Getting back to Branch

January 19, 2013

branch2p3previewroughIt’s got to be said, trying to get back into Branch after months of hiatus is like trying to start a rundown car in the middle of winter; there’s more than a little stalling.

Not to say things aren’t taking shape, I’ve just had to reaquaint myself with the art, themes and characters again these past few days in order to rediscover my inspiration. Plenty of initial efforts ended up getting the slam dunk treatment in my waste paper basket but I think I’ve finally rehabilitated myself and got started on a continuation proper. More soon ;)

Page 7 redux

August 13, 2011

It’s not often that I feel genuinely satisfied with any of my art but I’ll admit I wanted much more work done on this page.

After being advised by Paul Gravett to reconsider my progression from page 6 to 7 and pull back giving the setting room to breathe, I set about attempting something a little more ambitious than usual. Yes, the first panel is a modified version of an interior concept – more than laziness I just felt it was worth recycling – but there were challenges in drawing perspective along a curve in panel 2 which caused me more than a few set backs.

Tomorrow I’m going away for a week and discovering the scene colouring to be almost as arduous as the drawing I had to make a decision; postpone the page yet again to achieve the shading detail I desire or settle for something simpler and push ahead. It’s a problem which ties in with the larger issue of speed versus accomplishment, of the two speed being my biggest failing.

I hate rushing things but perhaps this situation is a timely reminder that a line has to be drawn somewhere. I could work on a page’s details and colours near on indefinitely but comics aren’t paintings, they’re meant to please the eye but taking the maximalist approach to the extreme with every page would be ultimately self-defeating.

So it is perhaps for the better that circumstances prevented me wasting another day on the minutiae here. Comparing this with the original page it’s replacing this definitely makes for a stronger introduction to Branch’s interior, hopefully giving a greater sense of scale than some dingy back alley would.

That’s it for now folks! Hope you’re all having a great summer, I’ll be sure to post again when I return.

Concept: Branch (external)

April 16, 2011

Here’s an odd addition to my concept work: the outside of the titular ‘Branch’ space station, the setting for my story.

I say it’s odd because this is an uncommon viewpoint, likely to only occur maybe once or twice in the narrative while the rest of the action takes place within – as you may recall I uploaded a concept of the internal cityscape some time ago – all the same, I still felt compelled to draw the outside in order to create a stronger sense of the space within and firmly acknowledge the orbital setting.

Much like the buildings inside it’s intended to be a poorly maintained ramshackle structure; an installation which started life as a shipyard before the original owners were crushed under debt and forced to appropriate it as improvised real estate. Much like the cyborgs who populate it, the setting  is an uncomfortable hybrid of old and new that was repurposed out of necessity rather than some shining conviction. An unglamorous stop-gap that’s acquired a population it can’t shake; part corporate venture, part ghetto and part prison.

While the general shape and design of the structure are more or less as I initially envisioned I will admit that I scaled it down considerably to meet both artistic and practical considerations. Originally I had written that Branch would have a diameter of three kilometers by over a dozen in length, but as you may guess looking at the internal view for comparison it ended up as less than half of that. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it enhances the atmosphere of claustrophobia and tension while still providing a sizable setting to work with – that, and it gives me much less to draw :p

Being serious though, I tried to be sensible with the design to give the impression of a rugged but ultimately sturdy structure which could sustain itself to some degree. The enormous solar panels wrap around the hull on either side ensuring the maximum amount of sunlight is caught for power, while the multiple docking arms allow arrivals and departures to be handled en mass. It’s not the most attractive design in some respects, but then I couldn’t imagine such a structure realistically would be.