John K telling you what you needs to know

Learn and practice. nuff said.

Character creation blog

I've just spotted this really neat blog that everyone, including me now, will know about in which the creators of characters are interviewed and their work is shown. The blog stretches over all kinds of character creation, for all kinds of animation, for concepts and for straight up illustrative means so there is plenty there to be interested in if you have any kind of incline towards character development.

I'm currently working on two briefs that might as well revolve around the same character so this blog is going to be a heavy inspiration to me and I can't wait to share it's delights.

OTT comics and Online Presence

I recently signed up to the forums of OTT comics.

The site hosts a small 'community' of amateur comic makers who collaborate on projects with different people taking care of writing, cover making, pencilling and inking. I need to introduce myself here and show some work I've already done, linking to my deviant art page which also needs updating.

Work Experience

Kaloo kalay! I have managed to organise some work experience with production company Masspro Productions in Hartlepool. Now, I have to sort out a gap in my timetable that I can work in, preferably for a couple of intense weeks.

My hope, is to create a show reel using the content I generate working for them and then couple that with the work I'm already accumulating and then try for some kind of placement at Quiros Entertainment who do alot of animation production and who are also based in Hartlepool.

Progress #2: The story continues!

- I've contacted 'Katy' from illustrator's collaborative 'Peepshow' after getting a callout request from her concerning a want for illustrators in Yorkshire to form a collaborative group but.. like a good few of fellow students, I've heard nothing back from her so far. Hmm.. I'll keep posted on this one. This was the mail I sent her:

Hi there Katy, My name is Will, a visual communication student at leeds art college and I recieved your call for illustrators in Yorkshire who are interested in forming a collective. After visiting the peepshow website and being impressed by the work there, I'm keen to get a bit of information on your project and am I right in assuming that you were asking for members for an entirely new group? Thanks for your time Katy, Yours, Will Campbell x

I think the mail was short, friendly and to the point.

UPDATE: As of the 27th of April I've still not heard anything so I think I can say that communication process didn't turn out well.

- I missed 'Best Joined Up', not realising what it was despite apparantly being told lots of times and probably subsequently missed out on any job opportunities stemming from meeting illustrators or those seeking illustrators there. Didn't help that I had this really rubbed in my face but.. still my own fault. What an idiot I am.. I whine for help with finding work then I miss things like that.

UPDATE: To clarify, Best Joined Up is a regular event (occuring fortnightly) through which illustrators meet and draw all over some giant boards. I did attend one a few weeks ago as shown here
and here

As you can see I had a jolly good laugh when it got going but I didn't get any job ops or anything. This is for a couple of reasons I think. 1, I didn't plan what I was going to draw and basically made a bit of a sporadic mess using CHARCOAL PENCILS for some reason ?? 2. I didn't push hard enough to talk to many others when I was there apart from pretty much everyone in this photoraph and the photographer. Tsk tsk, need to bring something I've done from one of my sketch books like I saw a fair many people doing so that I can get a bit of confidence going.

- I storyboarded and created characters for a friend's animation about her time in thailand. We came up with the idea of a dog she saw telling the narrative by walking about Bangkok and eating pretty much everything that got in its way. Here are a few of the manequins I made that she used in the animation which is still in the process of making:

UPDATE: The animation which we had storyboarded has still not been made so unless I knock some of it together for my showreel it probably won't ever see the light of day which is sad.
Here is the story board that we made and that I worked off for the puppets.

In this board we see an introduction to the city, the emergence of the dog who then begs for food from a fat child and then proceeds to devour him before grinning, satisfied with the feast and then belching a stinking cloud which acts as a transition to some smokers Jess saw in a cafe in Bangkok. There isn't an inciting incident to the 'narrative'; its more of a progression of events. This is pretty typical of what I do; maybe I need to work on this so that an actual storyline can be traced and followed by the audience rather than a maybe pointless set of actions on screen. For this instance though, I believe this form works well.

What do you want to do??

I've noticed that I've not actually talked about what I want to do; a good foundation for building a means to achieve aforementioned desires. And I guess some stab at why I have these ever so tantalising urges wouldn't hurt either.

Honestly, there are a few things I would like to do. I enjoy drawing characters, I enjoy painting and I enjoy animating. I'm also fond of hand-madey crafts like PCs made of knitted wool or home engineered steam machines but this traverse into 3D is something I've only had limited experience with and I'd rather focus on what I'm good at. The thing is with crafts, it's having a good idea, and lokoing like you can exuectute it sometimes rather than being able to perfect a piece; so the impact of the idea is more important. This is also true in animation sometimes so they work well together. Anyway, so as a focus, animation and illustration are my chosen areas, in both hand drawn images and hand made set pieces using stop motion.

