Saturday, March 31, 2007

DOCTOR WOO-WHO!!!


Proper Saturday evening telly has finally been restored. The new series (third series* with a fourth already commissioned) of Doctor Who began this evening on BBC1 here in the UK and very good it was too. A lightening storm sends a hospital to the moon (looks mad enough on paper doesn't it? Wait till you see it on telly). "We've got air," Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), the doc's new companion observes, "How does that work?" "Just be glad it does," says the Doctor. And he's right. Everything about the new Doctor Who works. Far be it from me to try to figure out why, it just does and I'm glad.

*for all Stargate fans, it's season twenty-nine ;).

Friday, March 30, 2007

SNAP



This weeks Illustration Friday topic is "Snap".

Thursday, March 29, 2007

IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOOD TODAY...





Here's two stills from my own personal ongoing project, Grimmwood, for which there's a production blog if you're a patient sort of person as it doesn't get updated very often. I'll be posting these again over at the other blog with more details in a short while. Now blogger has introduced a labeling system, and given the infrequent posts over at the Grimmwood blog, I am considering migrating the content of that blog over to here ... still undecided.

It's been a busy week again (but that's a good thing, because it means that as soon as the work is done I can go back to comic books and Grimmwood). Also, production of the Peter Baynton project that I'm co-producing, which I've mentioned before, is nearing completion (and the film looks excellent).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I SPY.... WITH MY LITTLE EYE



Another illustration based on this week's Illustration Friday topic "I Spy". The artwork here's a lot like my original pitch to Dark Horse Comics for Wild Talents, back in 2003 (which reminds me, I must dig up my original pitch (it was a Victorian zombie yarn). This particular image sprang to mind after watching "The Thirty-Nine Steps" last night (the Robert Powell version), which is a cracking spy adventure story based on the novel by John Buchan (who hailed from roughly the same neck of the woods as the Culbard Clan). There may be a Wild Talents Redux appearing at Strange Planet sometime soon.

Whilst drawing this I learned about the reasonably interesting origins of the term "I Spy". According to Phrases.org:

The game I Spy originated in the early 20th century. It remains a common pastime played by children - albeit often initiated by adults to occupy bored children on car journeys and the like. One person secretly choose an object that they can 'spy with their little eye' and the others take turns to guess the name of the object.

The game isn't especially old and the first record of it that I can find is in The Winnipeg Free Press, December 1937:

"Other games ... are: What is My Thought Like, I Spy With My Little Eye (children love this) and Bird, Beast, Flower or Fish."

The game spawned a highly successful series of I-SPY spotter's guide books made for British children. These were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

The guessing game was preceded by another children's game called I Spy (or Hy Spy). This was a variant of what is now called Hide and Seek and was known in the UK from the 18th century. John Brand refers to it in his
History and antiquities of the town and county of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1789:

"'I spye', is the usual exclamation at a childish game called 'Hie, spy, hie'."

Monday, March 26, 2007

NO REST FOR THE WICKED!

Live action!

Had to attend a live action shoot for a couple of commercials I'm directing at the moment (the commercials are animated with a couple of live action elements) and that involved getting up at 5am this morning (after realizing at 2am that the clocks changed ... so I had even less sleep than I'd anticipated) and traveling down to London on the early morning train.

The woman in the seat next to me fell asleep on top of me. Not just resting her head on my shoulder (like you get with people commuting sometimes) but properly laying on my whole left side because the arm rest between us had been left up between the seats (I'd fallen asleep myself, against the window). She was very embarrassed. I didn't mention that she had been snoring very loudly (which was what woke me up), I thought she was embarrassed enough.

All the live action for these commercials was shot against green screen, which basically means intensely hot studio lights. So today was a day of feeling intensely hot and sleep deprived. And sleep deprived meant drinking lots of coffee (which I don't normally drink) and feeling really anxious as a result. But I actually managed to enjoy today, even though I'm really wiped right now and have only logged on to write about it because I'm in one of those 'so exhausted I can't sleep' sort of moods.

More manic craziness tomorrow and then on Wednesday I may actually finally catch up on the sleep good and proper (I think I owe myself a months worth... wouldn't that be nice?)

Onward!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I SPY...



This weeks illustration Friday topic is "I Spy..."

I've just finished a two hour email ping-pong session with Woodrow Phoenix. We've been drawing our Fist-a-cuffs tag team, so hopefully I'll have links to that in the next few days. Be sure to vote.

UPDATE: I have produced a second illustration with regard to this topic.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

TWO-FISTED TALES!



