COMING SOON! “Noir Christmas” Short Stories And Christmas Comics :)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to announce two festive things that will be appearing here in the near future:

– “Noir Christmas” Short Stories: From the 14th-23rd December, there will be daily short stories posted here in the evenings πŸ™‚

Unlike last year’s Cyberpunk Christmas stories, this year’s collection was meant to have more of a “film noir” theme. However, they’re more like cynical modern comedic detective stories about a nameless grumpy old private detective. This collection will also have something of a story arc too.

Here’s an extract from the first story: “But, this year was different. My only client this week had been Mrs Johansen, and she only wandered into my office because she’d mistaken it for the local optician. And with the measly fiver I’d earned for my deductive services in the matter, the coffers were looking a little bare.

– “Christmas Comics”: Like with last year’s “A Cynical Christmas 2016” collection, there will be a special festive mini series of my long-running occasional webcomic between the 19th-24th December, with a single-panel comic on Christmas Day.

Here’s a preview from this year’s “Cynical Christmas” mini series:

This mini series will run from the 19th-24th December. Plus, there will be a single-panel comic on Christmas Day too πŸ™‚

Merry Christmas everyone πŸ™‚

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Top Ten Articles – November 2017

Well, it’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to collect the usual list of links to my ten favourite articles about making comics and/or making art that I’ve posted here over the past month (plus a couple of honourable mentions too).

All in all, even though there were some good articles posted here this month, it probably wasn’t the best month ever in terms of overall quality. Due to uninspiration, being busy with the Christmas comic and being in a bit of a mood whilst preparing some of this month’s articles, there were more reviews, short articles, rambles and repetitve articles than usual. Hopefully, December’s articles will be better πŸ™‚

Anyway, here are the lists. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – November 2017:

– “Three Things That 1980s-2000s American & Canadian Punk Music Can Teach (Visual) Artists
– “Three Vague Tips For Making Early-Mid ’00s Style Artwork
– “Four Reasons Why Artists Use Limited Palettes
– “Two Things That Remaking Your Old Art Will Show You (Apart From Your Skill Level)”
– “Why “Modern Art” Paintings Aren’t As Easy As They Look – A Ramble
– “Three Ways To Rush A Comic Update Well
– “Three Reasons Why The Fictional “Worlds” In Art/Novels/Webcomics etc.. Often Seem To Be Slightly Old
– “Can Creative People Have Rare Works These Days? – A Ramble
– “Three Tips For Making Art Set In Late 1980s/ Early-Mid 1990s America
– “Three Tips For Finding “Hidden” Influences On Your Art Style

Honourable Mentions:

– “Three Creative Advantages Of Not Being Totally Up To Date With Current Culture
– “Three Reasons Why It’s A Good Idea To Keep (And Show Off) Copies Of Your Line Art

Mini Review: “Tears In The Rain” (‘Blade Runner’ Fan Film)

Well, although I hadn’t planned to write an extra review tonight, I happened upon a really interesting-looking “Blade Runner” fan film on Youtube called “Tears In The Rain“. Although this fan film was released in January, I somehow didn’t even hear about it until earlier tonight. So, I thought that I’d review it.

Needless to say, this review will contain SPOILERS.

So, let’s take a look at “Tears In The Rain”:

“Tears In The Rain” is an 11-minute unofficial prequel to the original “Blade Runner” created by Christopher Grant Harvey. Taking place in some unspecified year in the early 21st Century, the film follows a Blade Runner called John Kampff, who travels to a diner in order to retire a Nexus-3 replicant called Andy Smith.

One of the very first things that I will say about this short film is that it is remarkably true to both the spirit and the look of the original “Blade Runner” (kind of like the official prequel anime to “Blade Runner 2049” was).

Although it is probably bordering on heresy to suggest this, this low-budget fan film is possibly more “Blade Runner” than “Blade Runner 2049” was in terms of style, atmosphere, dialogue, tone, characters and music.

Seriously, I loved “Blade Runner 2049”. But, there really wasn’t enough of this in it!

A lot of why this fan film is so true to the spirit of the original film is because of it’s small scale. Unlike the vast barrage of different locations in “Blade Runner 2049”, this fan film focuses on a tiny number of detailed locations (like how most of the original “Blade Runner” just took place in a few buildings and a couple of streets). Likewise, the drama of the film is a lot more small-scale too. Again, this is much more in keeping with the original “Blade Runner”.

