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i've been working my ass off since the moment january started, but i find myself in a weird limbo now. having finished off alot of the projects i was trying to get done, i am currently waiting to start some proper paying work, which will commence just as soon as two sets of lawyers can communicate and sort my contracts out. it's tiresome to be honest, having to wait for legalities to be sorted out, when i'm itching to start work.
anyway in this downtime i was planning to start ubu bubu 3, but today i stumbled on this great piece of kochi art. somebody drawing based on kochi, which has always been a work in progress this long, was pretty humbling to me, and i realised if i had to be waiting around to start serious work, i could maybe try and finish kochi in that time.
people often ask when kochi's gonna be finished (which again is pretty humbling, when i don't mention it that much) and i always say i need two weeks to finish it. i'm going to try starting today. whether i'll get it done i don't know, i might not have enough time, or i might need to get on other work. but by dammit i'm going to try and wrap this puppy up.
to be honest it's a bit tricky. i haven't drawn any kochi for probably a year. and it's such an intricate style, quite removed from what i've been doing since, that returning to it will always carry with it a worry for me ; the last ten pages of the book will look out of sync from the rest of it. and what i drew today looked a bit awkard, for sure. but i think it'll be okay, actually sliding back into pencil drawing felt really great, and i don't think it'll take too much practice to get back to the level i was working at.
i always planned this to be a 60-odd page book, but having reread through whats done i think i'd rather stretch it all out. give each drawing its own page, instead of trying to 'float' them together as if they were panels. fact is i'm proud of this work, and i'd like each drawing (of which there are probably a coupla hundred) to be given it's own frame.
i guess we'll see. maybe this comic'll actually see the light of day.
it's been a while since i've worked on Kochi, even longer since i've updated this. sorry about that. here's the situation, i got hmm maybe 40 pages done and finished. i still have to write the last scenes of the comic, and i'm guessing i've got maybe 20 pages left to draw. some of the pages will be splash pages towards the end, i'll be trying to not squeeze so much into them for the sake of pacing.
all my spare time this last month or two has been spent drawing the Bohda Te comic. i was dividing my time between it and Kochi, but decided it would be better to concentrate on one, get it done, then get onto the other. So once Bohda is done (maybe 10 pages left, but quicker to draw than Kochi) i'll get straight onto Kochi.
it sucks taking a break from it, but to be honest i think the distance has been healthy. i'm still real keen to get it done, andcoming up with new ideas for it all the time. what has surprised me, even though i haven't been working on it for a while, is how supportive people have been of Kochi, and how much they say they're looking forward to it. obviously this is a buzz for me, and only makes me want to work on it more. so thank you! it's very appreciated!
right, enough talking. i need to get back to finishing bohda te, or having a nap. one or the other.
this morning i got up at 7, checked a few emails all bleary eyed like, then tried to work out how i'd get back to working on Kochi. despite getting so enthusiastic about the things i'm working on to the point my head could quite easily burst in goo bubbles, this is tempered by a real difficulty in actually pulling myself up to my desk and starting. once i've started, it's fine. but getting there takes the effort.
first thing in the morning it's harder to be all motivated, especially working at home, when that extra half hour in bed is just in the other room. sometimes i really do wish i had an office or somewhere to go to work, much though working at home is a luxury, it can be a real poison to the enthusiasm. anyway, the point of this rambling was, every now and then i get fired up by something i come across on the net, and this makes me want to be drawing comics so bad. often i'll read reviews of other people's comics, or see other works, or whatever. it's not a 'wow i really admire their work' kinda thing, it is, to be blunt, a 'dammit they're doing their stuff, i should be putting more stuff out too'. maybe it's a competitive edge, i dunno. whatever, it does the job, and makes me all whoopla and working.
this morning what poked me into the day was this interview with lawrence etherington, who is one half of the creative partnership known as blink twice . i came to know their work through meeting Robin, brother of lawrence and writer for the comics. i think it's fair to say they're one of the foremost self-published comic makers in the UK, they have a huge following and a wealth of material printed, all under their own steam. plus, they do all the convention circuits and self-promotion a comic type would need to do. all the stuff..well..i'm going to need to do. it's intimidating from the outside, but i'm hoping i can tap them for a little advice.
