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Book Meme and blithering.

Because all the cool kids are doing it: Book Meme.


In other news... It is time for bullet points, in a misguided attempt to force brevity (It won't work.)

  • Part time job at The Titchy Coffee Company is being pretty awesome. I'm enjoying it there a lot.
  • However I have very little money, and this is not awesome. So I need to look for more work.
  • I also lose this flat at the end of next month. Also not awesome. I'm working on the solution to this, but because of lack of well paying job at the moment it's going to be a substantial downgrade.
  • Last two points add up to considerable unhappy and much whining has been happening.
  • Not enough art and writing has been happening to make up for this, though I've been working on a commission I've been enjoying.
  • Speed Racer at the Imax was amazing. Racer X is awesome. SO AWESOME.
  • I have been watching too much Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (which is why I now have an icon of it) and it makes me want to do some art in the neat 'cutout' style it uses. That show is stupid but ever so stylish, and very funny.
  • The Scar by China Meivile is great. I liked it more than I liked Perdido Street Station, and I'm generally digging the world of Bas Lag. I need to read more stuff set there, though I hear Iron Council isn't as good. I really enjoyed The Scar though, Amarda is fantastic idea for a city, Uther Dowl is insanely cool and has the best sword EVER and I need to draw this. (Hell yes for Possible Blades.)
  • I have realised much to my irritation that the changes I made to my webcomic idea because the ending of the first issue wasn't working for me have made it that the neat climax of the issue doesn't work now. Way to shoot myself in the foot and scupper the whole issue. However the rest of the stuff is more interesting and well developed so I just have to work out a new climax/first issue.
  • I have been craving lighthearted, fighty, explosion heavy badass fun but nothing I write that I know what I'm doing with has this right now. I do however have a feeling this may just be my infuriation with the job/flat situation making me want to blow shit up. 
  • I still want to ink other people's stuff. Anyone have any sketches they wouldn't mind me printing out and having a crack at?
  • I should totally stop this now.
  • No really.

A plug

Hey guys. Go check out this post.

http://kissukissu.livejournal.com/150854.html

A rather talented young artist is raising money to help her get on the Classical Animation course in Vancouver and needs commissions. Anything will help, and kissukissu is offering things from sketches up to full commissions.

Her sketches are $5 CAD. That's like the price of a pint, guys. C'mon. Go give her some love, and swap monies for nice pictures.

Gametalk! (and other stuff)

Great little talk on narrative in videogames. As someone who'd quite like to be involved in games writing (though admittedly has no idea how to get involved), this grabbed me and I think it's worth a watch.



On games, I have The World Ends With You on preorder (which I did days before DA decided to have a big competition about it, but while I'm not entering that I'm not going to complain about getting to see a load of concept art for something who's visual style I am already in love with). I also really want to get Persona 3 (if it's even out over here... is it?) and when I am making some more regular cashes, import me some more silly Japanese rhythm games. Mainly: Oendan 2, and I kinda fancy getting Band Brothers. Someone needs to make a Taiko DS 2 as well, I've practically gotten to the point where the only songs I can't beat on the hardest mode are of the 'insane Japanese people raised to play game from birth' level of difficulty and so want some new tracks that are actually FUN instead of inhuman.

Also... and I feel a bit lame for saying this because teeeeeechnically they're dating games (though kinda really not), but due to reading some playthroughs on the SA forums... I'm kinda really liking the worlds in the TypeMoon games. (Tsukihime, Kagetsu Toya and Melty Blood, and the little I've seen of Fate/Stay Night) Particularly the pr0n-free versions. No really. I don't know why but I like the plots and characters for all their convoluted silliness (and Shiki's ability to kill anything, including inanimate objects and possibly even abstract concepts, by stabbing it with what is effectively a FRUIT KNIFE). The guy doing the threads posted some tests for a Fate/Stay Night thread and I'm really interested in the story so far. It's a shame there's no official translation because I think I would actually buy it if I could. I mean the prologue had me from the first proper image (With some normal highschool boy getting rescued from horrible doom by some kind of kickass magical knight girl), and then later in the prologue, girl-protagonist botched a summon and accidentally dropped a deadpan sardonic supernatural badass through her living room ceiling. I think it is going to be a fun story to read, and the art is pretty nice too.

(And Archer is awesome so far. I also hear he's the very source of the term 'gar', so I expect him to become even more awesome.)

I guess that kinda ties back into the video really. TypeMoon games have pretty much no real gameplay (except Melty Blood which is a beatemup rather than a visual novel) and so they're basically slightly interactive books with pictures, music and a little animation. The H stuff seems almost an afterthought, to make it sell (and can be turned off in a lot of versions and the plot be left totally intact) so it's mostly an exercise in multimedia storytelling. It's a bit hit and miss sometimes, but there's some genuinely neat stuff in there. And a lot that is complete WTF, but it's fun none the less even it it appears to make no sense what so ever.


