Friday, 27 December 2013

John Welding Illustrator 2013 The Year in Review


Another comic strip in the series based on one of my recurring dreams.
You can read the full strip here The Duel

Saturday, 14 December 2013

George Clooney Oscar Acceptance Speech

On the treadmill this morning I got to thinking George Clooney will be contractually obliged to receive all the awards for Gravity in character, as commander Matt Kowalski floating untethered in a space suit.

That's an actual treadmill at the gym by the way, not a metaphorical one.

I saw Gravity in 3D a few weeks ago and was blown away by it. The glossy sheen of 3D Sfx, as seen in a lot of recent fantasy films was pared down, leaving the truest form of 3D I've seen on film. Don't get me wrong, 3D is not the saviour of cinema, allowing the industry to hike prices even higher for their regurgitated Hollywood offerings. The 3D worked in this instance because of the storytelling. I'm going to buy the 2D Blu Ray version to watch again, not because I want a 3D hit but because the storytelling in this instance is effective and satisfying to behold. The fact that it looks gorgeous and has a soundtrack for a heart beat only add to the experience.

I'll be interested in seeing Robert Redford's new film All Is Lost which seems to have a similar 'disaster' vibe, concentrating on the acting and mechanics of telling a darn good tale.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Book Cover Process

An acquaintance of mine recently commissioned me to illustrate the cover to a book he's working on with the intent to self publish. After reading the manuscript I was wanting in on the project. I wasn't sure  when I was going to do it as I have a few design jobs on which will take me through to January 2014. So I decided to stop procrastinating and just get on and do it in the time I had, usually late into the night.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A New Wakefield Mythology Updated

Part of the purpose of the New Wakefield Mythology images was to stimulate  viewers into creative writing as part of the Wakefield Lit Fest. These acts of writing were collected on post cards and after a long process of reading and thinking 10 winners were found and their writing added to the drawings. The words give the images an added depth  and make me look at them with new eyes. And here they are...

Monday, 21 October 2013

Dr Who Exhibition: Time and Space

Red Riding Whood

Pugilist vs. Dalek

These are my contributions to this exhibition Doctor Who: Time and Space

I spent time today putting the prints into frames, clearing dust and particles and making them as presentable as possible. The drawings are a few years old but I don't think that many people have seen them,. \This is a chance for them to live a little bit longer.

I have tinkered with the layouts for them to fit the pre made frames and I have updated the Photoshop colour layer to take a little more texture. This was a printing concern as large flat areas of colour can be difficult to maintain without banding.

(See the original Red Riding Whood drawing here and the Pugilist vs. Dalek appeared on the Exdrawminate Blog in 2009 (ish).)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Readings in a Northern City Wakefield Lit Fest

Part of North Day - a day of festival events exploring the concept of ‘North’.
"Join Beam Director Robert Powell, Lit Fest Writer in Residence Steve Dearden, Wakefield Civic Society and a host of specially invited guest readers in exploring Wakefield’s spaces and places through literature and verse. Get under the skin of what makes a northern city on this wide-ranging reading tour and walkabout of Wakefield."
Steve Dearden, Burgage Square. Reading part of his work in progress as Lit Fest writer in residence.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Colour Me A Grim Sky

I have not got the time to colour the greyscale 'A New Wakefield Mythology' images, they are at the printers being made into lovely A1 prints at this very moment for the Wakefield Lit Fest which starts 21st of September. But, if I did have the time they would look something like this image of The Orangery above.

Today has been a funny day of bad autumn weather and feeling of generally being unwell, so I had time to open the image up in Photoshop and have a play with it. The colour introduces another element, black and white photography is sometimes described as emotional where as colour photography is descriptive. The same is true with illustration.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A New Wakefield Mythology The Complete Set

Elephant and Castle

Merchant Gate

The Old Carnegie Library

The Art House

The Orangery

Westgate Unitarian Chapel

Unity Hall

Wakefield Prison

Wakefield Theatre

Westgate Train Station Green Door

In no particular order (I'll think about that later), here are the ten images for the Wakefield Lit Fest exhibition 'A New Wakefield Mythology'. They are not finished yet, they need story's added, there are blank areas in the drawings where I can add that in later on. Here's a bit from the Wakefield Lit Fest website about the next stage...

"John’s drawings will be on display throughout the festival period and we are inviting you to contribute your written ‘New Wakefield Mythologies’, inspired by John’s drawings. The winning entries will see their text incorporated into John’s artwork – and will win the final completed artwork for their efforts."

