Author Archives: Stephen

Some weekend arting

I had some time over the weekend for some drawing, so decided to have a go at the digital arting.

March Art Dump

This is a brief post. Just doing an art dump of pictures I drew during the month of March.

I’d received some very helpful pointers about approaching composition as well as how to hold the pencil to get better lines. Overall, a very positive month for the drawing.

And I even managed to get in some digital arting!


Some recent reading and art.

Seeing as it’s most of the way through February, I figure it’s about time to post an update here. Try to keep things somewhat regular in terms of posting on here.

At the start of the year I was mulling things over regarding writing, particularly with a view to doing posts for here or Irish Comic News. My main focus was to try and find things to read to try and improve the writing, be it websites, magazines or books.

As luck would have it a non-fiction book featuring such names as Warren Ellis and Alan Moore appeared on my radar (cover pictured below). It was an instant purchase for me, both as a fan of some of the writers involved and as a possible source for learning more about writing non-fiction.

The book was a wonderful read. It will definitely be one of those books I frequently re-read. It has a great variety of voices and styles. There are twelve pieces in total examining the ‘spirit of places’.

What quickly became apparent (from a learning point of view) was what each writer discussed, as well as the details they focussed on in their respective contribution. It emphasised the idea of the writer bringing something to a topic that only they can bring to it. Something to make it unique from a piece that another writer would have written.

Another thing was the almost conversational language used in the various pieices. It generally felt as if I was sat at a table listening to the writer tell their story. Which is close to what I’d like to get to with the reviews and blog posts. Definitely would like to avoid dry and stuffy writing which would just put people off. I want to try have the writing read much like what it is to listen to me chat about comics. That’s ethusiastic, interested and probably a bit giddy for those that I’ve not chatted to!

It’s an excellent book that I really recommend to people if you want to read some good non-fiction.

I’ve a couple of other non-fiction books in the pile but I’ll fill you in on them once I get a proper read of them.

On the art side of things, I managed to get back into the swing of doing some drawings during the week. I’ve included the most recent drawings I did below. That’s all for now.

Brief update.

This will be brief update as it’s really just a post to put it online that I’m planning to take a swing at the competition Matt Garvey put up over on MIllarworld forums.

I’d started to get back into the swing of some writing and drawing and that competition was just the sort of motivation/goal to aim for. It’ll give a bit of focus to things. If nothing else, I’d (all going well) have a four page comic done. That in itself would be a good result.

In another comic related note, I’m very much looking forward to the Image 25 year celebration organised by Big Bang Comics. Should be fun!

For those of you interested in the Irish Comic News art picks, the January edition is now live. So go enjoy the great selection of arting!!

That’s all I have for you lot until the next post. I’ll leave with some arting I did towards the end of 2016.

Tested out caligraphy pens for inking. (reference photo used)

Obligatory ‘New Year, new things’ post.

It’s a new year so it’s time for that ‘gonna do more posts’ post.

For all of last year, this blog was left idle aside from the occasional share from my tumblr account. Part of the reason for that was that I started to post on Irish Comic News

My main focus was the monthly Art Picks. This is a feature which rounds up a selection of art produced by artists and colourists who are part of the Irish comic scene. It was great to see so much art and to discover some new names I’d not heard of prior to taking on the feature.

In addition to the Art Picks feature, i also did some reviews of various comics. It was fun to do but I’m quite conscious that the standard of my posts need to improve to get the level that I’d like to get to. This is part of the reason I’m doing this post to try and revive the blog.

The plan is to write more, particularly reviews (or just some form of rambling) about comics. Anything related to the Irish comic scene will end up on Irish Comic News. However I do have a regular comic reading pile which I plan to try do some writing about here as it wouldn’t be something to go up on ICN.

These could be titles from publishers such as Marvel, DC, Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Boom! etc. or something via Kickstarter / small press.

The hope is the increased frequency of writing about comics will slowly improve the writing.

Not only that but it will also be a place for me to collate my drawings as they’re currently scattered between Twitter and Facebook rather than somewhere under my own control.

So that’s me done laying out my goal for the blog this year.

And since you managed stick through to the end, here’s some art I did as part of Inktober last year.

Devil Dinosaur and Moon Girl.

Kill Bill.

