Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cork Horror Comic

This is the coloured version of the Cork Horror Comic cover that I illustrated recently. The Cork Horror Comic will be launched on October 30th at the 2014 Dragon of Shandon Festival that is being put together by Cork Community Art Link. The full list of contributors to the Cork Horror Comic are as follows:

Plague Doctor
Emma O'Mahony and Chris O'Halloran

Devils Chair
Dylan Fitzgerald and Damien Duncan

War of the Birds
Liam Hughes and Charlie Aabo

Cab Ride
Mark Lenihan and Podge Fitzgerald

Shandon Tower
Sean Creagh and Joe Griffin

Story Editor
Colin O'Mahoney

Art Editor
Alan Corbett

Ann and her Beloved Copper Book.

Hello, my name is Ann, and I draw a lot. 

This is more of a statement of fact than anything else, and I make no apology for it :) I have been known to have brought my sketchbook to a wedding with me.
Previously to the studio flood I had last year I had stored pretty much every sketch book I'd ever bought/filled carefully filed. 

Then the flood happened. 


And about 2/3 of my old sketchbooks got so soaked they were no longer salvageable. I was kinda upset, but life went on and I filled more sketchbooks, leading me to enthuse about this one. 

In April we were at MCM Ireland in the RDS Dublin promoting Bunsen Bunnies, at that show was the rather excellent Will Phoenix and his copper books naturally I had to have one & bought one with a lovely Mystic (Dark Crystal) on the cover. ( his website is )

I should point out I love these books, they are refillable...

...As an artist who is also a pack rat I tend to have the current sketchbook, the old one and a new one, all in my bag ( my back hates me for this).
The old one because I'm not done yet with some of the sketches, the new one in case I run out of paper in the current one, and ya know the current one is the current one. 
So the fact that these refill, and I can transfer the pages I'm still working on with the refill... Well... COOL!  
If nothing else the weight of my bag has dropped substantially already. 

When Chatting with the lovely Mr Phoenix, I discovered he also made these to commission... one wedding gift for my cousin promptly ordered :) and I again couldn't resist getting one for me with my Bunsen Bunnies logo on it :D 

Personally I think he did a lovely job on it. He also very kindly showed me the secret binding technique he uses, so that I wouldn't have to post him the whole sketchbook to get it refilled. 

My sketchbooks tend to also be the note taking spot, the scrapbooking  of interesting stuff spot and the I'll keep it here so I don't loose it spot. 
At the beginning there are many print stacked in doodles and photos of old work, along with my card, in case I loose the whole book.

The neon page marker dispenser is a reasonably new addition, they peel off the pages again cleanly so have potential to be useful... I hope :) again these pages have been scrapbook end a bit and have traveled with the book when the paper was refilled the last few times. 

These are reference of some of the watercolour postcards I have been selling at various events, mostly this is for my own reference, and for props when I try and explain the Deadpool Bunny. 

Brainstorming for mad science classes, and Miss Quinn, one of the newer comic characters, a practice sketch in my beloved rainbow pencil. 

Doodles of Baker with And without his natty scarf. I believe his was in a coffee shop awaiting some friends. 

The most regular use the sketchbook gets is of course comic page planning, once John has written up a page or bit of plot line we get together to brainstorm it out, thumbnail style, and I them work from these thumbnails to ink out the page and watercolour it. If it has dialogue it's then sent back to John as my spelling and grammar are terrible. (The bookmark was a gift from Replay, a games shop in Bangor)
Inked page
Then painted. 

The following pages were from a Day trip down to Dublin, the Enterprise was rather stuffed with people so I spent my time doodling, while some of them are inspired be passengers I spotted none are drawn directly as it tends to creep them out if I started to regularly stare at them.

That guy just needed some stitching and a few bolts. 
Some of these doodles will them be used as the basis for characters of paintings later on.

On my last Friday off myself and John decided to head to Belfast Zoo, I haven't been since I was a small sprog let, so it came as a surprise how hilly it was. We had a great morning and hiked about looking for non sleeping critters for me to draw...

Penguins rock, every zoo I have been to has had epic penguins .
The Meerkats were abundant and had a bit of a tiff with a local peacock who called in for a drink, the baby meerkats felt he had entirely too many feathers.
John had to speak fast to convince me that the keepers would have counted them, and no I wasn't allowed to adopt one. 

I think at this point I have conveyed my deep fondness for the A5(ish) copper book. The others book I have recently been using is an A3 sketch pad, spiral bound which I picked up for £5 in Art at Home in Holywood, apparently the cover was damaged. Since I almost immediately draw on or decorate sketchbook covers this wasn't an issue really. 

Due to transport reasons it hasn't been traveling with me as much recently, so there isn't a lot in it yet...
Hulk bunny planning, and black widow bunny... Long story that.

Planning for a steampunk robot. 
The inked robot. 

And finally some Tv sketching. Mostly, brain on autopilot as you doodle. Very therapeutic. 

Feel free to comment and let me know how you work with a sketchbook :) are you a pack rat like me? Or are your books lovely and neat?

AKA Dragon
Bunsen Bunnies Artist.

