Thursday, 24 January 2013

What the Wacom Can Do

After a minor case of unsubtle hinting, I was given a Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch graphics tablet for Christmas.  I hadn't really used graphics tablets much before, and my last attempt (borrowing Tim's tablet, which is also a Wacom) produced this rather unimpressive bit of scribble:

A concept sketch for Fort Paradox 115: my first graphics-tablet drawing.  Srsly.

However, I was pretty sure that my initial failures were just teething trouble.  After all, I spent my first two or three weeks in The GIMP being hopelessly confused and (whisper it!) almost missing Photoshop, of all things - before it suddenly clicked one day, and I've been using the program for all sorts of things ever since.  I expected a similar thing would happen with the tablet, if I had one of my own and was able to get some practice.

It looks like I expected right.  This morning, I finished this (a rather better piece of scribble, if I say so myself):

Blue in the Firelight, January 2013

I almost crashed GIMP during the production process, as the image had so many layers; in the end I fixed the problem by separating the thing out into three different files - one with the initial compositional layers, a second to tidy up the line art, and a third to add the colour.  You can see a higher-resolution version of the finished picture on my DeviantArt page, and you might notice it cropping up as my new avatar on DeviantArt and on Steam.

Where next?   Well - here's a bit of good news for the Root Hill attendees among you - I'm very nearly finished the Root Hill On Camera 2012 DVD: the video segments are rendered, the disc menus are authored, and the print components have been designed.  All that remains is to produce the physical copies and get them in the post.  And once that little project (little... haha, right) is off my slate, I'm planning to try and get back to animating something.  So many ideas drifting around right now, including Papercuts episodes 5 onwards (waiting on script delivery from a guest writer or two), Arbitrary Stopframe Series 2 (waiting on... um... me getting round to it), The Murkum Show (working title, waiting on me figuring out what it's actually about apart from having lots of Doctor Murkum in it), and the long-planned Fishy Business remake Empire of the Pond (which has recently seen some movement on the test-illustrations front).  But more recently, the idea occurred to me that I should try doing a quick-and-dirty (that fatal phrase...) graphics-tablet cel animation featuring my little-known character Elbows Dude in a variety of improbable scrapes, which he solves with his elbow powers.  Right now, I honestly don't know which route I'll be going down next, but all five of them have some appeal, so I'll hopefully be picking one and getting down to business before too long.  Watch this space!

- The Colclough


  1. I have a really Good idea for a script for Papercuts which I am about to start writing. If you do A-S again, please let me know I have some ideas. In terms of the Murkum Show, why not have it as an interview/talk/chat show where he is the host and he interviews people from your work and possibly humans too which could take the form of new characters?

    1. i'll definitely let you know if anything comes up that i need writers for.

      i've pretty much got the storylines planned for AS episodes 14 and 15, but plenty of gaps beyond that; if you've got ideas for the next series then you don't have to wait for an official announcement before telling me, i'd be interested to hear about them any time. you never know, if i like your storylines then they could help nudge me towards getting started...

      as for Murkum, a chat-show type format was one of the ideas i was considering, but i'd want it to be a very Murkum-ish chat show, which isn't a straightforward thing to get my head around; the concern is that i don't want to rush into the project and do any old thing, i want to make sure i get the format right and make it funny.

  2. I am looking for more writing/scripting opportunities to help me build a portfolio, so if you have any ideas and need some help or have any advice, please let me know.