Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas Wrap

A number of things have come to fruition in the last few weeks so this is a bit of a Christmas wrap up.

  • I have a new strip up at; a creepy retelling of The Little Matchstick Girl. I've used a very different drawing style and I think it's the first comic on he web that I've written, drawn and lettered myself so let me know what you think. This is part of Tales of The Season, which features Christmas Comic from Kevin 'Gio' Logue, Andrew Croskery, Mal Coney and Wayne Simmons so make sure to check them all out.

  • All being well, I have some comic work lined up for early next year, starting with a one-shot for The League of Volunteers from Atomic Diner, a pulp adventure team book set in 1940s Ireland. This will be a spin off from the regular series, written by Robert Curley, which is launching now with art from Barry Keegan. Issue 1 of the regular series is limited to 500 copies, so if you want to get in at the beginning, you can order it from the Atomic Diner site here. 
  • Cancertown will be returning to the Playstation Network early in the new year as a digital comic. If you can't wait until then, Cy Dethan's Indifference Engine reunites most of the Cancertown team, adding in penciller Rob Carey and was just released digitally on the PSP this week. It gets a featured mention on the Playstation Blog and already gathered great reviews. I can't wait to read it myself. 
  • I've been listed as the number 21 NI's 'Reasons to be Cheerful' in this months AU mag (previously know as 'Alternative Ulster'). It was a nice little write up and there's even a little crop of the Cancertown opening splash page in there. Copies of AU mag are free and widely distributed all over Ireland, or you can view the whole magazine online right here. I'm on page 49, but here's a screen grab of the article. Many thanks to Reggie Chamberlain King for the write up. 

I have some other comic news, and I've just started my first video game work, but I'll talk about that when I have more to show but it certainly looks to be a busy start to the new year. 

Friday, 10 December 2010

An Engaging Story

For those who haven't already heard, myself and Aimee got engaged this past weekend which has made me extremely happy. I won't bore you with every detail of the proposal, but there is some artwork involved and Aimee has encouraged me to show a little of it off and it needs a little background summary. Who am I to argue with my future wife?

Aimee has always thought of Rome as her favourite place, and the Trevi Fountain as the most romantic spot in the world (it may have something to do with a Bon Jovi video), so under the pretense of a Christmas present from my mum, that she had supposedly won and passed on to us, I organised a weekend away to coincide with our 4 year anniversary. You may think it doesn't sound plausible that Aimee would believe such a coincidence, but the fake email addresses, phone calls and the fact that it was Aimee who picked the dates (I knew she'd pick our anniversary) and other little things kept it a surprise.

I drew the story of 'The Monkey and the Penguin' who fall in love and turned in into a little children's-style story book (Aimee is obsessed with penguins and calls me her Monkey. Please try not to throw up) and gave it to Aimee to unwrap at the Trevi Fountain. It starts off as a fairly inconspicuous children's story and gets more personal as the book goes on, so I'll just show off a few of the first pages here.

The last spread had the Monkey at the Trevi fountain handing out a box to Aimee as the reader. The box had a flap held down with a bit of ribbon that acted as the box lid and opened up to reveal the diamond ring. I took from the ring from the book, got down on one knee and well the rest is a bit of a blur, but I said everything I wanted to and asked Aimee to marry me.

And Aimee said 'Yes'.

The Beginning...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Free Stuff!!

I've set up a system where I can send you prints or sketches to your house at absolutely no cost to you, but I'll still get paid for it.

Here's how it works:

If you'll be doing a lot of Christmas shopping on this year, and will probably spend over £100 (as some people are inclined to do), if you access Amazon by clicking through the Affiliate link at the top right column of this page, then I get 5% commission on anything you purchase on that visit without costing you any extra. In return I'll send you some of the items from my shop based on the amount of commission I earn.

Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Make sure your browser doesn't have any Amazon tabs open, go to and click the affiliate link at the top of the left column. This will bring you to 

Step 2: Shop on Amazon as normal. I only get commission on items you place in your basket after you pass through my site, so make sure you haven't any items in there from previous Amazon visits or it won't count. Then check out and buy those items within 24 hours. 

