Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bye '08

Another weird old year. 2008 taught me a pretty harsh lesson, after a terrible 07 I thought I'd just walk into a wonderful year where I got everything I wanted. Turns out it's not that easy.
Not that it's been a gloomy year, my beautiful wife and incredible daughter made sure that was never going to be the case, and I've also had a few opportunities to draw come my way that I'm incredibly grateful for. But if I'm being honest, I should have made more time for my family and worked harder. It's crazy that I thought I could lounge around and take it easy, yet hold down a full time job, be a dad and a husband and still turn myself into a cartoonist.
So, '09 will be better not just cos I think I deserve it, but because I'm going to work at it.
All the best for the New Year to all of you!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pressies

My list-
Creepy Archives Vol1
Strange & Stranger The World of Steve Ditko
Laurel & Hardy 'Way Out West'
Moonlighting Season 1&2
Housecoat
Chocs
oh, and I got 2 games for MY NEW Wii!!! result.
My inner balance was sore tested by this abundance of consumer goodness!
Hope Santa brought you all just what you wanted.

Christmas

I took the bold move of staying away from the computer to this year, so belated Merry Christmas to everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Valhalla up to 11

Another lovely animated music video, except this time I even liked the music.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Turn the sound down, but do watch.

Ok, the song's rubbish, well, I think it's pretty lame anyway, but come on, Dave Cooper animation??!?!?!?! Oh why don't you draw more comics Mr Cooper?!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm not 2, my blog's not 2, so who was 2?




It was my daughter's second birthday a few weeks ago, and it was a fine old day, helping unwrap presents and generating the required vomit inducing level of excitement for such an occurance. Then it was off to Old Holly Farm, where calves, goats, chicks (they're the vaguely yellowish blur sunning themselves under a lightbulb), piglets, rabbits and a pot bellied pig had no privacy but did provide an awful lot of entertainment before we went to the 'play barn', which would have made Pat Sharpe jealous with it's amazing Fun House proportions.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kids love Lovecraft


Back to the to the fun cartooning for a bit. This is a bit of art for a pitch, the scene doesn't appear in the comic but when I was told the idea, kid's perform cover-ups for weird going's on, I got this image of Lovecraftian horrors hidden in a phone-box.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Now it can be told


A few months ago I promised a sneak peak of a comic I was working on before finding out sneak peaks were not allowed. Well, the comic's out so I guess I can talk about it. The story is called 'Etc' and it's in Boom Studio's Zombie Tales no. 7. The script was written by Shane Oakley and I was happy to find Shane's scripts have the same dark over the top humour as his awesome artwork.
I made a bit of a mistake and missed something from the script, so I've added it in for this post, sorry Shane, hope this makes up for it a bit.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hoo boy

Bit of a shocker art wise this time round. This piece is for the fine chaps at Massacre For Boys, and I decided to be obvious and go for the whole expoitation route. Have to say my initial idea stuck me as all jolly nasty fun, but drawing it became increasingly uncomfortable - but I guess that's the point. The original art minus the book cover style additions feels even more tough to look at, the schlock title and lurid tag-line actually manages to tame it a little by making it look campy and silly I think..... but then I think I've just shown how questionable my taste is.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ooooh

This is just astonishing.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Western



Here's the final black & white version of my contribution to AccentUK's upcoming Western anthology. Compare it to the different colour version and you'll see that, apart from the horse, I've not really changed anything, mainly just a simplification of the rendering . I'm not sure about the soundfx, Dave, the author, was happy for me to drop them, but I decided they added to the timing and tone of the story. Luckily I think it works fine in B&W, maybe even better than the colour version. I've even added pages 2 and 3 for you, but you'll have to wait until the comic comes out to see the final 3.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

BICS

Due to last minute bad luck, a bit of poor planning and a whole lot of 'out side' influences, I couldn't make it to the Birmingham comic convention this weekend. I'm more than a little annoyed as I had hoped to put faces to a couple of internet names. Still, it, and a few other things this last week, has been a valuable lesson, and one one I intend to act upon for the scarily near new year. In my home life I'm not terribly well organized and can lack focus, I've also let various events of the last couple of years weigh far too heavily, and have seen getting over them as a huge obstacle instead of simply putting it all aside and moving on.
Aaaaanyway, pretty pictures to resume soon, the new version of my cowboy comic is coming along and I'll post some of that soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life, lots of it

Well, it's been a sucky time of late with the day job getting strange and unhelpful, so yesterday's drama was wonderfully timed. My little girl took a tumble and managed to bit through her lip, which was bad enough, but having to hold her down whilst she got stitches was just horrible, being the 'having to deal with it' parent is not pleasant. Luckily it was only a couple of stitches and my daughter's Wolverine like resilience and recuperative powers apart from a bit of a trout pout every thing's back to normal, and the sedative kids get also means they don't remember things like needles and thread in their lips.
On the more pleasant side of things I got my advance copy of Best New Manga 3, and it's a cracking looking book, the best volume by far, and gets a big thumbs up for it's beautiful colour reprint of a Skeleton Key one off. It's weird seeing a piece of work I did almost a year ago, luckily the other work in the book makes up my short comings, so you've all got no excuse, go out and buy a copy!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Western

