Saturday, December 03, 2016

Nathan of Crayblock (A Short Story)

Someone turned the music off... while I was still listening to it. It was a really good song, one of those ones that prepares your ears for a smooth transition into something quite delightful. But anyway, that's all gone. I hope I don't get a headache from that abrupt ending. All I could hear now was an icecream van play tunes in the distance.

Usually, I'd get pretty excited about that. ICECREAM! But you know, I can tell by the drifting melody that I'd never reach it in time. I'd run and run and I'd just see it soar off around some side street. Just like every single day when I miss the bus.
Anyway, someone turned the music off. Actually, I was alone. So no one there actually could have done it. My wifi was still connected so that was not at fault. I put total blame on Spotify! Of course I do. They probably wanted to throw an advert in there, begging me to give them some real moneys. The advert most likely glitched out and boom! music stopped.
But no, I was wrong.

Actually, I was right. The internet just cut a bit and then the music started again. Ha, I made that all sound way dramatic. It really was not that dramatic. But it did make me realise one, very important thing. I really wanted icecream.
So I went outside my house, locked the door behind me, realised I'd forgotten my money, went back in.... out again. Blah Blah Blah. The sun was going down now so it was like, URH Soon I won't be able to see. I was wearing my glasses you see, (Get it, SEE). Anyway, they are really old, I'd had them since I was like 12. Because of this, the lenses were incorrect for my deteriorating eyeballs. I usually wore updated contact lenses. But that day, I was slack.

And I heard this manic laughing come from behind me. It was from the house behind me (Which was mine because I was out the front of my house). But then I realised it was actually coming from the house BEHIND MY house. I made that uneventful event sound way too eventful.

I thought, that's odd. Who on earth would laugh so loudly and so embaressingly?
Then a man ran out from behind, laughing. I could tell from his laugh that he was from New Zealand. Though, that may have been the background sound of the icecream van's song mixing with the sound waves of his roaring screams (of fun). I'm getting off topic... AND FAST.

He stopped when he saw me, stopped laughing.. and stopped running. Stopped dead in his tracks and pebbles went in his sandles. He was going to regret not slowing down at a nice calm pace once that pebble started irrtating his foot. I did not say anything about the pebble, it was not my place to start stressing people out with nonsense ramblings.
"DIDN'T YOU HEAR? GOD'S JUST APPEARED! IT'S ALL OVER THE NEWS!" Whoa! He screamed in my ear. He seemed delighted actually.
"Hi, I'm Nathan." I said cautiously.
"Hi.. Um yeah, no I'm going to get icecream."
"Well, I've got icecream. Why don't you come in my house?" He asked.
"No. I... No, I don't go in strangers houses. What do you mean, God has appeared?"
"It's all over the news! It's on the BBC News! It's on the CNN and the SKY Sports News! It's on ITV and ABC and The Daily Mail! and all the important ones and NONE of the fake news sites."
"Now listen here, strange man that lives in the house behind my house... You standing here telling me that God has appeared and that it's not on any fake news sites is the equivalent of me actually reading a FAKE news site."
"Hey mate, I'm just trying to help. No need to get all up in my face about it. I was an Atheist yesterday and now I definitely believe in the letter A. AND GOD."

He was breathing heavily, his eyes were getting larger and larger, but not in any inhuman way. Don't get me wrong, you've most likely seen someone act like this before. He wasn't alien or anything. He was just your regular run of the mill crazy person. Uh.. from New Zealand. I'm not going to make any jokes about New Zealand people, they made that wonderful King Kong movie so no faults I say!

"So what did the newspapers say about God then?" I asked.
"Not the newspapers. This is very recent. The newspapers won't get the news until tomorrow." he replied.
"Oh yeah. Ok, So what did the online news say?" But before he could acknowledge what I'd said, he was off on another one...
"Oh no.. there it is again...." He started getted sidetracked. His pupils were dancing up and down... and his ears were twitching!" (Not streaming)
"What?" I asked.
"The icecream van music. God said, If we hear it for too long, we'll turn into dead people!"
"No.. just dead people. We'll die. The icecream van music will kill us."

