Wednesday, 30 December 2009
The league of Just Us roll call (left to right):
PJ Holden (Comicbook artist; 2000AD, Battlefields)
Paddy Brown (Web comic artist/writer and self publisher; Cattle raid of Cooley )
Reggie Chamberlain King (Writer; upcoming Layer Zero: Exile)
Aidan Largey acting as the backup (Writer; Layer Zero: Choices)
Aimee Durkin (Comicbook model; Cancertown, Slaughterman's Creed)
Stephen Downey (me)
As I've probably mentioned before, a bunch of comicbook creators meet up monthly at the Garrick Bar in Belfast to share portfolios, ideas and generally talk geek. Well 6 of us are heading to Glasgow in January to record an episode of the Eggheads, trying to see if our combined geek knowledge can outsmart the resident quiz team.
A few weeks ago I got a phone call via Mal Coney, the manager at Forbidden Planet Belfast (he's a friend and comicbook creator in his own right having written the Darkness and created the Magdelena for Top Cow, amongst a host of other projects). He'd gotten a call from the producers of the eggheads looking for teams for the Belfast auditions, and although Mal couldn't make it himself he passed them on to me. I quickly gathered six comicbook creators (who will herefore be know as The League of Just Us) and two days later we went to the audition for a laugh in the BBC building in town. Long story short, they liked our audition and flying us over to Glasgow for a day and night in a couple of weeks time to appear on the show.
I've no idea when the show will air, but it should be a good laugh and I'm sure I'll blog about the happenings when its all over.
Hope you all had a good Christmas by the way.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
This means Cancertown will be easily available all over the world to PSP owners without having to pay any sort of delivery costs (the irony of course is that it will not be available in Ireland, well the South anyway, for another few days.) The first chapter is even free, so if you own a PSP you have absolutely NO reason not to check it out, even just to see how the reading experience differs from thee aul paper version, and of course please encourage your friends to do the same. Here's a direct link to help you out.
If you browse their catalogue you may even find some other popular comics, some of which may feature this guy:
(That's meant to be Wolverine by the way.)
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
I had forgotten to mention before, but although Bob's script mentioned the calendar appearing on panel 3, there was an angle I wanted to use later in the story that meant it was better to have it over Aida's head and so established on panel 2. An examples like this is why I find it's often helpful to layout an entire story, or at least scenes or issues at a time, rather than just before drawing each page.
7/ Redraw: Looking at the scanned page, panel 5 was much too cluttered and needed a little more room for both dialogue and to make out what was happening:
I took the scanned panel and on a new photoshop file moved things about and digitally sketched around it.
The characters looked a little squashed, and the panel wasn't going to fit into the original space anyway so I stretched it a little and turned in a blue colour.
The I printed out the blue panel and inked over it with my pens/brush. When I rescanned it I could quickly and easily take away the blue channel on photoshop so I'm left with just the black line.
8/ Black and white artwork: Finished the inks on the rest of the page and digitally put panel 5 into place, then used the curve tool to get a really strong contrast between the black and white.
To get the wallpaper texture I simply took a photo of my studio wallpaper, again using curves to bring out the pattern. I used the transform and perspective tool to fit the pattern to the walls as seamlessly as possible, and used my PS 'blood brush', which I'd created previously by scanning in an ink splat, to add the black splash at the bottom right (which actually has subtle story significance). I also didn't like how straight Aida looked on panel 2, so tilted in slightly just to make it more interesting, and added straight borders to the panels using the stroke tool.
9/ Greyscaling: The book is printed in black and white, which allowed for some greyscaling. I was originally just going to finish off with the stark black and white above, but I experimented with the greyscaling and thought it added to the art and atmosphere. All done in photoshop (CS4 incase anyone was interested).
So if you want to see the rest of the pages, pick up the 2012: Final prayer anthology. There is some great art and writing in the book and I really enjoyed it myself.
On an altogether different matter, I may have some amusing TV news next week if everything works out...
Thursday, 3 December 2009
I love seeing artist's process work, and I experimented a little with my approach to the following page, so with Bob's permission here's a little 'script to finished page' post:
1/ Bob send me his script:
Exterior Nursing Home. Night.
Snow is on the ground. A shoveled, paved walkway leads us to a brick building.
A sign outside: Rosebud Nursing Home.
How’s she doing today?
Not one of her better days.
Interior nursing home, a drab, depressing room.
ANGLE ON – A 65‐year old woman (AIDA) who sits in a chair by a window. She looks much older – her hair is white, her skin loose over her brittle bones. Her eyes are blank, her mind lost in a fog.
There are blinds in the window, a crucifix on the wall, and ugly print wallpaper on the walls.
Frankly, mom’s best days are behind her.
That’s true for us all, Dex.
