Saturday, July 18, 2015

Would you Adam & Eve it...a new proposed feature

Well haven't I been the busy little chap. I took a whole week off from everything and managed to write and produce thirty comic strips for submission into the American syndication market.

The strip is called Adam & Eve and runs under the byline of: the antidote to the family strip.

Most everyone of note will tell you that when thinking of something to create it is always best to write about what you know about. And seeing as I have two failed marriages and a string of disastrous relationships lying crashed and burning in my wake, I think it safe to say that I am somewhat of an expert on the subject.

So when writing a family strip ( my first ever), I decided to write less about the lovey-dovey side of it--- the homogenised view of the nuclear family that we have become accustomed to until now---and more of the darker, less salubrious view of the modern family.

That said, the strip is still meant to be fun and indeed funny, but just a bit more about how I remember it, through the jaundiced coloured spectacles I wore and still, on certain occasions, do wear (especially when writing this strip).

Anyway, down below are, as usual, the thirty sample strips and the character page required by all the major syndicates, but you---you lucky devils---get to see them first.

I really do hope you enjoy

Cheer Karl

By the way, for another sample of a previously submitted strip click here to read my Bib strip and on a final, final point: those regular, and more eagle eyed of my readers, will probably notice that this whole strip was based on two single panel gags first publish here


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Towy---A New Speacialist Strip

I've produced specialist strips before.

Normally, when doing this kind of work, it is best to have more than a passing understanding of the subject matter in hand; ie: if you wish to do a cartoon about classic cars, it would be a good idea if you have either had a classic car, re-built one or at least attended classic car rallies as a genuine enthusiast.

That said, if your mind is as fertile as mine, and you are willing to research with diligence the subject of your choice, then any specialist strip is not completely beyond your grasp; one such case in point is the Towy strip below---a new strip that I am about to start touting around all the specialist horse and countryside magazines world wide.

Now I have never owned a horse and only ridden one briefly, and even then not very successfully---due largely to the fact that the saddle wasn't properly strapped on---and after a few short minutes in the saddle, neither was I.

Anyway, that was a long time ago and since that day I have had nothing to do with our equine friends---other than to admire them in fields as I pass by on my way from point A to point B via almost every other letter in the alphabet and a few stray Greek ones---but all that was to change when I met Jayne.

Jayne and the real Tywy
Jayne, put simply, is the love of my life and a horse loving fanatic. She has two horses of which one in Towy (or to give her her correct spelling Tywy---the Welsh spelling---I just changed it to Towy so it would be easier to read and definitely less confusing for all you none 'Welshies' out there).

Anyway, after spending much time with these two beautiful horses and their crazy owner, I began to see the comic possibilities in them, and a the gags began to write themselves.

Initially Towy was going to be a full page cartoon with no words, but after completing them I decided to re-do the lot only in the more traditional comic strip format. I did this as space is always at a premium and a big issue for editors, and if they liked the cartoon and were teetering upon the precipice of buying my strip, I didn't want 'space issues' to be the door by which they escaped from. I also changed Towy's colour from black to brown, simply because the horses expressions would've been too confusing if produced in black.

Towy then became the independent, free thinking, mind bending, vet hating, farrier flirting, none-fool suffering, free spirit she is now. She has an owner, although that is a laughable tag, as any horse person will tell you that when you own a horse, the last thing you are is their boss. At best you are their cook, masseur, exerciser, unpaid slave and producer of Polo Mints and other tasty treats; and Towy personifies all these traits and many more in my strip.

Anyway, without anymore preamble, I give you the six sample strips I will be sending out to any and every market available to Towy.


Okay, so on an extra note, and purely for your whole behind-the-scenes-insight-into-a-cartoonists-working-patterns-and-mind-set thing, here's a few of the full page, pantomime (techie word for 'silent strips') pages.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Watercolour paintings

I know, I know, it's been a long time since I posted...AGAIN! And every time I sneak back on here, with an apologetic air about me and always say that 'things will change from now on and that I will make a concerted effort to post every week'.

Well I'm going to try another tack---because I really do love blogging, but work pressures just get in the way---this time I'm going to say: 'Dash it all, I will post when I damned well feel like it and the world and its cartoony expectations can go hang itself...'

Well lets face it, a genuine desire to produce regular posts have gotten me nowhere, so lets see if reverse psychology works.

Anyway, all that said, lets get onto today's post.
Like I said I've been busy with all kinds of projects, namely: my second Sleepy Hamlet novel, plus a new strip proposal for syndication; I've been doing special pieces for family and gift paintings for those close to me.

But more about them later...or if I can be bothered to post it here, which I can't even be arsed to think about yet...(see what I did there? Reverse psychology again. I have a good feeling about this---or bad---depending on which angle you take it from).