A life of filled with Sketchbooks

Right, my sketchbooking life can be broken into two; outdoor sketching, and indoor sketching. Even the outdoor sketching can be split between my kit for painting and my kit for drawing.

For drawing, I always have a little A6 sketchbook in the inside jacket pocket on one side and in the other a little fold up pencil case. (All my jackets must have 2 inside pockets, otherwise they are burnt in flames.... or just not worn)

This is my main sketchbooking, I do this kind of sketching all the time. They are for any time I get a free moment to sketch, whether that is; standing in the queue, having a beer with friends, waiting on transport or a person, sitting in the bus etc, if there is one thing I have learnt from fellow Islander Kevin Gough, its never waste a minute.

I have a variety of pens and pencils in the wrap up pencil case. The pens are mostly just different size nibs as well as different style nibs (felt tipped, hard metal etc), also there is a white pen for highlights and sometimes for error correction and adding white over black. The pencils I carry are: clutch pens, a mechanical pencil, graphite stick, a graphite stick clutch pen etc. Also a white conte pencil, a rubber pencil, some sanding paper for sharpening, a ruler and newly added a Chamomile leather for blending, (not used that much yet). Its amazing how much you can fit into that thing.....

For painting, I carry a camera case for the belt, which I only take on longer walks or Sceitse's, as painting is a longer process thing, it takes 2 or 3 mins just to setup, no matter what kit you have, so not something you do when you have only 2-3 mins to sketch

Its handy old thing though, as I cram quite a bit into it. It has a watercolour box, an A6 Watercolour pad(I think the same as Mikes), a top of a jar (for water), some rag cuts, small kids paint brushes (so as to fit) and recently added some gouache paint tubes (I havent used them properly yet tho)

The 2nd form of sketchbooking is the stuff I do in indoors, this is to aid final pieces and is geared more towards work and final illustrations. I have several different sketch pads for this, it just depends on the final piece Im working on and what part of the pre-finish piece Im doing. Shown are Hot press papers for paintings, bristol boards for inking, and those cheap moleskins Mike talked about previously, for initial rough sketches for composition, character design etc.  (Also included in the pic below is the tonal paper I use for life drawing, its here solely because I do life drawing indoors :) )

Alot of these pads wouldnt be cheap but not expensive either, middling in price. Generally I do my sketches on the exact same paper as my finals, as I need to know what they will look like before I commit ideas to the final piece. But Im talking more about the more developed idea sketches here rather than initial roughs, which are done in the cheap moleskin as said previously. To show what Im talking about when I say "more developed idea sketches", Ill leave you with ones I did for Corbally Neolithic village before I did the final piece.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My sketchbooks

So, sketchbooks… ya I have one or two

Alright I have a lot, but it matters, what I want to work in changes drastically from hour to hour and most books cant handle different mediums, however one thing all my books have in common is how extraordinarily cheap they are, if they were hookers… they would not make much money…

Anyway, before I begin I must apologise for the fuzziness of some of these pics, my camera sucks all the balls. 

Well, first up is my pocket sketchbook, which is always in my coat pocket with a pen stuffed inside it. It usually sees the light of day on buses and trains which I use a lot, or whenever I have to wait for longer than a minute. This one was actually free, a friend of mine gave two of them to me after he got them from who knows where, but they are quite nice to draw in with a biro, smooth with a little texture.  

The watercolour sketchbook, actually the most expensive one I own due to the nature of cheap watercolour paper being akin to toilet paper and only useful in the same way. I actually really love this thing, got it in Cork art supply for around a tenner I think. Good quality paper that doesn’t buckle and also pocket sized for plein air fun times. I keep meaning to build a pochade box for it, but that’s a whole other post. 

Cheapest of the cheap, I got a stack of these for like 5 bucks, they reflect this, the paper is almost see through, however, there is about 300 pages in this book and it is a lot of fun to draw on, it takes ink well and has a nice texture as I tend to hate smooth paper.

I get these in vibes and scribes, upstairs where all the sketchbooks are, you will find loads of these for a few euro each. The reason being they are all damaged, however only on the cover and I personally can never see where… so ya, buy em up. They are moleskin paper, I have a hate love relationship with moleskin, some days I love it, drawing inking away like a lunatic, other days I forget and try to use ANYTHING else on it and it turns to shit, I don’t know, is it just me or does moleskin absolutely hate anything water based… moving on 

Life wouldn’t be complete without a tonal sketchbook, I have this thing a few years though, I don’t like it very much, the only reason it’s here is because I keep forgetting I don’t like it and get it out to draw in, which happened this morning. It’s fun to draw tonally but the paper in this is smooth as glass = I hate it. I don’t know why but I have never found a tonal sketch book that isn’t smooth. 

Last but not least, the A3 sketch book. I got this primarily for life drawing but I tend to forget that. I love this thing, its newsprint quality, takes charcoal perfectly and cost 2 euro. 

I realise all my sketchbooks are cheap as hell, I’m not trying to save money or anything, I just hate spending a lot of money on paper I’m gonna treat like crap. 

I will never understand why art supplies cost so much. Anyway, that’s my sketchbooks (the ones I currently had to hand, there are a lot more) enjoy the rest of the themed week :D