Friday, 18 April 2014

A Happy Accident

Weirdly enough, I often find myself stopping half way through my colouring process, when various unfinished and hidden parts of the page make an unexpectedly beautiful result! This is one of those moments from a page near the end of chapter 1...


I was so surprised by the result that I've been toying with the idea of making this a print in the store! Finishing this page has also brought me *very* close to having the next ribbon ready to post! I'm confident that it will be out next week in fact! Hope you're as excited as I am - these things take a long time, but it seems worth the effort!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Colours Away!

The colouring of the pages for the next ribbon has begun and is going very smoothly... I expect to have the whole ribbon ready by next week with luck (or the following more realistically)! Here's a preview of the colours for a page that I just finished... as always, you can catch a sneak preview of all the unlettered colours and linework so far if you're a 10$ patron on the Firelight Isle Patreon!


Friday, 4 April 2014

Linework For Next Ribbon Finished!

I've now finished all the linework for the next ribbon, which will conclude Chapter 1! As soon as I'm done with the colouring, I'll be adding it to the site, and also starting plans to collect the first chapter into a printed single issue! :) If you're itching to see more work ahead of time, all the linework from this ribbon is available for anyone who donates $10 or more to the Firelight Isle Patreon Campagin! Here's a little preview for everyone else...

Friday, 21 March 2014

Make It Then Tell Everybody

Hey all! The pages are going very smoothly - I've now finished all the linework for the next episode, and am on to the colouring - hopefully it should only be a few weeks before I can put it up on the site. That episode will conclude the opening chapter, so after it's done I'm going to look into collecting all of chapter 1 into a printed edition!
For this week's Firelight Friday, there's a brand new interview... a few weeks ago, I was invited to be a guest on Dan Berry's comics podcast, Make It Then Tell Everybody. Dan is a fantastic comics creator in his own right (along with teaching AND running a podcast - I don't know how he does it), and it was a really interesting chat. We covered all sorts of topics, from The Firelight Isle, to working methods, to opinions about the industry and art education. You can listen to the whole thing on Dan's Site.
There's also a Patreon campaign for the podcast, so if you enjoy the interview, consider being a patron! There are tons of great interviews already, and the campaign will help Dan absorb the cost of making more.
Don't forget that there's a Firelight Isle Patreon page too!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Drawing Page 25

Last week, I recorded myself drawing page 25. Here's the whole process condensed down into a 10 minute video!

 

 I'm making good progress on ribbon 4, most of the drawing is now done, and the colouring is left to go!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Making Ribbons

I was asked in the comments on an earlier entry how I go about putting together the very long pages you see on this comic! Here's a quick break-down of the process.

1) It starts with "thumbnails", very sketchy roughs of the finished pages. I compose two at a time, side-by-side, and whilst I'm doing so, I think about how they'll fit together top-to-bottom.


2) Once that's done, I break them into individual pages and draw slightly more detailed roughs, focussing on the layout of the individual page. I have a set of rules for myself that I try never to break in order to keep the reading flow smooth:
  • Keep the panels-per-page to a minimum (less than 6 is ideal).

  • Keep the reading direction always going top-to-bottom and left-to-right (with as little left-to-right as possible).

  • When placing speech bubbles, I never place my next speech bubble higher than my last.

  • Once all the speech bubbles are placed, drawing a line through them in the intended reading order should produce a simple and easy-to-follow shape, starting at the top-left and ending at the bottom-right.

  • I use speech bubbles to bridge gaps between panels that should be read one after the other, to guide the eye from one to the next.

  • I never bridge gaps between panels that aren't intended to be read one after the other.
  • I try to use the shape of the art and the direction of motion of the characters to guide the reader's eye onwards.

3) When drawing a finished page, I extend the top and bottom of the page, and create a natural finish for the panels or drawings.


4) Then, once the pages that make up a ribbon are done, it's a very simple matter to drop all of the pages into one very long canvas and position them so that it reads, without apparent breaks, from top to bottom.


