This blog began in 1997 as a single news page called Nucelus. In 2005, during a long wait to move into a new house, I decided to learn some php and MySQL and write my own blogging system, which became inkyBlog and which now powers this, my own Webbledegook blog.
Thank you to my brother, Murray Ewing, for help with some of the more challenging aspects!
This scene sees the reintroduction of Lily Lawrence (learn more about her here), so I've been sketching and drawing her to get reacquainted. Here she is, announcing her up-coming appearance.
Set in Britain in 20 BC around the city of Calleva Atrebatum (Silchester), it's written by Mat Humphrey - who has a number of really interesting and excellent games in the works, including the also announced Chickens 'n Aliens and Tomb of Akhenaten. I can't wait to see how this turns out and to share more with you. You can follow our progress on the Facebook page and Twitter. Here's the artwork for one of the Calleva cards, already completed.
My announcement of The Brambletye Box a couple of weeks ago was met with a lovely warm wave of enthusiasm, and that has really helped to get things going again with it. Obviously it does sometimes have to take a back seat to my commercial work, but already I've scripted the next scene and completed the thumbnails and A4 roughs for it, and I'm about to commence drawing, so hopefully you'll see those strips going up online very soon.
Remember you can support the comic further at my new Patreon page where I'm previewing sketches and other bits and bobs. A number have already signed up and I'm incredibly grateful for this, it's all kindling to keep things moving forward. Thank you!
At the moment I'm just making the first 5 pages (19 web strips) available to read (start here). More will follow as and when I'm able to put them up. I'm not going to promise any consistency just yet as it will be at the mercy of my work schedule - but by publishing them now I am making a commitment to getting this done as best as I can.
You can help ensure more work gets done by joining my Patreon. This is all new to me, so I'm starting out with low expectations and asking for very little (if anything) - just to gauge support and see how it goes. Your feedback on whether this avenue is worth pursuing will be most welcome.
The Brambletye Box takes place immediately after the end of The Rainbow Orchid. I will publish as much as I can online, with the ultimate ambition of it eventually appearing in album format as a single volume. Here's the promo blurb ...
The theft of the mysterious Brambletye Box from a controversial auction sets in motion a race to discover, not only the thief, but the story of an ancient Sussex ruin, three powerful stones lost to history, and a fantastic island where legends of strange beasts and a magical meteorite originate. Julius Chancer returns in a quest to discover the truth and save the world ... if he can!
As ever, I am incredibly grateful for your support and your patience. Julius has another big adventure ahead of him, let's see where he ends up this time!
This DLC contains some of my favourite art for CE2, particularly the new Peacock tribe and their village. Other features include a recruitable red panda, a range of new enemies, such as the Ushi Oni and Dangkang, the animal shelter of the Tanuki, and a host of new items, trophies and locations.
I mark his passing because he was principal artist on one of my favourite comics from the early 80s, The New Teen Titans (co-created with writer Marv Wolfman). My relationship with superhero comics lasted only a few years - from about 1980 to maybe the mid-80s, and The New Teen Titans was the one comic I made sure to seek out every issue, and is pretty much the only run of superhero comics I still have in my collection today (including many of its offshoots and rarities).
I was totally absorbed in those stories - Brother Blood, Deathstroke, Terra, the Brotherhood of Evil, Trigon, the Vigilante, the runaways - just some that have stayed with me after decades. I carried on with the Teen Titans after George left - but it was never the same and my interest quickly petered out (though I did go back and collect the original 1960s Teen Titans run with the also-fabulous Nick Cardy, and I was very happy when José Luis García-Lopez made a guest appearance on art chores of The New Teen Titans too).
But the work and style of George Pérez is forever impressed into my brain from those early-80s formative years of comics reading, in the same way many of the classic 2000AD artists are, Joe Colquhoun from Battle, or the best of the contributors to Warrior. His work went way beyond the Teen Titans - including memorable runs on Crisis on Infinite Earths and Wonder Woman, which I also encountered to a much lesser degree.
So thank you George for the joy and inspiration you added to a very happy period in my own life. It's sad he's gone, but what a fantastic legacy - I'll be digging out some of my old comics for a re-read.
The brief was for an isometric view of a mini-market with a number of new shopping methods integrated - self checkouts, recipe boxes, store collection, delivery options, and even a robot at a till (not sure we've got those quite yet!).
