Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Easter... oh!

It's time to announce a little sideline project I've been doing with my good chums Matt Dawson and Phil Morgan...

It's called A Little Bit Bunny and the basic idea is that each month, we all do an illustration based upon a chosen creature. The brief is about as open as it can be, but with the stipulation that a 'twist' of some description is made to the creature in question...

There are quite a few on the blog already to search through and also a small number on each of our blogs from before we decided to try to make it a monthly thing with some rules.

Hope you enjoy the project, and Season's Greetings to you all.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

2000AD Xmas Party

The 2000adonline forum virtual advent calendar is still going strong. About a month ago, one of the board members, Dirk Van Dom, asked whether I'd be willing to contribute something to help illustrate a game he was trying to produce/write/organise!

Here's a cropped section from my illustration...

To find the full (cheeky) image you'll have to play the game!

I'll let Dirk explain the idea:
Quote from: Van Dom
Remember the old ‘choose your own adventure’ stories? Well, I’ve prepared one for you to read/play, that centres around a night at a 2000ad Christmas party, as you mingle with various characters, get involved in various situations, and just generally try to make it through the night. The rules are simple. DON’T get eaten by Zombo. DON’T send Slaine into a warp spasm. And, above all, DON’T piss off Judge Dredd. If you can manage all that, you MIGHT impress Tharg and be rewarded, you MAY score with a really hot chick (3 to choose from!), and you COULD foil a devious plot to sabotage the party and blow everyone to smithereens! Depending on the choices you make and the way you progress through the story, there are a number of different objectives you can be presented with. There are also quite a few sticky endings you can come to if you don’t choose carefully, so watch out!


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Early Festivities

Just as early with this as I was with last year's e-card...

With all the snow we've been having and also because I'm feeling very seasonal (we just put up our tree this week) it seemed appropriate to get the festive season off to an early start!

Well, it's been pretty seasonal here for a while, what with the 2000ad advent calendar and my Cycle Lifestyle cover.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

Support 2000ad

If you are a fan of 2000ad, run a blog or wordpress/live journal etc. please, include this nifty little gadget on your sidebar. The widget should, if clicked, lead you to the digital download of the current issue of 2000ad at their online shop.

Here's the code, for you to copy and paste. The prog will change as each new one becomes available for digital download.

Hopefully, even if it only helps to reawaken one lapsed reader, it will have been worth the effort. Thanks in advance.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Austerity Measures

It's virtual advent Calendar time again over on the 2000ad forums.

Dirty Frank is one of my favourite characters from 2000ad at the moment. He's a long term undercover Judge who talks about himself in the third person and is named after a Pearl Jam song. He's part of the Lowlife strip written by Rob Williams. I showed Rob the inks for this and I'm thoroughly chuffed to say he like it... so, I showed it to Tharg, who thought Frank's left arm looked a little awkward... I can't see it myself, but I'll bear it in mind next time I'm asking him for work!

He needs to hire me soon though, or it'll be me picking through the bins for food scraps! (only joking)

If you're interested, last year's entry is here.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Cycle Lifestyle

I was recently asked to provide cover art for Cycle Lifestyle, it's a free magazine that offers Londoners a positive alternative to the normal news-stand doom and gloom. A magazine designed to inspire more people to cycle...

Cycle Lifestyle’s editor, Ben Irvine, sums up the project in this way:
“If someone offered to pay you to start each working day feeling livelier, fitter and less stressed, of course you’d say ‘yes please’. We’re hoping that our magazine will let many more commuters in on the deal: reaping the rewards of free and stress-free travel in London”.

Given the current weather conditions this art seems somehow a lot more relevent than it did when I was producing it!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Karloff for Zuul

I've just done an Artswap with a good pal and long time supporter of mine Graeme Neil Reid. A while ago, Graeme was doing a series of Ghostbuster illustrations and I asked if he was doing a Sigourney Weaver as Zuul, could I have the original in return for an illustration by me...