5) The only thing I haven't mentioned is the trick of picking "beats" in the story (moments where there's a natural rest or a scene change that causes anticipation) to form the ends of each ribbon. There are actually an irregular number of pages making up each ribbon (between 5 and 8) because of this, and I can adjust the length and flow of the ribbon by adding larger or smaller extensions above or below certain pages. The overall story is composed in chapters of around 30 pages, meaning that each chapter falls into about 4 ribbons.

And there we have it! I hope that's an insightful overview of how I make The Firelight Isle work for both web and print.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Become a Patron!

In order to support The Firelight Isle as I create it, I've signed up to a service called Patreon. Patreon lets fans become patrons of their favorite creators, but unlike other fundraising services, which raise for a single big event, Patreon is for creators who create a regular flow of free material. Patrons can make monthly donations in exchange for perks, and donate as much or as little as they like, for as long as they like. The idea is that even a dollar or two a month is worth a lot if you have a few hundred patrons.

The goals I'm aiming towards are raising enough money per-month to hire assistants to help with the running of the project and the colouring of the artwork, and eventually to raise enough to spend more of my own time each week on the art!

I answer some basic questions that will probably occur to a lot of readers (especially supporters of the Indie GoGo campaign) on the page itself, so please check it out and consider becoming a patron of The Firelight Isle!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Lots of Faces

I've just realised that I missed last week's blog entry! I had a post planned about how I put together tall images whilst making sure that the story still reads as a series of individual pages, but I shall have to save that one for next week... In the meantime, I've been working as hard as possible on the next episode - I hope to spend much less time on this one! This next part focusses on Sen, for which I produced a giant character sheet to speed me up.

One other piece of news, I've put a mirror of The Firelight Isle up on Smack Jeeves, a webcomic hosting site with some social media extras. So if you like reading webcomics there, or would like to see how the story reads one page at a time, check it out!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Ribbon 3 is up!

Hi all, I've been putting the finishing touches on the latest story ribbon this week, and it's now ready to read!! Click here to read the latest part, click here to read from the beginning!

Friday, 31 January 2014

Time Lapse

Lots and lots of flatting today. For those who aren't lucky enough to have encountered "flatting", that's the process of putting flat colours under uncoloured linework. It's like the first pass before the lighting and detail is put down and is basically the same as doing a colouring book... except not so fun.
So, rather than share the monotony with you, I took a moment to edit down, speed up, and upload the livestream I did late last year. The following video is the exciting part of the colouring of page 15 (the flatting has already been done when this video starts). Hope you enjoy, and feel free to ask questions about technique etc in the video comments, or in the blog comments (full screen in HD is a must if you want to see what's going on in the layers).


Making a promise about a release date is probably the worst thing I could possibly do at this stage, but let's throw caution to the wind! I hope to have the next part of The Firelight Isle live either next week or (if colouring these pages is slower than predicted) the week after! I am excite! I hope you are too!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Turnarounds

Hi all! :) Things are going well, I'm skipping ahead with a batch of linework before I catch up with the colouring at the moment, which means I'm focussed on drawing. Earlier today I realised that I haven't actually produced a full turnaround for Anlil yet, so I extracted and edited images of her from the pages I've done so far, and then filled in the gaps to create the start of a turnaround.



Despite how long these pages take, I'm always trying to find shortcuts and ways to speed up. I often feel like the discipline of drawing comics is all about finding ways to "cheat". Having such a large range of poses means I can skip a few steps by using these as "bases" each time I need to draw the character. In many ways, having only drawn a few dozen pages means that I'm still getting used to this project, and finding out how to streamline the process.

The sheet is still missing the half where she's looking down and from behind, but it's a good start. I thought it'd be a laugh to stick it into a gif to see how well it'd animate... turns out not very well at all (her hair slides around like a loose wig), but it is neat to see it moving, and it taught me a fair few things about how to keep her face consistent from different angles!