So, after the Eastwood pic, I moved onto the Western comic, and yesterday decided to start again. Bit of a pain, but hopefully for the best, I'm happy enough with the results, but it's a bit too far removed from my normal style and I'm wishing I'd stuck closer to my usual 'look'. It's fun drawing in different ways, but it's important to stick with what you like. Anyway, it's unfinished (there's an element missing from all 3 panels, even if it's not noticable), but I thought I might as well show some of my first crack at it. I''ve done it in colour despite it being for a b&w book (AccentUK's Western, go see Dribb's blog for some ace upcoming work from it), more work for me but nice to have a swanky version.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Eastwood



Ages ago, back when I had more pin up drawing time, I promised I'd draw a Clint Eastwood pic. I still don't have time, but I do have to draw a western comic strip and I fancied doing it in digital paints, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone. It's a bit of a mixed bag I'm afraid, the sketch was a quickie as it was the paints I wanted to spend time figuring out, so the basic drawing's off, but what the hell, it's ages since I posted artwork regular like. Sorry it's a pretty obvious Clint ref too, but it's such a cool still I had to go with it.
I did enjoy this technique, it's an extention of my Daversham Rex style, and throws in some other influences, such as animator production art, and vintage covers by the likes of McGinnis and Bonfils - I love Robert Bonfils, the Sin-A-Rama chock full of great work by him and others..... and a lotta skin:)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bunkmate, the sequel


For those with long memories you might recal I posted something called Bunkmates which is due to appear in issue 2 of Bulletproof - available in time for BICS. I've just finished the artwork for another Bunkmates ready for issue 3, so here's a dialogue free sneak peak, in, unusual, colour this time.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Blimey!

Busy weekend coming up, I've got to finish the artwork for the project I mentioned last post - I've also got the go-a-head to post a couple of no spoiler pieces, so I'll do that next week.
In the meantime, please watch this complete and utter genius piece of total wrongness.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Batfun

You might have already seen this on Strangeplanet, but I like it so much I have to post it myself. As much as I like Batman done as a dark moody crime type comic (Year 1, Batman Grendel (the 1st one) and Gotham Central), I've never had a problem with the fun 60's version of the comics and the classic TV show, so the new Batman Brave and Bold cartoon seems perfect.
And the music is genius.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So, what's going on?

Despite how quiet I've been on this blog for a while now I am hard at work. At the moment I'm attempting to do justice to a bonkers, in a good way, comic of the sorta dead. Yup, I drawing zombies again. Not sure I can say much more about this one, but if I can I might post a completely out of context no spoiler type pic. Anyway, it's going pretty well, even if I'm a bag o' nerves about it.
One project that I hinted at ages ago is still on the mental drawing board and I've set my own personal deadline of penciling it by the end of October. This one is all my own work and if all goes well it'll be in the rather wonderful DFC comic, yup, I'm spilling the beans on this one. My pitch and sample art was accepted a few months ago and if it wasn't for my day job I'd have probably finished it by now. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned it's not a done deal until the final things been approved, but fingers crossed.
I've also got to do artwork for the upcoming AccentUK Western anthology and a short piece for Bulletproof 3. Between drawing, the day job and being a dad there's not a hell of a lot of time for anything else, which is another reason for the gaps between posts, if I'm lucky I'll be able to spend less time at the day job next year, freeing up time for the other stuff, which is, frankly, far important to me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Beano



Just finished these for Downthetubes, they'll be appearing sometime soon with some of the great artwork already on show, check them out here, and why not draw one yourself.
I'm drawing a pretty nifty script at the moment, will post more details and maybe art when it's ok.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My muse

Off to 'The' London for a couple of days of tedium, I'll be packing a sketch book and something to read. In the meantime, after a couple of people mentioned it, here's some pretty pictures.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

No.3


Here's the last pic in this series, hopefully something will happen with the idea, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

In colour


That last pic? Here's the finished version, hope y' like.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What, a picture? I'm spoiling you.


I have been drawing, honest, it's just I'm, being a bit secretive. Not sure I need to be, but I am.
In the meantime, here's something I've just started, it's for a proposal, so there might not be any comic stuff for it for a while, if at all. Anyway, from the sketch you might think it's a period piece, well, you're wrong, it's not, it's just a bit anachronistic. It's in a pretend place too. Honestly, this comic lark, it's just making stuff up isn't it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Where's my cake!

Happy father's day to me, it must be a good one because my daughter bought a copy of Curb Your Enthusiasm in the bed room complete with a big grin and lot's of drool (blocked nose at the moment)
Thanks to those who left kind words about my Granda, he was a great bloke, plenty odd, in a good way - gruff six foot two ex-miner with hands liked shovels, made dresses, cakes and knitted soft toys for a local hospital.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bye Granda

I hate funerals. Nice to see family, horrible to be short one guest.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Indy

