June 2011

I know it's a little late. But it is finally done. It has some problems and a few places I could improve on it but I also feel that I am done with it. So here it is for your downloading enjoyment.

Download Here.

Note: Wallpaper Pack comes in 4 colour schemes. All at 2560x1600px resolution.

P.S. This is for you, Ben.

Shop is Now Open for sale.

So the shop is now open for sale (Check the link on the top navigation). 5 1st Run prints are available for the Back to the Future posters and the Glass Half Empty poster will be printed to order. Please allow some time for the product to make it to you as it's a one-man operation here. If you order a combo of the BttF posters, shipping is free (within the UK, will look into Worldwide).

Two more posters added in the coming weeks. Hope you like what you see.

X-Men: First Class

  • Nothing like the comic it's supposedly based on. All the better for it.
  • Fassbender and McAvoy were brilliant as Xavier and Magneto. So so good.
  • The single, allowed use of the F-word in the film was brilliant.
  • While Rose Byrne didn't have much to do, she sure was nice to look at.
  • The roots of all the other X-Men films are clear and as a fan of the comic I enjoyed a lot of the references.
  • Made me hope for an X-Men: Second Class film.
  • My favourite of the X-Men movies. Just outclassing X2.
  • So far Matthew Vaughn has done no wrong. First Class, Kick-Ass, Stardust. Yet to see Layer C4KE.

****

 

S.O.S: Shop Opening Soon.

So here's the thing. I've been wanting to open an online shop to sell my wares, and by that I mean posters mainly, for a while. I've just been trying to figure out the right way to go about it. Gauge interest, find a way of printing cheaply and in such a way not to intefere with my studies at Brighton when the time comes. Basically, I want to start off small. I'm going to start off with 5 posters to sell; 3 of which are going to be Glass Half Empty, Back to the Future Part I and Back to the Future Part II. The last 2 are going to be brand new pieces in time with the opening of the shop. They'll all be printed in A3 on high quality paper (further details soon) and for the Glass Half Empty piece, A2 might be possible if someone was interested. I plan on making them as affordable as can be. I'm going to be a student starting in September - I understand.

 

So to get an idea of how many pieces to print, I'd really appreciate it if you showed your interest in perhaps purchasing a print by signing up to this newsletter just so I can get an idea on the numbers I'll need. Don't worry I'm not going to spam you with emails - use a junk email address service if you wish (here's one I found with a quick google search). I hate spam as much as the next person so I'm not about to do the same.

If you wanna contact me (looking for Printing Services in the Brighton, UK area) you can do so here.

Appreciate it and thank you.

P.S. Yes I know we're 12 days into the month of June - don't worry, the new wallpaper will be up before the end of next week.

May 2011 : Thailand

3 days into the new month and the wallpaper is done. This one I like. And I enjoyed making it. Tryed out some new things, reused some old techniques in slightly different ways. Anyways here it is.

 

 

Download here.

deviantArt project page.

What do Asian elephants have to do with the month of May I here you ask? Well, recently, I spent 2 weeks in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There I went, with my Habitat for Humanity team (something I HIGHLY recommend you do - will follow up in a further post on my trip. With photos.) to The Elephant Conservation Centre where we took part in an Elephant Mahout Training Camp. 2 days spent riding the elephants, performing with them, bathing (with) them. An amazing experience but I would be totally fine if I never did it again. Cleanliness isn't high on the priorities of an Elephant.

Anyways, hope you like the piece - if you wanna talk to me about it or Thailand or anything, hit me up on twitter or email (skumailrizvi@gmail.com).

April 2011

Been in Pakistan for 3 days now and...it is exactly how I remember it. Just moreso. Hot, the driving is terrible and terribly dangerous, tensions are high and the fan is always running. So I thought I'd work on the April wallpaper some (as I had basically phoned in the March one. Lazy me.) I really do like this one so hit me up here or on twitter with any thoughts or criticisms.

Download Here.

deviantArt project page Here.

 

 

 

Travelling The World In 42 Days

On Thursday the 31st of March 2011, I'm going to be going on my first international trip by myself.

Around 9:00 PM GMT I'll be taking off for Karachi, Pakistan to catch up with family, meet up with old friends and be in my old home. I imagine it is a little different now.