anyway the interview turns out to be very interesting, for anyone who's self-publishing comics or just reading them. for me, i listened to it while pencilling half a page of Kochi, and it only served to remind me why i'm trying to do this meself. because i'm enthusiastic about what i do.
also, lawrence plugs Bear. obviously that has nuuuuthin to do with any reason you should go listen :p
so today i started back on Kochi after too long away, pencilling kids being injured, largely.
i think this is random enough to not be giving any plot away, so it's safe to post it up here. but yes. things are starting to move around in the world of Kochi, and it's all the more fun to draw.
damn. now i need to think about the conventions next year. if i'm going to make a go of this i should really get to some, but will i have a comic ready in time? i'll be happy if this first issue is done by the end of the year, but then there's all the hooha of actually getting it printed..
for my final year dissertation at art college, i wrote about the Tank Girl movie. i analysed it, compared it to the comics, whatever. me, i thought i'd done a good job, but i got a crap grade for it. clearly they weren't ready for such a highbrow subject matter :p
anyway part of my issue with the film was the way they had reduced what was an anarchist heroine into the hollywood mould by reducing her to shouting 'no...please no' when soldiers were shooting up her house. or she was crying about the kid. or something, i forget, it was a while ago i saw it. anyway my point was, while in small parts the movie got things right, they should never have made her into 'movie actress' by giving her lines like 'no...please no'. that ruined the whole tone for me, and made me physically cringe.
i mention this because i'm reaching a similar point myself. events in Kochi are spiralling upwards, and the tone of the story has changed. as a result alot of the characters are responding to the situation in exclamations, and i find i'm making alot of them say 'no!!' when something goes wrong. i'm loathe to do this, because it makes me cringe. but i'm finding myself having to think about what they would say when confronted by the things they're dealing with, and anyone in their place would scream 'no' from time to time.
i don't know why i have such a problem with the word.
maybe whats also worried me is how this comic would be labelled. i'm presuming it'll get tagged 'action comedy' or something dumb like that, which is missing the point. it's not supposed to be funny, nor is it supposed to be action-y, to me it's just meant to be sweet and fun to read. the same was true of Bear, which was never meant to be funny, or alternative, or whatever. i didn't sit down to write funny stuff. i just wrote what was in my head, and if it was amusing or a bit demented, then great. but to me Bear was always sweet, same as Kochi is. not funny. at all.
mneh. anyway, next week i start work on Space Raoul, so Kochi takes a back seat. although yesterday was the first day in a long time i actually got to spend the whole day drawing Kochi, and i loved every minute of it. so i'll be trying to find the time where possible.
oh also, apologies but from here i'm going to have to be even more vague about the story than before, lest i give it away. i can't even show many pictures, because they'll show whats happening, something i'm keen to protect. so instead, here's a girl being sick.
it's important to the storyline. no, really.
hmm well okay so it didn't work out quite as well as i planned. i come to the point now where i really need to return to doing paid-work. taking the summer off to work on Kochi has been great, although i was hoping i'd have at least finished the first issue by the end of it. but i'd like to spend the most of my time doing work for the Dandy (it's fun AND it pays my rent. the novelty!), and as such Kochi will have to only have a coupla days a week put aside for it.
it's a shame, but yeah, i don't have the luxury of not earning money while i do my own work. as it is, i've finished 38 pages of Kochi so far, so i guess that's not such bad going. the only problem is i fear there's still quite a way to go. i've written most of it, but there's still another 10 or 20 pages left to write, let alone draw. and i've come to the stage where the drawings have taken on a new level of detail, as new features are introduced, so it's taking me longer to do each page.
also for the last week or so i've been working on bohdate.com, so i've really been away from it for a while. all of which has combined to knock a bit of the motivation out of me. the realising there's still so much to do, and then further whole issues after that, suddenly seems like a very steep uphill climb. and that i'll be doing it in my spare time, rather than concentrating days on it.
yeah. i'm not inclined to get back to work on it. but i've done so much by now, that will ensure that i don't just quit, because i'd hate to see it all go to waste. all the same, when i start again tomorrow (and then stop again for the next 3 days due to other commitments), i'll be bitching for most of the time.
it sucks. but i'm proud of this thing, and i want it to be seen. just got to keep my lazy ass fired up about it.
i think i mentioned before, i started sketching out pencil sketches for Kochi over a year ago. then, i didn't know what i was doing, i had a vague idea of doing a comic in pencil and without panels, about kids, but really i was searching for some kinda direction to go with it. as such i drew lot of just random pages. this would be one of them.
ps. thanks for the help about bees! i've started the insect drawing properly today. it's gone in a, um, interesting direction...