Now that it's safe for me to do so I've looked at a couple of Indy 4 reviews. On the whole I pretty much disagreed with the negative ones - someone mentioned a plot hole that was neither a plot point nor a hole, and I wonder how many others made the same assumption. Negative references to the 'kid' made me smile, personally I thought Mutt was a strong character, well acted and thankfully not a Spielberg/Lucas cute moppet. An audacious scene near the start seems to have gone too far for some viewers, not me, I had to remind myself it was over the top as the only way to untighten my knotted stomach - Indy's man out time-ness is wonderfully played up here too (it's not Indy's age that's an issue, it's the time he's living), which made me feel quite sad. Some have complained that Indy finds things too easily. Ridiculous. It's a pretty accepted part of the Indy films that most of the finding has been done before Indy even arrives, even in Raiders Abner and the Nazis had already confirmed and tracked down the rough whereabouts of the Ark while Indy was still struggling with an overly amorous student. Indy knows his stuff, is smart, can solve problems, but mainly he puts into action with own brand of desperate resourcefulness what others can't. The only point I could concede, is that Winstone's character was a bit pointless, plot wise he brought very little and he was not terribly original, but he wasn't distracting either.
One review hit the nail on the head, the review was mostly positive but felt that what we now have was a real Indiana Jones trilogy with Raiders of the Lost Ark completely separate. Personally I'd love a genuine sequel to Raiders, but that didn't, and hasn't, happened, and I doubt it ever will. As much as I like the other films they are very different from the original. The adult drama and tension of Raiders was the first thing jettisoned for all the sequels, and is by far the most missed ingredient. I had hoped the aging of the main character would allow for that sensibility to return, but it doesn't (well, here and there, maybe), and that puts Indy4 in the Doom/Crusade camp, superior entertainment, and I'm hard pushed to call that a criticism.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blah

Despite the blog quiet I have been busy this last couple of weeks, I'm working on a comic proposal, I'm sure I'll have something spoiler free to post soon. I've also got another story to finish very soon.
With Olivia having a cold last week that kept us awake most of the nights and not very relaxed during the day it's been quite a rough week, all topped off with some not very nice news this morning. Sigh. Oh well, stiff upper lip and all that.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bunk Mates


He's the first of a two page strip I did for Bulletproof 2 from a great script by Dave Hailwood.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Flatworm





Here's a strip I drew for Violent (issue 4 or 5) a few years ago. I really liked the character of Flatworm and drew another strip, but gave up after that as I was having a tough time drawing anything. This strip was drawn with a dip pen and I remember being very happy with the results. Looking at it now there's plenty I'd do differently, I let the style get away from me at times and it got too sloppy in places, but I still like it, in fact I think I should dig the pens out again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

HD news*

So, I finally got some word on my sort of secret project that I mentioned a while back now, and it's a good word, a couple of them in fact. There's still a way to go though, and I'm still not sure I can share anything online, which is really bugging me, as I'm really pleased with the artwork I did on my proposal. Still, a few of you have already seen some of the art, and anyone who has my email can ask me for a look if they like.
I've been replacing some comics I foolishly (ok, I needed the room, but now I have a loft) got rid of over the years and I'm thinking some of the old indie stuff's going to be hard to replace, so I was chuffed to see there's going to be a Java Town collection from SLG, good news indeed, Java Town was not only a fine read for coffee fans and lovers of the odd but Scott Saavedra's cartooning was just perfect, and rather hilarious. Saavedra's Dr Radium comics were pretty good too, I'll have to get round to picking up the collections of those, but Java Town's an essential purchase.
As a tenuous link (Rock and Roll High School is one of the 'lost' comics I've been struggling to replace), check out Shane Oakley's blog for a teaser for an upcoming comic from him, the artwork is utterly amazing.
Garen Ewing's not only finishing up Rainbow Orchid for a big publisher, he's also working on the rather cool looking DFC, Garen won't be in the 1st issue, but don't let that put you off,he's got details here, and I've already picked my subscription up.
Seems like a while since I posted any artwork, I'll be back in a couple of days with a sample from a strip I'm drawing for Bulletproof called Bunk Mates, and I've got to scan an old strip I did for Violent! so I'll probably post that too.
* HD being Harrison-Davies, not high def, although I'm thinking I might insist people call me this back in the hood.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Banner day

Seeing as Jason made a banner out of a bit of artwork I did for him (there it is at the bottom of the page as it appeared on the back of Jason's book - find it over at Lulu.) I thought it was about time I had a go at doing one of my own. It needs a bit of tweaking but there it is at the top of the page.
Congratulation to Danny and Nic who are now living it up in Paris after their wedding. It was a brilliant day, held at an Animal Sanctuary in a lovely setting, and after 12 (I think that's right), they still make a wonderful couple. Extra thanks to Nic's family for letting us stop at their brilliant house and making us feel so welcome.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bad words, brilliant sounds

While I was working on finishing up artwork recently youtube kept me company.
Way back when I was about eight or so I got obsessed with 'Tommy' (and 'Yellow Submarine' now I think about it). No idea why, not even looking at it now can I get my head round why I had to rewatch the duff copy that happened to be taped of the telly (I think, forgive my hazy memory), but I did. Anyway, here's some musical highlights.
See Me Feel Me/Listening To You, a key song at the end of the film, and inspired by Meher Baba. I rediscovered this song late one night in the 80's when Channel4 did a film/music season (I also got to see Under Cherry Moon - awesome sound track, uh, not much else. Oh, and Johnny Staccato too, which I'd love to see again) and this version transfixed me.

I hated this sement from Tommy, it's horrible, but so is a lot of the film and I still had to watch. And I couldn't watch Just Good Friends without thinking of it.

I don't like Elton John, Saturday's Alright (For Fighting) is pretty good, but I just don't get this supposed song writing genius. His version of Pinball Wizard though? Brilliant.