Yay! Small-scale drama πŸ™‚

Plus, the dialogue and acting in this fan film is amazing. The main centrepiece of the film is a discussion between Kampff and Andy in the diner. Whilst Andy dies from a slow-acting poison, Kampff taunts him about his memories and expresses jealousy about the enhanced lives of replicants. This discussion is filled with the kind of philosophical exchanges and ambiguity that you would expect from a “Blade Runner” film. Plus, the ending to this fan film is absolutely genius. But I won’t spoil it.

Like in both the original “Blade Runner” and “Blade Runner 2049”, this fan film explores the theme of the replicants having more humanity than actual humans. Throughout the film, Andy comes across as a friendly, likeable old man.

His costume design also evokes both Chew’s and J.F.Sebastian’s outfits in the original film too.

Kampff, on the other hand, comes across as a cruel man who seems to relish the task of killing replicants. Not only is this in keeping with the themes of the original film, but it also highlights the fact that the Blade Runners are probably the villains in the official films.

Seriously, I cannot praise the chillingly understated menace in this scene highly enough. This actor needs to be in more films!

Of course, being a fan film, there are some clever references to the original film too. Although the verbatim quoting of Deckard and Leon’s dialogue when Kampff and Andy meet seems a little bit contrived, there’s an absolutely brilliant scene where Kampff points out that one of Andy’s artificial memories involves his wife leaving him for J.F. Sebastian. When Andy questions how Kampff knows this, Kampff says that it’s an “inside joke” and then talks briefly about J.F’s terrible love life. Then there’s also the part where Kampff talks about how he can tell someone is a replicant by looking at their eyes.

[Edit: Plus, of course, Andy’s name is a reference to the androids in “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?” too. How could I have missed this?]

Although he doesn’t appear in the film, I’m curious about Voight too. Where’s his film?

In terms of music, this fan film is beautiful. Whilst the film features new and original music, it is very much in keeping with the general style and tone of Vangelis’ spectacular score for the original film. Likewise, the film includes some brilliant “Blade Runner”-style ambient background noise too. The musical consistency in this low-budget fan film evokes a consistent atmosphere in a way that the more varied music in “Blade Runner 2049” doesn’t always achieve.

In terms of special effects, lighting and set design, you wouldn’t believe that this film was apparently only made for $1500! The film covers up it’s low budget status very well by initially dazzling the viewer with a really cool-looking CGI sequence and then spending the rest of the film in a small, but convincingly detailed, futuristic diner. Seriously, this film looks like it was made with ten times the budget it actually was. My only complaint is the heavy use of lens flare in some scenes, but this can be excused since it helps to cover up the low-budget set design.

J.J. Abrams take note, this is one of the few situations where lens flare actually improves a film.

All in all, Hollywood needs to hire the director of this short film to make the third “Blade Runner” movie! If he can do something as spectacular as this for just $1500, then imagine what he could do with even a small Hollywood budget! Although the “Blade Runner” films were never box office blockbusters, this unofficial fan film shows that this amazing series could potentially have a glorious future as a more low-budget thing.

Plus, this fan film focuses on the heart of what makes “Blade Runner” Blade Runner. I’m talking about small-scale drama, ambiguous characters, semi-realistic set design and an oppressively gloomy – yet visually beautiful- atmosphere. Best of all, since it’s a non-commercial fan film, you can watch it for free on Youtube. Even though it obviously isn’t canon, it’s still a must-watch if you even vaguely like the “Blade Runner” films πŸ™‚

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get at least four and a half.

Today’s Art (5th November 2017)

Well, although I’d planned to take a short break from making comics after I overstretched slightly with this year’s Halloween comic, one of the regrets I had last year was that I hadn’t posted a comic on the 5th November (Bonfire Night) featuring the characters from my occasional webcomic series (who can be seen in the “2016” and “2017” segments of this page). So, I thought that I’d do that this year.

Since making a separate line art post would be kind of silly, you can see the line art for this cartoon by clicking here.

