In recent days I've really been enjoying my Tumblrs and have been posting there more than here. I miss the social aspect of blogging and Tumblr seems to still be a very social environment for blogging.
So please follow my Tumblr Blogs for even more art
I post personal art here: http://inkybat.tumblr.com/
And work by others I find inspiring here: http://batorchardtoo.tumblr.com/
So please join me there.
I'll still be posting here but less often, once or twice a week instead of every day or every second day.
So happy to announce that our second son Thomas was born two days ago here in Toronto. I did this drawing this afternoon while I sat next to his bassinet.
Here's another finished panel from my original Bera The Troll Pitch. I'm currently reworking the outline. And tonight I'm putting the final touches on all the art commissions I owe to people. I'm considering ending my open commissions policy. It can just take too long to get to them when I'm under deadline for another contract. I'm thinking instead of following Skottie Young's lead and doing drawings when I can and selling those instead of commissions. That way I can sell more affordable artwork without having people wait a long time.
I've actually slowed down a lot in recent days. Our second child could arrive any day now and I'm in overdrive trying to get practical things done before the big arrival. I needed a new bike, the parrot needed a vet appointment, cleaning, painting, groceries etc. etc.
The original inks for The Black Crow Conspiracy, written by Christopher Edge and published by Nosy Crow.
The publisher, Nosy Crow has given me the OK to post my newest book cover for them and I thought I'd post a sort of director's cut version, the full thing without text.
It has been such a pleasure to create the covers for Christopher Edge
's brilliant series about Penelope Tredwell
very young Victorian writer and adventurer. These books are so good and I'd be reading them even if I had no association with them at all.
Here's a panel from my Bera The Troll comic book pitch. This is ink, watercolour and a heap of digital special effects. I'm quite pleased with this panel. I realized after the fact the creature is based on my drawing of a "Fideal"
I did for the Alphabeasts
group drawing project.
I took yesterday off to lounge and read and recharge my batteries a bit. I'm about to launch into Bera so I thought I'd take it slow right now. Today I'm cleaning up my studio and working in commissions, I have about four commissions to complete. I think I'll spend the next few days like this. I may also start my next pitch, which is a fairy tale project with an author.
It's been a pretty busy few weeks! I finally finished off editing a recent illustrated book and am just wrapping up work for a British chapter book and am preparing to take the next few days slow. As I mentioned a few days ago edits on Bera the Troll have begun and I think I'll be starting in earnest pretty soon, on top of that We'll be having our second baby in less than a month, so I'm thinking I'll take a few days off starting tomorrow. Or at least work on commissions, slowly.
This is a pen and ink and digital sketch I did recently while watching a great ghost story movie called The Innocents
. It's based on the Henry James story Turn of the Screw but I actually like it better than the movie. This is a drawing of Ms Giddens who is played by Deborah Kerr. You can watch the whole film on YouTube! It really is one of the best, spookiest horror films ever made.
New sketch of Bera! Hope this doesn't give too much away of the story. This is pen and ink, watercolour, gouache and digital (which is how I'm doing the comic as well).
Bera is still at the writing stage so I don't have much to share at the moment. I'm doing a detailed outline, not a script, sort of a one man Marvel Method.
I had written a 100 page Bera novel some time ago. I have no idea where it is. I've also started a Bera comic about 10 times. Like I told my editor, I finally figured out how to do it. Some story ideas spring up out of nowhere others take years to attach themselves to other stories and become something special.
Here's a page from my Pitch for Bera The One Headed Troll, just watercolour and gouache, no digital.
I just sent off a more complete outline to the editor at First Second and now I'm on tenter hooks. Trying not to think about it. The outline took longer than I thought. I wrote Bera as a prose story years ago. I have no idea where that story is but I can recall it enough to effectively write a comic based on that story. Better than that story, actually. But new ideas kept coming and the story kept growing. I also included alternatives, like if this story element doesn't work I also wrote this. Not sure if that's the right thing to do. In any case the story is off and I am waiting for edits.