I am busy working on other bits of the project (print!), if you want to find out more head on over to the Wakefield Lit Fest website, lurk for awhile and have a think about Wakefield's New Mythologies.

The exhibition will run from 21 - 30 September 2013 at The Orangery and will feature the ten images above enlarged to A1 size. Which mean you will see a lot more detail than what you see here presented in tiny internet sizes.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Work in Progress The Orangery

Annnd Relaaaax! Is that a Magician or a Poet about to go through the gates of The Orangery which will be home to the Wakefield Lit Fest later this month. This is the tenth and final image for 'A  New Wakefield Mythology', now I have to size the images up to A1 ready for the printers.

Work in Progress Elephant & Castle on Westgate

I don't go to the pub that often simply because I have never been very good at drinking. Ironic really because there are a lot of fine pubs in Wakefield. What attracts me to the Elephant & Castle then is the detailed tiled frontage, it looks like it's from another era with its sepia coloured tiles, it creates an otherworldly image.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Work in Progress Westgate Unitarian Chapel

The Chapel is now tucked away behind the new Wakefield Civic Justice Centre building. I  like the look of the Chapel and have been on guided tours inside, it has burial vaults and a secret tunnel that absolutely no one else knows about. I am not sure where this drawing came from to be honest. I think it was a bit of a looking glass moment. Are we real or is the reflection in the Justice Centre the real world and we are but a phantastical reflection of it?

I sketched out the man in a row-boat a few times, I wanted him to look out of time and out of place. Using different pens helped me concentrate on getting the shape of the boat hull I wanted. He was then added to the image and using a lightbox drawn into the scene.

I experimented with using salt in the gray ink wash on this one, something I have not attempted for a long while. It's an over powering effect so I am glad I got rid of most of it digitally on the high resolution scan, whiting out the area where text is to be added at a later date.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Work in Progress The Art House

The Art House in Wakefield is next door to the old library but has a totally different architectural feel to it. (This is a view from the Mulberry Road side, I wonder if  that has anything to do with the Prison and the Mulberry Bush children's rhyme, which is said to originate from Wakefield Prison not very far away?)

My bike is old and bits fall off and are replaced at regular intervals, it's getting on for 12 years of loyal bumpy Wakefield road service. I love bicycles, their design and purpose are nigh on perfect in my opinion. 

Friday, 23 August 2013

Work in Progress Wakefield Prison

Waiting in the corner for the right moment. It takes a lot of concentration. I went to the top of the new Merchant Gate multi-story car park to look down on the Prison, It's not that far away. Although it is another world away from what I know of prison life. A high view point suggested freedom, a birds eye view, something that had the ability to fly away if necessary, the exact opposite of what a the prison is even with it's pretty looking clock tower.

I wasn't sure where I was going with this image, I knew I wanted part of the prison in there. It wasn't until the next day running on a treadmill that I could see my drawing, this time framed by a claustrophobic car interior.

Work in Progress The Old Library

The old Dury Lane Library was originally a free public Carnegie Library. It closed down and relocated to the shiny new Wakefield One building a few streets away. The idea of being able to get anything for free these days is a novelty. As everything is monetised to justify its place in  this world, being able to rent a book (or a graphic novel) for free still seems to be the height of of a civilised society. The internet purports to be free but our use of it is ever increasingly monitored and scrutinised by marketing wizards, concentrating on predicting and coercing our spending habits, and in doing so, making the world that little bit smaller.

These drawings for A New Wakefield Mythology will be on display at the Wakefield Lit Fest 21 to 30 September 2013. Check out the website, there are some interesting things going on, for instance comic artist Staz Johnson and horror author Darren Shan will be getting involved.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Work in Progress Unity Hall

The idea of the New Mythologies project is for the images to stimulate a story within the viewers mind, however that works for the individual mind is fine. I am not presenting factual images, there are no conscious connections unless the subconscious has had a say in the matter, and if the viewer leaves and in their twilight years half remembers a giant octopus on top of Unity Hall, then that's fine by me.

I felt that the top image was not enough to spark a story and I had a feint image of lightening strikes hitting the tower but that felt wrong, it needed to be something... bigger. I had scanned the image thinking it finished, and set the new scan at 50% for the second image and liked the ethereal quality. Very Lovecraftian.

I have a memory of giant apes at the top of Blackpool Tower where there used to be a zoo, for years I would tell people this and be greeted with utter disbelief. It's only with the advent of the internet that I can half prove that there was a zoo up there, whether or not they had Apes, that's down to my memory as a child.