Thursday, 30 May 2013

Sketchbook Concepts: 52 Adventure House Ideas

More from my sketchbooks today, folks, here we have 52 ways to draw a home, hovel or abode for an ADVENTURER! Thousands more pics like this in my 600 page monster sketchbook, which you can buy HERE!



Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Boys on film...

A little something fun to start the week. Between shows at the Hay festival this past weekend, we were asked by festival sponsors, the Telegraph, to film a short video. They wanted to know why we think Hay is such a special opportunity for both creators and their audience. Here's what we had to say.

Full feedback from our monster three day trip - plus a complete belated report from our Scottish Book Trust tour - are coming soon, so stay tuned for some amazing pics.

DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY: About two seconds after we stopped filming we were mobbed by a huge pack of school children. You can hear the noise building at the end, there's a child jumping into shot in the background and Lorenzo's eyes start wandering past the camera towards the growing crowd. But we held it together like the tiny little pro's we are!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Our Hay Fever is about to kick in - BIG!!!

It seems like only yesterday we returned from our mighty tour of Scotland with Scottish Friendly and the Scottish Book Trust, and now we're off again!  I know we owe you all a proper report with pics from our travels through Lanarkshire - and it's coming - but for now only one photo is needed.  This single shot perfectly captures the fun of touring, the action contained in our brand new live show, and what it means to us Etheringtons to have the opportunity to inspire and entertain hundreds of thousands of children.


So, we're prepped for Hay. Our show is ready. Our signing pens are packed. We've got more killer tshirts than we can possibly wear. In short it's about to go OFF! If you still want to catch our public show on Saturday, we've been moved up from the Starlight Stage to the Digital Stage and extra tickets are now available HERE!

And I promise, when we return to the blog next week, we'll share all the action from the road. Now let's get this party started...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

New Star Wars Comic ... in 3D!!!

Well, this is a rather cool surprise for a Tuesday morning. I've just discovered that the latest issue of Titan's Clone Wars comic has been rendered in glorious 3D and comes with an all-important pair of free 3D specs. It's one thing to have the opportunity to write stories featuring your favourite Star Wars heroes and villains, but it's something else to see them leap off the page like this!

In Bane Vs Bane, the infamous bounty hunter, Cad Bane, is forced to returns to his roots when he discovers that someone from his home town has been impersonating him and living rich off his reputation. The gloves come off as Bane single-handedly takes on a small army. Let the battle of the Banes begin...

Brilliantly illustrated by Bob Molesworth, this is one of my favourite Clone tales, and (with the added 3D) my very first augmented reality comic book!

You can purchase this beauty from any good comic shop, newsagent or supermarket or you can order a subscription and buy online HERE!

Monday, 20 May 2013

DFC Library paperback advance copies!

A couple of pics from twitter posted by Random House publicity of the upcoming DFC library paperbacks! Not long now until August 1st release day!


Friday, 10 May 2013

Scotland, here we come!

Monday sees the start of our exciting Scottish Book Trust tour (proudly and kindly sponsored, as ever, by the great folks at Scottish Friendly). Over the course of five days we'll be visiting ten lucky schools spread across Lanarkshire, and performing ten shows to nearly 2000 children. It is going to be EPIC!

The tour itself was seriously over subscribed. Because we aren't able to visit every school possible, but still want to make sure everyone who showed interest gets a little Etherington love, the Book Trust have provided some free Learning Resources for the classroom, based on our books. You can download these fun tools for the classroom HERE!

We'll be blogging and tweeting to bring you all the roller coaster action of life on the road (seriously ... our hotel is located next to a theme park), so see you soon, Scotland!

Oh, and England and Wales, please don't feel left out. The Hay festival is but a fortnight away and you can buy tickets to our extended show HERE!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Oxford Children's Comic Festival delight!

Last Saturday, Lorenzo and I joined a legion of children's comic creators and publishers and (most importantly) young readers and their families, for a day of unbridled celebration.  The first annual Oxford Children's Comic Festival took place at the Story Musuem and it was basically awesome from start to finish.

