“Love is only for the very strong” I like that. (Well, I don’t like it, it’s tearing me apart, but you know what I mean. It says it well.)
Superenigmatix by Richard Sala.
Awesome character designs:
I love characters that you can’t help but look at and want to know more about, make up stories with and use to think with:
Native American petroglyphs at Hot Springs County, Wyoming, USA. Photos courtesy & taken by Wyoming_Jackrabbit.
Conjoined Man and Woman (Curing Ritual Narrative), Jalisco, dates to 100 BC-AD 300, from Jalisco, Mexico. Courtesy & currently located at the Walters Art Museum, Balitmore, USA, via their online collections (where you can also read more about this artifact). Acession number: 2009.20.149.
Both via Ancient Art
From Sam Bosma
News: I’ll be at a table at Glasgow Comic Con Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July 2014. If you’re about, do come say hi!
Distracted: My wife is a bird dork. She was trained by her parents (also keen birders) at a very young age. She stumbled across this bird cafe, and has since been squealing with delight and giggling when watching the live bird cam.
So here’s what I did: A HUGE single image that can be read like a comic. The three kids are walking past the forest when they see some evil goblin-type dudes capturing forest animals. Oh no way! Immediately they spring into action! The rest of the images sees them disrupting the evil dudes in various slapstick ways, such as sneaking past them to free animals, distracting them with long, complicated stories, or just straightforward beating them up, to save the forest. There’s even an evil scientist/goblin king who’s castle they infiltrate, so they can release all the animals and he can get his comeuppance!
I hope that the kids will have as much fun reading it as I did drawing it.
Here are a few pics:
P.S, just received pretty much the best possible thank-you note:
I interviewed the Medieval Muslim Scientist, Ibn Al Haytham (dude discovered optics and invented the scientific method!) recently for The Phoenix Issue 117.
Then, in Issue 118, I’ve dug him up again so you can learn how to make your very own camera obscura!
Each week I’ll attempt to post a few of my favourites from the past week.
Listening: Miles Davis - Bitches Brew. I don’t usually have a lot of time for cool, hard-bop type jazz, but this is something else. Good for creative-thinking clear head-space type work. Also digging a load of earnest, cosmic-religion, heal-the-world-through-expanded-conciousness psychedelia from cover artist Mati Klarwein.
Excited: Dudes! Jason Shiga has a new comic out! I really enjoyed his previous comics, like Fleep and Bookhunter - he has a real gift for combining tortuous logic and mathematics with a great depth of feeling. Demon looks equally great, although possibly much more disturbing. Now I just need to find some time to actually read it. (Got the news from Zainab’s blog: Comics & Cola, which seems to be increasingly the place to go for good comics).
Amazing: The world’s biggest tree! Seriously, open that picture up full-screen and just scroll down – it’s jaw-dropping. But then I burst into tears in the presence of most large, old or spiritually-resonant trees. Probably best I don’t go to visit in person…
Hard at work: I am now apparently going into the drawing-millions-of tiny-men business. This is for a new CorpseTalk feature, which intersperses the comics we all know and love with extra facts, done as a massive spread. I hope it makes some very detail-oriented kid’s day.
Listening: I’ve been rediscovering some old favourites. It’s amazing how some music gets in so deep it becomes an indelible part of your psyche. Two of my (impossibly funky) formative influences Funkadelic and Sly & the Family Stone. Chair dance with me!
Reading: The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Particularly enjoyed his convincing and tender re-imagining of an all-too-human Jesus and Pontius Pilate in Ch 2 – hoping they show up again!
Loving: Maike Plenzke Serious artist envy! The implied lines! The texture! The graphic shapes! The freakin’ hands! Bah.
…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.