Hi there and welcome to my blog, most likely you’ve seen a post on Reddit, Deviant Art, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook – however you got here, you’re most welcome.
Update 12th April 17: I’ve currently received so many applications that I’ll be closing the application process on Sunday 16th April 17. If you’re landing on this page after this date, then feel free to have a read and even send in your details, I can’t promise that you’d be part of this particular selection process – but this is just one of many projects that I’m working on and will happily review your work with a view to working on a future project.
As you probably know from my post that I’m making a graphic novel called ‘Digitopia’ which is a post apocalyptic Mad Max style action-adventure of a a father trying to get his daughter to safety from the invading army, mercenaries and terrorists who are all trying to destroy his world.
I’ve already done a stack of work for this, on this page you’ll be able to find a lot of content that relates to the project including
- Who am I and why you should be reading this
- What it is I’m trying to do and how we could potentially collaborate
- Art Style Guide
- Character Reference Boards
- Previous Storyboards
- Short Film based of a couple of the scenes in the screenplay
Do have a look through it and if you think it’s for you there is a form at the bottom of the post where you can fill in your details and I’ll be able to review your work.
Who am I and why you should be reading this
So as you may have already gathered my name is Farhan, I’m a writer and filmmaker living in London, UK. I’ve worked on many big budget films including
- Harry Potter 3, 4, 5,
- Batman Begins,
- Alien vs Predator,
- and many more – see my IMDB page for the details (opens in a new tab)
I’ve been a lead artist on many games including
- Operation Flashpoint II: Dragon Rising,
- Fable as well
- as the launch of the XBox One,
I’ve done lots of animation and live events (I was lead artist on the London 2012 Olympic Games key sponsor and ceremonies) – If you want to learn more just click on the ‘About Me‘ page (it will open in a separate tab)
What is it I’m trying to do and how we could potentially collaborate
So initially I’m looking to work with an artist/a few artists to help build out the first twenty pages of my graphic novel Digitopia. The aim being that either or both of these actions
- to use the first twenty pages, plus all the other material (see below) to pitch to a major comic book publisher
- to use the first twenty pages, plus all the other material (see below) to start our own crowd funding campaign and raise the money ourselves
So this is going to be built out in a few stages, the first stage being to get the first twenty pages to a fully completed state.
The long term goal is to make Digitopia the graphic novel – this will happen!
How am I planning on doing this?
Well the answer via collaboration, collaboration primarily with artists. I’m looking to work with talented artists who share the same hunger and passion for the story as I do.
What I’m looking for is to give the artist(s) a stake in the project. What I mean by that is, that the artist(s) would have some type of ownership on how the piece will look and feel.
I’m not looking for ‘artists for hire’, instead looking to build out a longer term working relationship with an artist.
I’m looking for an artist who can contribute her/his ideas and give the artists equal front billing, so readers of the graphic novel will see that it was a collaboration between writer and artist.
Will I get paid?
So the plan (currently) is to pay an artist for either the first ten or twenty pages (depending upon the cost to do this and whether it’s a single artist who can do everything or whether it’s a set of specialists, i.e. penciler, inker, colourist, letterer).
At the bottom of the form I am going to ask you for
- your page rate
- whether you are an all in one or specialise in a particular area
- how much you would charge for the first ten pages
- how much you would charge for the first twenty pages
- how much you would charge for the whole book (currently 78 pages)
- link to your best artwork
The idea here is to use the either the first ten or first twenty pages (as above) to gain funding for the rest of the comic.
I’d rather be totally up front with you at the start, the remainder of the book may not even gain funding, but I think there’s still a lot to gain for an artist/artists in that you would get potentially twenty pages of your work seen in-front of a lot of publishers (via the direct approach to funding), fans (in terms of all the exposure I’ll be bringing through a crowd funding campaign my twitter page) and I’d work hard to push that.
The type of artists I am looking to work with
I want everyone to have a stake in this, at the moment I don’t have the money to pay artists a page rate, what
So as I said, I’m not looking for an artist for hire, instead, I’m looking for is someone who is hungry, someone who wants to get their work published, be it ten pages, twenty pages or more, this may be one person, it may be a few people.