Friday, 17 January 2014

Sketching Away

The admin is still going, but going well. I've just finished a batch of sketches to send off to their contributors, and I'm looking forward to getting back to drawing the comic itself again tomorrow! :)
As I mentioned in the last post, crowd funding is hard and lasting work! If you're interested in it yourself, I wrote a double-article on the experience a while back on my personal blog! Part 1 here. Part 2 here.

Friday, 10 January 2014

The End of an Era...

Today, I started to wrap up the last of the admin associated with The Firelight Isle IndieGoGo campaign. Just a caution if you're personally considering using Kickstarter or any other crowd funding sites... a successfully funded campaign is a LOT of work, it can literally take years to sort it all out!

But you're probably here for the comic... this ribbon is crawling along painfully slowly for the reasons I listed in the last entry, but here's some new linework from a page I was working on yesterday!


Friday, 3 January 2014

The best laid plans...

No new update this week, but I think it might be a good chance to discuss something I've learnt and am still learning as a freelancer. No plan ever goes to plan, unless part of the plan includes the plan failing.

When I started drawing, I sat down and figured out that The Firelight Isle takes me 1.5 days a page on average, and that I have 8.6 days a month to work on it, meaning I can get 5.7 pages done a month, and with the average episode of the story being 6 pages attached to one another, I should be able to get just under 1 episode done a month.

Sounds great, huh? I've been making calculations like that since I started doing comics as a freelancer, and have ended up relying on them in a number of situations, but life always throws things you don't expect at you.

Things like prepping the final designs for that other freelance project I took a few months ago, having a little extra work to do for The Phoenix out of office, updating my records with a year's worth of business receipts, submitting my tax return, being away for Christmas, planning for the next financial year, going to town to post those shop orders, writing these blog entries... lots of small interruptions and additions that seen in isolation are barely worth thinking about, but when put together add up to a significant amount of time!

The thing I never want to admit to myself is that life never stops throwing these at you. You can wait all you want for the "quiet time" to happen or the "perfect routine" to fall into place, but it never does. The only predictable thing about self employment is unpredictability, and working with unpredictability is a matter of keeping space in your plans for the unknown to occur - not an easy task.

So, it seems that in the balance, suggesting I'd be able to get one episode out a month was optimistic, and plans made with optimism are just poor plans. Employing a bit of practical pessimism is forcing me to say that I just can't schedule it... they'll be ready when they're ready. I really hate saying it, but it's true. If I had 5 days a week for this things would be different, but 2 will have to do!

See you next week, and remember - hope for the best, but prepare for problems, and never promise anyone anything that doesn't take possible problems into account!

Friday, 27 December 2013

On Holiday...

This is a sneaky, lazy automated blog post, because I'm currently relaxing with friends and enjoying a bit of a holiday break! More in the new year, but first, a quick glimpse of a new page (this is where Sen's family live and work)! Hope you've had a lovely festive time this Christmas too! ^_^


Friday, 20 December 2013

Merry Midwinter 2013!

Hello all! Just a quick message to wish you a happy deep-of-winter (if you're in the northern hemisphere), or just a happy whatever, wherever you're from!

I'd hoped to have a new episode out by now, but it turns out that many things have ended up in the way of that goal (winter colds, winter celebrations and the fact that the script I wrote myself is abusively challenging to draw). Expect more in the new year! :D

Friday, 13 December 2013

Lighting

Things have been going smoothly this week! I'm nearly done with all the tricky scenes from the next episode, and looking forward to focussing on some of the simpler ones. This Friday, I'm posting a deeper look at the shading process that I started to talk about last week, using one of the recently finished pages from the next episode. To begin the shading process, I work on top of a dark-grey background. Since there are lots of different light sources in the exterior scenes, I add them one by one, by dropping a textured white gradient onto the page, and masking off the areas where shadows would fall, or the light wouldn't reach.


Here's the page with the remaining light sources added in (unless there are visible torches or windows, I just add them where it looks most dramatic)...


Then I add in solid white for windows and doors, along with greys to show light falling on and shining through cloth...


