Monday, 21 December 2009

Showing a Bit of Leg!

John Freeman (down the tubes and much more besides) has a book in the works called Sci-Fi Art Now and he has requested submissions for it. I decided it was worth taking my sketched concept from last week to a finished piece for this project.

Here is a little teaser (so to speak) for the final piece I have submitted. It's a great brief and I really enjoyed putting this together, I just hope John likes my submission!

Friday, 18 December 2009


Clue is in the title!

Quick sketch again today. I have decided to try to push forward with the Spacegirl in peril piece from yesterday... I'm struggling to find a suitable B-movie name for the imaginary feature, hopefully it'll come to me eventually!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Hubba Hubba Hubba!

Quick sketch for a project I'm thinking of submitting something to. It depends whether I can make this concept work as to whether I bother or not. What you've got here is a B-movie sci-fi spoof, a silly alien monster, and a sexy astronaut lady.

What more could you want? That's a rhetorical question by the way!

I'm thinking of having it as a B-Movie poster like this one from all the way back when I started this blog (my second ever post).

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

S'no Joke.

A touch early, but here is my greeting card for all you fine people.

Monday, 7 December 2009

As The Crow Flies

Time to reveal some pretty hot news that I've been semi-sitting on since BICS. I'm going to be working on a Graphic Novel for Insomnia Publications with Rich Clements and you can read the official announcement on their blog.

Shown here are a couple of character design sketches... there will undoubtedly be more in the coming months. You won't need to make a note of the name: Corvus, because you'll be hearing it a LOT!

As of this moment on, I can legitimately call myself a Comic Artist - Yay! Suffice to say, I'm a bit excited about this.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Fractal Friction Page 3

Some of you will have already found the fab new web-comic thingy I'm involved with. For those that haven't, Fractal Friction is the endeavour of an eclectic group of fine, talented comic creators, and me. It's my turn and here are the inks for page three...

To see the final lettered and coloured version click over to Fractal Friction to read the story so far...

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

2000AD Advent Calendar

Over on the 2000AD forums a really great idea was put forward by Pete Wells of the 2000AD covers uncovered blog fame - each day during December, one or more board member will post something into an "advent calendar" topic. Pete has already posted his 1st December Judge Dredd X-mas movie epic and I'm certainly excited to see what else is in store... here is my effort for today's door!

I thought I'd celebrate one of my favourite new stories of 2009 - the terrific Zombo created by Henry Flint and written by Al Ewing.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Regarding Batman

Another sketch today. The Dark Knight, The Caped Crusader, Gotham's Vigilante/Playboy Billionaire Schizophrenic answer to yesterday's sketch of Superman. He's darker, harder and meaner but just as much of a tragic hero in my opinion. Again, the interest for me is in the emotional core of the character.

I always think of the Batsuit being run up on some Victorian sewing machine by Alfred - In the same way I like to imagine Martha Kent sowing up Clark's Superman suit - I'd end up with hundreds of 'sewn' lines if I let loose - the whole home-made thing really appeals to me - I mean, really, those hero suits HAVE to be home-made don't they?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Contemplating Superman

For a character I like so much and one that really did have a massive impact on my childhood - I draw Superman on surprisingly rare occasions.

When I do draw the character, I draw Superman, not Clark, never Clark and it's odd, because I always find that when I've finished drawing... the Superman I've drawn is Clark in a Superman suit... if you know what I mean.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Ernest Errol Quinch

After I posted DR yesterday, there were requests for his best friend to join him here - apparently you can't have one without the other.

There is one small regret I have with this sketch, and it has to do with when the doughnut idea happened - notably after I had sketched the signature smiley badge! The smiley always appears on that side of Quinch and so he would need to be seen from the other side from the jam-drip joke to work - ah well, if I decide to do a pic of DR& Quinch again, you know I'll make sure that I work it out so this idea works properly... BUT, that is what sketches are for, innit? - working things out!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Diminished Responsibility

Another sketch today... still busy beavering away on stuff I can't show.

This is DR, a classic character from the 2000AD archives. Created by Alan Moore and Alan Davis as a one-off Time-Twister - the character and his sidekick Quinch were a runaway success with the fans and gained their own series.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Johnny and Wulf

Been away for a couple of days. Seeing family & friends and speeding around like some sort of guided missile.

I snatched a few moments to sketch this one morning, whilst my lovely lady slumbered. No idea how long it took but I'm happy with it and as I'm still busy on a project I can't show - I thought I'd share it. Can't let the blog go without an update for too long!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

V&A Illustration awards

I've entered the V&A Illustration Awards 2010 with the work I produced for Cambridge University Press. The work was for a couple of books published earlier in the year, but I have only entered with illustrations done for Tales of Terror.