Well, it's Thursday now and I've had three monstrously long days already. Had another trip down to London yesterday for the actual production meeting for the commercials I'm working on. Didn't get back till 10pm last night.

Slightly quieter today. Looking forward to the weekend.

The above two images are a color exercise I did a while ago, exploring antique palettes. I'm a big fan of the pulps, which is the only reason for the subject matter.

Monday, March 19, 2007

TOTAL



This weeks Illustration Friday topic is "Total".

Sunday, March 18, 2007

POOPED!

Last week was the week that was. Heck of a week. And next week, more of the same! Busy, busy, busy. Keeps me out of trouble. No Illustration Friday from me yet. Been too mad busy for that.

My wife woke to my son presenting her with flowers, a card and a present this morning (Mother's Day). We had a great day but we had to cancel our lunch because where we went was overcrowded (they weren't taking bookings and we even showed early but the wait for the food was way over an hour and it seemed like everybody and their mother had had the same idea as us at exactly the same time) so we headed home again, which, as it turned out, was no bad thing.

I've labeled my Dogface Doodles under Sketchbook and I'll be adding more to that over the coming weeks, months, who knows, maybe even years.

All I gotta do now is sleep. Monday is gonna be crazy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

LONDON CALLING

I traveled down to Picasso Pictures in London today for an informal preproduction meeting (a sort of pre-preproduction meeting) for a couple of commercials I'm going to be working on over the coming weeks. An enjoyable visit as always but there's something about going from the quiet solitude of my working day to the throng of the multitude that I find quite exhausting. I guess it must be the sheer volume of people I pass as I travel on foot from St. Pancras to Soho via The Brunswick.

On my way to my meeting I popped into Gosh! Comics and ran into Will Kane (a fellow blogger), which was very nice indeed as I haven't seen him in quite a long time. Gosh! is an excellent comic shop (along with Traveling Man in Nottingham it is one of my favorites). Gosh! also boasts a rather fine collection of Golden Books.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MORE DOGFACE DOODLES FROM DOGTOWN



More Dogface Doodles from Dogtown approved by Mrs. C.

Okay, so I'm thinking, she likes my drawings of people with hairy faces... wait a second, I've got a beard!! The penny has finally dropped!

Had a meeting yesterday afternoon concerning a film I am producing, a short animated film directed by the very talented Peter Baynton (who I'm mentoring) which is presently undergoing title changes. It is being co-produced by Margaret Milner Schm├╝ck and funded by EM Media's DV shorts scheme. It's was a very interesting meeting, not just with regard to the production, which is soon to come to an end as the film reaches completion, but also with regard to film in the East Midlands. I'm hoping to put together a pitch for funding later on in the year as EM Media really have been a great bunch of people to work with.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

CAPTAIN AMERICA



Captain America is dead. Long live Captain America. Currently there's a MEME going around and this is my contribution to it.

MORE "DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA" COVERAGE

From Variant Edition:

also CBS coverage:

Monday, March 12, 2007

DOGFACE DOODLE


It's pretty rare that my wife sees something I've drawn and says she likes it so I thought I'd scan in and post this picture that she spotted on my desk, singled out and said she liked. It's not a drawing I did in relation to anything, just a doodle I did while watching TV.

Friday, March 09, 2007

WIRED



This weeks Illustration Friday topic is "Wired".

On a related note: "In the future there will be robots," as they say in GTA. Right now an ethical code which prevents humans from abusing robots and vice versa is being drawn up in South Korea and is due to be released later this year. It's being drawn up by a team which includes a handful of futurists and a science fiction writer. Already it's been forecast that by 2020 every household in South Korea will have a robot and by 2018 robots will routinely carrying out surgery!

CAPTAIN AMERICA - R. I. P.



Captain America is dead! Here's the Colbert report on Cap's death.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

COULD HAVE WOULD HAVE SHOULD HAVE


There was a Spiderman 3 clip released just the other day all over the net with a gorgeously well choreographed fight scene in it. There's a few evil dead moments where the actors appear to get a battering, notably when Toby Maguire gets dragged backwards along the face of a building. A lot of buzz about too many villains appearing in it, but heck, the Spiderman of the comics lives in a city FULL of villains, so I see no problem in the movie showcasing three bad guys. It should keep Parker on his toes. Quite looking forward to this outing but Spidey 3 isn't all I'm looking forward to from Raimi. Apparently he's going to be bringing The Shadow to the screen (it's March now, so this is old news, but hey, it's still exciting news).

