The Fool

The Fool

It’s been a while (sorry about that, please send all angry letters to my university), but I’ve got new content! When I haven’t been burying myself in dread for leaving way too many assignments way too late, I have been working on a tarot card set.

A bit of a detour from my regular style (I’ve decided to improve my brush pen skills) so let me know what you think of the look in the comments. Also, if you have any experience with tarot cards in general, it’d be great to hear about that too.

So far, the first 6 are completed, so you can expect regular content for the next little while again!

Nothing is Ever Bad or Good

Bad or Good

So I just went through another cyclone. That was pretty fun. You know what isn’t fun? Not having power for over 52 hours and counting (I’ve moved back to my parents place for the last few nights where I can have a warm shower and not drink off milk).

While I did have no power, I did do some drawing by candlelight and finished this one off. It’s based off a German saying a close friend told me “Nichts ist nur gut oder nur schlecht” – “Nothing is just bad or good”

Bending Space and Time

Gemma

Started this little piece while on plane flight back from watching a music gig about a month ago; finally went back and finished inking it the other night. It’s based on a time travelling character from a comic series I’m currently working on (whenever I get free time, which is pretty rare at the moment).

Uni has started to pick up again too. Man, I forgot how quickly semester gets out of hand!

A Humble Offering

Offering

Offering

Multiple lots of very exciting news:

Firstly, I’m now 21 woo!

Secondly, I’ve moved out of home and am now living in a new place and it’s pretty great! The only downside is that I’m still waiting for the internet to be connected here (hence the later than normal post because I’m trying to limit the amount of phone data I use).

Touch wood this time next week I’ll have full speed internet again! (Just like last time, the lack of internet has actually made me do a lot more art to stop the encroaching boredom)

Some Things Become Better with Age

Lomo

Based on a friend’s Lomo LC-A+ 20th Anniversary Edition

Analogue photography and film development is something I’ve been interested in for a while now. I think a lot of the appeal to the medium (for me at least) comes from its finiteness and the importance placed on each shot; you can’t just take a photo and immediately see if you’re happy with it it, then take endless more photos in the event that you aren’t.

However, convincing my housemates that we should set up a dark room may be a little bit tricky.

Fresh New Look!

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Happy New Year!

I had been stuck with the same header image for the past year and a bit and I could no longer stand the roughness of it! The old sketch even predated my scanner, so I had taken a photo of it on my crumby phone camera to upload; the horror!

Here is the original black and white version (and because I know a large percentage of you reading will be seeing this through the WordPress “reader” and not the actual site, here is a handy link to check out the >>colour version<< )

While I was in the mood for updating the site, I have also added in a “contact me” page where you can find my email and links to other socials (twitter, instagram, tumblr, etc). So if you are more active using those services rather than reading here, feel free to follow/keep up/stalk me there!

Seeing the Invisible!

Spectrum

So it’s a day out from Christmas here in Aus, and I still haven’t finished preparing all of my presents for friends and family yet. That said, I have finished a small art piece for my Dad who happens to like science related things, Pink Floyd and runs a laser cutting business. It’s all framed up, so touch wood that he likes it!

Anyway, I have another Christmas related ink in the works that should hopefully be up in the next few days, so stay tuned for that. In the mean time, happy holidays to everyone and I hope you’re more organised with your shopping and present preparing than I am!

Mathematical!

Finn the Human

Finn the Human

On the long list of animation I enjoy, Adventure Time ranks pretty highly! That said, I am currently watching Bob’s Burgers and it’s definitely up there too. If you have some free time and feel like an animation binge, here are a few other suggestions I definitely would recommend:

  • Rick and Morty
  • Bojack Horseman
  • Archer

And if you’re after some more light humoured shows for all ages, these are also great:

  • Steven Universe
  • Regular Show

So yeah, cartoons are alright I guess…

Weekend plans

He just doesn't die

He just doesn't die

No plans as of yet, but I’ve still got two days to get that sorted. Can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas too! It’s such a shame that I find creepy things so much more enjoyable to draw; it looks like I’ll never get that job at Hallmark

Couldn’t decide which overall composition I preferred either, so help me out and let me know which you think turned out better.

