…and who’s at NUMBER 2, beating out such serious heavy hitters as Jim Woodring, Gene Yang, Michael DeForge for chrrissakes, and DAVID FRIKKEN B!? (Not that it’s a competition of course, but for someone that’s been labouring in pretty much total obscurity for years, it’s quite a big deal.) That’s right, it’s The Phoenix, with a special mention for BEST FEATURE: CorpseTalk!
NOTE: now available online at: http://adammurphy.storenvy.com/ :-)
So I’m going to Thought Bubble this weekend to launch my new book Fever Dreams! Here’s what the table is going to look like:
Pretty sweet huh? Things I’m selling include the Fever Dreams book at £8, Fever Dreams-themed postcards (they look amazing btw – they’re on this incredibly thick card that just feels nice) – £1 each, which is already an amazing deal, or the whole set of 8 for £5! I have a limited number of those sweet posters at £10 apiece. Also, I’m available for commissions – ink and watercolour on swanky watercolour paper. I will happily take requests or just make up something I think is funny - £10. (I reserve the right to distort any requests in inappropriate ways for my own amusement. And yours. I hope.)
Also, in case you’re wondering “where IS this guy?” here is a map with handy directions to my table:
Couldn’t be easier. Also, The Phoenix has a table almost directly opposite, and I know they have some amazing subscription deals on, so you can also stop by there and I’ll be totally happy to sign and draw something on whatever you buy from them as well :-)
As well as being a talented creator in his own rights, Neill turns out to have hidden talents as a generous and thoughtful interviewer. He somehow manages the Herculean task of keeping me (almost) on topic as we discuss the inspiration and process behind my new strip Lost Tales in The Phoenix. Podcast available here.
Just received proof copy of Fever Dreams from superstar printer George at Ripe Digital and they look friggin awesome! Man, making a book is fun! And really hard work. I’ll be doing a post shortly just about colour correcting watercolours for print.
Also…postcards!!! Will also be available at Thought Bubble and now at http://adammurphy.storenvy.com/.
Now available to buy online, Fever Dreams, my new book for adults (no seriously – in fact it’s probably not suitable for some adults as well).
Fever Dreams is a collection of 14 short stories, created over the course of about 3 years, as part of an ongoing project to create by listening, without judgement or fear, to whatever was churning in my subconscious mind. Turns out my subconscious is full of sorrow, joy, sexual obsession and a constant wrestling with the nature of God. Much like most people I’d imagine. Anyway, some of that somehow made it onto paper – this book is the result.
Back cover blurb: From the fevered imagination of Adam Murphy, creator of Phoenix favourite CorpseTalk, comes his eagerly anticipated first book for adults. At times funny, sad, ludicrous, disturbing and surprisingly tender, 14 short stories of love, lust and loss, delved from the depths of the subconscious, weave together in a profound exploration of desire, creativity and being human.
Plus another eleven never-before-seen stories! Mined from the feverish depths of my subconscious brain for your comics edification.
Submissions for amazing-looking Zen-Daoist anthology Wu Wei – read more and see the other contributors here. I would pre-order a copy if I were you ;-)
Ada’s mother’s terror of poetry maybe wasn’t as nutty as it sounds. Her father, Lord Byron, probably had bipolar disorder, a mental illness, so when she talked about being afraid of Ada inheriting his “poetical tendencies” – it’s possible this is what she meant.
There are also several amateur projects to recreate the engine, including one made entirely from Lego.
But no-one has been able to build the much more complicated Difference Engine, yet. There is a project underway to build the thing in computer 3D, and then use that to build the real engine. Which would allow us to see if it really worked, and even test the programs Ada Lovelace wrote for it. That’s a long time to wait to debug your code…
Charles and Ada’s work, despite being very similar to modern computers in many respects, had no influence on later scientists. With one exception. The first computers were similar in scope to the Difference Engine – they were designed to calculate one thing: the trajectory of missiles. But computer genius Alan Turing had read Ada’s notes, and he was the first person to realise that you could build a computer that could be programmed to perform any task.
If you like history you should totally be reading Hark! A Vagrant.
You might also enjoy Sidney Padua’s 2D Goggles, complete with convoluted nerdy jokes and extensive historical footnotes!
CorpseTalk with Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace is published in The Phoenix Issue 70.
This is how I do colour flatting for CorpseTalk. Each week I think “maybe this would be useful for somebody” so I’ve finally gotten around to writing it up. Colour flatting is basically just filling all the areas of your drawing with randomly generated colours, which you can then go back and easily fill with the actual colours you want.
