Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Bona Saturmalia!

Bona Saturnalia everyone! Merrily meandering around the house, sporting my new gift: a specially designed mouse-carrying imitation totally-ethical fur-lined head-encaser! Mouse not included.


Maeri Jinglemess and a Hoopful Gnu Ear!
TF

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The 'colour - animal' challenge!

So I came up with a perhaps not wholly original challenge for myself (and any other artists out there interested).
The idea is to come up with a random colour and animal, and then try and design a superhero outfit based on what you come up with.
In my case: Blue Barn Owl and Yellow Octopus.
Try it out, budding pencillers and aspiring comickers! Let's make this thing viral!
It might just make an amusing yuletide party game!


Bonus Picture: 
yet another redesign of everyone's favourite web-slinging superhero. I worked off of the spider symbol I developed for my last redesign, and tried to streamline it into a costume more resembling Spidey's traditional get-up. 



Saturday, 22 December 2012

A Vegetarian Ogre?

One of my favourite authors ever, Mr. Philip Reeve, asked me:


And the answer is yes...


Yes you can.
TF

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Circle Animals

Some circular-shaped animal designs I did for the Xmas market stall. The fish came out a little weird, but I'm nonetheless really digging this new style I've discovered (oh my gosh swirls).


Monday, 17 December 2012

My short review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The weird thing, Smaug has no lines, and even if he had, they would've been dubbed.
Either way, I enjoyed the film.
TF


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Another Xmas market...


And unfortunately not much success I'm afraid. Sold a few things, but unfortunately Grugliasco is a bit devoid of people willing to buy anything other than meat and jam. Might try another town next year...
More fun drawing type things soon, I hope :) 

TF

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

In a Parallel World, Part 2...

Here's another power swap/origin swap redesign of a famous comic book hero and his/her arch-enemy. This time it's less of an origin swap and more of a 'insanity alignment' inversion.
Let me explain. I'm one of those people who consider both Batman and the Joker (as well as most other people in Gotham City, be they costumed or otherwise), clinically insane. Neither character approaches what most people would consider a healthy mental state of awareness. Bruce Wayne witnesses his parents' murder and what does he do? Instead of using his vast wealth to tackle the roots of crime and corruption in Gotham, and thus do some real, tangible and lasting good, he decides to flip the fuck out, spend thousands of dollars on equipping himself with ridiculous bat-themed gadgets and vehicles, dresses up in glorified riot cop armour or zorro-cum-dracula costumes (depending on who writes him) and spends each and every night beating the shit out of petty thugs or other mentally unstable people. Jack Napier/Jack/Whoever is a petty criminal who ends up dumped in a vat of toxic waste or acid or bleach and what does he do? Instead of searching for medical help or turning himself in, in the hopes of curing his condition, he flips the fuck out, hires thousands of idiotic henchmen, dresses up as a clown and starts murdering people with tacky puns.
Literally the only difference I can see between these two violent, ruthless and deluded characters is their allignment. Batman is crazy, but aligned with the forces of what we tend to consider 'good' (the law, the police, etc.) whereas the Joker is crazy, but aligned with the forces of what we tend to consider 'evil' (crime, murder, etc.) Despite what many hepped-up Nolanites or Frank Miller zombies would like to think, Batman isn't some noble and righteous knight or metaphorical force of law and order, neither is the Joker an 'agent of chaos', or herald of anarchy. They're both just dicks, and deranged ones at that.
Thus we come to this redesign. The idea behind these was to invert the alignments: thus Batman becomes 'The Bat'. Severely unstable orphaned billionaire Bruce Wayne vents his anger and frustration against the world every night by dressing up as the Bat and going down into the streets of Gotham causing chaos, eventually becoming the head of a vicious gang of ex-mobsters and criminals, called the 'Bat-men' and child thieves and drug-trafficers called the 'Robins'.
Joker becomes 'Kid Clown', a petty street thug who got involved with the Bat's 'Robins' and for squealing to the police, got dumped by the Bat himself into a tub of chemicals, which burned off his lips, eyelids and hair, and bleached his skin chalk white. Initially distraught, the kid resolves to enact his revenge against the Bat and his followers, by becoming a continuous thorn in the big guy's side. An eternal prankster, always ready to foil the murderous Bat's schemes, he procures a lime green wig, and colourful costumes, becoming 'Kid Clown'.

Feedback, comments and 'oh my god how can you hate the dark knight trilogyomghjkfhjk's welcome in the comment box!
Thanks for reading.
TF


Saturday, 17 November 2012

In a parallel world...