I guess in terms of applying what I like doing to a professional context, I'd like to animate or illustrate without ending in purely commercial work, like by working for MTV or Orange for example as sure.. I'd be getting paid work and thats great but, I'm not doing anything thats.. got a meaningful purpose. I don't want to ultimately work for a company which is focused on getting someone to buy something off them rather than tell them a meaningful story or give them something to smile or think about. It sounds really.. greedy and naive of me to think like this but I'm passionate about just working on meaningful experiences; really pouring my heart and love and bones into them without the end product being to sell baked beans. I want to make something people are going to become enamoured with or.. express themselves about. I just want to create and be able to live off that.
I would work in tv/film land if it was on projects I cared about like.. Aardman animations, or on films like Persepolis. I'm not against making money though , or anyone else working on anything else; please do so. I would like to work with bands on music video creation.

Reading back over all that. seems very up my own arse 'standing on a pedestal' spiel. I think.. that I should look at the bigger picture sometime and maybe realise that by doing these other jobs that I would gain recognition and experience in the industry. But if I can gain those properties without having to work for Walkers or mccains oven chips, that would be dandy.

I need to look at studio's I can do a little editing at or something. I feel a bit stuck at the moment trying to figure out where to go. Somewhere up north in Yorkshire or Newcastle/Hartlepool area where I can work on illustrative or animation projects would be great.

Baseball leather and fur.

I'm not sure if I've heard his name before but I most definatly seen some of Greg Simkin's surrealist painting work and am better for it.

A few of things strike me about his work. Lush and well thought out colour, tactile texturing, brilliantly emotional characters and a twisted knack for body frames and being able to blend creatures and shapes together.
His imagination is deeply inspiring.. -starts doodling-

How well used is that frame?? So ornate but powerful.

Progress #1

The point of this blog is to serve as a record of my first steps into the professional world in the creative industry, the work that has influenced me as a visual communicator and reflect on this all introspectively.
Thinking about it, I don't think that I've managed to record much of the information really required here so I'll list what I've done this year so far and then build on each point mentioned over time; on a daily basis would be nice wouldn't it? Pff.. We'll see.

So, lets look at what I've done so far eh?:

-Attended several events of the 'Cult Fiction Art and Comics" festival/exhibition in Leeds, including the exhibit at the Leeds City gallery in which I was delighted to see works like 'Palestine' by Joe Sacco and a crazy book by Travis Millard in which he kills countless clones of himself in graphic detail after they defile his life. Touching stuff.
I also attended this workshop as part of the whole shindig in which comic maker and fancy self-made jumper-wearer Doctor Simpo rapped with a small group of eager beavers about the trials and tribulations of life in the underground comic circuit. Honestly, the 'baked beans for dinner' lifestyle didn't appeal to me but it felt neat to see someone who was doing what they enjoyed with their time and earning at least a bit of money for their trouble. In the workshop, the good doctor showed us several ways of precurring a feasable way of living through goverment or lottery funding for art, pure mass production of product for selling or even by seeking funding, refuge and colaborative back-up in a comic-only funding 'charity' in the US which is focused on breathing life into the independant comic scene. Because I'm a finicky bastard, I probably would hesitate to go full time into independant comics unless I could procure a little more financial stability.
Oh, I also did my part and handed out a poop load of flyers to people and in places like the Hyde Park picture house that I volunteer out in an attempt to get as much relevant public attention on the festival. My heart = at least gold plated.

- To get my illustration mindy going, for the past brief I constructed and printed a book of illustrations about dogs that I've seen, drawn and (looking back on now but not intentionally at the time) painted in photoshop kinda sketchily. I guess it adds to the impulsiveness of the book's mood; its definatly not meant to be taken seriously. Apart from the support of Dr Simpo's words, my influences behind the book are.. David Shrigley with 'Who I am and What I want' , Jeffrey Brown and his various observational-based comics and my own dogs because they're quirky little freaks and I loves them for that. The book's message is.. confused. I think I over complicated the book and it appears as a direct and cryptic stream of noise almost from my head onto the page. Maybe some people would like that but I like clean or.. at least slightly easier to understand messages and this is something I need to work on. Alot of my illustrative practice since this has been pretty much focused on communicating as quickly and simply as possible.
What I like about the book is that, it has some decent illustrations in it and its something I can actually send copies of to employers or just have in my portfolio. I would really like a more simple piece to do the same thing with though so I can have some real confidence when I slap people in the face with it. Hi-YA!

they live

Directors like John Carpenter and David Cronenburg are a big factor in why I do any kind of creative work; being inspired through fear and awe by films like "The thing" and "the fly" when I was about 9. Films like this make me nostalgic for old style special effects which were more believeable than CG ones but are sadly not seeing as much action in films as they used to.


From Gas Powered games, comes 'Demigod', (from what i've seen) an rts/rpg hybrid, possibly akin to Black & White from lionhead. I got the news from in which Clayton Ashley gives a more detailed first glance of the game so head over there for news but I'm just very into the giant onyx demigod robot look. Reminds me of the iron giants from final fantasy.