Ok, I'd had enough at this point, and the more this nut-case said the word 'icecream', the more I yearned for some.
"Ok, thank you. I have to go now."
I waved a goodbye and headed off down the street.
But I was not alone for long. The guy from next door was following me, doing this creepy walk. 'Patter' 'patter', light footed, like a cartoon burglar. Plus, more people starting drifting out of their homes and walking beside me.
I stopped and turned around. I was feeling rather scared really, what if they were part of some kids knife gang? Did they exist? Probably. My mind flashed back to when the Seventh Doctor got shot by some adults in the Doctor Who Movie. Then it occured to me how irrelevent that was ... not knives... guns.. not kids.. adults...
"Excuse me, you guys ok?" I asked them. There was about 10 I could count. Including one small child with her mother.
They all glared at me with worried faces. Maybe they were worried that they were all going to stab me?
"YOU HAVE TO GO IN YOUR HOUSE NATHAN!" It was the mother that shouted at me.
"YES! RETURN HOME CHAP!" This was a wonderfully posh man with a top hat and a cane. But not in any weird way. He was just trying to be real cool. But I'd seen him out and about at gigs and art gallerys, he just could never find a place to settle. So OF COURSE he'd join the mum and new zealand guy in this ubsurd little street group they'd set up. Groupaholic!
"Ok, I don't know what you guys all want. But all I WANT... IS ICECREAM!"
The kid giggled and asked, "What flavour, mister?"
"Not sure yet, cookies and cream? Mint choc chip? Plain ol chocolate? Maybe even toffee!"
The mother tripped up the child so it landed flat on it's face. "DON'T YOU TALK TO THE NICE MAN!" The mother shouted at the girl, spit spiraling out of her mouth. "I LOVE YOU CHILD, BUT YOU ARE NOT WORTHY."

This struck a nerve for me, for one, what she said made no sense and for two, you should not trip over your own child in most circumstances. "Hey! Don't do that!" was the only thing that came out of my mouth.
"I'm sorry 'Nathan, of CrayBlock'. I will never trip over my daughter again. For you." The woman pleaded on her knees.
"For HER you mean! And don't do that, you'll hurt your knees. The road is real bumpy and hard. Anyway. I appreciate all of this weird, I mean.. nice supportive stuff you keep saying to me but I really must be off."
I waved at the woman, the posh chap and smiled awkwardly at the New Zealand man. His nod was mechanical.

Of course the moment I turned around, a new face was in my face. A wrinkly old face, a wise woman's face. Or at least she sounded wise by the way she spoke. But I'm pretty sure dumb people
can have wise voices as well.
"Nathan of Crayblock, you must stay in your house. Away from the sound. God said you are the only one that can save us from this musical virus."
I sighed.. in my mind.
"Ok, Woman of ... the dustbin. What on earth is CRAYBLOCK? And if this icecream van music is SO BAD then why are none of YOU in your houses keeping safe?"

The wise woman nodded and with a calming notion, waved her hand toward the other folk. "Lord Nathan of Crayblock is correct. It is foolish of us to all risk our lives trying to save his. Especially with the child."
The mother just laughed.
The wise woman continued, "I want everyone to return to their homes while I remain."
And with that, 9 out of 10 neighbourhood nobodies left me and went back to their stupid homes and left me a blummin lone! Just that wise woman left then.

"Hey, thanks for that. I owe you one, how did you get all of them to leave anyway?".
"I am the owner at the community hall. I suppose they are just used to me talking for them at the podium. Haha, I moan a lot you know. About pot holes and people wearing offensive clothing in the town. It's all very offensive to me."
"Oh ok. Well thanks again, I'll be on my way now to the shop."
"I'm sorry Nathan of Crayblock, but that is impossible. You MUST return home. You've most likely already heard the icecream van music too much. If you do not return NOW, YOU WILL DIE."

And then I noticed the most horrible, annoying thing I could ever have noticed.... the sun had gone down. And you remember that thing I said about my eyesight? Yeah. I was stuck with a weird old woman with no real idea of how to get to the shop. My surroundings had become a blurred palette of colour. I was blind... mostly. Something about the night time just doesn't agree with my eyes.

"Ok... well, I've missed my chance to get to the shop now. So.. Great. Thanks. I Guess.. Damn it, I guess I'll just have to go home. I'll have nightmares and.. and I'll hate you and I'll hate myself and all I wanted was icecream and you took it away from me. I hope you feel happy old woman. I hope you, and your little neighbourhood pals all feel real proud of themselves. GOOD BYE!"

