Zoë and Jenny will be at King Con in Durham, North-East England on Sunday 15 October. The new All Over the House and Nob Mouse collections will be on sale, as will Jennifer’s phenomenal Stars novels (Bringing Home The Stars and Twinkle Little Star).
We will both be signing books and Zoë will be doing sketches. If you’re in the area, please do stop by. We are on the Circle Level of the convention, in the Gala Theatre.
I’ve always viewed The Life of Nob T. Mouse as somewhere I can experiment with art styles and try to push myself to the next level with my work. In the last few days, the art here and on All Over the House has finally started to look good to me, rather than simply being as good as I could make it but not right. For once I’m happy with what my comics look like. It’s a nice feeling.
So now I’ve got to this point, I’m going to enjoy it while I work on improving my speed. I’ve long been a fan of the idea that first you get good, then you get fast (then you get fast and good). I like the level I’m at, now it’s time to make sure I can make art that I like quicker than I currently can. That’s what this weekend has been about.
Yesterday I wrote, sketched, inked and coloured every episode of The Life of Nob T. Mouse that will run next week. Today I’ve added the extra detailing (the shading, mostly) to finish the comics off. In total it probably took me upwards of 10 hours to produce 5 comics, which averages out at a little over 2 hours per comic. I’m aiming to get that down to 90 minutes per comic, because that way I can justify bringing back Ink Proof Cannon 5 days a week.
Once I’m able to consistently produce Nob Mouse comics in an average of 90 minutes, expect me to start pushing the bar on what I can do in these comics again. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next inevitable phase in art is for these guys. Whatever it turns out to be, I hope you continue to enjoy the comics as much as I enjoy making them.
I don’t know how it happened, dear reader, but I somehow managed to find myself gainfully employed. I never thought the helter-skelter of my life would take such a drastic turn into plebsville but here I am, scouring bee thoraxes in the local veterinary clinic for minimum wage. A gentleman of my stature should not be reduced to mere thoraxes! Nevertheless, here I am.
As I was walking home last night, I stumbled upon a cache of discarded tupperware. Clearly some great heist had been undertaken only for the miscreants to require a quick method of disposing of their ill-gotten “phat lootz”, as I have heard Mister Dumbleby – the manager of the veterinary clinic – refer to them. I decided that the best course of action was to collect up the tupperware and deposit them at my local police station. I am a good citizen after all and what does a good citizen do if not dump tupperware in the foyer of their local cop shop?
There was quite a lot of tupperware so I needed a wheelbarrow to move it all in. Old Mister Franks, who lives next door to the surgery where I have been working my fingers to the bone for the last two days, has a wheelbarrow in his garden. I tried knocking on his door to ask if I could borrow it but all the lights went out in his house and somebody told me to stop shouting through the letterbox so I guess he was out. Anyway, I managed to unscrew the hinges on his garden gate and thus secure access to the wheelbarrow (which I promised to return later!) so off I went to collect the tupperware.
By the time I got back to it, a couple of tramps were sniffing around the place so I made a sound like a moose and charged the first one in order to show them who was boss. They shouted some nonsense about how I was a “menace to society” but I think they must have been thinking about someone else because obviously I was being a good citizen! Anyway, I quickly scooped up the tupperware and stuffed it into the wheelbarrow. From there it was just a short run – and run I had to because the tramps came at me with knives! – before I made it to the police station.
Anyway, to cut a long story short apparently it’s against the law to break into someone’s garden, fight a couple of tramps and then steal some plastic boxes from the back of your boss’ car even if he did leave the boot open. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I lost my job at the veterinary clinic.
Jennifer thinks I’m obsessed with playing around with the frames on comics and to a certain extent she’s right. I love how we can produce the illusion of depth and a real sense of scale just through how thick a line is on the page, or by cutting across the frame with a character, or even a part of a character. This, along with managing to add more detail in less time, is why I enjoy drawing comics so much. It’s the techniques you lean by doing, rather than the act of doing, that keep me coming back for more.
Today’s opening panels were a lot of fun to draw. It took me quite a while to put this one together however – I watched the second disc of The Fellowship of the Ring: Special Extended Edition while drawing them, so you can get an idea of how much time went into this just from that. As a result, I don’t expect to be playing around so much with panning shots and other tricks for most of the rest of this story. I just don’t have the time – but if I can work out a way to speed things up a bit, that would be fantastic…
Because I like the panels so much, I threw them into a wallpaper. It’s large enough to sit nicely on a 1080p resolution screen so it should work well for most of you. Even at that size of file, I had to shrink the image to fit so if needs be I think I can go a little larger for wallpapers in the future.
Just click on the image to the right to see the wallpaper at its proper scale, then right-click and save it like you would any other file.
Until next time, enjoy! 😀
Jennifer keeps telling me that I have to work against detail creep but sometimes it is unavoidable. Take the comic I am drawing for today, for example. It would simply not work if there was a small amount of cutlery, pans and so forth flying through the air, so I have to draw a lot of it.
I think there must therefore be two kinds of detail: the good detail, which is necessary for the correct telling of the story, and the extra detail that is good only when you have the time to put that much effort into the artwork. When drawing three daily comics, this extra amount of detail is simply not always possible.
Nevertheless, it was necessary today so I am putting in the effort. Expect the comic to be up in a few hours as a result but to slake your thirsts for adventure right now you can see the sketch by clicking on the small image below. Enjoy!