Friday, 13 October 2017

Breakout Heroes - Antagonists

'Breakout Heroes' is a story I'd like to tell and much like everyone else with an idea, I've decided to execute it at the best possible time: 'one day'. The problem is, that might clash with the 'perfect abs' and 'learn another language' I've got happening on the same date.

Still, I've decided to do what I can for now and just get stuff down on paper. I don't need the drawings to be 'good' anymore, not all the time. I just need them out, rather than keep this burgeoning fiction in my head to the point that I'm distracted from the real world I live in. Seriously. I'm starting to realise it's a major problem. What nonsense it is to be distracted from the real world with a story you won't tell.

This is my 3rd sketchbook and whilst the drawings aren't as good as the previous, that means I'm getting better. Hear me out. Letting go of perfectionism means you get things done. That's an improvement. I'm learning better habits. Plus, some of these drawings look pretty okay to me. Do you understand how big a deal that is? I'm happy with drawings I didn't obsess over. That's how it's supposed to be. I've noticed tutors and clients were way happier with the work I gave them than they were with the perfect image in my head they couldn't use. And I'm happier when I don't obsess over every line. You've gotta treat those lines like a cocaine addict. Just do them over and over without thinking. I mean those guys really seem to enjoy it.

I suppose there is a danger that because I know these are just sketches, I haven't truly committed to anything and I get to obsess later... so I need to recognise that.

The previous sketchbooks contained the 'super people'of the story, who made choices good or bad regarding their powers. This sketchbook contains antagonists and obstacles, whose only role is challenge the heroes. As before, I can't go into detail. I don't want to spoil the story I'm not telling and like everyone else with an idea, I'm paranoid it'll be stolen. You'll just have to believe me when I say it's super perfect in my head.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Breakup (3 images)

Valentine's 2012

I drew this on our first Valentine's Day, 6 years ago. We broke up a week ago today.

Y'know, I started this blog with the strict intention of posting work and making jokes. But I can't deal with this breakup. I just got to this fucking despair out of me.

Valentine's 2013

I didn't talk about my relationship much on here. Or anywhere. Not because it wasn't important to me, but because it was the most important. It was so special to me that I didn't want to brag about it. I didn't need it validated. I am devastated that it's over. Everyone says I'll get over it. But a week ago, I had a bright future planned with someone I thought wanted the same thing. It made me so happy. Now the best thing I have to look foward to is feeling neutral about having no future. It's not reassuring.

Valentine's 2014 - We were playing Warcraft that year.
I'm a fucking mess. Not just 'cos he's the greatest guy I ever met but 'cos everything else in my life sucks. My day job drains all my time and energy (hence why it's been a little quiet around here) for no satisfaction. The pay is so awful that I earn less in 1 hour than what it costs to travel there. I never go out. That's not hyperbole, I have no life. I'm meant to be a young man. I can't go out 'cos I need to save money for trains. And they're always delayed or cancelled, making me late, thus costing me more money. Sure, everyone hates their commute. But mine rules my whole life. I take trains to work, to earn money, to afford trains to work.
I try to exist by drawing and making videos, but I've always struggled to find an audience. That's just the way creativity goes sometimes, I'm certainly not owed anything and I'm grateful for those who drop by. Yet it's also my only interaction with the world outside my tiny life. So when the stuff I put so much hard work into doesn't quite connect with people? Or just doesn't get seen at all? It kills me. I'm not just failing as a creative but as a person trying to be part of the world.

Nothing has changed in the year since I moved back to London. I live payday to payday. Those are the only days I think about. My clothes all have holes in and I'm worried how that makes me look. I must look like I don't care. But I promise, I can be as vain and self-absorbed as a wealthy asshole. So I made the time to exercise again. I can at least make my body look good, but I still have to wear clothes on public transport (apparently). Being physically stronger boosts my mood but it's not enough. I'm still miserable, still angry. My running trainers are in pretty good condition, but my regular shoes are falling apart and my mind is going with them.

My relationship was the best thing I had. An escape from my situation. But my situation limited our options. It wasn't an escape for him. He'd invite me places, but I couldn't go. He'd encourage me to fix my situation and of course I made efforts. But I was just so damn tired...