Kochi revolves around insects, in a way i can't really talk about with giving the whole shabang away. but they're a continuing feature in it, partly because they interest me. i really sucked at science at school, but when we had to draw insects i had the most fun and did far more work than i was supposed to. i found something i thought i could do. i think i've always wanted somewhere i could draw them again, and Kochi is where i'm planning to litter them. i make no claim to be a natural history illustrator, i draw dumb things with big heads, but i like drawing bugs, so thats good enough reason for me to inflict them on you :p
for this issue, i've been trying to create a new insect for my own purposes. it's been harder than i thought. i have the illustrated guide next to me, and i've been working through it practicing endless abdomen and thorax, trying to get something that works and yet still fits into the style of what i'm doing. the problem is i draw FAT, everyone i draw has a fat round head, chubby arms, even the scenery tends to be fat trees rather than thin ones. that's just what i lean towards in the way i draw. it's been tricky allying this to insects, who tend to be thin and sinewy.
actually, it's been a pain in the arse. i've been working on sketches for this insect for over a year. it started when i pitched a show idea to TV types, and one of the designs in there was a giant robot insect. it involved a level of detail i wasn't used to, but i think it worked pretty well. anyway they didn't buy it, but i'd wanted to use the basis for something else. my influence for its body shapes was a book on graffiti, where i'd seen some designs with great robot shapes which i'd tried to play off.
since then i've been collecting bugs in empty cassette holders, cushioned by cotton wool. i've picked bees off the pavement and carried them home, scooped up huge strange beetles. all already dead, i should add. they've all been absent minded research, trying to channel my brain into the right direction.
anyway, i've come to a point now where i'm going to have to write the last third of the comic, ready to start drawing it. so obviously i want to know what my insect looks like since it plays a big part here, and how it looks could influence how the story goes. i've spent most of my time working through weird, chiselled, thorny insects, but today i flipped it round and ended up with a chubby bug. actually it came from sketching out a bee
amegilla acraensis! impress your buddies!
bees underpin the whole basis of Kochi issue one (have i mentioned this?), so it was only fitting i guess that i should end up back with them for the final act. anyway i took this drawing and adapted it, and hopefully the end result works. if it doesn't, then i'm tipping these bugs out of their cassette cases and stamping on every f'in one of them.
to be perfectly honest, i think a part of me wants to do this comic to show i can draw more than just the chunky black simplicity of Bear. it's a style i enjoy, but i didn't want to be limited to it.
so there you go. my friend bard called me a beedophile, and maybe he's right. even if he's not, i'm nicking the word and claiming it as my own, because i think it's funny.
up yours bard :p
ps. there are robots in Kochi too. i'll mention them sometime.
this is something that won't appear in the book, so i'll show it now, otherwise it'll never be seen and i always think that's a shame. it's of tubby midway through the argument i'm drawing them all in at the moment. he's in a sailor suit. as you do. this sketch was meant to be him looking despondant and confused, but it wasn't working. also i didn't want to put a mouth on him, but the space round his cheeks and chin is too big, so it'd look weird without a mouth in it somewhere. so instead of working away at it, i decided to leave it out. it's not really needed anyway, it was just an extra panel.
also i haven't drawn him for a while, so i found it a little tricky getting him right. with all these characters it's the first few pencil strokes that are the most important. the circle for the head, the lines on their face to denote which direction they're looking, and lastly the lump for a body. the head especially, while i can't claim to have put so much effort into each character that their head is acutely designed and individual, there is definitely a subconscious difference when i draw each of them. i have to know who i'm drawing, to draw the head outline. tubby is the most obvious example, his head is slightly bigger, slightly wider.
