reymerswaele -1539.



Cuckoo's gloves are taken off and laid on the table. Cuckoo always wears gloves whilst gambling, the fact that they are explicitly off reflects the beginning of intimacy in the narrative.
The facing card on the table is the 'knave of coins'. This card in Tarot (an interest of Gabriella) is related to prosperity and material wealth.
Cuckoo's finger is pointing to an empty space under the cup. As he says in the book: "the bean is never under the cup you choose, but you're always sure it'll be there next time...". His hand is turned as if he could also be pointing up into the cup. The position of the hand is contrary to Gabriella's, whose hand is turned the other way, pointing down to a book.

Gabriella, who is a crippled angel, is holding some scales, which in this case are also a reference to judgement, which is discussed in the text. She is surrounded by keys, coins and other paraphernalia associated with banking.
Gabriella is pointing to what appears to be an account book. What is on the pages however is associated with Gabriella's role as interpreter and her preoccupation with codes and ciphers, rather than banking or tricksters. Although both diagrams concern the values and qualities of numbers. The other diagrams below the main two are garbled generic diagrams.

On the left is a magic square taken, again, from Dürer's 'Melencolia I'. It can only be recognised in the illustration by a couple of numbers. Magic squares first appeared in China around 650 and were later known to Islamic mathematicians through contact with India in the seventh century.
The chart on the right, which is only recognisable by its diagonal dividing lines, actually has more to do with the science of letters than numbers. It is taken from Sufi, a philosophy in which letters have inherent qualities and values that are 'alive' when made into a word. Letters also have their corresponding numerical values. Numbers, it is said in Sufi, are the root of all sciences.
Perhaps Dürer's magic square represents Cuckoo's view of cards: "I look objectively. I count numbers". By contrast, the Sufi chart represents Gabriella's more subjective interpretations.
These diagrams along with some other elements, however are not essential to understand and appreciate the illustrations in context in relation to the text. I am just giving a further explication of my thoughts and the process involved in composing the images.

4/6/10

'Five Wounds': The Black Dog.



The black dog, the highest ranking member of the mafia of dogs, which Cur, one of the five main protagonists of 'Five Wounds', is destined to lead. This 'unnaturally black dog' is the object of fear and an omen of devilish deeds to the superstitious inhabitants of 'Five Wounds'. This reputation is perpetuated by the 'Comittee for Public Health' who order, from Mr.X, black dogs to urinate on selected door posts, as a portent of doom, in an area of the city where the government is planning a controlled outbreak of the plague.



The Ghetto

(The Venetian Ghetto today)


The sect of dogs is based in the Ghetto. The Ghetto in Venice was the area of the city where the Jewish community was forced to live. Its boundaries were controlled and policed by night. Due to the population being forced to grow in an enclosed area, the houses in the Ghetto had an unusually high number of floors, perhaps the equivalent to today's tower blocks.



The Black Dog.

(Goya's black dog)

Jon & I never discussed what the black dog meant, so I made my own interpretations and drew my own conclusions from his writing, as I was encouraged to do so. The figure of the black dog is most recognized as a metaphor for depression, possibly made widely known by Winston Churchill, who referred to his own depressive moods in this way.


The Black Dog of Myth.





"If a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die".

Another 'black dog' is the mythological phantom black dog from folklore, a giant dog with glowing eyes, believed to be a terrifying portent of death, although on other accounts it is protective and watches over people making their way home at night. Most people will be aware of the ghost dog in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.

3/31/10

'Jean in the Jar' illustration from 'Five Wounds.


The illustration brief was as follows:


Crow’s workshop? Should be broadly consistent in feel with the depiction on the stand-alone pic of the same name, but here a view of eyeless Jean and dead cats and dogs floating in jar, decomposed?
Following the brief, the image therefore shows the decomposin
g body of Jean sealed in a jar in the workshop of Crow, the alchemist. Jean is accompanied by several
cats and dogs.



I drew a brick floor as I imagined the workshop being hidden in a cellar. In general I give a lot of attention to brick work in my drawings, being the son of a bricklayer.
In fact you could even interpret Jean representing the figure of 'Melancolia'- pensive and immobilised- in a workshop filled with unused instruments and tools, the bricks being evidence of manual labour. This, however, did not pass my mind whilst working on the illustration.
Below is a video of Alan Moore, who is probably most famous at the moment for writing the 'Watchmen' graphic novel. Here he is talking about the alchemical theory of 'Solve et Coagula': analysis and synthesis, which I thought was relevant for this particular post:




'In Sin' was the original running head for this page, which was later changed to 'Various Bodies'. There is an annotation to tilt the eye-line to give the feeling of floating, as Jean is also floating.

For the objects in the lab, I used my drawings of medical equipment and specimens sketched from the Hunterian Museum in London, which I visited in 2006 on Jon's recommendation. Jon posted me the book 'Old Medical and Dental Instruments' by David J. Warren, which also came in handy for reference.

This is 'Melancolia I', surely Albercht Dürer's most interpreted engraving about theory and practice. I took from this the sand timer & the bell which appear above the head of Jean. The sand timer represents the passing of time for the decomposing body of Jean; a living man who was trapped inside the jar.
The bell is a more vaguely interpreted symbol in Dürer's engraving, which is partly why I chose it. Some interpretations suggest that it represents the heavens because of its dome shape, also that it symbolises a connection/communication between the heavens & the earth because of its hanging pendulum. This then would represent the 'expiring soul' of Jean, which Crow wishes to trap inside the jar with Jean's body. I also chose a bell because sound and music are the least considered practices of alchemy.


Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcgIGNAuy-4

3/18/10

First years in Spain.

After finishing studying illustration at the Cambridge School of Art I worked for a stint in a comics shop, after deferring for a year my M.A. at St.Martin's as I was already skint after studying a degree. I then deferred the M.A. for a second year and emigrated to Spain, originally intending to stay for six months.

For the first couple of years I lived in a rural area of Tarragona, before moving closer to Barcelona to work in textiles. During this time time I painted and sketched subjects inspired by the flora and fauna of the area, which was new to me.

magnolia_painting

This is a seed pod from a magnolia tree which are planted along the roadside in the village where I lived. I painted and sketched a few of these at various stages of their development; changing from lime to dark brown, in which time the bright red seeds are expelled, suspended on thin silky threads.

gecko

This was painted from life. A Gecko lizard that I found under the sink. I painted two small canvases, one of which I sold in a local exhibition.

seed_pod_painting

This painting was based upon drawings made in my sketchbook of the grasses and plants.

big_fish_painting

PILAR

Above are examples of the more surreal paintings I created at the time, both of these are about a meter high. These types of paintings were based upon doodles from my sketch book. Below is a 'doodle' from this period- the theme was sex, so it's not just the result of my dirty subconscious; I drew it to submit to a art zine/magazine.

belio1

BIRD_postcard

One of my postcard designs from 2003. I printed these with my printer on fancy paper, hand cut them & sold them for €1 each at exhibitions and in shops.


A page from one of my first strips for Decadence.

Below are some sketches from the area:

vilella-baixa1

miravet1

CIMG3737

This last sketch is from the village of Miravet; probably my favorite village in that area. The photo below the sketch is the view from the castle of Miravet. I sold the sketches locally.