Thursday, April 30, 2015

The importance of reflection

I figured I'd write this down whilst it was fresh in my mind.

These days we're always busy. All of us. It's the times we live in. Whilst my work usually encompasses the full seven days of the week, it's what i choose to do and what I love. What that does though is enable me to be a little flexible every now and again... to cut myself some slack.

Most weeks, if I'm lucky I give myself an extended lunch break on one day . Usually I pick a nice sunny day and walk down to the local cafe. During this time I 'turn off the clock'.

Why do I do this?

Because I feel allocating yourself time for reflection is important. To step back from yourself and evaluate what you have achieved, not what is still to be done. To be honest, If you're like me you spend way to much time in the 'what is to be done' phase.

This is the time I use to try and find a little bit more Bruce Banner, and get rid of a little too much Hulk.

It's funny that a conversation I had on social media triggered this thought as I sometimes feel that my social media feed can sometimes channel way too much Hulk for my liking. The conversation I had was around artists being paid and not doing work for exposure. What surprised me was that I would normally be one of the folks worked up by this topic, yet somehow, as I was in Bruce Banner mode I felt relatively calm and balanced on the subject.

It made me reflect on the fact that we cannot change people to be more how we want them. We just merely need to adapt to how we want to accept this. For me, the most liberating moment was the day that I realised I could just merely say no to any job I didn't want to do. It was like the shackles had been broken.

I hear all the time about artists not being paid what they should, people offering exposure as payment. It used to make me "Hulk out". But then I realised, just say no. Why take anymore of my time dwelling on this and making myself angry. I'd rather spend my time in a happy place doing what I love.

No I don't belittle the fact that I'm in a lucky situation where I can pick and choose, but really if the job is not offering any money and that's what you need, then don't waste a second more on it.

Tradesman don't work for free. The plumber that installed my hot water system didn't. I paid him good money cause I wanted the job done right and didn't want to skimp on quality (I hate cold showers). As artists we have to be confident in the same.

If someone doesn't want to pay for a job, then they may be the same as the person who wants the cheaper plumber (and by pay don't forgot that a person with no capital can always negotiate for joint creator owned properties as an alternative - don't belittle this if you believe in the project - this is after all potentially half rights to something they hold dear). The simple fact is that if a person doesn't value your work then they're probably not the right client. Don't worry about trying to change them, just move on.

I think about the changes and evolutions I've gone through with my own person over the years. None of them were because someone told me to, I had to work it out myself.

Now on this subject of clients with no money. This does not necessarily make them the 'villain'. Hell, I want a Lamborghini but cant afford it. I'd love for someone to give me one for free. But this in itself does not make me a bad person (Trust me I have plenty of other qualities for that!).

As artist's we all want to succeed, and it never comes fast enough, and in a lot of times, ever. That's the truth of it. All we can do is be true to ourselves and work hard. We also need to keep in mind that we are pursuing a profession and need to conduct ourselves so.

I've seen the public lynch mobs on social media go after the company that offers exposure instead of payment. I say let it go. Just say no and move on. I am a firm believer that karma comes around (if not in this life then the next). Why make yourself aggravated and unhappy when you could be spending the time making yourself even better for when the right client comes around.

And all this reflection came of my extended lunch break. A nice meal, some beautiful sunshine and some time to reflect and be happy for what I've done so far. I now feel re-energised and ready to tackle some awesome sequential pages this afternoon. Probably with more energy and vigor than if I'd just had a quick ten minute bite to eat.

So there you go. My advice, there's always some time to take a step back, regardless of how busy we are. Trust me, give it a try. You might enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sketch of the Day 45 - The Vagabond

After doing The Deep the other night for my daily sketch topic, I figured I'd try another Australian comic with The Vagabond.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sketch of the Day 44 - Homecooked Comics Festival

Alana and I had an amazing day yesterday at the Homecooked Comics Festival. It is amazing how continually we are surprised by events, the turnout, vibe and support for indie comics. We met so many great new people, had a hugely fun day and were once again stoked with how many new readers jumped on board.

This little sketch is certainly not an accurate representation of the event but we like to think that Oreo was there in spirit :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sketch of the Day 43 - The Deep

Decided to take a crack at Tom Taylor and James Brouwer's 'The Deep' for today's daily sketch.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Starcraft Commission

Had a lot of fun with this Starcraft commission. Cheating a little and constituting this as the sketch of the day :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Aussie comics on ComiXology

ComiXology​ have just revamped their ComiXology Submit page with a new 'Comics around the World' Section. Check out that Aussie section with 76 titles and growing. Do yourself a favour and check out some of these amazing books and if you're a creator get your stuff up there and show folks the kind of good stuff we are producing down here. (Keep in mind to that this doesn't even include the amazing stuff that some local folks are doing for the big international titles either!)

Sketch of the Day 42

Working on the Cintiq Companion to do up today's daily sketch.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sketch of the Day 41

It's been a bit crazy busy the last few days, so I've missed a few daily sketches. Hopefully getting back on track with this one...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Oreo and me..

Today's daily sketch is a little on the self indulgent side. It's Oreo and me (Oreo made me do it!). There's a reason for this sketch anyway, which will become clear in the days to come :)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Busy, Busy...

Have been a bit preoccupied these past couple of days as I've had a heap of work on. This has unfortunately meant that the daily sketch and From Above has been a little neglected.

That said I've also been working on a four page story for the folks at Melbourne Comics and their Project Orangutan. Its a fun little story that I've done in full color that was something a little different from those that are used to reading From Above. It was nice to work in full color too. Here's a little sneaky peak...