The Phoenix team had managed to put together an absolutely jam-packed programme which included, in their own words (taken from their festival report, which can be read in full HERE):

"…comic-making masterclasses, drawing activities, convention tables, games, a wheel of awesomeness, comic pizza, Phoenix ice cream, storytelling, dirty great comic bombs, the navy, giant comics on walls, glittering bowler hats, burgers, crows, feather hunts, a name the festival competition, vikings, pirates, a wall of awesomeness, t-shirts galore, badges, stickers, dinosaur costumes, harmonicas, overly-excited Phoenix team members, and more awesomeness than you could shake a proverbial stick at!"

You can probably tell it was a FUN time.

As ever, the point of this festival was to give our audience their very own festival, and allow them to take control of the action.  Nowhere was this more apparent than behind the tables.  Kid comic creators, Zoom Rockman (top) and Jordan Vigay (bottom) showed the pros how it should be done with their own creations (including tshirts, badges and comics galore) and their very own fans.  Showcasing some truly excellent work, these two young talents are ones to watch for in the future.

ITV were there filming as well, recording footage from this brilliant day. Click on the pic below to watch their news feature.

There are loads of brilliant web reports from the day with tons more photos, none of which we managed to capture on camera because we were having too much fun chatting to the children! But thankfully others were snapping and one that cannot be missed is the chance to see the GIANT COMIC OF AWESOMENESS unfold before your eyes.  CLICK HERE to read Neil Cameron's mighty blog. That communal creation really is something special. So, so funny!

A huge thanks to everyone at the Phoenix and the Story Museum for kick-starting this festival.  We cannot wait for next year!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Top Tips for creating a comic book!

This week's Guardian online newspaper features the latest installment in their 'How to write...' section, and, happily for us, it is on the subject of creating a comic book.  Even BETTER, the paper asked us to create the piece.  

Obviously there is no one, single, magic way to write a screenplay, a book, or anything.  These tips are just intended to start you thinking about what makes writing a comic story such a unique experience.  Hopefully you'll find something in here to inspire your own work.

GO HERE - to read the entire article for free.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Sketches from the road

Following our trip to Oxford this weekend (full report coming soon!) here's a few little sketches I drew during our travels. 15 more environmental concepts HERE and HERE. Enjoy!


Friday, 3 May 2013

Brand New Phoenix Comic Website is LIVE!

YES! The Phoenix comic has a brand new website, and boy, is it a beauty! Rammed with fun, facts, downloads and special offers, it's well worth having a look around. Go HERE to see it in all it's glory. And if you're still not getting the comic on a regular basis, then why not read some of the praise the comic has got from such luminaries as Graham Lineham (creator of Father Ted, The IT Crowd and Black Books), Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson and Phillip Pullman HERE!

Oh, and Robin and I will see you tomorrow if you're coming to THIS!


Thursday, 2 May 2013

A is for AGGGGGH! ... B is for BOOOOOOM!

I love good lettering.  I really, really do.  When used to full effect it can become an art form in its own right, and more than that, it can help to blur the line between the images and the words on the page.  There are some truly fantastic examples of artistic comic lettering, especially the work of Will Eisner, Jeff Smith, Bill Watterson and Richard Starkings, and legend-in-the-making, Jamie Smart.  But with the exception of Starkings' work, these creators are all hand-letterers.  Hand-letterering is an immense skill to master and usually only emerges from the pen of an artist.

Which I am CERTAINLY not.

But, ten years ago - when Lorenzo and I decided to divide all our on-page labour between word and art - I realised I was going to have to learn how to letter ... or die trying.  So, with a lot of advice and suggestion from my brother, I began to explore, refine and modify my approach to computer lettering.  I looked at the comic strips I loved and experimented over and over with different approaches to line weight, scale, kerning, tracking, leading, baseline shift, warping and transforming.  And you know what?  I fell in love with the physical act of putting the words on the page.  While writing scripts still remains my favourite role, placing the words in the mouths of those characters runs a very close second.

Because, you see, with enough time, attention to detail, and consideration for the art beneath the SFX, a computer font can truly embody the spirit of the comic strip it supports.  Here's a quick pass through the pages of the recently completed Long Gone Don Book 2 to show you what I mean.

That, right there, is the world of Don and Castanet and General Spode and ALL their adventures, wrapped in a bundle of fonty fun.  Of course it's not just HOW you say it, it's WHAT you choose to say ... buuuuuuut perhaps that's a discussion for another time.  I could talk about the art of lettering all day long, but then I wouldn't get any actual work done.  More soon.

- Robin