Once this process is done [technical photoshop babble coming up...] I hide the linework, deepen the grey to black, and use the resulting black-and-white image as an alpha channel for some adjustment layers. Those layers are then placed over the flats to darken the colours and increase the amount of blue and red in the areas where the shadows are...


Then I do the same, only inverted, for the areas of light. The amount of yellow is increased, and the colours are lightened. I also blur out the lighting adjustments a little to get a subtle bloom effect.


Finally, textures, patterns and painting are added for clouds, fabrics and sky!


The people in the scene are in a separate folder, and I shade them second...


The lighting on the figures is much less complex. I pick a single dominant light-source (whatever the closest is), and add cel shading on the figures using a similar technique involving adjustment layers and masks..


And it's done! See you next week with more progress!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Colour Choices

Happy Friday, folks! This week I've been continuing the battle against busy market scenes, and progress is going well! Since I just finished the flat colours for a page, I thought it'd be a good opportunity to show what a page of The Firelight Isle looks without any lighting or effects. The colour palette is chosen to entirely avoid blue, which is a sacred colour in Azulian society, and only seen on certain buildings and people.


The following is a compilation of all the swatches I use, with the addition of "Azulian Blue". The swatches are repeated three times, without lighting in the centre, with the tones I use for shadows on the right, and with the tones I use for light on the left...


 Next week, I'll have finished the colours for this page, so I can compare the two stages and talk a little about how I add lighting effects.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Schedule and Progress!

Hi all! This Firelight Friday, there's no new episode, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about schedule so there's no confusion. After Freakangels, I'd imagine that many people expect a weekly release for The Firelight Isle, and really I'd like nothing better than to be able to do this!

However, whilst working on Freakangels, I had a flatter, a colourist an a letterer to help me, the website was built and managed by Avatar Press, and there was a full page rate to pay my wage as I worked - not to mention no writing duties whatsoever!

With The Firelight Isle, I'm handling the whole project myself, from writing to the building and maintaining of the website... plus I also have a part time job at The Phoenix Weekly Story Comic as a designer and in-house illustrator 3 days a week! Pages of The Firelight Isle take me between 1 and 3 days to finish depending on the level of complexity involved, so I'm imagining that I'll have a new episode out roughly once a month. Not ideal for a webcomic, but the best I can manage at the moment!

So, onto progress! The pages for the next episode are a mixture of difficulties. I've got some nice, easy conversational pages coming up, but there are a couple of large exterior scenes which are bound to suck up a lot of time, too! I'm starting with them, so here are a few in-progress drawings:
Anlil walking through a section of Azul marketplace.
The living and working quarters of Sen's family (they make and trade dyes).

Whilst I'm doing this, I'm also working on a major rewrite of the second half of the story, which is currently a little unstructured and needs some tightening up. I imagine this re-write will go on for a number of months, and I hope to have some more in-depth info about it here as I go. I'm excited to share parts of the editing process as I proceed.

Finally, a few people have asked about an RSS feed for the comic. Unfortunately, right now my website doesn't have the capacity for a dedicated RSS feed (my hosting plan doesn't support databases). I'm working on migrating to a new plan and rebuilding the site in the future - this build only took me a few days and is tragically basic. However, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of this blog (links below each post). I'll be updating it each Friday with a progress report, so every time I have a new episode out you'll know. Alternatively, I'll be posting episodes of the comic on my Tumblr and Deviantart pages, and I'll be reminding my Twitter followers when there are new updates too.

See you next week!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Firelight Fridays Begin!

It's finally live! The first two episodes are up and readable, and I'm elated. It's been a very long journey from the IndieGoGo campaign to here, so I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who contributed once more - it wouldn't have happened without you!

There won't be a new episode every week - the production is just too intensive for that, but I am planning on making every Friday a Firelight Friday, with a progress report or a behind-the-scenes look at how things are coming along each Friday. Keep an eye out on the blog, and click on the Firelight Isle logo or the archive link at the top of the page to start reading! I hope you enjoy!

http://www.firelightisle.com

Friday, 30 August 2013

And production has begun!!