It's been a busy twelve months really when I look back at it, especially from a comics perspective. Obviously there's been the quarterly release of From Above, but I've also got to dabble in a few other things as well. Recently there's this little 4 pager I've written and drawn for Project Orangutan, there's a 3 page story I did the art duties for on Ben Michael Byrne's upcoming NSEW, and then I also wrote and illustrated a 5 page full color story for the upcoming horror themed Gaining Velocity. Add to that the new project I am working on at the moment with the uber talented Ryan K Lindsay, and I can look back and consider this to have been a very productive year. Oh, yeah, I forgot to add a few competition entries in the IDW ZvR comic that got my art featured in the back of ZvR Issue 3 (not quite the same as being published by IDW but hey you gotta start somewhere).

So anyway, it's back to work. The daily sketches will resume and I'll keep plugging away trying to crack this tough nut that is the comics industry. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sketch of the Day 40 - Daredevil

Seems the flavor of the moment so I thought why not! Today's daily sketch: Daredevil

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sketch of the Day 39

Did today’s daily sketch traditionally then worked over with a bit of digital treatment.

Supanova Melbourne

What an amazing weekend at Supanova Pop Culture Expo Melbourne. The whole convention and general vibe of the event was so much fun. Craig also got the chance to meet Tony Moore and totally fanboy out! We had a fantastic weekend for the book and what blew us away the most was how many new readers jumped on board. We literally sold out of every copy of issue 1 that we brought with us to the event! This really was amazing news for us. The release of issue 7 also went fantastically well and thanks so much to all the kind folks who have already sent us back such great feedback on the latest issue. Just finished up with a great dinner out with some of the fine folks behind the event and some amazing fellow creators. Thanks so much to everybody that attended and came by the stand. We were honestly sorry that it had to come to an end! - Craig and Alana 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sketch of the Day 38

Day before a convention. Prepping today but, still always time for a quick daily sketch...

Pre-Convention Nerves

I would think that I have done enough conventions now to NOT get nervous in the lead up to them. Sadly this is not the case. Doing a bit of digital sketching to keep my mind off this...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sketch of the Day 37

It's cold this morning so maybe that'e the inspiration behind today's daily sketch...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sketch of the Day 36

Today's daily sketch has just dropped in...

Sketch of the Day 35

It's been a really strange ole day. This makes me feel much better :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gabe in 3d by Damien Shanahan

Check out this kick ass 3d model and render from my awesomely talented mate, Damien Shanahan​. Man, seeing Gabe realised in 3d like this is amazing! Thanks so much, Damo! - Craig

Sketch of the Day 34 - Mad Max

Had a huge amount of fun with today's daily sketch, Mad Max. Cannot wait for the Fury Road movie to come out!!!

Sketch of the Day 33

It's a second daily sketch, but hey, it's Easter, and besides I had this idea for a drawing in my head. Happy Easter folks!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sketch of the Day 32

Today's daily sketch is a follow up thematically to the last one.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sketch of the Day 31

Didn't think I'd have time to do a daily sketch tomorrow so did up an extra one today. Gracie and Buster taking some time out...wonder what they'll "snare"?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sketch of the Day 30

Had some sequential pages to get finished yesterday so missed the daily sketch. Back on track today!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

So much exciting stuff in the works

Whenever i get a little stressed or down I usually give myself a bit of a backhand (slap! ahhh, much better) and take a step back and look at the really cool stuff that's happening.

Working on some majorly fun projects at the moment and to be honest I may combust due to not being able to show anything on them yet! :)

First off there's of course issue 8 of From Above. Doing it in the more cartoony style in full color, has really blasted some enthusiasm into me for this one. I also get to have a bit more fun with the writing too so expect lots of my usual bad puns and barely laughable humor :)

The there's the three pager I'm drawing for Ben Michael (Kranburn) Byrne. His new project NSEW has a huge roster of great artists and the work he's put into developing this world is phenomenal! I can't wait to see this book. In fact. I better actually finish my last page now I think about it! :)

I also had the awesome opportunity to write and draw a 5 page horror themed short for the next Gaining Velocity book. This was soooo much fun. Firstly I got to push myself by writing a short story (much harder than a long play story). I really really dug the challenge of this. Then on top of that I got to step outside my usual scifi of From Above and delve into some horror. In this case some small midwest town serial killer type stuff. So much fun.

And now for one of my current projects. I really cant say much at all about this other than I get the opportunity to collaborate with the amazingly talented Ryan K Lindsay (IDW, DC Vertigo, Monkeybrain). To be honest I am still in awe that he wanted to work with me. That said give it a few more weeks of dealing with me and he'll either tell me to go jump or be checked into an insane asylum :) Seriously though this project we are working on is insanely awesome. I can't wait for you folks to get your hands on it!

So that in a nutshell are some of the major projects. I also have some pinups featuring in upcoming Winter City, Mechanical Knight, Pizza Man and Hazard books. Whwn I reflect on this its pretty awesome times and really that outweighs the stress and difficulties that pop up from time to time.

Now I better get back to that NSEW page before Ben sees I'm wasting time posting on my blog :)

Series to date...

I always get excited leading up to a convention, especially if I have a new book(s) to release. Two weekends from now issue 7 will be releasing at Melbourne Supanova Expo, and with it the 2nd edition variant covers for Issues 2 and 3. Not bad for a little book that kicked off just less than 2 years ago in October 2013.

If I can pass on any advice to fellow indie creators (and I'm not actually the best fountain of advice to be said) is that stick with your projects. Follow through and push through the difficult times. The satisfaction you'll gain is immeasurable.

I always find if I look back at what I have achieved to date, it gives me the perspective to push on regardless of the hurdles that generally present themselves.

Issue 7 arrives from the printers

Pleased to announce that print copies of Issue 7, Issue 2 (2nd Edition Variant) and Issue 3 (2nd Edition Variant) arrived from the Printer's today. Just in time for release at Melbourne Supanova Expo in two weeks.