Catching Up with the Defenders!

Man, do I have so much TV to catch up on...

I went away to Lanzarote, and signed up to a free trial of Netflix to catch up on some TV to watch on some downtime. You can download the programmes so don't need an internet connection, so it seemed an ideal time.

So far I've managed to catch up with all of the Defenders related shows, Luke Cage, Iron Fist & the Defenders. I really enjoyed Luke Cage. The characters were great, and particularly Cottonmouth, played by Mahershala Ali, was really a stand out performance.

The Iron Fist series was fun, but the character of Danny Rand was a little two dimensional. He was a little boring at first, and then he was just constantly miserable, the guilt he had of his past and how he has to do everything alone. All the while, the fight scenes, he wasn't really shown off as the master of martial arts than they proclaimed he was. He didn't seem to fight any better than Daredevil.
Iron Fist Poster

The Defenders show was great though. After seeing Infinity Wars, it felt like a mini version of that with all 4 characters coming together. Although it doesn't get past the problem of, if this major incident is happening in New York, where are SHIELD or the Avengers? Even little comments saying where they are, or that there's no time to contact them, or they wouldn't believe them, whatever. But it also highlights these characters and questions why they AREN'T in the Avengers in the first place. With their skills, they would make strong team members. Just wish these guys got more credit.
Marvel's The Defenders

Now I just have to catch up on Punisher, Jessica Jones season 2...oh, and Luke Cage season 2 isn't too far away...

...sheesh...there's just no enough time!


Avengers Infinity War

Forgot to make a post about seeing this film, so here goes.

WARNING! - I may write something spoiler-y. I'll try not to go into details or specifics, but just in case you don't want to hear anything related to the film, just in case, turn away now.

Image result for infinity war

When Infinity War came out, I put myself on a social media hiatus to avoid any sort of spoilers that may be posted. But the hype was fierce. I was panicking, reading stories of sold out cinema tickets, and was worried that going to see it on the Saturday morning would be impossible. That we would be queuing out the cinema in a line that went on for miles, only to be told that there wasn't any seats available until the afternoon. Wednesday afternoon...

But all that worry was for nothing, as there were ample seats in our local cinema. I guess it's not as crazy as American cinemas, or maybe everyone were just not early risers.

And so, on to the movie...

It was EPIC!

That word gets thrown around a lot, but this film really does justify that moniker. It was great seeing all these characters coming together and interacting. Thanos was well developed, and looked great! The performance capture was really good, and you forgot he is this mammoth purple CG Titan, and just believe he is another actor in this film.

With a film as big as this, there was a worry it would feel rushed, or too much crammed in. True, the time flew by, but just because of how good it was! All the characters 'felt' like the characters from their respective films. There were good action scenes, although, the fight scenes weren't as good as Civil War, or as spectacular as Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

It was however, nice to be very surprised by this movie. With how often things are spoilt with set photos leaking, or critics posting anything spoilerific, I was amazed at how much I didn't really expect from the story. The way the film ends, wow!

And the after credits scene, actually feeling significant rather than just a throwaway...goosebumps.


Right now, I can't imagine where this story will go. I can throw up theories, but how do they top this? How do they make another two and a half hour epic like this to conclude this story? I haven't read any of the comics that inspired the movie, which, judging by some comments is a good thing as they do give away a lot of the shocking elements in this film, but the 2019 release is looking so so far away.



Writing Course Finished!

These past few weeks I have been trying to focus on completing a writing course I bought years and years ago, and now with the spare time I've had, I've managed to finally complete it!

The course in question is https://www.writestorybooksforchildren.com/

I was interested in this course as I really want to get into children's publishing. I used to always write stories growing up, but also with my animation and illustration background, and seeing how kids interact with books and stories now, I thought I could write and draw my own picture books.

The course wasn't just about picture books for young children, but more importantly about writing in general. It gave me a lot of tips and ideas on how to approach writing for the future. Before taking the course, I never really thought much about writing a novel for children, but after completing the course, I had a few ideas that I may explore.

The course was eighteen modules with a test at the end of each one, which were all fairly simple multiple choice questions, as long as you paid attention and read properly (I passed with a 92.96% result).

The course really helped in getting me excited for writing and getting those creative juices flowing.

So watch this space.


Blows dust off blog...

It's been one and a half years since I updated this blog. ... wow. I don't know where to begin. What's happened since my last post? What have I been up to? Can I even remember all that!? Ummm...I've worked on some great projects over these years. As a colourist on the Feature Film based on Raymond Briggs graphic novel, 'Ethel & Ernest' which was in cinemas and on BBC over Christmas.

