This week I would like to tell you about one of the most supportive artists I have come across online. Mark Stokes is the creator of the webcomic Zombie Boy. It follows the tribulations of Morgan McCorckindale who after a small accident during a family holiday on Voodoo Island turns into a very special boy commonly referred to as Zombie Boy. The cast of characters is extensive and keep the strips fun and unpredictable, it’s always a treat to see what new gags, whether witty, snappy or simply very subtle, Mark has in store for us as he updates three (yes, three!) times a week! Over time, I have developed a soft spot for Zombie Boy’s pet, Gorr, who has quickly become my second favourite comic strip dog of all time after Snoopy. Yes, Mark’s comic is that good!
A few weeks ago, I finally made time to put together a little piece of fan art for Mark, to acknowledge my admiration for his work and my appreciation for his unconditional and continued support as he has manifested himself (without shame) as being a real Captain Wayne fan!
It has become tradition now that my renditions of other artists’ characters depict them having some kind of interaction with our good Captain. This piece is no exception. I would very much like to encourage you to head on over to Mark’s site and check it out as well as his Zombie Boy comic!
On a different note, I wanted to let you know that I have been busy lately with something unexpected. In my quest to become a better artist, I have decided to go back to school. Finding the right place to do this was not as evident as you’d think but in a way, it’s the choice of the course that really pushed me to take the decisive step and sign up. I’ve already started working on my first piece of homework!
My design training focused on other things than pure craft. Colour theory and sketching techniques were of course at the art of my Industrial Design training, alongside more technical things such as aerodynamics, materials and methods, 3d modeling and other technical drawing skills. Learning how to render an object so that others can understand its shape and function is nothing like learning how to observe, illustrate and paint. In that respect, being somehow who’s always loved to draw, I’ve been feeling as though I would never really know what my potential could be. Never in a million years would have thought that starting to make my own comics would have triggered all this. It has awaken a desire in me to follow my passion. I know, it sounds pretty obvious for some of you… I’m a slow learner. But a learner nonetheless!
A new entry in the Influences and Inspiration series: Lego. As far as I can remember Lego has always been in my life. Being the youngest of three boys, I was fortunate to be born in The Netherlands from a Dutch father and and a Swedish mother. Right between these two countries, you will find the homeland of one of the most omnipresent toy in modern society: Lego. In the early seventies, probably even before I was born, my brothers were already getting their hands on little plastic bricks that allowed kids to build the craziest imaginary houses, cars, train, plains, animals or whatever other things they could think of. I am old enough that I can remember Lego with minifigs that had no arms or moveable legs, never mind eyes and a mouth! Soon enough, as we wondered at the sight of the Nasa Space Shuttles floating in orbit around us, we had our hands on grey and blue spaceships with yellow transparent windows piloted by the awesomest Lego cosmonauts a kid of the seventies could imagine!
In the seventies, Start Trek was not as big in France as it was in the US. As a matter of fact, it only aired sporadically and in no particular order from what I learned a few years ago when I started watching the original ST series for the first time. On the other hand – besides all the Grandizer, Captain Future and Captain Harlock goodness that aired ALL the time – we were treated to what was then one the best scifi shows around: Space 1999. Needless to say that we relived many episodes of that show with our little white, red, blue or black Lego space dudes and dudettes. Battlestar Galactica was also a show we were crazy about and it inspired many adventures. I played with Lego for a long time, enjoying the endless possibilities it offered to one with a creative mind. Actually, it’s hard to imagine a kid not being creative with that kind of toy and it’s always a blast to see what other kids come up with.
It’s even more of a blast when the kids are your own, years later and they are able to play with your own bricks and minifigs because your parents were sweet enough to keep them in the attic for a few decades! Of course, it’s almost impossible to not get involved when your 5 year old asks you repeatedly to help him build the new set that you bought for… him! It’s funny to see how different kids play with the same toys in very different ways. My daughter sees Lego as a building puzzle and loves to build something huge by following the instructions. My son who is a bit younger will sit around the boxes containing all the bricks I played with as a kid and dig through them to build the weirdest (and coolest) vehicles you can imagine. They both have very different approaches to building, yet enjoy it in equal measures. The best of all of course is that they eventually spend hours playing with whatever it is they built, creating worlds and stories of their own.
The other day, my son asked if I could build him a Captain Wayne minifig. So we got out the huge collection of figurines he shares with his sister and the huge collection of their dad. We dug and found various bits that eventually allowed us to come up with a pretty decent Lego rendition of our hero. The hairdo was alway going to be a problem, therefore I opted for a Space Suit version of Wayne. Soon my boy was away on a deep space adventure and it most naturally left me with a strong desire to render the Lego Captain Wayne I had always secretly desired!
As you can see, it’s really not too far from the homemade version! As much as my son asking for this was coincidental, I had just made a sketch of someone else’s comic character in Lego form earlier that week. I was in the mood and the trailers for the new movie being hard to avoid, everything was just awesome!
Drawing Lego versions of the rest of the Calypso crew or the team on P57-Exodus will certainly happen in the coming weeks as this type of exercise is proving to be way too much fun! Let me know which character you’d like to see next, my preference goes for Gina because she’s just so wonderful!
I love print. After all it’s one of the reasons I chose a graphic design career after having majored in Transportation Design for my degree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I made a better choice than the one that was put in front of me. I believe that designers should be interested in very aspect of their craft, no matter which one they practice. I see overspecialisation as a limitation, not an asset. I like to keep an open mind and let myself be surprised by what is unfamiliar.
Unknown territory. It is what keeps me on my toes, as an artist. Hence, back to print. You might have noticed that I added a button on the right side of my website during the New Year makeover. One that reads: “Print Store Opening Soon!!!” It’ll be a little longer but, yes, I will be bringing a quality, affordable edition of the Adventures of Cpt Wayne to you soon! I’ll be starting with an edition of Cpt Wayne & the Unexplained Dimension that I am very proud of. I’ve looked around for mangy ways to bring this to life and the closest I got this far was through using Blurb. Blurb is a very capable and quality driven Print On Demand (POD) solution. Unfortunately, I could not come to peace with having to ask you, my fans, to dish out that kind of cash.
It is for that very reason that I’ve been working with my local printer to come up with a solution that makes sense to everyone. And I think we are getting close. It is work in progress but I do feel I owed you an update. I don’t feel I would be able to go down the crowd funding path right now. It does seem a little pretentious at this time and the last thing I want to do is let you guys/gals down, never mind myself. More about book one is a few weeks, hopefully I’ll be able to let you know by then what you can do to get your hands on a fresh copy of Volume 1!
The print shop will also be sporting other items, including prints depicting our Captain’s missions over the years preceding Volume One. Here’s a study of what the first one would look like:
I’ll be a way for me to explore different types of rendering and illustration techniques as well as giving you yet a more detailed view of the Universe of Captain Wayne. I’ll be referring to these standalone drawings as the Mission Logs. I’m kind of thinking small poster size, maybe something larger. What do you think? Would you rather see something like this, albeit in a more finished form, in postcard format or as a full size poster?