Posts Tagged ‘ commissions

Fear For…

Here’s the vinyl cover I did for post-rock band Fear For Reason!

FFR withtext-preview

This was the original idea I’d had: FFR01

…but we decided it was too American-ish, and we wanted to aim more for the dim muted jewel tones of the UK! Here’s what I produced instead… and as you can see, we went for the second one ^_^

FFR03

FFR02

Princes in the Tower – animation for the Tower of London

(This was written ages ago before my shoulder went pop! Also! Sorry to be unprofessional for a brief moment, but… TL;DR version: if you even vaguely know me, you’ll know that when we got the email for this project, I literally shit all my bones and wondered if I had, in fact, died and gone to heaven.)

At the end of 2012, me, Paul and Emma were contacted by the Tower of London to make an animated short based around Edward V and Richard of York, aka. The Princes in the Tower. It was to be screened in the Bloody Tower, where they have the current display focusing around these two: possibly the Tower’s most notorious prisoners guests prisoners short-stay holiday makers prisoners young people, as part of a drive to increase the modernity of the Tower itself. We needed little introduction to this particular piece of history (*COUGHCOUGHCOUGH*) and met up with Tower staff to discuss the outcome and what they hoped to achieve, and what we could realistically produce. I’d like to take a second here and speak about how freakin’ awesome the Tower staff are. (They are super rad and we feel really lucky to have worked with them!)

For those who are not aware of the figures, here’s some info:

Edward V of England
Richard of York
Richard of Gloucester/Richard III of England
Edward IV of England
Elizabeth Woodville (I went briefly to Elizabeth Woodville Primary School in Leicester!)

Our initial idea involving life-sized, animated shadow-play had proved to be impossible due to the physical restrictions of the Bloody Tower, but we took with us the idea of using strong contrast for the final look of the piece. We also hoped that the use of stark red, black and white would avoid the piece looking very dated/aging too quickly, and also allow the animation to be as clear as possible over the texture of the interior of the Tower’s walls (textured like… well, a medieval wall), and the lighting situation (also medieval). We were not really able to use chunks of text or lots of dialogue as so many visitors to the Tower would not have English as their first language, so, it was up to us to try and make something engaging and informative and atmospheric just through pictures, focusing on the more modern aspect that the Tower is working through, making it creepy, keeping it ambiguous due to historical black holes, and so on, and so forth. It was a challenge, for sure, to make this all under 2 minutes. With that in mind, I wanted to try and aim for a sooooort of music video type thing, and took a lot of inspiration from anime openings/endings. We were also really happy that Ewan Parry was able to work with us on the Sound Design for the piece — we’ve worked with Ewan a few times before for various projects, and we’re good friends, and it’s always nice to work with friends!!!

So, obviously, Paul’s done a fair amount of animation before and is really good at it, whereas I have completely not done any and tried to learn as we went under his watchful eye! ^^; I wrote the story out and bashed out a few rough storyboards, and once everyone was happy with the idea, we moved onto making further rough storyboards, and basically just diving straight into developing the thing. Paul handled the 3D and the compositing, and helped out on the 2D. He used 3D StudioMax and AfterEffects, and I did the 2D in Photoshop.

Here’s the initial design Paul made early on as a basis for our style, when we were compiling our pitch for the Tower:

And here are some more designs I made when I started storyboarding:

It was quite refreshing to literally not have the scope to labour over any aspect of the drawings. I had to learn quickly that in order to achieve anything at all, you gotta just GO GO GO DO NOT STOP DO NOT COLLECT £200 KEEP GOING WHAT ARE YOU DOING DRAWING FINGERNAILS STOP THAT KEEP DRAWING. Despite that, the designs for the boys’ hair was too complex really, and the line-thickness issue continued being a bit of an issue, lol. Well, I learned!

Here’s some storyboards-to-final-frames examples:

Here’s the animatic:

One of the important things we built into the piece was the space and potential to expand a few scenes. The animation itself was quite experimental in terms of its actual use for the Tower, and we want to wait for visitor feedback before thinking of expanding it. I’m really hoping we can! I would love to expand on the bit where the boys are playing, maybe add detail to Richard of Gloucester’s short scene, add dialogue perhaps, add bits to the ending… just add detail to make it feel even more lively, really. We’re hoping it gets good feedback! If you’re around in London during the summer, you should totally pop along to the Tower and check it out! Thanks so much everyone who’s asked about how we’re going with this, and giving encouragement, especially when we weren’t able to say what it actually was we were working on. It meant a lot to us… I really hope anyone who gets the chance to see it, really likes it *^_^*

…and as that’s a bit of a tall order for some people, very kindly, HRP have let us show it on YouTube! Please watch it and enjoy it (and pretend it’s massive and in a medieval Tower)!

