Today’s Art (30th September 2015)

Well, I was still in the mood for wild west-themed drawings and, although today’s drawing required more digital editing than usual and ended up being more surreal than I expected (and, yes, the obvious error in this drawing was intentional… well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), I still quite like how it turned out.

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

"That's Some Fancy Shootin' "  By C. A. Brown

“That’s Some Fancy Shootin’ ” By C. A. Brown

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Top Ten Articles – September 2015

2015 Artwork Top Ten Articles September

Well, it’s the end of the month and this means that it’s time for me to give you a list of links to my personal top ten articles about writing, comics and/or art that I’ve written this month. As usual, I’ll also include a few honourable mentions too.

All in all, I’m quite proud of how this month’s articles have turned out. Yes, I wrote more reviews than usual, but – on the whole – I’ve been more inspired this month than I have been during a few other months this year.

Anyway, enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles For September 2015:

– “Rites Of Passage In Fiction
– “Six Basic Tips For Writing Reviews
– “Four Basic Tips For Writing “Shock Scenes” In Splatterpunk Horror Stories
– “Three Observations About Making Title Cards For Podcasts On Youtube
– “The Joy Of… Pixel Art
– “Can You Lose Your Narrative Voice?
– “Four Thoughts About Making Noir Comics, Fiction And Art
– “Three Tips For Creating Interesting Sci-Fi Weapons In Fiction And Comics
– “Five Basic Tips For Writing Fictional Speeches
– “Five Tips For Designing Futuristic Fashions

Honourable mentions:

– “Four Reasons Why Genre Fiction Is Better Than Literary Fiction
– “Has The Internet Made Art More Prudish?
– “Four Time Management Tips For Writing And Making Art
– “Three Things You Learn From Making Art Every Day (With Art Preview)

Today’s Art (29th September 2015)

Wow! I was finally feeling inspired again! Thanks to listening to this amazing piece of wild west-themed music and drinking a small glass of champagne (Don’t ask me why, but when I drank a pint of beer with dinner the day before, it took me nearly two hours to make a mediocre painting afterwards – due to alcohol-induced sluggishness of body and mind. But, one tiny glass of champagne with dinner before this drawing and suddenly I can draw great things quickly and enthusiastically ).

As for the title of this drawing, it was originally going to be humourous, but I left it unfinished because I couldn’t quite decide on a pun to use.

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

"They Called Him..." By C. A. Brown

“They Called Him…” By C. A. Brown

Three Reasons Why Comics And Novels Sometimes Leave Things “Offscreen”

2015 Artwork Offscreen article sketch

One of the great things about both comics and prose fiction is that, in Europe and America at least, there’s no censorship. Unlike films – which usually have to get the approval of a censorship board before they’re released – we thankfully allow our authors and comic writers their full right to freedom of expression.

Yet, at the same time, if you’ve read enough comics and novels – you’ll know that some of them use exactly the same kinds of tricks that film-makers do to get stuff past the censors. In other words, they sometimes leave things “offscreen” and imply that events have happened, without actually showing them.

For example, many TV shows will depict gruesome deaths by just showing blood spattering onto a wall or a window, without actually showing the gruesome death itself. Likewise, the classic literary example of this sort of thing is of a writer “closing the bedroom door” just before two characters spend a passionate night together

Anyway, since censorship isn’t really an issue for writers and comic creators, I thought that I’d look at three of the most obvious reasons why this sort of thing turns up in books and comics:

1) Realism: It’s a fact that, in real life, we’ll thankfully only hear about a lot more horrific or romantic events than we’ll ever actually directly see or experience. Thankfully, real life is a very uneventful thing.

I mean, unless you’re an extremely unlucky person – even if you only watch the news on TV once, then you’ll have heard about more horrific events second-hand than you’ll ever actually experience in your whole life.

Likewise, although you’ll probably have a few romantic encounters in your life, you’ll probably hear far more other people talking about their love lives (or about other people’s love lives).

So, although fictional characters’ lives should obviously be more dramatic than most people’s real lives are – it’s only realistic that they’re probably will hear about more things second-hand than they will actually see or experience.

2) Complexity: Generally speaking, certain things are more difficult to write and/or draw well than other things. Sex and death may well be the two things that fuel all forms of creativity, but both things can be surprisingly difficult to describe or depict in a compelling or realistic way.

