Friday, June 30, 2006

ITB: Episode IV: The Phantom Thomas

Here's the last set of Niel's character concept designs. Another selection of various Tom's (a herd of Tom's perhaps?) Again, you can see the basic's of the final Tom starting to show, espcially on the bottom few designs. I'm not to sure about the full length sketch, he kinda looks a bit creepy in a 'D'ya wanna see my puppies' type of way!
Yet some more portraits, I never knew Niel had done so many! These are some of my favourites of his, the geezer look's mad as!

This one's interesting. We have what I believe to be Niel's first ideas for Bernard and the fabled 'Nurse'. Bernie seem's a bit too fat and her hair's mental but you can get the basic idea about where we were heading with her. The right hand image of her still crack's me up, she doesn't appear to have any torso area, just a head, chest and to stumpy legs! To say that Nurse is slighty different to the yet unborn Flossie is an understatement!Special mention must also go to Niel's awesomely feeble attempt at getting into Uncle George Lucas' good books with his Darth illo....'Rufus.....I am your farmer!'

Thursday, June 29, 2006

ITB: Episode III: Return of the Farmer

Here's Niels last early Rufus design (that I can find anyway!) At this point we'd pretty much got Rufus nailed, as I mentioned yesterday, we still had to compress him a bit and make him a tad more cartoony but all the core ingredients are here!

I've got a couple of piggy images on here as well, I've got a feeling that the one on the left of Rufus was actually used in the first handful of strips.

This next set is of some basic Rufus poses. I'm not sure who the middle top face is meant to be, but whoever he is, he's got a cracking ear....IT'S GINORMOUS! I also love Niel's version of Wallace (top left)....ooohhh I really fancy a nice bit of cheese lad!

Here's some more Tom design's that I was playing around with. We really liked the idea of what Tom's hair would be like under his seemingly nailed on hat. As the whole theme of the Farm is madness, I like the idea of some type of insane hair that couldn't possibly fit inside the hat but once revealed, would spring out and have a sort of 'rooster' quaility. I seem to remember that we did a small handful of strips with Tom minus his hat but we eventually toned down his hair. As the ol'saying goes....Hair today.....gone tommorrow! (Thanks to Mr Bling for inspiring me to fill this blog with as many crap jokes as possible! This sheet also has the very first drawing of Rufus' Russian hat, which like tanks, I'm obsessed with! RUSSIAN HATS RULE!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

ITB: Episode II: The Rufi Strike Back

This next lot concentrate on designing Rufus. These were all done by Niel apart from the crappy one of Rufus looking angry! Again, like yesterdays blog, you can see how Rufus is starting to take shape. I've just noticed that Niel gave Rufus an earring on a few of his sketches, very cool but we must have dropped this as well to make him appear more younger.

The full length body sketches are pretty funny. Niel, being the perfectionist that he is, started by making Rufus more 'human' size. In practice this is great, but for a three panel strip which will be printed to a very small size, it could have caused problems. A lot of the secondry characters are animals which talk and are naturally smaller in height than your average geezer so we had to squash Ruf down to fit him into the frame (and also have room for the text bubbles)

I keep seeing my handwriting all over the place with the words 'my farm' this was a lame attempt to have the Farm actually called 'Myfarm' so we could crow bar the 'hilarious' joke into the strip.....I still don't get it!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

In the beginning.......

I finally found the very first rough drafts for Mad Tom's Farm, previously known as The Funny Farm. I'll put them up over the next few days as there's quite a few of the little blighters!

There are notes dotted on them all over the place and at first I was tempted to Photoshop them out but upon thinking about it (over a nice glass of Merlot 1869 and smoking my pipe) I decided to leave them in as a testomany to how close the strip nearly turned into a more adult aimed comic then what it finally morphed into!

You'll notice the names GOF and NIB here and there, GOF was my 'cartoonist' name (which I still use to this day but altered to Goth or Gothtwinz) and Niel's was NIB. You'll also see 'Picturebox' on most of the examples. This was the name of our former business (it was Niel's really....but that's a story for a long winters night dear readers) which Niel and I ran for a year or so, producing amongest The Farm, the Daily Sport's strip 'Flasher Mac' spot cartoons for the Sun and the Star, our baby, the comic 'Over the Edge' and various other arty related shenanigans.

