Today’s Art (19th November 2018)

Well, it’s been a little while since I made any cyberpunk art and although this digitally-edited painting was a little bit minimalist, I quite like how it turned out 🙂

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

“The Lost Hall” By C. A. Brown

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The Library Of The Imagination – A Ramble

A while before I wrote this article, I happened to read this online article which speaks in defence of binge-watching TV shows. But, one thing that the article didn’t mention was the value that binge-watching, binge-reading, binge-playing etc… all sorts of entertainment media has if you are a creative person.

Simply put, it results in less writer’s block/artist’s block and it also allows you to make better creative works too.

Ok, doing nothing but watching/reading/playing lots of stuff won’t instantly turn you into a good artist or writer. You actually have to practice your craft too (regularly, no less!). Likewise, you also need to learn a few other skills like how to take inspiration properly (eg: how to be inspired by something, without directly copying it). But, in combination with these things, spending a lot of time immersed in creative works can have all sorts of brilliant benefits.

Why? The best way to think about this is to think of your imagination is as a chaotic, disorganised library. The more things that you put into it, then the more chance there will be that – when you browse it – you’ll find an interesting mixture of things. Not only will this result in more unique creative works, but it will also mean that there are more things for you to be inspired by. Which means less writer’s block/artist’s block.

For example, here’s a preview of a digitally-edited painting of mine that will be posted here late this month:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 28th November.

The initial inspiration for this painting was the memories of watching old 1990s episodes of “Twin Peaks” evoked by watching the modern version of the series. This made me want to make a “cosy” painting, set in a wooden building during the 1980s/90s, with some surreal elements.

But, in addition to this, I also wanted to include gloomy tenebristic lighting (like in a Caravaggio painting, or an old heavy metal album/horror novel cover). I also wanted to give this gloomy lighting a slightly more futuristic cyberpunk-like look (inspired by films like “Blade Runner”), whilst also adding a few gothic elements (inspired by classic horror games like “Resident Evil”, “Silent Hill 3”, “Clive Barker’s Undying”, “Alone In The Dark”, “Realms Of The Haunting” etc..). And, of course, my use of colours was also partially inspired by these fan-made “Doom II” levels too.

The number of different inspirations for this painting is probably at least ten or more.

But, the bulk of these inspirations are things that I’ve discovered over the past few years. Back when I started making daily art in 2012, I obviously had less practice (and my art didn’t look as good as a result) but I also had fewer inspirations too. Not only that, I didn’t really know how to take inspiration properly too. As such, my imagination felt somewhat more limited then than it does today. Likewise, when I felt uninspired, it was much more of a panic than it is now.

So, spending time watching/reading/playing things that interest you, in combination with regular art and/or writing practice can work wonders for your imagination. It’s like adding more books to a reference library, adding more colours to a palette, planting more seeds in a garden or adding more music to a playlist. It gives you more things that you can take inspiration from in new and creative ways.

So, yes, binge-watching a TV show or binge-playing a game isn’t a “waste of time” if you’re a creative person. Well, except when it gets in the way of your art and/or writing practice, of course.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art (18th November 2018)

Well, thanks to feeling a bit more inspired (and having a bit more time), today’s digitally-edited painting turned out much better than my past four paintings or so have. But, it ended up being somewhat random though. Basically, I’d originally planned to make a heavy metal-themed painting, but then I felt like making a cyberpunk painting instead but, when I actually started sketching, the painting turned into a random 1980s-2000s punk/goth/emo-style painting instead.

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

“The Secret Station” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (17th November 2018)

Well, today’s (very heavily) digitally-edited painting is another memory painting. This one is another painting of Portsdown Hill at night that was based on my memories of seeing it during a car journey a while before I made this painting.

Although I probably didn’t get every precise detail right, and this painting required a lot more digital editing than I expected (including adding some digital lighting effects – here’s a version of the painting with fewer effects), it still looks at least somewhat like my memory does. Plus it also gave me a chance to experiment with some techniques for painting rain in a more “realistic” way.

As usual, this painting (and the version with fewer effects) is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

“Portsdown Hill Again” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (16th November 2018)

Well, today’s digitally-edited painting is a memory painting based on a pair of vaguely gothic-looking trees that I saw on a walk near Westbrook on a gloomy afternoon a few hours beforehand. Although I probably got some of the details wrong (and did something a bit weird with the perspective too), I quite like how this painting turned out 🙂

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

“Westbrook Gothic” By C. A. Brown

Three Tips For Remaking Your Old Webcomic Updates

At the time of writing, I’m busy preparing this month’s webcomic mini series (which will start on the 21st). But, due to writer’s block, the mini series will consist of modern remakes of several old comic updates from 2012-13. As such, I thought that I’d provide a few tips for remaking webcomic updates.

1) The older, the better: This one is fairly self-explanatory – but if you’re going to remake an old webcomic update, then try to make sure that it is as old as possible. Not only will this be a good source of nostalgia for older fans of your comic, but it also means that the difference in art quality will be a lot more noticeable too. For example, here’s a comparison of a panel from an old comic update from 2012 and the modern remake:

So, this is what the comic looked like in 2012 and this is what it looks like in my current style.

However, one thing to watch out for in older comic updates is what TV Tropes calls “Early Installment Weirdness“. Chances are, when you started your comic, you had a completely different idea about what it would be like. As such, seeing ultra-old comic updates can be a surprisingly weird experience.

For example, in my webcomic, the characters used to have slightly different personalities to their current ones and there were also a lot more horror/fantasy elements (because I’d originally intended it to be a slight parody of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer“, of all things) in the older updates.

To avoid confusing your audience, it’s usually best to avoid remaking comic updates that include too much “Early Installment Weirdness” or to do a very minimal amount of rewriting, so that your remade comic updates are more comprehensible to newer fans of your webcomic.

2) Artistic licence: Unless you have a George Lucas-like attitude towards your past work, then the originals will probably still be on the internet for people to view.

This means that you can use a little bit of artistic licence when remaking your comic updates. Whether this involves visual changes or rewrites, don’t be afraid to do something a little bit different. But, try to make sure that your remake is at least mostly faithful to the original and that you have a good reason for making any changes.

For example, the first update in this month’s mini series will actually consist of two shorter comic updates that have been merged together. This was mostly because they were both set in the same location and neither comic was quite long enough for a full remake. Of course, in order to merge the two comics, I had to rewrite a couple of lines of dialogue and remove a panel. However, the bulk of the comic update is a reasonably faithful remake of these two old comic updates:

“Damania – Youtube” By C. A. Brown [2012]

“Damania – Copypasta” By C. A. Brown [2013]

Think of your remake a little bit like a “live version” of one of your favourite songs. People listen to live recordings of music because they are often very slightly different to the studio version. A live recording will still usually be the same song, but it is the variations that make it interesting.

3) Have a good reason (or do something else): Simply put, if you can make new and original comics, then make them instead!

Remakes are something that you should only make if you’ve got serious writer’s block and/or you have an extremely good reason (eg: it’s an anniversary or something like that). Basically, a new comic update is better than a remake, but a remake is better than no comic updates at all.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, but you don’t want to do a full remake, then either make a partial remake or include some kind of call-back in your comic. Doing this is more creative than just remaking your old comics. For example, the final panel of last year’s Halloween comic is a new comic panel in the style of my old comics from late 2012. This isn’t a remake of a specific comic update, but it is a call-back.

This is a new comic panel, made in 2017, that is mostly in the style of my comics from 2012. It’s an example of a more creative alternative to a simple remake.

So, unless you’ve got a good reason for remaking a comic update, then try to do something slightly different instead.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