So here's something I've been musing about for some time. I had the idea to try my hand at some power swap superhero/villain redesigns, where I'd take two heroes or two villains or a hero and his arch-nemesis, and switch their powers/origins around. I'll probably do some more, but to start with, here's Norman Osborn/Goblin and Peter Parker/The Black Spider. 
Norman was an average, teenage nerd with no friends, until he got caught up in a strange lab accident during a school visit to Parkertech Industries, owned by wealthy and ruthless scientist and business man, Peter Parker. An explosion exposed Norman to some experimental performance enhancers, which made him stronger, faster and even smarter. Initially using his new power to gain respect at school, after his younger brother Harry is killed by some thugs who Norman had tricked out of some money, on Halloween night, he decides to use his abilities for good. Inspired by a monster mask he sees in a shop, he designs a costume, gadgets and even a collapsable glider, and becomes known as the masked vigilante, Goblin!
Meanwhile, Peter Parker becomes aware of the explosion and how it has lead to Norman's transformation. Eager to reproduce the effects on himself, he climbs into a chamber into which the performance enhancer is pumped, in gaseous form. Unbeknownst to Parker, a small spider climbs in with him and bites him during the exposure process. The spider-bite gives him spider-like abilities, such as wall-crawling, organic webs and a precognitive 'spider-sense'. The power goes straight to his head, and Parker soon starts tampering with his genes more and more, until he is more animal than man: the hideous Black Spider!


Friday, 16 November 2012

Another Redesign: Miss America

For this, as usual.
I can't say I'm a fan of either of the outfits miss Chavez has worn in the comics, so as well as fan art, this constitutes a bit of a redesign as well. The style of the drawing is more than a little inspired, to my shame, by this guy. I honestly didn't even realise until after I'd finished it.
Feedback welcome, both existent or non-existent, I'm not fussed.
Peas and gloves.
TF

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Another redesign: The Green Lama!

So I've been getting more and more interested in Buddhist culture and philosophy and I was browsing the web for information... when I came across someone I'd read about years ago. The Green Lama is probably the first ever Buddhist superhero in comics and he's just such an intriguing character, both origins-wise and within the context of comic book history. Therefore, I did a redesign of his original and rather simple get-up, trying to include some more overtly Tibetan and Buddhist iconography. Let me know what you think (yes I am submitting it to Project Rooftop, duh!)
Thanks for reading,
TF

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A Birthday Message!


Hope you have a lovely day!

P.S. All you lot reading (all three of you!) give her a present and follow her blog!

Monday, 1 October 2012

At long last...

Right. Children's book is now complete. Fully proof-read, illustrated and everything. 
It even has a map.
I feel exhausted but very proud as well as excited about what the future might hold for this wee story of mine. Here's hoping I can find a nice publisher.
Stay tuned :)
TF

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Bletchley Circle Fan Art

Ok, so it's finished now, but it was such a great three-parter I just had to do some fan-art. I'd love to see some kind of sequel. Yay code-breaking, crime-solving and female empowerment!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Project: Children's Book (UPDATE)

Hey all, been a while yet again.

News so far, children's book wise is that all those who have read the manuscript so far (including one of my favourite authors) have said they enjoyed it and that it shows potential.
This has spurred me on and I have been illustrating like the clappers (I wonder why clappers, whatever they are, are attributed such pulchritudinous industry).
I've also been reading a lot of fantasy and sci-fi (mainly Tolkein) to stimulate my world-building juices (drawing realistic maps and coming up with place names is HARD).
I have some plots ready for the following books (Yes, it is going to be a series) so overall I'm feeling pretty positive about it.

I've also started driving school (theory) and had my very first ever filling (which was not even my fault but the dentist's).
Here is a taster of the book's illustrations: the main character, warming herself by a roaring campfire.
Until next time,
TF


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Project: Children's Book


Hello there,

So posts have been fewer lately as I've been less concerned with drawing and more so with writing.
As this post's title suggests, I've been trying my hand at writing a children's book.

I completed the first draft yesterday and have been sending it to as many trusted friends as possible for proof-reading: so far I'm getting good feedback and tweaks to be made are minor.

The book(s) will be illustrated so expect to see some more pictures coming up here soon. I won't be putting any of the story here as my main hope is to get it published (and you never know who might be reading! Evil is eeeeverywheeere).