But the topic for today's post is a step-by-step breakdown of a painting I recently completed, which will hopefully form part of a larger body of work to be exhibited in a local art gallery, to coincide with the Rugby World Cup later this year.

The painting is titled, 'the Friendly' and acts as both a tutorial and a bit of a background insight into my working practices methods.

Stage 1:

The first thing I do on a picture of this scale is to draw it up, ink it, have it photo copied and reduced and light-box it through to the art paper.
I do this, as a picture that is this involved would be a nightmare to sketch onto the paper, and I would lose sight of what is what when it came to colouring.

Stage 2:

For the actual light-boxing of the cartoon. I placed a piece of 325gsm hot pressed watercolour paper, darkened the room and meticulously re-traced all the lines---stopping every now and then to lift the page carefully to make sure I hadn't missed any lines.

Stage 3:

Once again, due to the involved nature of the illustration, I've masked off the upper layers of the characters. I did this as when I came to painting the sky I won't have to worry about cutting in and around the rugby players.

Stage 4:

I ran a pale wash---wet-in-wet---of cobalt blue. Once that was completed, and still wet, I dipped my artist sponge onto some clear water and began to pull some clouds out from the blue sky. Once again this was done subtly as I didn't want a strong sky to detract from the main body of the painting.

Stage 5:

Now comes the initial gradient for the grass.

At this stage I just wanted to give the impression of fore and background; more detailed work on the pitch would come much later in the painting.

Stage 6:

Once the two layers are thoroughly dry I peel off the masking fluid, making sure that there are no bits left anywhere and that the illustration is clear, clean and ready to proceed.

Stage 7:

At this point I would normally methodically go through the characters, painting one section at a time, ie; all the flesh, then all the tops, then the shorts, socks, etc. But on this occasion I started doing the initial two to three tones on the flesh and then decided to put in the pale back-wash of red for one of the characters.

I have no idea why I did this but it actually helped, acting as it did as a stark contrast for me to work against for the rest of the flesh tones.

Stage 9:

With the flesh tones all done I then continued on with the red teams' tops.
At this stage I had no definite plan for which character would play for what team, so I had to do one, look at the picture, do another, then another and continue that process until the painting had an over-all pleasing colour balance.

Stage 10:

Next came the blue team, and their pale base washes.

Now, I am aware that club kits nowadays have all kinds of markings and sponsorship deals on them. But to have that amount of detail, in a picture with this level of involvement, would've been just too much clutter. So I kept it simple.

Stage 11:

Finally I worked in the dark shadows in between the players and their black boots.

At this point I still have no idea if my painting is going to work or go horribly wrong. So I stop and go off for a read and a cup of tea to clear my mind.

Stage 12:

With my tea consumed, and mind cleared I came back, and over the space of a few hours I built up the layers of deeper shadows on the players; then I moved onto the stadium and the crowds within.

I also worked on the grass; placing onto it pieces of scuffed up turf and dirt from the mayhem of the battle.

Stage 13:

Finally I could place a subtle outline around the characters. I did this with watered down Van Dyke Brown with a hint of Lamp Black.

And with the masking tape removed, the piece was ready to go, and I was ready to move onto the next picture in the series; that one to be titled: the Chase

Hope you enjoyed

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Cartoonstock---Stock cartoons by me!

For about four years now I've had a dry sample of about thirty odd cartoons just languishing on the Cartoonstock website---a site that allows customers to browse the many and varied work from many and varied a fine cartoonist.

So for a while these same old cartoons have been sitting there, selling the odd one every now and again without me even making an effort. So about a week ago I decided that this should change. Especially seeing as I discovered that quite a few of their creatives are making a tidy sum of money and that the website has become quite the 'go to' place for all things cartoon.

So with that in mind---and also the fact that I like to share all I do with you---here are the samples I will be sending off this week. Also by clicking on the Cartoonstock link above, you can see the previously published cartoons that have been languishing up until now.

So grab yourself a cuppa tea or coffee and enjoy what I did for you.

Oh, and Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

the Dalesman, again

A little further on from my belated Christmas message and magazine front cover from the Dalesman magazine, I have another post regarding them.

Most months I receive a request to illustrate humorously a story from that months edition. The stories, like all of my editorial output, are based around something silly, funny, hilarious or downright quirky and eccentric.

This tale falls into the quirky category.

The story, as I was given it, was that Gary Barlow--front-man for Take That----has written and produced a musical based on the hit movie Calendar Girls---which was a true story about a bunch of middle to elderly ladies who produced a tastefully nude calendar for charity; obviously this became a big hit.

So I got the story as the ladies came from Yorkshire, in northern England, the Dalesman is based in that area and Gary Barlow was announcing it's release in the same hall as the WI ladies hatched their plan.

