Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Brum, Brum, Brum

I'm all revved up but not quite ready to go...
Heading off to the Birmingham International Comics Show this weekend... if you see me around say "Hi", I'll be floating thereabouts on both days.

I'm going to be hawking my samples around and I'll have a few other bits with me too - probably some preliminary stuff for the next Taormina episodes...

So I won't post again until I get back as I'll be too busy.

If you want to meet me there, please leave a comment here.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Mute Swan

This is a quick little logo I've designed for a project I'm working on at the moment.

It didn't need to be a particularly brilliant logo. It just needed to have something to do with a lack of noise. I chose the swan as that felt like a crest kind of an animal and there weren't many options for creatures that were habitually silent.

Also, gotta say, I'm pretty chuffed - I got noticed by those chaps behind the 2000AD fan site 2000AD review for my recent Judge Dredd sample pages - Thanks guys!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Future of Comics

Over on the app store you can now download PJ Holden and Al Ewing's pretty phenomenal iPhone comic application - Eye Candy - just follow this link to download it!

This is the first of many comics that Infurious Comics are intending to release...
...and from what I understand (from a conversation I've just had with PJ) there could be some pretty good reasons to get excited!

As a taster of what you'll get for your hard earned pennies (99cents or approx 59p), here's the YouTube teaser again:

If you own an iPhone or iPod touch, please help to support this venture - download the comic, post about this development on your blog, shout from the rooftops if you have to...

Here's the link in full if you need it: http://tinyurl.com/4qjr4p

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

High Expectations?

I might be doing a comic adaptation of Charles Dickens' 'Great Expectations' for an educational publisher.

To try to win the business, I've done page one from the script. I can't show the whole thing so here's a crop from one of the panels showing old Abel Magwitch gnawing on a piece of bread.

Great Expectations is probably my favourite Dickens and there are some fab characters that I know I'll enjoy drawing if I get the business - Miss Haversham, Mr Jaggers and Mr. Wemmick not to mention Joe Gargery and Estella should all be very interesting to interpret in my own way.

Ages ago I got a copy of the 1946 David Lean film free with the Times. I watched that to get in the mood, hopefully it won't affect my interpretations too much.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


Well, that's it, I'm finished with the Judge Dredd script. Here's the final page and climax of the story in ink and full colour.

After finishing these yesterday, I headed straight for my (ebay purchased) copy of issue 1467... I opened it with a fair amount of trepidation, I must say.

I'd seen some of Richard Elson's work in issues of 2000AD that I'd bought recently (as part of my preparation for this project), so I knew the art would be pretty good.

I wanted to get the most I could out of this and the amount of effort I have gone to on this deserves nothing but a calm critic of both my version of the script and Richard Elson's original printed incarnation.

From the outset, it's clear that we're going to have tackled the story very differently. Obviously (I'm sorry to say) I can't scan and publish the originals here to enhance this comparison.

Page one:
Richard's page is more successful in the environment and scene setting department with plenty of graffiti and things to help identify the location. I'll also add that his gun for the protagonist is by far a better piece of artillery than mine. He has also done a great job on the design of his cyber-punk "victims". Overall there is much more to look at. I think that my page scores over Richard's in only one, but I think, important area - emotional connection with the character, I think because my "Nobody" really is more of an 'every-man'.

Page two:
There's not much to tell between the versions in the first three panels, although the design of vehicles and stuff is far better in the printed page. Also the flow through from page one is far clearer with the graffiti and enclosed location being more easily identifiable. The major difference is in the final panel, my figures may be just a tad too static but I think I've captured the feel of a nightclub - Richard however has really done a top job of conveying a futuristic and distinctly Mega-City One feel.

Page three:
PJ Holden said to me that comic pages for 2000AD are (and need) to be frenetic - I now know what he meant. Strangely enough Richard's take on the page is more like my first version. Although, there's far more action in his page and a nice 'gang' emblem that also helps to identify the crew of 'baddies'. The only thing I think I can say I have going in my favour and it's really a minor thing is the connection with the characters, I think mine is more 'in it' with them.

Page four:
Mr Elson's Dredd is much grittier and again, there is more detail and (in general) far more design about on the page. The major story point that I've failed to convey is a badly parked hover-car in panel four - I love the crashed parking sign Richard has employed (actually, I'm slightly jealous of the simplicity and humour of it). I realize that I'm going to have to work on my future-tech as well - Richard's is really cool! Other than that, the two pages have been handled very similarly.

Page five:
My hospital is a classic sort of bright and white place (not unlike those seen in ER and Scrubs) and therein lies the major difference on this page, by going darker and more 'secret laboratory', Richard has succeeded in propelling us into the future - it's identifiable as a hospital but something is unfamiliar - it's a delicate balancing act and he's done it very well. Take as read from here that Richard has better tech than me. Again though, I think there is more connection to my character.

Page six:
These are very different pages and Richard has added an unscripted panel of Dredd's "eyes" which strangely conveys that Dredd understands 'Nobody'. I don't know how, but somehow he's managed to get a sense of kinetic anger (from Dredd's gloves no less) into the panel that pulls the plug. I don't think there's anything really wrong with how my storytelling works and I've got emotional content in my version - Hat off to Richard Elson though, I can really see why he is a published 2000AD artist.

I have improved so much over the course of doing this and at this point I have only completed nine full sample pages of comic art. I feel positive about my work and if I have developed this far in such a short space of time, I think I have every reason to be confident about the prospects of actually getting work in comics (if not at 2000AD) at some point in the future.

