My favorite film maker by a long way is a feller called Terry Gilliam.
I'm not going to waffle on endlessly about him - if you follow the link you'll find his bio.
It's a pretty good fan site.
The picture I've included today is from one of Terrys most wonderful films, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.
In this particular scene, The Baron and Polly have made a hot ait balloon out of hundreds of pairs of ladies knickers so they can escape from the attacking Turks.
The film was plauged with absolutely awful production problems, common in Terry's career.
One of his recent projects, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was canned after only a week of filming - documented in the film Lost in La Mancha, a depressing but very good film.
I'm posting about Terry today because I'm re-reading a book called Losing the Light, about the ghastly production Baron Munchausen was.
It's a good read in general, but for anyone interested in film and film production it's a must.
A must I say!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
at 10:34 PM
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I would normally not post anything this geeky and internety, but I thought as long as it was accompanied by a silly drawing I would get away with it.
Star Wars was pretty important to me as a kid.
My brief version of the new films is that they are all crap (but with lots of pretty pictures that animation types like me love).
Film maker Kevin Smith reviews the new film, Revenge of the Sith, here.
He's very positive about it.
Now, the only reason I'm going on about Star Wars is because someone lent me a game for my PC - a Star Wars strategey type blowing things up game.
I've been playing it on cheat mode - I've mentioned before I'm not very competetive.
Last night I was enjoying the mayhem created by tanks and soldiers and all that crap and when I realised I was finished it was nearly 2 in the morning.
I like to get up at 6 and walk the dog.
So I'm a little weary now thanks to that stupid game.
I blame the media.
Incidentally, the silly childlike drawing is from a series I did that included Planet of the Apes, Braveheart and Free Willy.
I will post the others someday.
at 10:50 PM
I've always wanted to animate a series based on my lifes adventures.
It would mostly involve a young and talented cartoonist moving to the tiny island state of Tasmania and rotting away while the world passes him by...
Well maybe not.
One thing's for certain though, it would involve very little sex, lots of terrific women and too much beer (although not that often anymore really - when your pals are all growed up with kiddies and partners and whatnot it's hard to spend to much time on the piss. I'm much more likely to babysit and change nappies than sink a six...or a twelve).
Which isn't to say I'm complaining.
I can spend an awful lot of money while I'm at the pub, especially on a big night, so I'm actually saving myself a fortune.
at 4:13 AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
You may all recall me whining about having dislocated my leg about a month ago.
Well, just when it was beginning to heal, I slipped on the boardwalk while walking the dog and tore a whole new set of newly healed tendons.
Very happy indeed.
So I'm bandaged up and full of iburopfen (excellent for hangovers also).
It hurt like fuck and made that same dreadful rending noise again.
Monday was a public holiday here in Australia and I took Tuesday off to rest my leg (ahem).
One good thing however is that my good friend Charmaine found the David Byrne article "Why I hate world music" .
It's a great read for all you intellectual types and those interested in the world in general.
at 10:10 AM
Friday, April 22, 2005
Music and images go hand in hand.
People love musical archetypes - the jazz dude in a beret, the drug ridden rock star blah blah blah.
Now then - I've started this blog with the intention of directing readers to an online article by David Byrne called "Why I Hate World Music".
Of course now that I'd like everyone to read this extremely interesting article (he doesn't hate world music as such, just what the name has come to mean) I cannot find it online anymore.
There used to be a link from his site but the blasted thing has been taken down.
So, what I'm figuring you can do, is pretend to have read the article and then if anyone ever asks if you know of it you can pretend and say, "Oh yes, fascinating, very postmodern" or whatever other mindless response you'd like to give.
Helpful as ever, I am.
at 5:17 AM
For 9 months, apart from my own little hound, I had another dog living with me , big Monty.
Monty is a delightful dog (apart from his constant shedding).
My dog, Ella, treated him pretty badly.
Bossing him around and generally being a bully.
The top picture is Ella and Monty hanging out in my back yard, and the bottom picture is Ellas head photoshopped onto Montys body.
The result I think is pretty disturbing.
More like an insect than a dog.
at 1:07 AM
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Isn't it charming the way young children are devoid of a certain amount of manners.
On the whole they learn please and thank you pretty early, but there are other things that take a while to sink it.
Wandering around with snot pouring out of their noses.
Wiping spittle all over you when they want a hug.
Coughing phlegm into your face.
As it happens, I'm not that squeamish when it comes to these things (from kids anyway - not that fussed being covered in adult mucus).
I'm not thrilled changing ploppy nappies, but if the child is familiar to me I'll go there with only a little trepidation.
