Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Going Batty

Yeah, I know I said I was gonna kick back and not do any more samples but there was a small part of me that wanted to include some pinup type thing that was inked, preferably featuring a DC character as it's mainly DC staff who will be attending the Birmingham show this weekend and other than the Jock pages, my samples are all Marvel.

After two aborted Nightwing attempts (didn't leave myself enough room to do the right arm properly in the first one and the second just didn't feel right), I settled on another character from the Bat stable, Batwoman. It was originally going to be Black Canary but I couldn't come up with a decent action pose so I quickly rejected the Huntress (couldn't be bothered to research the outfit) and went to Batwoman instead. I always liked the Batgirl costume and this is essentially just a recoloured version with a new mask.

It's not great but it's ok, dunno if I'll actually take it or not...

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sample Shutdown

Well, with a few days left to get some samples done, I decided sod it, forget it and relax a bit. While I would have liked to do a few more pages, I think I have enough decent pages to take now and I've not had any time off work for so long (I think I'm rundown at the moment as I've been burning out at work), I think it's time to sit back and relax a bit. I plan to get caught up on my reading pile (finishing the Frazetta book and Judge Anderson: Shamballah today) instead, but I may do a pinup type piece over the next few days as well as start knocking the Magneto article I'm working on into shape.

When I get my new pages copied later this week, I'll probably post them here but for now, here's the finished version of the panel layouts I posted earlier. I also wanted to do either a two-page smackdown fight sequence (as the new pages don't really have too much action) or another cleanline sequence featuring Supergirl. I got as far as the first panel, which is OK (coloured version also above), before getting stuck on the second panel. That's when I decided that rather than stress about what to draw (that's been my problem for ages, not the drawing so much as what to draw---although when the drawing went squiffy, so did my enthusiasm for that specific page!), kick back and unwind a bit. Not sure what to do for a pinup but it'll be nice to actually draw something for pleasure, drawing for drawing's sake for the first time in ages.

Right, I'm off to carry on reading now!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Odds 'n' Sods

Just checking in with a few random bits...not been online much the past few days as I've been busy working on samples for the Birmingham comic convention (which is shockingly close now!). It's going slowly but surely now, I'm about a third of the way through the second page of some action stuff (layouts above). I only have a couple of hours to draw each night but I've stuck to the routine pretty rigidly this week, except for Tuesday when I worked on my new Back Issue article.

It doesn't help that I've been feeling pretty run down the past few days (shockingly, a look at my leave card shows that other than four days in April-ish, I've had no more than one day off here and there since last November, but plans are afoot to decamp to Slovenia for the first week in December, carrying 5 days of leave over from this year). We've had a ton of upheavals at work, not to mention my patience slowly but surely being chipped away by an irritating temp (although today the head of service and I had a long conversation about Watchmen!) and we're coming through the other side, but I need a break pretty urgently. I try to keep my leave for when I need it rather than just taking it because it's summer or whatever and my body usually screams at me when it's time to have a break.

Luckily, I'm off for 10 days from the middle of next week to theoretically get some art done for the show, and then to recover from the long weekend itself. The first show in Birmingham at the Custard Factory was a bit ropey but I really enjoyed last year. I'm going with three objectives:

1. Show my art, get some feedback, find out if I stand a chance at drawing comics or should just do it for pleasure.

2. Find Nexus God Con #2, the last Steve Rude issue I need.

3 Grab some sketches (I have one artist and character already in mind, pleasepleasplease!)

Smallville will be finishing its current season soon, which has been quite dull other than the odd episode here and there. The lovely Erica Durance looked quite foxy this week though, but I'm still looking forward to the Legion next season. Heroes is back in two weeks which is just as well, as the only other show I watch is Family Guy on BBC3 and they've started putting it on later and later. Entourage is back with a new season but ITV2 promoted the hell out of it before screening its last season then played silly buggers with the scheduling so that I missed most of the second half. As a result, I can't be bothered, which is a shame as I really enjoy the show...my own forgetful self has also missed most of this season of My Name Is Earl, another show I loved that has lost its place in my heart for the moment as a result.

I've mainly been watching the last season of Teen Titans on DVD an episode at a time before bed each night and generally it's more enjoyable than earlier episodes and has less gawky looking character designs than the Legion series. I'm looking forward to the Kid Flash episode but you still can't beat the Justice League series.

Anyway, as I doubt I'll be posting too much for a while, here's some stuff from the net today. First up is a stunning pencil piece of Sandman and Death by Colleen Doran: I was blown away by this, despite not really liking the Sandman. (You can see various stages of development of this piece at www.adistantsoil.com/blog). Following up are two new additions to the Bowen Designs roster of mini busts: Jim Lee-era Cyclops and the original Kirby-designed Wonder Man. The best look for Wondy is the sleeveless black unitard with the red "W" and boots but there's something classic about the original outfit that just epitomises what a traditional superhero should like to me.

I'm off to have me dinner now that it's 10.20pm...

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Oooh, me piles! (again)

Well, having just completed my first new sample page tonight (which I probably won't use due to a crappy last panel, despite a lot of tweaking for one character's pose---and above's the tweaked version of the panel posted earlier), I've decided to relax a bit before getting cracking at the weekend.