Quite importantly I want to work with a collection of artists to give lots of artists and their work exposure.
Here are some of the things I’m looking for an artist
- someone who can challenge my ideas to make the graphic novel better
- someone who brings their own ideas to the table too
- obviously someone who can draw anatomy and action very well
- someone who has a strong sense of composition, how to stage shots in a really dynamic way
It may be that you’re not an artist, but are more of a colourist and you’re strength is in shading, or perhaps you’re a letterer, can you get still get involved?
Absolutely, I’d really love to get someone who specialises in shading and lettering.
Maybe you’re a concept artist and would like to design the characters and the areas in which the story takes place, is there space for you?
Of course there is!
I’d love to get more specialist people involved, this would allow
- for the work to be spread out amongst a few people
- allow you to focus on what you want to be known for, be that drawing scenes, colouring, lettering, concept art
- work in a group to create our own community – as we collectively push the work, everyone will gain more exposure
So how do you apply?
I’ve put a contact form at the bottom of the page – I’ve deliberately put it at the bottom of the page, because I want you to go through and read the synopsis, see the art style guides, the character references, the short films and previous storyboards.
It’s important you know what you may potentially be signing up for – this is going to be big.
This is a project I’ve done a lot of work on, it’s not just another post speculatively looking for an artist, this project will get made, just look at my ‘About Me‘ page and you’ll see that I get things done and published out into the world.
Here is a one page synopsis of the project.
In the year 2049, the world has been submerged into economic and environmental chaos.
JAY and SILAS are freedom fighters protecting their homeland Digitopia from the invading Confederate army.
Jay’s wife is giving birth to their daughter, LIBRA, as the tanks roll into Digitopia. Moments after becoming a new Dad, Jay is carrying his wife and the new born Libra, evading incoming tanks through the warzone ahead. Silas navigates their path to the refuge of the caves. Having just given birth Jay’s wife is unable to progress. Jay, physically can’t carry both mother and child to survival.
Silas escapes into the caves, abandoning Jay who is struggling with both new mother and baby.
The notorious bounty hunter NATIAHS pursues Jay and his new family through the wreckage of Digitopia. Looking deep into Jay’s eyes, Natiahs puts Jay out of his misery by shooting his wife.
The Confederate army claim Digitopia as their new homeland, rebranding it ‘The Confederate State of Digitopia’. They eject the Digitopian people throwing them into the flooded lowlands.
The Confederate army post an electric fence around the perimeter of Digitopia keeping Jay, Libra and the rest of the Digitopians out for several years. Jay manages to burrow a way back in so he and Libra can secretly get back into their homeland.
Once inside they are treated as terrorists who have come back to wreak havoc in the New Digitopia.
The once popular television host, LAIKA, tracks down Jay and Libra. She uses her live TV show to give Jay centre stage as she looks to push up the ratings of her failing show.
Laika having given gotten her scoop and boost in popularity, gives away Jay’s position, leading an army squad to him. Jay manages to take down the squad and in cold blood executes the squad commander. Jay immediately regrets the execution. It’s is too much, though for Libra to take. Traumatised at seeing her father become such a monster she runs away.
Laika regrets bringing the army squad to Jay, she promises to help Jay find Libra in the new Digitopia.
All the while Silas has taken it upon himself to become a state sponsored terrorist who is now planting bombs around the new Confederate State of Digitopia.
The inconvenient truth is that the state sponsoring the attacks is the Confederate state itself.
Jay must now team up with the two people who did him most wrong, Laika and Silas, as he races against Natiahs, the army, the media, army troops and the array of bounty hunters to rescue Libra.
In an epic showdown our new band of fallen heroes , Jay, Laika and Silas break into the Confederate compound to rescue Libra from the Predator-like Natiahs.
Our heroes escape to the perimeter of Digitopia where Natiahs confronts Jay, almost electrocuting him on the electric fence. To save Jay, Silas sacrifices himself on the electric generator which powers the fence. The Digitopians outside the fence break through the barricades. Jay now growing in belief is now able to fight Natiahs in the swampland below, where he uses his time spent in the swamp to out wit Natiahs. Jay has the opportunity to take revenge on Natiahs; instead Jay chooses hope over revenge and spares Natiahs’ life, realising that killing Natiahs won’t bring his family back.