Above is the trailer to the 1994 Alec Baldwin vehicle The Shadow (with John Lone in an excellent turn as Shiwan Khan). The movie was unfortunately a flop, panned by critics and fans alike, but I really love this film. Whilst it may not embody all of what the Shadow as a character has to offer, I loved it as a straight talking pulp adventure.

Now, originally, Raimi was going after the rights to The Shadow (in much the same way I mentioned a couple of posts back that Lucas was going after Flash Gordon) but in failing to get the rights to The Shadow (and Batman), decided to come up with his own (much like Lucas came up with Star Wars) and came up with Darkman (starring Liam Neeson). Looking at these clips, and compared to Darkman, I wonder how close the Baldwin vehicle actually was in tone to what we would have got from Raimi at the time (not what we're going to get from Raimi given as he's refined his craft over the years since). Darkman had a favorable critical reaction (two thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert) and spawned 2 sequels.

What follows is a scene between Baldwin (playing Lamont Cranston, aka. The Shadow) and John Lone (playing Shiwan Khan). What we also see is a little bit of Ray Harryhausenesque animation in the form of The Living Knife. It started out as a prop on another pulp movie, The Golden Child*.

*The Golden Child was originally intended as a serious adventure vehicle for Mel Gibson, but Gibson turned the role down, which is a real shame because once Murphy came on board it became a comedy. I've taken this plot summary from IMDB and basically taken the words Eddie and Murphy out of it... so now imagine the film not as a comedy but as it was originally intended:
**** plays a detective with a speciality of finding lost children. He is told he is the 'Chosen one' who will find and protect the Golden Child, a Bhuddist mystic who was kidnapped by an evil sorcerer. **** disbelieves the mysticism but finds more and more evidence of demon worship as he investigates.
Also, John Carpenter was originally set to direct with John Barry set to score. Can you imagine it!?!?! Now THAT is the movie I would rather have seen.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

BIG ROBOTS & JUDGE CULBARD!

I've been Dave Taylor-ed!!

Okay, a while back I mentioned in a post titled I AM THE LAW! that I'd be appearing in the Megazine again, this time as a Judge. Well, here I am (the physical resemblance is uncanny, right down to my incredibly muscular physique... yeah right, actually, the badger's-backside-of-a-beard is mine, the rest ... I'm working on it).

Megazine #257 sees the start of a story called Big Robots, straight out of Dave's noggin, written by Alan grant and drawn by Dave.

Dave's next assignment is for Wildstorm comics. For more info on Dave Taylor go check out his blog.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

FLASH GORDON: THE GREATEST ADVENTURE OF ALL TIME

As I understand it, this is pretty rare. I distinctly remember seeing this on television when I was a kid. I love the palette, all the rich orange tones set against the green and the color of the title card. Beautiful. This was the original opening for a made-for-television feature (its production prompted by the success of Star Wars) which was later turned into a Saturday morning series.



Apparently, George Lucas tried to nab the movie rights for Flash Gordon, but upon finding that Dino De Laurentiis had secured them, decided to make Star Wars instead. You can see quite a number of influences found in the above episode of the serial starring Larry (Buster) Crabbe (note the text crawl at the beginning of the episode).

I love this serial (this and King of The Rocket Men ... I used to watch both these old serials when I was a kid). I've posted this episode here because of a really strange scene 15:51 mins into the film where a tribe of rock-headed people (called Rock Men, funnily enough) speak backwards. It always freaks me out.

Monday, March 05, 2007

STAR WARS DRINK DRIVING PSA


A rare public service announcement from 1979.

We're speeding our way closer to May 25th (the film's original release date) and the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, so, no doubt there will be more Star Wars shenanigans over the coming months. Also, I found out today that Star Wars fans were called "Warsies", something in all my 30 years of loving a story set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I had never heard of.

Spent my afternoon on Sunday painting pictures with my wife and son (it was raining all afternoon). VERY messy and a lot of fun. We got paint everywhere, but it was a hoot so it was worth it. My wife picked up a few rolls of lining paper from IKEA which is great for rolling out across kitchen floors and drawing all over and painting on.

Friday, March 02, 2007

HIDE



This week's topic for Illustration Friday is "Hide".

Thursday, March 01, 2007

THE MIGHTY HEROES


The Mighty Heroes was a Terrytoons Saturday morning superhero spoof from 1966. The show was created by Ralph Bakshi and began life as an impromptu pitch during a meeting with CBS (the parent corporation to Terrytoons), after they'd rejected a slew of planned pitches. There were 21 episodes in all after which (in an episode of Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures) the Mighty Heroes hung up their capes and cowls to become accountants in a firm called "Man, Man, Man, Man & Man".