Monday, 31 March 2008


Lots of talk about formatting and colouring on the blogs, e-mails and pub tables recently. haven't had time to take anything onboard yet but here's the final colour pic of that Claire pic, which was never really intended for colour. For a quick colour job, I quite like this one, although there's room for improvement as ever...

Monday, 24 March 2008

I'm hurting...

...financially that is. What with the move and me paying about £50 amonth more now than I will be in about 6 months (due to fun charges from BT, TV licensing and Thames water). This has put a dampener on some long term plans I had artwork/comic-wise, but two things are just about ready to go and as I'll only be knocking up a few copies, hopefully these should be ready for printing soon. Here are teasers for a front and back cover of two different things in the pipeline (the drawn piece the first done in the new place!).

Friday, 21 March 2008

Only a day away...

While the commercial and occasional critical success of comic-related projects in the mass media has legitimised comics to a certain extent, it's also gratifying to see the number of books and magazines devoted to comics continuing to increase. As well as the usual price guides, there are encyclopedias, tomes devoted to publishers, characters and creators and numerous other books of varying interest. Moving home would have been relatively easy if not for all the comics, CDs, DVDs and books I have, and a fair number of the latter are comic-related (I don't tend to keep novels anymore unless I really like them--hence I Am Legend, The Stand, etc among the few I've clung on to). A quick count of my bookcase reveals I have over 70 books relating to comics, most from TwoMorrows.

I think I first became aware of TwoMorrws when I began buying an excellent but short-lived mag called Comicology, which led to me trying out a few later issues of Comic Book Artist. There are pages of ads for their other mags and books in each issue and while most of the early stuff was devoted to the Golden, Silver and early Bronze Age comics and creators, eventually more product appeared that was up my alley. Back Issue was a mag I picked up initially just on trial but has now become a favourite read of mine (and there will be an issue soon with a feature by myself in!) and the Modern masters series of books have been interesting too. The Companion series of books so far is mostly devoted to DC fare, with the Legion and Titans issues being my own dips into the series.There are also more offbeat books, such as the fun Comics Gone Ape, a book about monkeys in comics!

Not everything will be to everyone's taste (I personally find Alter Ego and Draw dull dull dull), but if you're interested in reading about comics, take a look at their website and see what strikes your fancy...

Do you like it hard?

Lack of space and finances has got me looking at the way I select my comics now. I usually only buy a few each month (recently I'm getting more books on comics than actual comics!), and usually buy comics because of the artist involved. I never used to wait for trades as you never know what will get collected and what won't (Marvel usually collect everything, less so with other publishers) but over recent years, my habits began to change.

I advance order all the essential stuff but peruse comic shops when I can too (usually once a month) and look for something new. By doing this, I fell into the habit of buying Runaways, Ex Machina, Y The Last Man and Fables, series I read for the stories more than the art, in trades. I've since upgraded some comics I had for the later collections: yes, sometimes the binding makes it difficult to see a page properly and the use of different artists in one volume really irritates me but you have a complete chunk of story, textless reprintings of the original covers, no adverts and frequently extra material.

As a result, I have also waited for some series to be collected before buying them: I used to be strongly against this as it endangers monthly circulation. However, the trade market is strong enough that like films, the after-release life of a product can mean the difference between success and failure.

What's really making me rub my chin in contemplation is the release of two of my favourite series in lovely spangly new hardcover format, namely Justice League International and Starman. Now, economics aside, I'd love to upgrade my ad-laden slowly decaying individual issues for higher grade replacements...but with Starman, I've worked out tat they won't be reprinting all of the tie-in issues I own (even the Batman annual that tied in to Balloon Buster!) and will the JLI collections include all the spin offs like JLIQ, JLE, JLISpecial, etc? I think not so for that reason I'm gonna stick with the originals...but I do pine at the solicitations in Previews...

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Just Like Flynn...

I'm finally in, to the new place that is. It's surprising how much crap a person can acquire but after a myriad of deliveries and callers on Friday and a mammoth moving blitz yesterday, I'm finally in situe.

Got a sofa still to arrive and a handful of items left to collect and that's it. Soon I plan on soaking in the bath and relaxing after with a DVD (as reception's crap here, so I might have to do the unthinkable and consider Sky). I've still got a few boxes to unpack and books to sort, so no work for a while yet but at least I'm on my way there now...

I'm bloody knackered...

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Gutted: Dave Stevens RIP

So I'm bagging and boxing tonight, preparing my anticipated move this weekend (the problems I've had organising this thing are unbelievable!) but stop when I unearth some old artwork in a forgotten cupboard corner, and its Dave Stevens stuff. I stop to look at it for a few minutes and wished he would do more. I finish up, hit my e-mails and get an e-mail from Michael Eury saying that Dave Stevens has just died after a long battle with leukemia.