The song that stands out amongst some stand out songs, and a cover version that got utterly owned belongs to Tina Turner and her electrifying performance on 'Acid Queen'. A few years later, after my copy of Tommy mysteriously got taped over (another obsession of mine, 'The Assassination Bureau' (check the Oliver reed connection)met a similar fate at the hands of parents who probably wanted the telly back), I managed to tape the song from a segment of The Tube - weirdly there's and odd sound effect near the end of Tina's performance that lead directly into another song I taped and as soon as I heard the sound I expected the song to play..... so it's on after Tina.


I posted that one before, 'The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes' by The Very Things (who I've decided are like The Cramps, without the sex, and from the midlands), but frankly it's brilliant so I don't mind posting it again.
Sorry about my musical trip down memory lane, but my brains fried, I felt like posting something and thought I'd avoid comics for a change:) At least the music's good though.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Another one done





Am I all caught up with my work? Am I buggery. Mad submission's done though and I've just the amendments for my Best New Manga 3 contribution. All in time to go to a work related course, finish that and then hop on a train to Cambridge to join the happy celebration of a good friends marriage (hi Danny!) All in all, it's been a hectic week's 'holiday'!
Luckily the work course means I can get the time back, so I don't have to go straight back to work, which means I can have a genuine rest with my family before the next round of artwork needs to be done.
Never ever do in your spare time what you'd rather do as your full time job! That's gonna be my advice to Olivia when she grows up.
So, best not to show my Mad submission, but I don't think there'll be any problem with showing a few bits out of context.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Work work work

Blimey I'm not getting a rest. Quick pause (I need me a breather) just to say I'm nail bitingly close to a deadline to submit some work to Mad magazine. It was pointed out to me recently that they had some open submission thingy and would I like to have a go. I did and I am, but I had no idea the deadline was so close. At the moment I've got a measly two pages (ideally just one more would have done the trick) all inked, but there's still colour and lettering to come, which means I'll be, ugh, resorting to computer lettering (apologies to those that use it, but I prefer hand lettering given the chance, adn even so, I've not got a nice lettering program so I can't even do it with my own font, like the nicer computer letters use). It's gonna be a late night.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Drawing and book stuff


Got word back about Hero-Z, and it's good news. It's great news actually, with two very big Brother Lee Love style thumbs up! Yay me! I take back all my panicked doubt and vow not to do that again. Until the next time:)
Still waiting for news about my slightly earlier secret project so you'll have to wait abit longer to see anything from that - unless you asked me and I sent you a sneak peak!
In the meantime I've started a new project, it's fairly brief and I'll probably post a few images over the next few days, so keep an eye out of you're interested.
A few posts ago I mentioned I was about to start reading 'Bust' by Bruen and Starr, well, it was fun, nothing amazing, brisk enjoyable read. Not quite 'hard' crime though, and as it's published by a company called Hard Case Crime it's fair to expect that. It was harder and less farcical than Carl Hiaasen though, and followed the same principle of low life character's greed and stupidity creating trouble.
After that I moved on to a book called 'Crimson Orgy' by Austin Williams which was also a lot of fun. Set during the making of an early (just after 'Blood Feast' in fact), and lost, exploitation horror movie called, you guessed it, 'Crimson Orgy'. The making of the movie proves to be difficult, but more than the sense of strange and impending doom, I enjoyed what seemed to be a genuine feeling of a small band of wannabes, not bothereds and troubled folk united and torn apart in their quest to make a film on the cheap. The prose is simple and direct without being clunky and the characters are nicely defined. I discovered this book, a fair few others through the wonderful Groovy Age of Horror blog, if you haven't visited it then give it a look.
After finishing 'Crimson Orgy' it seemed like the perfect time to pick a book of the shelf that had been sat patiently waiting for for quite a while. I'm only about a quarter of the way through 'Flicker' (it is over 600 pages though) but I'm enjoying it immensely. It's about fabled, and fictional, director Max Castle who started out working on The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and progressed to classic gothic horror of his own and then got eaten up by Hollywood producing B movies after suffering disgrace at the hands of those who didn't understand his work. His reputation initially seems to be nonexistent and his films lost, some never even released, but after a few quirks of fate one his films is discovered leading to a reappraisal. That's where I'm up to at the moment, and the back cover promises a lot more oddness.
Very nice dense, but easy to follow, prose and some serious research, and obvious love, raise Flicker much higher than the cheap tagline 'Sunset Boulevard meets the Da Vinci Code'. The mere mention of the Da Vinci Code's enough to put me off, but it does seem that it's mentioned only in an atempt to entice the millions who bothered with the poorly written item - although content wise there is a parallel of a secret religious order and a conspiracy, but still, cheap marketing is cheap marketing. Rosak has been involved writing about counterculture before, and this history obviously comes in handy for the time and setting of Flicker.
Can't remember when I first heard about Flicker, I know it was before I saw the intitially similar John Carpenter short 'Cigarette Burn' (not his best work, but well worth seeing), but what did make me want to read it was Murray Ewing's review here. Murray also writes about Cigarette Burns here, and adds to the 'fictional film with a dark past' genre with his review of Ramsey Campbell's 'The Grin of the Dark' here. I'm sure I've got a copy of Campbell's other entry into this genre, 'Ancient Images', kicking around somewhere too. 2000ad had a stab at the genre recently with 'Chiaroscuro' by Si Spurrier and 'Smudge' (a pen name for Cam Smith judging by the artwork), and although it was fun and reasonably enjoyable, it seemed a little uninspired to me. Also worth a mention is The Faceless: A Terry Sharpe Story by Robert Tinnell and Adrian Salmon. It doesn't really fall into the genre, but it does involve fictional films of a very Hammer-esque nature, and is damn good with some wonderful artwork - and that's all the excuse I need to mention it:)
Enough of this ramble, for those who haven't heard already, Garen (yes, related to Murray) Ewing's superb strip 'Rainbow Orchid' has been picked up by large UK kid's publisher Egmont, as they also publish Tintin over here I can't think of a more perfect fit for Garen's perfect book. Garen has pursued his own vision to produce a story of outstanding quality, which is laudable enough, that he'll now be able to reach an even bigger audience is richly deserved , there's more info on this excellent news here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Finished!