REVEAL – DEX, a 40‐year old man with a boxer’s sturdy build wearing a wool coat. Beside him is the attending nurse, DOTTIE, whose ample cleavage fills out her white uniform quite pleasantly.
Between them, hanging on the wall, is a calendar. It shows December with the 21st day circled.
At least the world didn’t end. December 21st, and we’re still here.
Another false Apocalypse. Like 1984, Y2K, and Planet X in ‘03.
ANGLE ON – Aida, in her own world, almost appears to be listening to their conversation.
Looks like we’ll be here to celebrate Christmas after all.
Dexter watches Aida leave the room, admiring the view. His right hand reaches inside his coat.
Dexter pulls out a REVOLVER and stares maliciously at his mother with dementia.
Some of us will.
Apologies to Bob as some of the formatting is lost while transfering to the blog. Bob also embedded lots of really helpful reference material into the PDF, which were extrememely helpful in picturing the scene as I read the script, but since I didn't directly reference the images and this blog will be long enough as is, I've left them out.
4/ Working out panel 2: I'd just downloaded a free 3D modelling program called DAZ3D and was having a messaround with finding a nice pose for Aida on the chair:
I experimented with different angles, but ended up ignoring the model and just going for a simpler angle as it was the first time Aida appeared in the story, I needed to establish the calander on the wall, and leave room for dialogue. I also felt it was appropriate to start off with an almost mudane angle, then go for the more extreme angles when the action started on panel 6.
I starting inking the piece, tidying up and refining the artwork using mostly the new Rotring ink pen I'd just picked up and a little bit of brush for the bigger black areas. This was my first time using the Rotring on a proper comic page, I felt the pen would bring a grittier look to the page, which I thought suited the story.
- We're only half way through and the blog's getting a little image heavy so I'll call this Part 1 and show the redraws, inks, grayscaling and lettering/finished page in my next blog post...
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
We were going to enter the Gaurdian comic strip competition with it and Andrew promptly wrote a 19 panel strip that would stretch over two broadsheet pages. Then of course I looked at the actual deadline and it was something like a few days away. I was in the middle of drawing Cancertown at the same time so unfortunetely it wasn't doable, but I had managed to work up some character sketches based on Andrew's script.
But never fear, I know by now you are virtually begging to see more of these characters, and you are in luck! We've reworked the script as a four page story and found a home for it in an anthology coming up next year. Andy Brown of Berserker comics will be painting over my pencils and it should make make for a nice collaboration.
Andrew also has some character designs (he's a bit of an artist as well you see) for a few of the characters so if you go over to his blog and ask him nicely he might show them to you.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Still another page to finish tonight, but at least I can colour in bed under the blankets to protect me from the cold winter nights...
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
The brushes were a little softer this time, after their initial use, and it was easier to get a broader stroke. I think a water colour-like technique is better with these brush pens; starting with a layer of lighter colour and building up with darker shades (after first inking the pure blacks with the Kuretake brush pen and bigger brush/ink pot.). The white highlights are just the white of the paper that I left black while drawing.
Still a bit of practice needed (both for shades of grey and drawing Dredd) but I like the texture thats starting to come from these pens.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
They're a little tricky at first try, and really thats all I've had time for with so much work on. Here's a very quick doodle just to test how the pens actually look:
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
He's appeared on a crazy amount of websites, and he may just tell the whole world about this project before the imminent apocolypse. Here's a list of the websites he's either been interviewed on, or feature news of the GN:
Horror movies and Stuff
Told you he'd been busy.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
All of Insomnia Publications' graphic novels will be released as monthly digital chapters from the Digital Comics Store on the PlayStation®Network starting this December when the service launches. Dont take my word for it though, check out the official press release on Insomnia's Red Eye blog for more details including the launch titles that will be available.
The PSP digital comics store is being supported by big comic companys like Marvel and IDW so looks like this thing could catch on. It may even grap some new comic readers as well.
In other Insomnia news that I forgot to mention, Temple APA, the downloadable comics showcase magazine has done a huge piece on Insomnia is their latest issue that can be found here. They've featured a good bit of my art in there too.
It's a good time to be an Insomniac :)
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Michuri Morikawa, Cy Dethan, Andrew Croskey, Valia Kapadai and me.
Insomnia's newest launch titles, Burke and Hare and Buskers, got off to a great start and Insomnia's table had a crowd around it the whole weekend. Also on display at the stand was Ferret's massive Cancertown quilt, which I got to see for the first time. I think you can get a sense of scale in the photo below:
Insomnia's Alasdair and Duncan myself with Ferret's huge Cancertown quilt
Special thanks goes to Valia Kapadai who painted me this beautiful rendition of some Cancertown characters (and let me borrow the above photos for this blog):
Cancertown by Valia kapadai
Check out valia's Deviant art page to see all the other fantastic paintings she produced for her Insomnia buddies.
