Identity Design: Equinox

Whilst I was Lead Designer at Equinox

equinox identity design

Pencil sketching

Some loose pencil sketches and a quick reference to an encyclopaedia gave rise to a meaningful use of curves, with an interesting positive-negative interplay of forms.

Swooshy, satellitey things…

There were a hell of a lot of swooshy-logos doing the rounds in 1990, and a glance through the appointments section of the paper (before the recession recently hit) evidenced that the plague hadn’t abated: Continue reading

ICN Awards – I didn’t win, but I still have the Nomination!

I reflect on my 2015 Webcomic Award Nomination, from Irish Comic News

Jack is thankful for being nominated Best Webcomic 2015, by ICN, even if he didn't win it.

Jack – and I – give thanks, to everyone who voted for Between * Wars as Best Webcomic 2015

Ah well. I was being realistically optimistic about winning the best webcomic 2015 Award for my Between * Wars comic. After all, I’m pretty new on the Irish Comics scene. I only raised by head above the parapet this year and went  out and actually met other creators! Continue reading

B*W: My Comic Production Process #2

An updated look at the production process of my comic. The previous blog post about the process « can be seen here.

peacekeepr_detail

“Where do you get your ideas?”

That most often asked question… The « Peace-keeper strip idea came to me in a flash, as usual, but this time as I walked with my wife, Gabby from one building to another. In the space of 5 or 10 seconds. I mentioned a kid who used to be in school with me, and suddenly I had the concept of the whole strip in my head. Some dialogue and lot of images.

Developing the idea – scribbles

Continue reading

B*W: Down to Business

It’s time to take the comic a bit more seriously!

 

New Beginnings: a Fresh Start

Last July, I enrolled in the IGNITE Ireland Academy in Dublin. It’s a 6 month course in self-employment, and starting your own business. It’s basically Entrepreneurship. I love it! And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my wife and son for their understanding and patience.

1970s house dublin

I love this place! igniteireland.com Continue reading

B*W: First 20 Strips. A Review #1

comic strip faces

When I got to the 20th strip of the comic, I decided it was time to step back and review things. In this article on the artwork, I’m looking at the Faces & Characterisation.

(« Related earlier post: Character Design)

People Like It!

Something that I haven’t sufficiently appreciated is how much people enjoy a well drawn facial expression. Which is strange, considering how much I also do, and how much I enjoy drawing them! Here’s a very old one ^ of mine which nearly everyone says is one of their favorites:

Bliss. A full-colour illustration by John White

Above: ‘Bliss’ – 1991: People who see my work usually mention this as a favourite. I did this with a mirror, when I was around 23. Read More ^ Continue reading

B*W: Architectural Design & Style #1

I think I know what type of house I’d like to live in these days. Something like this one, up the road from my own:

70s-house

1970s Dublin house

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped the car by this house and took a snap. “That’s the one!” I gasped.

1970s house dublin railings

I even like the 1970s railings!

I’ve been enjoying having a go at designing two of the houses featured in the strip so far. The first that I attempted was Jim’s bungalow in the strip < PREMATH with the number ’77’ beside the front door. I really enjoyed that one, putting in everything that I liked. However, I didn’t really think very much – or at all – about the house as a whole.

Jim's seventies house and crazy paving

Jim’s seventies house and crazy paving

Jim’s cool 70s bungalow. I particularly enjoyed the crazy-paving and the 77 by the front door, and the fancy concrete block wall. No, actually, I enjoyed all of it. Continue reading

B*W: Meet some of the Cast!

comic page

Click for a full-size view »

* NOTE: This used to be in the Comic section but it’s not really a story or gag strip, so I’ve moved it into the blog to take it out of the comic continuity (getting big ideas about the comic now…)

Heroes 1 – 3. I won’t lie to you, I’ve put very little thought into their personalities and back-stories. You see, I’m trying not to delay things or get over-ambitious like I did with my other now-cancelled webcomic. I want to just get stuck-in. The characters will be a mosaic of various friends that I had, blended with whatever interesting ideas pop into my head as I go along. Who knows? maybe you, the readers will make suggestions based on your own childhood pals, and they’ll go into the mix too? Continue reading

Childhood Passions

Once upon a time – after the time when I was young and had sense – but before now upon a time, when I’m a disillusioned mess, I was in the habit, as many mature – but boring people are, of grinning, and making fun of those over-weight, balding, middle-aged men who frequent comic shops.

