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.