Magic Brain Smoke

Melting Brain

In electronics, there’s an unspoken rule that microchips actually work on magic smoke, but once you can see or smell that magic smoke coming out of the chip, that chip is never coming back. 2016 is making my smoke come dangerously close to leaking. It’s probably not as bad as I think it is, but there’s just so many things I need to think about and I just don’t want to think about any of it.

Don’t fret though, I know my brain patterns and they’re cyclic. Give me a few months and I’ll be right as rain again.

Get Riggity Riggity Wrecked Son!

Rick and Morty

Rick and Morty

Just finished season 2 of Rick and Morty and I’ve got to say, it’s a great show, just make sure you don’t watch it around young children or people that you don’t want to judge you. Alternatively, watch it around these people and don’t give a damn; it’s your life, don’t let others control you.

Did a big clean of my room today and tossed a lot of things out; it’s funny how physical objects so easily spark previously forgotten memories. I’m feeling pretty ready to move out though, just need to get my potential housemates to bite the bullet and agree to a goal moving out date.

A very Specific Squad

Very Specific Squad

Back: Magnazone Front: Tropius, Armaldo, Swampert, Sandslash, Swallot

As the onslaught of university continues, here is a another commission I finished in the recent past. While the first generation of Pokemon will continue to be my favourite, it was pretty fun to be able to draw characters from a couple of the newer games too. 

There’s a time to Sneak and a Time to Attack

Cat

I promise that Sketch Weekly will be returning soon! Sadly uni (and just life in general) has been getting in the way of a lot of drawing time, but in a little over a month I will be finished for the semester (I am not ready for this, please send help). In the mean time, enjoy some commissions and other quick doodles I’ve completed semi recently instead.

Positively Ghouslish

Ken Kaneki

Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul that I did for a friend. I finished season one of Tokyo Ghoul a while ago and have been meaning to go back and watch the next few seasons. That along with the rest of Attack on Titan, Steven Universe, Agent Carter and Broad City. Uni just gets in the way of me becoming a vegetable and marathoning all of these shows!

Let me know what series you have been getting into in the comments below; I’ll have to add them to my list of things to watch!

Give 0 Regrets

Genji - Overwatch

Genji – Overwatch

Another commission from last weekend. I’ve never played Overwatch (although the game looks amazing), so I actually had to do a bit of research for this one.

Originally, I didn’t have any scales on the dragon and I thought it looked a bit blank, so I went “fuck it” and started adding them. I don’t think I quite realised just how many there’d have to be in the end… Overall though, I think it really adds to the piece and I just hope the guy was happy with the end result.

Gotta Catch all the Commissions!

Gotta Catch 'em All

Commission I did for one of the fantastic con volunteers

***Commissions are go! If interested send me an email at mechanicalpen.wordpress(at)gmail.com***

***Original inked A5 sketches done to the detail seen on this blog are $30 usd +postage (happy to ship world  wide)***

With that out of the way, I attended my first con as a vendor on the weekend and it was amazing! I met so many great people (shout out to >Zac<, >Ash< and >Katie< who you should definitely check out at their respective youtube and tumblr accounts) and it was fantastic to talk to the like minded. My goal for the day was to break even with table and printing costs and I absolutely smashed that goal, so you could say I was a little ecstatic come the end of the day.

Overall, definitely can’t wait until my next opportunity to attend a convention!

Sugar City Con 2016

Table set up and ready to go!

Future me’s problem

Mightier than the Sword

Mightier than the Sword

Touched up an older piece I did ages ago because it turns out I have terrible time management abilities. I have a con I’m attending next week and I don’t even have my business cards finalised for the printers, ugh…

Are you like me and just leave problems to your future self to sort out? Dammit past Sam, why you do this?!

