I’ve been very busy moving house, going into a new studio and generally turning my life upside down, but I’ve managed to keep up to date with my biggest project to date. It’s amazing being able to work in a studio with other artists rather than going stir crazy in my little flat all the time!
Dangerous Children is an absolute joy to work on. When I first took on the job I was worried that I’d get bored of working on just one big project all the time, but the wide variety of characters and environments is really keeping me on my toes. I recently hit page 83 of 150 so I’ve made a pretty big dent in it. My favourite things to work on so far have been the cover and the robotic circus. When I first created this Vuldorian Leviathan carcass it was only the size of a building and I thought I’d nailed it, but Mark the author said “No no no… I mean it’s BIG!” so we scaled it up to this colossal size! Way better! The decaying robo-circus has possibly been my favourite scene, and the rusting ringmaster is such fun to draw. I’m so grateful I’ve got the chance to keep working on this project and can’t wait to hold the finish product in my hands.
I love Harley Quinn. Not the one in the mediocre Suicide Squad film. She looked cool, but that’s not my Harley at all. My Harley is the cheeky under appreciated prankster in jingly bells!
I loved working on her hair in this picture, even though that meant I couldn’t give her the iconic jester hat. And there was something else missing in the composition when I first worked on it. Then I realised what it was. Harley is this innocent, hilarious, whacky, loving character that might kiss you, but might also wallop you on the head with her mallet! So the mallet had to go in there.
We’ve all known that amazing woman who falls for the wrong man and dotes on him, despite the fact that he’s clearly a crazy lunatic! Lovely Harley escapes the Joker’s clutches eventually and goes off on her own adventures, but I’m sure he still misses her.
My last post told you about my little cat guardian Josh. For a few months he was a regular visitor and would chase off any other kitty who dared to cross the threshold. But he started to act a little strangely recently. He started to run from me and I wondered what I could have done to upset him. Then I encountered my neighbour who was trying to coax Josh out from under a parked car. Poor Josh was trembling and ran away.
She explained that the poor guy recently got beaten up by another larger cat and ever since he’s been a nervous wreck and running from everyone. I found him yesterday under my car hiding from the rain, so I went to say hello. He wouldn’t come to me, so I slid a saucer of milk and a piece of chicken under there. He wouldn’t touch it while I was there, but I found the empty saucer later. So hopefully he’ll learn to trust people again.
In the spirit of cat guardians, here’s another kind of Kitty. Hopefully she’ll watch out for Josh while leaping across the rooftops.
I’m coming to the the end of my comic project and it’s been a huge learning experience. I’ve picked up a ton of new tricks and my workflow is a lot smoother.
The author seems pretty pleased with the results and is now in the middle of a rewrite to make sure the art and text blend together seamlessly.
I’m hoping to get more work in book covers after this, but also have plenty of comic work coming in too. Can’t wait to get to the end of this one and see the finished project. Just two more pages to go!
Towards the end of last year I landed one of my favourite jobs to date. Scott Devon approached me with a really exciting project, a short graphic novel full of mythical beasts, magic and mystery. Some comic creators are afraid to veer away from the standard pen and ink method, but Scott wanted me to go nuts and illustrate the hell out of it! Hopefully this is what he had in mind.
Ever since I was a little kid copying pictures of Judge Dredd from 2000AD comics, I’d had a dream of one day working in comics. I pretty much abandoned the idea when I left college and found all the artistic idealism had been sucked out of me. I entered the real world, got a job in a bank and proceeded to be miserable for the next few years.
I finally shook off the grey fog and dusted off my long forgotten drawing skills and painstakingly began to work.
One tiny job doing a book cover for an indie author led to another, this time a slightly bigger author. Then another and another. The ball started to roll and I got better and better. Now I’m starting to attend comic conventions and meet the makers of those same comics that I would copy while lying on the living room floor. Now when people ask me what I do, instead of muttering something about being in banking, I get to say that I’m an artist. When I say that I pretty much pinch myself and think “Holy crap! I AM an artist! How did I manage that?”
Next month I’ll be heading the the International Comics Expo and then to Comics Uncovered the next day. I’ve only ever been to one other Comic convention, that time a fun visit with my brother Sean to the London Film and Comic Con where we enjoyed goggling at the bizarre cosplay sights and I got to meet Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica!
This time it’s Comics Uncovered for a day of workshops, talks from comic pros and the nerve wracking portfolio reviews. I’ve decided to submit my work for reviews and I’ve got appointments booked in with DC, Titan and Markosia.
I’m pretty nervous, but I’ve been working hard and building up a number of images to show them. Time to get some business cards I think!
This one I’m particularly fond of. I’m a huge fan on Stephen King, especially the Marvel Comics versions drawn by Jae Lee. So here’s my own attempt at a Dark Tower cover. If you’ve read a single King book you’ll probably be familiar with some of the characters as the Dark Tower books seem to touch on pretty much every other King book there is. There’s connections to the Stand, the Shining, Hearts in Atlantis, Rose Madder, and IT to name just a few.
This image was completed really quickly. I already had a design for a cowboy character prepared in Zbrush from another project so I was able to breath new life into it here. This image was completed in just one day.
I’ve always planned on creating a graphic novel of my own but never felt quite ready until now. I was recently approached by Don Christoff to help him bring his ‘Xtempore’ story to life. I’ve read a lot of scripts over the years, and the thing that usually first jumps out is the thought “Well I wouldn’t have said it like that”. But in this case that didn’t happen. Don’s script, particularly his dialogue was tight and snappy and the subject matter was right up my street.
Xtempore is a cat and mouse tale of time travellers, artificial intelligence and knife wielding lunatics, all set in post-pandemic dystopian world. It makes for a rich world for me to illustrate and it’s a hell of a lot of work. Most comics are created by a team featuring a penciller, an inker, a colourist and a letterer. But in this case it all falls to me.
Working in Zbrush means that the early stages of a project like this are quite slow as I build all the required models. But once I have them I can manipulate them repeatedly and move the characters into the correct positions for each frame, making the work go faster and faster. This means I don’t have the problem of always being careful to make the characters look the same in every panel, as it literally is the same model. I create the base of the image in Zbrush, then add inking layers in Photoshop, andassemble all the panels in Manga Studio.
It’s all coming together nicely and both Don and I are really excited about the project. Coincidentally my brother got me a ticket to Comic-Con in London next month. So I’ll be able to meet a few other comic creators and show them what I’m producing.