Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Idiot and the Internet

 


Yes this is a beautiful picture. The photographer, whoever's he or she is, did a stunning job on capturing the light as it danced and merrily tickled the autumnal reds of a classic Scottish Highland scene.


Many of you, in fact probably all of you, will have either had this picture messaged to you from me or seen it on my story; this was not my intention.

What I did intend to do was use part of this picture as reference for a job I am working on. So I found it and downloaded it. Went to look for it in downloads and low and behold, it wasn't there. So back I went to Google, found the picture again and repeated the act; once again no picture.

After a good twenty minutes and possibly fifteen attempts with a further fifteen failures I seemed to lose the plot somewhat. I think I snarled, steam definitely came out of my ears and I hit every control in site: the result was five minutes later my phone is pinging out of control with people from all four corners of the globe telling me what a lovely picture it is.

Kim Jong-un sent a thank you, asking how I got past his fourteen levels of firewall and two secretaries, Brad Pitt said Jennifer loved, an Al Qaeda splinter group up in the Hindu Kush sent an email saying: thank you for contacting Al Qaeda, your request is being processed and someone will get back to you, even Donald Trump took a few moments out of his busy squatting schedule to ask where this was taken.

It appears in my moment of desperate frustration I seem to have shared one picture with the entire internet, which is a pretty spectacular f**k up, even for me.

So yes, it is lovely and no I didn't mean to send it to you. And guess what? Out of all the people, world-wide, who got this picture sent to them, it appears one singular person didn't.

Me.

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Rise & Fall of the Yappy-Dog- An Adam & Eve Mini Story.


It's very heart warming to realise that the characters you have created seem, on some level, to touch your readers in a very personal way. And in my most recent story arc, that point come to the fore.

In the story I had Adam drop a tree, accidentally, on the bane of his life, the Yappy Dog and over the next few days I failed to bring him back; to give the readers a satisfying Hollywood end, as it where.

There was to be no immediate feel-good ending in sight.
Then I mentioned on the preceding Friday that the strip on Monday was to be the last strip in the story arc and readers began to let me know how they wanted this tale to end, and in no uncertain terms.

I always knew how I would end this tale but it was truly gratifying to see that these little characters have made enough of an impact on peoples lives that they got involved.

Fans are the life blood of any comic strip and I am so glad I have such loyal ones. So for the hell of it, here's the whole story arc in one post.

Enjoy and thank you for your continued support.









Saturday, November 21, 2020

Latest Book

 


A short but incredibly sweet post.

I have published my first collection of cartoons from my thrice weekly comic strip Adam & Eve.

There you go. That was very short and very sweet. Below are a few sample pages from the book and if you want to see more of what I have published then please visit my store.

So until next time, have fun, click and buy and support the arts...well the arts that I'm doing anyway.









Friday, November 13, 2020

Backlog of Videos

I've been working on my YouTube channel for quite some time now and at last--or should I say over the last few months---I've been producing fairly regular videos.

Below are a selection of the them. If you like what you see, why not hop over and subscribe.

Or stay here, I'm all over the place now, you know.










Hope you enjoy them and keep coming back for more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

WIX a load of rubbish


I am indeed back. Back from the dark and confusing world of the paid for website and blog.

I guess blogger had been spoiling me over the years; what with the whole freeness of it all and the many and varied things you can do, but when you are constantly bombarded with advice about getting a paid for site that enables you to do pretty much everything that a free blog page cannot, and that no one will take you seriously as a business if you don't have a professional website, then eventually you fall under the huge weight of marketing hype..

And this is how I stumbled upon WIX, and fell over.

I spent hours, and I mean hours, trawling through YouTube and the various online sites taking the advice of experts, and it all eventually came down to WIX and Wordpress. But I could not decide which one to go with; so with no actual valid option, I flipped a coin.

It came down WIX side up

I wish it hadn't.

I signed up, attempted to build the site over a few nights, made endless frustrated calls to their helpdesk---all seemingly manned by people who really didn't want to be there---and decided to show their frustration by making me feel like an absolute idiot---So eventually I just ignored them and scratched my head until I got it right.

And that took nearly a month! Let's face it, I had an empire to build in-between all their 'easy set up' issues, and to be honest, if the Romans had had to deal with WIX before heading out across the Rubicon to bash a widely unsuspecting world on the head, they'd still be there now...waiting on the hotline, listening to Wagner's ring cycle.