 

 I'm going to be in Karachi for about two and a half weeks before I head to the next stop on my trip: Chiang Mai, Thailand. About six months ago, the idea was brought to me of maybe taking some time out of my gap year and doing one of these volunteering trips. It sounded appealing; seeing a new country, eating new food, meeting new people. It sounded equal parts exciting and scary. I immediately applied. This trip seemed to work out for the best money-wise and time-wise.


With about 16 others I'll be heading to Chiang Mai, under Habitat for Humanity, and helping to build housing for the underprivileged. I'm going to spend about 2 weeks there. I imagine things won't always be fun or easy during that stay but hopefully I'll have a good story or two, when all is said and done.

At the end of April I'll head back to Karachi the same way I got there - via a layover in Bangkok. I'm kind of sad I won't have more time there to see the city properly, rather than just a view of the BKK Airstrip but regardless I'm excited for this trip.

After a further week and a half in Karachi it's back to London for me. Hopefully I'll be back just as the English weather is hitting its peak. Hopefully I'll have some sort of job or work waiting for me when I get back.

The timing works out that I'll probably have to make my choice for which university I'm going to be attending come September while I'm in either Karachi or Chiang Mai but once I'm back in London the real world is gonna come flooding back. I'm going to have to deal with the student finance, accomodation, applying for tickets for the 2012 London Olympics (something I have to do), and trying to find a summer job.

I may not have done anything spectacular with the first two thirds of my gap year, but this last third is looking to be...memorable.


NB: Joel, will be happy to know I am taking my sketchbooks and Wacom Bamboo, so work on the next comic, will be commencing once I hit the 30˚C weather in Pakistan.

How I Made It: Friday Night Lights Posters

So, recently I created two posters in honour of one of my favourite shows of all time, Friday Night Lights, airing its final episode. These are those posters.


The idea for the posters started off a little different and in fact looked a lot different through the making of the poster - and only coming up to the finishing touches did I decide to change it up entirely.  The reasons for that will become clear in a bit. 

However, the first thing I did, as you probably always should, is brainstorm some ideas, draw out a couple thumbnails in your notebook of choice. Here are a couple of layouts/concepts I was thinking about.

 

The bottom right poster is probably the closest to the final piece but there are still some major changes between the two but again that's part of the process. After that, I made a final A3 sketch and scanned that in. Had to do it in two halves and stitch it back together in Photoshop due to only having a lowly A4 scanner/printer combo.

You can see the final idea I was going for in this poster. Two halves, one in the day, the other in the night - the football field in view and the helmet floating eerily over it. This didn't work so well when painting it in Photoshop. Once the scans were stitched together in Photoshop, I'd dump the source images I used as inspiration into the .PSD file and start creating vector paths using the pen tool for the source images to create the base layers for the things such as the helmet and the field etc.

 

Here's a crossfade between the pencils layer and the stock dump layer where I kept all the sources for reference.

 

Here's the football helmet with all the vector paths placed and to the right of that the paths panel showing all the paths I created for the poster.

And here it is with those base layers filled in.

 

Once I got past that point, all I did to add some depth and weight to the helmet was create a new layer and set it to overlay, select the brush tool and pick a somewhat fuzzy brush with a middling opacity and flow. Pick a light source in my mind, i.e. where the lights and shadows are going to appear on the helmet and brush away using my Wacom Bamboo tablet. White for the highlights and black for the shadows. I may have also used the dodge and burn tools - I don't honestly remember. 

 

Anyways, thats how I made these 2 posters. Hopefully the next one will be better. 

