Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Animated Christmas Card for $500!!!

Talented Aussie comic artist and animator David Blumenstein is offering a special deal for anybody who wants to do something original and creative at Christmas – his company Nakedfella Productions will create a one-minuted personalised animated Christmas greeting card for just $500! Send it to family, friends and clients and set up the entire silly season with a big belly laugh. This is a limited offer which ends 25 December 2010 (We're presuming Australian EST). The only thing is you won't be able to with your greeting card is put it on your mantlepiece with all your other regular ones. However, this gives you the perfect excuse to buy a plasma TV or a new iPad to keep playing it around the clock when Christmas celebrations begin at your home or office. For more information, go to the Nakefella website.

To Publish or NOT to Publish Fan Art ... that is the question!

Speaking of Colleen .... pop onto her A Distant Soil blog and find out more about the pitfalls of publishing fan art and read her post "And now a word about that fan art... this is why we can't have nice things". We personally love fan art but we've always had friendly, respectful and lovely readers who thank goodness haven't exhibited any form of delusion, narcissism or misapprehension such as what Colleen has encountered. After reading this article, we're putting out to the universe that this kind of relationship and communication continues. A good disclaimer clause for the new kids on the block won't go astray either!

The Copyright Adventures of Colleen and Congress

The illustrious Colleen Doran has made a mark on Washington and her stance on the need to bring in hardline anti-piracy laws. In her usual concise articulate way she has presented a compelling picture of what happens to a creator when their work is digitised without permission by online pirates. Indeed, as you will read, copyright infringement of this calibre is not a victimless crime.
I spent the last two years working on a graphic novel called Gone to Amerikay, written by Derek McCulloch for DC Comics/Vertigo. It will have taken me 3,000 hours to draw it and months of research. Others have contributed long hours, hard work and creativity to this process. But due to shrinking financing caused by falling sales in the division, these people are no longer employed.
The minute this book is available, someone will take one copy and within 24 hours, that book will be available for free to anyone around the world who wants to read it. 3,000 hours of my life down the rabbit hole, with the frightening possibility that without a solid return on this investment, there will be no more major investments in future work.
We read the piece when it first published online and when it had around eight comments; today it's up to 115! WOW! Here's the full article "The 'real' victims of online piracy". To use a Molly Meldrum catch phrase, "do yourself a favour" and go and read it!

Announcing New Aussie Event – Australian Comic Art Festival

There's a new event on the horizon in 2011 – the Australia Comic Arts Festival to be held in Brisbane on Saturday 4 June 2011. This inaugural event will focus on webcomics, print comic strips, political cartoons, manga, comic books, graphic novels, and motion comics.

According to the ACAF website, this will be an:
"... ongoing event that is there to support and teach those interested in comics ... and will allow current creators to network and exhibit, as well as to inspire people who have an interest in creating to get involved and learn some skills... The primary driver of the event is to promote the diversity of comics as a legitimate artistic and literary medium."
Planned activities include a a large exhibition area featuring publishers, comic authors and artists, gallery show, tutorials / workshops, presentations and guest speakers. EXHIBITION TABLES ARE FREE! If you would like to be an exhibitor or want to present a session, then register NOW! Registration deadline is 30 November 2010. CLICK here for details.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mermaid Smurfette

I had a mermaid Smurfette when I was a kid. I remember purchasing her with great excitement from a BP petrol station – the only place in Australia at the time that was selling Smurfs. She had a display place of pride in my bedroom and I loved looking and engaging with her and having her with me.

Unfortunately, one day when I wasn't home, my mother allowed some visiting children to play in my bedroom. After their departure when I returned. I found my room in an awful mess – artwork I had been working on was vandalised with texta scribbles all over it, and several small items were missing... including my mermaid Smurfette. I was quite distraught.

After that I banned ALL children from visiting my bedroom without my presence.

So for about 20 years after that I searched for a replacement mermaid Smurfette. Then Ali, a friend of a friend who had heard my tale of loss and woe, mentioned she had one at home and that she would give the figurine to me as a gift. I was so happy and excited that I promptly returned home and drew in coloured pencil and from memory the original mermaid Smurfette which I had owned and loved, which I presented to Ali as a gift in exchange for the actual toy.

In the process I thankfully got a b/w photocopy of the image. Unfortunately no scan of the original colour pencilled art exists because I didn't have a scanner in 2000.

Ten years later, I stumbled upon the photocopy in my files while looking for another artwork, and decided it was time to finally scan and colour it. So here she is ... drawn in 2000, and now coloured in 2010.

For the past 10 years, I've had the actual mermaid Smurfette toy sitting in pride of place on my computer desk. She's lovely and she's adored.

I call mine Merfette... ;-)

Smurfette.Mermaid Artwork©JozefSzekeres2010

Monday, November 8, 2010


A big fat hearty congrats and a big fat hearty hug go to our friends Nick Nicolaou and Paul Katte of the Makeup Effects Group in Sydney, whose SFX makeup on the recent horror film Needle has won not just one but TWO international awards! The first award was for "Best Make-up" from Screamfest LA, one of America's biggest horror film festivals. The second was the "Best Special Effects" award at the British Horror Film Festival. Not quite sure what to make of the movie poster – it looks great but gruesome!

Abstract Comics: Reinventing the Form

We were contacted the other day by an Australian comics creator called Tim Gaze who has written a fascinating article on an emerging stream of comics culture – abstract comics. He identifies three methods that underpin the reinvention of the comics form (some of which appeared as early as the 60s):

(1) the frames are asymmetrical, partly dismantled or completely absent;
(2) content may come in the form of abstract non-representational shapes which might be arranged within panel borders or illegible writing may be placed in speech balloons, and
(3) comics conventions (no not the ComicCon or Supanova kind!) such as speech or thought balloons which may be used within a different artform such as visual art or poetry.

(This brings to mind that an old uni friend recently told me through FaceBook that his PhD was a combination of poetry and comics ... he's sending me a copy so it will be interesting to see if it fits Tim's definition of abstract comics.

This is a pic plucked from the article which illustrates abstract comics using irregular or no frames.

To read the full article and see more go to: "A Quick Introduction to Abstract Comics". For a look at Tim's abstract comics artwork check out his Pseudocomics.

The Mimic Octopus

We support various environmental groups and receive regular email newsletters from them about what's happening on the planet. A recent story "The Amazing Mimic Octopus" on Care2Causes recently made us sit up and pay attention because the accompanying video was simply fascinating. The octopi featured in the video are shape-shifters – they mimic everything from poisonous banded sea snakes to lion fish to a "furry turkey", which to us looks more like one of Australia's most venomous creatures – the stonefish. Apparently there are 15 species of mimic octopus. Glad to know that Aussie biologists are at the forefront of this discovery ... coming from a land of glorious beaches most of us appreciate and respect the ocean world and its wondrous magical inhabitants.