Monthly Archives: November 2016

My latest masterpiece – a caricature of Beano cartoonist Gary Whitlock

gash_whitlock_1-5

(The notion of doing Gary as Desperate Dan was originally mooted, but I ultimately decided to go for Dennis the Menace, given the fact that there’d be much more immediately recognisability)

It’s been an interesting couple couple of weeks. Since finishing off the last couple of caricatures of some of my fellow volunteers from The Artrium gallery in Hartlepool (see HERE to have a look at those), I’ve just put down the pencil after completing this one – a caricature of my friend  Beano illustrator Gary Whitlock.

And… I think it’s okay (as far as these things go)… a little overcrowded, perhaps – but yeah, it’ll do.

About t’other Gary: he’s a really cool guy; just a terrific artist… and (given that he’s been in the comics biz since the late 80s) an old hand at this whole cartooning thing.

 

Please do check out his work here: www.monkeyhoundproductions.com

Happy birthday, Free Pigeon Press.com!

Attribution: By Adfern (own work) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Attribution: By Adfern (own work) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Hi

So I’ve finally done it – gone north of the 365 day mark with this blog.

Many thanks to my supporters (Ha. yeah… all two of you!) and anybody else  who’s been a good friend over this last year.

But what a year it’s been… one I’ll never forget. I wish I could say that it’s been a great year, but that would be a lie (see HERE to understand exactly where I’m coming from with that statement).

Yes. There’s been great personal turmoil… something that’s not over yet, either – me and my family are still yet to endure the trial in January.

And then – as if I didn’t have enough excuses to be gloomy – Baron Harkonnen from Dune has just been elected Captain of the World.

 

To quote a famous catchphrase from the superb TV show The Wire: “Shyeeeeeeet”.

 

But enough of indulging in misery. “Gotta keep truckin'”; “onwards and upwards”, and all that… so without further ado, time for a bit of a review of things.

Like, for instance, where are things going with this blog? What’s my exact purpose with continuing it?

Well, there’s not been much doing for quite a few months now – tumbleweed, I know – very much because of what’s been going on behind the scenes in the wake of my mom’s death and the fact that I’ve needed to be far more discrete than usual (to the point of practically gagging myself) in order so that due process would not be impeded come the trial.

But in my spare time I have kept myself busy with a good bit of writing as a contributor under the umbrella of another project being headed up by a friend of mine… something yet to be published, but which should be quite good once that project gets further into development. Sounds all very hush-hush, I know… but there really isn’t that much of a mystery as to why I’ve not discussed it or publicized it… the fact is, I don’t like to make a fool of myself and make a noise about things (especially with regard to other people’s projects) when the traffic lights are still on amber, as opposed to green – that’s all.  Understandable, really.

I’ve also got back into my art in a big way, working as a volunteer for a not for profit art gallery/studio in Hartlepool (one of two voluntary roles I’m currently doing to help keep myself occupied, in fact) and have had a bit of fun recently doing some caricatures of some of my fellow studio peers (see below):

michael_judge_dredd_2

My mate Michael as judge Dredd. This was a real pain in the arse to draw, actually. Urrgh! It’s a real headache given all the detail needed on the armour and other bits of the costume.

steviltwin_1

A caricature of my friend Steve. I took inspiration for this from the videogame Gotham City Imposters because I wanted to do a Batman-themed pic, but it was important not to cover up too much of Steve in a costume lest I risk losing his likeness.

What I intend to do is to finally overcome my phobia of Adobe Photoshop and start doing digitally coloured versions of these things. Over the years I’ve played about with things like Photoshop and Corel Draw (as well as a popular Android graphics app called PicsArt recently), but I’ve got to admit that I’ve never invested much time or patience in them and have in fact had a bit of snootily dismissive attitude towards them… something that’s coming back to bite me in the bum big time now that so many illustrators use Photoshop and now that so many publishers expect you to be so well versed in various different graphical formats when you’re sending art to them (e.g. JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PSD etc, etc, etc).

But more than that, having become a big fan of the likes of comics illustrators like Lee Bermejo, I now realise just how wrong I really was and just how much digital colour can add to a drawing when applied well (if you’re unfamiliar with Bermejo’s work, please do check him out… especially his Joker graphic novel with Brian Azzarello and his self-penned Christmas Carol-themed Noel Batman graphic novel… just amazing, amazing work).

So anyway, that’s one little goal for myself… that’s one of my New Year’s resolutions already set down – to become much better acquainted with Photoshop.

…That and to continue things at the gym.

As many people know, I was in really bad physical shape a couple of years ago – dangerously so; morbidly obese and with blood pressure and cholesterol through the roof, so getting into the gym was motivated more by necessity rather than vanity… and much to my surprise, I picked things up rather well and have got into much better shape than I expected (get this: I’ve gone down from a 41 inch waist to a 34 inch waist!), but oh my Gawd, it’s taken some work… the hardest part being the diet much moreso than the weight training / cardio aspect.

Now THAT takes real discipline to adhere to… throwing some weights around and doing the whole gerbil thing on a treadmill is nothing… sticking to a rigid diet is a 24/7 job, I’ll tell ya!

Of course, given the events of this last year, it’s been really difficult to stick in at anything… I’ve really had to force myself sometimes… but what keeps me going is the memory of how proud my mum was to see me finally trying to sort myself out – hence why it’s so important for me to stick with it. Plus I also remember how fiercely motivated she was (at the age of nearly 80 years old!) with her line dancing and how she’d attend even if there was a snow blizzard… a fact that puts me to shame when I start to hear that little voice in my head telling me things like “Oh I would give it a miss… you’re far too tired today”.


“Limbo”.

Yes, that’s a good word. That’s a good summary of where I think I’m at right now. In this godawful inbetween stage (until January, anyway) until I can move on… though “move on” is perhaps a poor choice of words. I can’t guarantee how myself or any of my family will be, coming out of this. Or whether I’ll be the same person ever again.

But, again, I have my mom’s memory. Though there’s no guarantees, as long as I keep that in my mind that should be enough of a compass to help me from getting lost.

 

As to any other stuff… well, I’d like to get into doing some more stuff around The Sinclair Method on my blog next year. As much as I’ve walked away from a lot of the forums just because I’m frankly tired of reading the same old shit recycled and seeing the same over-opinionated pigs having their feeding frenzies in the troughs comments sections of the likes of The Fix and bullying everyone else out (shades of Napoleon from Orwell’s Animal Farm, I know), but I have to admit that I still do find the whole subject of addiction endlessly fascinating.

I just want to get back into it at another time, that’s all.


Okey-dokey, well that’s about it for now, I think. Nothing much else of note to report… but just on the subject of addiction, please do check out Monica Richardson’s documentary The 13th Step if you get the chance. I finally got round to watching it on Amazon Video about a month ago and it’s quite good. Better than I expected, actually. In fact, I much prefer it to Penn & Teller’s 12 Step thing… which I thought was quite informative, but very over-rated and I really didn’t care for the way how it fell into the trap of misrepresenting the whole debate as a two narrative paradigm, with Jeffrey Schaler effectively “representing” everyone who is opposed to the 12 Steps (which is highly misleading because I can tell you that not everyone on the other side of the fence to the Minnesota model agrees with many of Schaler’s views on addiction either).

Right. Well, that’s me done for now. Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

Gary Bell