In a nut shell i'm doing something with what i've always done and that's make up characters. This project is about doing something with them. So it's going to involve lots of character driven narratives that will hopefully resolve to produce a number of short, small books and comics. At the moment I have narrowed this down to a 1 page comic and 4 page comic a short wordless book and then several, short but, varying in length, more heavily character based tales. Of which I would ultimately like to compile into a collection, possibly as one book, along with other pieces of sequential snippets offering an insight into my characters and who they are. Explaining characters through their actions, reactions and how they go about there lives. The stories are grounded by the everyday, problematic and the mundane but also have a surreal element to them that gives them a strange edge as it's just excepted as the norm by the characters. These characters stories do cross paths and also intertwine. I want to achieve and flow to my stories but also i'm very interested in making them non-linear, the idea being you don't have to tell the whole story all at once. So there will be a few one off stories but then these snippets that is hopefully going to be open ended and lead on to more. Currently i'm storyboarding them in this book. And my friend is kindly writing me some stories with my characters as well that i've been having a go at working with as well. I'm also hoping to turn one storyboarded sequence into a moving image.
The 'Terry' publication I did last year was a test at me using two pre-existing characters of mine in a short story I wrote for them. So this is a good example of what sort of thing I am aiming to make more of. The format will be different but the concept of character based mainly wordless narrative is similar.
I want to do this because it's doing something with what I always did in my spare time. I've also said I prefer to draw characters because I like knowing the personality of the person i'm drawing. Some of the characters's I plan on telling stories with I came up with many years ago. So the've had a long development process. The hard part isn’t going to be designing characters and knowing who they are, it's going to be how to convey this and to it justice with the stories i'm going to tell. Having something at the end of this I feel like i've made a good attempt at is an important objective to me. I also want to use this also as an opportunity to make something that would fit into the the field I would want to go into, something portfolio worthy that I would be happy with showing people in the kind of area I would want to join in with. As I don't currently have anything that I would feel happy with showing. The aim of this project really is just to produce as many finished actual items as I can. Joining in is another important long turn reason for me. In the sense that I want to be in with all the stuff that I love and admire. Make something I would want to buy. A nice object in it's own right as well as telling a good story. I love bringing things to life. Be that characters all whole stories or and little book that wouldn't have existed before. I want to get better.
Every time the collective i'm in does a stall at an event I learn more about audience and who buys my work and can begin to work out why. Also just as importantly I learn who doesn't. From some fairs it has been a interesting experience in what sells where, what makes someone buy it but also who these people are as a group. Firstly I think it's important that I make something I would buy. So I am the audience in that respect. People have told me i'm fussy, but I just think I happen to like things in a niche market. I would narrow my audience down to people roughly around my age interested in the handmade, the unique, precious and original. I lot of the time interested in making art themselves. A small market, yes.
I find influence in varying degrees everyday. Style wise I know what I like. Aspects of this is reflected in my own style. In a pick and mix fashion. There are several that I take influence from in their practice (luke p, love the work where as dan berry is more impressed by his practice and how he is self disciplined and gets his work done) On a philosophy level NoBrow are great inspiration. Taking pride in the best printing and colour reproduction. Traditional printing methods and beautiful outcomes. As well as admiring what they do as a collective getting this kind of possibly quite niche work out into the world and making it work. Shaun Tan, love his work but also why he does his work and how highly he regards and knows the capabilities of the medium we are a part of.
Anything can be a influence, especially, unsurprising music and film. My favourite films are often my favourite because of how much thought and effort has gone into their cinematography. Wes Anderson is a favourite of mine for this. I love how his films have a colour palette, Often the same colour palette and how he frames his characters in a scene, making this often a way you can tell it's a film directed by him within a few minutes if you didn't know. This level of detail, importance of colour and also how it can be limited and also recurring themes are manly how he inspires me and my own practice.
I love the mark of the artist the hand drawn evident. Working traditionally is always going to appeal to me even if it has to be all pulled together later in photoshop. My work in mainly done with watercolour and ink simply because it's a medium I love to work with. Brush pen line, scribbly black, quick lines full of character and movement. Block ink colour, block computer colour and screen printed. I'm keeping separate sketchbooks to keep things separate in my head and helps me keep focused. One sketchbook is simply titled 'Stories to Tell' and it's solely to fill will thumbnails as starting, 'no pressure', points for things to go onto develop. I'm also keeping an 'Inspiration Sketchbook', full of other people's work the I admire the style of or idea behind as a point of reference on what inspires me if I get lost.
Due to the nature of my project and what I want to produce. I'm going to continue to storyboard and do colour experiments for a while yet for the longer stories but the short comics, mainly the 1 page one I'm going to move into actual just producing it from now. As I want to get as many as I can done out of my ideas and i'm not quite sure which ones will be the most successful, I need to do get on with it; Working on and finishing my many small projects/stories as the year plans out. Getting things ultimately ready on time to go to print production before the london book fair around easter.