Step 3: Based on your total checkout price, work out how much commission I'll be getting (5% of what you spend) and use the shop page on my site to work out the equivalent items you'd like. For example if you spend £100, I get £5, which is the equivalent to one print in my shop. If you spent £300, I'd be getting £15 so you could choose either a sketch or three prints (P&P is free for all items in my shop shipping to the UK & Ireland, a shipping charge would apply to anyone further afield).

Step 4: Send me an email to Stephen[at] letting me know which items you bought on Amazon, the total cost and what you would like me to send you in return for the commission.

I've already had a couple of people test this system as it works really well and everyone gets something extra at no cost to them. An extra Christmas pressie for everybody!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Leed Time

This past weekend was my first time at Leeds Thought Bubble and it certainly won't be my last; a really welcoming and friendly event packed with people. It was also the first time I'd been behind my own table for the entire con, sharing with my Torchwood cover colourist Ciaran Lucas and his traveling companion Alan Beirne. I'd spent a few hours behind Ciaran's table at the MCM previously, but this time I was properly prepared with a few prints and proper drawing materials and was able to make back the weekend's expenses (not counting the whiskey's on Saturday). 

Here are a handful of the many sketches I produced during the day. Thanks to Alan for his photography skills. 


Portrait of a customer

Hellboy (with Horns)

 On the Sunday I went to the John Romita Jr workshop (did you know he only sleeps 5 1/2 hours a night and works a 12 - 15 hour drawing day!), attended Bryan Talbot's Grandville talk and had a very positive portfolio  review from a Marvel editor. I also managed a quiet drink with Slaughterman's Creed colourist Vicky Stonebridge and Rich Clements and may have agreed to work on a short project. This is what happens when you buy me whiskey. More on that later. 

I also seemed to have picked up my first Con Flu. A comic con Rite of Passage I believe. 

Monday, 15 November 2010

A Penny for the Thought (I'm selling stuff!)

So I'm heading to Thought Bubble in Leeds this coming weekend, 20th November. This being my third English con of the year it's getting quite expensive, so I'm making up some prints and original pieces that I can sell to make back a little on the costs of flights etc. Therefore I can officially unveil the new Shop section of this site! The link is in the navigation bar above please click through to see what's available.

Here are a few of the prints I'll be selling at £5 each (inc P&P).

I'll also have the original art for most of the above illustrations which will be selling for between £15 and £25. If there is one of them you really like just email stephen[at] and I'll hold it for you.

I'll also be doing some sketching on the day that will look a little like this:
Sketches will be £10 on the day and again you can preorder or if you're not heading to the con, order via the shop or email with free shipping.

If you're not an original art collector yourself, it might be a really nice christmas present for that someone special...

Disclaimer: The copyright for all the above characters belong to their respective owners and these prints are sold only on a personal level. If any of the copyright owners have a problem just email stephen[at] 

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cover Story

You may have seen one of the Work-in-Progress Slaughterman's Creed cover's slip out on the net this weekend while I was prancing around the MCMexpo. I finally have the chance to share the cover here along with the slightly unusual process behind it.

I had worked on another cover before with Ryan Brown and after seeing his digitally painted work over Simon Bisley's 13 coins comic pages, asked him if he would paint over my pencils/layout for the Slaughterman's Creed covers (Ryan's brother Andy is the co-founder of Beserker Comics, and inked the interior latter chapters of SC).

I had a rough idea for the cover and sketched out a quick layout (which I can't find at the minute, but I'll have found it by the time the cover is finished and post it then), set up my studio lights and took a few reference photos. Here's the one for Sidney himself:

Using the reference photos I sketched out the graphic novel cover layout below.

At this point (as those who were following my blog last year will know), I had planned to spend my Summer in Canada and continue drawing. Things fell through at the last minute and although we had a brilliant month in Belize instead, we did a lot more traveling and A3 scanners are few and far between. 

Each digital chapter will feature an individual characters so I had to draw each one separately and Ryan agreed to paint and compose them together for the GN. I had to wait to get to Seattle four weeks later to print out five blue lines copies of the sketch and pencil out the individual characters over it. Since Sidney was already in the foreground he needed the least done, but I did tidy him up a little. 