i think all of the characters might be getting a bit cuter, as i figured they might when i first started this. it's natural for them to evolve as your brain gets used to drawing them. i don't think it's detrimental in this case, it's just rounding them off, as it were. it's what they're wearing that's bugging me, toward the end they're all wearing costumes and while that's fun to draw at first, it gets boring by the 7th or 8th time you draw them. so i have in the back of my mind how their costumes can be altered, torn, lost, broken, throughout the pages, so their appearance is always changing, thus keeping it interesting to draw. you may note this when you come to read the comic. it's not inventiveness on my part, it's becoming easily bored :p
the kid in the panda suit, for example. i'm going to have to fuck that outfit up soon, it's becoming like a millstone round my neck...
apart from that, i haven't done much since last thursday, maybe a couple of pages, which sucks. mostly due to the final workings on the bohdate website, just getting it all ready. regardless, yet again i have to make myself knuckle down to get this comic done. keeping the momentum going is the most important thing. soon as i lose that, it's fucked.
i'm not sure how i'm going to find time to do a second issue, other work is looking to pile up alot towards the end of the year and keep going after that. i'd like to say i could continue doing this comic in my spare time, but in reality i suck at working any time after 6pm. my brain switches off. but with any luck i'll find a space to keep working on kochi, it's still fun at the moment.
it occurred to me that instead of doing a 56 page first issue, as i was thinking of, maybe i could split it up into two issues. that might be fun. but then, the first issue wouldn't have much going on in it, and it'd only be the second issue where the story started properly. i dunno. it's an idea.
anyway, since this is a journal, i realise i'm not so great at answering comments (though obviously they're all appreciated). if you have any questions about Kochi, about the printing of it, or the drawing of it, or i don't know, anything, leave it here. it'd be fun to communicate ^-^
...is a very thin one. personally i see alot of artists who i think draw pretty lazily, but then again who am i to comment on what they've developed as their style. effort doesn't really come into it in illustration, comics or otherwise, it all comes down to whether what you're doing works or not. and thats not something you can pin down, it's just a 'thing' about it. obviously drawing well is an advatange, but for all the poor bastards who spend days labouring over intricate pages of art, you gotta see the injustice at other artists pissing out quick sketches as finished art.
it's not something that gives me too much vitriol, if it were i'd have bitched about it alot more before. the reason i mention it here though is that i've been well aware as long as i'm drawing kochi, that some pictures are looser than others. it's something, in my case, i adopted from japanese comics, where some panels were drawn in very simple line doodle, in stark contrast to the elaborate scenes elsewhere on the page. i like it, i think it breaks it up and makes sure you don't get bogged down in the same stuff page after page. it's good to fuck with what you're doing every now and then.
i realise some of what i've drawn will be tagged laziness though, and thats fine. i can't lie, if i draw one scene in a very simple style for 'artistic' reasons, of course it makes my life alot easier. i am inherently lazy, it's only pushing that makes you do the things you want to do. likewise with the backgrounds, as previously stated it was a conscious decision to not draw much in the way of backgrounds, just enough to set the scene and then leave it. the last few pages i've drawn, there's an opening scene showing the field, then the rest is just characters talking on a white background. i don't want to do backgrounds all the time. it gets boring, to draw and to look at.
anyway, the example i was going to show was this, again of pandaboy (he suffers later in the comic, by the way. i'm itching to start fucking him up.)
this is him in one scene, obviously pretty quickly and loosely drawn,
hell he's even out of proportion. but the point is i think he works, especially in the context. i don't need to draw him all fancy for his purpose in this scene.
whereas later, i drew him properly,
because here he needed to be the focus, the main speaking point. i'll be drawing him properly a hell of alot in this comic, and each time alot goes into him, so i hope it makes up for every time i'm lazy...wait, every time i draw him quickly for artistic reasons...
otherwise, i'm just finishing off the last 1/6th of the 31st (i think) page, so thats okay. this is my break from doing it, typing this. i don't mean to use this journal to bitch about myself, but my feet are really killing me, and my legs. all this standing up to draw all day is starting to take its toll. my back used to lock mercilessly a few years ago when i worked like this, but i think it got used to it and so doesn't complain too much anymore. but now it's my feet. still, another hour or so to finish this page and i'll be done for the day. and then i'll go stretch my limbs by kicking children full-on in the face, or whatever the hell else it is i do...
i think somedays you just draw badly, no matter how hard you try.
today is one of those days. i've finished a page, but most of it bugs me so i've scanned it in and won't look at it again until this comic's finished. but yeah. the more you try to improve what you're drawing, the worse it looks. so i resign myself to starting again tomorrow.