I'm mentioning all this because I thought I may have picked up Baby Ashleighs cough, but since the day's warmed up it's obvious I haven't.
I have a very dear pregnant friend who won't come within 50 metres of anyone with a cold at the moment so I'm pleased it's gone off me.
(sniff, cough, spit).
at 11:36 PM
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I think it takes quite an effort - both creative and mental - to caricature yourself.
You have to be prepared to discard all vanity and plunge in.
I think the ability and willingness to draw yourself leads to a certain amount of self awareness.
I know for example that while I am hardly a good looking fellow - I'm not an ugly pig either.
I tend to describe my look as "inoffensive and non distracting".
That doesn't mean to say I don't have some high points - I look bloody good in a suit thank you very much.
I've not been caricatured by many others - a fellow called Simon who lived with me for 9 or so months was a wonderful illustrator and he drew me often, and a dear friend called Renee S did one of me and her dancing and it's one of my favorite pictures ever - I'll post it sometime and you'll all see.
at 10:50 PM
I'm handy enough with a pen but to be honest I don't have the ability to write a daily cartoon.
Well - that's not true - I'm a big fan of nonsense and silliness but there's so much of that sort of oddball meaningless stuff since the Far Side that it's nothing new.
A lot of folks make good money doing those rip off strips, but I don't get the point of doing that.
And most of them are poorly drawn - there are heaps of crappy working cartoonists out there.
Gary Larson, creator of the Far Side is not an especially good cartoonist, but his style worked for his material really well.
It doesn't work for everyone.
I am not a great writer, but I am a good editor, so if anyone has a yen to be involved in daily cartoon production but hopless with a pencil let me know.
I also apologise for the Far Side link - it's not a link to a very informative site, but a link to where you can buy his DVDs.
I hardly think Gary Larson needs me to direct more cash his way but I'm being lazy and can't be bothered digging up a more useful site.
at 2:04 AM
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Went and saw Million Dollar Baby with a pal Saturday night.
It was pretty good - she bawled for the last 40 minutes (I did a little but not as much).
The thing I found most fascinating was watching Clint, who is still a very fit, tall shitkicker of a man look so old.
All the musclework was there, but the elastin in his skin meant that his flesh was hanging loose all over.
The body of a much stronger man in the skin of an old bloke.
A bit like a basset hound.
I also enjoyed listening to Clint and Morgan Freeman gripe at each other with their croaky old voices.
It was sometimes hard to distinguish between the two.
Sounded very much like Tom Waits chatting to himself.
Anyway - it's not a bad movie at all, and Clints a pretty good film maker, and if you're a sook then you'll be undoubtedly moved by the whole thing.
at 10:40 PM
Friday, April 15, 2005
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Cross hatching is one of the basic, bog standard skills any good illustrator should have.
Until recently I've only had a vague shot at it - and not really that effective.
Although I'm still not that good, and I still don't completly understand how to make it work properly, I'm getting better.
I've posted this image specifically because after finishing it my brain said, "Yeah, good work, that's nearly right".
This happened once a little earlier in the year so this is the third time in my life I feel I've lived up to my chosen nomenclature of "cartoonist".
at 10:58 PM
There is, in Launceston, a lovely restaurant called Pierres.
Despite the fact that the decor hasn't changed in the place for 30 odd years, it still looks remarkably modern.
The food is great.
On their wall they have a mural.
Whenever I've made their commercials (I make TV commercials for a living) I've photgraphed the mural and incorporated it in the ad.
They have been rabbiting on for ages about having the characters from the mural populate the cafe and move around such.
I was happy to provide this service and was especially excited to hear they'd found the woman who had originally painted the mural - I wasn't keen on trying to copy her style.
Of course what's happened is that she didn't want to have anything to do with the place, the mural or any new artwork.
So I'm stuck bastardising her rather lovely style.
I feel pretty bad doing it, but I don't really have much of a choice.
Above is a detail from her original mural (the top image) and my cheeseball ad bizz version of her characters (bottom image).
at 12:52 AM
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
My best friend in the world is a small dog called Ella.
She's a jack russel chiahouhou cross.
Black and tan, looks very much like a miniature doberman.
She's had several major injuries over the years, the first of which was when she was run over.
She was seemingly unscathed after a stationwagon went over her (front wheels then back).
After a few days we took her back to the vet and she was in fact a little scathed - her diaphragm had split and all her arse end organs had squeezed into her chest cavity, collapsing her lunch.
She was operated on and all was fine.
A couple of weeks afer the op I had to bring her in to have her stitches out.
Unknown to us, she had picked them out herself over the last week (I didn't even notice!!!).
When we popped her up on the table it was slightly embarassing and Ella clearly thought it was very funny.
at 6:36 AM
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
This is another "painting" done in the program Painter.
Is it style or laziness that I use it so often?
I'm hoping it's laziness to be honest (and I'm pretty sure it is).
As much as I love digital illustration there is often a sameness about a lot of it, driven by the technology and not by the artist.
Adobe Illustrator is great for reproducing retro style illustration simply because of it's functionality, but it also means a great deal of the work produced by this software looks similar.
Perhaps I'm just making excuses for a lack of talent and success.
at 11:20 PM
Monday, April 11, 2005
Today's caricature is the result of a conversation had during the production/sales weekly meeting.
Andrew Denton (above) is an Australian humourist and interviewer.
He is an extremely quick witted fellow and highly intelligent.
His current interview show Enough Rope, is a quirky and entertaining program where he speakes to celebrities and every day folks as well.
There are transcripts of all his interviews on the site all of which are a great read.
His interviews rarely tip toe around important issues, yet he is not a ball busting current affairs style journo.
So, to the meeting.
There is a certain type of person in this world who is by no means a bad person, or an evil person, but they are dead end people.
By this I mean that they have decided that they already know everything they need to know, they feel they have enough thoughts in their heads and require no more input from the world.
Last night they presented a great interview with the extremely scruffy and highly articulate Sir Bob Geldof.
They talked about live aid, his children and other aspects of his colourful life.
Vanessa (the other producer here) and I thought it was terriffic.
The sales team decided that Bob Geldof was obviously some sort of drug addict and therefore not worth hearing out, and that Andrew was a softcock and clearly too intelligent for them to cope with.
It's made me a little cranky I must admit - dealing with people who can but wont broaden their minds, and not only that, but look upon those who do as being weird and strange.
Well that's my whinge for this morning.
I'm extremely pleased with my drawing of Andrew Denton.
He's another one of these people with cranky eyebrows that make him a little hard to make look personable.
at 11:09 PM
I'm a big fan of Talking Heads, but I'm an even bigger fan of David Byrnes solo material.
It's pointless rattling on about his work to anyone who knows him but for those people who really like music and don't know of him, look him up.
His website is wonderful and anyone who enjoys a challenging and engaging read should visit his journal - which is wonderful.
There's quite a bit there but it's well worth heading back to the beginning and going through until now.
Despite the fact that I prefer his later material - his persona on the live Talking Heads concert is ripe for caricature, so that's what I've created here.
at 4:58 AM
Sunday, April 10, 2005
There are times when you can put pen to paper, paintbrush to canvas or stylis to Wacom tablet and via some miracle get exactly the image you want.
Like it's been drawn before and you're just tracing over it.
And not just a good drawing, but everything that you personally like in one of your drawings; it's balanced, good lines, plenty of personality, it looks like you drew it (or whatever it is that you think makes a successful drawing).
Other times you can bash away for hours, make some nice sketches, but not produce anything especially exciting.
I've made a bit of an attempt to put a new drawing on this blog whenever I post, or at least pluck one out of my archives.
Is it an accident that the above drawing has turned out so pleasing (to me I mean, not neccessarily any other bugger)?
If you have a style of your own (or a least a style that's an amalgamation of everything you've been stealing from for years) then your work is a bit like having a signature.
A personal stamp that's yours alone (or again, from wherever you've been stealing).
It's nice when you're able to sign your name nicely innit?
at 10:49 PM
There is endless debate regarding traditional image making (drawing, chemical photography etc) versus digital imaging.
Is one better than the other?
Does the issue come from "traditional" artists who think that the computer makes talent too accessible? Or that it means that others can magically produce images it took themselves 30 years to learn?
Or a million other reasons...
I'm not sure if there's any resolution to the issue, but I'm quite prepared to say that I feel a genuine pang of guilt when I produce a digital image in a traditional style (see above).
As mentioned before, I'm fairly impatient when it comes to waiting for paint to dry, so this digital format suits me as I don't have to wait.
On the other hand when I do complete a "real" painting I have an enormous sense of pride and accomplishment when I am done.
It feels more like real work.
Perhaps the issue with me is that digital images (in my case) are a little more disposable, and perhaps even cheap, and that I have some idealised concept that painting and drawing using real pens and paint is somehow noble and more important.
Then you have a chap like Brad Bird who is a terrific animated film maker (quite possibly the best at the moment) who took a team of traditional 2D animators and took them to Pixar to make The Incredibles - which is one of the best animated movies ever.
Everything in that movie is "noble and important" yet it's all digital.
The debate is interesting if you're a four eyed, squinting animation type dork like me, but not too important to anyone else...
at 3:07 AM
Friday, April 08, 2005
It has taken me almost the entire day to post the Teen Jugs image and comment below.
Bloggerbot has been playing complete silly buggers as has my Hello image poster.
What a fucking debacle.
Periangel put me onto Photobucket and that's been mostly ok.
I shall be back after the weekend with more fun and games.
at 5:29 AM
I have a gripe to make about television.
I feel I am particularly suited to whining about television as I work in it.
I'm going to start out by telling everyone, turn off your television, don't watch it, it's evil (except for Futurama and Mythbusters).
By all means watch a DVD, but general programming - stay away.
Having said that however...
I was channel flicking between movies last night (The Black Hole and Rushmore) and I caught a promo for the show called The OC.
The promo tantalised me with the very exciting notion of "girl on girl action".
Now I've never seen more than about 4 minutes of the OC in one sitting.
From what I've seen all the woman on that show have pretty much the same build (see illustration above) which is not something that I find particularly saucy, BUT girl on girl action on prime time TV?!?! For free!!!
What more can a single male cartoonist ask for (apart from some nice hot press fabriano paper, new ink and some sort of real life girlfriend).
Did I get my girl on girl action???
No I did not.
One skinny girl took off her shirt in front of a slightly less skinny girl and that was it.
Turn off the tv people.
Go read a book or walk the dog.
at 5:28 AM
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
As a creative person one of the problems I face is that as I have a job that requires me to be creative for other people, I often find I use all my art energy for others.
As I've mentioned before on this blog, in the 6 weeks I spent unemployed earlier in the year I managed to get a whole stack of great work done.
I've been re-employed for about a month now and my output of what I consider "real work" that is, work I've created for myself, has pretty much dried up.
I was a bit fretful about this for a while then I remembered my university days.
I had a terrific lecturer called Steve who would always tell anyone stuck with ideas to go grab a bottle of ink and some sticks and see what you could come up with.
Well I did that last night, and while the image has not yet been resolved, I'm very happy with it so far.
It may take several more revisions until it's right (I don't tend to do rough drawings - just empty the image out of my pen onto the page).
The image I've included with todays post has nothing to do with the rather nice stick and ink drawing I did last night.
at 10:41 PM
Tove Jansson was a Finnish author/illustrator who had an enormous influence on my own work.
She's not that well known outside Europe, but is most famous for her Moomintroll books.
She's an absolutely wonderful illustator - almost all black and white pen and ink.
She illustrated the Finnish edition of Tolkien's "The Hobbit".
A very kind soul has scanned the images from that book (and others) here.
I believe that the Tolkien found inspiration in Finish folklore for his Middle Earth material, so it's really very interesting to see what a native of the country has produced.
The imagery is quite different to any other interpretations of the book I've seen.
The traditional Scandinavian trolls and goblins and whatnot are wonderful.
Her version of Gollum, in particular, is radically different any other version I know of.
Seek out the books - you can find them at Amazon.
They are great companion books to Milne's Winne the Pooh stories, and equally as insightful.
The illustration I've included has nothing to do with the wonderful work of Tove Jansson whatsoever, but I like to include a picture with my posts.
at 12:43 AM
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
I can usually tell the general time a self caricature was done by what I'm wearing and the state of my hair.
This is during my "hide my big wobbly belly with a vest" and "curly hair is hard to control so keep it short" phase.
I can also see that I've got cheeseball hearts in my eyes which I assume means I fancied someone at the time...or that I was drunk perhaps...
The other reason I was wearing a number of vests at the time was because several of my shirts were missing buttons and I was too lazy to sew new ones on.
The vest covered these nicely.
at 1:12 AM
Monday, April 04, 2005
Elvis Costello with his little piggy eyes and his frowny eyebrows is a little hard to caricature.
Any cartoonists out there will know what I mean.
Nicole Kidman is another example of someone with frowny eyebrows - always makes them look cranky or evil.
Elvis Costello does seem a little cantankerous in interviews but onstage he's electric.
I saw him last October and he was sensational.
Anyone who loves music should seek out his last CD, The Delivery Man.
It's full of great stuff.
This caricature looks vaguely like it belongs to a Hannah-Barbera cartoon from the 60s, not really an influence I'm that thrilled with but it's not a bad drawing nonetheless.
at 5:20 AM