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11 October 2015

Skylark is published!

If you've been wondering why I haven't been posting blog updates recently, then you'll probably be unaware of my latest project to produce book 5 in the Bad Moon western comic series. The good news is that I have just published it! And unlike the last one, it wasn't an accident! ;-) Read all about it here...

"Skylark" is the latest episode in the Bad Moon comic series.

Previous comics in the series are:

Bad Moon
The Black Pirate
Dead Hand
The Lost Man

If you've read any of this blog or taken the time to follow some of my posts on Google+, the subject-matter of Skylark should come as no surprise to you. We find ourselves back in 1800s Mexico, polishing bullets and picking rocks out of our boots. Continuing with the trend I started with Damned, I have magically jumped back to fill in the detail around what happened to El Pancho after his lucky escape from Virginia City. It is something I skirted over in the first Bad Moon comic and now at last we get to learn what really happened.

The picture above isn't from any of my comics. This was me speculating what sort of fun I would have on my recent summer holiday to Florida. If I have the energy, I may share some choice photos with you. I started story-boarding Skylark on the flight over to the US and in record time, you can now read it for yourselves.

I have talked in the past about some of the process I go through in producing my comics. Music remains a strong influence for me. I love that it can set a mood in a heartbeat. The tune above grabbed me by the throat as I was drawing up my first draft of Skylark. It begins to express some of the motifs that I have had playing about my head for months now. Perhaps one day I shall expand on these, but for now all you get is a taste. ;-)

The artwork in Skylark is some of my most adventurous to date. Yes, there are the moments of abstract minimalism and OCD-like detail that regular readers will have come to expect, but what you will find in this comic is an experiment involving colour in ways that take me far out of my comfort zone. I've really enjoyed the thrill of discovery and may do more of this. Every comic needs to be an evolution... a raising of the bar. I hope that I captured some of the Spaghetti Western vibe I was after in this comic through the artwork.

I continue to use an App called "Comic Maker" to help be to draft the dialogue. Gradually, over time, this App is becoming more and more difficult to use. It's like water-torture at the moment... a slow death by a thousand drips. The producers of Comic Maker have recently added in advertising (or perhaps simply got it working?) which pops up at random times to break my creative flow. I sent them an email saying that I would pay them to stop the adverts, but no response. Recent "enhancements" also mean that the bloody thing won't save properly, meaning that I find myself constantly having to make the same changes again and again. And if that wasn't bad enough, I'm also now forced to work in portrait mode. It really is infuriating to the point that I've tried to find an alternative app for doing this on. No luck so far.

While I'm talking dialogue, I'll point out that Skylark has more words in it than all of the previous comics put together. Those Mexicans sure like to gas! Ha ha.

Something new this time round is an App called "Brushes Redux" by Christoffer Hoel. This is a updated re-release of a Photoshop-like drawing app called Brushes. I never got to use the original Brushes, but Redux is simply outstanding! I can draw with my finger! The killer feature for me is the Layers functionality. I can't remember life without this clever little app now ;-)

The picture above was a playful pre-production draft of an idea that made its way into the comic... all drawn with my sticky little finger. Maybe one day I should do a whole comic drawn up this way? Now, there's an idea!

I never get tired of thanking the people who have helped me to get through what has been another intense project. I've had advice and support from all over the world.

Thank you!

The biggest thanks of all goes out to the "real" El Pancho, Daniele Bianchini, who has unwittingly became a legend after foolishly undertaking a musical collaboration with me a few years back. You can still download the Bad Blood EP for free. I just checked and it looks like we're up to 34k torrent downloads and a bit of a hit in Mexico ;-)

As a special thank you to Pancho and all of my Italian brothers I have plans to produce an Italian Edition of Skylark. I'll publish it as soon as I have it. Another first!

Once again, Skylark will eventually make its way into all of the usual outlets. At the time of writing you'll only be able to download it for free from Lulu.

"I am sure that you have never seen anything like this before?"

Please drop me a comment and let me know what you think of my latest comic. I hope you enjoy it. ;-)

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