Today’s Art (26th February 2017)

Well, after finishing this webcomic mini series, I felt like making something fairly “quick” for today. Plus, since the next mini series will probably be set in Victorian times, I thought that I’d practice making gothic Victorian-style art (I probably need more practice at drawing paraffin lamps though, since the lamp in the painting looks more like a bong than a lantern LOL!).

As usual, this digitally-edited painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"By Paraffin Light" By C. A. Brown

“By Paraffin Light” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Work In Progess” Line Art For My “Damania Renaissance” Webcomic Mini Series :)

2017 Artwork Damania Renaissance lineart article sketch

Well, as usual, I thought that I’d show you all of the ‘work in progress’ line art from my recently-finished “Damania Renaissance” webcomic mini series 🙂

If I remember rightly, there weren’t that many major dialogue changes between the line art and the finished comics – the most major change was probably to the dialogue in the fourth comic (since the condemned man was originally going to be the castle’s dungeonkeeper, until I realised that it would be funnier if he was the executioner instead).

You can see a larger version of each picture in this post by clicking on it.

"Damania Renaissance - Sorcery (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Sorcery (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - 'King Derek (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – ‘King Derek (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Foul (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Foul (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - First Day (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – First Day (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Merry (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Merry (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Festival (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Festival (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Lost Vikings (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Lost Vikings (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Out Of The Frying Pan (Line Art)" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Out Of The Frying Pan (Line Art)” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Damania Renaissance” – All Eight Episodes Of The New Webcomic Mini Series By C. A. Brown

2017 Artwork The Complete Damania Renaissance

Well, in case you missed any of it, here are all eight “episodes” of “Damania Renaissance” a webcomic mini series that sort of tells a story (or, more accurately, a self-contained chapter of a larger story).

Although this mini series can be read on it’s own, it also follows on from the events of “Damania Retrofuturistic“. If you want to see some completely self-contained webcomics, then check out the ‘2016’ section of this page.

All in all, this was a rather strange mini series. Not only did it end up having something of a continuous story (which is something I’d previously tried to avoid in my four-panel webcomics), but I also made the whole thing in just two days.

This can probably be seen in the comic, with the first four episodes having a slightly different style of humour to the last four. Likewise, the seventh and eighth episodes are slightly on the weak side, due to the fact that I was feeling a bit exhausted by then.

If you’d told me a couple of months beforehand that I’d be making a medieval fantasy comic mini series with a continuous narrative within two days, I’d have probably laughed at you. Making this mini series was certainly a strange experience.

As usual, the eight comic updates in this post are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence. Likewise, you can click on each comic update to see a larger version of it.

"Damania Renaissance - Sorcery" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Sorcery” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - 'King Derek" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – ‘King Derek” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Foul" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Foul” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - First Day" By C.A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – First Day” By C.A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Merry" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Merry” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Festival" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Festival” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Lost Vikings" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Lost Vikings” By C. A. Brown

"Damania Renaissance - Out Of The Frying Pan..." By C. A. Brown

“Damania Renaissance – Out Of The Frying Pan…” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (25th February 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the eighth (and final) comic in “Damania Renaissance”, a webcomic mini series that follows on from “Damania Retrofuturistic“. As usual, I’ll post a full retrospective of this comic here later tonight. So, don’t worry if you missed out on any of the earlier updates.

If you want to see more webcomic mini series (and other comics), links to them can be found on this page.

Well, I’ll probably go back to making daily paintings for a while, but the next time-travel based series will be set in Victorian England 🙂

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Renaissance - Out Of The Frying Pan..." By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Renaissance – Out Of The Frying Pan…” By C. A. Brown

Three Reasons Why Webcomics, TV shows etc.. Can Go From Self-Contained “Episodes” To Longer Stories

2017 Artwork Self-contained episodes to longer stories article

It used to be one of my pet peeves about TV shows, until it started happening in my own webcomics. I am, of course, talking about how something that starts out as lots of self-contained “episodes” gradually turns into something that tells longer multi-part stories.

This is one of those things that is perhaps more noticeable in TV shows than it is in webcomics, but I thought that I’d use some of my own experiences with making webcomics to show how something can go from being “lots of tiny self-contained comic updates” to “slightly longer stories in lots of smaller parts“.

So, here are three of the many reasons why it can happen:

1) It’s easier to find inspiration: Generally speaking, coming up with one longer story is slightly easier than coming up with lots of significantly shorter self-contained stories.

Once you’ve started planning part of a story, then all you have to do is to ask yourself “what happens next?” Yes, answers might not always appear quickly, but they tend to appear more quickly than if you are trying to think of an entirely new story.

Plus, if you’re telling a continuous story, then you only have to focus on one thing. This means that you have time to add more depth and complexity to a single story, than you do if you have to think of – say- ten or twelve totally different ideas in the same amount of time.

2) It can happen accidentally: Although I have produced occasional narrative comics (like this one), I certainly didn’t plan for my “ordinary” four-panel webcomics to start telling continuos stories. In fact, it was something I tried to resist doing for quite a while. But it happened accidentally.

Last Christmas, I posted a themed mini series of six self-contained Christmas comics. Although I tried to return to “self-contained” comics after this, I couldn’t forget how much fun it was to make comics about a single theme.

So, I tried to do it again only to find that this ‘themed’ series actually had several sub-plots. Needless to say, this trend quickly continued and, although the story-based comics won’t be seriously noticeable until you see some of the comics I’ll be posting here in late March and early-mid April, the change in storytelling style was at least slightly accidental.

So, yes, sometimes a change like this can happen accidentally.

3) You can do different things: If you’ve been making self-contained comics for a while, then you’ll start to get a sense of the limits of the format. The same applies if you’ve only been making continuos stories.

