Indiscretions of youth

Currently spending time getting to grips with trying to covert scanned sketches and initial inking into coloured in vector images via Inkscape – thinking back to simpler times. Here’s a couple of my youthful artistic indiscretions – these were all done 20 or so years ago – spot the artists I was ripping off and what I was reading at the time 😉

Judge DreddUkko The Dwarf

ColossusBernard Sumner - New Order

Is this the villan you are looking for?

Dabbling with some more sketching – have decided to work on the villans for now. Wanting to try and get a look that will be distinct, recognisable and reproducible, I hit upon a picture of Stuart Staples of the Tindersticks back in the early 90’s when he had a longer, unruly mane with shocks of white hair. A character with this sort of look would reference older horror characters (Bride of Frankenstein) but could be brought up to date, normalised and hence made more subtly sinister – nice suit, Timothy Everest in this case.  I had a go and came up with the rough sketch below after half an hour or so. It needs work (and finer inking) but I think this is going in the right direction.

Catastrophic Villan

Just how did he know where to drill for all that oil?

Any suggestions of Cornish villan names gratefully received 😉

Committed more audio thoughts this morning too – regarding using postcards to show the extent of the industrialisation of Penzance and the Scilly Isles and the establishment of a ‘Wild West Cornish Cowboy’ marketing character. Have also decided on including a Scuba diving segment with an attempt to sabotage Catherine Black’s BC (so she’d keep descending), to be recovered by inflating her dry suit (Heath wearing her wetsuit, as a suggestion from his therapist, who will have been the saboteur).  This may also allow me to have a panel with Catherine performing a rapid ascent in an inverted crucifix position and to use panels showing peril through instruments, warnings, confusion, panic.

Ramblings of a deranged mind

Talking to myself again….

In an attempt to keep a record of ideas for Catastrophe Noir I’ve taken to occasionally committing thoughts to audio recordings. Often these are in the car on the way to or from clients / work. Sometimes just the act of attempting to narrate ideas and plot elements helps me determine their validity for inclusion in the story – and it helps me throw up inconsistencies or flaws that then need resolving. An example of this is that I’m currently running an ‘in head’ narrative regarding the use of Enigma and encrypted messages as the mechanism for communication between the ‘Ancient ones’ and man (on the basis that they have been intercepting radio communications and obtained an Enigma from a sunken submarine). It’s an idea I’m quite attached to but working it in logically and sufficiently accurately is proving tricky – going back to the audio recording where I had the original idea helps but still doesn’t present a solution.

Catastrophe Noir – Tin Mines & Bletchley Park & Enigma

I like the idea that part of the story conclusion will be for Catherine to get the ‘Ancient ones’ to turn on KernOyl by revealing to them that the KernOyl human / creature hybrid impregnation plan is a sham (persisted because the Ancient One’s have been keeping their side of the deal to keep location oil wells). She’ll also reveal that it’s mankind’s reliance on oil that has resulted in the raising of global sea temperatures and acidity – causing their loss of hospitable habitat. The net result will see the ancient one’s attacking and destroying the Scilly rigs (only after capping the wells though). Ideally the method of communication would be by the transmission of series of Engima encoded messages (in German) which are old Poldhu telegraph station that Catherine and Heath have discovered as the primary communication route that KernOyl has been using for years as the main dialogue between man and the ‘Ancient Ones’. What I’ve got to address is why would the ancient one’s use telegraph and enigma encoded messages – if this doesn’t logically stack up then it’s going to have to be binned or re-thought out. Would it work that the Ancient One’s captured an Enigma machine from a sunken submarine and set about their own decryption system (hinting at a form of electro-organic Bombe device processing messages much faster than Bletchley ever did), why would they? Why learn / acquire German as as their first language etc etc? Tapping submarine communication cables would be possible, may need to check use of VLF underwater communications for the period as I suspect this only arrived later … so the only source of messages would be submarine cables and maybe it just so happens that it’s the German one’s they started with.

Slow movement on artwork – have stared page 2 but getting sidetracked with sorting out character looks first. Have just been doing rough sketches for practice too – like the image below for Goonhilly (which was just made up rather than from photo-reference, which it will be later).

Big dish

A made up Goonhilly radio antenna - playing with new pens !

Also, proving these are the ramblings of a deranged mind – here’s me committing thoughts to audio on the use of anally gestating parasites as the answer to the ‘Ancient Ones’ species depletion. This is me tying myself up with wanting to include this but not wanting to have the logical conclusion that it kills Heath Moore when it’s born – somewhat like Alien, but ’round the back’. So I now need to find a way of implanting one of the villans and have them taken by the ‘Ancient Ones’ … how am I going to do that?

