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Comics for Schools

As most of you will know, 2014 is 100 years after the commencement of World War I. New Zealand was a nation influenced by the vigour of the still burgeoning British Empire, the isolation of islanders and possibly even an inferiority complex of a small nation.

So it’s no surprise that 100 years ago the young men of New Zealand joined up in their droves to fight and die on foreign soil.

Kiwi’s my age have been blessed. We’ve avoided disruptions to our benign and peaceful lives. Which makes it easy to get cynical about War, whichever side of the fence you fall upon in heated debates over wine or whiskey.

Without dispute though, New Zealand has a particular place in WWI. We had one of the war’s highest per-captia casualty rates, extraordinary considering we we’re an invaded country in Europe, but instead an island on the other side of the earth with no borders or enemies. WWI wiped out how generations of men in some of our small towns.

With the inundation of centenary media happening this year it’s hard to find a new story from war times.

That’s why I was so happy to be offered a job drawing a short comic with a new perspective – the tunnerlers of New Zealand. These men slogged underneath the shells and wire of the battleground above, risking cave-ins, gas leaks and opposing sappers to undermine enemy fortifications. Mining men from small towns like Waiha or Reefton dug in the soil of Europe, scrawling New Zealand’s place names on the walls of their work.

The fact that the work would be published in a bona-fide New Zealand establishment, The School Journal, sealed the deal. Filled with facts, diagrams and drama I was addicted to them as a child. Then and now, The School Journal showcases the lost art of creative collaboration – editors, designers, writers and illustrators communicating stories of worth to our nation’s children.

I hope the School Journal continues to feature the work of kiwi comic artists or writers, as the publication has a strong tradition of combining words and pictures, surely the chief preoccupation of the New Zealand comic community.

I also got to try out some new inking brushes and colouring techniques – always a perk!

The included images are from ‘Sky-High’ The School Journal, Level 4, June 2014 and are published with permission from the Ministry of Education, Lift and Bolster. Editor: Susan Paris, Lettering and Design: Jodi Wicksteed, Writer: Robert Sullivan and Illustrator: Tim Gibson


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Bonus Vid II: Modeling a Comic Book Character

Last time you watched me refine Dr. Boyes in Photoshop, this time we’re going to see the 3D Modeling process at approx 1000000000000x the original speed.

I actually spent most of my hours (and educational dollars) siting in a dark lab working on Animation rather than Illustration. There’s a good (drunken story) reason for this, but I won’t go into it here. Suffice it to say that it was my Animation reel and my facial hair that got me into Weta. Then I just worked really long hours and absorbed (read: Steal) everyone’s illustration techniques for a few years before they let me get paid for it.


As you can probably tell, I never really left 3D animation behind, and I often employ it in my illustrative work. I seemed like a good idea to use it for my Moth City comic, which you should be reading (weekly) here. I’m not so sure, but it did mean that I got to relearn rigging 10 times over.




Coming up next time we’re going to purge ourselves of the grey-scale world of Maya, and get to inking and colouring Dr. Boyes. Ahh…. much better.


Don’t forget to check out Moth City’s latest comics at the main page (or just click the MC logo at the top of the page). And if you want to see more of my animation work, you can check out the original launch teaser for Moth City.


Thanks for stopping by,


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About Moth City

“A fresh take on the murder mystery that lives at the intersection of detective fiction, noir-horror and manhua comics.”

Moth City is a compact manufacturing island given to the American tycoon, Governor McCaw, by the Chinese Nationalist government. In exchange McCaw is to outfit the movement’s vast army as it attempts to destroy the communists and unite the worlds greatest nation. New high-rise weapons plants are built, crushing the ruins of oriental temples beneath their foundations, while the local populace fairs no better under McCaw’s rule.

Now, after a brazen and bizarre murder, McCaw must reveal the island’s secrets before his city’s inhabitants, and everything he has built, is wiped out by the warring factions.

About Tim

Tim spent three years illustrating worlds, characters and monsters for Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, with film credits including Tintin, District 9 and Avatar to his name. ‘Moth City’ is the project he’s been secretly working on along the way. He has convinced a New Zealand government arts funder (Creative New Zealand) to partially fund ‘Moth City’ as an online comic, which allows him to do strange things like post it online for free. Tim lives with his fiancée in Wellington, NZ. When he’s not writing or drawing, he spends his time reading Elmore Leonard, Stephen King and Agatha Christie, and ogling the art of David Mazzucchelli.