The Opera Post, Act 1

This month The New Bradford Playhouse put on an in-house production of Maskerade, adapted from the Terry Pratchett book of the same name (think Phantom Of The Opera with humour and witches). I haven’t been on that stage in a long time, and love the works of Pratchett, so I signed up.

My main role was one of the stagehands who are actually part of the play, so as well as spouting lines i’d shift furniture, in sight and out of sight of the audience. I had two other bit-parts in one scene each, with quick costume changes. Along with learning script, stage directions and set mechanics, I also made the show’s programme, some posters, two Papier-mâché masks for the cast, and one mask for myself. In 4 weeks. Oh, and I started a new full-time job at the same time.

Hunger sated

Some personal projects run straight through, quick as a flash. Others get put on hiatus. Many sketches never get off the ground. Today’s post is about one particular illustration of mine; one that has made it through development hell to see the light of day.
After watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for the dozenth time, and laughing at that brat Malfoy getting clawed after provoking dangerous animals, this doodle of a cheap pun landed in the sketchbook.

Hungry Hungry Hippogriff - first doodle
Timestamped – lawks! – March 1st 2008.

I sourced visual references of both the film and the board game referenced, and drew it out A4-sized while I was freelancing: I distinctly remember working on this while at the Saatchi & Saatchi offices. Scanned it in, did some digital colouring, applied filters and textures while playing around with the colour scheme…

Hungry Hungry Hippogriff - 09/10 colour options
The lower colour option being “contemporary video game”, apparently.


Last month I went to a comic book convention, meeting several nice folk and purchasing merch. Just opposite from Matt Dyson of Mookeo fame (who I knew a little before his success), and down from the smiley Philippa Rice of My Cardboard Life, stood Timothy Winchester from People I Know.

I’ve only met him twice, but he’s such a lovely person we’re like friends. After buying some badges (sadly lost on the train ride home), he extolled the virtues of Angela Lansbury, an actress remembered for Murder, She Wrote but star of many more works. He asked for my help on something.

For a couple of years, Tim has dedicated a whole week to this woman, with various guest artists providing drawings to his blog. That week is now, and today my entry landed – The pirate maid Ruth from the Pirates of Penzance movie!

Angela Lansbury as Ruth

There’s been a whole bunch of fine drawings through the week, from various talented and/or enthusiastic people. This link will line up all the days on one page for ya!

Little Grey Cels

There are now a few images in my flickr photostream of Cliffe the Caterpillar in the wild. To cut to the chase, here are the direct links: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Second off the bench, something new:

Poirot cartoon poster - click for full size
If he gathers everyone in a drawing room, watch out!

A poster for Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, if there had been a 1950s animated serial. Inspired by (and borrowing the woman from) this backdrop from When Magoo Flew.

Last topic – quick fixes. The tag search page is improved, and it seems the way this blog’s CMS manages pages broke some of the links to my contact page. Needless to say, that’s now been fixed, but it’s a good thing I put contact info in every page’s footer too!

Now I must be going; Current events include a job interview, a friend’s show, preparations for Cliffe II: Caterpillar Harder, and a family matter.

And I hope you all had your 2 minutes of silence this morning.

My Red Mill Collection

By Red Mill, I mean Moulin Rouge, that infamous cabaret that ended up romanticized in Baz Luhrmann’s musical of the same name.

4 or 5 years ago, during uni lectures, I did a doodle in a sketchbook – Harold Zidler from the film, spouting a catchphrase. This turned into a t-shirt printed for a friend, the image created in Macromedia Flash, JASC Paint Shop Pro and Microsoft Publisher (of all things). Later on, while teaching myself Illustrator, I did a few more characters. Skip forward to today, down that slippery slope; now there are eighteen of them.

Carl Mitchell's Moulin Rouge Rosettes - Click to visit collection

I finished a couple of stragglers off this weekend. This is almost certainly the final update: I do have a vague plan for two more in the future, but they’re not getting brought out right now.

The DeviantArt collection has been brought fully up to date – the Flickr set and example on my portfolio will follow at a later date. I’m going back to learning catalogue layouts now…

p.s. Did you notice that this site’s header and footer have been changed? Yep, that was snuck in last week.

Send out a Clacks

It’s another Friday update!

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld; one of the very few novel series i’ve read from start to finish. Love ’em. There’s a dedicated Wikipedia for many things, and these books have one.

The picture they had for a Clacks (a Semaphore tower) is, in a word, awful. So I thought i’d wade in and bring a nicer one to the table.
I made two.

Carl Mitchell's First Clacks Tower - Click to enlarge

I started drawing this “technical” one first. Realising that the thin lines and angle would make it unclear at a low resolution, I soldiered on none-the-less, and decided to draw a second, smaller, rougher one to make up for it.

Carl Mitchell's Second Clacks Tower - Click to enlarge

I actually prefer this smaller one. It must be the shading.

Land of Trees

Been busy.

This is finished: An idea that’s been rattling round my brain for years, all wrapped up with an Illustrator CS3 bow!

Land of Trees - Thumbnail - Click for full view

In upcoming news, when my printer decides to print more than off-red stripes, or when a reasonably priced print shop is found, a long-running project (one that’s a slight departure from the usual) will be completed…

Leiapography: Double Dipping

Princess Leia Organa joins the Star Wars Typography lineup (after Admiral Ackbar and Darth Vader), not once but twice! The first one is a regular bust…

Leiapography (Regular)

…while the second one is the “Hologram Edition”, with a blue tint and added hood.

Leiapography (Hologram)

Both bear the discreet inscription “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”. Click on the images to see them larger at DeviantArt!


Vaderpography - Click to enlarge

Voila! The second “Star Wars Typography” work has arrived!

There could be a whole series of these, if the kinks can be worked out. Ackbarpography is doing well, being available to buy from SplitReason and all. There’s this one. Princess Leia is upcoming… sadly, she’s looking mostly dead right now!

Trash Can Cuisine

Trash Can Cuisine - click to enlarge
A.K.A. “Streets of Lunch”.

Here’s my latest entry into the SplitReason voting pool… can you guess the video game reference?

Streets of Rage, the old Mega Drive beat-em-up videogame. All the items pictured are either health pickups or weapons available in the game – The tagline for this image is “all I need is a fork”.