Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 11 ‘From the Sea’

Mac cleared his throat, opened his Miscellanea and started reading.

‘Fomhóire means ‘from the sea’ and is the name given to the divine powers, or gods of night, death and cold. The Fomhóire were misshapen and were believed to have the heads of goats and bulls. They also were believed to have only one leg and one arm each, and these grew out of the middle of their chests. The Fomhóire were the ancestors of the evil faeries and, according to legend, of all misshapen persons. The giants and leprechauns are also said to belong to the Fomhóire.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 9 ‘Cataclysm’

‘Every infection needs a host,’ said Mac, ‘and the NotBeSpeak need the biggest host of all; the world.’

‘How do we stop them?’ asked Inteachán.

‘How do you stop them,’ Mac corrected her. ‘I am old and my days of fighting inter-dimensional demons intent upon cataclysm are long gone.’

‘How do I stop them?’

‘They can only be stopped by preventing them from taking their final form.’

Mac smiled sadly.

‘If we know what final form they wish to take then that is how we can stop them.’

He paused.

‘But, I am only now beginning to understand what form their final form will take.’

Inteachán – Book One: The Song of the NotBeSpeak 1: 6 ‘You may call me Mac’

It was Professor Mac an Bhaird who heard Inteachán sobbing late on that awful evening.

Who left his door open in case she needed someone. Who woke to find Inteachán curled up asleep at the end of his narrow bed. Who smiled and didn’t speak. Who allowed Inteachán to just sit. Until she was ready to talk.

‘You may call me Mac,’ he said kindly.

Now they talk all the time.

Shawn Bracebridge – The Cat’s Pyjamas and Other Stories

I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Dublin-based artist and illustrator, Shawn Bracebridge. With his distinctive style and eye for the quirky, Shawn’s artwork combines beautiful echoes of previous decades of graphic design with a vibrant, contemporary edge. 

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1. How did you get started?

For as long as I can remember I have always been drawing. My father is a very talented painter, which is where I initially found inspiration. I have always had a very active imagination which always adds to my creativity. When I finished school I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in art. I initially wanted to study animation, while I do have a strong interest and love for animation I quickly discovered that the process wasn’t exactly for me so I took a step back and decided to try my hand at oil painting. I fell in love with painting for a while and even thought about pursuing a career in concept art for video games as I was creating a lot of fantasy inspired landscapes, but like animation I fell out of love with it and grew impatient. I started to explore my options a bit more and decided to look into graphic design as I wanted to gain some skills in the digital format. Graphic design really stood out and excited me so I decided to study it. I leaned everything I could about poster design, stationary design, branding and identity, typography, colour theory etc. After a few years of exploring graphic design and struggling to find some work I started to miss drawing and putting my imagination to work, so I put graphic design on hold and jumped right into illustration. I’m still relatively new to the field but I am very excited to see where this journey brings me in the future.

2. Who or what are your major inspirations?

My major inspirations in the world of art/design/illustration would be Saul Bass, the legendary graphic designer and illustrator who created some of the most amazing movie posters for film makers such as Hitchcock and Otto Preminger. Saul was where I found inspiration and drive for illustration itself. Peter Donnelly from Dublin is also another big hero of mine, having worked on one of my favourite childhood movies, The Land Before Time. He also has a series of beautiful picture books, The President’s Glasses and The President’s Cat, which are very reminiscent of the travel books created by another inspirational illustrator, Miroslav Šašek. Aside from other artists, what inspires me at the moment is music, jazz especially. I recently just discovered my interest in jazz and that in turn helped me find this 50’s/60’s inspired style of illustration. I have a deep love for comics, sci fi and fantasy which all factor in as inspiration for me too.

3. How would you describe your style?

My style is always slightly changing as I find different subject matter to work from, but I would say that my style definitely draws heavily from mid century style illustration. I look at illustrators like Saul Bass as sources for inspiration, especially with hand made typography. I always try to put my own spin on different styles that stand out to me, bringing a modern but ”retro” look to it. I’m always thinking of new ways I can change my style up slightly just to keep it fresh and exciting.

