Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Thumb-nailing- the 'ironing' of comic art.

Sorry about the lack of posts, I suddenly became very, very busy (which is a good thing). So, yeah- I hate thumb-nailing, I don't know why- it's irrational. I suppose it's just because it's entirely necessary, but is nothing like the meat of the sandwich. It's more like the bread of the sandwich- which, let's face it, is the shittiest part of any sandwich. Unless it's a decent bap, or a fresh & crusty baguette. Still... at least it's not the 'reduced-fat spread'.

I can't really talk too much about what I'm up to- it will magically jinx it. You can laugh, but I've been here before and experience tells me how wrong you are. I will update, tease and pimp come the time.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Busy , busy...

Practicing drawing digitally into manga studio. I'm finding it cuts time down on the drawing by a noticeable degree. This is a quick loose sketch and it really didn't take long at all (though I wasn't really looking at the time at all).

I like how you can just scribble away then clean up if need be after, with no tears, messes or smudges to obscure what you've done. I can see it would be quite fast to tighten this up a bit into a more worked version for inking.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Colouring Practice

Following a series of colouring tutorials on youtube which utilised channels and CMYK instead of the usual RGB/ layers I'm used to (although I did convert it to RGB to upload it here once I was done). Apparently it's better for print rather than web publishing. It ended up bein much faster than the way I've been doing things and I also picked up some shortcut tips on highlighting and shading. I must point out that I wasn't being overly fussy with the practice piece I did as I was more interested in learning the technique than perfecting it, so it's far from perfect (there was also no thought towards background as it's not intended as a 'finished piece' as such)...


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

++SPOILERS++ A Moments Hesitation addendum ++SPOILERS++

Only just discovered there was a review of DB 24 over at Everything Comes Back To 2000ad (actual podcast link). On it they have some rather heartwarming stuff to say about the story, so thanks for that, Flint and Luke- I was more than a little worried when I discovered it's existence! it's also nice to see some talk of Dogbreath as Zarjaz seems to be a lot higher profile and Dogbreath often seems to pass under the radar like a stealth fanzine- an effect of being more story-specific I guess.

The review does contain spoilers and a little explanation of the story is probably required so SPOILER ALERT.
The guys were talking about the stories end and the gaffe that leads to a little confusion is my bad for sure. The Kreeler survivor is shown looking at a picture- a photograph which the last panel is supposed to reveal as him standing with his son who is supposed to look like Johnny. Perhaps I should have given him  fair hair to differentiate but I thought that having visible dark pupils should be enough, which is why 'Johnny' has no glasses...

I felt the thrust of the story was to show that Alpha's killing of the Kreeler left a boy very much like him fatherless- thus portraying the mutant uprising to be as reprehensible as the Kreelers exterminating them. I had a huge ideological problem with this, frankly, typically liberally wank attitude- imagine if everyone had taken that tack with Hitler. I felt the Kreeler was a fascist bigot who volunteered as a hater of mutants, not some nice-guy average dad, and deserved a big hole in his head toot-sweet. The violence of the Kreelers was unjustifiable bigotry and hate, whereas the violence of the Mutant Army was entirely justifiable and about survival. So I resolved to try to subvert the message, because I felt someone had to.
I attempted this by adding the writing to the Kreeler's kids shirt 'Blue Jeans and Clean Genes' alongside the Kreeler logo. I hoped the message would then be that this guy was bringing his kid up to be yet another bigoted wanker- for which he truly deserved to die.

Thanks again ECBT2k for all the kind words

Red Sands Revisited

I did this 'poster' at A3 of Alex Ronald's Lawman from Red Sands. I didn't use Manga Studio at all- just standard issue pens.

Dogbreath 27 - The Gilpin Extraction

Dogbreath 27 is out now and available from FutureQuake Publishing. It features a brilliant cover from one of my 'new favourite 2k artists', Ben Willsher. It links fantastically with the cover to Zarjaz 18 (also available from FQP)

I drew a 3-pager in this called The Gilpin Extraction, written by Richmond Clements. I did the lettering for it too, which was nice.