So I turned away in a huff, went home and slammed the blummin door behind me. WHAT A NIGHT.

So anyway, when I woke up in the morning God was on my sofa.
"Oh.. hey God."
"So you really appeared?"
"Why are you on my sofa, God?"
"You don't know? Do you not even read the news?"
"Not really. Sometimes I'll read headlines. But the news is way depressing."
"That's true. Not my fault though." God shifted in the chair.
"I'm glad you cleared that up."

By the way, don't leave a comment on this post asking if God was a man or a woman ok? I have no idea what God was. What I saw on the sofa was a glowing feeling of power and the voice seemed to be my own minds voice with an echo effect added in audacity.
God smiled at me and then frowned, and then smiled. It was all very confusing. "So you left an old woman to die last night, Nathan."
"That old woman, you kept her outside so long the icecream van's music ripped her ears out, She's outside, no one has cleaned it up yet."
"That's horrible.....I.. feel so responsible."
"All because you don't read the news, Nathan." And that was the moment I got told by God.

"Ok, so what was all this about you on the news then? Why are you back? What's this stupid icecream van nonsense??"

God asked me to sit down so I could settle in for a rollercoaster of a story. But it ended up being pretty short actually.
God spoke, "Satan now owns all of the icecream vans in the world. His icecream van music will kill anyone that hears it for too long. You almost died last night. Which would have been a great tragedy because Nathan, you are The One."
"Like Keanu Reeves?"
"No, Nathan of Crayblock. You are Nathan of Crayblock."
"What does that even mean?"

God was really grumpy that I never read the news. Apparently he had explained everything in a dramatic speech on top of a mountain, everyone was there. He'd contacted all of the worlds media himself!

"Do you even know how many babies Princess Kate has had so far?" God asked me.
"This story is all kinds of sacrilege." (I have no idea which one of us said that line.. possibly because of the mind voice confusion thing.)
"Basically, Nathan. For years now you have been stuck in a whirlwind of Creative Block. Am I right?"
"God yes. I have had so much trouble creating things, animations and such for so long. My drive for it has hit such a dead end. It's been depressing, it's been tough."
"Yeah, wah wah wah. That is because, all of this time. Your creative energy has been building to create one massive explosion that will wipe out all of the icecream vans in the world!"
"That sounds horrible, why would I want to destroy icecream vans?"
"Because Satan is in all of them."
"Oh man...But I love icecream. And although the icecream in icecream vans is always a bit disappointing, I would never want to destory them all."

I had a dilemma on my hands. Losing icecream vans, or everyone dies forever and Hell rises to Earth.. Hmm

"So, if I do this... If I use this Creative Block power, will I finally get my creative surge back? Will I be able to jump right back into doing what I always loved for so so long?"
God said "NO."

And I decided to save the world anyway, because that's the kind of guy I am. I mean, no more icecream vans and still no creativity but hey. people are alive. Annoying people like that guy in the house behind me with that weird laugh. And that wannabe posh guy and that mum that trips over her kid. Yeah, lots of annoying and horrible people are still alive because of me. And Donald Trump is gonna be president.

Maybe I should have just let the world die with Satan.. uh..

Oh and if you were wondering. The Creative Block mind explosion felt exactly like a brain freeze.

- Nathan

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What year is this?? Who am I?

Why do i's always have to have capital letters?

So I'm here again and it feels odd returning to a blog I created in 2006. A blog I created to write completely fictional news (Which is very big now on the internet by the way) and update nobody about my animation, art and videos.

Well, 2016 has been the year of stepping back from most of my regular creative business. I have been doodling sure, but for the most part it's been 'earning money' and 'experiencing the outside world.' By outside world, I mean this place I am currently living, Western Australia. It is weird to say it.
But I've been here almost 2 years now. Today I was on the bus and some young men behind me started playing some loud Australian Rap Music on their phones or whatever (Not a boom box). So, I've heard Australian Rap Music before and I really enjoy it! But it made me realise, that I'm still not fully comfortable with where I am. I can't switch the TV on without feeling a little like, 'where am I?'. There's nothing wrong with that, but I feel like I am on a very long holiday.

