Update: Five Months Of Realistic Landscapes Starts Today :)

Although I already mentioned this in my New Year’s post, I thought that I’d mention it again just in case you missed it.

Basically, for about the next five months or so, I’ll mostly be posting “realistic” landscape paintings in my daily art posts, mostly based on photos I took last year (with a couple of the earlier paintings being based on photos taken by family and friends for this purpose).

This was mostly due to time reasons back when I was making these paintings, but aside from a few occasional paintings, my traditional sci-fi/gothic/retro etc… art will be returning more regularly from about mid-June onwards (with landscape paintings becoming more of an occasional feature every week or three). Monthly comics will also still appear as usual throughout the landscape series although they will probably be a bit shorter.

Although, thanks to scheduling differences, I’ve already posted quite a few of these landscapes on DeviantART, there’s an extra reason to check them out here. In the daily art posts for most of the landscape paintings, there will usually be a link to the photo (albeit compressed and resized for memory/storage space reasons) that the painting is based on 🙂

And, again, my usual sci-fi/gothic/retro etc… paintings and drawings will return on a more regular basis from mid-June onwards too 🙂

“Update” By C. A. Brown (Short Story)

The first thing that tipped Sally off to the fact that the date wasn’t going well were Tom’s bookshelves. The books were the wrong way round. Two uniform rows of beige pages stared out, blending in perfectly with the magnolia wall behind them. She thought about leaning in and taking a closer look, but decided against it. Instead, she said: ‘It’s so good to find someone with books these days.’

Tom laughed and reached for a slender electronic device, the plastic a slightly brighter shade of magnolia than the walls: ‘Oh, those. They came with the flat. I rent books electronically with this.’

‘Ah, cool.’ Sally tried to smile. ‘I’m probably kind of old-fashioned. I don’t know, I always worry that those things might crash or run out of battery or become obsolete.’

Tom’s voice was confident, like someone from an advert: ‘Ah, but that’s all part of the premium plan. You see, I rent the device too. So, it gets updated every year or so with the latest model. Plus, all of my books are kept in the cloud too.’

‘But, what if the wi-fi goes out? Or the cloud servers crash? Or what if…’ Sally stopped. ‘Oh god, I sound like one of those doomsday preppers.’

Tom looked puzzled. A second later, he raised his voice: ‘Bub, what are doomsday preppers?’

On top of the beige bookshelves, a small white sphere glowed blue. An electronic voice said: ‘Doomsday preppers. People who believe that the collapse of civilisation is imminent. Common preparations include a “bug-out bag” of essential supplies and detailed emergency plans. Those who fear a zombie apocalypse often also stockpile weapons too. In jurisdictions, like this one, where firearms are restricted by law 86% of forum posts suggest that a shovel is the best defensive tool. Do you want to learn more?

Tom shook his head. Sally grinned: ‘Oh god, it’s like the computer from Star Trek.’

‘I’ll queue a few episodes up to stream later. I’ve always meant to watch it.’

‘You’ve never seen Star Trek? Don’t worry, your first time is always the best. Anyway, I got you this.’ Sally fumbled through her bag and pulled out a small wrapped parcel. She handed it to Tom. Wrapping paper rustled quietly in the silent room. Tom stared at the little box of chocolates.

A second later, he smiled and said: ‘I got you something too.’ Tom reached for his phone. It was the latest model. After tapping it a couple of times, he held the screen up. It read: ‘Immersive cinema. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Admit two.

‘Oh, wow! Thanks.’

Tom nodded: ‘I prefer experiences, you know. You should see some of the selfies from the last screening of it. People look like they’re enjoying themselves.’

‘I’m sure they are. Hey, do you want to get dinner?’ Sally was about to suggest a restaurant when she stopped and said: ‘I’m sure you’ve got an app for it. Crowd-sourced takeaways or something like that.’

Tom shook his head: ‘No. I was thinking something more local. In fact, I was thinking of preparing it myself.’

Sally smiled: ‘Awesome. And I thought that I was old-school. What did you have in mind?’

As final words went, they wouldn’t go down in history. Whilst Tom chomped and guzzled merrily, the last thoughts to go through the gnawed remnants of Sally’s brain were that zombie movies had lied to her. That was, she thought, the problem with all of them being inspired by one movie from the sixties. They were stuck in the past. Stuck in the days when hollow, soulless beings stood out amongst the crowd. But, of course, everything gets updates these days.