I'm expecting many are wondering what has happened to the project after such a long wait! After a bumpy and pretty long road, the goals of the Indie Gogo campaign for The Firelight Isle have now been met! The world and characters are fully developed, the story has been plotted out and the thumbnails have been produced (and in some cases are in 3rd or 4th draft)! Looking back on the process, it hasn't been at all what I expected. Here's a snippet from the secret blog written in response to a question from a contributor to show you what I mean!
When I began the funding campaign, I imagined that the world-building and the writing would be very separate parts of the production that I would be able to share lots about in isolation. It certainly started off that way as I posted details about the culture, the clothes, the city and the planet it was set on, but as I continued writing, I began to realise that the finer aspects of the culture were so intimately tied to the storyline that it was impossible to develop one without the other. Instead of the period of environment, character and world design I imagined doing, what instead happened was an extended period of rewrites during which the plot, and my ideas about the world slowly aligned. It was a very frustrating process, because where I’d hoped to have lots of finished art to share, instead I had lots of rough drafts and quick sketches (either in text or in thumbnail form). Hence the long periods of silence during development.
Despite the steep learning curve involved in writing The Firelight Isle, production of the finished pages is now underway (I just finished colouring page 8, and I'm lining page 10 right at the moment). It's going to take me a while to revamp the website in preparation for putting the project online, so in the meantime, I'll share the first page and a later section of the opening (comprising about 2 pages worth of drawing)! Hope you enjoy!



Thursday, 8 August 2013

Live Drawing Demonstration

Here's a little something to show that The Firelight Isle is live and well! I live streamed the drawing of the first page recently, and have edited down and uploaded the recording to Youtube ^_^

 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Character Designs

I've now finalised the character designs, and have a number of them to share with you! The costumes have changed quite a bit since the beginning of the project, and the style has moved towards a more stylised look. I'm excited to get drawing!


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Lessons with Anlil

I've been meaning to produce a cel-shading tutorial for a while now, and finally got the chance (thanks to some new software I stumbled across) whilst working on an illustration of Anlil. Here's the tutorial (please enable captions for full instructions), and the finished illustration!




Thursday, 17 January 2013

Beta Testing

The Beta test for The Firelight Isle has now concluded and was a big success! A number of different people who donated to the Indie GoGo campaign offered to test how The Firelight Isle was reading, both in the imagined online form, and the print form, by reading the first half of the story in its current rough state!

I'm pleased to say that the feedback has been really positive, and that it's also given me a lot to think about! The thumbnail process is now moving onto a second draft, and is proving to be very challenging, but hopefully the story and world will be stronger for the extra time spent getting the flow of the story just right!


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Progress

Thanks to the fantastic contributions by everyone who has supported The Firelight Isle, I'm now in a great position. I have a fully fleshed out story, fully developed thumbnails, and I've had the chance to beta-test the first half of the story with interested readers, and have received an amazingly positive response.

There's still editing work to do, but I can say with confidence that the development stage is drawing to a close, and I'm now shifting my focus onto preparing for publication.
This is an exciting, but ultimately uncreative part of the project - I'll be approaching publishers, making plans and proposals, doing the groundwork to prepare my website for the comic, and deciding on details of format and distribution. At this stage it's hard to say exactly how long this process will take, since it's not a matter of a finite amount of work. Negotiations can be a slow and unpredictable affair!

However, I've been able to do a tremendous amount of work on this comic thanks to the help of so many supporters, and I can say with confidence that I have a plan to cover every eventuality from here on out: The Firelight Isle is poised on the edge of being ready to draw, and one way or another, it will be published!