By the time I'd finished drawing the characters we were on a plane to Las Vegas. I thought it would be easy to find a scanner there, but all I could find was slot machines and wedding chapels. I was sending my laptop back home the next day, so all I could do was take photos of the pencils on my camera (see above), load them into my dropbox, along with the original reference photos and some interior character shots and upload via the hotel wireless. 

Yip, that WIP cover painting was actually painted over a photo sent from Las Vegas. I reckon Ryan did a bloody awesome job! 

Expect another update, with more sketches and ref material when the cover is finished. 

Friday, 22 October 2010

Cons, Creations and Kronos City

Had a brilliant time at #BICS this weekend, which saw the launch of the Sleepless Phoenix: Suvival anthology that holds Andrew Croskery, Andy Brown and myself's 'Welcome to Absolution'. The book marks Andrew's first printed work, but it won't be long before you see more as he signed up his, Alex Wilmore and Lauren Ann Sharp's 'Kronos City' graphic novel with TimeBomb over the weekend.

The anthology sold so well (on top of a ton of preorders) that Lauren and co. are going to continue publishing and hopefully bring out another anthology next year.

It was brilliant meeting up with everyone, and a couple of comicbook opportunities may have presented themselves. Bring on MCM next week. Here's a Hellboy sketch I'll be bringing with me:

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I'm famous (and other stuff.)

Our Eggheads episode just aired on BBC2, which means I am now famous. If you didn't catch it, or for some reason want to relive it, you can catch it on the BBC iplayer for the next little while here.

In some comic news, my first creator owned graphic novel Cancertown, originally released through Insomnia Publications before their collapse, has now been signed with AAM/Markosia. Harry Markos and co. are now publishing and handling both Cancertown and Slaughterman's Creed (as well as numerous other projects from the disturbingly imaginative Cy Dethan) and I'm excited to see what they can do with the books.

I successfully completed my 24 hour comic at the weekend (coming in at at 18 pages). I was initially a little embarrassed to show the artwork as it looks more like scribbly layouts than a finished piece, but I put it up on here and I've actually had some really positive feedback as word got out. Check it out if you will.

After a quick switch-around, having to book Aimee a later outgoing flight as she had an unexpected late test scheduled for that day, I'm really looking forward to BICS this weekend. Here's another illustration I'll be bringing along to try and sell. It's based on one of the panel's from the Wolverine sample script that I had a go at recently. You can see the pencilled pages in the portfolio section above.
If you don't actually know what I look like, I've put a current(ish) photo up on my twitter profile, so please come and say hello.

Yes, the Eggheads show was filmed in february and I have cut my hair since!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

October Runaround

I'll be popping my head up in a few different places in the next month, so here's a quick runaround:

24 Hour Comic event:  From 11am on Sat 9th to 11am 10th Oct I'll be taking part in Belfast's 24 hour comic event at the Catalyst arts. I've missed every other year, so this'll be my first time and it should prove a fun challenge. If you're interested there are still a couple of spaces left and you can get in touch with Paddy via the Belfast Comics Blog

Eggheads: This day next week (which will be Tues 12th Oct for those not reading in realtime) myself and the rest of the  'League of Just Us' will appear on the eggheads TV show on BBC2. The programme usually airs around 6pm and will probably be on the BBC iplayer later that day. We created a few drafts of a faux 2000AD cover to present to the Jeremy Vine, but ended up having to go with the version that only features PJ Holden's art (mixup with the egghead members). My unused contribution doodle of our team is to the right. 

BICS: I'm heading to the British International Comics Show for the weekend of Oct 15 -17. I don't have my own table, but I'll be helping out with the launch of The Sleepless Phoenix: Survival Stories anthology which prints myself, Andrew Croskery and Andy Brown's Welcome to Absolution. I'll also be bringing along some sketches and illustrations to sell such as the one's to the left and right. Hopefully I'll have more to post before I head over. If you want to order a custom illustration to collect at BICS just me an email in the next week or so. 

