30 November 2011

The Big Arse 2 illustration

Here's a quick run-through of how I went about illustrating the Big Arse 2 poster (shown in my previous post).

Firstly, I sketched out some rough ideas. I was set on having another fat 'cottage cheese' type chick as the 'hero' for the next Big Arse event. I like art which represents the 'street-level' aspect of everyday people. If you haven't guessed by now, I find drawing 'perfect' people to be boring. There's too little detail and character. They all look like they've come off a production line.... but give me wrinkles, nicks and humanity... and my drawing hand is buzzin.

Predictably though, in my social life, I'm still a typical guy with pedestrian hormones. My fetishes in art don't necessarily translate to the ones in 'meat space'... so no, all you fat loud broads out there, don't even bother.

I can understand where R.Crumb was coming from. I think from memory; that when they used to do photo shoots of him with the same types of 'thick' sexy women he drew (to feature on magazine covers), that he didn't get turned on at all. In fact he felt uncomfortable. One's artistic pedilictions versus the real-life (innate ones) can be very different. Thank god for that... especially for those who draw horror comics :)

Aaaanyway... my initial thought was to have the main female in the poster as one of those g-string bimbos that hold up the 'round' cards in a boxing match (as intimated in some of the sketches above) ... but then I began imagining the design of the poster (thinking ahead), as something different from last years one. Y'know, I didn't want it to be another typical comic book-style cover with a lot going on... but rather, have it be a clean and bold design, with the dumpy fat chick as the main focus. My 'design' head started seeing her in isolation... and so I focussed on her alone. I made her more 'comic book' related to be more suggestive of the event at hand. I then blew up the top right sketch (shown in the sketches above), and printed it out at a very faint and low-resolution on my art-card

Tight-pencilling over the blown-up sketch.

Inking the pencilled page (first part of the image above)... then removing everything but the black on computer (second image above).

And, after the colouring... whala.

- Bobby.N

22 November 2011

The last comics meetup of 2011

Change of plans... the last comic book meetup of this year has now reverted back to it's original time/place, which means...

To anyone who's nuts about comic books... mark it down on yer calendars, and be there!

- Bobby.N

18 November 2011

Last Friday night...

... I swung down to POLYESTER Books on Brunswick St to catch Koraly Dimitriadis and Ben John Smith. Great ball-sy (and ovary-sy) poetry by both.

A packed POLYESTER store listened, laughed and gasped.

Ben John Smith, Polyester owner (?), and Koraly Dimitriadis

On the way back to my car, I saw this fucking machine. Ah, my testosterone shot up immediately! Who needs Viagra, eh...? This Ford XB Coupe has been a secret desire of mine since my father worked on the Broadmeadows production line of the XB Cobras back in the early 1970s.

Now, THIS is poetry to me.

- Bobbyn.N

13 November 2011

Melbourne comics meetup [ 05.11.2011 ]

Last Saturday I had a ticket to sit in on an intimate chat with author/illustrator/director, Shaun Tan. The talk was on at 12-noon, and the comics meetup was at 2pm. I could fit both in comfortably. Nice!

The chat was all about the film and books of THE LOST THING. Shaun went through a lot of the thinking behind the book and the animated short film. It was quite edifying.

The only let down was the audience questions at the end. There was only room for about five (and no, my hand wasn't lucky enough to get chosen) - and so it went - that aside from the first question (which was fairly interesting I must admit), the rest were variations of, "How do you get such wonderul ideas?", to "Im a student film maker, and I've found the cultural pre-suppositions that may negate.... [ insert paragraph of self-important hipster jargon ] " to  "Can you show us what you're working on ?"... Aaugh! What a freakin waste of carbon dioxide, when we have a genius in front of us. Anyway, forget it... Shaun was just great.

After the Shaun Tan event, I strolled down to this month's comic book meetup. It was awesme... as usual.

