Crusty girl

Little biro sketch, tidied in GIMP, vectorised using edge detect in inkscape.

crusty girl

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Patriotic Pete

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Patriotic Pete

Continuing my series of “people you might meet in Luton”, here is Patriotic Pete. Is he a member of the BNP or just a cheery enthusiast of middle England? We might never know.

Running girl

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Running girl

I’m toying with an idea for a graphic novel. It would be based in Luton.
I’ve sketched out one of the characters (the street is from bury park near the football ground)

My current technique is to sketch in pencil, scan in, whack the threshold up so the lines are black, and print out so I can experiment with different ways of colouring using the alcohol pens.

This is looking a bit more fluid and comic-y than trying to go over everything in ink..

Locklear

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5 x 8 cover 1

I’m just setting up my Victorian adventure novella on Amazon.. here’s a preview of the front cover.

If anybody would be interested in reviewing it for me, let me know by email: androktone@hotmail.com
I can send over the PDF or ebook version and once your review is up on Amazon I’ll send you a signed physical copy to say Thank You!

The illustrations are by Tatjana Larina – she’s an awesome artist and takes commissions.
https://www.facebook.com/tania.art.studio
https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/_~0176c45f238510a3ae/

You can buy pieces of her art here:
http://www.redbubble.com/people/taniaartstudio
http://www.zazzle.com/taniaartstudio

bar(sepia)

Book review

This week I finished Cory Doctorow’s “For the Win”. Cory makes the majority of his books available for free here: http://craphound.com/ftw/download/. I did buy mine, for the e-reader. It was less than £4.

“For the Win” is a sort of a sequel to “Little Brother”. There aren’t any common characters, but they’re both near-future, real world books. They both feature young, brave, uncompromising computer literate protagonists and oppressive, heavy handed governments. Where “Little Brother” is concerned with American state surveillance, “For the Win” is more global – it explores the lives of Chinese and Indian “gold farmers” – young people who play massive multiplayer online games in order to earn gold and specialist items which they can then sell, for real money, to players in the west. To make this more interesting, Cory has spun the wheels of the future round a few turns, positing a scenario where the games are now so vast that their economies are as large as those of small countries. The action happens where the work in these games intersects with real life sweatshops.

What makes these young adult books is that Cory explains in detail about the economic, financial and technical ways in which the world ticks. in “Little Brother”, he explains how surveillance gait recognition cameras work and how you could fool them, how you can encrypt messages and use the Onion Router or make your own sub-internet wifi network that doesn’t go through an ISP. He lists resources in the back of the book. This is basically a toolkit for baby hackers. In “For the Win”, the explanations are financial, but they make sense of the economic crisis. As a reasonably well educated adult reading this, I don’t feel condescended to, just interested.

Another common vein running through Cory’s books is his unshakeable optimism that whatever the ills of the world, the internet can fix them. Whether it’s bringing workers together to support each other globally, providing people with a way to communicate without being spied on, generating income for the dispossessed, Cory’s characters adapt, notch up their intelligence, and use the internet and technology at its bleeding edge to ride the scary changes the world is currently going through. They’re uplifting. I’m certainly giving them to my children to read.

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In a complete volte-face, the book I am currently reading is by “Wood Fables”, by an 19th Century naturalist called Richard Jeffries, and the protagonist is  Bevis, aged, so far as I can tell, about 5 years. He is currently deep in conversation with a squirrel.