Saturday, 9 November 2013

People without a gaming pc are "Cheap and Lazy".


This is yet another reply to a reply I found on a gaming news site.
To give a little bit of context, the article was discussing World of Warcraft updating it's character models and had a lot of people complaining that the upgrade wasn't good enough.

It started off as a fairly simple conversation about why Blizzard, the developers of the game, might have an incentive to avoid having the game push hardware at all.
It quickly took a turn and became quite a rant from me when I read a comment stating that anybody who didn't upgrade to a more powerful gaming pc was "Cheap and Lazy" which struck me as immensely ignorant and a perfect example of one of the many mentalities that does all kinds of damage to the reputation of gaming both as a culture and as a medium as well as the communities that grow around it.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Scoff Zine, available now!


Scoff Zine is now available online for anybody to read, and it is completely free!

I have a wonderful 2 page contribution in the form of a comic called "The Wheating Room" that I managed to churn out just before the deadline hit.

It also features Jake Lawrence, also known as Timecowboy, an artist I am very fond of!

I would very much like to create more for zines such as this, so feel free to send an email to ben@minddump.co.uk if you would happen to know of one that might be in need of some odd little comics to fill a page or two!
Monday, 23 September 2013

Interactivity is a merit on it's own.


People often have this obsession with having games re-made as films, or argue that a game would have been better off in another medium.

In example, I've just read this comment on Kotaku relating to an article about the game Journey;

"Journey was pretty good, but I don't really see why it couldn't have been an actual animated feature instead.
Like, my input into the narrative seemed trivial at best."

The interactivity was a massive part of making Journey as special as it is.
Were watching a film, two characters cheeping at each other and you not having any clue what either was saying wouldn't be that entertaining.
They would either have to give a voice and dialogue to one of the characters or make the cheeps more varied and emotional in tone so that you could get the gist of the conversation similar to WALL-E's robotic protagonists.
Everybody that plays the game has a different experience, despite the narrative events that take place in the game staying relatively the same.
Ahead are minor spoilers for Journey, and major spoilers for The Last of Us.

Ye have been warned.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Doug Tennapel Sketchbook Archives


Almost a year ago I supported a KickStarter by Doug Tennapel, creator of EarthWorm Jim and author of Carboard, Ghostopolis and many, many more wonderful graphic novels.
I found out that Doug was creating comics about 2 years ago and have been gradually working my way through his books since, though I still have a good chunk of them to get through. (Mr Tennapel is very prolific)

I played Earthworm Jim way back when I was very young and it has been very near and dear to me ever since. I just love the character and all of the other characters that exist around him.

The character designs Doug comes up with are by far one of my favourite things about his art.
He fills his character with life as though the still images are a frame taken from the middle of an animation, so when presented its self to take a look in the pages of his sketch books (let alone own one of those pages) I don't see how I could possibly have refused.


Not but a few days ago a parcel arrived at my and to my delight I opened it up to find a smorgasbord of artistic delights have been tucked away within its cardboard walls.


Along with the book that the KickStarter was made to create, Doug included a huge variety of additional items for people supporting the project, including pages taken directly from his sketch books (with which I got lucky and got a sketch of Evil the Cat!) and a piece of art from Catscratch, an animated series Doug worked on that stars the cats from one of his books, Gear!


Inside the intriguing little envelope you can spy up in that first picture is another bundle of wonderful little treats, including a min-comic all about Doug's past (and really horrific) jobs that goes a long way to explain how dedicated he is to his craft.


And finally under the  plethora of additional goodies we come to the physical book, and my god what a glorious example of the things KickStarter does right.
This book is by far the best looking of all I own.
I'd even go so far as to say it blows the Ballistic books I own out of the water, which is no easy feat I assure you!


The quality of the book is far better than I ever expected, and thank god it feels incredibly sturdy.
I'm often perturbed by the amount of art books or graphic novels that feel like they will fall apart in your hands as you read them which is a major annoyance for somebody like myself who likes to keep his books in tip-top condition.
That's something I really don't have to worry about with this book though.
The previously mentioned Ballistic books I own live on my shelf encased in the cardboard they were delivered in because the thought of them being damaged is like a stab in the gut, but my Doug Tennapel Sketch Archives will be proudly displayed for me to lovingly look upon without fear.
That alone is something I appreciate to no end.