I've worked on a quirky and delightful 52 x 5 minute series called Olobob Top. I really loved that show. The characters were fun to animate, and I hope it does well enough to get a second series as I would love to spend time in that world again.
And finally I've been working on this epic series called Luo Bao Bei. Fantastic characters, art design, scripts and the animation team at Cloth Cat have really knocked it out of the park with this one. I think it's probably my most proud piece of work to date because it really does look fantastic.
So I've finished work for a bit until May and have decided to update all things social media and web presence. I've been slowly working on a new website using wix.com. I fairly excited making it as I haven't made a website before.
I'll try to keep up to date with my progress and anything else that is going on, even if it's just random ramblings. I miss being quite active online, so I hope to get back into a rhythm in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!


Review: Zbox Harry Potter Special Edition Unboxing

So in June Zavvi announced that they were creating a Zbox special edition mystery box theme on Harry Potter, with each item being Harry Potter related merchandise. The price for this box was £29.99, £10 more than Zavvi's usual mystery boxes, and limited to 500 pieces, with my wife's birthday coming up, I thought it was worth ordering since she is a big Harry Potter fan.
The way these mystery boxes usually work is enticing you with the contents of the box being of higher value than the selling price, but because what is included is random, that's the risk you sort of take. In the US, Subscription crates like Loot Crate and Marvel Corps offer exclusive items to make the purchase worth while. While nothing was advertised as 'exclusive', with this being a 'special edition, I was at least hoping some good contents, or good value for money. I have my opinion of that, but I'll let you judge for yourselves.
Upon opening this box,which is a large box for these mystery boxes, my first impressions are that it looks rather empty. It looks like the a lot of the box is padded out by padded air pocket packing. The artwork in the box is nice, but that's not what you're paying for really. Zbox hasn't got the reputation as a brand to be seen as a Collectible item itself.
Removing the padding from the box, the contents become clear. 4 items. Just 4 items. £30 for 4 items. Nothing unique, nothing particularly exciting. For a special edition box, I thought on appearances,this was pretty poor. Maybe the retail value of these items exceeds £30, but judging from first impressions, I was not impressed.
So the first item was a Hugglepuff woolly hat. It's well made as official merchandise should be, and it's colourful, but it's a seasonal item of clothing. Not everyone wants to wear bright yellow hats in winter. Not everyone wants to wear a Hugglepuff badge. I think this is a niche item and won't appeal to everyone. The hat is retailing right now for £13.99 on TruffleShuffle. I wouldn't pay half for this and imagine it will appear in sales a lot cheaper.
Next up was an A5 Premium Notebook with the Hogwarts crest etched into a leather looking cover. This is a nice looking product, and something my wife will definitely use. I would think something like this would be around £10, and digging around, that's how much you can pay on eBay. It's an expensive notebook with the price probably putting me off from buying it in a shop.
This is a little unfair, as my wife already has this quidditch Funko Pop. And that's the problem with Funko Pops. Everyone has one. No matter what Harry Potter Funko they included in this box, someone would have it being a Harry Potter fan. The only way to prevent this is it's an exclusive item, but with a limited run of 500 boxes, that is not sustainable. Funko so can be picked up for £9.99. It's a good figure sure, but predictable to include a Funko, while Zavvi should really expect many fans would have these easy to find collectibles.
Lastly we have a large 500ml Hogwarts glass. It's a nice product that anyone can use, and will be the second item my wife will keep. It's another £8-£10 retail product. Again, expensive for a single glass. It's a mixed bag, because had she didn't already own the Funko, it would have been 3 of 4 items kept. However, had it been any other Funko, there's no guaranteeing she would have been happy with it. And while the suggested retail of these items is around £40, I don't think there's good value for money for those items. I don't think we would pay £10 for a glass or notebook. I think we will struggle to resell the Hugglepuff hat on eBay, or find anyone to regift it to. I think I could do some digging and buy all these for £30, but the thing is, I don't think they would have been items that we would have searched out for. They aren't essential collectibles, and there is nothing special about them. For a special edition Zbox, everything is so dull. I feel very disappointed and a little robbed for paying £30 as they are nearly retail value items that are still overpriced. It certainly isn't value for money. To make matters worse, this box was delayed for a month! So what was supposed to be a birthday gift came very late. The original date was 31st July, and it wasn't delivers until 3rd September! No compensation, no apologetic gesture. The excuse was there being a delay in one of these products, but because they are all just off the shelf items, I don't see what the hold up could have been. This was a disappointing expensive box with overpriced items to try justifying it's value, but there's no value for money here, and for a special edition box to just be 4 items that can be bought easily off the shelf, no exclusives, and only going to keep 2 items just for convenience rather than wanting them to begin with, well it's a pretty poor outcome. I've been tempted by Zbox for some time, but this is the last time they will get my money. I would have preferred to have kept the £30 to have spent on Harry Potter merchandise she would have wanted, and that's the problem with these boxes, you can't trust what's in them. It just looks like excess stock that someone is trying to clear out. Don't waste your money on these special editions again folks. And if you have money to burn, look up some subscription boxes that offer something exclusive to get value for your money, or just search for someone you actually want to spend your money on rather than gambling on a mystery Zbox.