Individual elements had to be easy to extract to use as separate illustrations for the interior feature article, so everything had to be on its own layer. It wasn't too different from the way I'd been working on the recent computer games project, Curious Expedition 2.
The biggest difference was in the style I chose, with no outlines and a very clean 'vector art' look (though actually it's not vector art).
Thanks to the the Guild of Fine Food and art director Mark Windsor for the work - a challenging but very enjoyable brief!
Also available for all these platforms is the Highlands of Avalon DLC.
I was first contacted by Johannes Kristmann, Curious Expedition's co-creator and art director (and artist for the game's first version), back in Feb 2018 and, after some try-out samples, I started my work on the game in January 2019.
It's been three years and almost 4000 hours of drawing, resulting in over 100 environments, more than 200 characters, creatures and skins (plus separate hands, hairstyles and facial expressions), more than 50 equipment sprites, about 300 item icons, 70'ish dice images, about 100 or so map elements, plus a few extras such as clouds, cursors and textures.
Not everything you see on the screen is my art - the team has included animators, a special effects artist, an interface designer, map creators, and that doesn't include the magicians behind the scenes with all the programming, writing and producing that has to be done. It's quite a mind boggling package.
It's been a real challenge at times, and I've learned so much from the experience. I'm proud of my involvement in such a terrific game, and my art has improved thanks to these past few years of consistent work.
I think I can honestly say I've enjoyed every aspect of the game, but my favourite pieces have also been some of the most complex. These include the club halls (especially creating and designing the Taishi 'floating library'), the city of Paris, the Broken Compass tavern, and the environments and characters that make up the various tribes.
I feel incredibly lucky, not only to have worked on a game that is thematically right up my street, not only to have had work in what's been a difficult few years, but also to work with a fantastic company and team of people - even if they were about 700 miles away, it always felt like I was coming into a friendly 'office' when I sat down at my desk in the morning.
A huge thank you to Johannes who has been an absolute pleasure to work with, I'll be forever grateful he decided to entrust me with his vision and ideas for the game. Thank you Riad, and thank you also to Laura, Mascha, Katarina, Philip, Isaac, Lorenzo, Shawn, Milan, Luzia, Petter and Sandrine - these are just a few of the team with whom I have worked, there are others too - truly inspiring work from all.
That's enough gushing for now (sincere as it is). As I write there are still two more DLCs to come out for the game, one in particular has some of my favourite work in, but I can't show that yet. I'll update when they're released, of course. In the meantime - you can buy the game here (Steam) or here (Switch), and it'll be out for XBox and PlayStation in the coming months.
And now, I guess, onto something new!
The characters first appeared in Pilote in 1967, eventually seeing their adventures in 24 albums. Some of the designs had an influence on Star Wars, and Mézières also worked as a concept artist on Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, plus, of course, Valerian and Laureline had their own film outing in 2017, again by Besson.
Here's a quick tribute to him and his fantastic creation.
What about the new Julius Chancer strip? That will launch in February, once I've completed my work for Maschinen-Mensch and I can turn my attention more fully to it. In the meantime, have a look around the site, and do let me know if anything is broken. I have not yet fixed blog comments, and there are coding and css improvements to be made, but there's time for that yet.
As a little blog test I thought I'd indulge in a post about my Minecraft world ...
I'm kind of new to this, buying the game for my children during the lockdown months of 2020 and having a go myself in August of that year. In 2021 I didn't play much at all as I got rather absorbed in the incredible Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but I picked up Minecraft again a little over Christmas.
Really, I've not explored very far from my spawn point at all. I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat, especially with caves! I've built a house with a farm and barn and I've done a lot of strip-mining. It took me a number of weeks to realise there was a village just across the river, beyond a few trees, and when I got there it seemed to be deserted.
In fact the few villagers had all got themselves stuck in a cave, so I rescued them and went home. When I returned a little while later there were only two left - so I blocked off the cave and started developing the village. Now it's bustling with master craftsmen, new houses, and a very healthy number of golems, as well as being protected by a wall of thorny sweet berries!
Eventually I decided I should get a bit braver about exploring, so I've built a boathouse and a lighthouse from which to launch my expeditions. There's also a big ravine near the village, and my 10-year old daughter, who's far braver than I, has promised to hold my hand when I go down it, and pass on some of her top adventuring tips. My 8-year old son has about my level of bravery, but is a walking encyclopaedia of Minecraft lore, so he's good to have close at hand as well.
Wish me luck!