Jay, Laika and Libra form a new family unit, they all have an opportunity to start their lives again.
Digitopia: Art Sytle Guide
I’ve put a brief art style guide here in the post, if you want to read the full art style guide you can find it here
I am really inspired by the print press design of the 70s and 80s before everything was ‘perfect’. I love the raw energy that comes through in this time period. We could accomplish something similar with a limited palette and use colours to represent different characters and the different locations in the story.
The true intention of the script should be reflected in the strong distinct visual look.
Here is some movie iconography that has inspired me and the look I’d like to achieve.
Strong use of distinctive colours and broad strokes from late 70s and early 80s movies
Enter The Dragon – striking colours and action posesPoster Work
The look of this movie lent itself to some classic iconography.
The images here have a painterly look. Compare these to the crisp perfect 3D images we have today. Which has more character? With the budget we have we are unlikely to be able to compete with Pixar and Dreamworks. Though what we are able to do is to take a risk like this which the big studios may not be able
Bullitt – crisp clean poster design with limited colours and images
The movie posters here are fairly simple showing one or two key images, the actor plus either the actress, the gun or the car. It doesn’t need to show hundreds of different items of the movie, in the same way for the graphic novel sample we don’t need to show hundreds of different assets but instead I think we should focus on the core elements of the story.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – visual motifs, layered backgrounds and bold colour pallettes
For me, the poster designs of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ are an absolute inspiration, in terms of the colours they use and the use of iconography. One of the takeaways I get from this design is that they have focused on visual motifs (like the coffins lined up, the puppet maquette, the clock) to tell the premise of the story. I would like to work with an artist who is able to bring out these key motifs from the story. The focus here is also on character, using outline shapes, sometimes they overlap to create layers and depth. Also I really admire the clever use of colours to depict tension.
Comic books that have inspired me the most
Batman Year One
Batman Year One, is probably my favourite graphic novel of all time, I love everything about it. Well I’ve always been a sucker for a good origins story, here the story is very gritty, in fact when I was writing Digitopia I could see that I was pulling on the same story beats of a desperate man trying to make good in a world that has gone to hell, as Batman Year One pulls from. I draw on the same real world action that Batman Year One does, the same feeling of palpable danger that our characters face in Digitopia.
Hell Boy- the sparse use of background, the strong use of shadows and colour tone to convey depth
I think what drew me to the Hell Boy series was that it had a very strong graphic nature to it. Mike Mignola who is one of the main influences of this book has this amazing ability to add depth into his images by very strong use of shadows, I don’t see this style in many other mainstream comic books.
What are your favourite graphic novels and comic books? use the form below to tell me what your biggest inspirations are.
Digitopia: Character References
Here are some inspirations on what I think the characters will be like.
Digitopia: Short Films
I’ve taken scenes from earlier drafts of the script and made two short animated movies out of them, which I would be able to use as part of a wider pitching process when it comes to trying to raise funding for this.
Digitopia: Discover Me
Digitopia: Nitro Dust
If you’re interested in how I made either of these two films do check out the animation making section of my website here.
Digitopia: Previous Storyboards
Here are the storyboards I used in the making of the short film Digitopia: Discover Me (above)
and here are the storyboards for the chase sequence that we used in the short film Digitopia: Nitro Dust
Like what you’ve seen so far, want to apply to help make this graphic novel a reality?
Sure it’s easy, use the form below and tell me
- about yourself –
- what’s your name,
- how long you’ve been into comics,
- favourite comic/graphic novel,
- where you live,
- what mediums you work in, i.e. traditional, digital, etc.
- what you like about the project
- how you would like to get involved, i.e. as an artist, inker, colourist, letterer or as as all-in-one
- how many pages you’d like to do
- very importantly give me one link to your portfolio, as much as I’d like to look through every single page you send me, I am anticipating getting a lot of submissions, so it just won’t be practical for me to look through every element of everyone’s work – if we take it forwards I’ll email you to ask for more details – also this helps me see gauge the various professionalism levels of everyone applying
Good luck and I look forward to seeing your work 🙂
Thanks so much