Art Comp Entry: Light vs Dark

Light vs Dark

Handwriting looks much better when intentionally bad

Found the time this week to finish up an entry for my town’s local pop culture convention art competition that’s happening next month. Overall, pretty happy with the end result. It was a bit of an experiment in drawing at A4 scale too, as I usually draw at A5. Understandably, it took about twice as long to complete, but I think making it larger in this case was the right choice.

Just for fun, here’s a little gif comparing my initial sketch to the final outcome:

Light vs Dark Animation

Art Comp WIP

Light vs Dark

I thought my regular hand writing was bad, then I tried writing free hand using a mouse…

Some exciting news, in a little less than a month I will by manning my own table at a convention for the first time! Woo, very exciting times to be had. This far out and I’m already nervous for it, even though it’s just a local convention in a relatively small town, but still!

In any case, they are also running an art contest on the theme of “Light vs Dark”, so I thought I’d have a crack at entering. I’ve decided on something a bit more suspense-thriller, rather than general good vs bad. Here’s a pretty basic wip so far, so just working on the inks now and I will post an update on Thursday. Catch you all then!

Problem with People: Guns make it easy

Bigger Picture

I’m lucky enough to have grown up in Australia and have only ever known strict gun laws. I couldn’t be more glad that my country has taken this stance on firearms: I don’t live in fear when attending university classes, watching movies, or going out to clubs. Sadly, it is a reality that I often overlook, that not all countries have this luxury.

The saying “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is technically true, but guns make it a lot easier to kill a greater number of people with far less effort. The only purpose of a gun is to destroy a target. Why should any civilian feel the need to own such a device? Especially civilians in developed countries! Sure, knives, axes, hell even baseball bats can kill, but that isn’t the main function of these tools.

It would be naive to say that simply making guns harder to obtain would stop all gun deaths, however, it is a start. As well as stricter rules on obtaining the weapons in the first place, the human aspect needs to be taken into account. Increased aid to the mentally unstable, identifying those who are at risk of becoming violent extremists (for all religions and political factions) and preventing the slippery slope these people go down that consistently ends in tragedy, are all steps that can be taken to curb murder caused by guns.

My heart goes out to all who have recently died at the hand of a firearm, whether it be through senseless murder, war, or suicide.

The locker room

Davy

Quick little sketch tonight because I just felt like drawing something out of the ordinary.I wouldn’t mind doing a small collection of these on pieces of card slightly bigger than playing card size. What do you think?

Never fear though, normal “Sketch weekly” will return tomorrow!

Run Them Fast

Lowrider

A wise man once said: “We all dead, fuck it”

I’ve been a long fan of American Hip Hop and have been binging hard on Run the Jewels and DJ Shadow the last couple of days. The tracks have so much depth and variation; I can’t help but wind my windows and blast it as I drive.

If you’re new to hip hop and are wanting to get a taster of this brilliant genre, I also recommend checking out these artists:

  • Chance the Rapper
  • Childish Gambino
  • Joey Bada$$
  • Ghostface Killah
  • Wu-Tang Clan (how could I not mention them)

Blogiversary = Blog + Anniversary

One Year

Where did that time go?!

Hey all; new and old!

Can you believe it, Mechanicalpen has been up and running for a full year?! I barely can. It feels like just the other day I finally bit the bullet and started blogging. Over the past 12 months, my blog format has changed a little bit (I used to review games if you scroll back far enough, that does feel like a while ago), but art has always been this blog’s underlying feature.

Another constant through the course of this year has been my appreciation for all of you. I can’t thank you all enough for your comments, likes and even the time you take to just stop past and have a look at my work. I’ve shouted into the void and you have been there to respond (and make me feel less crazy for talking to myself).

If you can remember when you first discovered my blog or if you have a favourite post of mine in particular, you should totally let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear!

