Just before Christmas I finished working on an unusual project for me. I was approached to work on a few comic pages for a Kickstarter campaign that was aiming to secure funds for a much larger project.
Scarecrow V is essentially a horror story, but a lot of the horror comes not from the usual slasher or murdery type of stuff, but instead comes from the more day to day horrors of the meat industry.
The pages were finished in time for the New Year which is when a lot of people choose to go vegan after overindulging over the holiday period. The Kickstarter campaign is coming soon so we’ll see if it gets funded.
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?”
In the 90s there was a pretty cool anime out there called “Guyver. Bioboosted Armor.” There were a couple of terrible live actions movies, but they never came close to nailing the awesomeness of the cartoon. I loved the design of the bio-suit and I was always doodling it while I watched the VHS tapes of the show.
When I first started getting into illustration as more than a hobby I attempted a version of the battered Guyver helmet. At the time I was pretty happy with it, but now it makes me cringe!
Last night I decided to take another crack at it, and it’s really gratifying to see I’ve made some progress over the last few years.
I thought I’d do a little recap of how things have been going since I left the world of banking and started on my journey to become a professional artist.
Since taking the leap into full time illustration I’ve taken some pretty big strides with my work. I’ve shifted from being solely a photoshop artist to primarily using Zbrush 3D as my main piece of software. Zbrush gives a totally different effect from most other workflows out there, and by using it I can achieve incredible textures and detail including everything from atmospheric lighting to animal fur and chainmail.
Since going full time I’ve had a lot of great projects to work on including a children’s horror series published by Wayland, a number of fantasy covers, comics, children’s books and even a couple of projects from Hollywood writers and producers. Not a bad start. I’m finding that my best work is usually based around animals and I seem to be attracting a lot of authors who write about adventurous beasties such as this cover for Gila Basalo’s “Bugsintown”.
Aside from continuing to work on children’s titles, my other target is to work on comics. I’ve put together some pretty decent mock covers that I hope will cause a stir at conventions and land me some work.
To this end I’ve been lucky enough to find support and encouragement from one of the big names of the comic world, Charlie Adlard. Charlie is the current artist on the incredibly popular Walking Dead series, and he’s been kind enough to help promote, guide and nudge me in the right artistic direction.
It’s been a great year so far and I can’t wait to see what the next big project might be.
After a hell of a lot of work, the first book in the Data Beast series is soon to be published. “Bullies and the Beast” is the first adventure featuring two young friends who accidentally conjure up a their own personal monster. The series is aimed at young people who don’t necessarily like to read that much. Good news for an illustrator as the pictures obviously play a big role in trying to get them interested in the story.
The book was written by Andrew Fusek Peters, the author of dozens of other books and graphic novels. See my earlier posts to hear a bit more about him.
Although book one is just coming out, three others will be hot on its heels. All the work is done, with finishing touches being applied to book four at this moment. With each book I was seeing a jump in the quality of my work as I was slaving away day and night. Book four is my favourite by far as it’s set mostly in the dark, allowing me the chance to do lots of dramatic shadows and lighting.
Hopefully the publisher is happy and will want to use me again. When people ask me what I do, it feels amazing to be able to say that I’m an illustrator. It usually causes an eyebrow to be raised or a smile to break out across the asker’s face. Much more so than when I used to say I worked in a bank.
Now I want to keep the ball rolling and land my next big job.