Rumble Slam - KickStarter

Rumble Slam is a Fantasy Wrestling board game with fantastic looking miniatures currently on Kickstarter that I have been pretty excited about. It's past it's funding goal and unlocking stretchgoals as we speak, but I kept mentioning about the character designs and to make them look more like wrestlers by adding more wrestling type attire.

Below are te original artwork for Rumble Slam, with my tweaks done over the top of them. Just minor changes to make them either look more like wrestlers, or to make them a little different than generic wrestlers that are part of the regular teams.

Find out more about Rumble Slam here: http://kck.st/1m3xuwA
Original artwork belongs to TTC.


Female Assassins

A quick edit of the Dragon Tides preview of the female assassin sculpt.
I opted to give her sais and changed her leg position. I also tried removing her boots to give her heels, a mask, and changed her boots into a cool gauntlet / arm protector.




Bruce Lee themes

Dragon Tides is down to it's final 48 hours and asked backers to suggest themes for fun. 
For a martial arts themed game starring Bruce Lee, main characters from Street Fighter were an obvious link, as well as a nod to Dragonball Z. But doing Ryu made me think of another beat-em-up, Tekken, and the artwork was easy enough to adapt.

Just quick fun doodles.

Click the links and back the project!

Return of the Dragon -- Kicktraq Mini


The Sparring Program

So I posted a graphic I mocked up for the Kickstarter game 'Dragon Tides'.
Well a few of us were discussing dream expansions and characters we would like to see, and one that stuck out was the Sparring Program scene from the Matrix. 

So I quickly whipped out photoshop on some pictures to make them look 'arty', and here we go. It's sort of 'in-style' with the artwork in Dragon Tides promo art. The names of the characters are from te actor's filmography. Anyway, just something fun.

You can check out the Kickstarter page and compare the original image here - http://kck.st/1CVDjPV


Dragon Tides Kickstarter

So I visit Kickstarter a lot and I am always on the look out for great looking games. 

One I came across was Dragon Tides, a role playing game with miniatures that was fully licensed with Bruce and Brandon Lee featuring, a long with many more exciting characters and miniatures.

The project just successfully funded and still has 16 days to go. However I thought the main image could do with an update to show off the painted minis and display a more eye-catching 'funded' sign, as well as add some description in the picture. This is what I came up with.

You can check out the Kickstarter page and compare the original image here - http://kck.st/1CVDjPV


Celtic Claw...again

Another drawing of my character Celtic Claw. Decided to draw the last costume version in a more serious style to see how it works. I like it.

Celtic Claw Redesign

Did a quick sketch of an old character, trying out a different design for him. Looks more like his 'classic' look, but looks more sensible.


More Pants Action!

pent an extra half hour to 45 minutes to finishes this picture off. Glad I did, think it looks much better.

Pants Action!

Been a long time since I have drawn this guy. Underpants Boy, a character I made up in 2006 during my Art Foundation course. Last time I drew him was probably 2 years ago. Just cracked this out for fun. Around 90-120 minutes? Gotta work faster. Still thinking of adding some lighting. We'll see.


Happy Hour

My character AngelCrusher having a drink, all for a Happy Hour art jam on deviantArt.


Hela 'va good Figure

After seeing the final sculpt for the last figurine of the THE CLASSIC MARVEL FIGURINE COLLECTION, and how brilliant it looks, I was feeling creative.

Ok, I was too tired to do any commissions so thought this would be easier just to get something creative done before bed. Anyway, this is an alternate costume for Hela. I didn't go all out modifying the costume properly, so its more of just a digital repaint.


Cute Avengers Framed

Signed and framed for sale especially for the Rhondda Cynon Taf County Show tomorrow.

Doctor Who Are ya?

Quick and crappy Matt Smith Dr Who Caricature before bed.
Keep meaning to do a proper picture of him.

Ah well. Make do.


Avengers Assemble

Some cute Avengers fan-art.

Started as a sketch of Captain America while at a crafts fair while I was bored. Went to another crafts fair, and drew Iron Man and Thor. Then Hulk and Black Widow the next day. And so it ended up with this.

All traditional pencils. Didn't use any reference as I wasn't too picky about it.

Hope y'all like anyway.


Fisticuff Animation

Didnt work. Maybe a deviantArt link will...

Fisticuff Animation by *AngelCrusher on deviantART

Exported flash animation as a gif to see if it has a transparent background to post on deviantArt. So essentially, this is a TESTSTETSTETSTETETSTETSTEST.