The quest to begin work again on my latest sequential artwork
When I decided to start up Wizards Keep in March 2005 it was the culmination of many years working for comic companies, book companies, theme park design consultancies and animation houses.
If truth were told, I had wanted to create a new company from being around sixteen years old whilst in the beginning of the sixth form in school, back in the mid-seventies. This is true even down to the name – Wizards Keep, although I decided on Limited rather than Productions, for the final name.
I spent about three months solid looking at website building companies, computers and the relevant high-end kit to accompany it. I checked on software and materials in fact everything and I did so using a really old computer we had bought the kids a few years earlier.
My laptop had decided to give up the ghost and I wanted to keep the SGI workstation I was using virgin to the Internet as I was still producing artwork on it. This was a good thing, however as I was forced to look at obtaining information, to set up correctly, using a really slow computer, with little memory (64Mb) and a small hard drive with a dial up connection, again with a 64k modem. Incredible now and that was only in 2005…I must have had the patience of a saint!
It enabled me to look at facts, however and instead of opting for a website full of heavy, flash graphics, instead I chose one that would download fast even on dial up. I was lucky enough to find SurfOcracy, the guys that built my website on the Internet and from checking out how quick both their website was and those of the clients they had built for already I knew I had found my team. The website was designed purely as an e-commerce site in the first instance and a platform for promotional purposes in the second.
Prior to this three months period I had begun work on my latest sequential strip-work. I had wanted to tell a story that I had begun in 1987 and decided to do this through the vehicle of a graphic novel, entitled “Worlds End”. The trouble with all this set-up was, there was no time left to work on it.
The whole point of setting up Wizards Keep was to create a vehicle on which to build a new company that would enable me to produce the book. I had already decided years ago that if ever I were to do this I would look at the possibilities of manufacturing and publishing as well as producing many different routes of merchandising to carry the company forward.
In actual fact the building of the website, the computer systems, the sourcing of all these and the buying of them, plus the creation of all the promotional art, graphic design, all the promotional write ups, the endless meetings with financial people, funding agencies, banks, network meetings, the creation of the Sketch Books, Giclee Prints, Posters, Bookmarks, etc, etc, as the list went on and on and on and on, just went on to make it nigh near impossible to get back on with the one reason I had set up in the first place, that being the production of the graphic novel.
It was just after the New Year this year that I returned to work on it, having thought this would happen before Christmas. It was weird; it was as though I had never been away. A strange thing happens when you create a story from scratch like this. The characters take on a life of their own and the story begins to write itself. The characters become living breathing entities to you, as you watch them live their lives and grow as people. I began work again telling the tale of these folks that I have come to look on as friends now.
It’s a great feeling to be back behind the drawing board, after all this time. I still have some commissioned work to get out the door soon, but the fact that the main work for me this year, is the production of my first graphic novel in the Worlds End series is very fulfilling.
At present I am just over a quarter way through the pencils for the first book. The title to it is Worlds End – Riders on the Storm. It tells the tale of an alien invasion of a world that has long since lost any warring tendencies, much to their chagrin when the invasion host alight upon their world. Then it is up to a tiny misfit band of lovable folks to repel the invading forces known as, the Aoevill.
I have posted some examples of the artwork, showing different pages of pencils in my news pages on the Wizards Keep website. I plan to get the full book pencilled and then I will begin working on the digitally painted colours, much along the lines of the Worlds End Poster, which came out in mid-October 2006. I will post snippets up to the news pages as I go along towards its completion and I will add to this Blog, with updates here too, from time to time.
It’s nice to return home to my creations…but I feel I have left them in limbo long enough now and I need to see if I can help them in their dire predicament…
February 11th 2007
1 day ago