I'm chuffed to say he was up for it and chose a very broad topic of "Characters from Hammer and Universal Horror movies"... I have to confess to a soft spot for Frankenstein's monster (one of the first things I ever shared on this blog was a "Frankie"). So it was long over due to do another... this time I tried to capture Boris Karloff in his career defining role as the monster...

I hope Graeme likes the illustration when he finally receives it (weather permitting), and I look forward to the Gatekeeper arriving in due course!

Thanks Graeme!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Interview

You may remember I recently plugged John Freeman's book Sci-Fi Art Now.

As part of the promotion for the book he's been interviewing all the contributors... mine is now up on the Sci-Fi Art Now blog.

I hope it's of interest, and not pretentious... I am excited all the same to have been interviewed about my work!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Judge Dredd Movie Still

So the first image of Karl Urban as Judge Dredd has been released and we're less than a week into filming...

There's been mainly a positive reaction, but I'm all kinds of excited about this, just great news for the comic.

This is a really quick and possibly wrong extrapolation of what I think we are looking at in the still.

I also think the respirator will pull down to create a fully enclosed helmet as per the inset... don't know about the mechanics of it, but it'll look pretty cool, certainly quite menacing if Dredd was striding out of some gas-filled underpass.

Thought I'd just share (again) my speculative concept from Feb 09... I think what we've got is a lot better than that... although there are lots of similarities.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Push Pineapple

Joe Pineapples from the ABC Warriors.

Just a couple of quick sketches, trying to define how I want to depict him.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Very Complimentary

Well, I've just received a couple of comp copies of two publications I've got work in...

As previously blogged, I've got 'The Squadron' in Sci-Fi Art Now, a thumping good coffee table style book crammed with fantastic pieces of art from some seriously impressive names. You can also read about my process for that piece here from earlier in the year.
Sci-Fi Art Now is available from all good bookshops and on amazon still for the bargain price of £13.99

The other illustration is for a story called 'Stone' by Neil Beynon in the British Fantasy Award winning anthology title Murky Depths.

Please order your copy of Murky Depths #14 here.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Icon Idiocy

The icons/avatars for the twitter spoof were, for the most part, new and done far too large!

Hopefully they did their job.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

2000AD Twitter

Over on the 2000ad forums, the monthly art comp is something I usually intend to contribute to... but I seldom find the time these days. This month, it's such a good theme - mash-ups/crossovers and I had what I thought was a pretty good idea. A twitter spoof!

So I enlisted the services of my good pal and frequent collaborator Rich Clements and made time!

For the uninitiated, twitter reads from the bottom up... so you'll need to click the image, zoom in and scroll to the bottom to start!

I really hope you enjoy reading this as much as Rich and I did producing it!

Monday, 18 October 2010

BICS 2010

This year, I was pretty unprepared and not that confident about my portfolio, perverse then, that I was the most relaxed I have been at any of the three BICS I have attended.

It was really good to see old friends and make new ones, so, thanks to everyone for a great weekend!

The highlights for me, amongst many fabulous chats with too many cool people to mention here (for fear of missing anyone out) were:

1. I got to see a copy of Sci-Fi Art Now which I have the above illustration featured in, alongside some heavyweights of the genre. John Freeman has put together a cracking coffee table book, the kind I would have poured over as a child. The book is currently only £13.99 so please go buy a copy!

2. The slightly awe inspiring incident when I decided to ask Dave Gibbons whether he'd mind looking at my portfolio.
He really liked my work and felt that on the whole it was nice stuff particularly facial expressions, it was just there were a few small things letting me down, one of which I had done repeatedly.

So, what is a tangent with respect to comic art and why is this bad?

It's a situation where a line in your panel creates a tangent to the border or another feature or line in your panel as with this example here.

The problem is that it can flatten a panel because you lose depth when a line runs into another that should look like it is in another plane of the image.

Forget for a moment that the arm is a little anatomically dodgy, the major factor spoiling the composition of the panel is at the shoulder where the inked line meets the border.

The slightly frustrating thing is, they are pretty easy to avoid in this instance by simply having the panel border crop the figure or alternatively allow enough space away from the panel edge.

It's pretty clear to see the massive improvement not only in how the eye is not drawn to the panel border, but in the composition also.