 

 

Halfway Through The Gap Year: A Progress Update

Back in Early October, I set out a couple of goals I wanted to accomplish before the year was out and I started university. 4 months later, to the day, I wanted to check in and see how progress has come along. It's not quite Steve Kamb's Epic Quest of Awesome but then - what is?
My updates are in Bold and in italics.
  • Learn to drive and earn my driver's license. [ ] Got the forms in order for my provisional - just need the cheque, then will send off, then learn, then take the tests. That's all. I got my provisional license back in...November? I haven't done anything with it since but let it gather dust.
  • Learn to ride a bicycle. [ ] Mayaswell. I have the time. I still have yet to do this.
  • Travel to another country and do something real - like build a house. [ ] Hopefully the Thailand trip will be this. Will write a further post on this when done or not done as the case may be. So progress is being made on this. Deposit has been paid on the trip - the rest being paid next month, so things are looking good.
  • Sell all the stuff I don't need or want anymore. Games, books, DVDs etc. [ ] Already donated the clothes I don't wear/don't fit me anymore. Also, some money would be nice. I sold my old iMac and reduced the amount of stuff I bought but haven't really done this yet.
  • Get fit. 75-85 kg with muscle. [ ] 91kg. New low and almost there. 86kg. Almost there. Should be in the best shape of my life in time for the trip.
  • Get accepted to a university I'd be happy to go to. [ X ] Working on it. Personal statement to edit still. Accepted to the University of Brighton, UWE Bristol and waiting on the University of Cardiff. Yeah - this one is done.
  • Sell a work of art. [ X ] Help me with this? You could buy one on the right! You still can but some wonderful person out there bought my first ever poster - the Back to the Future piece on deviantArt. For that, I will always be thankful to them.
  • Draw, ink, colour and publish my first ever comic. [ X ] Not written by me but should be coming soon. Another post for that. Well The Seed was released as was the holiday one-pager so technically I think I accompolished but the real deal starts with the next project.
  • Finish KRvsTS [ ] Quarter of the way through. Hopefully will be done by 2011. Please God, let it be done by 2011. I finished it long before 2011.
  • Make one new friend. [ ] Jury is still out. Still out.
  • Go to a gig. [ ] Several [ ] Went to see Stars in September who were awesome. Hopefully got some more lined up soon. None yet. I could have gone to a couple, but I do not want to be the guy who is going to gigs by himself. But then Explosions in the Sky announced a date they're playing in Camden at the Roundhouse (my favourite venue) after the release of their new album. I immediately bought two tickets.
  • Edit the Lanzarote video together and upload it. [ X ] 5 minutes done of it. Will be done by my birthday I hopes. All done and uploaded. Fun times.
  • Get first job. X ] Done. Yes. As a maths tutor. I kind of like it. Got a second as well. Temp work to help with the money for the Thailand trip but counts all the same.

 

So 4 months into the Gap Year. I've made some serious progress. Out of 14 goals, I've completed 7 of them. 50% completed in less than half the year. That, my friends, is efficient. So to that end, I decided to add some more goals. Only a couple - because clearly these 14 weren't enough. 

 

  • First off, complete and release the first chapter of the new project I am working on with Joel. This is all on me, considering he's essentially finished the script on this. So thats, layouts (done), pencils, inks, colours and lettering. Easy enough. (Some clues on the new project - it deals with metal and water.) [ ]
  • Create 3 more posters to the best of my ability before I leave for Thailand. This is an addition to the wallpapers/posters I am working on, on my Months project. [ ]
  • Gain some rudimentary programming knowledge and skill. I read through the lifehacker posts on learning basic programming in javascript (which were really great). I'm going to practice some more in Javascript before moving on to either actionscript or python depending on where my next project with Joel goes. [ ]

So three extra goals I definitely think I can do. In addition to what's already set before me. Realistically speaking its not likely I'll learn to drive and pass my test this year with the costs associated with doing such a thing. And I'm ok with that.

As long as I learn to ride a bike at some point.

February

OK, so this is the 2nd in the series. The fact it is 2 weeks late, is BESIDES  the point. It is here. Hope you like it. I feel it's a big improvement on the January poster. 

 

The city is Paris, France for ... obvious reasons.

Download

dA project page

 

January

I decided to start a new project. 12 posters in 12 weeks. 1 for each monh of the year, covering the 4 seasons of the year. I'll try and fit in some holidays as well. 

This is the first.

 

dA project page. (Head here if you want a wallpaper version.)

 

IHRC Bookstore Sign

New project, worked on a couple months back and the final product is out in the public. Quite literally.

 

Minutes before the Inauguration. It's not as grand as I make it sound but it was still a very nice affair.

Couldn't help but smile walking up to the store.


