Saturday, 19 July 2008

How to Draw a Cartoon Cat

Esbjorn Jorsater, who runs the Comic Art School forum on Ning, has come up with a novel use for ROK Comics -- as a way to deliver tutorials!

Esbjorn has created this simple guide to creating a cartoon cat, which can be viewed in full above. To get the embed code to put the tutorial on your own site, visit this page on ROK Comics!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Josh Alves' Saturday Morning Show!

... well well, not exactly, but ROK Comics creator Josh Alves (check out Tastes Like Chicken here) has been experimenting with animation. "One of the things I always thought would be cool, would be to have my comic animated," he enthuses on his blog devoted to another of his creations, The Araknid Kid.

"A couple weeks ago, I started playing around with Anime Studio and quickly assembled this (while I learned the ins-and-outs of the software... that’s my disclaimer):

• Check out the first eight pages of his new Araknid Kid story on Zuda!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Creepy Curtain Crawlers!

Comic creator Chris Reynolds, the groundbreaking talent behind the classic Mauretania graphic novel, has just added a new Moon Queen adventure to the comics to mobile service ROK Comics.

Titled Curtain Crawlers, the spooky tale is different to the previous run of Moon Queen stories, which feature Chris' very own take on superheroes and superheroines, for a number of reasons.

"Because of their content, the previous Moon Queen stories all use ROK Comics' 'R' rating," Chris explains. "Curtain Crawlers is the first Moon Queen story I felt could take the 'U' rating without bowdlerising it into nothingness."

The story also markes the first Moon Queen story where Chris has taken 'as read' the previous body of stories as knowledge that, really, is required of the reader - so if you want to catch up with what has gone before your best bet is to subscribe to the WAP subscription service for just £3 for 30 days, and then you can read all the earlier Moon Queen stories on your mobile.

"I wanted a to go back to a story like my prose novels that's a bit more than just one, however interesting, incident from Moon Queen's life," says Chris of the haunting 24-episode tale. "In Curtain Crawlers, I wanted to write more of a novel-length type of thing – to cover that sort of ground - even if the final story isn't actually very long.

My inspiration for this is the amount of content they fit into the 45-minute episodes of post-Eccleston Doctor Who," he reveals. "I sometimes think some of these these zip by too quickly for me to get a proper grip on them, but that's where comics have a unique advantage shared with text novels - that you can take them at your own pace and re-read at will!"

There are more developments in this story, further expanding the Moon Queen mythos. "By now, I wanted to link the stories a bit with the world and the journey of Mauretania Comics," says Chris, "from which so far Moon Queen's been at arm's length. So Garnet Ross from 'Pure Holiday' makes a cameo appearance (at quite an important moment) and the themes and the concerns of the whole story are quite Mauretania-like, connecting with 'Pure Holiday' again in using audio recordings as an element of the plot.

"I've even re-used one of the imaginary locations from 'How To Do Your Own Dentistry' for the place where 'our' Moon Queen is held while the story unfolds."

Chris was one of the first creators to give ROK Comics a try when it comes to bringing comics to mobile and has some useful tips on developing new comics for the young medium.

"I found 'mobile storytelling' simple to get into because I nearly always draw strips using a uniform panel size anyway," he says, "and my scenes are generally quite short, so the translation to 'page-by-page' format is straightforward.

"The most recent thing I've learned, in correspondence with [ROK Comics Managing Editor John Freeman], is that it's best to have very brief episodes starting with a one-panel recap using the final panel of the previous episode."

At present, Moon Queen stories can only be found on mobile and on Chris' official web site MetroPoppyfield. While there are no plans for a print edition just yet, Marc Baines at Kingly Books, who, among other titles, also pulished The Dial by Chris and Voice of the Wilberforce by Ed Pinsent, is planning a new edition of the Penguin Mauretania.

• You can view all the comics on ROK Comics on your mobile by subscribing to the WAP service for a small monthly fee - $4 in the US, £3 in the UK, other countries also served. Simply visit this page on the ROK Comics site and choose the subscribe option. When you receive a WAP push message to your mobile, connect to the site using that link using your browser, bookmark it -- and you'll be subscribed to ROK Comics Mobile for the next month.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

BBC throws down a comics challenge

(with thanks to Robin Ashwell): The BBC online News Magazine has just published an article on newspaper comic strips -- and is challenging readers to send in their own four panel creations.

The article, published to publicise self-taught artist (and occasisonal DJ, raconteur etc) Phill Jupitus' documentary Comic Love on Radio 4 (available at Radio 4's Listen Again site), notes that for as long as there has been the concept of daily newspapers, there has been the political cartoon. And in the 20th Century there has been a natural symbiosis between the modern newspaper and one particular form of cartoon, the four-panel strip.

The article notes the work of the creators of the Daily Telegraph's Alex strip, the controversy caused by Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury - including audio interviews with the US cartoonist - and features an exclsuive strip by Phil Jupitus himself (first panel above).

Readers -- and several have already commented on the article noting their favourite strips -- are also challenged to send in their own four-panel strips:

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Shatner on Your Mobile...

William Shatner - Fonepark Preview ImageThanks to a deal between ROK Media (publishers of ROK Comics) and top Hollywood photographer Sue Schneider, you can now buy wallpapers featuring some top SF TV and film stars -- along with other celebrities -- for your mobile.

Mobile service Fonepark is offering a number of 'wallpapers' for mobile featuring the likes of William Shatner, Jeri Ryan, Robert Picardo and many others, along with TV theme ring tones and more.

More SF celebrities will be added to the service in coming months.

Fonepark is also set to add wallpapers by top comics artists already creating comics for mobile, complementing existing comics and magazine-sourced imagery from titles such as Look and Learn and The Bible Story.