Monday, 27 July 2009

Sun Wukong (Monkey)

Well, more Monkey. I really shouldn't have found this brilliant topic as torturous as it has been.
I think it's a fairly common phenomenon. Given a job/topic that you'd love to do and do well - there is a tendency for the creativity to freeze up on you. A psychological road-block that gets in the way of you and the destination you'd hoped to arrive at. I think you need to keep going though - being a professional dictates that you can't just give up entirely. By taking a couple of detours, you might not end up where you thought you'd like to go, but the journey will have been interesting and you might end up somewhere just as good.

And with that word "journey" in mind. Sun Wukong is the traditional name for the character "Monkey" from 'Journey to the West', an old Chinese legend. Popularized in the 70s by the classic TV show "Monkey Magic" and then again in recent years by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett's stage adaptation.

I'm fairly happy with the treatment and approach to this, albeit a reasonably straight copy of the TV show's. My inked sketch, quickly coloured in photoshop would serve as a character design for a more dynamic martial art style action pose, but time has run out on me, so this will be my submission for DrawerGeeks this time round.

Saturday, 25 July 2009


DrawerGeeks' new topic is Monkey. I've had real problems with this - I was originally going to do a monkey killing two birds with one stone - but it didn't have the quirky quality I was looking for. Then I thought "Space Monkey" but something I've seen kept creeping into my mind...

I don't really like this Super-Monkey, conceptually I think it's a bit weak - no nice puns to be had with the name Clark Kent or Kal-El... I think at some low point in the Superman franchise there may have been a Super-Monkey. I thought about doing a strip where I just spoof Superman totally but I'm not that excited about it. If it's not working, move on. So here is the best of the aborted approaches.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Donkey O'Tay and Sancho Panda

Two? TWO posts in one day? surely not!
Twisted Creatures again... a quickly coloured up ink sketch.

I had chosen the humble Donkey for this round, please follow the links to see Matt's and Phil's for very different, but wonderful takes on the theme.

Ever since I was small I've always mis-heard the pronunciation of Don Quixote... This idea wasn't going anywhere until I talked to my lovely wife the other day and she casually said "What about Donkey O'Tay and Sancho Panda?" - I swear, I nearly wet myself.

Phil has chosen the Hyena as the next victim creature.

2000AD cover competition

Over on the 2000AD forums, they have a monthly art competition. This month is cover-recreations or "cover versions"... Basically anything you want to do: a straight recreation or a mix up with 2000AD characters and albums, dvds or book covers - even other comics...
I've chosen to do a cover that never was - but potentially should have been... Fink Angel, one of my all time favourite Dredd-world villains first appeared in prog 193. The initial story ran for 4 progs, but Fink would return again...

In the story, a cover to a newspaper falls into Fink's hands alerting him that his estranged family have all been sentenced to death by Judge Dredd - well naturally, being the Cursed Earth homicical maniac that he is, he sets out to avenge his kin!

There has been some corking entries already and I've thrown last month's recreation of prog 310 into the mix already. Something rattled around my goldfish memory and reminded me that I'd done another (sample) cover for 2000AD...

Last July - very nearly a year to the day in fact... I presented this to the blogging fraternity.
That was when the light went on in my brain and I knew what I wanted to be for the first time in over a decade. Looking at this - I can see how much more accomplished the Fink cover is in comparison - nothing really wrong with this Dawn of the Dead spoof...
but I feel like I've come such a long way in what has surprisingly been only a year!

Oddly enough there are some pretty strong compositional similarities in these two pieces... a slight twist where the villain is the wide-stanced focus (although he shares some of those quirky zombie characteristics) and the "hero" is in the background - other wise there's not much to tell, which I think means that the basics of my approach aren't that different and I am just honing my skills.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

This Is Zarjaz!

The massive news that I've been sitting on for a couple of weeks is that I have designed a new logo for the 2000AD fanzine Zarjaz. Please do check out the home of the Fanzine at The Quaequam Blog.