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

"Bonfire Night 2017" By C. A. Brown

“Bonfire Night 2017” By C. A. Brown

The Complete “Video Nasty” – All 12 Pages Of The New Horror Comedy Comic By C.A. Brown

2017-artwork-the-complete-video-nasty

Happy Halloween again πŸ™‚ In case you missed any of it, I thought that I’d provide all twelve pages (including the cover) of this year’s Halloween comic in one easy-to-read post πŸ™‚ Links to many other comics featuring these characters can also be found here.

All in all, this was probably a slightly over-ambitious project. Normally, when I make A4-size narrative comics (like last year’s Halloween comic), I make them in black & white for time/enthusiasm reasons. But, I wanted to make a full-colour comic this year and, although it started out well, I started to get comic fatigue near the end – so, the art quality suffered slightly from about page seven onwards or so. Still, thanks to planning the whole thing out in advance, the dialogue wasn’t affected by this.

As usual, all twelve pages are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence. You can also click on each page to see a larger version of it, if it’s too small to read.

"Video Nasty - Cover" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Cover” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 1" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 1” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 2" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 2” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 3" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 3” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 4" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 4” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 5" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 5” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 6" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 6” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 7" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 7” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 8" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 8” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 9" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 9” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 10" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 10” By C. A. Brown

"Video Nasty - Page 11" By C. A. Brown

“Video Nasty – Page 11” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (31st October 2017)

Happy Halloween everyone πŸ™‚ Here’s the final page of my Halloween comic, but don’t worry if you missed any of it since there will be a full retrospective posted here later tonight πŸ™‚

Surprisingly, the final panel of this comic was the most challenging to make. Since, even though I used the same materials that I used in 2012 (yes, before this blog, when I only used to post webcomics on DeviantART) it was surprisingly difficult to draw the kind of “bad art” that I used to make back then, since I kept wanting to draw it using my current style LOL!

And, for those who are wondering why only Derek recognises Rox in the final panel – she made her first appearance in December 2012, but there was also a prequel comic (which can be found on page two of this gallery) featuring Derek and Rox when they were at university. Ironically, it’s probably more well-written than some parts of this comic were, although the art looks really old though. And Derek’s surname is apparently “Goff” (I’d totally forgotten about that. Yes, he used to be more of a goth).

And, yes, this page is also a subtle parody of the alternate ending to “Army Of Darkness”. Ironcally, when I first saw this film on ex-rental VHS when I was a teenager, it had that ending (I think that the canonical “Hail to the king” ending was only included in US releases). So, for quite a while, I thought that it was the “official” ending.

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

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Video Nasty - Page 11" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Video Nasty – Page 11” By C. A. Brown

Top Ten Articles – October 2017

2017-artwork-top-ten-articles-october

First of all, Happy Halloween everyone πŸ™‚ Have a ghoulishly great day πŸ™‚

Anyway, it’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to make my usual list of links to my ten favourite articles about writing fiction, making art and/or making comics that I’ve posted here in the past month (plus a couple of honourable mentions too).

All in all, this month’s articles turned out fairly well – even if I was either busy or uninspired when writing a few of them.

ANyway, here are the lists πŸ™‚ Enjoy πŸ™‚

Top Ten Articles – October 2017:

– “Three Reasons Why Sketches Are More Useful Artistic References Than Photos When Painting From Life
– “Four Ways To De-Mystify Making Art (If You’re An Absolute Beginner)
– “Things That Splatterpunk Fiction Can Teach Writers (Even If They Don’t Write Horror)
– “Three Reasons Why It’s Foolish To Compare Yourself To Other Artists
– “Three Tips For Writing Subtle Horror (That I Learnt From Playing A Computer Game)
– “Two More Things That Artists Can Learn From Playing Computer And Video Games
– “Three Things That (Visual) Artists Can Learn From Heavy Metal Music
– “Three More Things That (Visual) Artists Can Learn From Heavy Metal Music
– “Three Basic Tips For Making Cyberpunk Art (If You’ve Never Made It Before)
– “How To Draw Literally Anything (Using Two Basic Skills)

Honourable Mentions:

– “Four Benefits Of The Non-Interactive Nature Of Art, Comics And Prose Fiction
– “Four Things To Remember When Watching Time-Lapse Art Videos (If You’re Learning)