Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reactor Studios

About a week ago I had an informal field trip with one of my classes to Reactor Studios, located in downtown Toronto.

I'll admit, I didn't have very high expectations for the trip. The studio is only a ten minute walk from my university and my prof is the one that runs the agency, but I guess he thought it would be a good experience for us to go and see a studio in person.

I haven't really be interested in the class (I'm never interested in Visual Culture studies) but I was pleasantly surprised by the event. The place was really interesting, and my prof's agency had all these old illustration originals that dated back to the 1970s.

There was a print shop behind the studio, and we got to tour it as part of impromptu trip. I've never seen a printing press, and I was more interested in that than I was by the studio itself.  I love machinery and watching things being made.

Towards the front of the studio they had a bunch of old machines that I took to instantly: with all the gadgets and levers and gears it was like walking into Steampunk city. The entire thing was fascinating.

School's ended for the semester, so I'll finally have time to scan all my projects and post them online. I'm going to try and get back into regular blogging over the holidays. I've been slacking off since Canzine, and it's a habit I need to break.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Adventure Time: Hydro Corridors and Urban Wastelands

A couple weeks ago I went location hunting around the York University hydro corridor, to look for references to use in my Red Queen comic. It was cold and I was sick, so I bundled up, packed an extra box of tissues, and headed off to explore the vast fields of urban wasteland that surround the GTA.

I was supposed to go exploring back in August, but the weather was hot, school resumed, and I started making excuses when I really should have gotten it out of the way. The hydro corridor is isolated and difficult to get to, and the whole area is so depressing that I really had no motivation to go there. It's so ugly that it drains you of all inspiration: the kind of place that personifies the bleak existence of those trapped between urban waste and suburban decay.

I've gone hunting for reference photos before, but my trip to the corridor was the first time I've ever done any serious, in-depth documentation for the setting of one of my comics. I usually set my stories in futuristic or historical landscapes, but as there's a strong streak of realism in my current comic (and I want to keep that realism as authentic as possible), I had to find live sources.

I've got to hit up a couple more locations for photos before I really buckle down and illustrate, but as the hydro corridor was the most isolated spot on the list the others shouldn't be too much of a drain. Also of note: I've also discovered that I prefer black and white references over color (when working on comics). I'm finding more and more that monochromatic sources help me to visualize narrative compositions.

Sunday, November 13, 2011