Behance Project Page

The Seed

So this is what I've been working on for the past few weeks. Well months with some extended breaks but here it is. A short mini-comic titled, "The Seed". Written by Joel Forster, a very good friend of mine, Physicist in training and Alan Moore wannabe, and the art by me. Kumail Rizvi. Here's the cover and the final comic (coming in at about 10 pages) will be uploaded over the next few days. If you're thinking "Hey! This is really good - I mean the writing is alright but the art! Wowzars! Can I buy this?"

 

Well you can't. Not right now anyways. The thinking is we can't sell a 10 page comic. We can't do that. So we're thinking this is gonna be the first in a series of mini-comics. We'll give you the details when we sort that out. What we know now is the 3 comics will all be different ( 1 Sci-Fi, 1 Fantasy and 1 Horror), very short (10-20 pages each) and all written by Joel and the art by me.

Here's the cover. Full comic can be found here.

 

Enjoy.

 

Click for a big pretty version.

The 7 Podcasts You Should Listen To

As you may or may not know at this point, I'm what some might call a geek. A big one. I enjoy all things film, videogames, comic books, webcomics, anime etc etc. One of the things I like to listen to - perhaps too much are podcasts. You know, web-based audio shows. The ones I tend to listen to lean towards the geekier side of things but nonetheless have given me hours of joy. 
Here  are the 7 I enjoy listening to most.
- Diggnation - where it all started for me. Back in 2003/2004, I was living in Karachi, Pakistan and at home, we got several pirate TV channels. Basically cable connections connected up to a PC playing a repeating playlist of "hit american TV shows" - however apparently the guys who picked the shows were geeks as well as one of the shows they picked was The ScreenSavers from TechTV and after watching that, I wanted more. This was about the time where Alex Albrecht and Kevin Rose were hosting the show. Cut to 2005/6 and living back in the UK, I got my first ever Mac - the 20" iMac - how I loved that thing. First day I had it, I booted up iTunes, and go the podcast directory and see a picture of Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht looking inquisitive next to the logo for Diggnation. It was like the show was never cancelled. Been listening (now watching) since episode 1. Truly hilarious even when the discussion of the topics isn't the most in-depth.
- Weekend Confirmed - The spiritual sequel to 1UP Yours, this was the way I started my Saturday mornings for years - and still do. Garnet Lee and co-hosts Brian Leahy and Jeff Cannata continue on the work GL, Luke, Shane and John did in what anyone at the NeoGaf would have to consider the golden era of 1UP Yours. Of gaming podcasts really. In-depth discussion on the weeks news in gaming, on great games of years past and some legitimately good music as well. If you like videogames then you want to listen to this.
- This American Life - I'm not sure exactly what my first exposure to TAL was - I think it was the short lived documentary show they did and I really enjoyed it. So I decided to listen in on the radio show that started it all. I was enthralled. Most of the time anyways. Basically, the idea of the show, was to have a central theme, bring you several kind of stories on that theme and you sit back and enjoy. Some of the stories, I find to be boring at times - either the subject matter or just the reporter's voice is sleep inducing but more often than not it's good. You come for the good stories. You stay for the soothing tones of Ira Glass. I still have like 80 to go through. I should really do that at some point.
- WNYC Radiolab - A show I discovered thanks to John August's twitter - or maybe it was Moby's...I don't remember anymore but the point is, this is This American Life but better. For me anyways. It takes that same approach to 1 hour radio but the topics are those for scientists - they ask these questions we've all asked ourselves at some point (or just maybe never thought to ask) and try to find out the answer and some of those answers are truly astonishing. I listen to both Radiolab and TAL because they fulfill different purposes for me and answer different questions - it's just sometimes - Radiolab asks the more fun questions.
- The Bugle - Speaking of fun(ny), there is no funnier podcast, in my mind, than John Oliver and Andy Saltzman's The Bugle. A self proclaimed audio newspaper for a visual world focusing on the hilarity, insanity and pure bullsh*t that fills the news of the world each week. They try to sort through it all to find the biggest and most hilarious stories each week and give you their own, British, satirical and sometimes admittedly bullsh*tty take on it. But in the best way possible. I only wish it was longer.
What a luxurious head of hair Andy Zaltzman has.
- Smodcast (& related shows) - "Oh Sweet God." This is what I first thought after listening to my first episode of SModcast. This was not really knowing much about hosts Kevin Smith and Scott Mojer other than having seen Dogma and Mallrats. Colour me shocked, to have found the Canadian and Canadian-wannabe totally hilarious, dirty, honest and not for the faint of heart. Go pick up An Evening With Kevin Smith or The Best of SModcast if you want these same hilarious stories but are not so aurally inclined.
- The /Filmcast - I got into movies in a big way a couple years ago, and I found this small website Slashfilm that reported news on the films I were interested in. Geeky ones. I found out those guys had a podcast when they had their first big-time guest. SModcast's own Kevin Smith to review The Dark Knight (a film I love oh so much) and I was hooked. I've been listening to David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley embarrass and humiliate each other week in and week out for years while at the same time talking about films in an intellectual (and not so intellectual way) that keeps you coming back for more. Of particular interest are those episodes in which director of Brick and The Brothers Bloom, Riann Johnson guest-hosts. The best episodes they've ever done.
Host (from L to R): David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and the Quiggs.
So there's a list of the best I listen to each week I think. There are a couple more shows of course such as the Giant Bombcast (for the true gaming nerd), Iain Lee on Absolute Radio (a comedian who I've been following for a while now - always thought him funny and remains so - more for the British humour), iFanboy Pick of the Week podcast ( the latest funnybooks reviewed) and some more I'm probably forgetting as well. 
Anyways, if you're at all interested in getting into podcasts or finding a new one to fill that half hour on the train each day, the ones above are definitely worth taking a look. If you've got some other suggestions, I'd love to hear them in the comments.
Keep on listening.