London MCM Expo: On 29 - 31st October I'll be at the MCMexpo. Again this is my first time attending after hearing good things for the last few years, so excited to be a first timer at what's being called the UKs biggest comic con. I booked this last minute, so again no table but I expect to be hanging around the Comic Village a lot. Again I'll be selling illustrations and sketches, so email me if you want something in particular in advance. 

Hopefully I'll be able to fit in some drawing between all these event!

Friday, 10 September 2010

I'm back (to back!)

I'm back from my travels in body if not in spirit. I had an amazing time living in Belize for a month with excursions to Mexico and Guatemala, then a tour of the West coast of the USA and returning just in time to see my strip in Torchwood Mag still on the shelves. 

As I mentioned before, the 11 page strip will be reprinted in the US version of the Torchwood comic. It's going to be in #5 and here's my cover to the issue, with awesome colours by Ciaran Lucas. It should be in comic stores around the 31st of October, but to guarantee a copy you can preorder it now from your local comic store with this Diamond code: SEP101124

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

First Torchwood page.

My Torchwood strip will be in newsagents and comic shops this Thursday (19th August) inside the new edition of the Torchwood Magazine (#23). The story is told at two different timeframes during the same night. The inked and wider panels are the 'modern' sections, while the borderless panels; left in pencil with added photoshop greys, are the 'earlier that night' scenes. 

Page one above with pencils, inks ands greys by myself, then below with added colour by Phil Elliot.

The strip will also be reprinted early next year in the US version of the Torchwood comic, so if you don't get a copy on Thursday you'll get another chance then. 

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Paradise Posing

We're leaving Belize this Sunday.  Been a fantastic three and a half weeks so far and we've still to visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal Mayan caves tomorrow, then a few days relaxing before heading off to the USA. We spent part of last week at the 'Paradise' resort (which amounted to five huts on a tiny island) on Tobacco Caye and I finally got a little bit of sketching in. Above is an unfinished pencil sketch of Aimee sunbathing on the beach (its a photo from my faux moleskin, so forgive the quality and gradient). 

A couple more photos from the island:

If anyone really loves flicking through others holiday snaps, I've a lot of them herehere, and here

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Imagining things

The Belfast comics creators made an appearance in last month's issue of ImagineFX. One of the editors asked me to take a few photos and scans at our regular monthly drink 'n' draw/comic creators meetup.

Featured in the photos are Paddy Brown, Andy Luke, Ann Harrison, Andrew Croskery and myself (in the Batman T-shirt that I stole from my brother).

You can see my sketches of the Hulk and Wolverine on the night, as well as Mal Coney's Deadpool and Paddy's Judge Dredd.

I'm going to upload a few more sketches and photos from that night to the Belfast comics blog of and by the various creators. You'll also find links to their individual sites there as well.

But here's a closer look at my Hulk in the meantime:

Thanks to Ciaran Lucas for the article scan.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Absolute zombies!

I'd had an inkling to do a zombie western for a while and after a wild night of geek chatting at one of the Belfast comics creators meetings, Andrew Croskery went home and wrote the script for 'Welcome to Absolution'

I pencilled the four page comic and we somehow managed to convince Andy Brown (Publisher of Beserker comics and Slaughterman's Creed inker) to greyscale-paint over my pencils and David Withers lettered it up.

We're showcasing the whole story as part of the 'Tales of the Undead' collection on (the Northern Irish creative showcase) and its just gone live, so click here to read the whole strip. It should also see print in a soon-to-be-name print anthology that will be available at BICS this year.

Here's a little breakdown of how the process for this one went:

Andrew's Script:

The original idea was to draw this as a 19 panel tabloid sized spread for the Gaurdian comic strip competition last year, but we hadn't realised the deadline was a few days later, so Andrew's script was originally written as such.

Welcome to Absolution

"Panel 1: Wide panel, establishing shot. Preacher Joe is riding on a mangy horse on a small dirt road. It is night time, with a big hammer horror moon. He is riding towards a small, western town. There are still a few lights on in the town, particularly the inn.