4. How do you work?

I currently work digitally but I try to start off with a simple pencil sketch on paper whenever working on a new project. I feel like i’ve neglected my sketchbook quite a bit since I started working digitally but I am working to get back to drawing with just ink and paper. I find sketchbooks to be a necessary tool as you may get an idea while taking the train or bus and you can quickly scribble it down and take note before developing it into a completely finished piece. While working digitally I try to keep my digital illustrations almost organic, my work doesn’t tend to have a highly digital polish at the end.

5. Can you talk us through some examples of your work?

print mockup bowie
Here is an illustration I created representing my favourite musical icon, David Bowie. This illustration was inspired by the music video for ‘Modern Love’ from his album ‘Let’s Dance’. As well as being a highly influential musical artist, he was a fantastic style icon and I just love everything about his look in this image, so naturally I decided to sketch it and then eventually turned it into a print.
kamasi mockup
Kamasi Washington, another favourite of mine. Kamasi is an American jazz saxophonist and musician. I just find everything about this mans music simply amazing. I always thought that he had a quite an interesting look, much like my David Bowie design, so I wanted to capture the bright colours and interesting outfits that he is known to wear.
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The Cat’s Pyjamas is a comic book series that me and my friend Kevin started together, it’s set against a 1960’s backdrop with jazzy undertones and is representative of cartoons such as the ones you might see from Hannah Barbera and The Pink Panther. There is much more to come of this!

6. What are you currently working on?

Right now i’m working on some more music inspired pieces. I’m creating a small collection of new prints that I will soon have available through my online store and whatever various markets I may take part in throughout the next few months. I’m also developing my comic series The Cat’s Pyjamas which will be an ongoing project for the foreseeable future!

7. What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future are not quite certain at the moment but I am excited at the same time. I hope to make more of a name for myself and meet more people through this field. I have ideas for more books that I wish to make in the future (hopefully sooner rather than later) I’ll also look into getting them published at a later stage, but for now I’ll keep on exploring ideas and creating more work!

Many thanks to Shawn for giving us such a fascinating insight in to your work. It was a pleasure chatting with you. Good luck for the future.

Shawn Bracebridge Illustration A4

If you want to stay up to date with Shawn’s progress with The Cat’s Pyjamas and his other projects then you can find him on Instagram.

If you are interested in buying some of Shawn’s work then you can find his online store on Bigcartel.

Diary of a Free Ebook – Day 378 – What’s in a Word?

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E-Book? Ebook?

Hyphen? No hyphen?

What’s in a word?

There is something very old-fashioned about the sound of the word(s) used to describe an electronic book.

Much like the way in which we still use the word ‘video’ today to describe moving images.

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As a word, ‘video’ reminds me of watching dodgy copies of banned horror films on VHS in the 1980s.

Despite the fact that we use the word to mean something very different in 2019 ‘video’ just seems so old-fashioned.

For me, it is the associations.

The clunk of the door as you inserted the tape into the recorder/player.

The sound as the machine steadied itself.

The roll of the lines up the screen.

The occasional distortion as the sound synced.

The hang of the pause.

The song of the tape as it rewound in a different key to the one that played as you fast-forwarded past the adverts.

Do you remember these sounds?

Perhaps you have never heard them?

It is highly likely that you will never truly hear them again.

And we haven’t even started to think about another link in this word association game we are playing today.

Betamax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

The Eleventh Film VII

Some thought it had to be negligence.

Others proffered chance as an explanation.

A by-product of progress.

An unforeseen response to technological change.

It was all of naught.

There was no suitable analysis.

The cosmic die had been cast.

They were among us now.

Summoned by the Eleventh Film.

It was now simply as if they had always been here.

The Eleventh Film – Horror/Science Fiction Flash Fiction Series

The Eleventh Film Part VI

It was Georges Méliès who first saw the angels. With his love of trick and smoke and conjuring. Méliès felt their presence. He understood their mission.
He began to chart their flight as they flew like sainted bees. Gathering evidence for a sceptical world. He tried to speak with them. But how do you talk to bees? What do you even say?
And then everything he had managed to gather was lost in a studio fire.
And so it was their presence simply became the natural way of things.