But eventually I did get a site I could live with, not the site I wanted, but a site of sorts that fell roughly under the description of 'Website'. 

But it kept on crashing, losing post after post. Images could not be resized, like their adverts said they could. The reason for this was simple, apparently. 

It turns out that all the adverts I saw were for the old WIX interface, an interface that they loudly proclaimed to be endless in its variety and would do away with the need for a professional website designer. 

It turns out that they decided to do away with the old site a week before I came bowling along with money in my hand and  a silly expression of confidence on my face. 

Anyway, one day, just over a year later, this defeated cartoonist was building a blogger site for his partner, when he realised she could actually do more with her free site than he could with a paid for one. And it looked better.

I ran the Blogger site for her, until she became competent and confident enough to be left alone to blog without a safety net---which in all honesty wasn't that long. I used to look at her with envious eyes as she effortlessly made her site do things that mine just could not.

Then I asked the question.

What had my site got that her site didn't? Well not a lot, actually. Maybe the word 'Blogspot' in the title and an option to make her mobile phone site different in design to the computer one. And seeing as most people run their online life through their phones, this really wasn't an issue. 

But the real kicker was when I realised that she could turn her site into a multi lingual one at the touch of a button. I went to my site and found that to do the same, I had to either translate the whole page myself, or pay a translator to do it for me; language by language.

It was also around this time that I lost three posts that I had slaved hard and long over, saving it as I went along (something blogger does automatically I hasten to add), and when the third one disappeared without trace, I lost my stuff!

But when I contacted WIX about this they simply stated that these things happen from time to time. My answer was: 'Not on Blogger it bloody well doesn't!' They just shrugged their online shoulders and said 'it was probably something I did and couldn't I just write it again?'.

And with that, I said I would not be renewing my contract with them and put the phone down on the world of pain and frustration that is WIX. 

So here I am, once again with blogger.

It may be free, and some purists out there will insist that customers don't take you seriously if you don't have a professional site, but all I can say is this: 'I'm a cartoonist, I don't want to be taken seriously. That's kind of the whole point!' 

And to prove it, here's a few cartoons.

Thank you.









Oh incidentally, my partner is a top Chef and she brings her skills to the public and passes her craft on so you can produce amazing food yourself. Interested? Good, then here's the link

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Adam & Eve get their first calendar

Adam & Eve, the two unlikely stars of my larger comic panel NoodlePates, have just become the cartoon my followers most want to see. When they aren't there, they miss them and when they are, they just want more!.

Adam & Eve really is a simple concept. The panel strip documents the daily doings of Adam & Eve as they reach middle age and the realisation that the magic has well and truly gone from their marriage.

It's a family strip with a twist, their only other companions are a resigned snake, who is an unwilling companion to their troublesome lives and God, an inventor who is already beginning to have serious regrets.

For years I had tried to come up with clever cartoon ideas and concepts but always drew a blank, and met with a massive wall of personal frustration and an industry wide indifference. But when I threw these two marital misfits into a cartoon one day, something happened and my readers were not slow in letting me know about it.

When it comes right down to it, relationship jokes, the battle of the sexes, family complications and laughing at those less maritally fortunate than our selves, have always been, and probably always will be, the one thing virtually all of us have in common.

 I get it. I know. I can't see Adam & Eve becoming the next big syndication gold mine; let's face it, there won't be that many editors willing to run a strip with a religious theme, no matter how mild it may be. But as an Internet cartoon and with CreateSpace and other such publishing platforms and the increased support of the public, you never know what trouble we may be able to cause between us.

So for the foreseeable future I will be making Adam & Eve my regular comic feature, and I hope you will wish to join in it's merry band of fans and followers.

That said, and this only meaning to be a short post, I will shut up and let you view a few sample pages of the first ever Adam & Eve calendar.

And if you would like to purchase one, email me and I will see what I can do.

Enjoy





If you like what you see, and want to see more, then please sign up to my email list and have every blog notification sent direct to your email box, assuring that you'll never miss a single post ever again.