Yup, Hero-Z is all done and dusted. And, pending word from the editor, I think it came together pretty good in the end. So, y'know, ignore any previous whining.
The pic here is a self-portait that showcases my difficulty at likenesses, even my own:)
Scarily, the hunched over a bit of paper on the floor? That's pretty accurate. Even when I had a drawing board I'd end up working on the floor. I'm sure I'll grow out of it when I'm crippled with back pain.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hero-Z, one last time. For now.



Here's pages seven and eleven from Hero-Z. Call me crazy, but I'm guessing the publishers would rather I didn't show the entire strip before the book comes out, so I'll not post anymore for now.
The sound effects on page seven should be a good indication of how far my tongue is in my cheek with this strip. After my initial idea grew a little larger (I originally saw this as about 4 pages, it's ended up as 13) my approach to the artwork had to change, the conceit I came up with was to attempt to draw something fairly retro looking, I looked at mainly 60s/70s manga and a few other things. I got a bit nervous about whether this was working part way through, and looking at it I can see it's not what I originally saw in my head, but I think it works anyway.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hero-Z again


Here's the 2nd Hero-Z page, with more 'influences' possibly becoming apparent.
As Peter asked, here's how I did it.
1. Drawn on paper the old fashioned way, then scanned.
2. Turned the linework into a 'channel' by copying it into channels, then loading the selection onto a blank page in layer. I'll post some links at the bottom with more detail about stuff like this.
3. Opening a new layer underneath the 'lines' I filled the page a mid-grey then went over it with a dark grey for shadows and a lighter grey for highlights. This meant I could see the whole page finished without having to worry about the colours just yet.
4. Selecting the areas I was interested in (let's say all of Z's forearms, bottom legs, belt and chest) I went into 'image', selected 'adjustments' 'photofilter' and turned the grey into a navy-ish blue. Then I repeated this for all the various elements in all their various colours.
This step was not as straightforward as it sounds, I hadn't tried this technique before and realised I shouldn't have been so arbitrary about my choice of grey shades, also selecting the correct colours in photofilter wasn't always giving me the exact colours I was after so I tried to correct them adjusting the brightness/hue/etc in the 'image/adjustment' selection. This was closer but not quite, so decided to select my colours from the swatches and filled them in with the paintbucket. Starting with grey then adjusting to colour is helpful, but I clearly need practice, after a few tries at it I decided go straight from selecting areas to filling the greys with colours selected from the swatches.
5. With all the colouring done (using a limited palette I trial and errored as I went along (I knew it's be blue and purple with the odd chunk of red and yellow, but I still had to get the right shades) on the characters I copied various elements into new layers and laid a filter (usually motion or gausian blur) over them. I did these in separate layers because I want different parts filter differently - for example, on page 1 I knew I wanted a bad guy robot head in the foreground but I drew it after I'd done most of the colouring, I scanned it in separately, put it on a different layer, coloured it, copied the colour into another layer, blurred it, then blurred, more subtly, the original layer of line and colour art and merged them together to get the effect I had in my head. The other aspect I did separately was backgrounds, 'painting them in photoshop and then blurring to get the right look. I was a bit worried about this aspect, my backgrounds can either be a bit weak or betray their reference too much, for the look appropriate to this story both would be a problem, in the end I'm pretty happy with the way that worked out, you'll have to wait to the end to decide if they're appropriate though.
7. One final layer for the sound FX, again drawn on paper, scanned and then filled in yellow, selected, contract selection then fill the smaller area red.
6. That's it. Normally I like to add some interesting effects, half tones can give an nice graphic look, but there's a good reason I couldn't do that here, I'm just not going to tell you what it was.
Looking over what I've written I realise how laborious this sounds, that's partly because of the trial and error aspect, and partly my nerves making me probably go into more layers than necessary. But it didn't really take as long as all this blather might make it seem, and messing around is part of the fun for me. I'm not really much of a colourist, but I think I've found the real trick, it's not layers, it's not effects, it's not even shading, it's about picking a palette, a fairly limited one works best, and sticking to it.
There's quite a few tutorials floating around by far better folk then me, here's some I've found helpful - D'Israeli(go to the 'education' bit), INJ, Mike Laughead, Dean Trippe and Mike Maihack. There's been a few other places I found stuff, but these are the ones that have been most helpful in a 'hands on' way, the others have just given me other ways to think about how to draw/colour. Hope you find this, and more likely, them, helpful.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hero-Z!