And for those who are stat inclined, this is a snap shot of the year I’ve had:

  • 93 published blog posts
  • 4588 views
  • 2008 visitors
  • 399 followers (so close to 400!)
  • Top 3 countries for views: United States, Australia, United Kingdom

Here’s to another year filled with drawings!

Decision-Making Nightmare!

Eevee

I realise I’ve been on a bit of a Pokemon bender recently. I swear I’ll get back to serious drawings shortly, I just needed to flush this all out of my system!

The other reason I’ve been doing a little more fan art than usual is because a local pop culture convention is coming up and I’m going to try my luck at arming an artist table there. Whilst I’d love for my original characters and pieces to be the main selling point, I also realise that you have to play to your audience (it does help that I do love Pokemon and comics though).

Find me on Insta/Twitter/Facebook! (Also more Pokemon!)

Pikachu

Do you have Instagram, Twitter or Facebook? Great, me too!

Insta (for pencils, behind the scenes, and art):
https://www.instagram.com/sammulhern/

Twitter (also for behind the scenes, but with the addition of my own ramblings):
https://twitter.com/MechanicalPen_

Facebook (really just more convenient for some people):
https://www.facebook.com/MechanicalPen

For those of you still here, check out some more Pokemon goodness for the 20th anniversary!

Happy Birthday Pokemon!

Bulbasaur

Hard to believe both Pokemon and I are turning 20 this year. Whilst I never owned a Game Boy when I was younger , I did collect the original trading cards (and even brought them back into fashion in year 4, then proceeded to get them banned from school). I keep meaning to hunt down the last few I need to finish off my collection…

This is the freighter you are looking for!

Millennium Falcon

All the favourites return!

Before I get started, HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone! (Australia being one of the first countries to bring it in!). Now back to the post-

I’m a MASSIVE Star Wars fan and I have been for as long as I can remember. Whilst I couldn’t make it to the midnight release, I definitely made sure to see it as soon as possible!

Without spoiling anything, I have to say it certainly lived up to the hype. I would be lying if I said didn’t tear up a little when the opening theme started playing and the Star Wars typography appeared.

To celebrate the great move and the franchise as a whole, here a is a little sketch of the famous smuggling ship: the Millennium Falcon.

Not all heroes have short waiting lines! (Supanova Update!)

The Wonderful Guests of Supanova 2015

Print of my original art signed by Peter Mayhew, Zach Callison & Olivia Olson

Some of you may remember that in a previous I talked about how excited I was to attend Supanova again this year and included a sketch of some of the guests I was most excited to meet.

>>For those who can’t remember that, you can conveniently click right here<<

Well, I’m back from that holiday, and geeze, it was worth the hype! Supanova was fantastic and I was ecstatic to meet Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca – Star Wars), Zach Callison (Steven – Steven Universe) and Olivia Olson (Marceline – Adventure Time).

And if you remember that sketch I posted, well, I had it printed on some nice, medium gloss paper before I left for my holiday and had each of these three guests sign it. All of them were great to talk to while they signed and I can’t deny that I got a bit red when both Zach and Olivia complemented the piece.

While the day was filled with waiting in a LOT of lines (and getting to the front of one particularly long line – just to be told the guest would be leaving for a break and that I would have to re-line up an hour later), the day was undoubtedly worth it!

Meeting this small selection of guests wasn’t the only stand out event of the day; also being able to walk down artist alley and talk to other artists was a fantastic experience (one that left me with a lot less money but a lot more original art too).

Supanova has definitely left another positive mark on me this year, and I’m already planning holidays around attending again!

Not all heroes wear capes!

Supanova 2015

Supanova 2015!

Very excited that it is finally Supanova time again this year!

For those who don’t know, Supanova is one of Australia’s largest touring pop culture conventions, which started way back in 2002. Held in almost all capital cities, Supanova hosts a great mix of local and international talent. The event makes sure to cover all types of fans; from film buffs, to comic collectors and everything in between!