Honestly, it's just a little careless. It was discussed elsewhere but is relevant here, as an artist, you instinctively know when something is wrong, you can see it even if you don't quite know what it is.

More often than not, it takes someone else to point it out, in my case Dave Gibbons pointed it out repeatedly within my portfolio, much to my embarrassment, but as he wisely said, "You'll never do it again, will you?" and I certainly hope not to.

Tangents can occur within the panel too, and it's a little tricky to describe in words, hopefully the quick sketches that Dave did for me to illustrate the concept will help any interested party to understand the potential pitfall.

There are a long and tough set of concepts that need to be bore in mind when laying out a page of sequential art, and it is easy to forget something you know, or should be proficient at.

Something as simple as the breaking down a panel into three planes.

My panel here is suffering from more than that but the fix is simple if we look at the quick sketch Dave did to remind me how I could have avoided most of the problems.

Black placement and line weight become much easier to decide upon when the panel is broken down in this way.

It's simple, logical and creates greater depth within the panel. Irritatingly it's something I've fallen foul of before, again, I hope to never make the same mistake again.

Finally Dave gave me a tip on how to hold my brush, there's no need for puerile or childish jokes, this is a serious matter and will give you greater control over your line for fine detail. very simply put, hold your brush upright.

It's a Chinese technique and the name Dave told me for it escapes me for the moment, as does the name of a classic EC cartoonist my work reminded Dave of.

Encouraged that Dave Gibbons, that's Dave Gibbons folks, liked my work I approached another couple of editors on the Sunday, one of whom told me that my portfolio was the best he'd seen all weekend. Humbled, chuffed etc. I left Birmingham far more confident, happy and inspired than when I arrived.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

One Cool Cat

Jim Campbell has helped me out more times than I care to mention. He's lettered samples, collaborated on un-paid submissions and has recently worked with me on a tricky job to produce some poster sized comic pages.

Jim has just launched his own blog, Clint Flicker, where the man of letters will deal with his highly under-rated discipline's subtleties.

This weekend is the Birmingham Comcs Convention and hopefully I will have already managed to give Jim the original inks to the illustration of Catwoman below - small thanks for his efforts on my behalf.

This piece also figures as new porfolio piece for the convention and all things being well you can see a coloured version over on Scotch Corner today.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Dredd Sans

A topic on the 2000ad forum, that I've mean to contribute for a long while is the you have 15 minutes to draw Dredd's Head - minus the helmet. Over the weekend, Staz Johnson posted a particularly gritty interpretation that brought the topic back to my attention.

Suitably inspired, I sketched this last night... I think this was just under the 15mins.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Get Well Carlos Comic

The public version of the Get Well Carlos Comic, aka Supersquirrel Undefeated aka The Secret Project is now available for download.

Two options for download, both are a 54Mb. These links will not work forever, so I would suggest you download sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.



I'd also like to suggest that you make a donation to a Cancer charity too, by way of payment for the comic.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

SketchUp Overkill

I may have gone a little bit overboard with this whole SketchUp preparation... hopefully it should make the resultant strip look a whole lot cooler though!

This is a (admittedly not very good) fly-through of the main locations within the mopad I'll be needing in the strip.

I've also made a lawgiver, based on the one I did in my most recent Dredd sketch, which my good pal Matt Soffe did a bang-up colouring job on here by the way.

I think, this lawgiver, with the lawmaster and the bonkers sized scene of Mega-City 1 from last week, rounds out the collection of reference models for Judge Dredd's world that I should need on this strip...

Monday, 27 September 2010

Modesty Blaise Sketch

I've had a quick attempt at Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway's Modesty Blaise.

It's the result of a suggestion made by James Corcoran, who when we were doing the Art Swap included a little bonus sketch for each of us... I only found this fab little depiction of Dirty Frank by chance when I was clearing up, and I'm so glad I did.

Dirty Frank is one of my favourite characters from 2000ad's Low Life, a story about undercover Judges, written by Rob Williams.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Super Secret Squirrel

About a month ago, the sad and sudden news that Carlos Ezquerra had been taken ill with Lung Cancer broke on the 2000ad forum. The good news was that it had been caught in time.