Top Tips for Being a Better Independent Publisher – Number One

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Hi Everyone

We are quite literally inundated with lists of tips in their fives and tens and twenties about how to be better at things and how not to do things so badly. Inspired by this avalanche of tips I thought I would offer some top tips of my own. Here is my top tip for today.

Despite All Appearances to the Contrary The World is Still Full of Strangers

We are an optimistic bunch and for the most part we have come to believe that the proliferation of digital technology has made the world a smaller place. Not only that, this same technology has also brought people together in ways that we have never seen before. This is of course true but this does not mean that our lives are enriched in new ways by the enormous number of friends we now have, despite the various ways in which social media platforms encourage us to connect with each other.

The simple fact of the matter is that we are all now in some form of new relationship with a wider range of strangers than ever before. Once you chip away the real friends and relationships we have on something like Twitter, it is a simple fact that most people we follow or follow us are complete and utter strangers.

And here is the thing.

Once upon a time we might have understood our average potential social reach – pre- social media – as something like the number of people sitting on both decks of an average double-decker bus. We might not know everyone as well as each other but if we were to sit next to someone else on the bus it would probably be possible to strike up some kind of kindred conversation with them.

That was then.

Nowadays, especially given the constant exhortations that each and every social media platform bombards us with in terms of making new ‘friends,’ establishing connections, or adding new followers (and there is something very archaic about this very notion), it is simply the case that our new potential social reach is very often something less like a double-decker bus and now something more like a sports stadium.

A sports stadium?

I don’t know about you but the last time I went to a sporting event I was struck by the sheer logistical difficulties in gathering so many people together in one particular space at one particular time.

And by people I mean strangers. 

Yes, we might go with some friends or family and we might see other people who have gone with their family and friends but for the most part we are alone in a stadium full of strangers.

Of course, we can further understand that this stadium full of strangers all have something in common; a love of the sport, for example or the affiliation with a particular team. Nevertheless, with very few exceptions, we would enter the stadium as strangers and leave the same way.

But how do sports stadiums relate to independent publishing?

If I was sitting on the top deck of a bus and and I started telling people about a project I was working on, or had completed, it is possible that very quickly I might be able to get some people interested in what I was doing. Of those people interested, it is also possible that some of them (a few of them) (one or two of them) might want to learn a bit more about my project. That would be great but very quickly I would run out of people to tell.

Now, imagine trying to do the same thing in a sports stadium. How long would it take before you ran out of either steam or people who were interested enough?

You could start by telling the people you had gone to stadium with – but they probably already knew (I’m sure you had told them about your new project the last time you saw them).

Then what?

How do you tell a stadium full of strangers about your new project? More importantly, how do you get a stadium full of strangers to care about your project? Most of them probably already have projects of their own that take up all their time and mean more to them so why should they even care about yours?

And this is the crux of the matter.

For example, every time I am on Twitter – and I am on Twitter for an awful lot of my time – it is like being in a sports stadium and everyone in the crowd is trying to get each other to care about their projects by hoping that their voice will be louder than the other voices in the same stadium but they are not and so eventually we fall silent.

And despondent.

And concerned that our social media techniques are not as developed as they should be and then we start scouring the internet for lists of tips of how we might do things better and then we realise that everyone is offering the same and different advice and that essentially everyone is in the same stadium shouting at each other. Shouting at strangers.

 

Personally, I prefer to try ignore the sound of the crowd.

I have lost my voice too many times trying to shout out loud enough for strangers to hear what I’m saying. And even if they heard me they probably wouldn’t be able to listen for long enough for me to tell my story properly before another stranger caught their attention. Or before they needed to shout about their own project to the same strangers.

So what’s the answer?

I don’t think there is one. Other than the understanding that you wouldn’t walk down the street telling everyone you passed about your new project so why would you spend your time online shouting at strangers about the same thing?

Currently I’m working on simply talking to people.

As many people as possible.

More importantly, I’m asking people about their projects rather than shouting about mine.

So, you glorious stadium full of strangers, tell me about your projects.

What are you working on?