Other news, work is going slow, and the fact my desk is an inch or two too high is starting to take its toll on me with delicious arm ache. Wheeee. On the good side though, I get paid on Monday, and my editor is quite likely to be able to get me at least a few days extension. Which good, cause at the moment I'm about 70% of the way through in terms of page count, that 30% has some really complex pages in, and technically the deadline is the 14th. Which is kinda, uh, not far away.

Speaking of which I should probably get back on with things.

Another sketch dump

sora_blue said I should post more pics, so why not? Well, mostly cause I'm hardly doing any I'm allowed to show you but I have been sneaking in the odd bit of drawing for myself while I can. So as I sit here drinking a kinda unreasonably large coffee (that makes me wish I had a milk foamer or at least thought to heat some up because the milk made it go cold :() I figure I might as well put up the last couple of sketches. Cause the anatomy sucks on them but I kinda like them anyway.



This is Chris. He is in no way actually badass and is fully aware of this, despite the crowbar. I'm not sure why he's so annoyed, but I like his expression anyway. It says to me "Yes, I KNOW this is technically breaking and entering, alright?! You didn't HAVE to come with me." I also need to work out his kit. One of the things about this character and the project he's from is I want a sense of realism about the clothes, which means not just changing things where I should (because he would not really wear the same shirt every day) but also keeping things the same where someone would, in things like coats (I know, not pictured), shoes, and bags. I've got the gist of his main camera bag down here (Oddly much bigger than the camera I tend to draw him with but he totally has more than one, and lenses and other stuff in there). The tripod bag is a bit of a non-entity though, so they need a bit of work.


This is Seth. He is from the same thing. He has really quite terrible anatomy but he DOES have nice headphones I think so I'm posting it anyway. Also trying to work out how to do his hair in this style cause he has dark roots. I'm not sure this is the way. Seth actually hardly ever looks this down, and it's entirely due to what he's listening to anyway. I wanted to try and get that zoned out look to him, because he's someone who very easily gets lost in the right sounds. As you can probably tell by the volume tattoo and the fact he's the sort of person who would put his mp3 player on before his shirt.

So, there you go. :)

Doodles! (And babbling about books)

More rough fast things for you.



Couple of characters from a novel thing I'm working on in my spare time. Pencil, biro, brushpen, and a little white gel pen, hue shifted on photoshop. Their names are Vidya and Theo. There will be 2 more to go along with them, in theory. I like how Theo's (guy on the right) hair came out, though wish I'd got more contrast on the bottle so it was clearer what it is. Still, these are technically stress relief pics anyway so they don't have to be perfect (and frankly the paper was dying of over-saturation at that point anyway). So full of faults but fun as hell to do.

(Fact: Theo wearing an eyepatch AND sunglasses is totally because Takeshi Kitano's character in Gonin is amazing. At least I think it's Gonin he does that... watch that film anyway, it's great.)


My friend Tunney suggested that when I get to my comic I should try doing it this style. I'm not sure I agree cause doing the backgrounds like this will be soul crushing, but I think when I get the chance I'll do a test page of something or other and see what it looks like. He may be onto something (he often is).

Feeling a bit better for having an early night. And bookended it with some reading cause I've not for the last few nights and I think I was subconsciously missing the book I'm reading. Blood of Angels, a Michael Marshal thriller thing, 3rd book in the Straw Men series. I will be sad when I have finished and I have no more chapters about Ward Hopkins, because he is AWESOME. Although while the new book of his that is due looks to be about someone else, there also appears to be another new one from him that's been out in hardback, gone and due in paperback sometime under the name Michael Marshal Smith, which means it should be SF or at least weirder, cause like Iain (M) Banks he does the different names for different genres thing. Which is happy making because while I love Ward stuff, MMS shines most when he's got free reign to make things as weird as he likes.

Which reminds me, I still need to draw fanart of Stark from his novel Only Forward. There are writers with prettier prose, twistier plots, and bigger implications, but MMS is the man at 2 things in particular for me-

1) Writing characters who are tired, emotionally burnt out or otherwise fucked up, and yet still maintaining a sense of wit the means they never actually get emo or whiny, just genuine people dealing with horrible things.

2) Writing protagonists I just really really like. Okay, so I'm not quite as keen on the guy in Spares, but I like the guy in One of Us (By the way hollywood, where is our film of that? You've got the rights, make it!) and Ward and Stark are just so damn fun to read.

(To that point that while the 2nd book in the series, The Lonely Dead, wasn't so great story wise, especially compared to The Straw Men which is fantastic, I still enjoyed it because I just really like the voice in Ward's chapters.)

Anyway, that's enough for now, I better get some lunch and get back to work. I'll post a proper review on my main blog when I finish the series I think. Though I feel I may get distracted by the NEW SKULLDUGGERY PLEASANT NOVEL that comes out in less than 2 weeks. :)

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Doodle

So, in order to prevent me going up the freaking wall with all the nice smooth controlled clean cute art I've been doing for work, I decided to bash out something quick and dirty before bed last night.

So, tried working in tones with a brush pen, no pencils or roughs, starting with shading then adding some details with a darker grey, a biro and a fineliner. Came out with this. I didn't time it, but I'd say 10-15 minutes max.