Both self-contained webcomic updates and “continuous story” webcomics have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. There are things that you can do in one that you can’t do in the other, and vice versa.

Yes, there are things you can do to mitigate the problems with each types of comic (eg: including brief/subtle re-caps in each “episode” of a continuous story, for the benefit of new readers) – but, each type of webcomic still has it’s limits.

So, if you’ve been making one type of comic for a while, you might want to try the other just so you can do some things that you couldn’t do before.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art ( 24th February 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the seventh (and penultimate) comic in “Damania Renaissance”, a webcomic mini series that follows on from “Damania Retrofuturistic“. Although I’ll try to keep every comic in this mini series at least vaguely self-contained, it’s worth checking out the previous mini series too. If you want to see more webcomic mini series (and other comics), links to them can be found on this page.

This comic was slightly rushed. Even so, I kind of wanted to include vikings somewhere in this series, as historically inaccruate as they may be.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Renaissance - Lost Vikings" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Renaissance – Lost Vikings” By C. A. Brown

Four Reasons Why The Noir Genre Is So Interesting For Artists

2017 Artwork Noir Art article sketch

Well, although I’ve talked about pulp art before, I thought that I’d look at something subtly different today. I am, of course, talking about the noir genre. Although the two genres are very similar, I’d argue that the noir genre is slightly different since it generally refers to a particular style or type of art, rather than a type of art that is set in a very specific time and place (eg: 1920s-50s America).

The noir genre has probably had a large influence on my own art – either indirectly (eg: being inspired by things that are, in turn, inspired by the noir genre) or, more recently, more directly. It’s one of the most inspirational genres that I’ve found.

So, why is the noir genre such a cool and inspirational genre for artists? Here are a few of the reasons.

1) It goes with everything: In artistic terms, the noir genre is a combination of an aesthetic and an attitude. Because of this, it can be combined with all sorts of things that you wouldn’t traditionally associate with the genre. The classic example of this is, of course, the film “Blade Runner” which seamlessly incorporates futuristic science fiction elements into a genre that is traditionally associated with the 1940s/50s.

But, because most of the things that make the noir genre what it is (eg: gloomy lighting, emotions, drama, a slightly gothic atmosphere etc…) aren’t time-specific, you can apply a timelessly cool film noir-like style to pieces of art that are set in virtually any time period or in any genre.

For example, here’s a slightly noir-influenced panel from a webcomic of mine set in Victorian England that will appear here in full in early-mid March:

Although it is perhaps slightly on the colourful side, the art in this comic panel was slightly inspired by the film noir genre.

Although it is perhaps slightly on the colourful side, the art in this comic panel was slightly inspired by the film noir genre.

2) You get to play with lighting: As the name suggests (“film noir” is French for “black film”), noir art tends to be on the gloomier side of things. Because of this, it means that you can do all sorts of cool and dramatic things with the lighting in noir art, for the simple reason that it stands out more against the gloom.

As such you can do a lot of cool things with the lighting in film noir-inspired art than you can’t do in other genres. Yes, the carefully-placed lighting in the noir genre is hardly new (I mean, Tenebrist artists were doing this kind of thing in the 17th century), but the contrast between light and darkness in noir art has an extremely distinctive and fascinating look to it.

Not only that, you also have to choose your light sources carefully – meaning that they have to be a part of the “story” within the painting or drawing.

For example, you could use the flare of a match as a character lights a cigarette, you could use the glow of a computer screen in a dark room, you could use the angry glow of a sunset, you could use the dramatic muzzle flash of a gun, you could use a dramatic-looking neon sign in the background etc.. In noir art, even the light sources are often part of the drama.

For example, in this old noir-influenced horror painting of mine from last year, the main light source in the painting is a mysterious red glow that is just tantalisingly out of frame. Only a muted dull orange/brown wall-mounted light provides any other lighting to the picture.

"Late Return" By C. A. Brown

“Late Return” By C. A. Brown

Because all of the light sources in noir art are often artificial lighting, this also means that you can create a bold and vivid colour scheme in your art by choosing the types of lighting carefully.

For example, in this digitally-edited and noir-influenced sci-fi painting of mine that was posted here a week or two ago, the main light sources are two red strip lights and a small red television screen. These red lights are contrasted with the blue areas of the picture in order to create an ominous atmosphere:

"Midnight Centre" By C. A. Brown

“Midnight Centre” By C. A. Brown

3) The fashions: Although the noir genre can be applied to pretty much any time or place, one interesting facet of it is the fashions that work well in this genre.

Generally, slightly old, minimalist (in style, not amount of clothing!) and/or understated fashions tend to work best. Although the fashions in the historical film noir genre look wonderfully vintage these days, they were of course, totally ordinary and unremarkable at the time.

The best way to describe fashion design in the noir genre is probably “slightly formal fashions in informal situations”. This contrast between the two things sums up one of the things that makes the noir genre so instantly fascinating. Likewise, the fashions in film noir art are often both pretentious and unpretentious at the same time. It really gives the genre a truly unique look and it is one of the things that makes it so fun to use in art.

To give you an example from my own art, although this digitally-edited painting (set in the 1990s) is only mildly influenced by the noir genre, you can hopefully see what I mean about the contrast between formal fashions and slightly informal situations.

"1990s Office Awesomeness" By C. A. Brown

“1990s Office Awesomeness” By C. A. Brown

4) Instant drama: Finally, because of some of the things that I’ve mentioned, art in the noir genre just instantly looks dramatic. Plus, since it is a genre that takes it’s inspiration from film, there is also an emphasis on action and visual storytelling in this genre.

A good piece of noir art will look like it could almost be a single frame from a much larger film. This gives noir art an intriguingly mysterious, yet instantly thrilling appearance that helps to grab the audience’s attention in a way that most other types of art can only dream of.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