As for the contents of the book, I hardly need to mention how wonderful the quality of art is in these pages.
I've always been very fond of seeing the sketches an artist does before reaching a final piece, and quite often enjoy them even more than the final pieces being produced.
I especially love hearing the stories behind artist's creations, where the inspirations came from or what changes in design a character went through to reach the final product, and the book is full of it.
Doug has included small areas of text interspersed with the images sharing the stories and thought process behind what is happening on the page.
It's especially fascinating looking at the work behind a book I've read like Cardboard and seeing just how drastically they changed and discovering elements that never made it into the final book.


I have quite a love-hate relationship with KickStarter.
I love so many of the items is puts on offer and always love the chance to directly support an artist who's work I enjoy, but my horrific impatience often gets the best of me knowing that it could be months if not a year or more of waiting after the project has ended until I get the opportunity to reap the rewards.

Then there are times like this when the book arrives and I know for certain that it was well worth every second of the wait to get an item I can not only cherish, but know I played even a small part in the creation of.

Gif TimeLapse 2


Another time-lapse video of myself animating a GIF, this time the Too Hot one you can see here.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

GIF TimeLapse


Here's a time-lapse video of myself creating an animated GIF (that you can see here) of Alison turning into a were-horse.

The original video was made up of 8 parts that added up to a total time of 11 hours and 41 minutes. (Photoshop is not the most effective of programmes in which to animate)
I didn't record the entire process but caught the vast majority of it.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Job Search & YouTube Hassle

So since leaving Uni my job search has intensified quite substantially.

I had foolishly thought to myself that it would be pretty darn easy getting a job once I was free of education, but alas it seems that isn't the case...

Searching for jobs related to illustration/animation almost persistently seem to bring back results for graphic design which can make the entire ordeal pretty frustrating at times.
I've also been looking for pretty much any part-time job I can get to make money for living but having free time to continue with my artwork until that can eventually become a livelihood.

Of course I would prefer a job revolving around illustration or animation in some way, I've applied to quite a few that look great but getting replies always seems to take quite a while if I get one at all, and the websites that show the number of applicants for each job listing are usually staggeringly high!
So that's been the vast majority of my time allocation as of late, though I do have a few other projects I'm working on that hopefully will be able to surface soon.

I have one thing I really want to start working on, but YouTube customer service has proven to be an absolute appalling ordeal to go through.
I've been emailing the same guy for 2-3 days and half the time he just copy and pastes the same response to my questions even though the information he is giving me is completely irrelevant.
Any replies that differ from the copy and paste formula have been even more completely irrelevant information that has no bering on the questions I'm asking, so I'm fairly certain the guy isn't even making an attempt to read through the emails I send.

Hopefully I'll manage to get some amount of a resolution in the issues though, and I'll be able to get on with fun projects!
Monday, 24 June 2013

End of Year Show

Last week my end of year show was taking place at what is now my old University.
The lead up to the event proved to be quite troublesome, specifically when items I should have had to display didn't (and still haven't) turned up.
I managed to piece it together though, and I'm quite pleased with the pieces I had on display.


My initial plan was to have the left wall very different, but I suppose that's what I get for relying on a printing company to do something on time.

As can be seen in the image, I had a table set up from which I managed to sell a good amount of my skeleton stickers which was an added bonus for the event, although Zara of Bunny Brush/Happy Accidents fame completely any amount I earned out of the water the moment she started selling her frames for £50 to random attendees.

Of course Zara, Alison and Ayesha all had their own beautiful work on show there too, which you can see by taking a look at Zara's latest Happy Accidents blog post.

Now that all of this education business is over and done with, I find myself with a good deal of spare time in need of filling and an empty wallet yearning for some currency.
Which is another way of saying I'm looking for a job, but my word if that isn't just the most awkward thing to do right now.
I'm surprised anything in England is still running because every opening I see is for a manager.

But to skip to the point where this becomes more relevant to you, once I find myself in a more comfortable position with money I will be adding a good few new items to the shop on OddDino, including the "Hulk Mash" shirt you can see in the photo's above.