We don’t see the preacher at all clearly but something is in his demeanour that suggests despair, guilt, dismay.

The horse he is riding is a bag of bones, making its way towards the town through sheer force of will – step after determined step.

In front of a town is one of those old ‘Welcome’ town signs. It says: ‘Welcome to Absolution. Population 300.’ Except the 300 has been ‘x’ed out with what looks o be blood and replaced with a smaller number. Maybe need to do some research on the size of towns in those days.

Panel 2: Preacher Joe has ties his horse to the outside of the inn. He is leaning against the open door frame, staring in. Again, we can’t see him clearly in the darkness, but he seems hesitant to enter the establishment. We can see the dog sitting chewing on something in the background.

Panel 3: Preacher is now in the inn. He has stopped at a desk. There is a ledger on it, with a few names written on it. The writing of the last name tails off and the pen marks slides down the page like the person who was writing it had slumped to the ground while he was writing his name.

There are a bunch of bunches of keys scattered on the desk with key fobs and numbers attached to them. The preacher has picked one up.

Panel 4: In the dimly lit room, the preacher makes his way across, pushing his way past tables, brandishing an oil lantern.

Voice from behind him: “Been a while since we had new blood around here, sugar.”

Panel 5: Preacher spins around towards the voice, brandishing his lantern in its general direction. We can see a dim figure of Jezebel, sitting with her legs crossed, drinking from a bottle of scotch.

Preacher: “Who’s there?”

Voice: “And a preacher no less. Why don’t you scooch on over, honey? I sure do got some sins that need forgivin’.”

Panel 6: The preacher steps towards the woman.

Preacher: “I think not, woman, but maybe we can pray for your torment-”

Preacher: “Gasp!”"

Loose pencils by myself:

For traditional comic format, I broke the spread down to four pages. I chose the first 6 panels to show on page 1 so we ended on a bit of page-turner. Andy and I were figuring out how to collaborate on the art so I sent him the layouts/scribbly pencils below as a work in progress.

A tighter version of the pencils:

Andy said he'd like all the structure to be there, but I should tighten as much as I wanted and he'd do the  painted finishes.

Annotated layer:

I sent the above image to Andy via email and since I wasn't doing the finishes myself, I added a Tiff layer of annotations for some of the points that weren't quite clear in the pencils. You can click below to see what I wrote, but beware that it spoils a lot of the plot and twists in the story. So go read the full strip first if you haven't already.

Paints by Andy:

Andy sent me back the brilliant pages, which were even more detailed and atmospheric than I'd imagined.

Lettered by David:

Some very cool lettering added by David that really adds to the atmosphere.

Great, fun collaboration that created art a lot different from any other project.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Potter's Wheel

A took on a few non-comics commissions a little while ago, one of which was to listen to the song 'Potters Wheel' by  John Denvor and to do one big illustration. Apart from that, I had no other direction. I could come up with any image, any style, any media; whatever they song influenced me to draw. 

Here is the piece I came up with:

This was too big to scan in one go; somewhere between a3 and a2 size, so in the process the top right looks a little blurry. 

Drawn initially with pencil, then with a pot Winsor & Newton black indian ink and a brush, a kuretake waterbrush filled with an ink solution and a set of Faber Castell 'Shades of grey' pens

Some work in progress:

Reference photo: 

Some pencils:

Inks before wash:

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Spandex Seven

My editor over at Titan, Martin Eden, writes, draws and publishes his own comic Spandex. To promote the release of #2, he gathered together an impressive months-worth of artists to portray the Spandex characters in a Japanese influenced daily showcase. 

He asked me to take part a few months ago and I created a little homage to this Seven Samurai movie poster.  Here's a quick look at the process/layers. 
The main figure of Liberty in the foreground. Drawn with black indian ink and a brush (first time I'd inked in months) for the linework, with a grey then yellow overlay using these Winsor & Newton coloured Inks.

I had drawn some of the other characters in the above picture, but tried inking them with pen and didn't like it. These are the redraws on a separate sheet, again using the W & N Black Indian Ink with a solution of the same ink inside a refillable brush pen. 