We spent several days together, saying goodbye. After 6 years it's too difficult to walk away after one conversation. It hit me on our last evening that when I would leave to go home, it was to a life I hated, without my one piece of happiness. At that point I struggled to breath. My relationship took me out of my problems. But they still affected us. Now he's gone, and I'm just left with the problems.
It wasn't all about me, there were other reasons we broke up that were to do with him. It seems like this was inevitable. But I'll always wonder, if I had found a way to improve my situation, maybe I could have changed his mind. Or at least had more time with him. One more trip to Sweden, one more Christmas, one more birthday, one more Valentine's day.
2 days ago I struggled to breath again, another attack of some kind. I don't know what it is exactly. I had just finished drawing, and decided to take a break. At which point, because I had nowhere to go, everything escalated in my mind. All the problems whirling around my head culminated in the fact that I couldn't leave this flat. There was nothing to distract me. I couldn't, for example, call up some buds and go drinking. I had to stay inside, poor and sober. I paced around the flat clutching my chest, sobbing, vocally despairing to no one.

Okay yeah dating websites are free but I don't want to add STDs to my list of problems.

Last month I framed my degree. I framed it to remind myself of the last time I fought through a bad time to achieve something. A motivator. But I keep taking more hits. I've mentioned before my achievements over the last 3 years: broke out of unemployment, earned my degree, moved to London. I still don't know what my next fight is, and if my partner isn't even here to back me up? I don't know if I have the strength for it.

Friday, 26 May 2017

God Damn Horses

Horses are famously hard to draw. So when I was asked not only to draw horses but to give them charateristics, I was like "SHIT." Not in my correspondance, of course. Officially I replied "Of course. No problem. Sure thing."

Despite my panic, I've learned to loosen up in recent years. Just get that pencil on paper. Use reference photos, look at how other artists work. Stop focusing on making it 'look good' and enjoy making the lines. Basically, what you did as a kid. Enjoy making a god damn picture.

I'm way less upset these days about things 'not looking the way are in my head'. Now I'm just happy they're out. After all, these no reason I can't keep drawing horses. I mean I'm not gonna, but there's no reason I can't.

Monday, 22 May 2017

A Couple of Commissions from a Couple of Couples

I recently received a couple of commissions from a couple of couples. I'm sorry that sentence was the same as the title but I liked it so much, I had to use it a couple of times.

An old friend from college is getting married and asked me to draw her man and herself for the wedding invitations, which is such an honour! I've told them I won't draw the honeymoon though.

Last Christmas, another friend asked me to illustrate a sweet photo he'd taken with his man. I got the work to him in March. Not only do I take commissions, I take my time.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sex and Violence

Have I talked about sex and violence on this blog before? At most I think there's been innuendo and fisticuffs. I hope you understand that 'fisticuffs' represents the violence aspect of this discussion, not sex. I've got 2 things to talk about today and whilst I wasn't deliberately trying to be 18+ about it, that's what happened. So, don't expect the usual bloodless battles. Don't expect any innuendo. There's a hole lot to get through, so let's thrust a head.

I love movie trailers. Sometimes, they're better than the movie. I'll watch movies trailers to films I've already seen, films that came out years ago, just 'cos they get me so pumped. This month I wanted to get more views for 'Who Wants to Play', the show I make with my buddy Matt. So I made a trailer for our next series. I started on a whim, but I got really into it. I worked 7 hours straight, up until 3am. The time flew by. I can't remember the last time I'd been so excited, so motivated working on a project. I'm super proud of how it came out.

Now the question is, did it work? Well, kinda. We got more views! But only for the trailer. Views for the episodes themselves stayed about the same. Getting a following is hard, guys.

Speaking of hard guys, the second thing is something I've wanted to do for a while but have been pretty hesitant about. Straight. Up. Porn. Well, not so straight.

I used to draw that stuff years ago, when I was being hesitant about real sex. Or maybe I just couldn't get any, I can't remember. A few of the artists I follow on Twitter, some of them quite big names, have been openly sharing their own naughty cartoons. So I'm feeling braver about sharing my own. Also I'm poor and I hear there's money in it.

