Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Travelling 'Toonist

What's up with me? I started a new blog, and completely forgot to mention it here! Yes, I'm calling myself the Travelling 'Toonist, now... at least I am over at my other blog.

If you've been following the HappyGlyphs Comics blog, you may recall that I wander from cartoons and illustration to travel and history to recent movie reviews. That's a bit spread out for a blog that's supposed to report the news from The HappyGlyphs Studios, and discuss art and creativity.

So... we've spun-off. We'll try to focus more on art and creativity here, and I'll move all the travel and travel related talk to the Travelling 'Toonist. I've decided that I'll add illustrations and photos to those blogs since I am a Cartoonist, and two of my books have been travel related.

So even if you're more interested in the art side of things, the other blog will still have much to interest you. Also, It seems I'm posting a lot more over there, since I've got a huge backload of travel to talk about.

Please take a look, and join in any discussions. And as always, let me know what you think! When I develop a logo for that blog, I'll post it here.

Cheers, JOHN :0) The Travelling 'Toonist

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stargate: the Ark of Truth

Since this is a blog on creativity, let me take a moment to applaud some creativity at its finest. I normally present my own material here, but allow me this time to give a quick review of somebody else's work, something very worthy.

I've been a fan of the Stargate franchise since the first movie, so of course I wanted to see Ark of Truth. I thought I could wait for the price to come down, but for some reason I picked it up the moment I saw it, figuring it would be some good fun. What I got was a big surprise, and a reminder of just why Stargate has lasted so long, and continues with Stargate: Atlantis.

If you are a Stargate fan, do not hesitate to buy this movie. It's fantastic, and wraps up several storyines from the SG-1 TV show quite nicely. There is a lot of action, some good laughs, and the characters are shown at their best. On top of all this, the movie has the look and feel of a big screen movie, with high production values that stand out, and add to the excitement of the action. Knowing that another movie is in the works, I was afraid that this would end with a big "To be continued...". If that had happened, I would have thrown the dvd out the window. Rest assured, though, that the Ori storyline is wrapped up completely, nicely, and satisfactorily. There is also a second very exciting storyline that runs through this movie, but I do not wish to spoil that for you. It was a nice surprise, though, and led to some totally "wow!" moments. Really, really cool stuff!

If you are not a Stargate fan, I cannot be objective enough to say whether you will enjoy this movie as much as I did. With a series that ran something like 10 years, the characters are vital to the action of the movie. I will applaud the makers of this dvd for giving viewers the choice of watching the movie with a prelude. This is a brilliant decision, although even I felt the prelude only touched on what came before. Perhaps it is enough to catch a non-fan up to speed, and one hopes so.

Stargate: the Ark of Truth has a lot to offer, and is top notch SciFi. After seeing this, I cannot wait for the next movie, and hoep for many more.

As an Artist, I wish I could be involved in a series such as this! Creative, exciting, and very cool. I'm, like, totally envious of the artists who get to put together the scenes and sets, and shall work even harder to become worthy. :0)

Cheers, JOHN :0)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On the Drawing Board

In lieu of a detailed post today, I'll just share what's on the drawing board right now. Since my last trip to Disney, I've been in a pirates mode... not just from the movie, but from the ride. So, to take a break from the freelance work, here's an image of the boys from The Inquiring Minds, doing what they do best... having fun, and going all out to do so. :0)

Cheers, JOHN :0)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Knight and Day revisited

It's hard to believe that it's been five years since my first comic strip collection came out. Knight and Day is our flagship comic, and still holds it's own with a recent graphic novel sequel, and a host of other projects to stand beside.

Maybe because it was my first book, but it holds a very special place in my heart, and I believe it still holds the most sales. Of course, it's had a head start on the other books, and in retrospect, it is still a very strong book, full of lots of fun, lots of laughs, and lots of life.

"Take Me Away From All This!!" is the story of Steven and Amy (Day) Knight... newlyweds who are learning what it means to share everything with another person, from personal space to finances, to... everything! And they're learning that it is not easy.

Besides being my first "hit", Knight and Day had a lot of firsts for me, and a lot going for it. The comic strip was syndicated across dozens of websites, appeared in a local newspaper, and even appeared at Tribune Media's Comics Edge. This strip was my closest to beign syndicated, as well, and it was nice to receive praise from comic strip Editors... although they eventually passed on the strip. Still, the reason they passed was that it was too similar to other strips out there, in particular strips about newlyweds. Being compared to other strips already syndicated was strong praise indeed, but watching the strips I was compared to eventually end and fade away was just a little frustrating, with me wondering if I had had the chance, would I have 'made it'.

I'm sure I would have. I really wanted it, and still do. Right now, though, I'm enjoying a terrific freelance career, and am taking the time to develop my art and writing. I have a new comic strip in mind, but I won't debut it until it is ready. I learned that lesson with Knight and Day, and my earlier strips.

With Knight and Day I followed the advice of all the greats... I wrote every day, I drew every day, and I did not rush to send strips out to the Editors. I dreew several hundred strips, and even then I only drew the ones that I was absolutely sure about.

Even better, I didn't start the strip until I was ready. I spent 3 months doing nothing but taking notes and making sketches. I worked out all the problems and all the details in the preliminary stages, so that when I started the strip, I knew where I was going with it.

Belive me, if you want to create a comic strip, or similar project, this is some of the best advice anyone can give. I heard it from others, and they heard it from others, but we all pretty much learned it the hard way.

**You cannot rush greatness**

Knight and Day was a hit pretty much from day one (alright, day 6), and it was because I took the time to get it right. I've seen a lot of strips on the web that are not consistent, or have no direction. Some tell stories, which helps keep direction, but Editors are not looking for story strips because they need strips that have easily identifiable characters: strong characters that the reader can identify with, and 'know' in a short time. You simply can't make this stuff up as you go along, or you might get lost. And if you get lost, your reader's are going to get lost... in more ways than one. :0)

The book also has my first travel stories, with the ever popular trip to England, and some greta crossover work with Cartoonist Brian Hughes, and a few other special events in there, including my tributes to some of my favorite Cartoonists at the time.

Check it out at the link below. I'd really appreciate it. :0)

All the best, JOHN :0)

Learn more about this book here, or...

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