Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Wood Street Market

I am making an image for Wood Street Market, the first of which was on Sunday 21st July. For some inexplicable reason I am working A2 size and in the back of my mind I am figuring out how to get it onto an A4 scanner. I'll sort that out when I come to it I think. Next up is redoing some of the lettering and then colouring it and sprinkling it with magic dust to make it all work.

Friday, 26 July 2013

The Green Door

This is a test piece for A New Wakefield Mythology project, a mix of Wakefield architecture and imagination. There's a door on Westgate near the train station that I walk past and every time I think of the hidden tunnels that hide behind it. Of course, the tunnels may not exist and it might just be a lock up with a few plastic chairs in here, but there's always the chance that behind that ancient frontage there is a gateway to something magical. Imagination does that.

This is a test piece and I was feeling my way to how detailed it should be. Hopefully it will be enlarged for the intended exhibition and joined by another nine images that go into creating a new myth that Wakefield is... well I think I have said enough about that bit. There needs to be a few surprises left.

Originally drawn with dip pen and ink with a grey ink wash over the top and then scanned in to and messed about with in Photoshop.

I want to create atmosphere and enough detail to trigger the viewers imagination, but I don't want to be over descriptive. I want the viewer to be able to come up with their own version of events. There needs to be more sense of space and location maybe, to make it feel more every day-ish? A bit more like the original photo I took.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A New Wakefield Mythology

Here are some reference photos for something I am working on speculatively titled 'A New Wakefield Mythology' for the Wakefield Literary Festival in September. I spent the morning creeping around Unity Hall on Westgate gathering photo reference, as rain fell for the first time in weeks upon the Halls leaking roof adding to the dusty atmosphere inside. Decades of varying use have resulted in a maze of corridors within the building. Some of it lit by daylight and electricity some of it lit by darkness. If I were a ghost, I could do a lot worse than hang out in the corridors of Unity Hall for eternity.

The horror and the smell of evil from the Buffet Room is still with me after two showers and a large mug of nerve steadying coffee. Pigeons rule that particular wing and have given up trying to fly, they scuttle about the floor dragging their claws just out of periphery vision whispering... 'You, you, you are next if you don't go away'.

Thanks to Darren at Architecture 1B for organising access and for Andrew the archaeological surveyor for showing us around the nicer bits. It is an experience I shall not forget.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Alice Gerbod Illustration

The You Are What You Ate team at Wakefield Museum asked me for a drawing of Alice Gerbod for their travelling interactive display pod which will move around libraries in the Wakefield area. Having done characters for them in the past, I said Yes.

First sketches; pencil on tracing paper. Reversing the character for posture. Sounds easy but before that came some costume guidance from the Museum and lot of internet research on 14th Century medieval women. 

Time was spent 'noodling' with pencils and pen trying to find a way in to the character. Tracing paper is great for this and I had soon gone though 10 sheets of A4. Impoverished and malnourished, probably a sufferer of seasonal scurvy and struggling to get by snaring a rabbit or two. First thoughts from the Museum team at this point were she was too rounded for the 'poor' Alice character.    

She looked too gnarly, less arthritic hands and bent posture. Clothing looks good, but perhaps slightly too long. Trailing skirts was something of a status indicator.

 The dead rabbit was not working for me, (it's hard enough drawing live ones let alone carcasses) so the suggestion that it be replaced by firewood (more accurate to her record in the Manor Court Rolls) was okay by me.

Could she have a bit more of a smile, and finally there is Alice Gerbod.

A quick tidy up of the pencil drawing...
And then digital colour applied over the top using Photoshop. Colour recommendations came from the team:

Apron, headwear – natural linen colour (pale beige)
Shoes –brown
Dress – brown or a madder red (a dull, brownish, ochre orange).

Unique Wakefield Guide Issue 2

Sunday. Got my copies of the Unique Wakefield Guide no.2 today from Sarah at the first ever Wood Street Market, which had plenty of atmosphere and great cakes and good coffee and lovely people. A free city guide available from independent outlets and Wakefield tourist information centre. The cover is an amalgamation of those Wakefield shops I illustrated recently.

Mr Zip being a bit zippy

Compared to the incinerating weather of late it was cooler and overcast today

Monday, 8 July 2013

Writing As A Process

This is part of my writing process. I am not very good at what you would call 'writing properly', I find reading a bit of a chore and words get muddled up betwixt the page and my eye. I like comics, graphic novels, illustrated stories, computer games, music, films and storytelling. They all involve writing at some point in their creation but are enhanced by visuals, although traditionally they are presented as something lower in cultural value than a traditional novel of noted repute because hey, those visuals are doing some of the work for you.

Sitting in a chair waiting for inspiration to strike from my vast academic memory and thought machine (said with a deep irony) is not the way I write. I tend to remember what It is I want to say with sketches and notes and then eliminate what is not necessary in the telling until it makes sense as a scene or story. There are writing tricks I employ, telling the story backwards, reordering events or telling the story from an unexpected point of view that can make a piece work (or not work), I like to think instinct also plays an important role. Take Page 10 of 'The Ridings' for example.

Originally, it was a stranger talking to me about something totally unexpected that inspired the scene. My first thought was as a comic strip I could get away with six panels of talking heads. There was more dialogue originally involved in the exchange, for instance he asked if 'I used Wonder Web to hold the turn ups in place', I commented that they were 'narrow style jeans and that helped keep them...' blah, blah, blah you get the idea. It worked but it wasn't concise enough, it didn't reflect being in The Ridings if indeed I was going to use it for that project.

It was also the last page as well and last pages are special so I wanted to reflect that in some way. Ditching the six talking heads was a relief and a pleasure, because who wants to draw six talking heads from various angles. I decided on using unused scenes from the photo ref I had taken over the past weeks researching. That's when the page came together for me, suddenly I could see It had flow and an all encompassing vision of the shopping centre, complete with a gag and an exit. It was also one of the quickest, other pages had taken up to a week to complete where this took me a day, six hours (ish), from beginning to end.

Where are those turn ups and boots walking onto next.

A Week in the Life of The Ridings
(Complete Set)

The complete set of the diary pages for The Ridings 30th Anniversary. Stay tuned for information on when and where the original pages will be on display later on in September this year.

The pages 332 x 242mm are drawn in pen and ink with watercolour and tell the day to day life of a shopping centre as experienced by an everyday, ordinary, run of the mill, artist and illustrator John Welding.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

The official opening of the Almhouse Lane Mosaics was a lovely morning. It had started out cold but by the time 11am came around it was a fine summers day. There were lots of people milling about and Wakefield had that European city vibe where something is happening and there are well dressed people about. It was a great event and Barbara's comments about making better spaces can only be taken as 'acting by example' for making better spaces for everyone.
And talking of fashion icons, this trouser turn up for the books did happen to me. A total stranger approaching me with a curve ball in conversation. It was only after that I thought I recognised him from somewhere before...

Outside Sainsbury's November 2007