My entries can be found here. It's all very exciting. Fingers crossed for me everyone!

The reason I entered was a twitter post I saw made by Dave Gibbons. Now, I'm not wholly sure I like twitter, but without it, I doubt I'd have entered...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009



Photo ©Kevin Levell

Dredd Heading (again)

15 minutes.

Not sure I like this Dredd as much as the one from yesterday. I'd like yesterday's to be my model from now on...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

15 Minute Dredd Running

Whilst I'm busy on stuff I can't show... here's a morning warm-up.
Yup, 'nother one of those 15 minute Dredds!

I ran out of paper (and in some ways time also) hence the lack of Judge Dredd's boot on his leading leg!

...curse my haste, Dredd there is trailing an arm and a leg from the same side, a natural running pose would have opposite sides leading. Bless photoshop transform command - see how much better this is:

Friday, 6 November 2009

Zenith and Gronk

Earlier in the year, I illustrated two strips for the fab chaps at FutureQuake Press...
The first was Red Dragon, a Zenith prequel.

The second was Strontium Gronk, A Strontium Dog spin-off.

What do you mean you still haven't bought copies? GO NOW and order them... PLEASE?

Unlettered art for all the pages can be found both on my comicspace page and on my DeviantART.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Joker - Teeth

The next topic for DrawerGeeks is teeth and I did my piece early this time. As this was intended as a companion piece to Harley Quinn anyway, I decided to submit it to Scotch Corner as well - those lovely guys were kind enough to feature it over the weekend!

I, as I'm sure many others have been, was incredibly impressed with how the Joker was portrayed in The Dark Knight. A lot of that was down to Heath Ledger, but I thought the Chelsea Grin was a great idea and I don't know how original it was but I thought about trying to take that one step further, whilst I was sketching I reasoned: "What if the Joker had cut off his lips in order to create a permanent smile?". It's a horrible thought and it surprised me - sometimes you have to go with those thoughts and not self edit...

Friday, 30 October 2009

Joker's Progress

I am lucky enough to once again have a piece of my work thrust into the spotlight over on the fantastic Scotch Corner. Appearing tomorrow will be my version of the Joker. Here is the work in progress for it.

1 2

Initially I drew the head and face for the Joker in my sketch book.
I scanned this at 300dpi, mucked about in photoshop and added the hand with the playing card (1).
Then I started to add some colour to the piece, trying out different things but ultimately knowing that I wanted a classic colour scheme for the final piece (2).

3 4

I changed my mind about how the piece should be cropped and added the top of the Joker's head... at this point I also added the little Joker as previously posted and the ambigram of the word Joker from the Harley Quinn piece I did in July (3).
The next step was to drop out all the colour and create an image that would only print from the cyan tank of my printer (4).

5 6

I inked the "blue-scale" image after printing it out onto a nice sheet of bristol board (5).
Obviously I don't want all that blue, I just want the nice clean ink lines (6).
In photoshop there are plenty of ways to remove the blue - I use the channel mixer to remove most of the blue but some people prefer to convert to CMYK and then throw away the cyan channel. Both methods require some fiddling with levels to remove any grey areas and leave a nice Black and white image.

The final stage for me was to composite my two files (3) and (6), clean up any glaringly obvious problems, add some sort of background and a bit of texture to add some more depth to it all. To see how the final thing turned out, pop over to Scotch Corner on Saturday!

As an aside, I think this is pretty appropriate as a Halloween post!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Another one of those creatures I've been doing semi-occasionally with Matt and Phil...
My Salamander is not really twisted at all... I wanted to treat this one very graphically to see what would happen... possibly with a view to developing some T-Shirt designs.

Phil's already done his push-me-pull-you styled take on it, but Matt is very busy on some other projects right now - no pressure buddy, it'll keep!

Monday, 26 October 2009

A Little Joker

If you've been paying attention, you might remember the Harley Quinn I did a while ago as a guest post on Scotch Corner.
I'm working on a (sort of) companion piece and this is an element that I've produced based on an old ink sketch I did circa July 2002.

No prizes for guessing the subject of the new piece... it wasn't something I was planning on, but a sketch I did yesterday afternoon grabbed my attention and seemed a really good way to properly kick-start the back-to-work discipline I need.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Wulf and Johnny

's 'nother one of those fifteen minute jobs. Surprising how short that time is when you're trying to do two full figures - this sketch really is just the bare bones of a layout.

There's lots wrong with it too... that's ok though, 'cos it's only a quick sketch for fun!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Frankenstein's Monster

The current topic for DrawerGeeks is Frankenstein's Monster.

