Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Wisenheimer school of Cartoon Art

As you might expect of a highly respected member of the cartooning business, I am a member of a secret cartoon society, heck bent on World Domination.

Well, noticing that several new books and courses on cartoon art are springing up all over the place, some of our illustrious members have decided to give masterclasses in cartooning themselves. Who better, you might say, than a society of internationally renowed illustrators to teach begining cartoonists the secrets of cartooning?

So, here we are with Lesson 1, which pools together the internationally recognised talents of Mike Lynch, Christine Tripp, Michael McDonnell, Dee Adams, Dan Collins, Gerry Mooney, Jason Nocera, Kevin Coffee, Maritza Campos, Brian Fray, Jon Herman, Ann Farrell, Ted Goff, Karsten Schley and Steve Bright.

1. Scan Your Cat.

Okay, I hear you, you're thinking this is on a par with Arthur Spooner's piano lessons, or a dancing class by The Office's David Brent. But fear not, the next step, is drawing body parts.

I Manga coming in a day or two

I think I have time to post the first I Manga Blog post this week. I had a long hard think about what to launch it with and I swithered about reviewing MPD Psycho first, just to be cool, but good sense has prevailed and I'm going to go with Naoki Urasawa's epic seinen manga, Monster.

I've drawn a few batches of cartoons, and they are pretty good, I think, and I've caught up with my Webcomics Nation posts (I'm managing to add episodes of Dirty Dick's Bottomless Pond), so I'm ever so slightly made up.

There's just one part to add. I don't know if I prefer doing it this way, you know, uploading a page at a time. A lot of the Lepertown stories are like this, a few pages long and I think I prefer posting them in complete finished form. It's just that it can be a lot of extra work. It's still fun, to a degree, I suppose.

I've been watching episodes 10-11-12-13 of Ugly Betty. My God, you won't believe what is happening! I did though, I kind of sussed it early on, but then it is a genre piece dealing in stereotypes and I think that's part of its appeal. I'm still enamoured with the Betty charcter 13 episodes into the series, which is comforting. However, as usual, the Halloween and Xmas episodes will be shown here sometime in March or April. You'd think Channel 4 was run by morons...Oh, wait, it is.

I know I'm behind with The Cartoon Fiend blog, badly behind with it and I can only apologise to my hugely talented interviewees. I promise I will bang a whole bunch of interviews on it shortly. I'm going to upgrade it to Java Blogger first though, so fingers crossed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dirty Dick's Bottomless Pond.

Up past the Horseshoe (a cul-de-sac), and then along the Lang Loan (the Long Lane) past the Tip (rubbish dump) and along a little and then cut left sharply, through the brambles, and there it was, Dirty Dick's Pond. It had been a quarry at one point, they say, but would that explain the fish? I doubt it. Anyway, we spun a lot of myths around it, the key one being that it was bottomless. I've spoken to people, of a certain age, from all over the world, who grew up in rural or semi-rural surroundings who remember a place just like Dirty Dick's Pond.

I've posted it on my Web Comics Nation page and I'm going to try (I usually upload entire stories or single pages) to upload the story over the next three uploads. Fingers crossed. Here's page 1 of 4:

Also, I don't know if this'll interest you, but it should. I'm posting a Manga Blog called IManga soon. It's going to be really self-indulgent and feature my favourites and it'll be really graphics heavy. I'll put a link up here after I get it sorted.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Manga

I've been a day out, twice, when it comes to posting my Lepertown comic on Web Comics Nation, but that's not bad given that I'm experiencing dizziness, discomfort, and I'm not walking too well. I know, all classic signs of a heavy New Year, but I became teetotal in 1983 after I returned from a cartoonist event in London as yellow as the canary yellow suit I once owned. It may be my blood pressure, I'll have it checked.