Guy called Chris from a comic I'm sort of working on. I think he looks perturbed because I forgot to give him his mp3 player. Not polished or great in any way, but therapeutic as hell. Should do more like this.

Parents should be arriving in the next couple of hours, so I'll be having most of the day off. Which is NICE. But doing some early morning colouring in the mean time.

ps: Been overplaying 'Harder Faster Better Stronger' by Daft Punk and 'The Immortal' by DJ fresh. Both freaking awesome for building up working energy. Wheeeee.

ON THE LAST EXCITING EPISODE OF...

Okay, why not.

I guess first I should give you the last-episode recap. Since the last time I posted here (not quite in order)...

-I graduated from Hull with a first in English Lit and Philosophy.

-I went BACK to Hull to take part in the final year of the Contemporary Literature and Film MA. Which was interesting, inspiring, and generally an enriching experience. I realised I totally need see more films.

-Meanwhile, I lived in a house with one of my oldest childhood friends, Sam, and two new people: the ever awesome Kaspar and Kwame. A number of my mates also stayed on, including Mike and Ben, the latter I got to know much better than before. Good times. Very good times. I miss them all. (except Mike, for reasons I will get to.)

-I discovered that breakbeat is freaking awesome.

-I went down to London to work on a short film with my good friend J (borrowing my friend Mike to act in it). We go to run around the Barbican sticking post it notes to things and trying to make that bad dream of an architectural oddity even trippier than it already is. And then J's computer wasn't up to dealing with the footage so I still haven't seen it, but it's made me realise I'd love to do more work with film. And that the Barbican is an amazing location.

-I went to LA to visit Chan. Got in touch with a sorely neglected part of myself that is waving at me to pay more attention to it now. Got super inspired by going to the cart track where her brother was racing, and the fields of windmills in the deserts by palm springs. Had a great time with good people and interesting experiences, and even managed to meet up with my peace-activist-professional-storyteller grandmother in the process. Chan became involved in something very very exciting but I'm not allowed to talk about it so I'll leave that up to her when it's time.

-I passed my MA, which was nice.

-I saw Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. 'I watched an anime' wouldn't usually be journal worthy, but bizarrely the show had quite an effect on me, injecting my apathy and directionlessness with BURNING SPIRIT (and drills) and reminding me it's not always external confidence that's the key, but inner determination. And also causing me subconsciously overuse phrases like 'PEIRCE THE HEAVENS' and 'WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE?'.

-I moved to Manchester with my good friend Mike, in a nice flat with a view of the awesome sculpture/eyesore/spikey rusted thing of doom known as the B of the Bang. Because of this, I get to spend more time with the lovely Andy 2Hands Tunney and Abby Ryder, Dave Bulmer and have also met cool people like Caddy and Toby.

-I went to Celtic Connections in Glasgow and it was fucking amazing and oh dear god I have to go next year. I HAVE TO. I was only there for a short time but saw some stunning music, was in a great atmosphere, and got to hang out with my lovely aunt Jo.

-My dad and our friend Tam won Best Duo at the 2008 Folk awards, and our friend Andy Cutting won best musician. I am hugely proud of them all.

-I narrowly avoided getting killed or badly injured by a piece of falling metal from the roof of a block of flats. It rather changed my perspective on things.

Anyway, I think that gets you up to speed.

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You know what?

I kinda feel like resurrecting this thing. I mean, I still use it to post comments with...

I did wanna go hide absolutely everything on here and start with a clean slate, but apparently I need to have a paid account to not have to do it ONE ENTRY AT A TIME.

And frankly my dear, lets not do that, shall we?

I don't know, maybe it's my need to procrastinate and do something that's not inking and colouring, but having a nice friends locked place is appealing to me right now.

HMMM.

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Woah.

Apparently I win at this year.

Didn't get a module mark this year that was less than 73. @_@

The mark breakdown (Including the ones I already knew but I'll put in anyway)

Crime Fiction: 73
(Knew, and was happy about cause it was from one meh essay and one apparently awesome essay)

Pleasure, Pain, Emotion and the Will: 76.
(The other one I knew. I expected high but not THAT high.)

Gothic: 73.
(Yay! Kept the grade I got on my minor essay on it, so I'm happy enough.)

Introduction to Contemporary European Thought: 76.
(I am apparently good at Derrida. I wish we could do more stuff like this module, having an introduction as a 3rd year only thing makes me argh. But I'm VERY pleased with this result.)

68'- The Sixties and Cultural Revolution: 73 .
(Very relieved about as I hadn't had anything back from that one. I had a lot of fun with those essays.)

Wittgenstien on Knowledge and Certainty: 74.
(VERY VERY relieved on this as if there was any essay I thought would drag me down, it was this one. And how I got a 74 I have no idea, because I only got a 70 for my first essay, unless it got pushed up. I guess I should have just trusted my judgement instead of fretting about it for the second.)

So what now? Well, this puts my average for this year at about 74.1, and my average last year was about 69.1. I THINK the weighting is 40 on the 2nd year and 60 on the 3rd, BUT even if it's 50/50 that would work out as 71.6 so...

Basically I've got a first. HUZZAH! :D