So, for now, here is a little picture of the book's main character. More to follow soon!
TF

Friday, 10 August 2012

Some ridiculous superheroes...

TIGERPUMPKIN!


A young man is reading some questionable magazine in the street one day when he is suddenly run over by a mad scientist with very few scruples. The scientist heals him, but also splices him with a tiger, creating a hideous half-human, half-big cat hybrid. Driven by his new animalistic impulses, the tiger-man flees the secret lab, eventually arriving in the alleyways of a big city. He cavorts with several lady felines upon a rooftop, so loudly that the house's inhabitant knocks him off with a broom. Falling into a pile of garbage and breaking his legs, he is once again rescued by the mad scientist, who sees fit to replace his broken limbs (and everything in-between) with a set of robot spider-legs. Enraged, he escapes. On Hallowe'en night, feeling that the parade of costumes will allow him an excuse to venture out amongst humanity despite his horrific appearance, he rescues a small child from a beating. The frightened bullies push him into a pumpkin patch, leading to a plastic jack-o-lantern to permanently stick onto his head. Thus, Tigerpumpkin is born!

ROCKETMOTH!

An aspiring olympic diver is abducted one night by a race of hyper-intelligent aliens who wish to learn the secret of breathing under-water. One of the aliens falls in love with her and decides to alter her genes slightly so that they may copulate: due to the alien's particular anatomy, this means giving the unfortunate girl a moth-like head. Disgusted and justifiably pissed-off with the alien creep, she steals to experimental propulsion devices, straps them to her wrists, and - after blowing up the alien base - escapes into space. Finding that her new head allows her to survive in the vacuum of space, she travels from world to world, fighting oppression and trying to find her way back to Earth. Behold... the Rocketmoth!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Redesign: Motorcycling Rodents hailing from The Red Planet!

Does anyone remember these guys? Not as popular as the Adolescent Genetically Compromised Warrior Testudinae, but gosh did I love them back in the day. Here's a redesign/update of the martian mouse trio.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

In defense of The Amazing Spider-man

Ok, so here's something I don't do very often. It's nothing art or design related, but seeing as this is, primarily, my blog, I thought it the best place to post this (sort of) review.



This film has been receiving very mixed reviews from both the media and members of the general public. This is a kind of meta-review as I think critics on both pro and con sides of the discussion have been doing the film a rather big disservice. So here’s a few words on The Amazing Spider-man.
I’ll go through some of the critiques made to the film first.

Perhaps the most frequent criticism made about the film is that it was unnecessary and ‘too soon’; quite often these remarks were made before the film had even been released in theatres.
For the most part I don’t think such a point is all that objective. How soon anything is really depends on people’s personal opinion. Many wrote that 10 years – the gap between this and Sam Raimi’s 2002 first installment of his trilogy – was too soon for a reboot. I personally think something around 1 or 2 years to be too soon. Consider the gap between Batman & Robin and Batman Begins, an even shorter gap of 8 years: I don’t recall anybody in 2005 repremanding Nolan for not waiting longer.
The more valid point may be that of ‘necessity’. Did we really need another Spider-man origin story? Here a comparison with Schumacher/Nolan is a little harder, considering how over-the-top campy B&R was and how welcome and satisfactorily dark and ‘realistic’ a response Nolan’s BB was. Sam Raimi’s Spider-man was no B&R: it was loved by many (including myself) and was so successful that two films were greenlighted to follow. But you could still ask: was it really the best transition to the screen Spidey could and would ever get? Even in the heady fanboyish excitement of seeing it for the first time, a lot of things bothered me. Why wasn’t Peter cracking jokes? Where were the web-shooters? Where did the highly intricate raised-web costume suddenly come from? Where was Gwen Stacy? What was up with the Green Goblin’s helmet, and why did they kill him off at the end? I enjoyed and still enjoy the film, but the amount of corny and goofy scenes grew with each following film, until we were presented with the mostly painful experience of Spider-man 3. It’s a film I can enjoy as some kind of parody or comedy superhero film, but I tend to think of it as the Batman & Robin of the Raimi franchise. Maybe that was as good a reason as any to start Spidey over again.