Having done a version of the monster once or twice before, I was reluctant to tread the same ground.
Unfortunately as my idea arrived a bit late in the day yesterday, I've only partially finished it. I think it illustrates the concept though and I'm fairly happy with it - hopefully I'll get the chance to finish it up properly, but it's joining a long 'to do' list!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Judge Dredd and Tweak

One of my all time favourite Dredd world characters appeared during Judge Dredd's first epic adventure The Cursed Earth which ran way back in progs 61-85 over thirty years ago. The character was Tweak, an alien who ate rocks and read minds...

There is a scene where Tweak looks like he is about to crush Dredd's head like a melon in a vice - but he is simply reading Dredd, to see if he can be trusted.

Monday, 19 October 2009

15 Minute Dredd Head

Been sick as a dog ever since I went to Birmingham, and haven't really been up to much since. My good lady has the anti-viral medication for the flu - and both of us have been rattling around drugged up on a smorgasbord of other cold remedies for the past week.
Today, I feel almost back to normal - and to ease me in gently back to work I've done a quick Dredd Head as a submission for a drawing thread over on the 2000AD forum.

15 minutes to draw Dredd's head... This was 15 minutes, sketched in photoshop with my wacom. I'm not really that happy with how this has turned out - oh well... back to the drawing board!

Johnny Alpha, Stontium Dog... 15 minutes digital sketch:

"Stimpy, you eediot!"

Did you spot the 'deliberate' mistakes in these two?

No? It's '09 - not '08, obviously, I'm still a bit foggy in the head!

Another edit:
Durham Red:

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I've got to do my taxes!

This says it all...

If you haven't seen Black Books, you've missed out! Right, goodbye! I've got to do my taxes!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

The next topic for DrawerGeeks is Where The Wild Things Are. Maurice Sendak's classic kids' book has already been made into a film by Spike Jonze and will be hitting the cinema soon.

There's a bit in the book where Max tames the Wild Things and I wanted to illustrate that as seen through their eyes.

Me old friend and colleague Matt Dawson did a Wild Things piece a while ago and submitted it to the fantastic tribute blog Terrible Yellow Eyes. Seeing an opportunity, I've submitted this to the curator Cory Godbey in the hope that he'll include it on his blog at some point in the future.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

BICS Year Two

Well this weekend was my second year at BICS. ( The Birmingham International Comics' Show, as previously linked to.)

We had decided to take the hassle out of the journey and went via train, by booking ages in advance, the good lady and I got there and back for the sum total of £32!
I arrived pretty relaxed and uncharacteristically chipper and confident. The Hotel, Holiday Inn (Queensway, City Centre) was brilliant and in that respect it was a nice contrast to The Britannia that we stayed in last year. The only other thing to say was that we were in what appeared to be a room equipped for disabled people and for the entirety of the stay I had this scene from the it crowd in my head!

The evening was spent in the fabulous Wellington pub - a real ale pub with a selection of 10 real ales on tap. Met up with Rich Clements, Vicky Stonebridge and Dave Evans (the FutureQuake gang) and also Duncan Nimmo, another contributor to the current issue Dogbreath. It was a fine evening with good people and lubricated with very good quality drink! I think the strong beer contributed to a weird dream about submitting my work to Tharg, in the dream he liked my samples, but I awoke from the dream feeling somewhat scuppered and a bit groggy. After an hour or so, I drifted back to sleep.

Headed over to the ThinkTank/Millenium Point. I had a quick chat to my good pals PJ Holden and Dylan Teague - and as always, they were generous and helpful in reviewing my porfolio. Then it was a quick stop over at the FutureQuake table to pick up my comp copies of Zarjaz & Dogbreath both of these are still available to buy if you haven't already ordered your copies. I showed Dave and Rich the art for the strip I'd been working on for them too, I'm chuffed to say they were pleased with the pages.

There are a number of developments from Saturday that I'd like to keep under my hat for now, suffice to say I think I'm moving in the right direction...
I once again had the opportunity to show Tharg my samples - those very ones I was working on only last week. I still don't think I feel confident that I'm interpreting his comments correctly. Basically he said that there were some nice things going on in the pages and that I should send the samples in to the usual address and that he would put them on file and let me know if a suitable strip arose. I'm taking that with a pinch of salt as I don't want to go getting ahead of myself. (I did say I would rework a couple of panels before I submitted the samples, see below).

Over the course of the day, I met up with some cool people - Matt Soffe and his good friend Olly, Jim Campbell, Jim Boswell, Nic Wilkinson, Gary Erskine, Stacy Whittle, Ben Clark, Matt Banners and Paul Gravett amongst other exellent folk whose names I'm ashamed to say I have forgotten.

The evening was spent in the Briar Rose, the local Weatherspoon's pub just a few doors down from the Wellington. In short, great laughs, good people.