I know not everyone's comfortable with this kind of work and I respect that, so I won't share it here. But if you're interested and over 18, you can check it out on Twitter @GnarleeXXX

Friday, 31 March 2017

Flights of Thunder - Breakout Heroes

Last month, I shared the last pages of a sketchbook I’d had for the last 3 stages of my life. I shared the fact I don't know what the next stage is. This month, the only thing I know is that started a new sketchbook. Here are 3 more Breakout Heroes.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Introspective and Breakout Heroes

I've finished my 2nd sketchbook! It feels weird. This book has a long history. Most of that history involves not drawing in it. But the book itself has been with me through the last 3 stages of my life. Now it's finished, and it's hit me that I don't know what the next stage is.

I'll be honest, this is gonna get pretty introspective. You can just skip to the drawings if you want, I won't be offended, the last guy has a machine gun for a head. If you give any kind of shit though:

1. I bought the sketchbook around mid-2015, whilst still working at a student shop. I'd only just finished my first sketchbook but I was determined to keep going. Determined. Then my contract ended so I didn't get past the second page... I was invited to return to that job after the summer but I decided I wanted to return as a student. In the time I had worked there, I had built up enough confidence in myself and my artwork to repeat the final year of my degree that I had failed earlier in my life. So I did keep going - just not in that book. However, I took it with me when I moved to campus.

2. I attended lectures. I drew. I animated. I made friends, spoke in class, goofed around with housemates and oh god I was finally enjoying university for the first time in my life and when I finally felt like I was making progress and hitting my stride... univeristy ended. Ha. If only I could've gone back for 2 years. It's okay. This time, I felt like I had actually FINISHED. I left that course and campus satisfied. This time, I would not be looking back. Except for this paragraph, of course.

Around the same time, my parents sold the family home (of 25 years!) and moved to the countryside. I went with them, safely far away from an old neighbourhood where I could have easily sank back into old habits. There wasn't much to do in that empty little countryside town though, so I started filling up that sketchbook's empty little pages. You've seen quite a few of those already. I called them the Super 13.

3. Now it's 2017. I'm living with a mate in London and working a new, albeit depressingly similar, job. It's retail again, selling art supplies. Although maybe it's not similar enough. The hours are longer. The pay is less. The customers are more demanding. I've found it harder to keep drawing. The last page in particular book remained unfinished for weeks. Maybe I was scared to ruin it after coming so far. Then, one night, I just bloody did it.

When it was done, I sat with the sketchbook closed beside me and feeling a weird mix of emotions. Accomplishment for having finished it. Guilt over the fact it took so long. Wistfulness over the places I've been and people I met. And a general sense of pride for the last 3 years. After originally failing university and spending a couple of years unemployed, those 3 stages of activities and efforts are really important to me.

I just need to figure out where the hell I go next.

Anyway, here are those last pages. Along with Super 13, these characters share the same story as the ones from the posts 'Superheroes' and 'Seven Ways to Win'. Y'know, I think it's time I quit it with these confusing different titles and commit to one simple name.

These are the Breakout Heroes.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Who Wants to Play?

It's 2017! But it's also the 31st of January, so the fact it's a new year stopped being exciting 3 weeks ago. Unless of course you consider fascism exciting. Still, this is the first post of the new year and I've got something to be excited about...

I have a show! It's a gaming show I host with my friend Matt. See, we watched Let's Play videos on YouTube and decided 'you know what this bloated genre needs? MORE.'

Our show is called 'Who Wants to Play?' and we started work on it 3 months ago, hence why it's been quiet here for the 3 months. I've been working on all the editing and graphics, including drawing our handsome faces.

We only need one each per episode, but sometimes we make a mistake or play a scary game so I feelanother expression is necessary. Nervous, confused, laughing hysterically and terrified is what I have so far, and pretty much sums up what it's like making a show.

Click HERE to visit our channel and see every episode!

Or to save on clicks, you can watch the latest episode right here! This is actually the first game we ever recorded, something we originally scrapped but which I manage to save with fancy editing: