Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Magician From Mars!

Another PDSH redesign, This time The Magician From Mars!

Here's the description:

"In the future, Jane Q-X 3 Gem, the Magician from Mars, is born to a Martian father, Jarl 6EM35, and a Earthling mother, Jane Faro. When she was a baby, she was accidently exposed to "cathode" radiation, which is deadly to humans but which Martians are naturally immune to. Because she was a hybrid of the two, the radiation had an unexpected effect of boosting her brain power to the point where she was capable of changing reality with a thought.
Her powers developed as she grows. By age six, she could "wish" things lke ice cream cones into existence and levitate things through the air. At 16 years old, she lost both of her parents and was raised by her Aunt Vanza, who refuses to allow the girl to travel to Earth. Eventually, she found life on Mars too boring, so she escaped from the "Supersteel Room" prison her aunt locked her in and took passage on a ship to Earth. There, she decided to use her reality-warping abilities to fight evil and oppression.
Her powers included super strength, speed, agility, telekinesis, super-intelligence, and the ability to manipulate matter, nullify gravity, transform her own appearance, and maintain her own youth and beauty indefinitely."

I didn't alter much of her original look, but rather streamlined the elements, to make her look a little more futuristic and alien. 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Back from Winchester, 33rd Writers' Conference

Hello all!
I've recently just got back from the 33rd Annual Writers' Conference at Winchester University.
It was a totally wonderful experience: I met some fantastic people (aspiring authors like myself as well as professional writers, editors, agents, etc.) and went to some really interesting workshops and talks.

Amongst other things, I've got some new notions on how to improve my characterisations and plotting (thanks to Beverley Birch, Margaret Graham, Steve Lockley and Sarah Mussi) as well as some 'plot metaphors' (some corks and a ribbon) from Adrienne Dines.
I was also but a few feet away from Downton Abbey writer, Julian Fellows, who really is a witty chap.
Overall, however, I think the best thing was meeting my fellow delegates and aspiring authors. Sitting together at lunch and chatting about our various stories was incredibly enjoyable and refreshing, like navigating in a sea of imagination, visiting a series of vaporous islands, before setting off for another talk. If you're reading this, it was great meeting and spending time with you Andrew, Dorothy, Dinah, Vashti, Lee Hong and Raonaid! I hope to see you all again next year, if not earlier.

To my regular readers, I'll be back to my usual drawings soon enough (we're decorating in casa Fummo, so everything is a bit up in the air). Stay tuned, though!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

12 Doctors Challenge: Doctor #6

So, the great space-faring hero, Doctor number 5 (Ben Miller) has burned and swashbuckled his way across most of the universe, toppling tyrants, fighting villains and rescuing damsels in distress... in general just going way overboard on a machismo trip. One such damsel not-so-much-in-distress is Princess Pythelia Crythoria III, a naturally phosphorescent alien and heir to the throne of one of the most powerful galactic empires in the cosmos. Princess 'Py', as the Doctor calls her, immediately falls head over heels in love with the dashing adventurer and organises, much to the doc's surprise, a royal wedding. Suddenly, the Doctor finds himself in a very sensitive diplomatic situation. The Crythorian Empire has plenty of enemies, and there are many who would like it done away with once and for all... meaning that any crownheads are in very real danger of being assassinated! This is another reason why Py wants to marry her hero: who would dare kill her with the Great Doctor as her husband and protector? The wedding day arrives and the Doctor is getting cold feet. Suddenly unable to think of a way to escape, he finds himself at the altar before Py and...
... he is shot. Indeed, the target for assassination had changed... why kill the princess when you can kill the future Emperor? The guests scatter and the temple bursts into confusion as soldiers and assassins start battling all around them. Py holds her betrothed and dying Doctor in her arms. There is a flash of golden light... and where her Doctor once lay, there is now Doctor number 6: Chris Addison!
Much to Py's dismay, this new Doctor isn't so much dashing and heroic and more scruffy and distracted. The most inventive and brilliant incarnation so far, 6 can't stop working or tinkering in the Tardis, fascinated by any piece of alien technology that passes his way. Thus he doesn't bother with a proper outfit, and tends to wander around in well-worn overalls or working jumpsuits. He never travels without a full bag or belt of tools and rarely scrubs up. Sometimes absent-minded, sometimes bitingly witty, Doctor number 6 is not what Princess Py wanted in a partner. Disgusted by all forms of manual labour, she can't stand the new technician-Doctor and the two often bicker.
Either way, there's still a load of people who want her dead, and he's still the best man to protect her.