Here’s where I need to mention we made a lot of artistic liberties, but we felt we had strong reasons for the majority of these! We are very aware that Richard of York didn’t join Edward until like a month(?) later, after he’d gone to the Tower, but chose to skip over this bit due to a worry of confusing and over-lengthening the plot, and we wanted to focus specifically on the two boys, so that to us, at the time, meant introducing them in the same scene. We skipped over Earl Rivers and Grey’s executions for the same reasons. Apologies for these points. To be frank, there’s such little information about the boys’ stay in the Tower, and it’s often hard to discern what was contemporary source material and what was propaganda.

As a closing note, we had a total blast making this. The Princes in the Tower is one of my personal favourite history subjects/mysteries, and to get to do this was… well, what I wrote in the first paragraph, haha. I think when people get involved in historical fiction it’s easy to get really close to the figures, even if it’s just a tiny thing like making a single illustration, or doing a quick sketch… it brings them to life again suddenly, and brings them through the ages briefly, to exist along with everyone again. I do feel pretty close to these kids by now; it seems like every other year I get to work with them! ^_^ It does make me really sad that we’ll likely never know what happened to the two boys. The speculation about what occurred is fun and all, but at the same time, these were two young children who went missing, almost certainly for political reasons, and that’s really uncomfortable to think about. I do not believe the bones in the Westminster Urn belong to them. I wish we knew more. Every time I draw them or get into a project with them, I worry that I might be cheapening some aspect of their lives and role in history… I hope I’m not.

DJCAD 4


(Forgot to post this!) I got to do the cover for the fourth DJCAD Comics Anthology!!! This was super fun! I was a bit worried I’d made it too cute based on the previous covers, but luckily it was okay, haha! (Actually, I really wanted to do something cute as I’ve been drawing so many serious things recently!!!! Relief, haha!) The brief was just to make sure it was on a white background like the others so text/titles/etc. can be added, and that it had something vaguely to do with drawing/comic creation.

The other pics are of a couple of the previous Anthology covers, and here’s where you can get the other books. Here’s a link to the DJCAD site course info, too!

I got to visit the Dundee comics course last year, and it was really great. Means a lot to me to see these really dedicated tutors setting up comics studies. I’m hoping it continues to go really well for them!!

Convention sketches

(Reposted from my Tumblr) Hi! I’m getting queries about pre-ordering convention sketches, so I can do them before-hand and take them along to the event for people to pick up. This is a *REALLY* good idea and I cannot emphasize this enough — at events, I am always tired and caffeined up to the teats, so, pre-ordering will *DEFINITELY* mean you’ll get a much nicer product, as I’ll be able to do them on my own terms at home. This isn’t to say I won’t be doing them on the day, but I’m just…. uh, giving a warning(?) XD

My con sketches are on 8.3 x 5.8 bristol board, pencil with a coloured ink wash. (Sorry, don’t have any examples to hand right now!) I charge £10 for these, so you can just chuck that over via Paypal if you like, and I’ll have the sketch for you in a sturdy envelope on the day.

I list all events I’ll be doing at the base of my website’s front page, but just for reference, this year, I’m at Melksham Comic Con and Thought Bubble. (I’m not doing any events next year — taking the time out to finish my book).

Email me (extra.minty@gmail.com) if you wanna get in on thiiiiis! :D

Commissions 3

Here’s the last bunch!

1) Private commission of a ghost-girl character named Monday! Me and the client worked out the composition and elements together. It’s been a while since I’ve drawn any type of background (The Lost Boy was set *ENTIRELY* in a forest) so this was great to do. I’ve drawn Monday before, and this was to be a matching “light” piece. I love little Monday! SHE’S SO EVIL. I wonder what happened to her and how she died…?

2) Woah, this was ten-bags-full-of-ferrets awesome to do. Becky Cloonan let me loose on her characters from The Mire! I GOT A BIT EXCITED. I wanted to get Aiden, Ellen and Owain in there. It was also really nice to be able to spend more than 30 seconds drawing a tree (for once), as I really enjoy drawing them when I can relax and make them a feature rather than just background furniture! Also, to be frank, I was desperate to draw Ellen’s hair. Get The Mire, if you’re crazy and haven’t already done so!