Also wrapped up a picture book last week. So, today I'm working on a book cover for the UK, which I think will be done in about a week. It's the Christopher Edge series I've been doing for Nosy Crow. I'm trying to out do myself with this one....
After that it's commissions. And then I want to clear everything to just work on Bera.
Also, I wanted to recommend a comic to everyone. Check out The Bunker
, only 1.99 and it's fantastic.
A watercolour and ink drawing of a horned wizard....
So,I spent last weekend writing up north at a cottage and managed to get the first draft of Bera all wrapped up. Also, very ideal surroundings for telling a story about a troll. This is where I did my writing. It's a place called Honey Harbour.
Henry and I also invented a game where we search for "fire dragons" , which can be found by the bright red flowers they leave behind. Hard to do in the city!
I posted this watercolour before but I now have a proper scan and i thought I'd share it.
I'm just back from a four day writing retreat up north, not really a retreat, I went up with my family to get a good start on Bera. It went really, really well, the story is starting to take shape. There are too many possibilities with these characters and this world. I took some photos but have yet to figure out how to get pictures off my phone, hopefully soon.....
Another piece from Bera. Watercolour, gouache and ink. Just finished up a picture book today and now I'm heading up north for a couple of days to get some work done up there.
Another "raw" piece of art from my pitch for Bera The One Headed Troll. This one showing Bera and the saw whet owl. I probably won't use ay of the pages from the pitch in the actual First Second book, in fact I'm sure I won't, but I will be referring to them a lot. In the mean time I'm wrapping up a picture book this week and then doing a book cover! , though I promised my family I'd go up north with them for a little trip. Going "up north" to cottage country is a real tradition here in Ontario, Toronto especially, and despite living here for over three years I've never been to a cottage here.
I am so happy to announce that my next all ages graphic novel BERA THE ONE HEADED TROLL will be published by First Second books
. I will be joining some of the very best creators in the world and I could not be more excited. Please keep an eye here for more Bera news! And thank you for all the support. I could not have gotten this far without your encouragement.
Another little bit from Bera, This is all watercolour, ink and gouache, no digital in this version. Sawyer is a saw whet owl, a very small owl indigenous to eastern Canada, where Bera takes place. And yes, they can take. and are very eloquent.
I love this drawing of Bera but I somehow got the eyes wrong, one is too high. I think it's pretty funny, it looks a bit like an intentional gag where one eye is moving independently on her face. I later fixed it digitally. I actually think it'd be pretty great if I could make a gag like this actually work.
Another peek at Bera The One Headed Troll, again this is just ink and watercolour and gouache, no digital manipulation here. I feel like after years of trying I'm finally starting to feel some competence combining brush and ink with pen and ink. I realize a lot of what I've been doing os balancing my various mediums. And strangely it all seems to relate to the story I'm telling.
I think this captures my general frazzle. I'm probably most at home doing completely unrealistic art that expresses something I'm not entirely conscious of.
On breaks I started writing a story about a witch on a distant planet who gets into all sorts of trouble. These are aliens who live on said planet. Can't decide if they should have one eye or two. Or both.
Currently illustrating a small and very enjoyable book about the Schooner the Bluenose. The thumbnails are all digital and the finals are a combination of digital and traditional media.
A drawing I did to accompany a recent pitch.I'm excited about this one. I hope it works out. I'm trying something different this time around, I'm sending out about 5 pitches between now and September and hoping one works out. I usually concentrate on a single pitch at a time. I'll let you know how this works out. I gave two contracts right now so I need to do it between edits. And I'd still like to have a webcomic up and running, if I only had more time. Etc.
Every morning I'd spend 20 minutes or so noodling away on this little drawing and I decided it was done this morning. It's not for anything but I was just trying to push my digital skills a bit more. Also I wanted to try working with shapes more, weird shapes. It was drawn in Manga Studio and coloured in Photoshop with my trusty Cintiq, which is a bit pokey this morning, I think it's the heat.