09 June 2012

Charles Darwin

I recently finished this commission of Charles Darwin (above). Most of the time I prefer doing singular images on the page as I think they're more powerful. I guess it's my design eye that comes in here, because I always think less-is-more. Never was a big fan of covers where a whole lot of stuff is going on at once where things are fighting for your attention... but the more I researched and thought about things on this piece, the more it looked as though a mash of images should be done (ie. Charles Darwin on his own is just an old guy, and so he needs supporting elements to make people know its him). So... when the design almost requires this 'collage' type of arrangement, my mind usually goes to the master of these covers... Mike Mignola.

As usual, I begin by brainstorming in my sketchbook... so as I research 'Charles Darwin' on google, I just jot down quotes, ideas, thumbnails and sketches.

I still remember looking at Raider of the lost Ark posters in Cinemas of the 80s... or the Flash Gordon one, or the Star Wars ones, etc... all fantastic. The posters all included a central 'hero' image surrounded by key elements of the film. Mignola does this on his covers too.

I tried to employ the same balancing techniques between elements in moving things around (above) until it hung just right. This then becomes the underlay upon which I ink the final piece.

- Bobby.N

08 June 2012

Save your money...

One of the advantages of my day-job (as a Graphic Designer) is that it has helped inform my creative passions like comics and photography (ie. Composition, layout, colour, retouching, light, etc).

My thinking has always been that as long as you work at your craft (ie.drawing, writing, photography, music, whatever), then I think the results will speak for themselves over time. Maybe I've just always been wary of the 'new' but I seem to see no evidence that it produces much artistic value simply by virtue of being five seconds old.

For example... my view is that most people are throwing away thousands of dollars on over-hyped, expensive cameras and lenses in the belief that their photos will turn out like the ones in magazines just because they've bought the sharpest lens or the highest megapixel camera. They WON'T. The reason is that professional photos are almost always (virtually without exception) adjusted afterwards (by a person), after having the photo shot initially (by a person)... I do it at my day job for magazine covers, etc. I see too many people with L lenses attached to shiny pro cameras that are set to 'auto' and I shake my head.

Below is an example of a photo that I shot (of some pompous writer) with a 40yr old lens:

AFTER: Optimised photo.

BEFORE: Raw photo taken from camera.

I guess what I'm saying is... create something, and stop just buying the new and thinking that you're somehow half-way to a masterpiece. Make stuff. Beat on your craft. Fine-tune what you have. Daily. Weekly... and live.

- Bobby.N


LENS: Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 (manual) + mc/md adapter
SETTINGS: ISO: 200, Apeture: 1.4, Shutter: 1/40 (Should have been at least 1/50, really)

POST PROCESSING: Boost exposure, boost vibrance (not saturation), adjust levels/curves for shadow and highlight balance, colour grade, sharpen face area, plus other small incremental things, etc.

02 June 2012

Comics meetup - [02.06.2012]

Again, a nice solid turnout of people this month.

The ever-drawing, Darren Close.

Colin Wilson brought along his slip-cased volumes of JOUR J (of which, he did volume #5)... all beautiful books.

Inspecting the linework reproduction on some of the stories.


Trevor Wood and David Blummenstien.

Paul Bedford...

... the clingy girlfriend.

I swear, it's this big.

Discussions in the cold winter air.

Bruce Mutard

I picked up two excellent comics from this month's comics meetup... Colin Wilson & Tom Taylor's WORK TO DO story in 'Rocketeer Adventures 2', and Paul Bedford & J. Marc Schmidt's THE DAY I STOPPED. Both great stories. Highly recommended.

- Bobby.N