Friday, February 19, 2016

Many Strings

I had to debate a little with myself about how to approach this topic. I have a few skills outside of writing, and wasn't sure which one to highlight. There's an obvious choice, which is cover art... but anecdotal evidence suggests I'm known far more AS a cover artist than as a writer, which could arguably suggest writing is one of my "other skills".

So instead, I thought I'd do a little "grab bag". The various other fields in which I flex my creative muscles.

Photo-realistic sketching
While I've not done this for many years, and was essentially untrained (beyond basic high-school art classes), I gained quite a bit of praise for my ability to draw lifelike images from a visual source. Drawing from within my head? Nope. But show me a pic and ask me to draw it and the results tended to be pretty passable. This here is a pic I drew in 1986, of my favorite band, Big Country.

At a reasonably early age I showed a smidgeon of ability on the old electric organ we had in the house. I started out using the light-up method that came built in to the organ, but started experimenting and semi-writing tunes from around the age of 10. Nothing truly came of that, but I started teaching myself guitar at the age of 16, and then began classical guitar lessons at age 17. But it was only when I started playing bass guitar in 1988 that I truly felt I'd come home, and though I've taken breaks in the meantime, and have picked up a couple of other instruments along the way, bass is still the instrument I consider "mine".

Here's a little music video of my band, The Medicine Show, from when we supported Wolfmother back in 2010.

Video Clips / Book Trailers
That previous topic segues beautifully into this one. The video of my band there... I made that! In fact, we have seven music videos, all of which I've made. The first one was back in 2008, and is rather rough-and-ready. I believe the final products have become more polished along the way... in part because I've switched to using stock footage rather than video of our roughed-up heads!

And I've also worked in a field which nicely incorporates pretty much all my skills: book trailers. At first I made simple quickie ones for myself, using supremely basic software and primitive animation. After a short time I bought myself an iMac for cover art, and with it was a piece of software called iMovie, which was far more powerful and flexible than what I'd been limited to.

When I made book trailers, I did the lot in almost every case. The author would supply me some information and I'd write the script for the trailer, source imagery, create frame-by-frame animations in Photoshop, and write and arrange the music. On rare occasions I'd even provide a voice-over, as I did on this trailer. I still feel it's conceptually the strongest trailer I made.

All my other book trailers (including those for now-unpublished books!) can be viewed here, if interested.

Side note... I also made a very silly trailer for Virginia Wade's "Cum For Bigfoot" series. Youtube took the trailer down, which is why it's not there in my body of work, but Virginia herself uploaded it. It really is very silly, and not safe for work. Also, the voice-over recording is quite basic. Illustrations were done by...wait for it... Virginia's mother!

Oh, and I'm a reasonably good maker of cryptic crossword puzzles. Y'know, it's just one more thing...


  1. Oh, Willsin! I think you suffer from hyper-modesty. These trailers are incredibly good!

    (Haven't had the chance to check out your music videos yet, but I suspect they'll be equally brilliant.)

  2. Love all your work. You are a truly talented man.

  3. Thank you, lovelies. I also left off my biggest talent; the ability to lick my own elbow.

  4. Impressive evidence, Willsin. I wish I knew how to make book trailers or realistic art from photos. (My drawings tend to be of the psychedelic/dream/nightmare school of art.)

  5. Oh, this is fantastic. I think the Cum for Bigfoot thing in particular is the best dinner party story I could imagine having. ;)


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