Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Fair cranked this out, a slightly hectic week completely messed my shaky grip on reality and I thought I had a few days before Halloween, until yesterday when I realised with an 'uh oh' that I should get my arse into gear if I wanted to do another theme pic. For some reason the colours have come out weird, slightly darker and bluer than the original. Oh well.
Gonna submit this to 'Illustration Friday', I joined last year and then watched the huge brick wall of mental block rise in my mind in best Midwich style (extra geek points for those who get that reference) every time the latest subject popped into my inbox. Fortunately 'Trick or Treat' is a no brainer, even for me:)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shades of grey

After 'MY robot!' I've got a couple of scripts that need artwork and I've decided to try out a new (for me) technique. In my head I know what I want, but I need to experiment to see if I can make it happen. Below is my first attempt. Basically I want stripped down line work, just a few solid black shapes and lines here and there, with a grey tone bringing it all together. As I still don't like drawing on computer I thought I'd the artwork with a pen or brush and a grey marker, then scan it and do my usual messing around until something clicks.
It didn't quite work on my first go, the grey tone should be flatter and the whole thing isn't as 'simple' looking as I'd I'd like. Still, I think I'm going in the right direction.
This pic is from Quattermass and the Pit, incase anyone's wondering. I'm actually quite please with the marker work. Don't know whether it's the technique or because I was working from reference, but I barely penciled it and did most of the work with the pens. Not a big deal for a lot of artists (Sean Philips is one who springs to mind), but new territory for me, and surprisingly fast.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

MY robot page 3

Here's page three, where I attempt to draw a grubby room full of clutter. Quite a stretch for me. Here I am still conscious of the work I need to do to successfully strip down my artwork, and the writer me trips me up with kind of thing. This is where being able to add tones has been really helpful, I hope I've managed to imply squaller in the first panel.
Page 4 is inked and I've started adding tones, should be able to post it up in a couple of days. Only got another week to finish the whole thing so it won't be much longer before I post the rest.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Punk Princess

Here's a blast from the past that I'm guessing no one who visits here has seen. 'Punk Princess' was drawn from a lovely script by Gary Wilkinson and appeared in the 2nd issue of the wonderful 'Solar Wind', which for those who don't know, is a homage/parody of Uk comics from the 70's and 80's. Taking this concept as a chance to work in a different style I tried to ape a couple of my artist heroes. Mike McMahon's influence is probably the most noticable, but Philp Bond's shadow loomed large also. Perhaps less noticable is Paul Neary, who frankly is wasted inking other people's work, his work in 'Warrior' was amazing, as was his Dracula adaptation for Dez Skinn's Hammer mag and his Future Shock artwork for '2000ad'. I'd love to get hold of some of his work for Warren magazines (which, coincidentally was a big influence on McMahon), but that'll be a bit costly for a man of my limited means. Lastly was a chap who really should have had more comics published, Ron Tiner. Tiner drew a few issues of 'Hellblazer' back when Jamie Delano was writing it, and was perfect. He also drew a couple of Future Shocks, one of which was the brilliant 'Mister, Can You Use a Squonge?', by the big man himself, Alan Moore. I've a few other examples of Ron Tiner's work, but he may be better know for his book 'Figure Drawing Without a Model', which I sadly no longer have.
Binding all this theft together is my own style, sadly it was the weakest link. But I loved drawing it and plan to develop and improve this style.
I took the opportunity here to add a grey tone, it fits perfectly with the period the story is pretending it was made, as well as making it look a little more 'punky'. I haven't redrawn anything as that's just cheating, but I did shift the panels round, alter sizes and add some more solid blacks where I'd gone overboard with the scratchy linework.
On last bit of waffle; the very mechanical lettering is another tip of the hat to the period, so no fancy 'handwritten' fonts.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Books, comics and a film

