January 2009

New York News

Well, here's the full list of where I'll be popping up during the NYCC from Friday 6th February to Sunday 8th February. And if you catch me in the crowd wandering around the show at any other time, don't hesitate to say hi.
For DC Comics booth, I'll be signing from 1-2 on all three days. On Friday from 6-7, I'll be at the Autographing Area, on Level 3,Table 4.
For Dark Horse, I'll be signing from 5-6 on Saturday. I'll also be putting in some time signing for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art from 4-5 on Saturday.
See you there if you can make it!

The Big Picture

The big - 70cm x 50cm - limited edition print I told you about is now available from Bruno Graff at www.brunograff.com. If you happen to be going to Angouleme this year, Bruno will have them on sale there : )
Lastly, in this brief posting : I've yet to fix all signing times for my visit to the NYCC, but I will be at the Autograph Table on Friday, 6th Feb, between 6 and 7pm.
More soon...

I Am Not A Number, I Am A Free Man

Firstly a word about the death of Patrick McGoohan a few days ago. Not only a charismatic and stylish actor, writer, and director, but a true pioneer from a time when British television production was not totally dominated by the dictatorship of ratings-wars, and experimentation was tolerated. Without the inspiration of the amazing and ground-breaking series McGoohan created, The Prisoner, V For Vendetta would not have existed in it's present form. The Prisoner's central message of upholding the right of the "individual to be individual" was key to the series which Alan and myself put together. If there are any admirers of V out there who have yet to see The Prisoner, I urge you to alter that situation as soon as possible...

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As I promised last posting, I have another jigsaw piece of an illustration commission to show to you and explain. This one is from an anthology series of war memoirs issued by French publisher Soleil. Called Words Of Stars, this volume featured some of the tragic stories of children who were separated from their parents during the Second World War. My story was scripted by Serge Le Tendre and narrated the experience of someone who was rescued from the fate that befell the rest of his family, who were consigned to their deaths in a Nazi concentration camp. It used a combination of past, present and dream to tell the story, which I clarified in the conventional way of using differing colours, strengths of colours, and tints - b/w wash for the dream, sepia for one area of the past, a gritty, dull full-colour for another flashback sequence, and a glossy, brighter full-colour for the Sixties conclusion.
I had only one problem with it, which the computer was invaluable in solving for me. The script had clearly been originally intended as a teleplay or short film, and it used the idea of motion in a way that is difficult to capture convincingly in strip form : e.g. a Wheel Of Fortune is still and unlit ; then lights come on ; then it starts to move ; then it spins faster. A carousel in the story does the same thing. I found a computer application could do this much more dynamically and effectively than any illustration technique I could think of using. It took a bit of experimentation to get exactly the right look I needed from the blur filters in Photoshop, but it worked. Here's part of the strip below.
Words Of Stars is scheduled to be published in English this year, I believe. Meanwhile, you can find it on sale in France under the title Paroles D'Etoiles. My work is just one of a great collection of writing and art telling some sad, but often uplifting stories of a dark time.
Lastly, for all you folks in New York or coming to New York for the Convention from 6th Feb to 8th, I shall be attending. Flying there with one of Mr Sullenberger's disciples, I hope... Won't have a table like last time, but I will be signing at various places and times, and will post information here as I have it.
Be seeing you!

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Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a terrific time over the holidays! I would have sent seasons greetings out to everyone visiting this site of mine before it was too late to do so but for the little matter of a site tech problem I suffered, which meant I couldn't access it to update. Yeah, sounds like an excuse for extreme tardiness, and, in light of my imperfect record for keeping my updates regular, I'd understand your skepticism, but I swear it's the truth, guvna...
Luckily, though, I'm back in time to be able to wish every one of you the very best of luck in 2009! : )

Got a bunch of things to show you in this first new year posting, starting off with the news that the serigraph I told you about way back in the mists of time has now been published and is on sale! First time I've produced such a thing, and it seems to have turned out good. A kind of illustration and strip combined, the central situation depicted in the drawing is explained in the framed newspaper front pages hung around the walls of the room, and in the room. The text on these pages is all in French, as it was produced for the French market, but you might still like to have one even if you're not French. If you ARE French, you MUST have one! It's a very large, limited-edition signed print, and I'll give details of price and place of purchase later. Meanwhile, here's a little version of it for you to see. Mais, bien sur, you'll have to buy it to read it...

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Some of you might have Hellblazer 250 by now. Below are a some of the frames from the story which myself and Jamie Delano produced for this holiday special.
The two examples show the before and after of the original art, and how it transformed in Photoshop after scanning the original colors into it. Note white hand of Barry. Left the coloring off it. Had to clone the right color to it when it was in Photoshop because I didn't notice it til then...
Anyway, my intention at the outset was to do with the story color what I had done with the original color of Kickback. For those of you who don't know what that was, the color of Kickback was rendered with color pencils on reduced b/w printouts of the orig b/w art, and transformed into varying degrees of tonal color with the use of Photoshop's blur facilities, etc. Trying this on the color art of Christmas Cards didn't work as easily because the color pencils used were chalkier, and the paper they were used on was more textured. Both these things were accidental - the pencils were a fresh set I opened which I'd had for a long time and not used, and I used them because I wanted the ease of not having to sharpen all the old ones I had! The paper was more textured than the paper I'd used for Kickback because it was easier to go round the corner to a local copy shop and get reduced copies of the original art than it was to scan the pages myself, and the only paper they had to use for it at the time was slightly textured. Laziness? You could say that. But economy of time was important, too, as is often the case in this game. At any rate it led to color that I could not treat as I'd treated the color of Kickback. But it occurred to me that the color's grittiness was appropriate for Hellblazer, and it would look good left the way it was - with a little more guts applied to it though, which came via some simple manipulation.
So accident led to a good creative result. Doesn't always happen that way, sadly, but good when it does. The only element of what you see in the three frames of the strip below which did not reach Hellblazer's readers is the brightness and contrast, which were lost at the hands of the printer and the porous paper the issue was printed on. Still, we can say that darker is not necessarily bad in the case of a Constantine story, so no real pain there.
More from me shortly - and more on matters of color and such in storytelling. And more accidents, too, maybe.
Til next time...

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