I sincerely hope you enjoyed this post. If you did then please share it like a demented sharing person and keep coming back for more of the same, and a whole lot besides

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Caricature Commission- Tutorial

I was actually supposed to be putting up another tutorial on another caricature, but that will have to wait. I hope you will think it worthwhile as that one is about how I ended up doing a caricature painting of Frank Bruno, the one time World Heavyweight Champion. And because it was for charity I'll also be touching on my thoughts on working in this field and its value, plus some of the abuses perpetrated by some less reputable people out there.






Anyway, onto today's tutorial.

I have been producing watercolour caricatures for over thirty years now. Admittedly it hasn't been my primary source of income, but over the years I must've produced a couple of hundred private commissions.

I've always found that they make excellent Birthday, Christmas, Wedding and retirement gifts

This caricature was a retirement gift for a chap called Kevin, who works for a customer of mine, the Dalesman Magazine

Now for those of you who have seen my other tutorials on a variety of themes, you will know how I like to break the process down into stages--- just in case there are any of you out there who may just want to have a crack at doing one themselves.

So if you're not too bored of seeing all these stages by now, then sit back and lets go through it again.



A caricature for Kevin




Right. First off I get the photo sent to me along with as much information about the study as is possible. In Kevin's case he was an avid walker of the Yorkshire Dales.

He also liked taking groups out, loved his football, wrote a supplement for the Dalesman called 'Down out Way and was a very keen gardener.

Armed with this I produced a rough of Kevin and the scene I thought would work well, and emailed it to the client. They loved it and gave me the green light.





Normally the first stage I show in these tutorials is the pencil art and the masking, but for some reason, best known to the God of cartoonists, I either forgot it, or misplaced it...either is more possible than you would think. Sometimes the thing will even dissappear while I'm using it as reference: don't ask, I really don't know the answer.

But here's a picture of my rather messy watercolour plate, which, for some reason, I did remember to take a photo of. Obviously the God of messy watercolour plates was on the ball that day and is probably the one responsible for the poking sensation in my ribs that only went away when I picked up the camera..

But in the absence of a photo here's what I did: I pencilled the art onto a heavy watercolour paper (you need a heavy paper so as to soak up the large washes without too much crinkling), then I masked out the main character and anything else I didn't want to have to fiddle around when putting the background washes down.

NOW we can move onto the pictures again.



I mixed a pale blue wash using Cobalt blue and the lightest dab of ultramarine for depth, wet the paper with clean water, allowed it to dry to a sheen then placed the blue to about three quarters of the way down to the horizon. (note: when working on a wet surface, the colour you chose will be a lot lighter as its being diluted. Watercolour paint always dries lighter anyway, but when being placed over a damp surface it dries EVEN lighter...so be aware and compensate on your mixes)

I then mixed a little bright orange and cadmium red and watered it down and placed that beneath the almost dry blue. This little touch of pinky red gave the painting a nice, fresh, cool morning feel to the painting.

For this picture, and I've no idea why it was so important, I painted all the flesh tones in, all the way up to their final stages.



Because I was obviously in the zone, and wished to complete every stage of the painting to its end before moving onto the next bit---something I never normally do--- I just plodded on; finishing skin tones, grass, walls, fields... well you get the picture; sometimes it seems the only discipline I have is the lack of one.


I guess the beauty of having completed each stage so thoroughly is that when it came to selecting the colour of the characters, it became really easy to see what would work in making them pop out against the rest of the painting.

All in all, I was really very happy with the overall balance of composition and colour for this picture, and it remains, to this day, one of my most favourite caricature paintings.


Once I feel I've finished the painting I walk away---have a cup of tea, go for a walk, cook some food---anything that clears my mind for about an hour. Then I come back with fresh eyes and see what I may have missed. In this case it was the extra dark shadows.


Then it's just a case of inking the characters, lettering where needed, tear the masking tape off to reveal those nice, crisp lines, package it up and dispatching it to the customer.

Then onto the next job.

I hope this, like all my tutorials help you in some way, or just entertain. That said, I hope to see you all back here soon on the Diary of a Cartoonist & Writer.



If you like what you see, and want to see more, then please sign up to my email list and have every blog notification sent direct to your email box, assuring that you'll never miss a single post ever again.


I sincerely hope you enjoyed this post. If you did then please share it like a demented sharing person and keep coming back for more of the same, and a whole lot besides.


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