A short while later, I, and many others (including some professionals) were contacted by Mark Howard (The Legendary Shark) and asked if we would like to contribute something to a get well comic that would be given to Carlos. The importance of Carlos Ezquerra's work in 2000ad's history and it's meaning to hundreds of adoring fans cannot be understated. With John Wagner, he created both Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog, two of the comic's most enduring characters. His work was also something of an inspiration to me in my youth, so my answer to the question posed was a resounding yes, I want to contribute something!.

A quick e-mail to Rich Clements and Dave Evans to ask whether they'd like to collaborate on a special 'Teen Wulf' for the project and a simple suggestion that it involve Wulf's Dad, who would be a doppleganger for Carlos yeilded the swift and genius response from Rich, a script for 'Cucumber' (a favoured word of Wulf's in his dealings with Johnny Alpha) arrived in my in box. I had enormous fun illustrating the strip, and I'm sure I've not done Carlos justice, but it's the thought that counts, right? I'm not going to share Dave's lettering for the page here, because there will be a publicly available link to a download of the whole comic that I will share when the time comes.

With my contribution made, I thought nothing more of the project until I received an e-mail via Dave that Mark had secured a deal for printing the comic, the printer would do the job for a substantial discount if he could get a logo designed for his motorcycle club... could I help out? Well, again, it was an easy decision, of course, if I can help out - I will.

Luckily the illustration above, did the trick and with one happy printer, the project could go full steam ahead!

Again, I thought nothing more about the project until Mark posted on the 2000ad forum asking if anyone could help out with special duties... In the spirit of the project's secrecy I responded simply to ask what the problem was and if I could help again... Mark desperately needed a cover, had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted and needed it pretty swiftly - I should have been working on other things, but it felt like an important job to help out on, so again, I found myself contributing to the project.

Yesterday, the comic was received by Carlos and he expressed his gratitude to all involved through a message to Mark on facebook. It has meant a great deal to me to be involved in honouring a hero of mine and I only hope it helps speed his recovery.

To Mark the Shark, all who contributed and those who simply kept the secret, I salute you, it makes me proud to be a fan of 2000ad!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Mega, Mega City One

To go along with the Lawmaster I made a while ago in Google Sketch-Up, I've built a section of Mega-City One. I've invested some time making vehicles and zooms and bits and pieces to help me frame my panels for a Judge Dredd strip by Lee Robson that I've blogged a little about before.

Click image for a huge, zoom-able version

This is still a work in progress and I'll probably use different views than the one shown here, but that's the beauty of a simple 3D package, I make this once, then I can move things around for the best framing of each panel without having to reconstruct, redraw and redo all those little details again and again. Admittedly, I will to some extent, because I will only be using the exported images as under-lays for each of the panels.

Other resolutions:
700 x 370
1600 x 846

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

An Emperor for The Emperor

So here's a little sketch I did a while ago for the enigmatically named Emperor, a long time supporter and collaborator of mine.

Simply put, it was as part of the Art Swap that my cohorts on Fractal Friction and I were doing, I've just been notified that it's arrived at it's destination (and thanked) - so I can now share it with the world, well, those of you who visit here anyway!

Here's a quick reminder that I'll currently do an A4 sketch of this kind for £15 inc. P&P.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Judge Joe Dredd

Here's another A3 inked illustration. A bit more work in this one, but willing to sell it for the bargain price of £65

I'll do this one and the Anderson as a bundle for a cool £100 though.

I'm also open to commissions, if you want something similar to this of your choice, please contact me via the e-mail address below for a quote:

Friday, 10 September 2010

PSi Judge Cassandra Anderson

Here's an inked illustration of Judge Anderson I've just done as an inking test trying out some paper with a rougher surface.
It's all about getting those dry brush effects without the expense of losing higher level detail...

