Hey Folks, I just launched a Kickstarter.
A printed comic book paired with an iPad/iPhone app brings to life the story of a paranoid time traveler known as Modern Polaxis. Please check out the campaign and help to spread the word.
Archive for the ‘Press’ Category
I know I haven’t been too active on the blog, but never the less it’s been quite a big year with even bigger things happening in the New Year. That and I just feel like thanking everybody. So firstly a BIG THANKS to all you people out there in NAWLZy land. It’s incredible the opportunities that have arrived just from having the site up. You’re doing a great job sharing the word to the far ends of the globe. I get emails from every where, places I’ve never heard of, plenty of enthusiastic Uni students have written about Nawlz in their thesis. What a spin out! I’ve still got the FINAL episode to do. It’s sad to see it be put on the backburner so many times, but I must say it’s nice to be finally getting paid to do the kind of work I wanna do. So with that in mind…
Big congratulations and THANKYOU to everyone (especially the community of Roebourne) who have been involved with and supported NEOMAD which won an ATOM award (an Australian Media Arts Award). Also a big congrats goes out to my mate Tyson Mowarin, writer of Ngurrara which won the Jury Selection for the Manga division of the Japanese Media Arts Festival. I gotta thank my Producer Deb Myers and the company I work with BIGhART for driving the YijalaYala Project. That project has marked an important part of my life. It has been instrumental in figuring out a way to involve an entire community in the creation of a comic (three interactive comics I should say). The project has set new precedents for how mining corporations could work better with their neighbouring endangered communities.
In other news I’ve just finished illustrating a 70 page Mega City-near-future adventure called The Gatecrashers. It’s written by Zach Mortenson founder of Ghost Robot. It’s about a paramedic/ambulance driver who’s job is to haul bodies from near death to life through the chaotic fabric of a cluster fuck City known as Palomar. It’s gritty and neon like an ambulance light reflecting in a puddle of mud. The comic showcased at New York comicon this year and we just recieved this great email this morning:
“Hey, I met you guys in NYC comic con and I can’t to get my hands on this comic. Im already in love with it. You may not remember me but I was the medic who works for FDNY so the idea alone got me hooked. I just want to wish you all the best and a lot of success. Hope this new year starts out with a bang! Im sitting in my ambulance as I write this, even got my partner into getting a copy. Have a happy new year, stay safe and enjoy. -Already a huge fan, João Seabra”
I’m sure it will appeal to everyone (not just ambulance drivers) Here’s a sneak peak of it, without the dialogue. Zach’s putting that in as we speak (in between sipping Martini’s no doubt):
I’ve also got a few new short stories on the go including the diary of a paranoid time traveller. This is going to be an AR comic where you need the iPhone App to see the protagonists *hidden* messages and maddening theories about the agents him.
More news: The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) will be shooting a short doco on me in January – they’re even coming up to the desert to shoot it. Very exciting! Also I just got invited to the Fumetto International Comix Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland – very excited about that too, never been to Switzerland and they will be exhibiting a bunch of my work. I can’t wait to see what they do with it. I might be heading back to Greenland to finish a short story there. That won’t happen til middle of next year, but the wheels on the project are slowly turning, fingers are crossed, I REALLY wanna get back to Greenland!
Ok that’s it for now. Have a great night tonight and take no inspiration from Jonnie-jon.
- Nawlz is a really imersive and interactive story, using a non traditional storytelling techniques. Do you think it would be possible to tell this story with a traditional media? What is the importance of the digital medium to set the right mood?
People will always find a way to tell their story and I’m sure a creative writer could use words on paper to tell a story like NAWLZ, but, the experience of that paperback story will be very different to the digital experience of NAWLZ. NAWLZ combines text, illustration, animation, sound design and interactivity to tell the story. The story follows a character who is using advanced technology to allow him to project his art and imagination into a virtual reality. He is projecting, image, animation and sound, therefore the digital media used in NAWLZ is as relevant to the plot and it’s protagonist as it is for the reader.
I try to use animation, sound design and interactivity in response to the context of the story. For example, Augmented Reality (AR) is a major theme throughout Nawlz. I use interactivity to allow the reader to toggle between physical and virtual reality. (see image attached) Not only does the image change but the the music and sound design changes too. It is a simple technique that is used throughout NAWLZ. It allows the readers to see and experience how easy it is to jump between the virtual and physical worlds in this futuristic setting and how the difference between these worlds can become blurred.