Hopefully this will occur sooner than later.
Saturday, 8 June 2013

University Shop

University is pretty much done now for me, which feels a strange thing to be saying.
I had fooled myself into thinking after finishing off my dissertation things would get a bit easier, but my word was I wrong!
I've treated myself to quite a lot of late nights and the whole Uni group worked as late as we could before the security kicked us out each day.

But that is done now, and all I have left to is sit and wait to hear the results.
Everything fell together literally last minute due to a whole load of highly unorganised behaviour on the behalf of both tutors and admittedly myself, so I'm not entirely sure what to think of my work.
I also have half of my end of year show still a blank wall because I've been waiting on a jacket to arrive all week. The printers in the university are also a very awkward affair, as you need to pay for prints in an area completely separate to the printers.
You walk down the stairs to pay for the prints and half the time there is nobody to pay, so you can't get the prints.
You manage to pay for the prints, but you go to the printers to give them the files and show them you payed but there is nobody there, so you can't get the prints!

Because of that I still have a few images I could have stuck up by now but so far as I can tell half the staff wasn't in on Friday.

But now I have my complaining out of the way, let us talk about something a little more pleasant!
As some of you may have noticed,  a little while ago I added a new "Shop" page to OddDino.
At the moment there is only one product, a lovely set of stickers that allows you to build your own skeleton!

But soon enough, more will be added!
I have a number of things planned that will be up for sale, though some may take longer to add than others.

Here is a little sneak peak of what I presume will be the next item added to the shop, after that there will be something I find particularly exciting, but that can stay a secret just a little longer!

These are some very lovely travel wallets!
You can put your train tickets in there, your bus passes in there, or even other things that are small and rectangular in shape!
Its amazing!
At the moment there are 2 designs, Roadkill (the one in the photograph I have been using for about 3 months now myself) and the Bendy-Bus Pass.
I have a few more ideas for them so I may just be adding more at a later date!

So look forward to those soon, and then look forward again to the thing coming up after that!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dissertation, Happy Accidents


I've been rather quiet on the internet lately other than the odd doodle or tweet, and for those of you who do not know the reason for this is my dissertation.
I'm coming up to the end of University and had a dissertation to write, which has dominated my work time for the past month or two.
Thankfully though, the task is complete!


I got it printed and handed in today, two for Uni and one for me to keep and look back on in disgust in a few years.

Having the damn thing finally finished is pretty darn satisfying, especially because I've essentially felt too obliged to finish the dissertation to work on anything else.

One thing I managed to spare time for however is a new blog/website me and three friends from University have been putting together!

Take a look at Happy Accidents, or www.HAArtists.co.uk, where each of us will be posting once a week just showing off a piece of our work or talking about an artist we like or whatever else might take our interest at the time!

I've posted a few drawings on the site so far, like this dinosaur!
And a bunch more you can see in this post.
There's also a suave gin-drinking dino-man and a piece of Bioshock Infinite fan art!

I'll be posting on the blog every Monday (or very very early Tuesday) and on various other days of the week you can see some lovely posts by my bestest buddies, Alison, Ayesha and Zara!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Drawing Studies Exhibition


Not long ago I took part in a little exhibition as part of my Drawing Studies course.

My parts took the shape of a small number of stickers and one fairly large illustration of BigFoot hiding amongst some tree's.

There's not much else to say so I'll just upload the images for you to see.






If you'd like to see the drawings in much better detail (including a coloured version of the BigFoot Forest image) look on my art site OddDino.



I'll also add here that you can purchase quite a few different products with the BigFoot Forest image over on Society 6, both in colour and black and white!

London, Ps4 & Books!!


Forgetful as I am, I somehow completely forgot to mention that I was going on a trip to London.
In fact, I completely forgot to mention it on any form of social media until I had the presence of mind to Tweet a picture of Buckingham Palace! (which was really kind of over rated... just saying)
But now I am back to repent my sins and give a brief and completely interesting recanting of some of the events that transpired there.