I grew up here in Australia, so you'd think I'd be used to it. But I guess I was never listening to anyone back then... only Del Boy and Damon Albarn. In real life conversation I don't notice it that much. As I say, there is nothing offensive about it to me, it just makes me feel like my feet have never quite touched the ground.
In the UK, while I may have felt more at home with the accents I didn't feel quite at home with the flooded shoes.

I have been posting a lot on instagram since the end of last year when I went to Sydney to watch The Peanuts Movie. A lot of what I post is random pictures or videos of places I've been. One of my favourite places in the world is called Fremantle. I don't care too much about the rest of Perth, Australia but Fremantle feels like it's own place in it's own time. I have a job right in the centre of it. Also it's good to have my family around as well.

No matter whether I have a bad day or a good day I can walk outside and feel this natural relaxed vibe that flows through the town.
In Fremantle they have old style architecture, lots of coffee shops, charity shops, people riding on bikes everywhere, an old prison, a cool market, hippies and an art scene. Plus, almost every week some other crazy event is happening. I've seen random wooden castles appear for a week and then disapear, busker festivals, arts festivals, days where people just draw on the roads with chalk.... Even today I saw a whole road closed off for a charity christmas dinner event. There were dining tables all the way down the street.
Not quite in Fremantle, but I saw that in Perth City they were having a cow month.... ... not sure what that's about. There were Cow banners everywhere. And painted cow sculptures scattered around the city. (A bit like they did with Shaun the Sheep and Paddington in the UK).

Coincidentally a cow jumped off of a boat in Freo, swam to the shore, walked along the railway and eventually was caught (and killed). So much for Cow month! And on Facebook there seems to be two groups I've noticed. One is a group that just lets locals gossip about Fremantle, and the other is a bartering group. It's pretty cool, I personally have nothing to offer, but I've seen fruit exchanged for haircuts and bikes for wine bottles. Pretty cool!
Kind of makes me think of that 'Are you local?' thing from The League of Gentlemen though.

So let's get back to the core point of my writingz. What year is this?? Who am I? Well, it's 2016 and I'm older than i was in 2006. Which is a very important point. I yearn for that year and a few after that. But lives change and we must pitter patter on until death surrounds us and then takes us. Grim I know, but without bringing it up, how can we find happiness? If we don't think about death (In a non depressed way) then how can we appreciate life? So that's what I do. I look at the sun (Because we got that down here in Oz) and I look at the flowers and the smiles and I eat the food.

So that's where joy has been coming from. But if you know me, you'll know that all of my life I have created cartoons and stories. I started drawing comics when I was 10, moved on to animation when I got to highschool... made brilliant videos where I was a fictional detective and animated on a BBC kids show. So at the back of my head is the constant drumming (dr who reference deliberate) to CREATE. I used to animate a lot of cartoons. I'd also take breaks in-between to do fun, lazy live action videos with my friend/s. Well, things have changed a bit now. I'm not sure I have the same energy I had for making improvised live action videos. (I'd love to try again) but I think for now, those times are gone.
The reasons for my decline in doing animations (That i want to make) .. are..

The Internet
Since facebook turned up it really has become a massive part of everyones lives. For goodness sake, it was a huge influence on getting a cartoon character elected president in the US. That is HUGE. It stays avaliable to anyone at any time. It has replaced phones, it has replaced PEOPLE.
Up until now I have decided to avoid getting a smartphone. For a few reasons, but a main one being the fact that I'd be constantly destracted from life. I'd also be more stressed out by my social interactions (or lack of) and the current thundering news.
I've seen posts from friends who live on the other side of the planet reporting something massive just happened next door to them hours before it even hits the news. WHAT IS THIS? It's distracting is what it is. But even without a smartphone I still have my laptop and wifi connected Ipod. Ideally I would not have it.
But we're in an age where it is necassary.......
Look at youtube! They now have videos hours and hours long! When a video ends it fires up the next one in the *list* before you can even breath. These are massive distracting changes.
I know what you're thinking, if it's your passion then these things should not matter right?

Well I love animation, I love drawing my characters and making them do wacky things and say funny things. But getting over the first step of pen to tablet, and setting aside a few hours freaks me out. Also over the years I have become a lot more picky about what I release.