From the line up this year, I am most excited to be meeting Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca – Star Wars), Zach Callison (Steven – Steven Universe) and Olivia Olson (Marceline – Adventure Time)!

Because I’ll be staying down in Brisbane for a bit of a holiday too, I probably won’t be posting next week, however, check out my twitter and instagram as I’ll still be updating those during my trip!

New MiniComic Today, Don’t Miss it!

Due to a few set backs, inking took a little longer than I had planned, but nevertheless here it is: my first zine/minicomic (not really sure which category it falls under, so if someone knows the difference between the two, please fill me in!).

I will be doing a print run of these and secretly dropping them in random books at my local library too (shh don’t tell the librarians…), so it’ll be interesting to see if someone picks one up. And if by chance you ARE one of them, I’d love to know, so please leave a comment or send me a tweet (@MechanicalPen_).

If you would like a physical copy, I’d more than happily send one out in an envelope direct to you, send me an email at ‘sam_mulhern(at)hotmail.com’ and we can work it from there

So I’ll stop talking now and let the art take over:

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04

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(For those who read all the way, that QR code actually takes you to a hidden part of my site with some secret art, so be sure to give it a scan!)

Brand New Mini-Comic Coming Out Tomorrow!

My town had a regional comic convention last weekend, and after speaking to a number of the exceptionally talented indie artists there, I decided it was time to kick my butt into gear and get some comics out there.

So, instead of my regular “Sketch Weekly” this week, here is a dump of a whole bunch of practice work I have been doing in preparation for my final minicomic/zine.

With everything going to plan, I should hopefully have the final piece inked by tomorrow (after doing the pencils all tonight)! In the mean time, here are the thumbnails for the comic, so be warned, spoilers below!

Excuse the piece of hair that's been scanned in. Should wear a hair net next time...

Excuse the piece of hair that’s been scanned in. Should wear a hair net next time…

Beautiful anniversary gift for her (That isn’t jewelry!)

As you may have noticed, I have been a bit quiet for the last couple of days. However, this was for a pretty important reason.

The end of this month marks another year of my girlfriend and I being together, after first meeting over 5 years ago. As I explained in a previous post, we try to always create a handmade present for each other when it comes to special occasions such as this (see my post here where I drew an A3 piece for her birthday).

For our anniversary, I decided to try something new and create her present by cutting pages out of a book that I bought from an op-shop, to form a semi-3D scene. I was partially inspired by the works of Isobelle Ouzman and really wanted to put my own personal touches on this interesting concept.

As I am studying electrical engineering at university, I decided to add just a simple touch of technology to the gift, to personalise the idea a little more. Embedded within the pages of the book, behind the scene, is simple LED circuit. When switched on, a warm orange glow emanates from the setting sun in the background.

And if you were wondering what Sarah gave to me as her present, she had the beautiful idea of making a “Date Ideas” jar. Each colour ice cream stick has a particular type of date idea written on it, so hopefully we won’t be so indecisive when it comes to thinking up things to do!

A Wild Graphic Novel Appeared!

Whilst on my uni break, I thought I would turn that procrastinating time into something a little more productive (however I have been watching an unreasonable amount of cartoons too).

This productivity has taken the form of plotting out a graphic novel on the most riveting action/romance/coming of age story ever imagined all based around: bird migration!

Title

Slight re-work has taken place since this sketch, and it is now being called “Southward”.

Better pick up your socks, I know! But in all seriousness, I have been thoroughly researching bird migration and the struggles the Eurasian Dotterel faces year after year as it migrates from its Summer mating locations to winter nesting grounds, and thought it would translate nicely into a visual form.

Whilst I finish out the plot a bit more, have a look at some of my practice sketches. A few look ended up looking like malformed dinosaurs, but that’s why I’m practicing.

I hope to keep you regularly updated with my process through this venture.