First of all, I should mention that I went on the trip with three of my most wonderful best friends, Alison, Ayesha and Zara. (with whom I may or may not have a semi-secret special project currently under way)

We went on the trip with University to attend something called Four Designers, though being much more inclined towards Illustration and ashamedly uninterested in Graphic Design I ended up spending my time exploring London more than anything else.
I had a good rummage around all of the museums and galleries (all being the ones that were free) and had a glance at all of the usual big London attractions. (that were free)

I've never been one for the usual tourist style expeditions, so I was a little underwhelmed with the stuff people tend to get excited over in London.
Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Eye...
They were alright, but I'm a jaded young philistine who doesn't appreciate these things.
What I did enjoy much more was the museums and galleries, especially the science museum and natural history museum.
The science museum was full of fun interactive stuff, which always appeals to my man-baby nature, and the natural history museum had dinosaur bones which excited me greatly, something anybody overly familiar with my drawings should not be surprised by.

Oddly enough our little group spent a very large amount of our time there sitting about in Hyde Park feeding birds and squirrels.
London critters are much more comfortable with people than those from places I frequent.
There were even some very vibrant green parrots just hanging around that wiggled down a branch to eat some seeds I was holding, which was a pleasant experience.

As incredibly interesting as I'm sure it is reading about somebody else's min-holiday, there are other exciting things to discuss and I don't want this blog post to be so obnoxiously long even I can't be bothered to read it, so I will now move along to something that has been the focus of all my yearnings as of late.

(this is probably how I looked through most of the event)
As I'm sure most people reading this will know, Sony recently announced the PlayStation 4 at a conference that was streamed online by IGN and a few other websites, and as the gaming enthusiast I am I sat and watched the entire thing from start to finish. (plus the extra hour of coverage IGN added on either end.)

Let it be said, that at the start of the current console generation I was very firmly seated with the Xbox 360 as my primary gaming device of choice, but a few years ago I made the swap over to the PS3 and have found it harder and harder to go back to my 360 after the changes Microsoft persisted in making to what I once considered a wonderful machine.
Many people may love the 360, but I just can not stand anything Microsoft has done to the console in the last few years, and I find there entire business practices revolving around the 360 and its games to have become very sleazy and unfriendly to the users and the gaming community at large.

I realise Sony is a faceless corporation that exists solely to make money, but it feels distinctly un-faceless to me.
I feel a sense of community from the PlayStation team that I never had with an Xbox, and even if it doesn't necessarily make all the best decisions in terms of business, I find it easy to respect a lot of the choices Sony has made with its game and consoles.

Almost everything announced at the conference appealed to me in a big way, from the way the console works to the games showcased.
I'm hoping to see a lot more over the next few months, assumedly at E3, but I feel the want of a new console burning strong within me, and Microsoft will have to do a lot to impress if they want to win me back for the next generation.
I just pray I will somehow have a good source of money to take from by the end of the year when the consoles start hitting shelves.
I've already started putting pennies away.

On a small side-note.
A lot of people have been complaining that it wasn't a revel because we didn't get to see what the console would actually look like.
Although it would be nice to see what it looks like, consider this.

If I find an empty shell with nothing alive inside, I would call it an empty shell.
If I find a living creature that had somehow lost it's shell, I would still call it a turtle.
It's just naked.