Here's the finished first page of the strip I'm working on at the moment. It's been tough, but hopefully it'll be worth it. I've still not finished the full story, but plan to have it all done by the weekend, there's only one page to do from scratch, so it should be okay.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sneaking in a bit of reading

For the first time in a really long time I'm having to travel to work (and re-appreciating who lovely it is to normal have a 10 minute walk to work), which is a drag as it's really eating into my drawing and being with my family time. Luckily it's only for a few more weeks.
One good thing is time on the train is good reading time (when it's not napping and drooling on my shoulder time that is)
I finally got round to reading a book I bought five years ago, I knew I'd like it, so it's was just a matter of time. Turned out I was right, 'The Deadly Percheron' by John Frankin Bardin is an excellent 'lost classic', the plot should be surreal, but it unfolds with a nightmarish logic. Best description I can give it is 'psychiatric noir', I reckon John Frankenheimer should have directed an adaptation of it round about 'Manchurian Candidate'/'Seconds' time, it would've been a perfect thematic fit. The edition I got is already out of print, but I believe a new edition recently came out. Bardin wrote several other books, I have a copy of 'Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly' whic is supposed to be his best, and I've jumped it close to the top of my reading pile. You can read more about Franklin at wiki or at this fan site.
Another book that had waited for me to dig it off the shelf was Kim Newman's (I used to get on the same bus as him back when I lived in London y'know, he really does look like a dandy Lemmy - that's a good thing BTW) 'The Quorum', which turned out to be a lot of fun, appealing to my need for pop culture and nostalgia. It wasn't particular scary, but it was fairly disturbing in places. Didn't knock 'Orgy of the Blood Parasites' (written as Jack Yeovil) off it's high spot, but good enough to bide Newman time until I finally decide to read his Anno Dracula stuff.
At the moment I've just started 'Bust', a Hard Case Crime book by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr, a couple of writers who've earned respect from some authors I rate, so I've got high hopes for it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hello everybody


Hello to anyone coming here from Neil Vokes link on Jinxworld, hope you like what you see. To save you wading through my waffle you can just click here for all my artwork posts, or go here to see my comicspace gallery.
Here's a work in progress, it's going to be in colour, but I'm nicking Ian Culbard's (sorry INJ, hope you don't mind!) technique of toning first, then adding colour after. It's a bit light on backgrounds, but I h
ope to add some in the colour version before the deadline runs out. The character designs probably should be explained a little..... it's a little tongue in cheek:)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Farmer John

It was my wife's birthday today and I think it was one of those days you know you'll look back upon fondly over the years. We went to Old Holly Farm designed with kids in mind. Olivia petted baby goats, saw a Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig, lots of calves and hens and some ponies. Then she went into the 'Play Barn', which was a thoughtfully designed fun house, but without Pat Sharpe. She absolutely loved it, particular the big bumpy slid which cracked her up, particular when her mam and dad slid down it. I got a little choked up at how much Olivia enjoyed her day out, it was the best present Rebecca got.
One of my favourite comic creators, Lewis Trondheim, is interviewed here. If any one person will get me to learn French it'll be Trondheim, until them I'll just have to put up with the slow drip feed of translations.
Mark Millar (no link, I don't want to contribute in even the smallest way to helping sell his comics) seems to have a new comic out, and honestly, I had absolutely no idea it existed. I found a preview of is online and didn't like it in the slightest - apart from the art. What I particularly disliked was Millar's insistence that he was creating something of utter genius and originality. The biggest Millar fan is not as big a fan of Millar than Millar himself. I'm very proud not to have heard about the comic until reasonable late, I'm a bit upset that I heard about it at all, and I'm not even going to mention the name of, if you haven't seen it, I don't want to be responsible for bringing it to your attention. I'm not writing this just to be negative, I just never realised I was so out the loop.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Shut that door

This article about the dangers of holding on to too many options was linked by artist PJ Holden, I found it scarily familiar and interesting enough to want to preserve it for my own posterity.
On a minor level I do this with reading. Even though my reading time over the last six months has reduced dramatically (hence no reviews for a while, even when I am reading I struggle to find the time to blog about it) I still manage to waste time mulling over to buy a couple of new books as well as going through my bookshelves piling up a stack of 'possible reads' which all then lay unread as I struggle with which actually gets read first, if at all.
One nice thing was the point made about marriage which perfectly sums up why I decided to marry despite my not being particularly religious.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Coupla links

Read these in my googlereader thingy and thought I'd share-
I agree with everything about this review of Swamp Thing, I'd probably go further with my praise.
Yes, there's a lot that could be parodied, yes it started a great big ball of pretension rolling down a long steep hill. But it was brilliant, consistent high level of old fashion craft, clever, entertaining and experimental.
Jeff Smith's been inviting folk to talk about the self publishing movement on his blog, there's been some good articles, but I particularly liked this one because it's got artwork by Craig Thompson, and it features his interpretations of some of my favourite comics.
In slightly less positive news, I found out that Miles Hunt wrote the theme tune to 'Underground Ernie', not only is the tune rubbish, but it's one of my least favourite thinks on Cbeebies. I'm sure a lot of sincere people worked hard on it, and I appreciate it's for kids, but honestly, it's dire. What are you playing at Miles?