Well, I'm pretty happy with it, could see it working as a cover for the Megazine in fact, I'd be glad to hear what you think of it too...
Although I've offered out my services to do commissions before... I really haven't tried to sell anything that I've done off my own back. So as an experiment, I'll be more than happy to sell this to the first person who offers me £50 for it. It's A3, inked straight over the pencils (which is unusual for me as I normally scan and print out my pencils so I have a back-up) so this is a true original never to be available again type item. Oh, and that price will include recorded delivery!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Rogue Trooper Returns

Yesterday, on facebook, Pat Mills broke the news that Gerry Finley-Day had written a Rogue Trooper script called 'Dead-Ringer' and had that accepted by the good folk at 2000ad.
This is significant for a number of reasons, Rogue had been 'officially retired' and Gerry, the original writer (who created Rogue with Dave Gibbons) hasn't written for comics in a very long time.

Needless to say, my relentless desire to work for the Galaxy's Greatest Comic was intensified by this... Rogue Trooper is one of the classic, iconic 2000ad characters.
I may have gone overboard by littering the internet with the news and my keenness to be the man in the driving drawing seat! I've hassled Tharg twice, (un-wiseley, I suspect) but last night, after I had contacted him with my most recent and secret strip work, I quickly sketched out my take on Rogue... I await a rigellian hotshot for my efforts!

I've just heard back from his eminent green-ness and he thanked me for my interest, but the script is already with another artist. Although I didn't expect anything else, I'm still disappointed.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Moistened Bint

Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Violent Actions!

Free to download right now is issue #18 of Violent! There are some corking strips written and drawn by some amazing creative talents. As it's FREE surely it's worth checking out!

The man behind it all, Jay Eales asked me some time ago whether I'd be up for doing a cover - I jumped at the opportunity... not least because Violent! takes it's modus operandi from ACTION and that is the comic that 2000ad in many ways rose from the ashes of, but also because Violent! is a darn fine read.

ACTION's demise was in part as a fallout created by a cover for the strip 'Kids Rule OK' that garnered political attention. The cover had been illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra and in my discussions with Jay, we thought it would be nice to pay homage not only to the comic, but also to Carlos himself who has been seriously ill recently.

Hopefully, I've done it justice and Jay came up with a stonking strap line too... but you'll have to follow this link if you want to see the final cover!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Cambridge Corvus Crows

Part of the reason behind a drought of posts is because I've (finally) got my head down on Corvus!

I don't want to show too much too soon, so here are some inked sketches of crows and or ravens... Done whilst at the second meet-up session for Cambridge based comic creators inaugurated by the hugely talented Emma Vieceli.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Refined Tattoo Design

I am touched and humbled by the comments about my design, here, on facebook, twitter and on the 2000ad Forum.

I have tidied up the design a little to make it neater and hopefully just a little more effective before Mike finally takes the plunge.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Dredagle Tattoo

What do you see first?

Judge Dredd or an Eagle?

Last year, Mike from the 2000ad forum asked for someone to design him a Judge Dredd Eagle tattoo... I had a go at designing something for him and this was one he chose from several options I showed him:

He tweaked it a little from the originals:

All was well until recently. Before taking the plunge and permanently marking himself, he asked for some last minute opinions... a wise decision as it turns out!
As soon as the word Nazi was mention, I did a quick google image search for "Nazi Eagle" and was thoroughly shocked to discover that I had inadvertently designed something that was pretty close to one of their emblems... I immediately offered to design something else for Mike.

I began by sketching ideas out and very quickly hit on the Eagle-head & wings forming the visor section of Dredd's helmet (bottom right above). It was serendipity I reckon, to have created Dredd's visage and an Eagle in one emblem, I was pretty chuffed.
Before showing anything to Mike, I worked in photoshop and created the top left one below.

Mike asked for some alternatives, possibly with Dredd's badge or with the Eagle's legs (top middle and top right) but I didn't like that it made Dredd look like Chad and a bit beard-y respectively).

After this, Mike decided that he like to see some alternatives based upon my original again, but trying to work more of the Eagle's chest into the design. I showed Mike a few more variations than I've shown in the middle row above. There was a bit more discussion before I presented the final two in the bottom row. He selected the one at the top of the posting and we're gathering opinions now before Mike does actually go ahead and get himself branded!