Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Black Death


If you're going to HiEx you can try to win this in their raffle. If you wanted to that is.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Done to Death

Yikers! a week between posts - that ain't good!
I've been busy - an imminent house move, various other drawing-y bits and the Teen Wulf strip for Dogbreath have kept me from having stuff to blog about.
I was out waiting for a plumber and whilst I waited, I managed to sketch this up!

Judge Death, I still think he's one of the best ever Dredd-world villains despite having been slightly too comedic in certain stories.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Two Year Review

Two years ago, yesterday, I left the job I had as a promotional toy designer. The aim had been to build a new career as a freelance illustrator and move to Cambridge. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure if I could make it work, or whether I'd be happy.
The world economy collapsed almost simultaneously, I couldn't have picked a worse time to try to make a go of a new business...
Later in the year, I realised that I wanted to draw comics, a forgotten dream-job of mine from about the age of 12. Given the state of that industry though, I wasn't making it any easier for myself.

Just over a year ago, I produced the above piece as a warm-up for the Red Dragon strip the fantastic guys at FutureQuake had asked me to do for the 2000AD fanzine Zarjaz. Since then I have done a few more strips for their fanzines and that has led to some VERY interesting opportunities, without which, well, you know the rest!

It's been a very eventful time. I've done quite a few freelance commissions. I have moved to Cambridge. I'm poised to begin my career as a professional Comic book artist too. Although it's been hard work and whilst it would be easier if I had more regular paid work coming in... you know what? I think I am happy!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Lit from Below

15 minute Dredd time again! This came in well under, but I liked it and didn't want to over-work the sketch!

The clich├ęd drama lighting works better than I expected actually.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Teen Wulf

Ahh, some news has been reported on thequaequamblog about my involvement on a fun little project that has been brewing since last year's Bristol Comic Expo.
Teen Wulf, a two part story about Wulf Sternhammer's youthful exploits. The first part will be available in the next (imminent) issue of Dogbreath!

I did this sketch as a warm-up whilst Rich Clements, (who should need no introduction to regular readers of my blog) was writing the script.
I've blogged about this in one, two or three teaser postings before...
I'm working on the second part now, and then it's onwards with Corvus, also written by Rich!

Credit to Nic Wilkinson at Insomnia for the great punning on the title.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Sci-Fi Art Now

Late last year I produced a piece for John Freeman's Sci-Fi Art Now book, the final version of that is still under raps for now.
Well, over the last week, I have been working on another piece for the book. Originally intended as a Steampunk Warfare piece. I played around with an aerial 'dogfight' from WWII as a start point. Spitfires take on a Heinkel He111 bomber with a sort of Art Nouveau influence added to their styling. "THAT'S NOT STEAMPUNK!" I hear you cry, and you're right, it ain't and that was the problem... also that the Spitfires, even with Davinci style wings just asserted their character too heavily.

In my efforts to "Steampunk" this, I found a sort of definition of what it is... "The path not travelled." How would a future or a modern day look if something that had fallen by the wayside in our own world had become a dominant influence/force? It still wasn't really inspiring me, it has to be said...
I thought the problem was that I was lacking any human content, so I tried to add the perspective of one of the Spitfire pilots, albeit skewed with a weird hat design. This naturally led to an inset panel, which in turn led to me developing a whole 'comic strip' treatment for it. One that was based in part upon Roy Lichtenstein's 1963 piece: 'WHAAM!" its self inspired by a DC comic from 1962.

It's just not a single illustration for an art book though, is it? and also there's still that problem with the Spitfire hanging around... I was pretty happy with the Heinkel redesign but still felt the piece lacked something. If the main panel was to succeed, I'd need to feature some kind of narrative. I decided in the end to focus on the 'Future War' aspect of the submission. I thought about a War of the Worlds style flying tripod maybe mixed with a Matrix Sentinel thing... I designed straight out alien ships too, but it was still failing to give me a backstory in my head that I cared about. An unrelated factoid drifted into my brain regarding swarms of small creatures attacking large animals...

Making the seemingly more vulnerable side the winning one was much more interesting to me, almost instantly, in my head, I saw a bonkers looking soldier with rocket boots... air borne infantry! I doubt it is an original idea, but it was that concept that made it work for me. Suddenly, it all seemed to work, in my mind I had a backstory that interested me, there was human content in the illustration and I realised that the ship was vaguely Flash Gordon in influence too!

I'm happy with this and my other submission. I hope that both of them will feature in the book, but there are only 200 spaces and with submissions from some pretty big names in Sci-Fi illustration and comics already in, I'll count myself lucky if I'm included at all!