After all, I’d gone to art college, travelled Italy, read copious amounts of art historical literature including Vasari and Ruskin and had good taste and a pretty educated eye for proper art.

When I rediscovered my childhood art about 5 years ago, and thought about the fact that I’d become an unhappy professional designer, I realised what an idiot I’d been. You see, I’d been drawing my own comics from the age of 8 or 9, and was dead-set on being a comic artist when I grew up, but somehow I took a wrong turn.

IDIOT.

I see now that it’s so important not to throw all of those childhood passions away so lightly, because they can still inspire the adult!

The Webcomic is going into production – at last! ARCHIVED

This weekend I’m finally getting it started.

img_promo_200wI worked on the comic a lot over many many months after I started a new job. I was feeling very down about life and finding it the most demoralising job and employer than any since 1999. The difference was that the 1999 job was killing me with stress and work overload and insanely long hours. This one was and still is to a certain extent the worst since then because of the demoralising element to it. At 43 years old, with 12 years experience at what I do, I was being told for the first time ever that I was slow. A bottleneck in the system, even. When I estimated that a task would take an hour, I was treated with astonished disbelief, and would be told that it was “a 5 minute job.” This, despite my 12 years experience.

An exciting creative distraction

Anyway, I was so depressed and annoyed actually, that I began to formulate a webcomic. The thoughts of this occupied me going to and from work – providing an exciting distraction from the usual feelings of low-self-worth and dread associated with my new job. Coffee break and lunch break [which I still feel uneasy about taking!] were spent drawing, scribbling and writing ideas for the comic. I was very very excited about it. This went on for a many months.

A slight improvement

The strange thing that happened then was that after about 9 or 10 months into the job, things started to improve a little. My boss was treating me better – although my output was looking more and more templated and less creative. This made him happier because I was getting faster. Let me just say that in 12 years in many jobs I had never been made to feel that I was slow before. On the contrary: one boss, of a good, successful web design company told me, in front of the staff that “You’re actually pretty fast!” But anyway, the work was polished, but boring and my new boss was a bit happier and treating me better. Having said that, I’ll never really be fast enough for him.

The Clouds lifts a little – and complacency builds…

So, my black cloud was lifting – a little – but one of the consequences was that the webcomic idea, formerly a way of releasing tension and privately venting my spleen – was now actually depressing to think about – in itself! It just seemed so negative – despite all of the comedy, which is pretty black admittedly.

Regaining Some Sense of Pride

But, in the last few months I’ve been thinking about taking steps to change careers and and get back to doing proper creative work. I’ve had some psychological boosts from good people. I had a MARVEL talent scout send me sample scripts to work on; a creative director and conceptual artist in movies actually took the time to phone me for an hour one Sunday night when he saw how frustrated I was [sincere thanks Paul!];  I recently got good feedback from a senior creative in a major eLearning/Gaming company and it’s clearer than ever that I have to leave the exponentially-growing army of web designers and do work that fully uses my talents. We’re ten a penny. And I can do more than that. I’ve always felt embarassed when people ask me what I do for a living.

“I’m an Illustrator and wbdzgnr…mumble.”

Pardon? A what?

“A wbdsnr…”

Eh?

“Ok. I’m a graphic slash web designer.”

I feel so ashamed. No pride whatsoever in my job or title. I figure that the graphic slash prefix makes it sound less rubbish.

parachute-book

Parachute

A book that’s really helped me a lot is What Colour is Your Parachute? It’s one that – as a fed-up web designer way back in 2002 [!] – I was about to buy, but a friend who was perpetually unlucky in work told me it was rubbish, so I didn’t buy it! I wish to God now, that I hadn’t listened to him. I would have had a 10 year start. 10 YEARS. Who knows what work I’d be doing now and how many years of career-torment I would have saved myself.

David Miller has found it valuable too! >

Now I have it. And it’s a brilliant book. It basically says that if you want to get a job – a career that you love, it stands to reason that you need know yourself, what you love to do, what makes you unique and what skill and knowledge you have that can be used to get you into that place. It takes you through many probing exercises to build up the picture. The scales are falling from my eyes at last.

And you know what? I’ve decided that I’m going to do this webcomic after all as a part of a greater journey toward more satisfying and fulfilling work and a better life.

Stay tuned!