Tuesday, 30 June 2009

In Speech Balloons

Earlier in the year, I blogged about a free service that turned your handwriting into a workable truetype font... The service provided by yourfonts is no longer free, but I didn't think the font I had was good enough to use for my comic art... There are some fantastic free fonts available on Blambot for using on comic strips - a link I got from the most excellent gentlemen at FutureQuake Press - but somehow, using someone else's (comic) font doesn't feel like I'm lettering myself... kind of like borrowing the hands of another letterer - albeit digitally.

I spent some time in illustrator pushing nodes around the natural letter-forms I had produced in my last attempt. Once I had a font I felt might work and that still had some relationship to my block capitals, I went ahead and paid just under £8 for the automated service. I'm very happy with how the font works, I think it looks pretty good too... an example of it in action can be seen in my previous posting.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Praying Mantis

Time to share my attempt in the semi-regular inter-web-game I play with Matt and Phil again. I tried and tried to twist, warp, oddify the Mantis in some way or another, but they're so weird in the first place...

I hope this can be read here, if not click the image and you should have no problems...

I was giggling to myself whilst doing this - I hope it elicits the same reaction when read by others

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Mean Machine Angel

The new topic for DrawerGeeks is Angel.

I sketched stereotypical Hell's Angels for a bit, even got some great reference together for a Harley Davidson... then I thought about an Angel/Demon thing... but both of those things weren't inspiring me to produce anything I wanted to submit or even show. I was doing a 2000 AD related sketch this morning and something clicked into place.

Mean Machine Angel is a classic Judge Dredd villain. Mean was built in the 'Six Million Dollar Man' sense of the word by a kidnapped Doctor in a shack in the Cursed Earth. To my mind he's going to be a bit rusty and thrown together, a bit like something from Scrapheap Challenge and not at all 'top of the range' cybernetics.

Mean was once a nice boy who liked flowers... so I gave him wings (mainly to make the 'Angel' thing obvious for the uninitiated and nothing at all to do with Red Bull).

Monday, 22 June 2009

Finished Judge Dredd Pin-up

I think I've finished this...

Not much to say really. Pretty happy about how this has turned out.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Judge Dredd Figure Inked

Inks for the Dredd I've been working on.
Experimenting with this currently - I may end up inking the background... depends on how some colour roughs go.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Dredd's Got A Second Sight

My old pal PJ has come up with more pearls of wisdom for aspiring comic artist everywhere... not only that but he sent me some suggestions for my Dredd Pin-up.

tightened pencils  •  and tonal values

He kindly made some modifications to yesterday's sketch and was very encouraging with it.
• He enlarged the left hand, pushing the foreshortening further has added slightly more dynamism to the overall pose.
• He also reduced the size of Dredd's helmet to make it part and parcel of the overall head - I think he was right to.

I've adjusted those things in Photoshop to my own file. I've also tightened up the pencils, added background details and some tonal values to check my forms are working ok.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Another Dredd

For the last couple of days I've been feeling a bit down on my drawing. I just don't feel like I can clearly identify my style and say I'm 100% happy with it - it's a touch too dependent upon a clean clear line and that can be time consuming.

There's a lot to be said for a quick expressive style both from a economic and a dynamic point of view. I see such breathtaking results in other artists' work that benefits from quick, expressive penmanship - but when I come to try that myself, even when at my most confident, I am just not happy with the result.

Here are some rough pencils for a Judge Dredd pin-up type image I am working on. Right now there are some nice things going on in those sketchy lines but I know as soon as I start to ink, it'll lose that spontaneity.

Judge Dredd © 2009 Rebellion Developments/2000AD

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Tales of the Unexpected

The Cambridge University Press books I did illustrations for earlier in the year are going to be published soon and I received my complementary copies last week...

I thought I'd share a couple more illustrations from Tales of Terror and Tasty Tales here too.


I'm pretty chuffed with them, 26 illustrations in total and the reproduction on all of them is damn near spot-on!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Freaked Me Out, Man

Prog 1639 dropped through my door this morning... and what was on the cover? Yes, that's right a recreation of that classic prog 310 cover that I had myself done homage to earlier in the week.
One has to ask whether there is something in the cosmos... a weird psychoactive something or... possibly a result of a hive mind thing. which ever way you look at it - it's definitely unsettling when coincidences like this occur!

There are definite parallels that can be drawn between the two Dredd tales "The Starborn Thing" and "It Came from Bea Arthur Block" and so it would seem a natural thing to pay respect to the former, a classic from the 2000AD vault.

I have to admit that I did have prior warning of this potentially mind-bending coincidence before my prog arrived today. Shortly after I posted it on the 2000AD online forum, my old pal PJHolden sent me this sneak preview. He had this to say about it:

"...the idea of using the McMahon cover occured to me while talking to Gordon on the phone about the wigs story (probably before the first script was even written). I just thought it'd be hilarious. (attached is the cover sketches I sent to Matt - cover 1 was a half hearted attempted to give an alternative...)

Tried my best to evoke McMahon without mimicking him, did that by using strokes instead of solid black, using the same pose (obviously - though drawn to fit how I normally draw DREDD) and colouring the artwork in the style I remember from when McMahon would do coloured work in the Annuals."

For me, I think this is a really interesting opportunity to observe how three very well respected artists have interpreted the same scene.

Here then, as a comparison sort of thing... Ezquerra's original from the actual strip (actually taken from the double page spread in prog 311) and McMahon's re-interpretation of that for the cover to prog 310.

There is a real continuity that I had not expected to see - four very different artists all depicting the same thing in their own way. From a story telling point of view the impact can only truly be acheived with a first person perspective - it's the attention grabbing aspect you are after. I can only hope that mine holds up in such illustrious company!

I'm going to be interested to hear what's said about this on the forum!

*EDIT* PJ has also put a posting about his first 2000AD cover on the wonderful Eclectic Micks blog.*EDIT*

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


My good pal Phil has reminded me of a game we used to play. A sort of show and tell with illustration. Pick a creature/animal and then warp, twist, mutate it in a way that seems amusing/disturbing or similar. The game has begun afresh with elephants, here is Phil's octophant and here is Matt's caterpachyderm.

Elephants seem such nice creatures, full of kindness - so my distortion is less a splicing with another creature, more a warped demonic re-working - the Helliphant.

It really reminds me of the Podz creatures I was working on oh, so long ago!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Cover Recreation

On the 2000ADonline forum over the last couple of weeks there have been a couple of inspiring cover recreations from old 2000ADs.
Firstly there was Matt Soffe's tribute to Mick McMahon's 1985 annual cover
and secondly there was Steve Millar's Patrick Goddard commission to recreate prog 199's cover.

I decided to have a crack at my own recreation. For a number of reasons I chose prog 310, great Mick McMahon cover for the Carlos Ezquerra illustrated story Starborn Thing.

I went with the current logo as I didn't want to too closely recreate the same cover. I tried to inject some of the original artists' styles into my piece, but unfortunately, I don't think it's all quite worked how I wanted it to.

Here for reference are the initial stages before all the glossy rendering and graphics got slapped on. If anyone wants it, I'll happily swap or sell the original inks to this piece.