3) I was very honoured that En let me draw Khern, Demeter and Jenna (OMG JENNA)! Khern you may already know from En’s comic Those of No Class, but Demeter and Jenna are the stars of the yet-to-come comic, Silentium Universi! We worked out the elements and composition together for this one. I am a massive Jenna fangirl. En! It was so fun talking about Jenna with you!! I find its design very appealling. Hurry up with the comiccccc! En is a very accomplished artist.

That’s all! I hope to be able to open again one day for commissions, as this was really very fun! More news soon… *^_^*

Commissions 2


I got to draw author Lily Fox’s lovely characters from her GUARDIANS series! Pestilence (green), Lady (red), and Kath (blue)! Descriptions of the characters were quite specific, so I tried my best to capture them. Lily was happy, so that’s all that matters! I had a lot of fun with this one. I ended up making one large print of the characters together, and three mini-prints of the characters separately. I think Pes is my faaaaavouriiiiiite ;3; You can check out a collection of Lily’s short stories here!

Commissions 1

I’ve closed up with commissions now, since I’ll be busy for the next few months! I’ll start posting up what I did, starting with sketches! I’ve never actually opened for commissions before now, so it was really fun getting to work with a bunch of different people in a short space of time! I hope I can do it again one day! ^_^

1) A sketch of a really cute character. Her name’s Annalisa, and she’s a cyborg with high-performance ears and scales all over her body. The request was to make her look sombre, elegant and yet lively, in a dress! I think she’s chanelling Lady Diana, haha ^.^

2) Soooooooo happy I got to do this! This is Janie and Ruthie, from The Summer of Blake Sinclair by Sarah Burgess! Sarah let me pick whatever characters I wanted, which was fun! Sarah is an incredible cartoonist, and while I knew I could never match her skill in gesture and expression, I tried my best! You must read this comic. Spot-on cartooning and honestly, it’s a sheer joy to read as Sarah has such a grasp on portraying character through the sequential medium! ^_^

3) Haha, this was ace! This character’s called Captain Carling (note the cans at his waistbelt!) and the request was to pose him as the Tarot card Temperance, pouring lager from one can to another. An unusual one, haha, but I had fun with this!

Thanks guys! I’ll post up the rest soon! x

In defense of the Punch

Want to start off by saying that I really, really liked Sucker Punch. Everyone seems to hate it, which is a real shame. I thought it was creative, and smart, and easily my favourite film of 2011, though it be only part-way through the year. I’m looking forward to getting it on BD so I can have a few more watch-throughs… I feel like it’s one of those films you’ll get even more out of on repeated watchings! You know… I didn’t even realise the actor playing Blue was Oscar Isaac. Such a chameleon. I’ve seen him in a few things now and I think he’s absolutely the shit. Totally love him!! <3 So, Paul and I had our exhibition opening last weekend! It was really nice, thanks so much to MCM's Comic Village, Matt Sheret and Orbital Comics for setting it all up, and huge thanks to Faye Yong, Fehed Said, Emma Vieceli and Andrew Ruddick for helping us arrange and hang the show. I updated my website with some new illustrations, a couple of which were printed in *HUGE* to hang at Orbital. It was kinda cool...! Private commission of an OC, Monday. Monday is actually a ghost-girl! This was super fun to draw:

Denica & Max playing some card game in some alley-way somewhere:

Twins. Who aren’t actually twins, I imagined them as the same girl, but illustrated twice as if she had taken different paths in life… that’s sort of hard to explain… er, so mainly I refer to her as twins… ^^;

Well, that’s all! In terms of projects, I’m settling Fish + Chocolate down into its new stable with SelfMadeHero, and working on a couple of other things as well… also, I’ve decided on what I hope to be my next “big” project. I hope I can pull this one off.

Lookin’ forward to Bristol and MCM in the month of May! ^o^/~

Magical Charms

Private commission for a client ^_^ This was really fun to do, though rather challenging, as the client requested a scene from a dream that she had had the night before, and we both tried hard to re-capture it on paper :D Everything in the image was as carefully represented as possible. She was happy, so, I’m happy! I really missed doing illustration. It always shocks me how different it is to comics (in my opinion).

In other news, The Spider Moon has been nominated for The Northern Graphic Novel Award 2010 *^_^* I am totally shocked and thrilled *^^* Though I can’t find anything about the award yet online, the results will be given at Thought Bubble this October. Typically, I can’t make it to TB this year ;3; I don’t know who else has been nominated, either O_O; IT IS A MYSTERY!

EDIT: The other nominated titles are: MeZolith, The Wizard of Oz, Sliverfin, Good Dog Bad Dog and Beasts of Burden. I heard my hopes fizzle away down the drain when I learned of the other nominees XD Congratulations to these people! :D