UPDATE: The Accidental Preview

2016-artwork-cyberpunk-christmas-story-accidental-preview

Ah, if anyone happened to be reading this blog a while earlier and suddenly noticed a random short story which disappeared down the memory hole less than a minute after it appeared, I’d like to apologise.

I’d briefly messed up the scheduling for one of the stories in my upcoming “A Cyberpunk Christmas” daily short story series (which starts tomorrow at 9:30pm GMT) and had accidentally posted it immediately, rather than scheduled it for the 21st December, when it was supposed to go up.

Still, if you happened to see it when it appeared, then I hope you enjoyed it 🙂 Sorry again for pulling it so quickly, but I’m vaguely hoping (time, enthusiasm and inspiration depending) that this series might run until Christmas day. No promises, but it’s why I need to make sure that every day until Christmas is filled with stories and why I pulled the mis-posted story.

Four Quick Ways To Come Up With Titles For Your Webcomic Updates

2016 Artwork Webcomic update titles article sketch

One of the more challenging things when creating a traditional “newspaper comic”-style webcomic can sometimes be coming up with titles for each update.

Although you can leave your updates untitled, or you can just give each one a number, traditional-style webcomics (that don’t tell a continuous story) often work best if every individual update also has a unique title (in addition to the title of the series, of course).

1) The subject matter: This is the easiest, laziest and most obvious way of coming up with a title for your webcomic update. Just name your update after whatever the dialogue/action in it happens to be about. For example, if your latest update contains a joke about bees, then you could just called your update “[Series title] – Bees”.

However, this is kind of boring and it doesn’t always grab everyone’s attention, so a better way of doing the same thing is to come up with a title that is either loosely-related to the thing that your update is about, or is another word for it (just use a thesaurus). So, for your hypothetical bee-related comic, you could call it “[Series title] – Apiary” if there are lots of bees in it.

After all, an apiary is another word for somewhere that contains lots of bees. And, yet, it’s an obscure enough word to make people more curious about your comic update than they would be if you’ve just called it “[Series title] – Bees”. This brings me on to…

2) Puns: These take a bit more imagination, but even the cheesiest and most obvious forms of wordplay can work well in a webcomic update title. After all, the main joke is in the comic itself, so the title is nothing more than the icing on the cake.

Going back to our bee-related example comic, the word “apiary” comes from the Latin word for “bee”, which is “apis”. It doesn’t take a comedic genius to see the potential for wordplay here. You could come up with titles like “[Series Title] – Apis Sting Contest”, “[Series Title] – Apis Poor Title” etc…

Remember, even the cheesiest and most groan-inducing pun will make your update sound more interesting. Even if your update title makes people chuckle or roll their eyes, then they’re more likely to notice or remember your comic for the simple reason that it has provoked an emotional reaction in them.

3) Ask a question: One of the easiest ways to come up with a title for your update is to just ask an amusing and/or sarcastic question in the title. As long as your question is relevant to the subject matter of your comic, then this can work really well because it intrigues the reader.

Since the title is asking a question, the obvious place for the answer to be is in your comic update. So, there’s a reason for people to actually read your latest update.

Going back to our bee-related example, you could title your update something like “[Series title] – But, does a bee sting really hurt less?”, “[Series Title] – ?” etc…

4) References: One of the easiest ways to come up with a title for your update is to just reference something from popular culture and/or nerd culture. As long as your title is still relevant to what your comic is about, then this can work fairly well.

After all, people who don’t get the reference might find the title intriguingly mysterious and people who do get the reference will subconsciously notice that the comic has been written by someone with similar interests as them (and is therefore worth looking at).

For example, your hypothetical update about bees could be called “[Series Title] – All Your Bees Are Belong To Us”, “[Series Title] – Covered In Bees!”, “[Series Title] – Number Of The Bee-st”, “[Series Title] – Cowboy Bee-bop” etc… I’m sure you get the idea.

————–

Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Comics News: E.U. Referendum Cartoons (Coming Soon) and Heavy Metal Parrot Picture

2016 Comics news 8th June

Well, I don’t usually make these spontaneous extra posts, but I just had to make one right now, for two reasons.