I've entered this horrible place where art wise I either have to be really happy with it or it has to be completely lazy (but still personal).
Because I expect so much quality and detail of my full length animations (On my youtube channel) I get totally freaked out by this massive mountain in front of me.

This is why most recently (If you follow my instagram/facebook) you'll see I mostly only upload doodles and sketches. The expectations don't exist there. I know no one actually has expectations but my mind tells me I do. Plus, the project I most want to produce next is one that weighs so heavily on my shoulders. I want to do a short film based around characters I've had since I was 10. Some of them feel like real people to me.
It's not just all that, I'm also just not happy with my art.... well I kind of am. I  like my own art but I don't trust my characters in MY hands, standing in front of MY backgrounds.

This is why Adam &  Kat exists as both the animation and comic. As well as those Nathan Ruins (Video Games) videos. I love them for their comedyness but I also love them for being pretty easy for ME to work on. Hardly much expectation. Lesmovids puts all the effort in and I just turn up. But creatively, I still feel like I've added something to my creative mind gallery that needs stocking every once in a while.

On a side note, I don't have too much time anymore. Like with any full time job, I feel exhausted by the end of the day.
But I am volunteering in a Perth Art Gallery called Paper Mountain on Sundays. It's relaxing, encouraging creatively and sometimes I'll meet some very kind people. The art scene is great in Perth, I'd go as far as to say there is too much of it. (What?? How can there be too much of ART?)

Well, in the UK, no matter what village you drive to there will always be an old church on a hill. Well in Perth and Fremantle, it's just gallerys. Gallerys everywhere.

So, to conclude, while I am enjoying life as much as I can (and feeling both settled, and hovering above the earth at the same time) all I want to do is bring Tomothy to life. (Tomothy is my character from childhood)

I have plans, i have animatics... i have a bunch of stuff. Tomothy is ready to erupt but life is busy. If i died before Tomothy did get his little animation I would not mind so much. It's still nice to be around. Hey James Berridge!

While writing this blog post, Youtube (Without choice) played a David Bowie Playlist. I suppose the internet is not SO bad... back to Blur now though guys.

(Above picture taken by James Berridge)

- Mr Nathan

On btw my instagram is

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

What is a Tomothy?

Hello reader.

You may have come across this little post because you were browsing the 'Tomothy Books Website'. Or maybe I sent it to you as SPAM. Or maybe you clicked the link Katy Perry posted on her Twitter page after I hacked it.

Oh, whoops, I forgot to link it... oh blimey.

Anyway... why am I here? Basically just to give you a little bit of information about how long Tomothy has been around.

I created Tomothy and many of his family/friends when I was about 9 years old. Every day at school, during every break, I'd draw comics in my sketch book. Over the years the characters aged and developed more interesting personalities. Though my jokes were always terrible.

Below are some examples of Tomothy comics from back in the day. I think all of these are actually set before Tom grew up a bit. I'll get some of the early 2000s drawings uploaded soon. 

But two things that you can clearly see from these early strips are the appearance of Tomothy's little sister, Ellie and the excited personality of Yo breaking out.





Then, around 2002 I discovered Macromedia Flash, which allowed me to make cartoons MOVE! (Not before I made some stick people bleed.)

I was really excited to bring some of my Tomothy comics and characters to moving pictures. The comics began becoming adapted in Tomothy Live Episode 3

You can watch all 3 episodes below.

I think I got a bit distracted after that, but soon enough I was back on track.
Next up I made Tomothy and Pals Episode 1. This is the only animation I have ever made fully with the LINE tool. This is why it looks the way it does. I have never used it since because it looks ugly to me.

You can watch Tomothy and Pals Episode 1 here (But not on your tablets I'm afraid because it is playable only in Flash Player).

What happened next you ask? why Tomothy and Pals Episode 2 of course! It looks and sounds completely different to the previous episode but why not?
Tomothy and his dad look for jobs? Finding a job has always been an interested concept for my with the Tomothy comics (and life) and that's why I dedicated a bunch of time on it during the 'Summer' theme strips. Again, sorry but it is on Flash Player. A lot of these are....

Then AT SOME POINT along the line I found someone crazy enough to help me make a Tomothy game called FIGHT TO THE SAUSAGE. True story.
Check it out.