Judge Dredd © 2008 Rebellion Developments/2000AD

Monday, 15 September 2008

Page Three in Colour!

Colouring this page took me far too long - it was all those damn fiddly bits! I have nearly finished inking page six at the same time though, so maybe it's not too bad...

One of the gangsters is wearing a shoulder-pad which comes from the uniform of an East-Meg-One (Russian) Judge and a (Watchmen) Smiley badge - I don't know why.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Taking My Time...

Page three inks:

I'm really happy with this page, it feels much more professional and it's taken me less time too.

Approximate times (ignoring the previous version of page three):
sketching for reworked page and rough pencils: 2.5 hrs
tightened pencils at A3: 3 hrs
inking: 5.5 hrs

I'm not sure whether that's good or not time-wise but if I use that as a guide, roughly 11 hrs, (let's say) per page to get to finished inks, that means I can very nearly do four pages in a (40 hr) week (dependent upon the complexity being of a similar standard). I think that I've been working on these samples for about four weeks which is pretty slow, unless you take into account a about a week where I wasn't working on it for various reasons and also that I've coloured four out of six pages too.

I don't know what to do with that information. I don't think that my speed (or slowness) is out of the ordinary for comic art.

Friday, 12 September 2008

"And Now, The End Is Near..."

With nothing else left to do on this, I plucked up the guts to go back to the night club!

I've almost totally reworked the page. If you compare this with my original page three, hopefully you'll be able to see where I've tried to improve the dynamics and composition.

These are moderately tight pencils and I hope I won't have to do too much when I come to ink them.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

"Yesh, toit, toit like a tiger!"

The pencils on page six were in need of tightening up.

I must admit that I've been inspired to add some of the details here by a couple of posts I've seen on Dave Taylor's blog recently - my future-tech is a bit duff but his is brilliant.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Dredding The Final Two...

I've finished four pages now and I think when seen altogether as a set of samples I'm as happy as I can be with them.

In the script the black boxes are described as " Blackness, Thick, Heavy and Oppressive" and as there was virtually one specified on each page. I decided to add the heartbeat and then use them to try to carry some of the sequential flow from page to page.

I've also tried to make each successive page lighter and lighter as the weight is lifted from the shoulders of the protagonist and as we approach the bright light at the end of the tunnel... if that doesn't give too much away.

one & two

four & five

Judge Dredd © 2008 Rebellion Developments/2000AD

There's some stuff I'm chuffed with on page five, and then there's a couple of things that are like a loose bit of skin near a fingernail that's irritating me. I have to leave those things alone now. It's important to treat the sample as if it were a professional commission and have the discipline to know when it's good enough and move on in order to meet my deadline.

"No Disassemble Number Five"

Here is page five of the Judge Dredd sample script - finished it last night... I'm colouring now.

Sorry if this is getting a bit boring or repetitive, not much more to go on this now and then I have some other pressing projects and other matters to attend to which may shake up the blog a bit - possibly with the result of intermittent posting :-(

Monday, 8 September 2008

Page Four Coloured

That's 3 out of 6 finished!

I'm happy with how this page has turned out overall.

I've learnt so much whilst I've been doing this but if I had to do it again, I'd do it slightly differently. Hopefully that means my sample pages are improving...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Page Four Inked

Page four? Page four? Where the hell is page three?

Yes, it's glaringly obvious that page three has gone missing... where is she? She's sulking, cos I can't bring myself to get involved with that damn night club scene again so soon... I needed a break from drawing loads of people so I moved onto a page where I got to draw the fascist anti-hero that is Judge Dredd.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed drawing the vehicles in panel one and obviously Dredd's grim expression in panel two.

Graeme Neil Reid left some really encouraging comments on the last post. Thanks to Graeme and also PJ Holden, Chris Weston, Chuck Wells, Dave Taylor, Dylan Teague, Stephen Reid, Lee Townsend, Jim Boswell, and Dan Panosian who've all been really supportive of my recent foray into comic art. Sorry if I've forgotten anyone, I really do appreciate you too!

In other exciting news, I'm going to have a Creator Showcase up on Bullet Proof Comics' website soon and also something very exciting might be happening with Taormina too... so watch this space!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

More Dredd Pencils

As is my want, I'm pontificating again.

Here's pages 4 and 5 with a bit of re-working and tightened pencil work:

After this, out with the ink, I think!

I just bought Prog 1467 off ebay, it arrived this morning and I'll try hard not to look at it until I have finished my samples... It'll be interesting to see how the original artist approached the script!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Finished Page Two

Finished page:

Inked page:

Judge Dredd © 2008 Rebellion Developments/2000AD

Been busy with a number of things over the last week so I haven't made as much progress with the Judge Dredd samples as I'd have liked. I am reasonably happy with these first two pages though... fingers crossed they'll do the trick when I show them round at Birmingham in a month.

In completely unrelated news, I was recently interviewed about the illustration I submitted to the Just One More Book website's 'love of reading gallery'. The sound quality isn't brilliant and I think I sound like a bit of a weirdo but if you're at all interested, you can hear my chuntering responses to a variety of questions about my submission, my work and kids' books in general in a podcast on their website.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Page Two Teaser

I've just finished inking this panel from page two of the Judge Dredd sample script.

For some reason this brings back memories from my days of night-clubbing whilst at university.

My favourite character in this panel is the tool who's vogue-ing centre frame.