October 06, 2014

14h-ish Comic Book Day

October 4th was 24H Comic Book Day and I set out to do work for it.

I know what to avoid doing next year(like changing my mind half way through)but eventually I started to make up and draw a Magpie comic as I went along. I didn't get too far in the end but hey- it's SOMETHING.

The vibe of this comic is pretty generic-saturday morning cartoon, the sort of super hero comic you could just swap out the villain and hero with any other and it'd work. This is in jest of how badly I have struggled with doing something ORIGINAL with Magpie behind the scenes and also how serious my latest scripts for the project have been.

I only spent around 14 straight hours on this comic and let me tell you, it's super challenging. Will be doing something much more complete next year.

September 20, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy Sample Pages

Five page GotG sample based on a sample script that I believe is by Brian Micheal Bendis.

I've still to make some tweaks and edits to these but I thought it might be interesting to upload them now before I do- as I intend to catalogue those changes along with others I made along the way in another blog post.

August 06, 2014

Writing? In too deep

A main goal for this year was to pitch an idea to a publisher- I reached out and pestered both Stephen Mooney and PJ Holden, two incredible comic artists with their names attached to some creator-owned properties that are well worth checking out. They shared some invaluable information with me and answered all my questions and I'm sure they're wondering what that was all about as it's been months and months since then and I haven't shown much activity.

Since then I've slowly progressed to a full second draft of a story I've been developing for, in total, a year or so now? And like most of what I set out to do, it's a bit too ambitious but I've worked hard to lay the foundations of where I wanted to go with it and began work on the first book, which is now in its second incarnation.

The problem is, I'm beginning to hit a wall with it.
Not with writing it but with progressing on it. At this stage I feel like I'm not sure it's interesting enough.
Let me try to explain- I wrote the first draft after piecing together the elements for months and I felt pretty good about the general structure I'd presented but I knew I needed this story to be strong, it needed to hold up under fire so I gave it my critical eye and made quite a few changes to help strengthen it. I knew even that wouldn't be enough so I decided to get outsider opinion. All of this has brought me to this point- where I've gone over the script various times, I've tweaked and edited it considerably and now I don't really know where I am with it.

The closest description I can manage is that it feels like I'm in too deep- I'm too close.
To speak metaphorically, I feel like I've spent so long in each of the individual rooms, making sure everything works that I've lost perspective on how the whole house looks. Or maybe to put it another way- I've spent so long picking out just the right furnishings that they no longer seem that unique to me, I've become too familiar with seeing them. Does that make any sense?

Sharing my work at this stage(script form) isn't something I've ever been too experienced or comfortable with doing but I have shown this script to other people in an effort to gain some kind of perspective that I feel I've lost. The results were mixed, most of what I wanted to achieve with the story came across to all parties but they differed on their opinions on what was wrong, or didn't work. Some of their opinions clashed with my own and I was left to try my best to take onboard the most valid arguments and try to work with them in my second draft.

It's left me a little on the fence now, like I said- I feel too close to know if this is any good any more but I'm left feeling like I've over-worked elements I felt were fine to begin with, in an effort to appease criticism. I think the story is far better for those criticisms(crucially in some aspects)but I can't help wonder if the message will be buried under all the padding I've had to do to answer the questions.

It's a weird one.

What would a writers advice be, share it with more trusted people for opinion? Take a step back? Start over?

I've never spent so long pawing over a script, I just know I need it to be strong but now I'm not so sure if it is.


May 25, 2014

New Horizons.

This is a quick announcement blog marking that as of today I'm going to stop work on my webcomic Felicity. For the foreseeable future.

I wanted to make this a blog post in case any one was interested in why I've decided to do this as it's for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I want to state how great doing a webcomic is, regardless of where you feel like your skill level is. As a comic artist, I've got everything left to learn but everything I do know; I learnt through the practical experience earned from doing a web comic.

I hate that people don't give webcomics the respect they deserve, I have nothing but admiration for webcomic artists who consistently perform and deliver. It is extremely hard work.
It's often done between jobs, for free and usually by one person doing a teams work. It requires discipline and determination- it takes a lot to give up a well-earned night off just to get another page ready for the following week.

So if you're on the fence about creating a webcomic I would always encourage it because the qualities it will bring out in you make the difference. It can bring so much to the table, it allows you to test ideas and tweak them, to evolve and shape a story and to understand where you're going wrong. I may be giving up on my own but it will never be because I don't value them.

Its hardships can be numerous and failure to gather an audience is one of the toughest aspects of maintaining a webcomic.

That's one of the reasons I'm putting Felicity to bed- and I want to say, I've had a handful of readers that I want to thank, they made the difference when it counted, they made some pages happen. But projecting work to an empty room takes its toll, both on a person and the work itself.

The other reason is that increasingly I am shorter on time and I want to achieve certain things in my life that right now, I just can't. Ending Felicity gives me more time. Time I can put into a brighter future- to thoughtful approach and execution. I have ambitions to soar the clouds and having six years of webcomic experience under my belt, I KNOW I have the determination to get there.

A fresh start.

I know I've tread this path before and I have battled with this a few times! But this is for real. I'm no longer held back by that sense of 'having more to say', like I have previously. I feel like the time is right to move on and leave it behind now for good.

Thanks, more than you can know, if you read the comic.
I sincerely hope you come back when I use this time to create the next one.


May 21, 2014


Just a sketch dump, need to start doing these again!

May 08, 2014


I've realised something.

I've changed.

My first real attempt at world building was Broken Falcon, a love story in essence- set in a world where the Bad guys had already won.