Kubo and Two Strings.

Neil Gaiman in Conversation with Art Spiegelman

Neil Gaiman in Conversation with Art Spiegelman from The Fisher Center on Vimeo.

Writing Blog Hop

This blog post is the result of not being able to talk my way out of doing something. Seriously. You might think you have the perfect excuse to dodge doing the work, but some folk just won’t be deterred. That’d be Frankie Whelan in this case (his blog hop post here). You can find out about his books here.

So without any further delays, let’s crack on with the questions.

1. What am I working on?

I’m currently working on three separate stories that I hope to eventually make into comics. The story that has my primary focus currently is a short story about a moutain climber. It’s still in the very early stages so there isn’t much to it yet aside from the lead character and a couple of scenes in the story.

The second is a story about a young man that has a reality that exists in parallel to ours revealed to him. The creatures that populate that world are quite different from anything he has ever seen before. The story will follow him as he attempts to survive this new reality.

The third is about an outcast mage living among regular people. He has to take action when a war between various magical factions begin to threaten those he cares about.

2. How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I would like to think that there are unique characters not seen before in other writings. And a different twist on familiar stories. It’s still early days with the writing so I’ve yet to see if the writing measures up to my aspirations.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I enjoy the magic of creating characters and seeing what happens to them in the world they inhabit. There really is nothing quite like writing a story, it’s one of the few truly free things a person can do. Something that didn’t exist is slowly built up by pen or keyboard.

Writing is something that I’ve always done. I can remember writing my own comics and short stories from a very young age. My dad would bring home a box of paper from work so I was never short of something to write on. It was just such a natural past-time for me growing up. It was probably all the gods, monsters and super-heroes that appealed to me then, and still does.

4. How does my writing process work?

Almost without fail, it begins with a character. They appear in my head and slowly reveal parts of their personality and their mannerisms. Then it’s a matter of getting them to explain what it is they want to do.

Once I have a feel for the story, I try and get the major plot points noted down to get a sense of the overall story. The next course of action is to put together the first draft of the story. This will allow me to see where the plot holes are or what isn’t working in the story.

This isn’t going so well with the current stories as the dreaded writers block has put the brakes on any progress. Usually when this happens I’ll move over to another story I’m working on. But this time all the stories are currently at an impasse. Even going back to an earlier point in the story hasn’t helped. So the stories have been put away in the hope that a spark of inspiration will happen while reading a book or watching a movie.

And so here I am doing the blog hop in the hope that putting a blog post together will get the old writing/creative gears turning once again. All finger-crossing and rabbit-foot rubbing will appreciated. 😉

August, the month of metal and wookies

August was the month that finally put me in a venue with Tesseract. They are a band that I have really wanted to see live since my brother gave me a listen to one of their albums. The band are a metal band that have a strong emphasis on the melodic side of metal. Their songs sweep and surge until you are dragged into the undertow. As you can guess, I was a fan shortly after hearing the album.

The band were in town as support to Lamb of God. Their set was fantastic with the sound system in the venue doing the band justice. All of the melodic parts and heavier parts were there in their aural beauty. If there is any justice in the world Tesseract will soon be huge in the metal music scene. I’ve embedded one of their songs below for any of you that are interested.

I decided this month to try and fit in more comic reading into my week. Thankfully I have a nice selection of graphic novels to help achieve this goal. The first series I decided to re-read was Y: the Last Man.

I read it about two years ago and remember really enjoying it. The main reason I chose it as the first comic to read this time was the lack of superpowered or supernatural characters. All characters are pretty much human, secret agents and ninjas notwithstanding of course.

The premise is a simple one, and you’ve no doubt guess by the title, what would happen to the last man on Earth? Would the Earth become a utopia free of war and conflict once men all die off or would things be much the same as before?

I’m enjoying the second reading of the series and finding it to be funnier in parts than I remember. It’s a good series if you’re looking for a comic to check out.

August was also the month a wookie came to town in a luxury car. The cannonball run passed by neck of the woods early one Sunday morning in August. A rolling convoy of expensive cars with the passengers and drivers in fancy dress. There were a variety of costumes in the group but naturally the wookie was the highlight of the bunch. It was great to see so many people taking part and the large number of people that showed up to support it also.

July was a bit of fun.