Then I got very desperate to win a Christmas Animation Contest on the '' Brackenwood Forums. The prize was some Bitey artwork by Adam Phillips! It's a bad animation with even worse sound (Believe me, this has the worst sound EVER). But it won the contest and I got the drawings! They are now my precious.

This was my entry, and also my first inclusion of Tom's brother, 'Tadhg'. Though, his design has yet to take shape.

What happened next for Tomothy after his big win? Well I made another christmas short (That's right, Tomothy had 4 Christmas related animations plus Christmas comics). Tomothy really likes Christmas.
In this one I wanted to experiment with simple animated acting and awkward 'Ricky Gervais Style' acting. Watch HERE

I'm not sure when it was, but around this time I guess, I wanted to make comics again! I got that rush to stick Tomothy in some tiny boxes. It was around the time I was constantly working on my webcomic, STARGAZED.
Anyway, 23 Tomothy comics were made but nothing much came of it.

Tomothy, Ellie and Jerome made a short 'sketch like' cameo appearance in a cartoon I made called 'Munch's War'. They are at 2:05.

Then, for some reason Tomothy's dog sent a message to the British Prime Minister of the time, Gordon Brownies.

Next, it was time to get ambitious!!!!! But instead, I made a 7 minute Tomothy and Pals animation all about Jerome. It was titled, 'You can't handle the knowledge' and as weak as it is story-wise, and visually, I do like it. It has one or two moments I am proud of and I still sing that song today.

Then everything took a DARK TURN

I was in college and felt Tomothy was holding me back. I just wanted to make another stories and characters (That went really badly by the way) and Tomothy had to be gone! I'd keep wanting to do more Tomothy, I felt like I'd never achieved what I wanted to achieve with him. I still have this feeling today.

Anyway, I shot him dead. Well, I got a cuddly bear to do it.

There are actually jokes I really like in this cartoon but overall it was a pretty grim thing to do. Especially to my fictional son. Though one thing I will say for it, it does actually feel like a sequel to 'Knowledge' so at least that is something!.

Tomothy died in 2008. In 2012 he was REBORN. I started up the comics again with some new characters (and old), hoping to have them printed in a newspaper or book. The concept behind the comics felt a lot stronger now. I was to create comics that kids would hopefully enjoy reading, inspired by my school days, I wanted to make the stories and jokes based on relatable childhood moments.
Unfortunately my comics were not good enough for newspapers but interest did spark with a local publisher/magician. After agreeing that he'd publish my book he remembered he was actually a magician and disappeared his own company!

By then, I had done a lot of comics and it had really helped me become comfortable at drawing again. The last strips in the book (The Time Travel and Love Story) feel quite developed. BUT I am developing even further.

So the book went no where and I had loads of comics that had never been read. What happened? Well, they stayed hidden. Most stayed hidden until today actually. 08/06/2016.

But let's backtrack a little. Previous to this website update I did also pitch Tomothy and Pals as a BBC Television Show. It actually had a really positive response! The reply compared the idea to Arthur and they really enjoyed the characters of Yo and Vinnie. Unfortunately, they found Tomothy himself to be a bit of a bore, saying he worked well in comics but not in script.

Yo and Vinnie had been developed quite a lot for this pitch, Yo, actually turned into a GIRL. Yes, you heard, YO is now a girl. One day I will hopefully explain this in some comics, it will be very jokey, But even if I don't, Tomothy died and was reborn so.... There really is no canon here dudes...

I made this animation test I am quite proud of for the pitch. (Though since then I have developed the designs even further). But this WAS the first time the characters had necks.... shh. You were not meant to notice that before.

So I guess that brings us to where we are now. Many of the comics are available to read online. I hope chuckles will be had and tears will be..... slurped back up into your eyes.

A few days ago I put Tomothy in a new jumper. This is a massive change, he's worn the same jumper
since about 2000-2001. So I guess it was getting pretty stinky. His new one looks warmer anyway. Hopefully we'll see some new stories with the new designs and characters soon.

26/06/2018 UPDATE.

A book is being released titled 'Tomothy and the Time Travel Shoes'. The book compiles the final story from the originally unfinished book. (Plus some new art)

I will be selling it at a local market event and then setting up the online store for all to buy!


- The Daily Crumb