Read comics, read (sort of) my comics

For all you comic reading folk out there, AccentUK's upcoming anthology 'ROBOTS' is listed in the latest 'Previews', as well as a resolicitation 'ZOMBIES'. I drew 'Zombie of the Great Unwashed' for one and wrote and drew 'MY robot!' for the other - guess which story appeared in which book:)
Down the tubes gives both books a plug, and John Freeman has converted 'MY robot!' for mobile phone content. It's developing a life of it's own that strip, it'll be featured in another book later this year along with some extra stuff, I'm really pleased it's struck a chord.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ups n Downs

Despite the brief whinge on the last post, I have had some tentative good news drawing wise, I'll update that when I can.
The other work is progressing, and I'm hoping it'll come together in the end. It's my own fault it's become a bit difficult, I let it grow in a direction I'm finding quite tough. I've learned some new stuff though, and as I say, I might just be worrying about nothing and it'll look fine.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just a thought

I hate when drawing isn't fun.
It's amazing how often it's not fun because I'm doing it for the wrong reasons.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wasting time, me?

Of course I really am hard at work drawing, I'm just managing to waste time too.
I found this gem on youtube....


I remember seeing it as a young teen adn thinking it was the coolest. It's actually not that bad, not got much to do with lager, but some nice 'wasteland' type folk, and a bit creepy looking in places. I actually video taped this off the telly, but it was for the music (Hipsway) as much as anything.
That advert led to me thinking, 'hey, I wonder if they've got' this.....

Turns out 'they' did. There was another one where out two lads went to Russia ("Red Square's dead square") but I couldn't see that one anywhere. Not funny story - when I first left my native NE I was mocked in a pub asking for a pint of 'Scotch', turns out Best Scotch wasn't available out the North and people thought I wanted a pint of Whisky. Tut, Southerners.
And lastly, seeing as I'm wandering down NE nostalgia, this will very little to most of you, but here's a clip of the God-like Mike Neville. No idea why seeing/hearing him makes me grin, but it does.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"I always knew, someday, you'd be back" or something like that.

I've got to be honest here, half of it's stuff we've already seen, and there's not really that much new stuff, but frankly, I nearly wet myself seeing this. Please be good. Please.

Friday, February 08, 2008

SuperSecretWars

The clock is ticking as I finish up art samples for one of my secret project (is the suspense killing you?), I would have liked to finish it all today so I could send it off, but I'll settle for finishing it by the weekend so it can go first thing Monday.
It's a shame I'm not posting any art as I'd really like to get a bit of feedback before I send it off. At the moment I'm colouring a page and have decided to take what I think might be a bold colouring choice. I genuinely think it works better than the more straightforward colouring choice I'd started out using, but my usually paranoid nerves are picking away at my attempts at boldness.
To make up for the lack of visual interest, and because Peter asked, here's a picture of Olivia in manic happy mode as she has her first go on a swing (check out the muddy knees!), and a picture of Olivia concentration as she practices her standing and walking - is it just me or does that picture make our house look miniature?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tool time

In full on cosmopolitan mode I'm typing this from the far flung reaches of the North East of England. Yes, I'm visiting my parents and cringing each time I pass the village I spent a chunk of my childhood.
As I've got plenty of work on at the moment I decided to bring it with me and I've had a pretty productive few days. Sorry I can't show any of the work Ijust yet, despite a little teething I'm really proud of it, some of the best strip work I've done I reckon. The teething is mainly down to tools (yes, I am a bad worker looking to shift blame), making the switch to pens is definitely the right move for me at the moment, but foolishly I chose a pen that's a little bit 'brushy', as soon as I started inking I realised my mistake. The whole point was my liking the resistance of pen on paper, having a brush like point meant avoiding too much resistance otherwise I'd just get fairly ugly lines and a wrecked pen. As I hadn't any other pens with me, and as I'd already started using it anyway, I've stuck with it and used it cautiously, getting a look that is somewhere my previous style and where I'm heading. Luckily, I think what I've done is more appropriate for the strip. What has been interesting is that 'caution' has been the real problem with my inking, I do like my brush work, but far too often I'm so concerned with the look of the line that I labour over it and end up with something that looks a little dead. Obviously this is the fault of looking at the wonderful brush work of Walk Kelly and Daan Jippes (I love his Disney covers) and Jeff Smith, never try and copy the masters without learning to copy their skill first!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Drawing talk

No artwork this time, but I have been working, inbetween sleeping, not sleeping, taking Olivia out (had an utterly awesome day out in the park early in the week, bright clear day, Olivia's first go on a swing, lot's of smiles and giggling. A memory to treasure.) and reading.
I'm struggling at the moment with a layout problem. Back when I first tried drawing comics I used to mess around with layouts quite a bit, diagonal panel borders, splash pages, inset panels, over lapping panels and all that fun stuff. As time's gone on I've dropped a lot of that flashiness, it's fun to see other people do it, but I generally prefer simple to fancy nowadays. The trouble at the moment is due to the format I have to work in and the shape of the last panel on a particular page I'm stuck with what could either be awkward storytelling (a big no no) or something slighty flashier than what's preceeded. What to do.....
Sorry if this musing on blog is dull BTW!
Far more interesting comic musing can be found here. I've been a huge fan of Brian Ralph since seeing his work in one of the SPX anthologies, 'Cave-In' was beautiful and I loving 'Daybreak'. Ralph's 'how to' is invaluable, and sadly it took me a long time before I came round to a similar way of thinking. A long looong time.
You live and learn.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More silly pictures