I've managed to read a fair few books recently.
I'm still yet to complete a good few of them, but I'm making progress which is good.
I was lucky enough to go to a book signing by artist Staz Johnson (who from all I can tell has abandoned the internet) who worked on Judge Dredd.
The signing was for the release of the new Dredd book Day of Chaos, which I have since read and thoroughly enjoyed!
I had a chance to stand and talk to the artist for a while and got some really nice information from him, including a few tips on how to draw good backgrounds and a little guide through his process of planning out and drawing for a book.
He even let me have a look through a folder with the original pages in which was a very pleasant experience!
Joining my new 2000AD marathon I also read through Judge  Dredd: Origins, which I'm sure you can assume is the origin story of Judge Dredd.
There's still a lot of backstory I'm missing from the 35+ years of Dredd stories, so it was good to read a book that helped fill in a little of those gaps.
The one standout thing I took from the book was the name of an artist, Kev Walker, who's art is absolutely phenomenal.
He only illustrates the first few sections of the book, but his style is something I really enjoyed seeing in a Dredd Story.
In many ways it's similar to Mike Mignola from Hellboy or Uli Oestere's art in Hector Umbra, very different from the majority of styles I have seen in 2000AD thus far.
The artist that takes over from him, Carlos Equerra, is alright, but I found Walker's art to be much more charming and of drastically higher quality.
I've since got my hands on another Dredd book, Mandroid, which is illustrated entirely by Kev Walker.
I look forward to sinking my teeth into that visual delight, but for the time being I am diverting into a few other books so I don't get overloaded on grimy sci-fi police stories.
The first non-2000ad book I've read in a little while would be Cardboard by Doug Tennapel.
I've been a fan of Tennapel's books since I found out the creator of Earthworm Jim had been creating graphic novels for a good many years and picked up Ghostopolis.
I've since read a few of his books, and Cardboard easily takes the place on top, possibly rubbing shoulders with Ghostopolis which I am still very fond of.
Tennapel's art is always very animated and expressive, which is something that I find isn't very consistent in a lot of comics.
In some ways his art reminds me of Jeff Smith's Bone and how the characters always gave you a wonderful sense of movement between panels.
I also really respect the way Tennapel seems to have dedicated himself to telling a lot of definitive stories, ends and all.
It seems like the norm in the comics industry is to avoid any real endings so that you can keep the series going on forever.
Even though there are still plenty of climactic scenes, they have a tendency to become a bit lost and leave the reader (or at least me) somewhat jaded knowing that characters very rarely stay dead and almost always find some way to reverse whatever tragedy has befallen them.
Theres a distinct lack of finality to a lot of comics that I feel can be to the detriment of the story.
I'd care a lot more about Batman or the Joker dying if they hadn't done so more times than I can count in the past only to be worked in again a few issues later.
Some series really work with this, like The Walking Dead or even 2000AD where to an extent the lack of an ending is a deeply important aspect of the story being told and  events that take place have a very long lasting and obvious effect on the rest of the story.
When a character you love dies in The Walking Dead they aren't ever coming back, and there are events effecting the current stories in 2000AD that happened before I was even born.

Tennapel's Books always seem to have a definitive ending, and that is something I really enjoy seeing.
No endless streams of sequels or prequels, just a self contained story with a beginning, middle, end and no more.
I've been a huge fan of Adam Phillips (Chluaid) since I first gained an interest in animating some time in the early 2000's.
Where my tastes have changed over the years, and many of the flash animations I used to love have much less appeal to me now, my love of the Brackenwood series has only grown.
The shorts Adam Phillips creates are truly beautiful, and are some of the greatest examples of what a single talented man can do when he has a creative ambition.
Before I learned about Flash or more traditional methods of animation, I used programmes like Pivot stick animator and even Microsoft Powerpoint to create very basic animations.
It was only when I emailed Adam Phillips that I was treated to a response explaining a little about how he got in to animation, and the programmes and methods he uses in creating his shorts.
I can easily say were it not for Adam taking the time to reply to my email those years ago I would not be doing what I am today.
I came across this book not long ago when checking to see what Phillips had been working on recently, and had to order it once I learned of it's existence.
The book is fairly small and black and white, but it is a very exciting look into the process behind creating the characters that appear in the Brackenwood series.
It's a pleasure to spend time looking at the sketches Phillips makes, and learning small tidbits of interesting information about each character. (and getting to see what Bitey looks like under all that hair...)
This is definitely a niche book, but I would urge anybody that is a fan of the Brackenwood series to seek a copy of there own.
Reality Not Included is an anthology comic/concept art book made by a group of students on Kickstarter.
I backed the book a while ago and had the book arrive just the other week.
There are a lot of different art styles through the book, with the vast majority being beautifully drawn and the rest being at very least good.
There are pieces of artwork spread throughout the book in between the comics, and each piece is really wonderful to look at.
The stories in the comic sections are very interesting to read through too.
Each story is very short, but some of them have very unique and interesting ideas to show, and all of them have a charm about them.