Comic Collecting: A Pass Time of the Past?

I’m a fan of many pop culture phenomena; Portal to Ponies, Star Wars to Spider-man. At times, most of these things were considered geeky, but as society progressed, more and more people became accustomed to, or better yet joined, these fandoms!

However, one pass time in particular has been consistently seen as “geeky”: comic collecting.

But is all that starting to change?

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A Present with Heart

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A couple of weeks ago it was my girl friend’s birthday. Every year, for almost all special occasions, we each do our best to prepare a hand made gift for each other, as one of our presents. My go to is usually origami or paper craft in some form, however, now that I’ve exhausted that medium, I thought I should shake things up a bit with an A3 sketch.

Beyond a few decorative hearts and patterns, each little doodle represents a memory or something special we have shared together. I was definitely relieved when she loved it, and now it decorates her uni room, 400km away from where I live.

Fragility of life

Bubbles

Uni has been pretty hectic again this week. Exam block starts next Monday so I’m fairly sure the lecturers conspired against us and made all the assignments due within three days of each other this week.

What is sleep?

So in the mean time while I write another article, have some nice bubbles. Have been considering using this as my new header, let me know which you prefer?

The Easiest Way to Bind a Beautiful Sketchbook

Hardbound sketchbook

So if there is one thing I love more than sketching, it’s stationary. However, the biggest problem I recently faced was that none of the sketchbooks I owned could handle alcohol based markers.

For the new year, I’d recently bound my own diary from fully recycled materials, so using this knowledge, I figured I’d create my own sketchbook using paper I knew could handle ink heavy markers.

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5 Comics you should have picked up on Free Comic Book Day

Cover

Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is by far one of the best annual events on the calendar, even possibly on par with Steam’s Summer Sale.

Held on the first Saturday of May and running internationally since 2002, FCBD is a way to introduce new readers to the wide world of comics, by doing exactly what is says in the title: giving away free comics on that day!

This year I was extremely excited to attend FCBD at my local comic shop and these are the great titles I picked up:

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New Fountain Pen

Fountain Pen

Testing out the new fountain pen. Angling will take a bit of getting used to, but I definitely like the feel of it.

Went out to an office supply store today and saw that they were selling Parker fountain pens. I just couldn’t help myself, so $50 later I had bought myself a new pen, 5 ink refills and 3 new Moleskine Cahiers journals.

Parker fountain pen, ink refills and brand new Moleskines

Parker fountain pen, ink refills and brand new Moleskines

(P.S. Also bought a new scanner/printer so hopefully low res sketches with weird lighting are a thing of the past)

Sam Presents: MechanicalPen – Your one stop blog for all things music, art and gaming related.

If you’re anything like me, trying to decide on which TV show to watch next or whether or not you should try a new music genre, feels like the whole fate of the world rests on your choice. It doesn’t, but it feels like it, and good god, never take me to an ice cream store… But that’s where this blog steps in.

MechanicalPen is a little pet project of mine where I’ll present my views on some of my current favourite albums, comics and games, in the hope that this will make future decision making easier for the both of us. In addition to this, I’ll also be posting about some other life tips I’ve learnt through experience, covering topics such as how to save a bit of money on the side and interesting hobbies that don’t involve a screen.

My biggest problem with decision making isn’t that the decisions are intrinsically difficult, it’s just that there is so much choice out there! This is why I hope to be able to narrow down some of the vast amount of media out there, giving you a great place to start investigating for yourself.

Finally, MechanicalPen will be the place where I will be uploading my weekly sketches (ah, the blog name all makes sense now!). Each week I set the task of looking up a random word and drawing however I interpret that. There are definitely some… intriguing words out there, to say the least, so hopefully we both find the end results interesting.

So I hope you enjoy this little venture as much as I do! Feel free to leave feedback, and join me in the weekly sketching shenanigans too, I’d love to see how others take in the same topic but put their own unique spin on it.

– Sam Mulhern