If you can read my coffee induced scribblings, you'll see that the core characters were basically set up (but NO rabbits) the only major difference is the role of the daughter. Our first idea was to have her as a sex interest for Rufus (at one point she was a milk maid!) she was to be named Nurse (which I think we 'borrowed' from the nursey character in BlackadderII) We soon realized that the Farm should be for a wider audiance and so any 'adult' references were dropped and eventually, Nurse became Flossie, our much loved mini version of Bernard, her mother, with a taste for violence and revenge!

The funny thing that I noticed but never thought about before, is that above the name of Rufus are two characters a dog and a cat (called Dog and Cat....we must have been tired) These two never made it after our intial brainstorming session but instead, over time, were replaced by Dalton and then Cool Bob.

There's some of Niel's first designs for Tom, including his straw hat and bit of grass hanging from his mouth and my first page of very rough roughs mainly of Tom and Rufus. The geezer shouting 'DIE' must have been me venting my anger after a hard day at the office! There's about 2 or 3 of the Tom drawings where you can really see the beginnings of the soon to be fully designed character.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Evolution of a sketch

I thought I'd posted this a while ago but looking back I can't find it anywhere, so here goes! This is a drawing I did as a valentines card for my wife. The first version was a black ink drawing done with various pens and indian ink.
Some time later I re-did it adding in letratone-style shading in Photoshop.
Finally a colour version!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Big Hug!

Sometimes everyone just needs a big cuddle!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Too many cook's spoil the broth!'s a cooker! (Note comedy dead chicken in soup gag!)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Burn Baby Burn!

Here's the basic concept design for the woodburner which will end up in the farmhouse's kitchen. It's based on a real burner but I've added some detailing to the pipework, valves and a comedy steam whistle. No idea why it has a whistle but what the hell! I like the idea of it being very beat up and almost stiched together as it'll be a nice contrast to Niels ultra clean lined fridge.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Chilly idea

We are starting work on the Farmhouse interior. This is a concept for the fridge, based upon a 50's design called the Kelvinator. We've renamed it the Ciaranator 9000 after CiarĂ¡n Wright who works at Qurios. I've also added in a tiny homage to 2001 with a HAL style eye piece in the top.

Friday, June 09, 2006

360 fun!

Here is something I've been playing with recently, 360 images. This one uses the farmhouse as a test. This will be really useful for the interior sets and when we get that far I'll post some 360 quicktimes here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


This was produced a few years ago as a black & white illustration for a Christmas card. I was still using good old Letratone at this stage! The blended edge of the letratone was done using the side of a scalpel, the trick was avoiding cutting the paper!

More recently I've coloured it up in Photoshop.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Farmhouse Model - part 7

Another mini-update of the farm model

Character Profile - Dalton

As Gordon has just posted one of his Dalton pics I thought it would be a good time to catch up on the little fella and chart some of his history.

Dalton was one of those happy accidents that just kind of came into our lives and evolved right in front of us. Gordon wanted a regular animal character, something I might have resisted at first. I don't recall any specific discussions about his character except for his name. I think I suggested Dalton; he is named after a small village called Dalton Piercy.

"Dalton Piercy is a small village about five miles (eight kilometres) inland from modern Hartlepool. It does not have a church, or a village pub, but does have an area of village green. It was formerly owned by the Percy family, from whom it got its name." So now you know!!

This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first strip the Dalton appeared in. He doesn't get his hair until his next appearance a few days later! And it would be weeks before he was named in print!

Since such a humble beginning Dalton, and later Cool Bob, has become integral to the Farms landscape.

Manga Mayhem!

Here's what I believe is my last painting featuring characters from the Farm. It's Dalton from the future in his Mecha Orc suit! Like most of my Farm paintings, I can't really remember the reason behind doing this one, I think that I must have been very bored one day and just decided to do it. Of course, I do have a love for Japanese Manga and a very soft spot for Akira and most of all Shirow's Appleseed. I keep asking Santa for a Lanmate suit but the big, fat git still hasn't delivered....must have been a naughty boy!

This was painted in gouache and worked over with coloured pencils, when I dug it out I gave it a quick goin over with Photoshop as it is pretty messy really and not one of my better pieces!