Catastrophe Noir Audio Notes – Erm, anally gestating parasites


Can you see what it is yet?

As part of the process of step-wise refinement of the story – I’ve taken to outlining the plot and key events visually. The idea is to give myself pictures and brief notes on what I want to achieve in each episode. Something of an aide-memoir at this stage. The idea being to flesh out the major story arc at a high level and then do a more detailed page flow for each episode next.

It’s also work in progress but here’s where I’ve got to so far >>

Catastrophe noir in notes and pictures

Thinking in pictures

I’ve taken to using ‘Simple Diagrams’ as it’s nice a quick and allows me to pull in images into my own libraries. Planning at this level means I’m thinking about where each episode starts, where it ends and what happens in the intervening 20 pages. Images above are more prompts reagrding something I’d like to include in each episode – some are images I’ll be basing artwork on though aswell.

Rather timely I also read this article from Bill Siekenwicz regarding the difficulties he faced with Big Numbers and doing justice to Alan Moore’s notoriously dense and intricate script. I’ve paid particular note about the issues (unfortunate and tragic in some cases) with models and reliance on photography to achieve his style (see previous post about not approaching random people to model) – making me re-think if I’d be better off going with more stylised characters and reduce any reliance on photography. Still going to need some photo references on anatomy though.  I always recall this entry from the ‘Mary Whitehouse Experience Annual 1990’ ……  ‘Feet = An Artists Nightmare’.

This is still going to take roughly forever to deliver.

Musical Interlude #1 – One Song And The Tune Of Another

To keep you, dear reader, entertained on the Catastrophe Noir blog, it will not be beneath me to offer inducements and alternative entertainment to keep you coming back time and again (you can’t help yourselves, you are compelled to return).

My not inconsiderable powers of persuasion should  have the requisite attraction alone, an imploring magnetic pull of implanted devious subconscious desires. Failing that, you should be aware that from time to time I’ll be running a truly excellent pub Pop Quiz via these pages.

I can provide the quiz files for download, you however will need to provide your own drinks, crisps, nuts and atmosphere.

The first round is a real belter – it’s called (nod to Radio 4’s ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a clue’) ‘One Song AND The Tune Of Another‘.

There’s two songs playing at the same time, all you have to do is listen carefully and determine the name of the artists and the title of the songs being played. There are 10 such mixes – some we mixed properly and some we slapped together with some form of thematic link.

Please add comments to this post with your entries for my marking – 1 point for correct artist, 1 point for correct song title.

Obviously try not to ruin your own enjoyment by looking at other people’s comments first – have a go THEN look at the comments. Unless of course you A) can’t get the answers or B) are like me – the sort of person who reads the end of novel when on page 5,  which I do just I case I can’t be arsed to finish it.

I was not alone in this crime, my erstwhile accomplice in the compiling was Mark Vardy who should receive due credit for not being able to match a single beat properly.

Click the link below to download the quiz – it’s an MP3 file >>

2007 – Pop Quiz – One Song And The Tune Of Another

I lost my heart to a starship cleaner

Working on page two and character designs – have found myself taking covert photos of people whose faces might help provide a cue for a look or a some aspect of character I want. Not sure about the ethics of this approach but suspect a direct conversation inviting people to model might transpire like this:

‘Hello, this is a bit odd but could I take your picture as a model for my graphic novel?’
‘Errr, well, maybe – what’s it about?’
‘It’s a Lovecraftian horror story set in an alternative Cornwall about exchanging oil for impregnation of transexuals by ancient sea beasts,’

(Uncomfortable silence)

‘So which one do you think I look like, a tranny or a sea beast?’

It would almost certainly mean being thrown out of Starbucks, or being escorted away from the frozen foods section of Waitrose again.

On the upside – Script evolution is continuing though – have properly got down to fleshing out major plot points across the current proposed six episodes of 22 pages. There’s a lot to cram in, so currently trying to define story in levels of detail. I’m working from an overall summary and then moving down to a level of outlining what each page needs to cover.

Then I’m expecting to write scripts for each page as frame descriptions with dialogue and narration / narrative devices. I’m trying to do things like include details in imagery rather than narrative words or dialogue (newspapers for dates, clocks, TV’s).

More to crack on with, so back to drinking Flash in hyperspace.