Yes, it's another one of those ambigram things. I'm really pretty chuffed about this, and for another scoop here how it's going to look on the cover of issue 08!

I also have a strip in this issue as previously blogged about. Copies will be ready for BICS on 3rd October and will be available there, via The Quaequam Blog or the FutureQuake shop. There will also be new issues of Dogbreath (with another strip by me) and Future Quake available too.

Awesome Rogue Trooper artwork courtesy of the ever brilliant PJHolden and Steve Denton (colours).

Gonna have to go before I start giggling like a little girl - I'm so excited!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Final Harley

Well, I'm gonna post this here in full now.

I was very pleased with how she turned out in the end. Thanks for all the kind comments.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Carpet Pattern Card

I've finished my submission for Scotch Corner and I've had word from Graeme that he'll post it up in tomorrow's guest spot. Here is a bit of a teaser...

...and this is a pattern I created for an aborted project that involved a flying carpet. In the Harley Quinn pin-up, I've used the pattern as the pattern on the back of the card, and I have to say, I think it's far more effective as that than it ever felt as a magic carpet design.

I always think of Weaveworld when I think of magic carpets, and I am sure I recall thinking about that book when I was designing this pattern circa 1999 - now that's recycling for you!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Joker - ambigram

Been mucking about with the Harley Quinn card background and obviously, she'll be on a 'joker' background. The thing with playing cards is the topsy-turvy thing. I've played about with ambigrams before but it struck me that there was a pretty good reason to have one here.

Now look at it upside-down, careful you don't crick your neck though!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Harley Quinn

I'm honoured to have been invited by Graeme Neil Reid to contribute to Scotch Corner. Scotch Corner is a collection of (top) Scottish professional artists, and although the only thing even remotely scotch about me is a penchant for 12 year malts, I am chuffed that I'll be in such illustrious company. Just as soon as I work up the sketch below to a finished standard, I'll send it to Graeme, with thanks for his continued support!

Batman villainess, Harley Quinn - does she need any explanation or reasoning? I'm gonna do a clichéd 'joker card' background that she's just shot/blasted her way through, hence the 'bow/curtsy' and hopefully it'll work. I've slapped some rough colour down and she's looking sexy enough... I have some other stuff to muddle through today and thoughts before I get back to it later (most likely tomorrow) would be most appreciated.

In other news, my refreshed website is up and ready for critiques. There are some errors I've already found and there are some things that can't be revealed just yet... but please pop along and let me know what you think. Thanks to Phil for plugging it already on his blog too!

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Dynamic Dredd?

After Tharg's last comments and in line with some sage advice from Dylan Teague, I revisited the 'two guns' approach for Dredd - with a healthy dose of "have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air?" I think there is a distinct improvement in Dredd's 'power' and the further push on the foreshortened right hand adds more "IN YOUR FACE!" Looking at it again, I now notice the Eagle needs to be further out, to broaden Dredd's shoulders. I'll rework this a bit more, I think.

I've been working on a new website all week, as I feel that the current one isn't really reflective of what I'm doing/want to do more of.
Whilst scanning stuff for the (long overdue) sketchbook pages, I found this sketch of Dredd from a couple of weeks ago - I think it's way too static, but something made me scan it in... something about it really screamed "that's Dredd!" at me... I don't think it's representative of how I think I want my comic pages to look, I think it's more that there's something familiar about this Dredd, he looks 'bigger' somehow...
I've nearly finished building the new site, it's more of a 'refresh' than a rebrand, but hopefully it'll be ready soon and I can upload it.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Channel 4 - Life Class

Today's model was Maria Muñoz. Dancer and choreographer... brilliant pose, from two sides. I really enjoyed today's episode.

Click top to see a composite of the two sketches (I really like this). Click bottom to go to my flickr page where you can view all today's drawings and the previous days' too.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Channel 4 - Life Class

Today's programme had three shorter poses in contrast to yesterday's single set-up.


Consumate professional Ken Fahy hardly moved at all, he had a great physique that was really interesting to draw.


This was my favourite pose of the lot - there were some fascinating details in the hands that I would have loved to have had more time to observe.


