Archive for the ‘Bowb’ Category

Rehab Exit Interview: Bowb

November 28, 2007

1. Briefly describe your experience at comic artist rehab:

i was pretty nervous going into this, because i knew that my fellow participants are established comic artists and a practising illustrator, and i’m just an aspirational comic person with like, a handful of published things over the years, and my career as an illustrator had died off a long time ago.

i didn’t really set any great expectations when i went into this, nor any ideas of what to draw. actually, the one story i wanted to tell was the girlfriend bun story, and i’m kind of glad i waited until the end; i felt much more confident with all the technical aspects of putting it together, so even though i had pretty much sketched it out at the start, i think it would have looked quite different if i had started with it.

i am still conflicted about the lettering thing. i think i just have to get used to handwriting again – i used to have really good handwriting about ten years ago, before my keyboard usage completely eroded my skills. but thanks, everyone, for being so encouraging about it.

the peer support, actually, has been lovely and supportive. who woulda thought rehab would be such a warm and fuzzy place?

i guess it’s just really good to have been drawing again.

2. What, if anything, did you learn from the program?

i am happiest with getting a grip on colouring. now that i’ve figured it out, i think about the comics that i’ve admired, aesthetically, and i realise that they mostly employ a limited, muted colour palette. i don’t know why it didn’t hit me earlier. actually, i don’t think i’d done a comic in colour before, but i always found that aspect of illustration work challenging. so, yay. having said that, i did have quite a hard time colouring that last strip, so clearly, still dangling off the learning curve.

3. Which one of your own comics are you most pleased with and why?

i like the jellyfish one best. apart from being happy with the scripting and the composition of the individual frames, i also felt like i was really coming to terms with colouring. like i suddenly realised i could use several colours, and not have to colour everything, and make them all work harmoniously. and then apart from all that, it’s also a documentation of a lovely half an hour i shared with the kid.

4. Which one of your own comics are you least pleased with and why?

i’m not really displeased with any of them. they were all valuable exercises, and all involved a respectable amount of time and planning (and learning about colour, mostly). even the one i did in under ten minutes, the day of many deadlines, i like it because it was right there in the moment, man. so… maybe the first one? it is somewhat wishywashy, and i think there’s… i dunno… a lack of confidence or style or something.

when i first started out, i was concerned that my style was quite generic, and looking at that first comic at the end of rehab, it does seem like my drawing changed over the course of month – it seems to have become a bit simpler and rounder…cuter?. it doesn’t seem particularly distinguishable, but perhaps it’s what i’m stuck with. i suppose i could now work on distinguishing myself…

5. Do you hope to keep up drawing comics after rehab? If so, how often.

we can only hope! right after my last strip, i thought “hurrah, it’s over, and i won’t have to draw a comic again for a very long time”, but a little while later, i thought that maybe i could probably manage a four-panel piece every week. i mean, i’d really like to develop a longer piece, but i’m nervous about scripting, and drawing the same characters over and over again… and i’m lazy. we’ll see..

Round One: Day Twenty Six

November 26, 2007


there’s this cake shop i go to, with the beautiful cakes and the cute counterstaff. sometimes, just walking past when the wind is right, you are surrounded by the smell of airconditioned sugar; it is wonderful. this episode sort of happened several months ago, but the pastry in question is forever locked in my head as “the girlfriend bun”, and i have never gotten ’round to tasting it.

thirty-five damn years old, and still with the schoolgirl crushes. does it ever end?

Round One: Day Twenty Two

November 21, 2007

what is it about healthy cake? it’s always such a let down. just the other day i bought a lush strawberry and rhubarb tart from a “natural” cafe. the glistening strawberries and stewed rhubarb were perfect. the pastry, on the other hand, was like a handful of seeds and grains pressed into a pie dish. it tasted like what i imagine those moulded birdseed things taste like. i don’t like leaving food, much less cake, but there was a lot of pie crust left over that afternoon.

also, i handlettered this to start, really, and it just looked pitiful.

Round One: Day Eighteen

November 18, 2007

all my deadlines came at once. argh!

