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.