So here you go. More tom-foolery from my pen


Incidentally, come back this Friday if you like single panel gags, I'm posting six of them from the ones I post up onto cartoonstock,

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lost email; a cartoon retrospective

Whilst producing a previous blog post, it reminded me of an email I recently received off a lady who stated how much she would love to see a retrospective table book of my Dandy work...mainly that relating to Ollie Fliptrik.

So I had the idea of laying out this post---very much like the one two posts below, with my thoughts on the pages and what was going on in my life at the time---and also to ask the lady that if she sees this post to please get back in touch with me as I would love to talk some more about a picture she wanted doing.

She was obviously a fan and I normally answer fan mail immediately, but for some reason, I didn't answer it that day and promptly lost the email all together; it is no where to be seen and no matter how much I look, I cannot find it.

Anyway, as I said: if you see this post, please do get back in touch and I WILL reply. I promise.

Also I am planning a series of posts all about my time at the Dandy. My thoughts and the process involved in getting the many pages I produced to them on time.

Now because this will be a massive undertaking on my behalf, and no doubt very difficult to fit in between all my other work commitments, I ask that you please be gentle with me and keep coming back.

Of course you could always join my email list, as many of you already have, and have my posts and their links sent direct to your inbox thus insuring you never miss a single post.

Stay tuned and let us speak soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Merry Belated Christmas

Now I know I'm known for my erratic postings (I still aim to resolve this one day) but the lateness of this post is NOT entirely my fault.

Upon first glance a Christmas magazine cover in March is seen as either very late or incredibly early. But it is neither.

I produced this cartoon in time for last Christmas for the Dalesman magazine. I fully intended to publish it here on Dairy of a Cartoonist and Writer but the editor asked me to hold fire as he didn't want anything to go out as a spoiler.

Anyway, one thing led to another and I forgot to post it. But all things being equal, and me being me, here it is. So Merry Christmas to you all and enjoy my bit of magazine frontage tom-foolery----Yorkshire style.

On a final note---and a very nice one for me---the editor emailed me after the ABC figures came out and said that the sales for that Christmas edition were up by a significant percentage point and he is convinced that it was due largely to my cover.

Now that's nice to hear

Friday, January 23, 2015

Aston Villa: Cartoon Mascots

I've been producing the artwork for the Junior Villa Life (JV Life) for a few years--- I even used the characters, and an actual commission, to illustrate one of my tutorials on how I draw a comics page, all of which can be found on my cartoon tutorial page. The main characters are Hercules (the big muscular one), Bella (the leaping lady) and Chip (the techie, speedy one), are the anthropomorphisms of the clubs mascots.

Over the years I've produced a large body of work for JV Life--- some I have enjoyed creating more than others. And today  I would like to share just a few with you, along with my reasons for why they were such a pleasure to produce.

With this page it was simply the weather. I love drawing wind, rain and snow; in fact any extremes of weather. I particularly enjoyed the downward view in panel 7; it was just great when I got the slashing motion of the rain as it pummelled Hercules from above; I think it really added to the overall effect.

Students of the comics page and its colour balancing techniques may also like to know that when drawing murky days and gloomy settings, that darkening the shade of your characters natural colour will all add to the over-all look.

This is the second page from above and the action moves inside. With this page I still kept the dark colours on the main characters to darken the mood.

But seeing as this IS a children's comic, I had to lighten the mood.This came when designing the villain, Captain Splash. What I liked about this particular super Nemesis of the three Villa mascots was his umbrella head; it just made me smile and looked right. Villa though so to.

Normally I dislike producing caricatures in comics pages as it makes them clumsy and cumbersome; the people you caricature never have the same flow as the other cartoon characters on the page and can look a bit stiff.

But that said, my reason for including this page---despite the caricatures--- is simply panels 3 and 5. I just loved the whole shading look in panel 3 and the action in panel 5.

That's it really. Nuff said.

These two are here simply because I loved the action.

Both pages were amongst the very early cartoons I produced for Aston Villa, when the remit seemed to be action, more action and all out action. 

 love doing this, but sadly as they had new masters at the department that commissioned the magazine, they wanted to move away from the slapstick action style that seems to permeate through my style, and move into more story lead ideas.

It's been a while since I drew the last one and I hope there will be more. I think these characters have so much more to give and with the right direction could be so much more than they are at present.

Anyway, I love producing the work and hope that you have enjoyed the snippet trip down my memory lane.

All that is left to point out that all cartoons are the intellectual and actual property of Aston Villa FC, but the fun and love that went into producing them was all mine.


PS: and as an aside, I've just noticed that the first ever post I produced for this blog was about these characters. Click here to view it.

It does seem strange that my blog is now five years old. I must write about that and maybe make a list of some of the highlights...maybe next week. Maybe...