The final image composed together, text added, and the colours adjusted. 

A few other artist friends had seen the above piece, really liked the galley concept and decided to get in on the event so check out Andrew Croskery's, David Withers, Jay Faulkner's pieces. Local artist Bridgeen Gillespie also has a piece on show and you can view the whole gallery here

Speaking of local artists, after our last monthly comic creators meetup at the Garrick last Thursday, Paddy Brown has set up a blog over at Add it to your blog list to keep up with the Belfast comics scene. 

Monday, 28 June 2010

One month later...

Haven't blogged in almost a month, been really busy with the Torchwood strip, which I've now finished, and had some sort of event almost every weekend. Here's a very quick summary of all the exciting happenings:

2D festival: 

It started so nicely...
Ended wildly...

Was fun meeting up with the just-beyond-local comics scene; Tommie Kelley, the Berserker folk, Sunnyside comics fellows, Longstone comics, Aidan Courtney of Ri Ra,  Bridgeen Gillespie, Ciaran Lucas, Will Simpson, Gary Leach, Paddy Brown and of course 2D organiser David Campbell.

Bon Jovi:

The weekend after was a trip to London for a long weekend to see the infamous Bon Jovi. Aimee is a big fan,  We'll say no more.


This past weekend was the Q-con in Belfast. Mostly a gaming convention, the comics section and artists alley grew a little this year and looks to continue to do so. PJ Holden, Paddy Brown and Ciaran Lucas were again in attendance. Cancertown continued to sell comparatively well considering the gaming/anime audience, and a nice amount of commissioned sketches were drawn as well.

Here's one such sketch of Mickey Rouke's Whiplash giving it to Iron Man:

(It's a photo taken from my phone, so excuse the quality)


As I mentioned, the 11 page Torchwood strip is finished. I handled the pencils and inks on this one and its set to be published in the Titan Torchwood magazine on 19th August. I think there are plans to reprint it in the US comicbook version at some point as well.

Tales of the... is currently hosting a zombie collection of stories. A short Rhyme of mine is up there today inspired by a bloody fantastic Zombie portrait by Ryan Brown. Clickity here to read.

Future travels:

Myself and Aimee are heading off traveling this Summer around Belize, the West coast of America, then Thailand and a little stop-off in Dubai on the way home so I don't know how regular this blog will be. We're not heading off for a few weeks though and I've a few things to show, so I'll try to keep the weekly schedule until then...

Friday, 28 May 2010

Badmouthed at Bristol

So I was over at the Bristol comic expo this past weekend...

It was a lovely Sunny weekend, scotching hot, not a cloud in the sky and not an air conditioner in site.

I'm still exhausted, not having had a decent nights sleep in a week, so I'm going to have to write in bullet points:

  • Met up with frequent collaborators Cy and Nic as per usual, but also got to meet and talk to Vicky Stonebridge properly for the first time. With Andy Brown also making an appearance, it marked the first time the Slaughterman's Creed team were all together in the same room. 
  • Was given the brilliant Badmotuth bust by Simon Wyatt as a very generous present. Some people think that Cancertown's Morley was based on me, but you can see  below I actually used myself as a base for the badmouth: 

  • Flew in late-ish on the Friday, so only had time for a quick pint in the bar before retiring. I made up for it on Saturday night when I got very drunk with Aimee, my Torchwood editor Martin Eden, the Brown brothers and a few other comic creators. I ended up staying up while the staff tried to hoover around myself and Martin Conaghan's feet at 5am. I remember slurring out a conversation with Mark Buckingham about comic art, but for some reason can't remember a word of it. 
  • Picked up Com.X's 45, Valia Kapadai's Twisted Visions, the latest issue of Dogbreath (mostly due to the fantastic looking strip by Rich Clements, kev Levell and Vicky Stonebridge) and Martin Eden's Spandex. I've only read parts of each, but thoroughly enjoying each one so far!
Really Wish the event was longer than a weekend, so many people I only got to say a few words to that I'd like to have spent more time with. Roll on Derry and the 2D fesitval next weekend!