My latest advance order arrived yesterday and was thankfully fairly light: Wizard (which is getting less ans less interesting as it goes more mainstream), Hellboy, Jonah Hex and three other issues were about it other than the COLOSSAL Frank Frazetta comic art book. I still have the books on Kirby and Ditko to get started on, as well as ones on John Romita, Blue Beetle and the Flash. Picked up Spider-Man: Icon from the Works for a fiver but also still have a Ranson Judge Anderson collection, the second Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane hardcover and Suburban Glamour, which I got months ago but didn't want to read at the time as I didn't want to consciously nick its style when attempting a clean line style.

Recently completed the Titans Companion 2, which made me pick up the final season of the Teen Titans show on DVD (why the final and not the first? Cos the last season's got tons of cool guest stars like Kid Flash and the Doom Patrol!), Superman and the Legion of Superheroes (which was really cool, despite Gary Frank's art becoming a bit cluttered with lines nowadays)and Joss Whedon's Runaways collection, which is EXCELLENT (why can't his Buffy comics be as great as his Marvel stuff?) and am nearing the end of Mike Mignola's novel Baltimore.

Right, I'm off to make dinner and choose what book, issue or DVD to enjoy!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Comic Characters A-Z: The Return (of a sort...)

While I still like Owlwoman, Wonder man and maybe Yellowjacket, here are the only pics from my A-Z of comic characters I really like: first up, Power Girl (drawn at A3 as I was gonna base a cover image around her but eventually felt backgrounds detracted from the main figure), Cyclops (drawn at A4 as he's my favourite hero so wanted to take a bit of time with this) and Dr Strange (drawn at A5 and one of the easiest drawings I've ever done).

I'm currently using Doc Strange in some samples I'm working on, although I'm not sure if I'll use the first initial (yet to be completed) page. Despite some rough edges here and there, I'm generally happy with it but it's all an establishing scene and I want to cut loose with some action stuff over the next few pages. We'll have to see how the sequence works out as a whole but here's a dodgy panel from the current page, crammed with minor errors that probably less than five minutes could fix...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Comic Characters A-Z: The Final Nail

Here at last is the FINAL final entry in my A-Z of comic characters, Zatanna! To be honest, there was something about this that really bothered me in the pencils and I wanted to start over again but I want to focus on samples so I decided to ink it up anyway. It still doesn't sit right, something awkward about the legs but it's passable.

I've deleted the thread now as all the pics are up on my Facebook page now. If I think of it though, I might post Power Girl, Cyclops and Dr Strange back as I quite like those ones. I was also going to do an appendix featuring suggestions that were made that I still wanted to draw, such as the Enchantress and U-Go Girl, but again this would just be another distraction right now. I did however ink the Jade figure I pencilled and at the bottom of this post are the self-rejected earlier versions of characters that were actually used.

In between are a few other quick bits: a streamlined/redesigned Gypsy Moth (done after Tony's usage of this goofy-looking character) and coloured versions of Spider-Man and Goliath (a better example of a clean line style than my Thunderbird!), both of which were done at the pub in an A5 pad.

Right, bath, dinner, the end of Whedon's Runaways and a film for me now!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

My Life In Music

Lots of threads going around with folks listing their favourite albums from the years of their lives. All very interesting and something I'd be interested in doing...except I'm not really an album person. I love music of all kinds but I tend not to like artists enough to buy a single album, let alone many. Many bands or artists were great at one time but after awhile, each new track is just more of the same and not very interesting as a result (REM, I'm looking at you). I can't count the amount of times I bought a CD because I liked the single and hated the rest of the album so generally I steer clear of them now. I'd sooner buy a soundtrack or compilation as I know what I'm getting then.

Notable exceptions to this rule are Sheryl Crow and the B-52s, both of whom I love but still find fresh with each album (despite the latter having a very definite "sound"). (BTW, still pissed off I couldn't get to see the B-52s, the second time I've missed them!). However, to prove my general point, I was enjoying the BBC Monkey idents for the Olympics. I enjoy the Gorillaz, love the Monkey legend ("Aaah, Tripitaka, it hurts, it huuuuurts!!") and love Chinese language, music and design so the new Monkey Journey to the West Cd was bound to be a winner, right?

Wrong. As wrong as white socks with sandals . It was terrible, although the BBC music I like did turn up--right at the very bloody end.

That's why I rarely buy albums...but I am considering the Ben Folds/William Shatner album. I have a copy but would like the original (but as I have a copy, only a CHEAP original!). I adore that album, I really do, it's probably one of my favourites.

I binned tons of CDs and now have tons of my own burned CDs made using the tracks I saved. While I traditionally like rockier stuff, my collection features rock, pop trash, country, hip hop, dance, acoustic and probably most kinds of music, except jazz.

I detest jazz! This isn't an exaggeration but as a kid, just hearing jazz would literally make me feel nauseous. I'd feel like I'd just swallowed a pan of cooking oil and would get sweaty and swoony until the music stopped (no other music made me feel as loony as that or affected me in other ways). I still remember when Cheers was first airing on C4 on Friday nights in the 80s, some crap sitcom with Patricia Hayes as a tramp called The Lady Is A Tramp or something used that song as the title sequence, and I had to leave the room when it played.

There's probably some weird complex there but damned if I know what it is.

So that's why there's no My Life In Music from me...but maybe one day there'll be a Tracks Of My Years...