Monday, January 29, 2007

Moth & Tanuki Mania 2! 

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Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingThe new issue of Mania magazine (#69, Feb. 2007) is out - spot Tanuki on the cover!

Inside you'll find two more 2 page strips featuring Moth & Tanuki. These are a bit different in style, as I've grown into the format.

Both strips this time feature Mothy a bit more. Originally, I'd set up the stories to alternate featuring either Moth or Tanuki, but some necessary reshuffling of episodes has meant these two ran together. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

There's always a balance between gag-based and character-based strips. I think this is pretty much one of each. The second one is probably a good indicator of the way ideas come about (regular readers of my blog will know where this one came from - see the pic above).

From here on, it'll be 4 page mini-epic stories, which is a great format to work with - there's scope for plenty of action and storytelling.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Phillip Island 

We've spent the Australia Day weekend recovering from a few days at Phillip Island. Actually, my days there were non-consecutive (with work in-between), but enjoyable in any case.

Naturally, the time we chose to go down there coincided with the appearance of a 6 metre (bloody big) great white shark repeatedly coming close in shore at Cowes. Even though we were in Cape Woolamai, there were (less publicised) shark warnings there as well. The changed weather conditions, with colder water, seems to have the sharks on the move in a lot of places. The apparent big concerns were this weekend and the Roxy Women’s Surf Festival at Cowes in February. Some have suggested rifles may be needed, but cooler heads have said that the great whites are only looking for snapper (too bad if you happen to bear an unfortunate resemblance to a snapper).

In any case, the most dangerous thing I did was nearly step on a big red-bellied black snake in bare feet. The animal tracks in the scrubby dunes were pretty interesting - some I had pegged as bandicoots (it looked like perfect territory for them) were actually long-nosed potoroos. Phillip Island has a strange balance of wildlife - no bandicoots, but potoroos instead, and a few other mammals - most prominently koalas and swamp wallabies (especially since the foxes have been eradicated). The birdlife is substantial, including hooded plovers (rare, and with the strange habit of nesting on the tideline).

We went to the Fairy Penguin walk, which has gotten very built up and touristy, but seems to work pretty well. Seeing the maps showing the penguin colonies steadily
disappearing during late last century was pretty sobering - this one is the last colony on Phillip Island, and there are far fewer elsewhere these days as well. Seeing these tiny little penguins come in with the waves at dusk is still a remarkable experience. There are still a few stupid people who attempt to photograph them, in spite of the restrictions against this.

It's worth walking the beaches in the evening to see the return of the short-tailed shearwaters - masses of them silently gliding into their burrows. Watching both the penguins and the shearwaters afforded fantastic views of Comet McNaught, which is the most impressive comet I've ever seen - very bright and close, with a huge tail.

(Penguin sketches are by J.)

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Friday, January 26, 2007
The first issue of Mania that Moth & Tanuki appeared in is now off sale, as the new issue is out (more on that soon). One of the two page stories in that January issue is Sk8brd Tanuki, which was originally drawn for submission as a one page strip.

Doing different versions of the same story is strange, as drawing comics is about trying to create definitive images telling a story - getting the pictures arranged and the lines cleanly placed in the best way possible. So this version is probably not definitive - it's less detailed with less panels than the published one (you needed to buy January's Mania for the longer one) - but here it is.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Super Hero for Illustration Friday 

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Here's a couple of frames of Moth & Tanuki, from the next issue of OzTaku. While it's a pity to ruin a good gag by showing this here, it's so appropriate to this week's Illustration Friday theme I couldn't let it pass.

Why "Super Hero" for rather than plain old "superhero"? That'd be because the two giant U.S. comic companies, Marvel and DC have jointly trademarked the word - Superhero Trademark FAQ.

My Blog seems to be all Moth & Tanuki lately - there'll be some more coloured samples from Mania soon...


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Logging to Extinction 4 

As previously mentioned here, Australian endangered species appear to present little obstacle to logging companies (see below for links). If they do, apparently even a Federal Court ruling might not present too much of a problem.

From yesterday's The Age newspaper - Failing our Wildlife:

"Australian governments are not working to save the country's natural heritage but to destroy it. The Minister for Forestry and Conservation, Eric Abetz, has flagged changing Australian law to let loggers cut the forest habitat of rare and endangered wildlife with impunity.

This follows last month's Federal Court ruling that logging in Tasmania's 10,000 hectare Wielangta Forest must stop because it is threatening three endangered species - the giant Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle (wingspan 2.2 metres), the swift parrot (which flies across Bass Strait in three hours) and the ancient Wielangta stag beetle."

Swifts parrot pic by Andrew Barclay Aug 2002This picture is of one of a pair of swift (sometimes called Swift's) parrots that visited a pond in Wantirna, back in August 2002. It was apparently an annual stopover, but they haven't been back for a while.

The article also mentions the threats from logging to the giant freshwater crayfish (at over a metre long, the world's largest), the embattled Tasmanian devil and the spot-tailed quoll. Anyone who's ever been to a site after logging would be shocked by the result - after clear-felling, the areas are burned off and poisoned with 1080 (to kill animals that might eat new shoots) - the results are wholesale devastation.

While clear-felling tends to be indiscriminate in its destruction of wildlife, it's interesting that areas specific to endangered species have often been targeted for logging. Previous "Logging to Extinction" posts (concerning proposed and "accidental" logging of endangered species' habitat):

  • 1 - Superb parrot (Barmah State Forest) & Leadbeater's possum (Central Highlands)
  • 2 - Long-footed potoroo (Errinundra National Park)
  • 3 - Baw Baw frog

  • - Swift parrot pic by Andrew Barclay
    - Wielganta stag beetle pic is from "At Risk" section of the Wielganta Forest site.

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    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    Tezuka at the National Gallery of Victoria 

    Tezuka - National Gallery of Victoria

    Today we all took a trip into Melbourne to catch up with a few exhibitions. We started with the State Library of Victoria's Heroes & Villains (which includes one of my early comics and is dealt with in a previous post). Then we checked out the Myer Christmas windows, which were doing Wombat Divine (a rather strange Nativity, acted out by Australian animals), with animated puppetry, as usual - this one worked particularly well.

    Tezuka - National Gallery of VictoriaThen we went on to the Tezuka: the Marvel of Manga exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, which is on until 28th January.

    While Tezuka Osamu is well-known from many familiar anime, such as the cartoons Kimba and Astro Boy, he is also an icon of Japanese manga - an absolute master and forefather of the form. I chose the Amazing 3 here (known as "Wonder 3 (Wanda suri)" in the Exhibition), as this cartoon is among his less-remembered work these days, though familiar from TV way back when :). There was an astounding range of original pages from across the full range of Tezuka's work, both in colour and black-and-white. Among my favourites were the pages from Ludwig B, which explode with imagination as they attempt to express music in visual form.

    It was truly heartening to look over these pages, with their crisp precise inkwork and superb draughtmanship, but also plenty of white inking to correct and alter (I smiled with recognition upon seeing some pasted over faces and eyes - getting manga eyes to match and look right can be truly difficult at times). It was also wonderful to see how small these originals were, given how used we in the West have become to drawing our comic pages at A3 size. For my children's magazine work these days I draw at scanner-friendly A4, which is similar, so it was pleasing to find that it's also actually traditional for manga!

    Much of the material was suitable for older audiences only, so anyone taking small children into this exhibition would do well to stick with the familiar characters (while sneakily browsing the rest). This one is definitely worth getting to!

    P.S. Tezuka's Phoenix would be relevant to this week's Illustration Friday.


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