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.
I’ve never been much of a cat person. We’ve always had big slobbery dogs growing up and my parents actively chased away the local cats who menace the birds in the garden. So I was surprised at myself when I recently found myself enjoying the visits of a local cat.
I’d leave my patio doors open each day and this black and white fuzzball would turn up to say hello. He’d curl up for hours on my bed, walk across my keyboard wreaking havoc on my computer and even sit in my lap while I draw. I really appreciated the company as it was quite a difficult time with Dad in the hospital and lots of dashing about. After one particularly stressful day, I came home from the hospital and flopped face down on the bed. I had one thought pop into my head….”I wish the cat was here.” and then as if by magic I heard a little “Meow”. My little friend had walked in and found me feeling a bit sorry for myself. He jumped up on the bed, settled on my back and even started rubbing my neck with his paws! Magic.
I found out from my neighbours that his name is Josh. Strangely, after Dad made it through his operation and came home, Josh stopped coming by. I guess he’s off helping someone else now. Or pursuing his own kitty agenda.
So I’ve just done this illustration in his honour. Hope you’re doing ok Josh!
Having a great year so far on the illustration front. I’ve been working on an amazing project with author Mark Morrow. Mark is putting together an amazing graphic novel adaptation of his novel “Dangerous Children”, a tale of interdimensional travel, cyborg teenagers, robotic rhinos, and wall climbing jet cycles. So plenty of scope for an illustrator like me! It’s a really collaborative experience as I’ve been working with Dennis Fallon and his team of story board artists, and Shari Wickstrom who provided concept art. My job is to provide the final artwork for the whole novel.
The project also has some ties with LucasFilm and Star Wars veteran Gary Rydstrom who’s been offering guidance and feedback on the project. It’s all going really well so far!
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?”
Really exciting to see the amazing reaction to my latest image in the ongoing Barmouth series. After showing the image on facebook, so far I’ve reached 10 thousand people in just a couple of days. That’s by far the best reaction I’ve had so far. The comments I’ve been receiving have been overwhelmingly positive.
“You make our town come alive with these drawings.”
“I love it.This picture not only captures the look of Barmouth, but also the character and “feel” of the place”
When I first started this series I had no idea if the local people would like my style and the fairytale look for the images so it’s really gratifying to see this reaction.
I’m not sure where to draw next, but I’ve had a few requests for the church and that means I might be able to fit in the famous (C)arousal cafe, complete with its oft stolen letter ‘C’.
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.