To business! I published a new strip on my Instagram account this week called “Fear of Thowl“. And it seems to work OK on Instagram, I can post 5 pages split two images from each page (top and bottom) which gives me ten images.
This seems to read quite well – although any feedback would be great – and I am looking to post in 5 page instalments going forward.
In the story I revisit my Instant Noodles Take Away the Dark malarkey, which first appeared in my stripSeeing In the Dark.
The noodles are used to ward of the ‘darkness’ and I am oddly starting to find lots of ways to incorporate them into my Nulshyverse!
They actually stem from my big story The Devil at Pasta & Dry Good (and Other Stories). Which is mostly based in and around a supermarket and used things found there – things like noodles.
I also love instant noodles! The Kimchi ones a current favourite!
Time to boogie amigos, I’ll leave you with a couple of drawing book pages!
Above is the first page from my strip Star from the Sea. I submitted it to Creators for Creators back in May. Don’t think it’s gonna be used so I am looking to publish the whole shebang online. The Creators for Creators idea is great – anything that supports new comics being created gets a thumbs up from this guy!
This particular story came about in a total flash, as I had to get up in the middle of the night to ask my son to shut the fuggup (he was online gaming with his buddies with a headset on and he gets a tad carried away!).
On my groggy way back to my room an idea popped into my head about a fisherman returning home in his boat, he is shaken up after having had a fantastic encounter in the middle of the ocean, and returning with a “gift” from the sea,
The story quickly escalated in my head – with names, set pieces, etc. so I jotted as much as I could in my phone (those Galaxy Note phones are a godsend!). And next morning I made a start on the story. Within two days I had the plot summary, story outline, and the first five pages completed.
Next up is my strip Fear of Thowl which I have had mulling about in my head for years. The Mr. Thowl character actually came about from a poster I did for Lach’s Anti Hoot in Edinburgh.
It’s quite common for me to draw a character spontaneously and then to start creating stories and situations surrounding them. Which is what happened with Mr. Thowl.
I have loads of pages inked that just need scanned and collated (oh, and tones/colour adding!). I’ve been working with A4 pages for each half of what becomes an A3 original page. It’s a working practice I started for convenience years ago (when I travelled a lot) but has now become my main way of creating strips.
This story should also end up being published online. I am still debating the best options!
Below are some drawings from this week. Drawing book pages and the middle one is a very quick illustration I did in my big sketchbook, featuring Zachary and Mr, Thowl from the above mentioned story.
So let’s get started with the usual drawing book pages…
…usual malarkey! My daily drawing book now looks really uniform with me adding a ‘frame’ and occasional text with a stencil I picked up on a whim. Quite nice to flick through it.
I am actually only a few pages away from the end of my current book, with it’s replacement waiting in the wings. I often ponder ‘do I need to keep a daily drawing book going?’ – as it was initially intended to ensure I put down an image or an idea every day. But now that I draw so much is it necessary?
The answer is still YES for now. When I flick through the books I stumble across ideas and stories I had completely forgotten about. So it has become not only a discipline but a means of stockpiling ideas.
Wonder if I will still be of the same mind when this next book is finished. A book lasts around 6-7 months (using the books I currently use). We shall see.
I have also been reviewing my ‘promotional’ options – by that I mean posting on Instagram and Twitter. I don’t get a lot of interest via Instagram so I am looking to restrict posts on there to more of a gallery, and potentially create a new account to post strips as it accommodates 10 pages per post. Simon Hanselmann does a great strip with ten panels each post – like a wee episode. Works really well. (Careful, Simon’s work contains adult content! Lots of it)
I’ll keep twitter as is for now, but gonna dial back on posting the daily drawing books pages.
Here is a commission from this week – sorry it’s a tad rude!
I normally have these posts done well in advance, but due to a few hectic days I am sat here on a Saturday morning doing the post in real time. Need me some more coffee!
Here’s some drawings from the daily book…
…the normal Nulshy malarkey!
I have been busy with a whole heap of concept work this week. None of which I can post currently. But It had me having to work on digital painting. I don’t normally do much of that and tend to stick to basic colouring, which I personally find really compelling.
Using loads of colours (and layers!) is not my preferred means of working. But I did have a really good time experimenting. Which can be a luxury when presented with deadlines. That said, I am on track, and already starting to get some defined operating practices in place.
On that note: I document these operating practices! It is so easy to forget things you have discovered if these are not utilised on a regular basis, so I jot these steps and pointers down (I use OneNote as it’s cloud based format allows me access from anywhere).
Here’s a random mess about (sorry for the swear!)…
Above is a sketchbook page drawn larger than I usually draw, although working larger seems to be more and more common for me these days. Being in lockdown and no dayjob work anytime soon I have been getting to work on a lot of old stories I have had running around my head (and in drawing books) for many years.
Been working on A3 originals quite a bit. Which is a big upscale for me! As mentioned last week, I have also started another means to produce strips quickly, using A4 originals, but these are not always conducive with publishing requirements.
I slotted in the title ‘Nulsh’s Lunchtime Theatre‘ on a whim. That is the collective title I had for my mini stories I would create on my lunch hour on my day job. Mostly 4 page stories as I would be able to reproduce them in short runs using a photocopier.