I'll not say much about these in an effort to retain some sense of mystery. The two scans are both for different ideas and although the drawings aren't properly rendered I'm pretty happy with the look of the various characters (apart from the unfinished one of the girl, she's the wrong age and I really need to check out what sort of clothes are fashionable, in a nonjudgemental old sod sort of way) Although it's pretty obvious the drawings here are more the style I prefer to work in than the previous post they are slightly different to my usual methods and I intend to go further with that.
As always, feedback is welcome, and appreciated.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Some silly pictures
















Been meaning to post something for a while now, but I haven't done anything worth posting. However, after a much deserved prompting here's some scribbles.These are for vol. 3 of Best New Manga. First up is some thumbnails, the blank bits are where I have no idea what to draw, on page 2 it's because I've not designed a big tanky robot, and that's much the same for page 4. I'm trying to be 'proper' here doing everything in stages, I do usually draw thumbs, but they're never as complete, organised or as legible as these.... assuming you can see what the hell is going on!
Second is the rough pages 1 & 2. Spending a bit more time on the thumbnails is paying off, as at this stage I've usually redrawn each panel a dozen times and the results look like a mass of scribble (really, I often manage to tear though the paper) These pages where penciled in very rough shapes and a tiny amount of detail then I went over them with a grey marker. Next I'll go over the grey line with black pen adding a little more detail (lets face it, I'm not really into lots of detail) and making things clearer. After that I'll enlarge the pages (these are drawn same size as printed), tape them to the window in my front room slap a sheet of bristol board on top and copy the final pencils onto it altering and tightening as I go. My pencils are so scribbly and messy even to my eye that I never pencil directly onto nice paper.
Lastly is the design for the main character, and you just might notice a retro look about him. I don't really know much about this sort of stuff, but I knew I liked the look of the older stuff better than the high tech fancy stuff.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ideas n stuff

Thanks for the comments of the 'Cryptic' post. I've tried hard to come up with some workable ideas and come to an interesting conclusion. Ideas = work. Even though I spend my spare time doing creative things I obviously still see it as a magical act, producing something when the mood's right and the stars are in alignment. I clearly think that the initial idea that starts the whole thing rolling is a bolt from the sky (I'm mixing metaphors like mad here!) Because I've really had to come up with something, and in a short space of time, I've not had the luxury of waiting for the idea to make it's way to me, and as a consequence I've found that I can come with ideas and they can be pretty good, if I say so myself. Maybe I was lucky, but as I came up with a couple of stinkers, maybe not.
At the moment I've got four (count em!) ideas which I like enough to develop, one of which is a slightly expanded version of 'Astrodog', a couple of you will be pleased to hear, the other three are new. In fact, whatever happens I think I'll try to turn all of these into finished comics, along with something else I wanted to work on.
I'll post a bit more about this Fantastic Four, as I go, be quite good that as I haven't posted any artwork for a while.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cryptic

I want to do a comic, but I don't know what to do. Seems like an ongoing problem for me, I'm just not a flowing river of ideas like some people. At the moment I've got a couple of things I'd like to do this year, but I need to start doing something pretty sharpish and it none of my other ideas are right.
Anyone else have this slow flow of ideas problem or is it just me?
Hmmm....
Anyway, apologies for this random and odd post, I'm just sort of thinking out loud.
Less cryptic than that is the pretty spiffy news that 'MY robot!' has found another home, better yet I've been asked to expand it, and as I had an idea that sort of fitted alongside it (not after, sorry, he's really not coming back) I decided to go with that.
Better get thinking.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One week in

One week into 2008 and the 'new me' gig is proving hard work. Unsurprisingly.
The diet side has been tough, it always is. But at least it's going in the right direction. I've started excercising too, which isn't as much fun as remember, but then I'm not in as good shape just yet.
I've started writing again too. Because it's been a while since I wrote prose I'm over deliberating a bit at the moment, once I get into the swing of it I'll loosen up. It's good to try and write good prose, but I think it's best for me to just get something written and redraft. Anyone interested in reading what I'm working on will have to sit on their hands rocking backwards and forwards impatiently waiting, I'd like to get a big chunk written and have a stronger idea of the whole thing. The last novel I tried to write faltered because I didn't have a big enough picture and I don't want to make that mistake again.
There's not been much drawing so far, but I'm gearing up to that with a bunch or roughs and scribbles that I need to sift through. I did have a go on a friends 'Comic Life' art package and have decided I don't like it. I'm sure it's good for some people but it's not for me. Seeing printouts with computer lettering made me feel slightly ill. I'm just not a fan of computer lettering and it looked so dead and lifeless. Still, it's been a help in laying this comic out as there's some pages that have a lot of text so I now have a better idea how much space I have to add artwork (not enough in some places to be perfectly hones), but the sooner I hand letter the final art work the better.
Mainly the week seems to have been spent on mundane, but important, things like moving furniture, cleaning and the like. Basically so far feels like preperation, the fun stuff's next.