Moving on to criticisms made to that actual film rather than it’s timing, I’ve read a lot of talk about ‘emotionless’, ‘repetitive’ and ‘Twilight spider-man’. I can understand the accusations of repetitiveness, as the first hour of the film addresses Spidey’s origins. However, accusations of little emotion and comparisons to Twilight are respectively subjective (again) and just wrong. The film’s greatest strength is undoubtedly its treatment of the every day human relationships between the characters, not to mention the Gwen and Peter romance. Most detractors of the film have grudglingly admitted that the ‘at least the romance was good’. Good is an understatement: Stone and Garfield are miles ahead of the limp and repetitive on-screen realtionship between Raimi’s Maguire and Dunst. As for the Twilight remarks, the only basis for them that I could think of was Garfield’s big hair. Granted, Amazing’s Peter is moody and depressed. He’s not a bespectacled, starched-shirt weraing stereotypical nerd like in Raimi’s – and let’s face it, that stereotype was already outdated in 2002. He’s still a loner and socially awkward and, character-wise, that’s all that matters. Either way, regardless of people’s lack of interest in the growth of an emotionally troubled and deeply lonely young man, any comparison between Amazing Spider-man and a film like Twilight is simply mean-spirited.
Going back to the film’s first hour: yes, we’ve seen his origins before. The key point is that this is a different take, and a very different one at that. Whilst some have criticised the fact that Peter’s fate was tied to the genetically altered spider, Oscorp and Dr. Connors from the beginning as relying on ‘too many coincidences’, by having Peter’s father work at Oscorp it seems simply narratively logical rather than lazy writing. Uncle Ben’s death, by contrast, is presented to us in a much more sudden and realistic way than in Raimi’s version: the scene not overblown with schmaltz and Peter’s involvement being more direct, without making him utterly unlikable. It’s a heated, emotional argument that leads to chance tragedy. The fact that Ben and Peter’s relationship is more developed in this interpretation makes the scene much more impactful and heart-rending, despite the fact that we know it’s coming. The use of comedy in the film is also more warm and likable. The moments where Peter gradually discovers his new powers are hilarious without coming across as crass or corny – unlike the ‘go web go’ scene in Raimi’s first offering. Garfield plays the young boy discovering his body’s newfound potential with believable and contagious enthusiasm.
In other words, yes, the list of points to check is the same, but the fundamental elements of the origin story have been changed and joined by some welcome updates and additions.

Lastly, I’ve read comments ranging from ‘I didn’t like the score’ to ‘I didn’t like the costume’ and ‘The Lizard looked weird’. Again, I don’t take these comments all that seriously as they’re almost completely subjective and down to personal taste. Personally I think both Elfman and Horner are two of Hollywood’s greatest composers, and their respective scores fit the two films perfectly. Raimi’s film was more melodramatic and quirky, whilst Webb’s is more romantic and joyous. I’ll say more about the costume in the next section, but again, it’s up to personal taste. Regarding the Lizard, they went for a mix between the original Ditko and later Todd MacFarlarne designs, which I think worked well enough. Personally, they could have gone with either and I wouldn’t have minded.

What about the positive reviews?
As I’ve already mentioned, the most often mentioned and praised aspect of the film in the good reviews is the love story and the cast’s performances. This is undoubtedly true, particularly so for Stone, who is simply perfect. I would argue, however, that the film has more going for it than just that.
It’s not just Garfiled’s performance that has me really feel as if I’m seeing a live-action Spidey, but the way the character’s written. We have a wise-cracking, sarcastic spidey again and, regardless of how many people may find him annoying, the constant quipping is as much a defining element of Spider-man as is his wall-crawling or spider-sense. We see him transform from a hell-bent and cocky teen into a resolute and heroic figure, learning Ben’s lesson about responsibility throughout the film in a more complex and interesting way. There’s no talk of ‘great power’ but rather a utilitarian, John Stuart Mill-style ‘moral duty to help’.
The humour is really one of the best elements of the film: we laugh with Spidey at the inept criminals he fights and at him when he makes a stupid mistake (or two). There are too many funny moments for me to list, but let’s just say this film features the best Stan Lee cameo ever recorded on film to date, with a use of classical music that already proved effective in an episode of the sadly cancelled Spectacular Spider-man animated series.
Finally there are the little touches. The costume’s construction is finally shown to us: I was initially as sceptical as everyone else when I first saw the promotional photos of it, but seeing Peter build his web-shooters out of digital watches, surf for spandex sport suits and use his sunglasses lenses for the mask’s eye-pieces was wonderful for me and made me warm to the design much more.
I also love how truly animalistic both Spider-man and Lizard’s movements and interactions are. Take for example the brilliant moments where Spidey webs up Lizard by scuttling and crawling all over him as if he were a fly, or when Lizard literally tastes the air, like a Komodo dragon, when he’s searching for Gwen in the Oscorp lab. Perhaps the best thing of all? The villain isn’t killed off at the end of the film! Unlike Raimi’s Goblin, Doc Ock and Venom, Lizard lives to make a second appearance.