- From several digital comics, Nawlz stands out, not only for the creativity of the story, but also for the variety of tools used to engage the reader. Could you comment on what kind of experience you expect with this kind of freedom, with a story that goes back and forth on the illustration, stops and then advance again?
By creating an environment that invites the reader to interact you are engaging more sensors than the ordinary reader and can potentially create a more immersive experience. The traditional gesture of ‘turning the page’ to progress a story is interpreted into a new action; a click, a scroll, a swipe etc. An important difference is that a ‘click’ has the power to also trigger sound and animation, it can transform the digital space completely. In this sense the reader becomes a catalyst for that transformation. In NAWLZ, the story usually unfolds from left to right, however, in a memory scene the story might navigate backwards or in a dream scene the story might shift three dimensionally. These shifts in digital space carry new meaning for narrative. Every shift is activated by the readers input. The reader knows to ‘click’ but they don’t know what will happen when they click. Interactivity can enhance that anticipation and motivate the reader to read on.
- Can you tell a little about the process of creation of a digital comic? Is there a effect you want to use from the beginning, or you think about the story first to only then come up with the animations to make it work?
I write the story first, then I start drawing the pictures. I like to draw the pictures on a big long scroll of paper. Seeing the pictures side by side on paper, helps me to imagine how the story will unfold on the digital canvas. I then scan the drawings in to the computer, colour them in Adobe Photoshop, and then I lay out all the coloured images in Adobe Illustrator where I also add the typography and other graphic design elements. From Adobe Illustrator I export to Adobe Flash where I animate the comic and add the interactivity. The Flash work is driven by my own framework that i designed specifically for Nawlz. This framework gives me a lot of control over the sound, animation and navigation of the story. It is also very flexible and allows me to experiment with new animation and interactivity techniques. Sometimes I plan the animations and interactive elements, other times I improvise. It’s hard to know what elements will work together until you try. This experimentation process is important for discovering new ways animation and interactivity can give your narrative new meaning.
- In your opinion, digital comics are a new media, or a way of adapting the old HQ to the new times? How do you see this process of changing?
THe techniques used in comics and graphic novels have evolved over a hundred years. These old formats will continue, because they work and people still love reading printing books. Digital Comics will become more established as their own format of story in the future and they will continue to change and evolve also. In the last 12 months I have used the NAWLZ approach to digital story telling for 3 other stories. One story is NEOMAD, a comic series for kids – it uses interactivity to trigger voice over narrative. Another story is Warlu Song, an adaptation of an ancient Australian Aboriginal song, like NEOMAD this story also uses voice over narration but a key difference is it also allows the reader to toggle between English and Yindjibarndi (Aboriginal language). This ability to switch languages is crucial for teaching young Aboriginal people their native language – which is threatened by extinction. As people explore the possibilities of digital story telling there will be many changes and inventions. Like NAWLZ, the experiments are often in response to the context of the story and we as creators will continue to ask ourselves what can we do and what technology we can use to best communicate our stories.
So I was going to write some philosophy about things being free. Nawlz has been online for free (mostly) for four years now. I launched episode one in 2008 without much of a plan. It’s still going, slowly moving along, like a beasty little pet that gnaws at my heels every now again, hoping to get get fed some. The Nawlzy images are still in my head, dinner is coming. A buffet is coming… I see major destruction and chaos reigning loose on the streets of Nawlz. An epic finale has been brewing for sometime. BUT the reaction to this beast being online for free is… I actually have work now, illustrating and creating interactive stories. Who woulda thought. As for the last episodes… I gotta create a window, to get into my Nawlz zone and unleash the last storm. Until that happens - whilst the money is coming in from other gigs – I’m more than happy to put it all back online for free. Please indulge yourselves with a feast of season 01. Happy holidays folks, I’m off to Cuba!
I’m having an amazing week at the Bucheon International Comic Festival in South Korea. BICOF invited me over for a lecture and an exhibition. The exhibition looks incredible! BIG THANKYOU to Jae-Rok for his fantastic curation and another big thanks to rest of the KOMACON crew for their incredible hospitality all week. Now check this out… Floor to ceiling high backlit prints…
Three of my scrolls stretching the entire space…
Two projectors for season 1 and 2 and an AR installation.
The Koreans go all out for comics, it’s mad. I love it, I wish we had the same culture and respect for comics and illustrated stories in Australia. Tonight I had dinner with a bunch of veterans who were celebrating the passing of a new law to compel the government to give greater support to the comic industry. The veterans then gave a bunch of awards to the new generation of artists. There must have been over hundred artists in the room. Awesome stuff!