Sketches by Zobz

Frustrated by my inability to draw, yet pestered by a desire to convey stories pictorially, I developed a technique that would enable me to sequence actions and dialogue in pictures that did not depend on me having to draw.

I’d write and very roughly storyboard the thing into six frames; then I’d take photos of my location; then I’d take photos of myself or my children dressed up as one or more of the characters in the sketch; then I’d use photoshop to cut the characters from one photo, render them into black and white and drop them into the location photo; then I’d lay them out and add the speech bubbles and dialogue in InDesign.

Hold on. Back up there. I took “photos of myself or my children dressed up as one or more of the characters in the sketch“? Yes it was mainly my daughter and older son who took the photos of me and I of them in the sitting room of our house. There’s one where I play three different characters. It was all very strange and required a degree of… earnest selflessness. My wife point blank refused to have anything to do with these.

My name’s Richard. This can be shortened to Ritchie. At school some genius came up with the idea of calling me Mabozzer (Mabozzer Ritchie). This morphed into several versions: Bozzer, Zobber, Zobs, Zobberino, Zobriety and so forth. Fortunately none of them stuck. When I left school and got back into reading, one of the first books I picked up in one of Edinburgh’s second hand bookshops was ‘Sketches by Boz’ by Charles Dickens. So it was undoubtedly the hand of fate that led me to call this collection ‘Sketches by Zobz’.

My idea was that they could serve as a feature in some periodical or other and I duly sent a few off to magazines and papers. One magazine wanted to publish them on their soon-to-be-updated-and-relaunched website. However, I’d moved on to my next project before any of these sketches saw the light of day and I believe the magazine is still waiting to have its website updated.

I do aim to make Sketches by Zobz available again in some form in the future.


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