I was particularly fond of Mazzy by Mathew S. Armstrong and Old Friends by Anthony Holden. (with special mention to Soap by Joey Majdali)

I'm not sure if it will be available to purchase anywhere now that the Kickstarter is over, but I highly recommend it to anybody interested in an anthology full of creative comics with a lot of good ideas.
Monday, 4 February 2013

2000AD! (but mostly Dredd)

I've recently gained a bit of an obsession with the comic series 2000ad.

It's the kind of thing I have heard about here and there and had an interest in for quite some time, but never really made the effort to get involved in.

Curiosity became attention when the movie Dredd came out back in September, and did a damn fine job of incentivising me to learn more about the 2000ad universe.

I did some reading online but found that after 35 years or so of missed weekly issues, it can be a little bit tricky knowing how to get started.
I had my eyes on a few of the collections I could see on Amazon but they always seemed either a bit too pricey for me at the time or there was that one other book I was after that took priority.

All that changed just the other week when I found, hidden at the back of the top shelf in W.H.Smith, one copy of the Judge Dredd Megazine.


I picked it up and damn if I didn't get me good and hooked!
I got lucky in picking up an issue where each story is just starting rather than getting dropped in the middle of a big epic storyline and failing to comprehend what is going on.

A few days later I picked up Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files #16.

It might seem a random number to start at, but there's method behind the madness.
Volume 16 starts with issues published in 1991, the year I was born.
There's something appealing to me about catching up with the series as it existed for as long as I've been around, though of course I will go back and seek out the older classics.


I've been enjoying the series a hell of a lot.
I think I might look into some of the other characters once I've finished Dredd #16 as I don't really know much about Rogue Trooper or Strontium Dog, or any of the other characters for that matter.

Oddly enough right as I decide I want to start collecting the series 2000ad post up an art competition on twitter with a chance to win some graphic novels, so hopefully I can get lucky and get myself a nice starter pack, though I'm sure there will be some fairly tough competition and I'm rather short on time to work on Dredd fan art with all the University work that I have to get done over the next few weeks.
Still, it never hurts to try.


Here's a little work in progress of a picture I'll be sending in for the competition.
I had hoped to do it traditionally as usual, but for some reason my favourite pen keeps leaking whenever I try. (it has been misbehaving for a while now, so I've ordered a new dip pen to try out)
I feel the digital artwork may do some damage to my chances of winning, but I've been getting a string of good luck lately and I might even manage to make time for a few more drawings before the week ends and the competition is over.



Here's a few thing's I've done recently that you may not have seen, giv'um a click!


Saturday, 5 January 2013

2013 dump.

Happy new year everybody!

I am full of an equal mix of dread and hope looking forwards into 2013.
I have a pretty big check list of things to get done, and most of the items on the list are things I can't avoid or even delay at all.

2013 is the year I will be leaving University, and right now I have no plans at all to go on to do any more courses.
My time at College/Uni has been fun, but I'm looking forward to leaving and having the chance to work on what I really want to without feeling the pressure of having to work in a manner that doesn't feel natural to me.

University work comes with a lot of formality that just doesn't feel right to me, and at times I feel a lot, though not all, of tutors aren't quite capable of seeing the work from my perspective.
This is a situation I feel I was in a lot over the last 3 years:


There not bad tutors or anything, I just feel that my tastes are a little lost of most of them the majority of the time, and this is my first mind dump of the year and all so I don't want to bitch too much.
I'll quickly by summarising my last few weeks:

The Hobbit is amazing.
Cloud Atlas is great.
Life of Pi is pretty damn good.
Far Cry 3 is fantastic.
Silent Hill 2, still as fantastic as ever.
Knytt Underground, everything but the character art is beautiful.
Trying to eat more healthy, more apples to go with my pizza.

I will possibly talk about some of these in more detail in the future.

p.s: There are currently 2 polls up on OddDino.com asking for your opinions on the comic I am currently working on.
I imagine I will be adding more as I continue to work on it, so please take a second to hop over there and let me know what you think so the comic can be more good! (or less bad depending on what you think of it in the first place)
Also if you aren't already, you should follow/rss/subscribe/favourite/whatever you do to that site if you haven't already.