Should you stumble across this site… welcome… it’s very much a work in progress, I guess I should have it on supersecret mode or something but I’m too lazy to work out how to do that. Anyway if you come back on October 6 2010 I hope to have sorted out the blog mechanics and stylesheets and whatnot…!
The first page of the latest Magellan chapter starts in New York and, since it’s always good to kick off with an establishing shot, I thought I’d stick in a bit of actual skyline rather than some random building. Since I’ve never been to New York (let alone the United States) I did a little bit of hunting around for some reference shots – these days the Google Images search makes this a rather quick and painless process.
Of course, the search returned a number of skylines that were pre-2001 and therefore include the World Trade Centre. It got me thinking – Magellan is set in similar world to ours but its history started to diverge around the 1930s due to all those superheroic goings-ons. Would 9/11 have happened in the Magellan universe? Probably not. So should my depiction of the skyline include the twin towers? I sought some feedback from fellow Graphic Smashers and the Magellan forum.
Some suggested the towers could have been previously demolished by a super battle – which was plausible considering the number of structures routinely destroyed in comics like the X-Men, et al. The general consensus was that it would be fine as long as it wasn’t done in poor taste – although Reinder suggested drawing four towers! I did like that idea but in the end I found an amazing panorama of the skyline – here is a tiny, tiny, tiny, teensy version of it…
The original file was huge! I chose to draw the area shaded red… and, even though it is only a small fraction of the total area, there was still an amazing amount of detail involved. It took forever to draw and colour – and I’m pretty happy with the final result although the angle to the ground is a bit out of whack in a couple of the buildings…
Remarkably I got positive responses from a couple of readers (one a fellow Smasher) who reside in New York. Apparently this is most likely a view from the Empire State Building. The scale of the city is actually a bit beyond my Sydney based brain’s capacity to fully take it all in. I’ve certainly seen New York in plenty of movies and TV shows before but not quite like this. New York looks awesome and I will get there one day.
One thing I like about cartooning is that it gives me ample opportunity to learn new things, and not just about drawing but about places, people and cultures.
The Ledger Awards “have been organised to acknowledge excellence in Australian comic art and publishing” – which probably makes them like the Eisners, Aussie style. Anyhow, Magellan has scored a nomination in the Jury Selection for ‘Webcomic or Comic Strip of the Year’ (which means 5 venerable cartoonists get to look at it and poke it with a stick and decide if it is worthy of that distinction). Surprisingly, I’ve also scored a nomination in the ‘Talent Deserving Wider Recognition’ category – which is a voter poll (that is, popularity contest) – this nomination cites me for both Magellan and Loxie & Zoot.
While I am over the moon about both of these nods I am also quaking in my boots. Of the two assessment methods I don’t know which one fill me with greater dread. The problem is that I suffer from the standard artist inferiority complex… as soon as my work is really out there in the public domain (by which I mean, someone says – “Hey, everyone check this out – is this great or not?”) I want to run away and stick my head in the sand. On the other hand, I also suffer from the standard artist superiority complex… of course my stuff is great and should win! Twice!!! (mwahahahah!) When the two complexes collide – look out! At least it isn’t too long until a decision is made – the Awards will announced on January 26.
Here’s the list and voting form. Voting appears to be open all but closes January 23 (Aussie time, we’re a day ahead)… so, should you feel the inclination to cast a vote my way, that would be hugely neat! 😀
Worked on the “cover” art for Chapter 4 of Magellan today. Technically it’s a bit silly to talk about covers for a webcomic… just what are the covering anyway? I never used to do them but the publishing system used by Graphic Smash places a large “Featured today” image on the home page randomised from the titles updating on any given day – and the image is certainly large enough to qualify as a cover in my mind, so that’s what it is to me and judging by most of the art produced by the other Smashers (as we call ourselves) it is to them too.
Quite honestly, I suck pretty badly at cover art, or at least I really did when I started to do them. The way I see it, a comic book cover has to encapsulate the story contained within, up the ante, draw the reader in and not give anything away all at the same time. This chapter is titled ‘Bad Karma’ – a reference to Karma Joffe, a key character, fairly secondary up until now but pretty much centre-stage for this story. I thought I had a good idea for the cover, but once I sketched it up it wasn’t all that good, neither was the second one I scratched out. Anyway, long story short, inspiration combined with desperation and I came up with something that was a total blast to draw and (IMHO) looks pretty excellent (at any rate, I’m very happy with it).
Black and white art, followed by colour art…
Recreational Activities of the Smart & Brainy is a fairly light-hearted piece featuring Rochelle Kwan (a super-intelligent cadet at the Magellan Justice Academy) and the super-super intelligent superheroine known as Mindmistress. In it they get to relax and play a few games – brainy style!
Al had originally teamed the two up ages ago in this fantastic fan-art and I’ve been meaning to return the favour for ages.
The punch-line wasn’t immediately evident when I first started to sketch this out… I wanted them to end up playing something that was “more fun than brainy” but I couldn’t help but put a “brainy” twist on it. It was quick and easy to draw and lots o’ fun.
BTW – Mindmistress is seen winning in 2 of 3 activities, I had to let Rochelle be seen to be winning in at least one thing!