1) E.U. Referendum Comics (18th-21st June): If you’ve read the “comics index” page, then you’ll probably know about this (and lots of other upcoming comics too) already. But, if you haven’t, then – a few days ago- I changed my mind about whether I’d put anything on here about the EU Referendum.

As such, there will be a special series of four daily comics (featuring the characters from my occasional “Damania” webcomic series) about the referendum posted here from the 18th – 21st June at 12 noon(?)GMT/ 1pm BST.

Most of this series will probably be on the sillier side of things and I’ve tried to keep some semblance of political balance too. Still, if you’re curious to see how my characters will vote (and why), then stay tuned!

2) Heavy metal parrots: As regular readers of this site probably know, I tend to make my daily paintings ridiculously far in advance (I make one every day, but there’s a long delay before they’re posted). Earlier today, I finished a painting that won’t appear here for quite a few months.

But, an hour or two later, one detail from this painting caught my eye and I had to turn it into a small stand-alone preview illustration. And, yes, no prizes for guessing which heavy metal band happened to turn up on my playlist just before I had the idea for this small preview illustration:

"Rawk On!" By C. A. Brown (an altered detail from another painting of mine that won't appear here for ages).

“Rawk On!” By C. A. Brown (an altered detail from another painting of mine that won’t appear here for ages).

—————

Anyway, stay tuned for a proper article (well, sort of, it’s a ramble about Sherlock Holmes) a little bit later this afternoon 🙂

UPDATE: New Comics Index Page :)

2016 Artwork Comics index sketch

Well, I’ve been meaning to make this for a while, but I am now very proud to present a full index of links to every comic I’ve made since spring 2015 and of every comic I will be posting here over the next six months or so.

There’s also commentary about old, current and future comics on there too. So, if you want to catch up on some of my older “new” comics or if you want to see the shape of things to come, then this page is where you want to look 🙂

(I’ve also condensed the number of things in the “pages” bar at the top of the site, placing the links from three older pages into a single page to save space.)

But, yeah, don’t forget to check the comics index out 🙂

Comics News – See “Damania Redux” Early, Upcoming Comics Schedule etc…

2016 Comics news January

Although I tried to make sure that my previous comic (which can be read here) had something close to a simultaneous DeviantART / WordPress release, this unfortunately won’t really be possible with the comics that I’ve got planned for this year (due to the way that I schedule things). But, don’t worry, there will be some extra stuff here to compensate for the later WordPress release dates. More on that later in the article.

But, first, if you’re a fan of my “Damania” webcomic series, then you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve recently started posting “Damania Redux” – a new ‘old style’ 12 comic mini series on DeviantART. The new comics can be viewed after the long description at the top of this page. They will also be updated daily.

So far, there are just two “Damania Redux” comics on there but, thanks to DeviantART’s content rules, one of them requires site membership to view (it contains some slightly gruesome cartoon zombie art and I wasn’t sure if this met the criteria for “mature content” under DeviantART’s rules). It will be posted in full here though.

Anyway, one of the things that I’ll be doing to make up for this gigantic difference in release dates is that the complete “work in progress” line art for the series will be posted here (and only here) on the 30th March. Line art will also be posted sometime after the other two mini series that I have planned to post here too.

In addition to this, one blog article that will be posted after “Damania Redux” finishes here (or possibly during it’s run, I can’t remember the exact date for the article) will contain an exclusive comic update that was cut from the series. Likewise, during the spring and early summer, there will also be at least a few “making of” articles and articles about making webcomics.

In addition to this, I’ll also provide you with a list of dates for when all of my upcoming “Damania” comics (these include both traditional-style webcomic mini series and short B&W narrative comics) will be posted here. They’ll probably appear on DeviantART earlier than this though.

1st – 12th March 2016: “Damania Redux” (12 episode webcomic mini series)

12th -27th April 2016: “Damania Resurgence” (15 episode webcomic mini series)

11th- 18th May 2016: “The Charity Case: A Harvey Delford Mystery” (Yes! Harvey finally gets his own comic!)

25th May – 10th June 2016: “Damania Returns” (17 [?] episode webcomic mini series)

14th June – 22nd June 2016: “The ‘Let’s Play’ ” (Derek and Rox try to make a “let’s play” video for a banned computer game from the 1990s. Hilarity ensues.)

Sorry again about the differences in release dates, but – whether you read the comics here or on DeviantART – then I hope that you enjoy them 🙂