Thanks for bearing with me during a period in which the work I've been producing has been very hard to share with you. Watch this space!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Web Ribbons

I'm now well over 100 thumbnails into the project, and I've decided to start the ball rolling by scanning and formatting the first 120 of them (it took nearly a whole morning just for scanning!). I've been giving a good deal of thought to how I'll be presenting The Firelight Isle on the web, and after some deliberation, I've decided that the pages, once done, will should in two different directions. When in print, they can be arranged into a series of double-page spreads that work well together (that's how I've been thumbnailing them), but they've been drawn in such a way that they will also stack one on top of another seamlessly, and form "ribbons" (of about 10 pages at a time) that can be scrolled down from top to bottom - something that works well for webcomics. By increasing the spacing between certain panels, I'm hoping to give the webcomic its own scroll-contingent pacing, whereas the print comic will have pacing that relies on each double-page spread being absorbed at a time. This is no mean task, so I'm presenting these first "web strips" to contributors who are interested in being beta readers. Hopefully the feedback will help me streamline the finished product for both web and print. If you'd like a chance to beta-read The Firelight Isle, but didn't get a chance to contribute to the IndieGoGo campaign, I'm still accepting donations through PayPal, since every penny I raise for the project can be put to use in the production and promotion! I'll leave you with a thumbnail of the thumbnails to give you an idea what I'm intending:


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Thumbnails away!

Now that the writing process has reached a point where I have a reasonable synopsis, and visual ideas for most (if not all) the scenes in the story, it's time for the thumbnails! Since the last blog entry I've been working to get these rolling, and I've now produced a good amount. I'm estimating that the whole process (including tweaks, edits and so-on) will take me roughly 3 to 4 months, by which time I'll be ready to move onto the final stage, which will be producing finished designs, and a sample section of the comic itself. Here's a quick picture of my working area with all the thumbnails so far spread out!


There are three aides that I'm using, first a sketchbook, where I'll often very quickly scribble an extremely tiny, rough version of a thumbnail to make sure it's going to work before committing it to a larger piece of paper. I also collect notes, ideas and make brief sketches of details that the thumbnails can't capture in here. The second is the sheet of paper with coloured print and scribbles in the margin. That's a condensed synopsis with editing notes attached for quick reference. The last is my laptop with a bunch of text fleshing out the story, and more importantly, a big list of "things still do to or fix" that I address as I draw! It's a tricky and exciting process, but unfortunately not one that leads to a lot of regular material to post on the blog! Please forgive a certain amount of radio-silence while I work to get this done!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Story Comes Together + Sponsors.

A fantastic update! Thanks to the support I received through The Indie GoGo campaign, I've been able to dedicate two weeks over the last month to editing, rearranging, polishing and fleshing out the story of The Firelight Isle. I'm really happy with how it has come together, there have been several major shifts in emphasis and a restructuring, and I'm looking forward to the next stage of development which will be thumbnailing/storyboarding. This stage will most likely include its own story edits, and I'll be using it as a tool to decide which designs to focus on.

This is only the first step in the work that the campaign money will cover, but it's perhaps the most important! The funds that were so generously donated through the Indie Gogo campaign have been set aside to use as a basic wage for any day on which I work on the project.

So far, I've spent a few days on research, a few days on admin relating to the campaign, and two weeks on writing. Some of the campaign money has inevitably had to go back into the time it took to produce the trailer and run the campaign whilst it was active, but the majority of the funds are ready and waiting for the bulk of the work, which will be thumbnailing, design and visual reseach.


I can also announce a new section of the site for the following sponsors!
Travelling Man: An independent shop located in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, York and online, stocking comic books, boardgames and RPGs of all kinds.
Red Garden Manga: An independent shop for the latest in manga and Letraset art products, supporter of upcoming manga artists and home of the Red Garden Artist Group.
Thought Bubble: The UK's biggest and best annual sequential art event, celebrating the medium in all its forms: everything from superheroes to independent and small press comics.

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Thursday, 23 February 2012

All quiet on the internet front

A quick status update for everyone interested in the project! Following the successful funding campaign, things have gone a bit quiet on the the blog because of two things! First of all, I'm now seriously engaged in working on the Firelight Isle - as close to full time as possible. Secondly, there has been a lot of admin to get through regarding the campaign funds and the perks!