Anyway, this is the latest page. The State Leith Cinema, at the foot of Leith Walk and along Great Junction Street until you reach the bridge, is still there and there are plans to save this beautiful little Art Deco building rather than bulldoze it, as Edinburgh Council once planned to do. Long before I read comics, before I could even read, I followed the adventures of Batman and Robin there, every Saturday morning; sometimes with all my cousins and often on my own. The only thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a super hero with a secret identity:

Nik Scott, who is one of my fellow National Lampoon cartoonists from the book mentioned below, and with whom I have planned for years now to work on some stories by Joyce, was talking to me recently about the increased publicity and credibilty graphic novels are attracting in Australia. Funnily enough, I was just reading Eddie Campbelll's blog post on The Independent on Sunday's special cartoon issue from October last year (2006), which I missed, and which his daughter sent to him in Australia (like Nik, Eddie is an ex-pat), and I was thinking exactly the same thing. This is a key moment, I think, for the genre. Whilst Manga sales are dipping slightly in Japan due to readers using new technologies, it is becoming ever bigger in the US, and in other parts of Europe, and the books we refer to as 'graphic novels' are simply part of that market and that movement. Illustrated literature, comics, sequential art, graphic novels, call them what you will...we are all Manga now.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dirk Deppey - Living Resource.

I had some respect for Dirk Deppey before yesterday. He has been singularly resposible for increasing and informing my interest in Manga and Anime over the last year, and I have been inspired by his knowledge and enthusiasm of the subject. However, after last night, that respect sank into the category know as 'deep', as in I now have 'A Deep Respect' for Dirk Deppey because he, way over the Atlantic there, in the US, on his most excellent blog, Journalista, did something that BBC Scotland failed to do on their news programme last night, he mentioned the tragic death of Harry Horse. Of course it shouldn't have come as any surprise that a man regarded by many as a living-resource on cartooning would be aware of Harry's work, but I was astonished that even a double-death in Shetland involving of of Scotland's best children's author/illustrators wasn't worth a mention on what is suppossed to be Scotland's national news.

The BBC Scotland news is usually very bad anyway, especially now that it champions 'good news' over bad, and 'infotainment' over factual reporting. But its percieved West Coast bias, well, to be honest a Glaswegian bias, which means that if someone in Glasgow who once drew Dennis the Menace farted, it would blow anyone from anywhere outside their feifdom right of the programme, appears to be plumbing ever deeper depths. Last night I was suppossed to be 'cheered up' by some brats winning some unspectacular line-dancing competition. It is now neither news nor entertainment; it is, to use a fine old Scottish phrase, Utter Pish!

My thanks to my good friend Mike Lynch (no mean blogger himself) who reminded me to visit Dirk's fantasic blog again. I shall stick it in the links section forthwith:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

R.I.P Harry Horse and Mandy, his beloved wife.

The death of Richard (Harry Horse) Horne, (Scotsman article here) and his wife Mandy, is incredibly sad. In fact, it's heart breaking. For once, words almost fail me and so I've put a bunch of links together so you can read about it for yourself.
Some things are are just unbearable.
Harry was an incredibly talented artist who produced works of astonishing beauty and great strength. From his New Yorker caricatures, his Horse Box for The Scotsman, his editorial work for Glasgow's Sunday Herald to his 'floppy bunnies' for Penguin Books his work was versatile and vibrant. A great British talent, he will be sorely missed.

Atlantis Rising - The Sunday Herald

Penguin Books Bio

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More Tommy Apple.

Today's Lepertown episode on WCN is a one-pager from my Tommy Apple story. I've redrawn this now because Old Robert, as he looks here, didn't look right to me, but I was really loathe to redraw the entire page because of the running panel (the one with the dog and the boys in mid-flight). I think I kind of captured something there, and I might not be able to do it again, so I may redraw some panels and patch this part in. Well, glue it into place and rescan the page into the computer.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year

Actually, in work terms, New Year was over long ago. In drunky terms of course, it was not. So I hope you have all recovered and resolved to be better human beings than you were last year.

Anyway, quite literally millions of people have asked me (2 people *see notes below) what my Lepertown Comic at WCN is about. Since, I just failed to see the following episode on the site after, apparently, uploading it, I suppose this is a good opportunity to post it here, along with a quick paragraph about the series which features one-page and multiple page stories.

My Dad's hair was amazing back then. It covered his face and went down past his collar and he just scooped it all the way back with his comb into a sort of wave-like quiff. It was always jet-black and shiny and he soaked it in Bay Rum which was a sticky orange liquid. When I covered my body in it I looked like McGill from Man in a Suitcase. I looked like a film star.

Leper Town may, or may not, have been the original name of Liberton, a small village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, where I grew up. We were told that it was a Leper colony at one point and I think that since we all seemed to think that Leper's were Zombies that it was kind of cool, so we wanted to believe it. Some of these stories are from the larger work that began as Strange Fruit but has evolved into Tommy Apple, but many are drawn exclusively for the WCN site.