Wednesday, August 30, 2006

V is for...

Villain (Part of A Monkey's Alphabet.)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

B is for...

Bicycle (Part of A Monkey's Alphabet.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

N is for...

Naughty (Part of A Monkey's Alphabet.)

Friday, August 25, 2006

C is for...

Carpet (Part of A Monkey's Alphabet.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

L is for...

LOUD! (Part of A Monkey's Alphabet.)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Ok, so you know that project to which I've kept vaguely referring? The one with the penguin? You know! The one that I started back in April?

Well, it's finished.

I wanted to keep this project secret until it was finished. Given the scope of the project, I didn't want to risk a situation where people asked : "Hey, did you ever finish _____?" and me having to reply sheepishly: "Oh, um... no. I... uh... well, I got really busy."

So. What is it?

It's a book. I've wanted to do a book for a long time (brochures don't count, regardless of how many pages they have), and I happened upon the perfect project.

So. What is it?

It's a Monkey Book. To be precise, it's:

A Monkey's Alphabet is a full-colour, hand-illustrated, 36 page book that goes through the alphabet with monkeys as the subject for each letter. I had the idea spontaneously one day, and within a few minutes had the idea fleshed out as a gift for my niece's second birthday, not to mention a book to mark the birth of my brand new niece.

Many evenings were spent huddled over my sketchbook with pencil and Staedtler pen. And, when I was told the news that my nieces would be moving abroad (their father works with the consular corps), I suddenly had a deadline that was a little sooner than I had hoped. Hence, the lack of frequency of posts on this blog (hey, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it).

Along the way, a couple of familiar friends ended up in the book.

I'm publishing the book through Lulu, which is a brilliant, easy to use self-publishing service. I should be getting my proofs back sometime next week, but until then, I'll be posting screenshots of some of the letters.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Behind the Scenes of a Bells & Whistles - 4

Like I said last time: Scandal!.

Well, not really, I just really enjoy that word. Especially if you imagine a aristocratic Victorian woman saying it, her pince-nez falling from her face just as she faints away daintily, one hand to her brow. Heh. Anyway. What? Monkeys? Right. Ok.

Here's the scandal (heh). Once I've finished inking the drawing and such, I scan it and then (ready for this?), I edit it in Photoshop. Gracious! (Also an excellent word for Victorian women with a predilection to fainting). The edited version are on the right.

Here's a good example. Somewhere in the mess of inking, I completely forgot to draw in a line to represent the aristocrat's mouth. Whoops.

Barbisol's hat gets a trim here. It helps add to his low-brow character. Heh.

Baby Monkey! He gets significantly cuter during retouching. His wonky eye gets trimmed and fixed, and a blemish on his brow gets taken out. Now, if only I'd done something about his slightly egg-shaped head….

This was one of the less retouched comics I've posted. Some of them have had the panels spaced out better, lettering repositioned, sentences broken onto two lines, lines cleaned up, and panels made less crooked. I'll try and post an example from "The Library" to show you exactly what I mean.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Behind the Scenes of a Bells & Whistles - 3

Having put down ink outlines in the last post, I now move on to filling in solid areas and penciling in dialogue. Again, nothing's written in stone (or inked), so I'll inevitably move things around, and condense dialogue as I go.

The full page after all the solid areas have been filled in. The dialogue for the first two panels is inked, and the rest of it is in place.

I felt that the pencil dialogue was a little too low to the aristocrat's hat. As the pencil dialogue is only really to help me determine the width, it's no problem to move straight to inking it in a new place.

I was still toying with the idea of having Barbisol sing "With a Little Bit o' Luck" at this point. Yeah, I know.

This strip marked the debut of the Baby Monkey! Ridiculously cute, and typically perched upon other monkey's heads, he's quickly become a staple in my sketchbook (he'll almost certainly be featured in the 2006 Prospectus for ChriGov Industries). You can see that even this late in the game, I'm wondering if he should have a tail or not, and how exactly it should be drawn.

Next up: Scandal!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Behind the Scenes of a Bells & Whistles - 2

Having gotten my idea out onto paper in the last instalment of these posts, I now head to my sketchbook.

Here's the pencil outline, drawn and inked in my sketchbook. Unfortunately, I don't have a scan of the pencil outline, but you can still see it underneath the ink.

As you can see, despite the outline, things still get moved around. I decided Barbisol should be a little to the left, and shouldn't be quite as tall. His pose also changed so he's extending his arm.

And the aristocrat's pencil sketch is a little crooked (ignore the fact that the ink version makes him even more crooked). I also changed his proportion slightly – he starts lower, but is still the same height.

This detail shows that although I've got the ink outlines in place, I don't fill in the solid areas. I've found that erasing on top of my ink outlines often dulls the richness of the black. So for things like fill areas, I'll lightly erase the pencil and then start filling in solid areas of ink.