I had originally planned to make a concerted effort at NaNoWriMo in July. The first few days went pretty well. The wordcount was a little on the light side but I was still making progress. Then the heatwave hit. I was convinced that I was going to evaporate at one stage during the month. This of course made it very difficult for me to do some writing. Watching TV was as much as I could handle after a day in the office surrounded by computers.

That’s not to say that the month was a total write-off. The bit of the novel I did manage to type up has provided enough content to keep me interested in continuing the story. It needs a lot of work but I think I might be able to make something of it.

I managed to see a couple of good movies during the month. The first one was Hedgehog. A wonderful French film (which I later realised I had an English copy of the novel on my ‘to-read’ pile). It’s set in an apartment building in Paris. There couldn’t have been more than twenty characters in the movie and it was entirely set in the building but it was a joy to watch. It’s a film I’d highly recommend to anyone that is looking for something different.

The other movies were Brave and Robot & Frank. Brave was an enjoyable movie but I’m probably a little biased as I’ve not seen a Pixar movie that I didn’t like.

Robot & Frank was another film I really liked. Frank is an ex-jewel thief living by himself and suffering with problems with his memory. His son arrives to his house one day and gifts him with a robot aid. As you can guess by the title of the movie, it is the unfolding relationship between Frank and the robot that is the focus of the movie.

Myself and the brother managed to get down to Cork to see West Ham play Cork City in a friendly at Turners Cross. I hadn’t seen much of any Irish soccer teams playing before, and what I had seen was less than inspiring to watch. But the match was actually a good game of soccer. Cork played a good game but were outclassed by the Hammers with the final score being 6-2 to the visitors. After the match, we took the “long” way back (i.e. stopped for a beer in most of the pubs we found on the way back to the city centre). A good way to spend a weekend in Cork. It’s a city I never fail to have a good time in.

July was also noteworthy as it was my dads 60th birthday. Unfortunately he was out of the country on the actual day of his 60th. That didn’t stop my siblings and relatives from throwing a successful surprise party for him when he returned. Myself and my siblings had planned to bring him for a few beers before the actual party. We planned to keep him on the opposite side of the town from the party venue.

My dad almost managed to throw a spanner in the works by coming into to town much earlier than he normally would when going for beer. We had to try and keep him in town as he normally only has a few beers and then is in a taxi before we know what is going on. Things went to plan in the end. He didn’t have a clue the party was happening and was delighted to see family and close friends waiting for him to celebrate his birthday. Needless to say, we had a struggle getting him to get in the taxi at the end of the night. He was in flying form.

All in all, it was a successful July.

Before June comes to an end.

I’m cutting it a bit close this month but I’ve managed to get the blog post in before the end of the month.

The first piece of news is that I have finished my latest module. I passed the four assignments and just need to get a pass in the exam to get a passing grade. It was the first time in almost ten years that I had to go to an exam centre. Thankfully the exam itself seem to go well enough. I was writing up answers right up to the end of the allotted time. Hopefully that’ll be a good omen for the result of the exam.

With this being the first month without study obligations to fulfill, I managed to get a nice amount of reading done over the month. The study can tire a person out at times. This means that I wouldn’t have much energy for reading some evenings. That was not to be the case this month. And because I had so much more free time, I was able to vary the reading material. I picked up some books that would be introductary reading on philosophy, ethics and logic. Some of it was tough at times but it was worthwhile. It’s an area that I have been wanting to read more about and I finally managed to make a start on it this month.

The extra free time in the evenings also means more time has been used to write. It has been generally been going well. With the increased frequency in writing, it has also become more obvious where the problems are with my writing. The biggest being that I seem to lack focus. I start writing a story and it goes well for maybe a thousand words. Then it just fizzles out. I have managed to be talked into taking part in NaNoWriMo next month (July). If last November is anything to go by, this will be a great excercise to train myself to focus. I’m actually looking forward to the challenge!

I’ll leave you with a video of a song by Venna. I discovered them during the month when I was going through my new music purchases. The album is outside the type of music I would buy regularly but it has been a welcome change. The video is of them performing “Quitting Contest”. That is the song that jumped out at me on the first listen. It has managed to infiltrate the back of my mind and set up a bed there. I hope you enjoy it also.