4 A4 pages reduced and collated so I could print both sides and create A5 mini comics. Sometimes collected with a card cover. I mostly give these away free at comic marts. I did one collection “Hen’s Teeth” which was well received. I’ll see if I have a copy somewhere!
But with all these stories I am completing I am looking to start publishing under Nulsh’s Lunchtime Theatre again.
And here are this week’s drawing book pages…
… I decided to colour these with colours I don’t normally use. Bright pink and bright orange. And then on “I said Oh” I forgot and used a sorta grey/blue that I sue all the time! Heh heh!
“I said oh!” is a liens from a Feelies song that was playing at the time I was drawing. I do that quite a lot.
Looking at these three drawings they are all spontaneous – just pick up the pen and let it do it’s thing. A lot of the time I start with a face (I love faces) and see where things go. Quite often the face dictates it’s surroundings, which is pretty much true to life I reckons.
This week I wanna talk about ink. I love ink. Pencils, paints, and all the other arty gubbins are great, but I’ve always loved watching black ink lines as I draw them. When you see the ink go from a wet liquid to becoming a face, a character, a whole image – it’s Nulshy heaven.
Most of my original drawings are black ink, sometimes over pencils, but mostly black ink on paper. I do digital drawing too, and that is enjoyable in it’s own way, but 9 times out of 10 I am most satisfied with the traditional drawing line work.
There is a point here, honest. Mostly when I colour my drawing book pages I put an ‘ink tint’ over my inks to make them less like the original black ink lines. Gives the image a certain ‘something’. But this week I did a very quick strip (sample panel above) and left the inks as they were and I was really pleased with the results.
Here are this week’s drawing book pages…
…as I was saying I’ve left these with the inks still black too and it works for me! I have versions with both options. Time is a bit tight today, but will look to do a comparison for next week.
Funny, I have been drawing a loooooong time and yet I still get kick out of the most fundamental wee things. Long may that continue.
A quick word on the three drawing book images above:
“have to leave” was a dream that was swimming in my head, about living in a slum apartment and the hoards of creepy crawlies living behind every board and wall.
‘whispers‘ was purely an image I had in my head – jotted it down!
‘brand new pen‘ was a random drawing. But it was the first drawing with a new pen and the line was really spindly! Usually takes a few drawings before the pen line gets acceptable to me.
This week I also started drawing strips in a smaller page size (A4) with a view to publish a book in the size of novel or Japanese Manga. I was pleased with result, still got a bit to do on it, but it looks like a viable option for efficient comic strip production!
This week, like most weeks recently, I have been hard at it on the drawing board. Well it’s more of an old dining table my lovely partner has fashioned into a makeshift studio for me. Been a total blessing!
But to business, this week’s trio of Nulsh ditties from the daily drawing book…
Star of the Sea, although a spontaneous drawing, is based on a strip of the same name I recently put together and has a potential publisher. On occasion I do my random drawing with a character in mind (recently I draw Coffee Bun a lot!) – this is Estelle and her foster Dad. Both totally fleshed out prior to this sporadic drawing.
Bastard Birds is gonna make a very small group of people smile. Was a totally spontaneous drawing, but the bird made me add the text footer. It’s a phrase my missus shouts when the birds are noisy in the morning. Makes my kids (and me!) chuckle.
Faintest Ink again is mostly random – but the phrase “the faintest ink is better than the best memory” is a favourite of mine. It’s paraphrasing an old saying which basically means write it down so you don’t forget it! I have suffered that fate more times than I care to mention!
As well as drawing loads I have been making time to learn some new animation software. It is really enjoyable, but I am having to ration the time as animation is really time consuming. Been going well. Any worthwhile results will appear here!
To finish off here are a couple of character sketches I did during the week. I like the Skipper but he’ll need to be modified before I can run with him!
Let’s get cracking. Image above is a panel from a strip I just posted on Instagram. Find me here. I have been messing about with spontaneous random strips. Finding my feet as regards publishing online. This effort was OK, but I am finding the smaller panels restrictive. I like loads of blank space to contrast with lines.
I have started another strip which I am about ten pages into and I am much happier with the panel sizes. Will look to post some of that next week (if I don’t start sticking it on Instathingy first).
Here’s yer’ random drawing book pages for the week…
…as usual these are random drawings drawn straight with pen and usually 100% spontaneous. The middle one “kool aid” sprung from a doodle I did on my mobile phone. The “Estelle” picture appears to be inspired by a strip I recently submitted to a publisher. Oddly it looks like the strip and the character is named Estelle, yet neither of the two people in the drawing are the real Estelle.
My usual practice with colouring these pages is that I stick to one colour only. On top of the colour layer I add a black layer and reduce the opacity of the layer to create a “shadow”. Using only one colour plus white (and the black) can force some really interesting colouring choices. I use Gimp to colour these pages. An excellent package in my humble opinion.
And below is a quick sketch I did to commemorate the wonderful Gary Lucas‘ birthday. This sketch was drawn and coloured using Clip Studio Paint which is a great drawing package. I still have reservations regarding digital drawing, but I really enjoy using this software. The sketch took maybe 20 minutes, and the additional painting and colouring options make this stuff really enjoyable.