Who Am I? (1: A Creator)

I wrote this after seeing the ‘Who Am I?’ exercise in Richard N. Bolles’ book, ‘What Colour is Your Parachute?’ I thought I might as well put it on the Blog.

I chose the word: ‘Creator’. Richard then asks us to ponder why we chose it.

Creator: Why I chose this…

I’ve always been a creator. As a kid I loved making things and often spent whole days drawing. And, making my own comics—from as young as 8. My bedroom floor was sometimes ankle-deep in my own drawings, and my beloved bought-comics, which I loved to read as often as possible. A pattern will emerge here of enjoying certain types of creative media, and then trying them out myself—and absolutely immersing myself in them.

First Attempts at ‘Making’

I believe I made my first crude castle—which I could sit inside—with a big cardboard supermarket box and scissors when I was only 4 or 5, living in Leigh, Lancashire. Now that was hard work. Big, blunt scissors and corrugated cardboard.

Drawing & Crafts

A 1972 UK Spiderman Comic

A 1972 UK Spiderman Comic

Around this time I also recall drawing. Drawing would soon become it for me. I also got my first comics when I was 4 or 5 in Leigh. Spiderman was definitely one of them. I’m guessing that it was a UK printed version in black and white. Doctor Octopus featured in it. I can’t remember where it came form, perhaps a visiting relative? My dad or mum read it to me o the sofa. Later, I’d start making my own comics.

“It’s a pity that John doesn’t spend as much time on his writing – as he does on the accompanying drawings.”

—mid-1970s School report, Scotland

No surprise then, that Arts & crafts activities would be my favourites in school, even those involving needlework and cloth. For a time, making sock-puppets was a favourite activity of mine. Robert Douglas Memorial School in Scone, Scotland was fantastic in this respect. There was a very broad range of subjects, including creative ones: Crafts, Art (I think, separate from crafts), and even a sort of drama type class, once a week in the gym. Continue reading

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!