Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Here's my image for the latest 'Gum or Mints' art challenge-FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER. I had fun with this one & the painting above was the culmination of all the following sketches.

I started just scrawling head shapes & variations on the typical dumb/agonised expressions.

I kept pushing the cranium size bigger & BIGGER. . .

I thought it helpful to not just DESIGN a character but to put it in a situation too. Initially I considered ripping off Mel Brooks' 'Young Frankenstein'-the scene where the old blind man pours soup in the monster's lap. However I figured that would be TWO characters to design & switched to the scene with the little girl & the flower, figuring the girl would be much simpler to design than the old hermit.

I thought the contrast between the two figures would work well & the situation is more subtle than the 'hot-water' gag; it can be perceived as entirely innocent with the monster simply delighted by the flower or perhaps his intentions are more menacing, implied by the well behind him.

I played around with various fun approaches to the girl character-some quite abstract but ultimately settled on more conventional shapes as I wanted her to look normal compared to the monster's distorted shapes.

Small, rapid thumbnails searching for some kind of background to lend atmosphere. I was looking for elements that wouldn't be too distracting from the characters & would evoke the atmosphere of the 1933 'Frankenstein' film sets.

This next one just happened after I spilt water on a pen drawing & the bleeding ink effect appealed to me so I splashed water all over it! Then I couldn't resist taking it into Photoshop to 'finish'. Putting him on a black background & adding some negative fx helped give that electric jolt to the original drawing!

This was another aberrant drawing that came out of the doodling process. It developed from Shelley's original description of the monster but my drawing ended up looking like some kind of New York disco junkie Freak!

Check out frankensteinia.blogspot.com for the ultimate collection of 'Frankenphilia'.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I moved to Nice one year ago TODAY! To celebrate here are a few more beach sketches from the summer-

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bande Dessinée

I picked up a couple of great comic books lately. 'Trois Ombres' (Three Shadows) by Cyril Pedrosa is the story of a small family living an idyllic pastoral life torn apart by the arrival one day of three shadowy figures on horseback. Charming character design & exquisite brush drawing make this book a pleasure to read-all 268 pages!

Carlos Vermut's 'LE BANYAN ROUGE' is superb-originally published in Spain, it plays like an Indian version of 'Samurai Jack'. I was really taken with the loose, inky character designs & gorgeous colouring.

MOEBIUS REDUX - A Life in Pictures

The new documentary on Moebius that recently screened at the Toronto Film Festival is up on YouTube.

Full film here:http://www.altertube.tv/view_video.php?viewkey=6a219db15cf575aff282

A selection of interviews with some quiet, unassuming professional comic book nerds; Giraud calls Ridley Scott 'an enlightened amateur', Phillippe Druillet says American superheroes have no genitals, Dan O Bannon proclaims Moebius was possibly 'the biggest genius of us all' & Jodorowsky would like to 'shit on the U.S.!

Friday, October 12, 2007


While in Paris I caught the Weegee exhibition at Musée Maillol before it closes mid-October. I first became aware of Weegee or Arthur Fellig & his work in the early 90's when THE PUBLIC EYE was released starring Joe Pesci as a character based on Weegee. I remember seeing a documentary too & I was fascinated not just by his photographs but by this character Weegee that he assumed.

Weegee spent long hours waiting in his car & listening to police radio for news of 'incidents'. He said he lived out of the trunk of his car, presumably as, judging from photos, it was bigger than his pokey Manhattan apartment! He even had a fully functional dark room in the back of his car!

Much like Weegee, Stanley Kubrick started his career as a photographer on the streets of New York & contributed era defining shots to LIFE magazine. Kubrick admired Weegee's photographs & during shooting of Doctor Strangelove employed him as a stills photographer. When Peter Sellers heard Weegee speak he apparently used Weegee's peculiar voice as the basis for that of Dr Strangelove!

During hot summers of the 1940s reputedly 1 million New Yorkers would head out to the beaches at Coney Island! Weegee captured this incredible shot by shouting out & clicking when everyone turned towards him. It's unnerving to have a 'million' people stare out of this photograph at you.

This shot above scandalized America at the time. These high society grandes dames flaunting their wealth during the post war depression made the cover of LIFE magazine. However the fortuitous meeting between the riche & the 'bag lady' was later proved to be a set-up. As a photographer, Kubrick too was known to et up certain shots & it must have been a widespread practice at the time. The competition to get saleable shots must have been fierce.

Excellent collection of Weegee photographs here:

Here's my own Weegee-like photograph, taken in Paris last autumn.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Last weekend I saw 'pop-opera' 'MONKEY:Journey to the West' at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris. It's certainly a grand spectacle with dozens of Chinese acrobats throwing themselves around the stage & Jamie Hewlett's impressive set & character designs. However I felt the piece lacks narrative cohesion. Sang in Chinese with French subtitles made it harder to follow but I could ascertain that there were huge story leaps with no set-up or payoff. The characters simply journey from one set piece to another, while the Monkey King himself is played as an annoying, ball-scratching chav in a yellow track-suit!
The Paris run is sold out & the production moves next to Berlin.

There are a several animated 'projections' during the show-I assume these were produced at Passion Pictures or perhaps Hewlett's studio Zombie Flesh Eaters were responsible?

Monday, October 01, 2007

La plage

It's been a long hot summer here on the Cote d'Azur & I've clocked up many hours on the beach. It's a great place to draw people -especially Nice because it's so popular & there's an endless array of diverse body shapes, ages, poses, activities etc.
I'll start to post some pages from my sketchbooks.

This is the Palais de la Mediterranée. A huge casino & hotel on the Promenade-it has interesting art deco architecture & relief sculptures.

The tattooed man really did have all the cliché images all over his body- a sexy girl, butterfly, desert island, sailing ship on his back, arms covered in twisting roses & a big dragon on his leg. He was a tall, middle-aged Italian guy. I imagined he could be mafiosi or an ex-con. When he came back from the shower he saw my drawings & grunted as he dripped water on me & walked back to his spot!

The people at the top of the page above were silly tourists throwing pebbles at jelly-fish or meduse as they're called in French. Trying to sink them will not make them go away!