It's weird how the death of someone you've never met can hit you but I loved his work (see my earlier posts about favourite artists and comics for evidence of this) and I'm really gutted. As well as having one of the most attractive styles in comics and illustrations, Stevens' art also contained beautiful use of colour. Most known for his work on The Rocketeer (which saw him spearheading the revival of interest in 50s pin-up icon Bettie Page), he was also an inker on Marvel's original Star Wars movie adaptation (his pages come near the destruction of the Death Star if I'm right), he turned down the chance to storyboard Raiders of the Lost Ark and was briefly married to model/actress/softcore star Brinke Stevens.

Below are a few quick webgrabs (as all my stuff is packed away and I can't upload any of it) of Stevens' key works as mentioned above, the Rocketeer and Bettie Page.

Thanks for all the art, Dave..

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Watch the Watchmen!

Just a quick posting as I'm at work and my internet's playing up at the minute...but click here for the first Watchmen cast shots, which look pretty ace to me...

Monday, 3 March 2008

Claire Bear Mark 2

Only a minor tweak in Photoshop and certainly not the cleanest, but that fraction of an inch move for Claire's jawline makes the likeness so much better for me, it's worth the slight loss of quality around that area...

Slugger Surprise!

Following up from the previous thread, below are two pieces of work involving the same artists but using very different approaches.

First up is the Thing. Now at the monthly pubmeet, we've taken to bringing along small pads, originally for jotting down any pertinent information as required. Needless to say, any bunch of scribblers with a beer in one hand and a pen in the other are likely to start doodling away with varying results---usually except for Tone, who maintains pubs are for drinking in, not drawing. However, he caved recently and drew a deliberately crap Thing. Jason, of the MC2 sect, carried it further by quickly inking it. Inspired by a bizarre-looking Captain America created a few months earlier, I then proceeded to embellish the pic, to which Tone cried "You can't save that, it's deliberately crap!!"

Judge for yourself (Kelvin, you know that motto about being careful what you wish for...?)

From the ridiculous to the sublime (comparatively at least...)

Also that night, Tone did a lovely Phoenix sketch. To show we CAN draw, I quickly inked it tonight to put here. Tone has a lovely soft delicate almost tonal quality to his work, whereas my sensibilities are more smooth for lack of a better word. Tone's current stuff is wonderfully graphic now that he's using stronger blacks and less feathering so "smooth" isn't really the right word but I don't know how else to describe our different styles.

Anyway, I think I may have lost some of the delicate charm Tone's tone (chortle) gave the main body of Phoenix but I tried to change as little of the actual drawing as I could, especially the very distinctive face. I think both of our styles come through but Tone's work shines through the most hopefully...

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Something for the weekend?

This weekend's been a bit of a bust for me. Firstly, I get lumbered with a £130 installation fee from BT as there's never been a phoneline to my flat, meaning I'm gonna have to take a holiday day off work to sit in an unfurnished flat waiting for the engineer to turn up. Don't even get me started on the curtain shop people...but at least I did get waylaid and pleasantly merry after quite a few drinks on Saturday afternoon. Today's been me catching up on sleep, boxing stuff up and fiddling around with a few things on the PC. Oh, and I had to do a self-portrait--not fun but kinda interesting.

Then I had an e-mail from some guy who liked my work on Comicspace and wanted to commission 12 pages from me for a new internet project, described as "The comic would be adult but not hardcore or violent! (That not my thing)". I'm still dedicated to The Jock and said I had 6 pages to do for #2 but I might be able to squeeze in 12 pages before I start on #3, depending on what the script involved. Sounds like a good opportunity but I asked to see at least a few script pages to see how much stuff I hate drawing will be involved, thinking cars or buildings.

What I got back was: "The theme i'm ask you to draw would be women bound and gagged (bondage). That my interest and the readers I'm aiming at, with this site. I assure you there is no rape, violence, Heavy S & M scenes in my work. I don't like violence towards women, it not my cup of tea."

I dunno how to respond to this. By adult, I was expecting like Vertigo or something, not the Gimp's New Adventures. I mean, I like attractive women in comics as much as the next guy and y'know, whatever floats your boat. For me though, it's not something I'd feel comfortable drawing so I think I'm gonna have to pass.

Instead, have a look at something slightly more wholesome: Claire from Heroes. Okay, I know there's a kinky thing about cheerleaders but I was thinking of drawing a Heroes montage a while back. The last few Jock pages where a pain for me, mostly of the crappy pen and unclear printed ref-related variety, and I wanted to just draw something for the sake of it so I thought I'd test run the Heroes pic by drawing probably the most popular cast member (though I also like Mr Bennet, Parkman, Hiro, Ando and Sylar myself). When inking, I thought the jawline was slightly wide so brought it in a bit. Now I know I had it right originally as the jaw is slightly off now and it wasn't before...might have a five-minute tinker to see if it can be altered satisfactorily in Photoshop.

Anyway, here's Claire Bear...