Monday, 17 June 2013

12 Doctors Challenge: Doctor #5

Hey I'm back!
So, after a very long run of adventures, our Fourth Doctor (Rory Kinnear) would eventually bite the big one. I imagine him sacrificing himself in a very non-meek and yet simultaneously humble way to save a planet or a galaxy of some sort in a blaze of glory. After a very sad and mournful death scene, where his companions say their goodbyes, he regenerates into Doctor number five: Ben Miller!
I see the fifth Doctor as a pulpy, dashing space adventure hero, complete with space-suit and jet-pack. After having spent a lot of time on Earth, he'd be aching to see some other worlds again, and immediately jet off in search of adventure. Flash Gordon meets James Bond, with a little bit of Booster Gold (his companion, or rather side-kick, would be a robot drone called Demo), the fifth doctor's adventures would be the most epic-looking. If we imagine his fifth regeneration as part of the full twelve, you could say he's having a sort of mid-life crisis, and is eager to have as much fun and as many thrills as possible.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

12 Doctors Challenge: Doctor #4

So after Doctor number 3 (Hugh Dennis) finally recovers from his partial amnesia and gets to travel through time and space again with his new companion Kathy... the unthinkable happens.
One of his sworn enemies (the Daleks/Cybermen/etc.) engineer a plot that will strike the Doctor's heart. The aim is to break his will before breaking his body. Kathy gets hit in the crossfire and is dying. To save her life, the Doctor siphons off some of his own regenerative power into her. It works, but the Doctor's own regeneration process is triggered. In a flash of blinding light he regenerates into the 4th doctor, played by Rory Kinnear!
The characteristics of his Doctor may be read in more detail here, as this incarnation is mostly Bobby's idea. I had considered Kinnear in the role, but Bobby's imagined portrayal sounds like a lot of fun.
Essentially a much more reserved and timid Doctor, a stickler for etiquette and manners, but not without a more fun-loving side (which he keeps well hidden, but is sometimes revealed thorugh his colourful odd socks). Surprisingly good with kids, I'd see his two main companions being (as Bobby suggested) an art student and a child. He'd pick up Carla, the 25 year old art student, in 1970s Milan, while visiting a museum (perhaps in an attempt to correct the date on one of the more important artworks to avoid some sort of mundane paradox) and 12 year old Ricky in 2021 London. Throughout their adventures, both companions would attempt to get their Doctor to relax a bit more, sometimes with disastrous results.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

12 Doctors Challenge: Doctor #3

So, after our second Doctor (portrayed by Ben Willbond) gets into a pretty hairy confrontation with some intergalactic space-pirates, he gets fatally injured and needs to regenerate. However, unbeknownst to him, the bullets the pirates wounded him with contained a paralysing poison, the effects of which, due to the last-minute regeneration, only affect the Time Lord's memory.
The Tardis transports him to Earth where it lands in small coastal suburb. He emerges from the blue phone-box as Hugh Dennis (of My Hero, Outnumbered and The Now Show fame), and very much bewildered. He roams the sleepy town in his tattered clothing until he bumps into Kathy, a young volunteer at a local care home.
My third Doctor's run would mostly take place on Earth, with the doctor having been taken in by Kathy, who tries to piece together who the mysterious man is. He beguiles her with extraordinary tales of time travel, adventure and other planets... before suddenly forgetting all about them. She initially dismisses his tales as dreams or symptoms of some deep mental trauma... that is until the space pirates arrive on Earth looking for the Doctor, having learned that he is still alive! It is now up to Kathy to save the Doctor - who has settled in nicely to a very laid back life in the care home - from almost certain death. I believe Dennis could play this version of the Doctor with the adequate blend of humour and poignancy, as he flits between a troubled everyman persona and imaginativee, Baron Munchausen-style story-teller.

Monday, 10 June 2013

12 Doctors Challenge: Doctor #2

Ok, so a friend suggested I designed and drew 12 different Doctors, as I would see him and based on potential actors/actresses. Let’s count my Tom Waits Doctor as the first installment, so this one counts as number two. Doctor number 1 would most likely get mortally wounded while trying to prevent a giant space-train (pulled by space-worms) from derailing into a black hole, or something. Either way, he'd need to change his face again.
The actor I’ve chosen is Ben Willbond of Horrible Histories fame. I see his Doctor being very suave, if a little foppish (hence the dandy attire) and a bit of a womaniser - in direct contrast to his previous sleazy and unkempt incarnation. His sonic screw-driver is housed in the walking cane. His companion would be a rude and rebellious alien teenage thug on parole, called Dral. Throughout their adventures, the Doctor would try and help Dral become more of a gentleman hero, with very little success. 