The long pose was this classic foreshortened pose, I'm pretty happy with it - although a little longer would have again been good.

I think this is a great programme, Channel 4 has unsurprisingly had complaints - I can see that from a parental point of view, it's not what you want your child to see at lunchtime - but is it really so offensive?

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Channel 4 - Life Class

I sat down to eat my lunch and I found that Channel 4 has been running a programme all this week called Life Class: Today's Nude.
I cast aside my sandwich and quickly grabbed a pencil and some paper and started sketching. Good old Channel 4 - nudity at lunchtime, great for the digestion... anyway, I'm still trying to keep a PG rating here, so, if you're interested, click the image below to view the whole sketch.

For all you artists out there, the programme is available on demand here for the next month. The model was the beautiful Kirsten Varley, and this programme was hosted by Gary Hume (Turner Prize nominee and graduate of Goldsmiths).

I might go back and watch the previous episodes - The show is on again tomorrow and Friday @ 12:30 for 30minutes - with about 15-20mins of model time onscreen (Channel 4+1 could also give you a second crack at the whip, so-to-speak). Hopefully I'll post sketches from these other episodes too.

I thought this was a great opportunity to do some much needed life drawing without expensive classes... the only mild criticism I have is that the incidental music was decidedly "soft porn" - something I think life drawing classes struggle with in terms of the public's perception of what they are - careless on behalf of the programme makers, I think.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Twisted Toucan

Well, I'm jumping the gun with this as we still haven't had Phil's Praying Mantis (no pressure)... But after yesterday's posting I was sketching and drew this evil little creature. The next animal to distort was a Toucan, as selected by Matt and I thought that this fit the bill, or rather, the beak!

Burnt, evil, or another demon like the helliphant - you decide... All I know is that it's my choice of creature for the next round - and damn it, I'm choosing a Donkey... no horses or zebras or other equine relatives, the wonderfully expressive Donkey has only that grumpy purple thing representing it's species in popular culture - time to redress the balance!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Zarjaz and Dogbreath Strips

I've been doing some fanzine work for the splendid chaps at FutureQuake Press. I've already done a six page story for the next issue of Zarjaz and I've just finished a three page Gronk story for the next issue of Dogbreath... I'm pretty chuffed as I lettered this strip too. I've got another strip for Dogbreath in the works as well that should be pretty cool too...

Find out more about these two brilliant publications at The Quaequam blog. If you need some reading material until your next Prog or Meg arrives, swing by their shop and order yourself some of the finest small press sci-fi you're likely to read.

This panel is from the six pager, I won't say which 2000AD 'parent' story it's from as I don't want to give too much away until the strip is printed. I felt that I should use a hatching style on this for a number of reasons, evoke part of what the original strip had and also because this is set in the 60s, I wanted a traditional 'older' look to the work - on reflection I'm not sure my hatching is up to the standard I wanted.

This panel is from the Gronk strip. I've used a home-made digital tone as I wanted to control how the 'grey' areas would appear in the final print. I also wanted to test-drive something I'd experimented with before. The other thing to mention for those of you are just along for the ride is that this panel has my depictions of Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer from Strontium Dog.

I'll submit these (and the Dredd Pin-up) to Tharg, and hopefully share his feedback as soon as I have it!

I do have some more, enormous, headline grabbing news that I can't blog about yet, but when the next issue of Zarjaz comes out... you'll know about it!

Just had feedback from Tharg - man he's a speedy alien that one!
(copied from his verdant e-mail which pinged into my inbox with a certain authority)
Thanks for the samples, Kevin. Your linework is quite strong, and the pages are nice and clear, but I think you need to work further at your human figure drawing and anatomy. Dredd's foreshortened arms in the pin-up don't look quite right, for example. The characters need to feel like they're moving and have life, and that they have substance to them.

Right, onwards and upwards - I've got more samples to produce - I'll keep working on my figures - I do have some problems with anatomy and foreshortening that I'm working on and hopefully once I've cracked that...