A fair few of the regulars were up in Bris-Vegas this weekend for the Supanova Expo, so this meetup was missing some ugly faces... but never fear...! we're brought the December meetup forward, and are having another (2nd) comics meetup on the 26th November (yes, that's TWO meetups this month!)... primarily to get all the regulars together to say farewell to our close comics buddy, Greg Gates.

Yes, THE Greg Gates who began these Melbourne comic book meetups from the very begining. The guy who helped start Minotaur Bookstore back in the day. The guy who has been an un-wavering comics fan, creator, and activist throughout the decades. Ol' reliable Gatesy!

So, come along and say goodbye to a wonderful guy... before he heads across to the elephant graveyard of Adelaide.

This will probably be the last comics meetup of the year (I think)... so do come along if you can.

- Bobby.N

03 November 2011

Penciling a layout...

Today I sketched out a few panel scenes from beats/frames of a 2-page story that I finshed writing yesterday. Bruce Mutard knows which one I mean (wink, wink). Like many of you already know - after I've written (and re-written) the story - I'll break the script up into beats (ie. panels), and then proceed to free-sketch those panel ideas onto simple paper (below):

I'll then arrange each of these sketches onto a rough composition of how the final page will look (Notice I've marked numbers on the above sketches, indicating which panel they belong to in the comic), just so i get the scaling and proportions right. Y'know, so the word balloons fit comfortably and everything breathes properly. I couldn't imaging penciling straight onto the final art board (like others do) and then erasing a dozen times just so everything fits. Argh...! I can see why many get to hate making comics if you're doing it this way. But then again, everyone has their method... Whatever works for you.

- Bobby.N

01 November 2011

Gestalt All Star Book Launch Extravaganza!

This last Saturday night (29th of October), All Star Comics in Melbourne played host to a book launch like no other. Internationally-renowned authors from across Australia converged on Melbourne for the official launch of four stunning, critically-acclaimed books:
  • TORN
Gestalt authors; Tom Taylor, Colin Wilson, Gary Chaloner, Justin Randall, Christian Read, Bobby.N (me), James Brouwer, Andrew Constant, Emily K. Smith, Wolfgang Bylsma (Editor-in-chief) and Gary Edwards (Editor), were instore for signings & Q&A sessions.

I got ther about an hour before things kicked off.... said hello to Gestalt friends that I hadn't seen in a while, and then we all intermittently began setting up before the crowds came.

Gary Edwards (in the hat)... Editor of Gestalt Comics.

The rest of the Gestalt creators begin to arrive.

Trevor Wood (right).

Bruce Mutard.

"A candy you may take, hmm."

All Star Comics owners, Mitch and...

... Troy.

The top-front shelf of the counter displayed all of Gestalt's books on offer...

... with other local and Australian comics underneath.

Slowly... the crowds filled the store.

Jason Franks and Frank Candiloro (front)

The chicks roll in.

Wolfgang Bylsma (Co-Founder, and Editor/Chief of Gestalt Comics).

Justin Randal.

Justin's second volume of CHANGING WAYS is well on it's way to being completed in the very near future. I can't wait until I can hold it in my hands, because it's simply one of the most chilling and beautiful looking comics you'll ever read.

Larry Boxshall. (of NonCanonical fame)

Tom Taylor. One of the most prolific comic writers around.

Trevor Wood - who was indespensible in making sure the audio was setup and working that night. Trevor also illustrates the great webcomic Sawbones with writer Jen Breach, which they then publish as a physical graphic novel.

Andrew Fulton.

Totally packed!

Gary Chaloner & Justin Randall.

Gary Chaloner. One of the 'stayers' in our field. Gary has been consistently making some of the very best comics for decades. He was there to promote his soon-to-be-released UNDERTAKER book... remember that comic from the 90s...? well he's back! - I can't wait!

Larry Boxshall.

Wolfgang Bylsma talking into the Larry Boxshall mic.