My head was a little swimmy, but I was buoyed up by the developments of the previous day. All I really had time for was a quick chat and cheerio before my portfolio review with Michael Wright - a DC commissioning editor. He said he thought I had some drawing chops - I took this as a compliment, ultimately I don't think he thought I was up to the required standard for DC or Marvel but he said I might make it as a penciller at somepoint... ahh well, whatever will be will be. I made a quick dash out of there thinking I had only a narrow window in which to catch my train out of Birmingham... we ended up at Birminham New street station about an hour early - but that was good as it gave me a chance to take stock of events and have a good chat with my better half about what it meant for us going forward.

Of all the pieces in my portfolio, there must be something about this piece, because it caused for the second year running, by far and away the most comment. I guess it says something about the comic reading demographic - worth pursuing in more pin-up pieces I reckon then.

Sorry for the wordy post - normal service will resume in due course.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Poison Ivy

If all things have gone according to plan, then blogger will have automatically posted this in absentia.
You may remember a while ago, I posted about a cool blog called covered where the idea is that you rework a classic comic cover in your own style... again, if things have gone according to schedule, then my version of Batman 181 should be visible on Robert Goodin's covered blog right now! So, I'm now free to reveal to you good folk the full image...

Here again, for reference, is my copy of the original cover from June 1966 with art by Infantino and Anderson.

Remember to cross your fingers for me today, as I'm at the Birmingham International Comics' Convention and I'll be trying to meet up with editors and professionals who might be able to help me onto the all important first rung of the professional ladder!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Sinister Dexter - pencils!

Thanks to all the learned gentlemen who've offered advice to me after yesterday's post. This morning, after taking in all the great advice, I decided that it was best to have the whole story pencilled - I've got plenty of inked stuff and I felt it was better to tell the whole thing rather than look flaky and only have the start and finish. Here then, are the finished pencils.

Page two:

Page three:

I think these are ok for the showing to good old Tharg... I hope he likes them!

I won't be inking any of them, although I do have time tomorrow, because I'm going to get acquainted with my portfolio, print out a few samples for potential hand-outs and I'd like to do something about my business card - although I think it will probably just end up being a case of printing some more of the old one...

Wish me luck friends - I'll post again after BICS!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Sinister Dexter - Advice

Right, advice time, please, people...
As well as the finished page 1, I've already posted here, I've got very rough page layouts for pages 2 & 3 (apart from 2 tricky panels) ...these tightened pencils for page 4:

...AND these (almost) finished pencils for page 5:

Now, I can't decide how's best for me to proceed. I could get finished pencils for all the pages done, but then I might not have any time left to ink anything else from this script - does that matter considering I've got a few pages of inks available to use in my portfolio?

My gut instinct says: Ink one of the pencilled pages here, probably page 4 and then if I have any time left at all, try to finish up the pencils for the remaining pages... besides that, I've got a sneaking suspicion that if I don't finish the pencils it won't matter that I'm not showing the whole sequential story, as I do have 6 sequential pages from an unpublished Dogbreath script.


Monday, 28 September 2009

Sinister Dexter Pg.1 final

Page one is all finished now. I think I'm fairly happy with how the page turned out and I have to admit, I do like the nice clean black lines that hold it all together.

Here, if you're interested, are the inks.

For the uninitiated, Sinister Dexter are hitmen and have been written by Dan Abnett since he and David Millgate created them in around 1995.
Sinister Dexter is a really great strip and since getting back into 2000AD it has been one of my favourite stories. I've really enjoyed doing this page and I think it shows, so I hope to get another couple of pages of inks done to show, but I'm glad I've got this in addition to the other pieces I'm currently planning on showing.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sinister Dexter Pg.1 panel 4

After fiddling with the 'paint' job on this for a bit too long - I have decided that I don't really like the effect that I am getting here. What worked quickly and effectively for the Pulpy Punisher seems mired in labourious detail when applied to strip work.

As I had altered some stuff from the pencils, I used the existing file to create a 'non-reproducing blue' guide for inking... That took some doing, but I'm part way done on inking the page now and despite the desire to show the other style at BICS, I'm much happier with the results I've already produced with my inks. Hopefully it will just be a case of 'dropping' them over the already worked-up colour file.

It doesn't hurt to experiment, and I'm glad I gave this a crack but in order to be ready for next weekend, it will be safer to produce the rest of these samples in my tried and tested style - I just hope I'm not doing myself a disservice with this decision.

Oh and just one final thing. The comics with my first published work are now available via the good folk at FutureQuake Press - and you can order them here.

Zarjaz issue 08 - £3 + p&p

Dogbreath issue 21 - £3 + p&p

Please do help to support the endeavour, as without Small Press publishers like FutureQuake, it would be much harder for people like me to get work in print. They have other new comics out as well, all produced for the love of the medium.