I've enthused about Richard Sala before, so getting hold of the two issues of Delphine was a real treat for me. As with Sala's other long form works there's a grotesue supporting cast, leisurely twists and turns and a genuine sense of carefully structured mystery, but what I particularly enjoyed was what seems like a return to the almost poetic tone of his shorter pieces. The wash tones are lovely too. I can't wait for the rest of the issues.
Shattered Glass stars the always excellent Peter Sarsgaard, but what was surprising was not just how good it was, but how good Hayden Christensen was. Once again George Lucas drags a duff performance out of a most talented actor.
'Little Girl Lost' by Richard Aleas is part of the Hard Case Crime series, and so far it's one of my favourites. The fact that it has a cover by the great Robert McGinnis is icing on a very lovely cake. The story it self it not terribly original but it's so nicely done I didn't really care. In the same series 'Home is the Sailor' by Day Keene was let down by an overenthusiastic quote claiming the book to be better than Jim Thompson (a similarly silly quote foolishly compares Aleas to Chandler). It's a mugs game comparing something to genius. The itself was actually pretty enjoyable, and yes, Thompson-esque, but rather than out doing the great man, it was Thompson-lite.
Gilbert Adair's loving parody/homage to Agatha Christie and English crime authors of her type, 'The Act of Roger Murgatroyd' is a wonderful frothy and witty read. Splendid you might say. It works as a genuine book of it's type as well as funny play on them, rather like my beloved 'Dungeon' series. Read this one with a pot of tea and some scones.
I'm still working on 'MY robot', it's not going as fast as I'd like but not as slow as it would appear. Posting is suffering from my drawing panels and pages out of sequence. At the moment pages 3 and 4 only need one panel each and they're done, so they'll probably both go up together. In the meantime I've recently finished rejigging an old piece of work, I'll post that later, maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

MY robot! page2

Little later than I planned, but here's the second page of 'MY robot!'. Two down, four to go. Well, actually, only three to go, I've finished the last page too, but I wouldn't want to post that and spoil the ending would I.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Lickle babeee.

It seems I have been neglecting my fatherly duty of showing off my beautiful daughter, so here's a few pictures to rectify that. Rather shamelessly we decided (in our defense it was after a lot of deliberation) to enter Olivia into a baby competition in our local paper. What can I say, £150 to spend on baby gear was too much of a temptation to a couple of poor ass deadbeats like us. Sadly Olivia probably won't win as we don't know enough Lancastrians who'll vote, on the other hand the photo we got is absolutely lovely.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Booky book

Nearly got page 2 of My robot finished, and my Christopher Lee pic is nearly done too, will post them soon.
The slight delay has been down to -
1. Going back to work - I'm saying very little about it, read into that what you will :)
2. Been reading -
At the moment I'm reading my first Douglas Coupland book. I had a copy of 'Generation X' for years but never got round to reading it..... which seems appropriate really. I should probably have started with 'Girlfriend in a Coma', it's been recommended to me a few times, but I went with 'Jpod'. I'm about two thirds through it, and it's fun, but I'm not sure what the fuss is about. I think it's about something, but I'm not really sure what, and I feel like doing a google search to find out..... which seems appropriate really.

Before that I read 'Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror' by Chris Priestley, which was absolutely fantastic. I do like creepy stories, and I do like kid's books, but I'm not sure I've seen the two work so well together. The two main characters are named after M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe, which gives some idea of where Priestley is coming from. Although the book is an anthology of short stories, it's all tied together beautifully by them being told by an Uncle to his nephew, very much in the best manner of creepy tales such as 'Dead of Night'. Special mention goes to David Robert's artwork, he's a touch Gorey-esque at the best of times, but he really goes for it here, and the result is very lovely indeed.

And before that was 'Black Swan Green' by David Mitchell. I felt like reading something nostalgic, I hadn't realised that I was reading an actual time machine. A friend warned me off this slightly by claiming Mitchell tried to hard to set the book in time by referencing songs, etc. I didn't really feel this was that intrusive, and seeing as the protagonist is a 12-13 year old boy, nor did I think it was inappropriate. There's nothing terribly earth shattering about the plot, and it seems far less experimental than his other books (which I've not read), but it does feel like an unseen 4 part episode of Grange Hill directed by Stephen Frears, and that's good enough for me.