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!