Friday, 8 February 2013

Mundo Jazz in Manga Studio

Mundo Jazz in all their glory...the excellent and irreverant world beat combo on the hunt for the lost tomb of Quincey, or some other demi god of popular TV culture. Had real fun doing this and I'm including the pencils and a detail to show it more fully.

(Click for a larger view)


(Click for a larger view)

I've spent the last four days putting this together, stretching my wings a bit to see what I can get out of Manga Studio using it as a basic painting package. I'm not the greatest digital artist by a long chalk, all my previous work being done with a mouse and an ancient copy of photoshop bought for me when I was working on a big photo editing job several years ago. Tried working with a stylus way back then but it never really gelled and my first love always remained working with gouache over pencils...proper wet work. It's always jarred with me the way that photoshop as the industry standard barred a lot of people being able to compete in the illustration market or even learn the software due to it's prohibitive expense; day was when you could set yourself up with enough paper, pencils, brushes and paint for about £100 and set to. 

(Click for a larger view)

As someone who spent a way too big chunk of their life living outdoors without electric, I'm completely self taught in all things new fangled and still feel like I'm playing catch up, but with this latest piece using MS and a Bamboo pen and tablet I feel like I've finally got back to the kind of tightly rendered work that I was producing with a brush and gouache. 

A gouache piece from almost six years back,
based on Mark Gatiss playing Professor Nebulous.

Another gouache from around the same time,
featuring Ed & Will, the rambling song men of Albion.

I love the fact that I've regained all the expressiveness of real brush work again, able to work the way that feels right for me rather than the way I've been obliged to due to budget. Looking back at how dark my palette of choice was when painting in the past, the fact I can change my colours with a couple of clicks is also a real joy. I know none of this way of working  is news for all the lucky folk who've been trained and graduated using this kind of digital kit from the very get go, but for a reformed hedge monkey like myself it's a total revelation after dragging my heels with technology for so long. When I first walked out of the mainstream world to live under canvas, I earned my living as a traditional sign-writer, decorator, seasonal labourer in the orchards and woodlands and working the UK festival circuit; the domestic desk top PC was something of a rarity and an expensive one at that. When I emerged blinking back into the world of  slate roofs, hot running water and ultra connectivity 12 years later it was like landing on another planet (think Gerry Anderson's 'Doppleganger/ Journey To The Far Side of the Sun') so it's taken a while to get to grips with and be able to afford new ways of working. Now with Manga Studio there's finally no longer the need to have a small fortune to begin with in order to continue working and getting your stuff seen and out there. Just wish I'd come to it three or four years earlier!

PS: Still bloody hate that word Manga though in the way it seems to be applied by the world at large to practically all things comics!

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