Larry Boxshall

(Above photo by Nalini Haynes, editor of Dark Matter fanzine)

Here's me signing for my great readers. I literally had my hand scribbling sketches (and my hancock) for the entire hour of signing duties. I was on over-drive, but pumped. Felt on top of the world. It was so, so good to chat and sign for all the readers that were generous enough to come down for this event and me. Thank you all... you made my year.

In the final stretch of my signing, I noticed a woman in her 30s or 40s sitting to my left with a crutch under her arm. Quietly sitting there while i signed and sold some of my framed prints. While I signed for people, I even joked with her once. Before long, the signing was over and all us authors were required on-stage for the big Q&A session... so I quickly finished my last few signings, packed all my gear up behind my table, and pushed the table against the wall to both make room for the packed crowd... and also to protect all my gear in the corner.

Me, answering a question on the panel of Gestalt creators in a fun Q&A session... see more photos here.
(Above photo by Nalini Haynes, editor of Dark Matter fanzine)

(Above photo by Nalini Haynes, editor of Dark Matter fanzine)

Once the Q&A was done, we all mingled with the great crowd and had fun meeting new people and discussing ideas around reading, writing, and comics in general.

As the night wore on, and the crowd thinned, those of us left decided to go to a nearby pub for dinner and drinks. I went back to my packed bags and books, and then noticed something... all my money had been stolen. Remember the woman with the crutch I mentioned earlier...? well, she had stolen all the money from my wallet and kitty for the night. In total, about $500...! And she was gone. I felt like I'd been kicked in the nuts. How do I know it was her...? well, while I was sitting down during the Q&A session, I noticed her sit behind my table (I assumed because of having a crutch), and then observed the top of her head duck down below the crowd level every-so-often. What a scrag.

Quickly, others noticed my sudden change in mood, and upon telling them of what happened, I proceeded to (unintentionally) put a wet blanket on an otherwise AWESOME night for everyone. As we retraced the night, Troy, Mitch and others realised that no one knew her, and that she didn't arrive with anyone... but was just wandering around. A few people observed that she wasn't always leaning on her crutch during the night, but sometimes just carrying it around. She'd obviously done this before, and had either found out about it through the facebook invite, or had followed crowds in off the street. Who ever she was, she was good. I had racked my brain with "I should have" and "why didn't I just" the whole night. But on such a warm and friendly night where the whole store is filled with so much love... the last thing that crossed my mind was pessimism. That bitch taught me a harsh lesson.

Anyway, as i said, when the crowd slowly faded from the store, the remaining people left decided to go to a nearby pub for a bite and drink. Although I wasn't in the mood, Larry Boxshall and the rest dragged me out. Thanks to everyone for trying to lift my spirits (particularly Larry), and ESPECIALLY the owners of All Star Comics; Troy and Mitch... you guys are the absolute greatest.

Australian comics icon, Greg Gates.

Two awesome cartoonists; Gary Chaloner & Dean Bhishma Rankine.

I stayed at the pub for a little while, but just wasn't in the best of moods for a late night. Sorry if I seemed a little short or distant to some of you, but i just wanted to go home, hit the shower, and sleep it off. I did feel better in the morning.

  • To the absolute slag of a bitch that stole all the money from my wallet, bag and kitty while I was on stage answering questions with the crowd. Rot in hell.
  • The great, Great crowd and friends on the night that made up for it.
  •  Larry Boxshall for being such an awesome MC, and later buying me a bowl of chips. You're a legend man.
  • To Mitch and Troy (All Star Comics owners), who did a great job in hosting the event, and afterwards, went out of their way for me.
  • To Gestalt for organising one of the best comic book launches I've ever been to, let alone been part of. Thank you.
  • To all that bought my books and prints... which in retrospect, I should have just given away for free to all you great people - ha!
So, apart from the pig that stole my money, it was a brilliant night. Seriously... it was a blast. Best time I've had with my clothes on. For all that didn't make it on the night, you sure missed a good one (A GREAT one). Comic books need much more of these events! As Bernard Caleo would say... Huzzah!

- Bobby.N