New Website

Please find my new website at garygowran.com and my BA(Hons) Animation blog here.

Thank you.


Splitting Borders No.309, a storm of firsts.

I've just posted Splitting Borders No. 309 over on our web-comic page and it's illustrated by our first guest artist David B Cooper. It's also our first all colour strip, the only previous appearance of colour being No. 59, that one red coat. And the first appearance of two new characters Isaac and Newton.

David did a great job, really bringing his strong sense of humour and pacing with wonderful characterisations of Isaac and Newton. David draws a web-comic called Perpendicular Universe, which we own a book of, he also animates The Brave and Handsome Squad and you can keep up with all of his arty ways on http://www.pucomic.com/davidbcooper/. We first met him at MCM Dublin last April where he made our first convention behind a table much, much easier with his experience and ready wit. All hail David!

I'll finish by telling you that Isaac and Newton were actually two newts of ours that have now sadly passed on. You wouldn't exactly call them the most interactive of pets but they had a certain charm that we've never forgotten. I miss them to this day and am chuffed to see them back in comic form, I don't think I'd have been able to draw their first appearance myself, probably would have been far too precious, so I am grateful to David for handling their introduction. I did draw some studies to help myself and David out.

Well I hope you enjoyed No.309, it's special to me for many reasons.


Warm-up sketches

Some weird and wonderful warm-ups I've been doing recently. I don't always remember to loosen up in this way so I'm going to start posting as a way to keep at them.


Splitting Borders

Wow, I'm feeling a bit embarrassed. Why, you may ask? Only because there's now been over 200 posts of Splitting Borders the web-comic and I'm only now getting around to mentioning it here on this blog. So I'll move swiftly on to talking about it.

Myself and Sadhbh began Splitting Borders on the 10th of April last year and we've posted nearly every week since then, Monday to Friday, which has currently added up to 214 strips. There have been monkeys and cats; cooking fails and wins; wardrobe malfunctions; and honouring of people and places. Most of all, for me, there has been massive learning about collaboration, being open to inspiration and trusting my own creativity. So in the spirit of more learning I thought that I would post some behind the scenes stuff from making the strip and give a small commentary, hopefully boosting my ability to speak eloquently about the work that I do.

So I pick a strip at random and I come up with.....No.153.

And luckily I have pencils scanned in for this one.


This strip was the last in a mini series of observational triptychs which were a bit of a happy accident. When we are approaching a landmark number like number's 100 or 150, which was just a few strips before this one, we like to try and, well, mark them by drawing a strip which honours the achievement. This can be a heavy task conceptually and emotionally. 

And I think there is a build-up in the lead up to these landmarks which can result in a natural low afterwards that can affect the succeeding strips. Like in No.101, where we took a tongue in cheek approach to the fear of having no ideas left. I feel that this low can open us up to inspiration. If we can remember not to push too hard, then I think it leaves space for our initial intentions and goals for the web-comic to come in to support us.

One of those goals for me was to become better at drawing and one way I know of doing that is through observation which I think this strip celebrates. I now know how to draw scarves, drapery, detailing, and body posture in a way I didn't know before drawing this strip. And on another level I got a glimpse of some of the complexities that Sadhbh has to face as a woman trying to negotiate the minefield that can be choosing what and/or how to wear her clothes, the pressure of appearance that goes with being a woman in our society, that I don't have to face, in the same way, as a man. I looked at these everyday and not so everyday items in a new way, looked at them for the sake of looking at them and recording them and that to me feels worthwhile and will stand to me in ways I can't predict.


Collider Panel at Dublin Comic Con 2013

This Saturday and Sunday the 10th and 11th of August, the first Dublin Comic Con is taking place and I've been invited by Beactive Media to take part in a panel promoting their upcoming Collider movie release. I was involved with the Collider project in 2011 as an artist on the comic tie-ins and that's what I'll be talking about. The project was personally and professionally challenging and interesting so I hopefully won't be stuck for words. This will be my first time participating on a panel at a convention so I'm excited and a little nervous at the same time. The panel is scheduled to take place on the Sunday at 1200.


An Artistic Response

I attended a march protesting against austerity in Dublin on Saturday the 9th and the night before me and my partner decided that we would make our own placards to carry with us. We researched imagery and dived into fuller information concerning the protests both in Ireland and abroad and these were the two images that we came up with.

The first is what I chose to compose. A jaded looking face with his mouth taped over representing for me the challenge of finding your own voice in these large issues and how I can both censor my voice through disowning my power and feel censored by larger institutions attempting to take away my power.

The second image was chosen by my partner Sadhbh. It is of a smiling face, a person who can choose how to be, how to feel. It is composed to represent that choice and that, in the face of overwhelming problems, there is a well inside of us that responds to positive action and not to the type of action that the austerity measures represent.

I was pleased with how they turned out and a little self conscious to be out marching on the streets holding up my own work as a statement. They received a good bit of attention and I was even asked to speak to a documentary crew, which was both fun and scary. I managed it as best I could though and didn't feel completely ridiculous afterwards and apparently I have a great voice for recording. New string to add to my bow, I guess.