Football. Saturday evening. Wine.

It’s Saturday evening and I’m drinking wine with my feet up watching City take on Spurs at home.

Something I told myself at the end of last year was that I wouldn’t let football sway my mood so much in the coming months. But it’s already gone out of the window. I’ve loved Man City for as long as I can remember and in recent years they’ve become more thrilling to follow.

But a bad performance or a bad result and I’m rocked to the point where I just can’t see the wood for the trees for at least a couple of hours. A bad result and a good performance I can stomach. But a bad performance and no points and I’m livid. It’s crazy. I’m twice the age of these players. Why on earth should I care so much. I guess it’s a cultural thing. We English guys love our football.

The wine is good. A Chianti from the Co-op. £8.99 and worth every penny.

Earlier today I spent some time planning a story that I started last year. The details are a little vague just now but the outline is working very well.

I’m keen to create something for a young adult audience in a similar vein to Tim Burton or Neil Gaiman. Something dark yet fun and whimsical. I love Gaiman’s use of dialogue in particular. He has a neat way of pushing the story forward with the most efficient conversation. Something he no doubt borrows from and admires in Hemingway. As do I.

City have enjoyed a good half hour and are now labouring a little. Spurs are back in the game. Neither side look in control but crucially we still look like the home side. There’s nothing worse than a team coming to the Etihad and taking control. The stats are with us (7 shots to Spurs’ 1, 65% possession) but the goals are still evading both sides.

I watched Coraline yesterday. It’s been on my list for a long time and finally got to sit and watch it. I didn’t much care for the visual style of the film but the story was superb. I take a lot of inspiration from that. Gaiman has a wonderful sense of story in him that I find is delivered in a classic way. There’s excellent setup with truly satisfying payoffs. More importantly for me, we always understand exactly what the protagonist wants.

This to me is a wonderful thing to read and absorb. I don’t know who the quote is attributed to but somebody once said, ‘if you want to write well, figure what your lead character wants and just follow them.’ Wise sentiment.

City have scored twice in quick succession and Spurs have somehow pulled one back. This one’s heading for a grandstand finish. Typical City. Comfortably two up and suddenly facing the prospect of 0 points.

 

 

A mashup of Tim Burton and a few other influences

Some recent illustrations using the Velocity Sketcher and Real Watercolor in Corel Painter.

grl martinemotherofhedgehogs oldperson spidder

I’ve always admired Tim Burton’s haunted expressions in his characters. Those big eyes really do work in so many ways.
But I’m also a fan of solid structure in my characters. I’d look around at artists such as Chris Riddell and Gris Grimly to try and get a feel for how they draw. Riddell in particular has a fantastic solidity to his art. And Gris Grimly’s palette I just love.
Exciting to be finding a real balance in the styles that I’m playing with. This feels about as close to a signature style as I’ve ever found.