Round One: Day Fourteen

November 13, 2007

it doesn’t always end in tears.

thanks for everyone’s encouraging comments about handlettering and colour. i think i really need to work on my lettering; i’m not particularly happy with its clumsiness — i wonder if i can strike a compromise and typeset the normal text, but hand-draw the special text, like “jellyfish” — but i feel pretty good about the way the colouring is progressing. four colours in this one… i feel bold!

i really, really love “american elf“. how does james kochalka capture so much in four panels? how does he know exactly the right words to put in a speech bubble? his drawings are so full of character, and his lettering is so fluid. sigh.

this one is a bit of a homage to “american elf”, i think. it’s aspirational anyway. an attempt to record the detail and quiet of a moment.

Round One: Day Ten

November 9, 2007

i spent aaaaages colouring this, and it was a mess of pink and orange and blue. and then i worked out that too much flat colour looks, i dunno, tacky or cheap or something. or maybe i’m just picking bad colours. sigh. so i’ve gone with another monochromatic scheme, and it seems to have worked ok, but i don’t think that it is any better than just a black and white comic.

also, due to popular demand, i have completely handlettered it, and i don’t know that i prefer it to typesetting it in, um, postproduction. except the WAH! in the last frame of course.

and, hmm, now that i’m looking at the completed strip, i am no longer sure that the last frame makes sense. it seemed to when i sketched it, really.

so. the kid likes the idea of school, usually right up to the bit where i stow her daybag in her pigeonhole, and then it all goes awry. actually, she’s recently started saying midweek, “but i don’t want to go to school,” days ahead of her one friday of daycare.

i wonder if it goes beyond your regular, garden variety separation anxiety, and if i’m contributing to feelings of abandonment and neglect which will surface years from now to bite me in the ass. remember that leunig comic, about the baby in childcare? i am feeling that guilt that caused mothers everywhere to savage him. perhaps it’s because i often spend those precious childfree friday hours in the shops, or at the movies instead of working… well, this week i did spend it drawing this comic!

also, my pen is really pissing me off.

may i ask what size everyone else is drawing their original art? each of my frames is 6cm, and i generally like working small, but i think maybe this is too small to get all the detail in without it going blobby — see frame 3 — even with a “micro” rollerball. perhaps cheap typing paper is not the best medium either. 😉

Round One: Day Six

November 5, 2007

oh no, you say, not another tale of love gone wrong. i just can’t help it! i don’t know what compels me to infict them upon you. perhaps the next one will be about cake?

i am trying to move away from the sort of comic that offers an internal monologue of captions, and toward the sort of comic that has speech bubbles… from more than one character even. so it’s a slow start today, with just someone other than myself in the frame.

maybe one day i will even be able to script something that isn’t so obviously autobiographical, or at least, not in the first person. now that would be a mastery of storytelling.

also, i would like to work with colour. i have not been very good at colour use in the past — usually i go with a too-representational palette and it just looks like a mess. i am pleased with the colouring in this strip; maybe the stylised, limited palette is the way to go for now. but then, would this strip have worked in any one dominant colour? i love claire’s colouring. how do you do it, claire? has it come with years of practice? i seem to remember your illustrations have always had that warm, rosy glow.

and last of all… typography. argh! it is very difficult choosing a font! i used to hand-later everything, but years of typing have completely eroded my ability to letter. this is very bad! i mean, i also like the convenience of not having to work out letterspacing in the pencilling and inking stage… but i wonder if this is sacrificing some vestiges of personal style. probably.

but yeah, personal style. i am still trying to find it. at the moment i think my stuff is still a little too generic. hopefully i’ll be able to work through this over the course of the month. you guys like the thicker lines, huh? 😉

phew! give someone an open forum…

Round One: Day Two

November 2, 2007

Artist Introduction: bowb

October 31, 2007


“growing up, i thought i wanted to be a comic artist, but it’s nothing like when bart simpson goes to new york and drops in at the offices of mad magazine. it’s hard work, dammit! and you could count the number pages i’ve had published on two hands.

in the mid-90s, i invented a slacker character, “pizza boy”, for my end-of-year design school project, a punk-music-junk-food zine, raging yoghurt, but it turns out i was too slack to do anything about it. it was so of its time, and now that time is over. i thought maybe i could maintain some sort of tenous link to comic-ing by being an illustrator, but that only worked for a little while until the magazines i worked for started buying stock photographs instead.

these days i pretend to be a graphic designer, but mostly i like to blog about what i ate. the thing i’ve discovered over the years though, is that i’m only lazy and unfocussed when i don’t have a deadline, so yeah, i’ve checked myself into rehab.”