Other things that happened:
- I finally met in Peter Forbes in person
- I found some really interesting brush pens via Simon Wyatt, who generously gave me one to take home and try.
- Talked a little about the Cancertown sequel with Cy and Nic.
For a more revolutionary take on the the weekend, check out Cy's fantasy styled role playing blog post, which is quite possibly the best con report ever.
I've a lot of drawing on the table these days, which I'm happy about, so I'm going to be cutting the blog back to once a week, which will probably be every Wednesday night. Hopefully some new art and less rambling by then...
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
We're not 100% sure what the comic itself will be called (it might be a 'Beserker presents:' sort of title) but the story I'm working on is called 'My New Best Friend' and is written by Micheal Baxter. The above image is the cover to the comic, pencilled by myself, inked by Andy Brown and coloured by Ryan Brown. Those guys really know how to do a good job, and we'll be working on the interiors together.
The story will be 24 pages but we're taking this at a slow pace, as the Beserker boys are busy with their publishing business and I've still a good bit of work to do on Slaughterman's Creed. It may even be Halloween 2010 before the comic hits shelves, but I'll update as we make progress.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Here's Andrew Croskery, writer of kronos city with Aidan Largey, who wrote a neat crime story for Insomnia's Layer Zero: Choices anthology, acting out a quick scene and the resulting panels. This is from the first photoshoot, but when I get a chance I'll show a longer video, maybe a whole page worth and the resulting panels.
Its not that I'm atrocious at holding a camera, I was just explaining the next shot to the guys and kept the camera rolling. At least if I ever need a good crotch shot I can always use Andrew as reference.
Looking forward to BICS next weekend and sorting out my portfolio. I'll think I'll be bringing the cover I did for an upcoming project that I'll reveal on wednesday before I head off...
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Since I would be drawing each tatoo by hand, I wanted a simpler but still detailed tatoo layout; both because I would be drawing it over and over again and because I didn't want the face looking too cluttered when rendering the tatoo in ink. The above version has less leaves but, I think, a bolder design overall. Most of the leaves and sections divided into prongs of 3, so it should be easier to draw without having to count how many prongs were on each leaf every time.
Sunday, 20 September 2009
If you want to hear the inspiration behind this quick digital sketch you can download or listen online to the latest Sunnyside comics podcast.
Andrew Croskery and I were the first ever 'guests' on episode 7 and talked a bit about Cancertown, Kronos City, our Publishers Insomnia Publications, and the Belfast comics meet up.
You can hear me um, ah, mmm and babble my way through the podcast, but I did manage to finish a few points (mostly got distracted though), forget how to pronounce Cy's Dethan's name and take part in the hilarious 'Superpower or subpower' quiz (which I'd like someone to count up as I'm sure I got more points :P)
Thursday, 17 September 2009
The book also features artwork from Cancertown colourist Mel Cook, who is providing the whole art this time for a story called "2012: APOCALYPSE IN FIVE PARTS", and will sport a variant cover by Cancertown cover artist Paul Cartwright.
Speaking of Cancertown collaborators, Cy Dethan is showing off some new pages of my Slaughterman's Creed artwork on his blog as well as some art from his other projects; The Indifference Engine and The case files of Harlan Faulk.
I knew it was a matter of time before we took over the comicbook world :D
Sunday, 13 September 2009
The second version (please don't judge me on the first) was inked using the new brush pens I reviewed last week. I've updated that review with these width comparisons (the update has the name of each brush used:
In other news:
- Insomnia Publications (publishers of Cancertown) have big plans for the BICS this October (less than three weeks away!). They're launching Burke and hare, Milk, and Buskers original graphic novels. They also have unbeatable special prices at the Insomnia table for all their current and books. I urge you to check out their blog here for more information and a lot more insight and previews of the upcoming graphic novels.
- Nic Wilkinson, Insomnia's creative director and letterer for Cancertown and Slaughterman's Creed has been interviewed by the girls at the comic racks podcast. Lots of insight not only the creative but the editorial side of comics publishing. I'm mentioned a few times as well :)
- Go and support your Irish Artists by voting for Will Sliney and Dave Hendricks The Symptoms over Zuda comics. It's well worth your vote (some lovely art and great characters) and they need votes if we want to see more.
- Speaking of Podcasts, I had the pleasure of meeting Stacey Whittle of Small Press Big Mouth podcast, of which I'm a regular reader, and Lee Robson, who has just signed his GN Babble with Insomnia, when I was over at newcastle (England, not the place with the bumper cars) this past week with Aimee. Great comic chat with lovely people.
Sunday, 6 September 2009