To conclude, I’d like to apologise for the length of this review, but I really enjoyed this film. It’s by no means perfect – the crane scene was perhaps a little too crass and some scenes seem a tad rushed – but I was nonetheless dismayed by both its positive and negative reviews: neither, I think, did it justice. It’s a truly smart, fun and enjoyable film, as well as the truest representation of Spidey on film to date.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A few updates...

Hello again,

posts have been few and far between lately, mainly due to a dongle-fueled internet connection.
However, as well as getting some more Wishh & Bambo episodes done to pass the time, I decided to give the blog a new look and a new name.

So, say hello to Stilosaur.
New name, new look, but the same content. It's simply going to act as an umbrella site for all my projects as well as bit of a publicity launch pad for myself (hopefully!).

Thanks for reading/visting :)
Yours, not quite extinct yet,

Tom

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

More redesigns, now with 20% more experimental style!

Here is my latest 'all colour lines' experiment in drawing style applied to some more superhero redesigns...


Some Captain America fan-art for Project: Rooftop, inspired by Young Avengers' Patriot and the Avengers movie uniform.


For Project:Rooftop's latest event/contest for Fantastic Four Redesigns.
The main idea behind their outfits was inspired by actual NASA space-suits, streamlined to make them look more futuristic and turning the valves on the chest into a symbol that replaces the traditional encircled '4'. I figured a side-effect of the cosmic rays (a bit like in the hit-and-miss Tim Story film) would be that their space suits would undergo the same mutation as the wearer, meaning that Sue's suit goes invisible, Johnny's catches fire, Reed's stretched and Ben's kind of fuses with his rocky hide. Either that or Reed modifies them and the four glowing valves on Ben's chest are added on once they officially become the Fantastic Four and a super-team.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Project Rooftop: JLA Redesigns

Ok, so my track record over at P:R hasn't exactly been that good...
But I though I'd give the old redesigning thing another go.
I thought I'd try my hand at redesigning the Justice League of America's original and main line-up: Martian Manhunter, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman.



Martian Manhunter: I've always loved the designs of J'onn where he really looks like an actual alien, so I knew I wanted to emulate that. Rather than an overtly superhero suit, I decided to give him a more futuristic, segmented and insectoid armour, whilst still keeping the blue and straps.

Wonder Woman: With Diana I really just wanted her to look as much like an Amazon warrior princess as possible. I got rid of the blue and red, replacing them with browns and golds. I tried to make her look as battle-ready as possible, designing a costume which is hopefully both practical and intimidating.

Green Lantern: I went with the John Stewart GL mainly because he's the one I like most and am most familiar with. By moving the lantern emblem to the shoulders and giving the costume a very angular pattern design I wanted to bring across both John's military background and the Green Lantern Corps' status as intergalactic military/police force.
Aquaman: With AM I wanted to keep the colours and try and make him look both regal and otherworldly. Hence the wrap/cape, trident and silver decorations on the belt and boots. I tried to model his facial features on a greek sculpture and give him a slightly greenish skin tone. Also, I figured if we can have a blonde Bond, we can have a dark green-haired Aquaman :)

The Flash: Didn't want to change things too much, considering how iconic his costume is. I did however mess around with the logo a bit, and added light mesh fabric sections in the joint sections of the costume, as I figured Flash would suffer from terrible overheating and chafing.



Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Last episode of Bedtime, Kevin! (Live Action): The Final Naptime



Filming this with some of my best uni friends was an absolute joy and I'm really happy it all went well. For my first film with proper non-animated human beings... I think it's pretty ok :)
Now... off to my final exam. Degree here I come! (Gulp!)
TF

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Milestone Comics Redesigns

I've been writing an essay on New Black Cinema and included some thoughts on Milestone Comics and Dwayne McDuffie. Here are some redesigns of Milestone's three most famous characters: Static, Hardware and Icon



Thursday, 3 May 2012

Just some Poké-portraits

The whole portriat-dex thing kind of got out of hand. Here are some of my friends as poképeople.











In other news, Dissertation is finished and submitted. All that remain are some essays, a presentation and an exam and then It's degree time. Gulp.

Also, as soon as I get me some photoshop, it's back to animating, baby.
So stay tuned for character designs and storyboard until then.
G'night folks!
TF