What I've been working on (& what's to come)

So a couple of things. Just as I finish the first comic I've ever made (which I may post online - we'll see) I got to work on the second. The Seed written by my good friend Joel and the art by myself. 3 days of work and 3 pages of work to show for it - I think I'm doing ok. So the plan is, its going to be a 10-11 page mini-comic (webcomic?) and we'll consider it a success when we get enough money for 2 kebabs. That's a success.

 

Here's a little taste of it.

 

 

Speaking of art-related things, I've got some mock-ups for a couple posters I've been thinking up - based on the recent videogames and movies I've played, watched and most importantly of all, loved. Look for a Professor Layton poster, a Brothers Bloom poster and possibly a Friday Night Lights one. 

 

Oh, and there's some progress on the Thailand trip. I think. We'll see. 

The Gap Year List [Updated 28.10.10]

What I want to get done this year:

 

  • Learn to drive and earn my driver's license. [ ] Got the forms in order for my provisional - just need the cheque, then will send off, then learn, then take the tests. That's all.
  • Learn to ride a bicycle. [ ] Mayaswell. I have the time.
  • Travel to another country and do something real - like build a house. [ ] Hopefully the Thailand trip will be this. Will write a further post on this when done or not done as the case may be.
  • Sell all the stuff I don't need or want anymore. Games, books, DVDs etc. [ ] Already donated the clothes I don't wear/don't fit me anymore. Also, some money would be nice.
  • Get fit. 75-85 kg with muscle. [ ] 91kg. New low and almost there.
  • Get accepted to a university I'd be happy to go to. [ ] Working on it. Personal statement to edit still.
  • Sell a work of art. [ ] Help me with this? You could buy one on the right! --->
  • Draw, ink, colour and publish my first ever comic. [ ] Not written by me but should be coming soon. Another post for that.
  • Finish KRvsTS [X] Quarter of the way through. Hopefully will be done by 2011. Please God, let it be done by 2011.
  • Make one new friend. [ ] Jury is still out.
  • Go to a gig. [X] Several [ ] Went to see Stars in September who were awesome. Hopefully got some more lined up soon.
  • Edit the Lanzarote video together and upload it. [X ] 5 minutes done of it. Will be done by my birthday I hopes.
  • Get first job. [X] Done. Yes. As a maths tutor. I kind of like it.

 

4 / 14 = 28.6% complete.

 

So thats it. The checklist for the year. I will be updating this, adding to it if I get things done. When I get things done.

 

Comment on any things you might be upto on your gap year, or previous gap years. Would be awesome to hear about it for ideas.