Wayward is my upcoming story, one I plan to devote myself to entirely- a demonstration of everything my self discovery in art has taught me and a story I hope will mean something. It's got a spirit of adventure and a warm heart but it deals with ugly emotions and a quest driven by guilt. Above all else- in its darkest moments it is never incapable of shining a light. Because there is always hope.

Broken Falcon by contrast, was an angst filled tragedy about two lovers torn apart by a war, a hero fallen from grace and a life barely worth living. I was a teenager at the time, wouldn't you know.  It was a story I kept adding to for years, a story I kept intending to tell eventually. As such, it changed over time and without noticing it- so was I.

When I began to evolve Wayward from idea to story I realised I had a lot of shelved Broken Falcon lore I was probably never going to explore, so I reworked much of into Wayward- as you can see up top; a Young Zepher(Broken Falcons main character)depicted as a warrior of winds- an idea that would later become the foundation to the characters in Wayward.

It's only very recently that I realised how much I have changed as a person. See, I was toying with doing a Five-page Broken Falcon short comic for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY and started to think about what might make an interesting glimpse into that world ten years on.

I drew up a lot of very crude doodles of Zepher as an old man, an example of his race in their Prime. I was interested in the idea of him being an exiled relic of a by-gone age and so I started to think about the lore that remained and how I could give such a short glimpse into that world and still make it interesting.

As it turns out- I not sure it's ever going to be that interesting.
I had a sudden moment of realising I'm not the same person I was, I no longer have a desire to share such a grim and bleak vision of a world. I'm not sure if this is a reflection of me- of some shift in ideals or perspective- I'm certainly not adverse to enjoying stories with similar themes. It was an odd moment for me.
I find the character compelling but perhaps him being the centre of the story is a mistake- it's hard to relate to a character that vile and bitter. I didn't see any way to reinvent him without distancing the story and the character from each other.

These very quick doodles were some of the exploration I had taken into entertaining a new Broken Falcon story before I realised the issue(I was happy I finally found a way to work White into his design, was a long standing goal for me.)

I feel like I've learnt something about myself now, that maybe it's time to focus on what I truly believe in and not entertain anything I do not. In the struggle to become better it's easy to over-think things or stop yourself from taking the scary steps. I think I can shelve Broken Falcon for good now though, there may come a time when things click into place- or I find myself wanting to explore those darker themes again but for now, the character remains a pillar of my journey so far- a friend who helped me a long the way and whose wisdom is still guiding me all these years later. Now unto brighter, more hopeful places.


March 01, 2014

Guff What I do.

2014 so far has been an interesting and difficult year. Unfortunately, life isn't easy at times and there are massive obstacles in my near future I need to overcome, they've proven to be emotionally draining and quite difficult to confront. I'm doing everything I can to help things a long but there's a real element of uncertainty that makes things a bit tougher than they need to be and it's going to continue to be difficult. Never losing faith though, it's just going to keep being uphill for quite a while longer.

Art-wise, I'm working at a few things at the moment. I wrapped up my 2nd Scoundrels issue early this year and if you missed it you can start reading it here. I had everything on my plate during the update rotation and had nothing short of a hellish time trying to get everything done on time. As a result I'm pretty much going to distance myself from Scoundrels for the rest of the year until I know I'll have time to really contribute again.

Right now though!

Most important current work is a big freelance job that's been a bunch of fun even though it's quite a lot to get through. I'm nearing my half-way mark with the workload and I've learnt a lot so far(including shining light on weaknesses I wasn't aware of before.)I'm grateful for the opportunity and I'm enjoying the challenge- it's not the kind of job you land easily so I'm quite eager to put the extra work in.

My focus on making sure I do a good and steady job on this has meant I've had to set a few other things to the side, including Felicity- which I hope to get updating again in early March. The other project I'm having to delay is Wayward, my story pitch I plan on getting under noses throughout the year. Time is the most important ingredient for a story so it's not a bad thing that I've had to delay production; the story is still taking a final shape and visually, I've barely scratched the surface. I'm keen to get started though, I've spent the last 8 years honing a craft and I feel like Wayward will be my first proper step towards showing what I can do.

The other active-project I have right now is doing odd bits of art for Yogscast And The Mystical Dreamtower, a 2d game that should be coming out on early-access(a BETA release of sorts)very soon. Games have always been my hobby and obsession so I've enjoyed my time working with Studio Flashback immensely, Games are goliath undertakings and it's hard to fully appreciate that until you're actually in the engine room helping piece it together. It's a craft I've always respected and admired but more so now having worked on this game and Rock Star Rising last year.

That leads me to another project beginning this year, all being well. The whole reason I began working with Studio Flashback on Yogscast And The Mystical Dreamtower was because I reached out to the founder about making a game together. That game hasn't begun just yet. But over the past year since asking, it has grown quite fully formed in my mind as a 2D platformer called Rascal N Tink. It's something that I'd love to get to prototype stage by years end but as I said, games are a massive amount of work and we may be needed elsewhere before the year is up.

Lastly! I'm trying to educate and better my understanding of business and reaching out to the many organisations we have set up here in Northern Ireland to help do so. I've got a meeting next week that will give me a chance to really test myself on where I want to go and what I want to do. It's going to require some soul-searching and for me to somehow articulate my passion in words rather than pictures(something I've never been too good at.)

Oh and regarding any previous stuff I'd said I would work on- Magpie springs to mind. Not working on them any more. There was always more support for Magpie than say, Felicity but I swore to myself this year would be about the pitch and that means as soon as my Freelance commitments quiet down a bit- it's full steam on Wayward. I hope this doesn't disappoint anyone(though I'm fairly sure it won't affect any one!)