Strong American women

Today is the International Women’s day and my homage goes to the first American women, the indigenous women. They are strong, they are brave and if we would have listen to them our planet would certainly be in a better shape.

This is the main character of a project I’m working on.

International Womens day

I recently found out that the name of the Amazon river in South America is also connected to encounters with strong women. The first European to explore the Amazon, in 1541, was the Spanish soldier Francisco de Orellana, who gave the river its name after reporting pitched battles with tribes of female warriors, whom he likened to the Amazons of Greek mythology.

HOW GRAPHIC FACILITATION HELPED ME BECOME A BETTER ILLUSTRATOR

Much of my work as an illustrator is dedicated to graphic facilitation. I am also one of the partners of Visual Scribing, one of the leading graphic facilitation companies in London.

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Graphic facilitation transforms complex and often abstract content into easy-to-understand illustrations. And all done in real time.

By nature humans are “visual learners” – basically we’re much more likely to remember and understand stuff if we see it. Teaming pictures and words stimulates the emotional/creative, as well as logical, part of our brain.

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The dynamics of creating the illustrations live has increased the speed with which I draw. The immediacy of the process forces me to seek perfection from the very first line. Most of the time I draw directly on the paper and there is no way to erase it. You have to be 100% focused and not afraid to make mistakes.

Graphic facilitation has become a very popular tool in lectures and workshops here in London. I get to know many people and companies from different backgrounds. From financial market to veterinary medicine, I have already illustrated everything. And the diversity of themes has been instrumental in the development of my career as a visual communicator.

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Graphic facilitation has made me a much more agile illustrator, my style has become simpler and more effective, and I gained tremendous self-confidence when confronted with a blank sheet.

If you want to know more, the Visual Scribing website is this one:
www.visualscribing.com

In search of breakfast

Winter is a time of austerity for London’s wildlife. Every day from the office window I see a squirrel tossing from side to side, from branch to branch. Looking for a forgotten nut, a lonely seed or anything edible really. I’m glad I don’t need to hunt for breakfast.

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Research trip to the Himalayas

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And there I was, on top of the world, watching the vegetation, the temples and rock formations. Researching life in the Himalayas. Walking the endless narrow trails I was hoping not to bump into a snow leopard.  It was easy to imagine that at any moment we could get a glance of a Yeti or Vasu from behind one of the many bushes.

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When we started working on our webcomics: The Golden Lion and decided it would be set in the Himalayas, we used our imagination to recreate it. We collected all the material available on internet and testimonials from people who’ve been there. Although we were not far from an acceptable representation, walking in the mountains, feeling the icy wind descending from the top of the ridge was an irreplaceable experience.

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It’s like diving into a world where every step we experience something that can be turned into a new story.

Creating the cover for our graphic novel

Tomorrow we´ll post the last page of Chapter 1 of The Golden Lion. And to celebrate these 6 months of weekly publication, we would love to share some of the process of creating the cover.

1. The first image shows the sketch. Very loose still, but close to the final result.

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2. The second image shows the inked page. Quite a conventional process really.
3. Once I´m happy with it, I scan the page and colour it in photoshop.

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The whole process took me about 12 hours, as most of the pages we create. There are still 60 pages to complete the entire graphic novel. Let´s go for it! :)

Ramayana poster

Many years ago, coming back from school, a book seller entered the bus. My eyes got caught by a book with the cover showing a mysterious blue skinned warrior. It was different to anything I have seen before and intrigued, I took out carefully my saved pocked money and purchased the book. That´s how my fascination for Indian mythology started. Until today my work is influenced by this theme. Our graphic novel “The Golden Lion” was inspired by great Indian epics such as Ramayana and The Mahabharata.

Some weeks ago I created a poster showing a classic scene from Ramayana.

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The scene shows the monkey warrior Hanuman, who needs to cross the ocean in order to deliver a message to the princess Sita – wife of his master – held prisoner in Lanka. At this moment, Hanuman´s past is revealed:

” Inside of you reside powers beyond human awareness. When you were a child you jumped to the sky and tried to eat the Sun itself, thinking it was ripe mango. Hanuman, the extent of this vast ocean is no barrier to your power.

Hanuman looks to the sky and the sea waters. And he sees an endless blue. Blue as the skin of his master – Rama. He doesn´t hesitate, runs and jumps surrendering himself entirely to his task. As someone who dissolves himself in his own devotion. He crosses the skies and disappears from sight in the infinite blue.

I decided to used a more iconic graphic style to convey the “surrender to blue” message. It took me many sketches to find the ideal shapes. Once satisfied with the sketches I scanned the illustration and added colours in Photoshop.

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This mythological scene reminds me that sometimes we need to take the risk and jump to achieve our goals in our lives. We need to surrender ourselves to our own ideals.

David 

Laying out the story

In November last year, we had a great meeting in London. Daniel came over from Sydney and we worked intensely for 2 weeks. We managed to create the structure of the entire story, all the 4 chapters of Golden Lion. Now we only need to draw, ink, colour and letter it. Everything will be done within 2 years.

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Costume design

The process of costume research can sometimes be very time consuming. When you are developing an original phantasy world you know books and google won´t give you a straight answer. But the time spent always pays off. Usually I do thousand sketches before I find a design that makes me happy. I love the balance between black and white and areas with ornaments and plain ones. The symbol in the centre of his chest suggests a chakra or energy centre from the yoga literature.

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Working on our next project

After a long pause working on the script of our graphic novel, we are back to the drawing table. I know it took a long time however comics creation is much more time consuming than most people think. At the same time in terms of freedom and artistic expression it´s very personal rewarding. You don´t need a few hundred thousand dollars to explode a car and there are no producers to tell you that the main character needs a romance interest to make the story more appealing to the general public. You just need paper, a pen and an idea.

In the picture below, I´m using water-colours in a dream sequence for our next project.

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