We’re going to be using the excellent (and free) BPelt plugins, so the first thing you need to do is go to their site and install them, if you haven’t already. BPelt does most of the hard work for you, but there are quite a few steps that you need to go through to prep the files to get the best results. That’s where you need my Photoshop Actions! Right click, download and open with Photoshop to install them.
Then I shrink it down so it fits on the page. I like to think this is giving me the tightest possible linework. Maybe I’m just being superstitious… Anyway, it means I end up with this Notice that this file now has anti-aliased edges. Not ideal, but my computer can’t handle 1200 dpi colour files.
I copy and past this is a new file [CTRL A > CTRL C > CTRL N> Enter > CTRL V] Then run MULTIFILL STEP 1 from the bpelt_multifill_helpers actions. [spoiler intro="What does this do? Click here to find out, or ignore completely - the choice is yours... "] First it resizes the image to 300dpi – on my computer, the BPelt Flatten plugin can’t handle larger files. Then it converts the file to B&W – BPelt doesn’t like anti-aliased edges, so this removes all the anti-aliasing. Then it converts back to CMYK. It copies the current line art layer (we’ll need it in a moment) Then it runs the BPelt multifill plugin – this assigns random colours to all the areas of your lineart. Note: you may need to play around with your settings depending on your drawing style. These are mine: Then it runs the BPelt Flatten plugin, this removes all the black lines and expands the areas of colour so they meet up. Then it pastes the line art layer on top of the colour layer (from when we copied it before), selects the new line art layer and chooses the pencil tool. [/spoiler]
Now you have your line art with random colours for all the areas. However, if you look closely you’ll see that there are lots of areas that are joined with one colour when they should be two, because your line art is full of gaps (at least mine is). Also, there will be many areas where there are two areas with separate colours which should be connected, but you drew a line between them. So now go around the line art layer and wherever you see a line that should be connected, connect it using a black pencil tool.
And wherever you see a line separating two areas that could be connected, break it using white pencil (the line art layer is set to multiply). Does that make sense? Essentially, you are fixing all the bits of your lineart that BPelt can’t handle. Don’t worry about making a mess here – all of this is just to get the best colour areas you can, we’ll be going back to the original lineart shortly. Make sure you have pure black and white selected as your foreground and background colours. Remember that you can use X to toggle the background and foreground colours. When you’ve done this for the whole page, run MULTIFILL STEP 2 [spoiler intro="Again, you may or may not need to know what it's doing... "]
If you still aren’t happy with the colour flatting, you can press CRTL-Z about 5 times, until the 3rd layer disappears, and do the previous step again, but it’s probably easier to just fix it at the next stage.
Now you have your colour flats done. Note the edges are quite jaggy, but that doesn’t matter too much as they’re going to be hidden. Copy the colour flats back into your original file [CTRL A > CTRL C> go to your original file > CTRLV].
Line up the colour layer with the lines – I reduce the lines opacity so I can see through them, zoom in and then move the colour layer so the lines hide the jaggy edges.
One more trick – I’ve assigned the other action in that set that you downloaded, Expand 4px, to the F2 button. So any time you find an area that hasn’t been correctly filled, for whatever reason, you can go Wand tool [W] > select the area or areas > F2. This will expand the selection so it’s underneath the black lines, avoiding any antialiasing jaggies. Note you need the wand set to no antialisaing, contiguous, all layers.
And there you go! I hope this will speed up your workflow and free up time to make more awesome comics. If you have any further suggestions for improving this system, or this post for that matter, please share in the comments. I’m always looking for ways to make it better.
Got a nice writeup from the Forbidden Planet International Blog on my daily comics. In answer to Richard’s questions:
I haven’t missed a day since I started, except my wedding day (but I have occasionally done a few slightly late and then posted them all at once, and I’ve mis-numbered quite a lot.)
The thing with James Kochalka was an actual dream – I think it was about the lifeline he, Tezuka, Sfar and all the others have given me in where I’m trying to go. The thread in the dream was more like Theseus’ thread in the labyrinth, but I’m not sure that came across in the comic.
A nice write up, and my 8 comics I’d pick to be stranded on a desert island with, at forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2013/desert-island-comics-episode-44-adam-murphy/
I was playing through Zelda Windwaker (for maybe the 3rd time?) and I suddenly realised; this game is a masterclass in how to make games. Gorgeous, ethereal visuals, a pitch-perfect recreation of the fantasy world of being a little boy, and, possibly what struck me most, a phenomenal understanding of the learning curve. Where so many other games make you fight through interminable tutorials, Windwaker makes it part of the game. That first puzzle on bomb island is sublime! Anyway, this is from years ago, but I was talking about it in a comic, so I thought I’d just upload them. Yes it’s almost all illegible scrawl – I did do this purely for my own reference, so apologies, but you weren’t going to read the whole thing anyway, surely?
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