Thursday, June 29, 2006

Moth & Tanuki - OzTaku cover / Skyline 

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOzTaku 1.2 (third issue in the new series) is now out and Moth & Tanuki are right there on the cover!

Update: I decided I'd link this picture for Illustration Friday "Skyline" as well, because it's totally relevant and also new (I hope that's okay) - IFers for the big image, please scroll down...

The book is now available online as a "Print on Demand" title from Lulu, so there's never been a better time to start if you haven't read OzTaku before.

For previous readers, it's business as usual - as ever OzTaku is edited by Avi Bernshaw and Kenny Chan and contains all the usual gang. The Moth & Tanuki story in there is a six pager, and I'll preview a page in a later post. Here's the uncropped original version of the cover "Skyline" picture...

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Recent animal album covers 5 

There'll be various comic news here over the next week, but in the meantime, here's another in my ongoing series on animals featured on CD covers. Nearly all of these are very recent releases, and I'm trying to keep it purely to those really featuring animals in an iconic way (I rejected quite a few that had flocks of birds, or people on horses, etc.).

A nice range of animals! Deer, birds and rabbits/hares are still popular, there are some unusual animals such as a crocodile and a thylacine, cats are new and on three albums, and there's a few horses. The AFI cover, to me, brings to mind Fiver's vision in the Watership Down film.

The first two are probably my favourites from this crop. Click on pic for closeup (list below).

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Top Row
  • Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Etiquette - Low-fi melancholy vignettes from fine indie singer/songwriter, Oliver Ashworth
  • The Only Thing I Ever Wanted - Psapp - eclectic, quirky London duo with female vox, familiar from TV soundtracks
  • Just Like the Fambly Cat - Grandaddy - Jason Lytle lays his band to rest in a low-key way
  • Coming Home - Dynamoe - downtempo electronica with guest vocalists

  • 2nd Row
  • Cuts Across the Land - The Duke Spirit - female-fronted UK guitar rock
  • Great Western Tears - The Dunaways - rootsy pop from Tasmanian former Fish John West Reject members
  • Under the Iron Sea - Keane - Who need guitars? UK trio with intense yearning melodies
  • Horse - Tiffany Eckhardt - excellent local (Victorian) folk singer/songwriter

  • 3rd Row
  • So Still - Mozez - stylish chillout soul from Zero 7 collaborator
  • Bohemia - Ils - breaks producer ranging from drum 'n' bass to trip-hop
  • December Underground - AFI (A Fire Inside) - Genre-defying 7th album apparently still rocks
  • Dragonfly - Stringmansassy - Brisbane guitar and female vocal combo with jazz/folk vibe
  • Labels:

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Rain for Illustration Friday 

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    For this Illustration Friday topic, these old comic pages sprang to mind, so I went thumbing through my old yellowing bromides to find them. This picture goes way back to the second (unpublished) issue of Maelstrom, and was drawn around 1983. Another pic from the same page appeared in a newspaper interview I did at the time.

    Once I'd decided I wanted the climax of this story to be in the rain, I really enjoyed experimenting with the approach in pure black and white. Mostly, I used a lot of black and white waterproof inks, but also cut strips of dotty screentone.

    The sequence lasted about 7 pages and gets pretty nasty in places, in spite of the pretty artwork. It's also too short in some ways. So, while I think some of these pages are among my best comic artwork ever, I'm not convinced the script is good enough to publish now. There are a few hundred pages of Maelstrom, but only the first issue and serial in Reverie saw print. As the first issue ended on a cliffhanger, there were a few people annoyed that they couldn't find out what happened, but this frame gives a clue at least :).

    Rain is a b&w comic artists dream to work with. I may have to do it again sometime.

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    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Six Feet Under - final episode 

    Six Feet Under pic - HBOThe final episode of Six Feet Under was shown here on Monday night at midnight. Something that really amused me is that I jokingly said to Jill (and a few other fans of this series) a few weeks ago how I thought it should end... and it did! I won't say how (in case you haven't seen it), but the ending was so absolutely in keeping with the vibe of the whole series, and wouldn't have worked for any other show.

    Beyond the concept, the closing sequence was absolutely brilliant - masterful, perfectly written, directed and edited - an all-time great, and easily the best thing we'll see on TV this year. It helped that the episode was written by series creator, Alan Ball, and the song used in the closing sequence - a 10 minute version of local artist Sia Furler's Breathe Me - was perfectly chosen and integrated. [SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT] This sequence rewards repeated viewings, answering even minor questions about nearly all of the characters and remaining moving on repeated viewings. What was most beautiful was the sense of movement and of the compression of time.

    I try to limit my TV watching time to a few shows that are really worth it. There aren't many, particular ones that have something meaningful to say about the human condition. Six Feet Under was definitely one of them.