I'm currently working intensely on the writing, fleshing out the details of previously sketchy scenes, and also grappling with quite a major change to the plot which has required a lot of re-organisation. Thankfully the rearranging seems to be going quite smoothly, although to begin with it felt like picking up and untangling freshly boiled spaghetti. At the risk of being totally cryptic, the plot element I removed has been bothering me for quite some time - it has always felt a bit incongruous beside the rest of the story, and I have a feeling I was including it only because it was a straight forward way to add drama to the plot. One of those sounds-good-in-the-synopsis-but-not-in-detail moments.

Unfortunately whilst working directly on the plot and storyboarding, there isn't really much to preview on the blog that wouldn't prematurely give away story details. I'll have to make do with occasional updates to say how I'm doing in general.

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Friday, 27 January 2012

Interview about The Firelight Isle

 I was recently asked to do an interview about The Firelight Isle on a comic news site! Here's a quick taster, and you can read the rest at the website itself.
CB)  First one is easy, tells us a little about The Firelight Isle? Where did the idea come from and what is the story you want to tell with it?

PD)  The Firelight Isle is a story I've been wanting to tell for a long time! I've always been a fan of fantasy, science fiction and surreal or magical storytelling, and I've always had a desire to write my own stories, so for most of my life I've had a grand writing project in mind that has gone through different incarnations (inspired by whoever my favourite authors were at the time)! When I started work as a professional artist, I began to realise just how much work is involved in creating epic, multi-volume stories and graphic novels, and so I ended up focussing on completing shorter stories. At that point, Freakangels started, and I spent 4 years working on that, during which time the hectic schedule and intense work on Warren's script taught me a lot about both writing and drawing long form stories. When Freakangels finished, I found that my desire to create a longer piece had been rekindled, and I considered it the best time to try to establish myself as a writer as well as an artist. I broke down all of my early story ideas, and mined them for inspiration, taking all sorts of fragments, and reworking them into a new piece, which became The Firelight Isle. So it's a new story with long roots!

The story I want to tell is very much a character and culture focussed piece, a fantasy that feels like it could well be taking place on some distant world that might really exist. Its themes include friendship and coming of age, along with faith and segregation. I've tried to assimilate as much information as I can on human culture in a short time so that the world it takes place in will be both familiar and surprising. It's hard to describe the plot in a movie-pitch style, since it's more of a slice-of-life style story that includes some grander elements.

CB)  Can you tell us about the main characters, what their names are and why you felt they were the right choice to tell the story with?

PD) The two main characters are both the same age (around 16), and have known each other since their earliest memories, and been fast friends ever since...

Read the rest of the interview on Comic Bastards

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Monday, 23 January 2012

Azul Poster

Quick art update! Here's the finished image of Azul as a promo poster!


Feel free to spread it round and post it on your blogs, twitters, bookfaces and etc!!

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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Animated Trailer

I've been working away on an animated trailer for a good few weeks now in the hope it would be ready before the Indie GoGo campaign was over! Determined to get it finished this Friday, I ended up working till early in the morning on Saturday instead. Oh well... it's done now! Might as well spend an extra few minutes putting it up. Please pass it around and tweet about it etc! ^_^ I'm hoping it will help attract extra attention for the last two weeks of the campaign.

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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Some Screenshots

Hello all! Sorry that news has been quiet on the art front over the last few weeks. I've been working on something special that I'm hoping will help to promote the campaign during its last 14 days or so! It's an animated trailer that I'm hoping to have finished within the next week, and here are some preview screen-shots to fill the gap in the meantime!

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Friday, 16 December 2011

Azul


I just finished this rough image which is a design for Azul, and also an image from the opening parts of the story. It's drawn from the roof garden of Anlil's workshop and home, looking out over the centre of the market district, the palace of the Somin, and on the left, the edge of a huge open square where the residents of Azul gather for worship.

The many long banners that adorn the palace and the front of shops and homes will be coloured depending on profession and business - craftspeople and traders compete to make the most attractive displays of the their colour.

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