Leaf Butterfly

Here's a butterfly pattern for Dawn Clarkson, of Nice & Fancy :) Listened to a lot of Enya and Tangerine Dream while drawing it.
If you have a spare butterfly pattern, be sure to send it Dawn's way!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The 13th Doctor

So here's a little fan-fiction. 
If I were writing Doctor Who right now, this is how I would pen the final series.
The Doctor, after a particularly traumatic adventure involving a fracture not just in time, but in the nature of reality, is flung through a dimensional rift into another universe. During the trip he is fatally injured and is forced to regenerate. However, he has lost a lot of his time vortex energy and undergoes his 13th and last regeneration, only to return in the form of a child.
The Tardis remains fairly battered as well, so much so that its chameleon circuit and dimensional dampeners are destroyed and its vast, coral-like true form is revealed.
The child Doctor wanders through this alternate universe, which he soon realises is merely a parallel reality to our own, but at the end of its life cycle: it is heading towards a Big Crunch. Most of the stars have gone out and only a handful of civilisations remain.
On his travels, he meets Dalek Nau. The Daleks have, like all living things, evolved throughout the millennia and managed to override their genetic programming. Eventually they too succumbed to the laws of nature and were guided towards altruistic and constructive behaviour. In an effort to redeem themselves in the eyes of history, they scattered throughout all dimensions, realising that their destructive programming was more likely to return if they remained as a collective hive-mind. Thus, there is only one Dalek per universe, acting as neutral observer of events. Initially sceptical, the Doctor warms to Dalek Nau and teaches it his own moral code which, he realises with shame, he himself had begun to stray from. Together they would have a series of adventures before the last of the Doctor's vortex energy would run out. Dying, and the Big Crunch imminent, he would charge Nau with continuing his work, upholding peace and valuing life throughout all dimensions.
The Doctor would then die, while this song played in the background.
Nau would depart for another dimension as the Universe finally imploded, before beginning anew with a second Big Bang.

And that's my 13th Doctor story. Let me know what you think :)
Thanks for reading,

Superboys and Supermen

Just some more Superman redesigns, this time trying a different version of Clark/Kal, first as Superboy then as Superman. Went with the golden age shield and general look.
Let me know what you think :)

Friday, 7 June 2013

12 Doctors Challenge: Doctor #1

Now I won't say I've been loving the 'new who' (meaning the more recent doctor who series, starting with Christopher Ecclestone and going up to the current Time Lord, Matt Smith), but I have been following it out of some strange sense of obligation.
I can't really describe it: I recognise most of the writing as sub-par, I notice sexism and inconsistencies on a regular basis, and went through the entirety of Russell T. Davis' 10th Doctor run wanting to gauge my eyes out and throw my telly out the window. And yet, I've stuck with it.
Anyway, as I'm sure many will know, Smith will be leaving the show at Christmas, meaning we'll be getting a new doctor. The internet has predictably been ablaze with suggestions, ranging from the interesting to the boring and to the downright silly.
Personally, I had thought a child actor, and have him be the Doctor's last regeneration: meaning he started off looking old and ends his life looking young. Maybe have the Byrds singing 'My Back Pages' in the background as he passes away/explodes/turns into fairy dust.
But I digress.
One suggestion in particular has so inspired me, I had to draw this. One of my favourite authors and twitter/email correspondent Philip Reeve recently posted this on his blog: his son Sam may have come up with one of the best casting ideas in recent history: Tom Waits as the Doctor.
Naturally, after scraping the fragments of my exploded brain off the walls and floor, I drew this.

I imagine Wait's portrail as being a mix between his Renfield in Coppola's Dracula and Dr. Heller from Mystery Men (both performances which made those films two of my favourites ever). Along with everything Mr. Reeve suggests in his blog post, I'd add that his sonic screwdriver look like it was made from recycled scrap metal, and that his companion be the ghost of Russain astro-dog, Laika
Here is the picture in obligatory seedy black and white (click to embiggenify).

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments :)

Up and Down Website Artwork

Hey all.
So for a while now I've been working as a part-time English teacher to kids from 5 to 7 and 11 to 12 years old. One of the courses I have worked on as a teaching assistant, has been a local English playgroup for very young learners, called Up and Down (run by my good friend Biagio).
Biagio has been incredibly supportive and I really enjoyed working with him. It seems as if I'm going to work with him more as a partner next year, so we came up with the idea for an official website, which he asked me to create and design. Here is the link, and here is the artwork I prepared for it.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

What Ever Happened To Reptisaurus?

This might become a recurring thing, but bear with me for now.
So I was once again browsing PDSH and stumbled upon Reptisaurus: a giant mutant pterodactyl, awaked by nuclear testing after millenia in a state of suspended animation. (Remind you of anyone?)
Initially he saves the Earth from an alien invasion, gets no reward, gets jiggy with his mate in a quite violent fashion: so violent the military thinks they're actually fighting and decide to blow him up...

I found that last part about the Himalayas particularly interesting. Why there in particular? Reptisaurus came from a tropical desert island... wouldn't it be a bit cold for him? And ok, so he's not the smartest mutant pteodactyl in the world for falling in love with a giant tonka toy, but still to be heartbroken he's got to at least have some kind of emotional depth to him (it's not all just city-destroying sex). I think he had an ulterior motive for going to the Himalayas. He's sad, tired and alone. He's going to need some emotional stability, some peace... so maybe, just maybe...

... Reptisaurus started a well-deserved journey along the eightfold path?
I'd like to think so. The poor lad had a troubled life.
Thanks for reading!