    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Ducks and Dinosaurs 

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    Usually, I don't post whole cartoons here, but I had to post this one! The Age and other newspapers on Saturday reported Fossil find shows modern birds rose from the water: "Five beautifully preserved headless fossil skeletons discovered in China suggest modern birds evolved from aquatic, duck-like ancestors," apparently contemporary with dinosaurs.

    Hmm, somehow it just doesn't surprise me :). The above cartoon first appeared in Operation Funnybone last year (another good reason to buy a copy, if you haven't already).

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    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    The Go-Betweens 

    Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHopefully, you don't need me to tell you what an important and influential band The Go-Betweens were, particularly at their creative height in the late '80s. It's a great pity commercial radio studiously ignored them (with the possible exception of The Streets of Your Town). While my own band of the time wasn't personally influenced, we definitely related to the mixed gender, songwriter focused approach they so successfully employed. Sadly, the recent passing of Grant McLennan happened at a time when the central McLennan/Forster duo fully emerged again with a strong lineup and stellar material (I admit, I had misgivings about the comeback).

    Having found myself watching Rage on the ABC on Saturday night, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a Go-Betweens/Grant McLennan retrospective (See: Playlist). Earlier, I'd been trying to explain to J about how violin could be well integrated into a band sound, and no-one ever did it better than Amanda Brown, during her time in the Go-Betweens (not to mention that oboe part on Bye Bye Pride). Included in the show were a bunch of clips from Rock Arena which really displayed the instrumental interplay of the Go-Betweens in detail.

    For anyone interested in band relationships, dynamics and breakups, David Nichols' book, The Go-Betweens is highly recommended (you can get my own spin on such things in my comic series Riffin' to Oblivion :)). A nice footnote to the Nichols book might be Dive for Your Memory, in the Sydney Morning Herald, which pays tribute to McLennan from many of those who knew him best, including Amanda Brown, Go-Betweens drummer Lindy Morrison*, Paul Kelly and Steve Kilbey.

    Apparently, EMI has plans to reissue the Go-Betweens back catalogue, so I really hope they'll do a DVD of the Rock Arena appearance soon as well. Hopefully the new remasters will restore the original covers (the swirly generic numbered covers of the last reissues were hardly a selling point). While Cattle & Cane with its dexterous timing (in sevenths) and bittersweet lyrics is an undisputed Australian classic, there's a wealth of fine material to discover. For a far more informative Blog entry, try here.

    *Sidenote: Following the breakup, Brown and Morrison produced two CDs as Cleopatra Wong, and Brown recently released the Incognita soundtrack CD.


    Friday, June 09, 2006

    The Secret Life of Swans 

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    Three panel extract from Mating for Life

    Last night, I read an article which confirms our observations about the sex lives of swans, which I drew as a comic page in Tango #6 last year. That piece, Mating for Life, was based on our anecdotal observations of behaviour among swan families on Lake Mulwala, Bundalong.

    A team of researchers from Melbourne University, headed by Dr Raoul Mulder and Prof Mark Elgar are studying the behaviour and DNA of black swans on Albert Park Lake, with recent results revealing them to be "feathered philanderers." The article, Swan lake love-hearts, appeared in yesterday's Herald Sun.

    On a sidenote, I'm not normally a Herald Sun reader, but we were eating out, having fast food... which I also don't normally eat, on the way to a concert at the alternative school our children go to, er, maybe I'll leave it there :). Anyway, the concert was wonderful, and J was still happily playing her blue violin in the car as we drove home.

    OzComic 24 Hour Challenge
    The OzComic 24 Hour Challenge is on this weekend. As usual, I won't be entering because I'm too old/busy/exhausted (and can't access Pulp Faction a lot of the time), but it's a great event and produces loads of wonderful comics. Quite a few past entries appeared in the Operation Funnybone book this year. If you're in Australia and have thought about making a comic, this weekend could be a good time to start!

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    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    Rock 'N' Roll Fairies, Part 11 

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    Here's the first panel from the latest episode of Dillon's Rock 'N' Roll Fairies, drawn by me, and appearing in the June 2006 issue of Total Girl magazine. I thought I'd put up the pencils - first rough, then slightly tidied up - to give a glimpse at my messy drawing methods. A lot of the final drawing comes through in that first rushed frenzy of sketching, so it's important not to lose that energy.

    I showed the first rough to Dillon, who suggested Spring posing on the top - a perfect touch. The final linework was drawn on two separate sheets of paper - one for the foreground, and another for the buildings and townsfolk in the background - these later being combined in Photoshop.

    I've left one mistake for you nitpickers to spot :).

    For a special RNRFs treat, check out an all-new Dillon Naylor Rock 'N' Roll Fairies poster.

    I'm not drawing much at present, for a number of reasons (not least of all a bad cold).


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