So, if a writer knows that they’re laughably bad at writing about one of these things, it’s often better to just imply that it’s happened than it is to write a clumsily-written scene that will make your audience either laugh or cringe.

The same thing is true for art too. It’s a fact that some things are easier to draw than others – scenes involving, say, gruesome violence, require an artist to know how to realistically draw people in a variety of different positions (eg: swinging an axe, firing a gun etc…). Plus, for example, an artist also has to know the right amount of blood to add to the violent scene (and, yes, less is often more when it comes to including blood in comics and artwork).

In other words, if you don’t have the abilities to do the scene in question justice, then it’s often better to just leave most of it “offscreen”.

3) Imagination: Generally speaking, if you don’t show something in a story or a comic, then your audience’s imaginations will have to “fill the gap”. There’s a good chance that your audience’s imaginations will come up with far more graphic images than the ones you were probably thinking of when you were writing your novel or comic.

In other words, sometimes leaving things “offscreen” can be a way to make them more horrific or erotic. After all, if you just hint that – say- two extremely attractive characters spent a passionate night together, then your audience is going to have to imagine what it looked like. Chances are, they’re probably going to embellish it a bit because, well, it’s a fun thing to imagine.

Likewise, if you leave some of the most horrific parts of your horror story to your audience’s imaginations, then they’re probably going to assume that – since it looks like it was too shocking for you to write about- that it’s probably about ten times worse than what you actually imagined. And, since it’s hard not to imagine horrific things after they’ve been vaguely described to you, your audience’s minds are probably going to be filled with far more horrific images than you could ever create yourself.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art ( 28th September 2015)

Well, although today’s painting started out well, I couldn’t quite think of a good idea for the background – so, in the end, I ended up going for a fairly minimalist design (which still, surprisingly, required more digital editing than usual).

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

"Mountain" By C. A. Brown

“Mountain” By C. A. Brown

NEVER SEEN BEFORE! More Failed Paintings And A Page From My Sketchbooks

2015 Artwork sketchbooks September 2 sketch

Well, I was running slightly late when it came to writing today’s article, and, well, I was in too much of a stressed/panicked mood to write a proper article (I don’t know, I really don’t react well to time shortages of any kind).

So, instead, here are two failed fan art paintings and a random page from my sketchbook (with some of my abandoned plans for a sequel to my “Diabolical Sigil” comic). Sorry about this, but hopefully, I’ll write a proper article or review for tomorrow.

This was a (miserably failed) attempt at making a fan art paitning of the "Dopefish" character from an old computer game called "Commander Keen IV". Since the Dopefish turns up as an easter egg in lots of other games, I wanted to see if I could paint him in my own art style. Unfortunately, I can't...

This was a (miserably failed) attempt at making a fan art paitning of the “Dopefish” character from an old computer game called “Commander Keen IV”. Since the Dopefish turns up as an easter egg in lots of other games, I wanted to see if I could paint him in my own art style. Unfortunately, I can’t…

This drawing was originally going to be the basis for a gothic "Dracula"-themed painting. Unfortunately, I quickly realised that I couldn't draw Drcalua holding his cloak in the traditional movie-style way. So, I ended up abandoning this picture a while after I started it.

This drawing was originally going to be the basis for a gothic “Dracula”-themed painting. Unfortunately, I quickly realised that I couldn’t draw Drcalua holding his cloak in the traditional movie-style way. So, I ended up abandoning this picture a while after I started it.

A while after I'd finished making my "Diabolical Sigil" comic (posted here in late July/early August), I'd planned to make another comic featuring the same characters. This comic would have been in the style of a 1920s/30s "Wordless Novel". As for the characters, Roz  would be a communist agitator, Harvey would be a Gendarme, Derek would be an office clerk and Rox would be a film noir-style "femme fatale" character.

A while after I’d finished making my “Diabolical Sigil” comic (posted here in late July/early August), I’d planned to make another comic featuring the same characters. This comic would have been in the style of a 1920s/30s “Wordless Novel”. As for the characters, Roz would be a communist agitator, Harvey would be a Gendarme, Derek would be an office clerk and Rox would be a film noir-style “femme fatale” character.

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Sorry for the short blog post today, but hopefully I’ll write a proper article or review for tomorrow 🙂