Dogbreath 24- A Moment's Hesitation

A few issues ago now (but still available from FutureQuake Publishing) I drew a 2-page strip in Dogbreath written by Miles Reid, I didn't pimp it on here pretty much because I was off on some 2-year long 'Law Abiding Citizen'  trip aimed at my workplace/ colleagues. Hmm- one more black mark against the wankers.

Anyhoo, here's a couple of images from the strip...

Sue me

Neglecting this blog again- no apologies at all, been really busy with comic stuff and had lots of way more important family stuff going on.
Which also means the sketch a day has fallen by the wayside too.
I am Jack's mephitic pineal gland.

Anyway, I've had Manga Studio 4 for a while and attempts at using it for inks were uniformly shite so I didn't use it, the recent addition of a modest bamboo tablet to replace my old Asis one (which has no Win 7 drivers due to the companies defunctness). The smoother drawing surface makes for a much better line and now all I have to get over is my own personal ineptitude. I have been trying...

Exhibit A...

and with added photoshoppery...

Exhibit B (Dredd sketch inked then farted-about-with)

Exhibit C (a Kirby sketch wot I found online and inked for practice)

So, to recap- Manga Studio 4 is good, my use of it- shaky but improving. I have some other Dogbreath related stuff to post up too but I'll keep it separate for the legions of admin junkies that obviously read this blog.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Day 13- Tragic character on a Shakespearean level...

Theon Greyjoy as played by Alfie Allen. Actually, though the character is a despicable prick, I think the actor does a great job, even just looking through google images shows a huge range of expression from him- Keanu Reeves, hang your head in shame. He also has an interesting face from a drawing point of view which I why I picked him out. There's quite a few interesting faces on that show.
Graphite pencil in 12 minutes (hey, I got carried away- sue me)

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Sketches- Multi-day post...

Been a bit busy so haven't had time to upload the sketches here, so I'm catching up with a multi-day/ sketch post. I'm sure this will happen often, as I have a life (of sorts).

Day 10 - Lieutenant Kualo, Seven Swords
Played by Chen Jia Jia. Martial arts fantasy romp. not sure what the accepted wisdom on this film is but I really enjoyed it. This one was 11 minutes with the blue pencil...

Day 11 - Rencontre avec le dragon (The Red Knight)

French flick, I haven't seen this yet but I've heard a bit about it and stumbled across some pics. Sounds like a interesting watch that could go either way. Either way, this guy- award winning French actor Daniel Auteuil, playing historical crusader knight Guillaume de Montauban, has an interested fizzog...

Hmmm- the blue pencil was down to a stump by the end of this one, which came in just under 10 minutes. Have to  get hold of another one.

Day 12 Peon of the Rings

Fancied a different face today, so I went for an Orc from Lord Of The Rings, no clue what his name is or the actors name either...

Back to the graphite pencil/stick thing for this. 9 minutes total.
And that's me bang up to date with posting again! Another sketch tomorrow...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Day 9: Brigitte Nielsen

Red Sonja... awful acting, bad hair, Arnie, riddled with cliche and some really irritating characters. Why do I like it? SOAN-YAAAAH!
Graphite stick again, 10 minutes.

Day 8 (belated)... Sword & Sorcery/ fantasy week...

Did this last night but didn't get it scanned and posted. I decided that this weeks theme would be sword & sorcery/ fantasy films and television. Prepare to groan at the parade of cliche-ridden rubbish along with one or oases of awesome. Deathstalker, anyone?
Yesterday was Jack Palance's 'Voltan' from 80's cheesefest Hawk The Slayer. It's cheesy, it's rubbish, it's horribly dated and hanging heavy with every cliche in the book except (Dragons), but I still like it, so there.
Graphite pencil in 10 mins, though it's possibly twice the size of all previous sketches.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Insert witty/ intelligent/ insightful/ surreal title of your choosing

carrying on with that Laura Gonzalez study, I took the colour layer and dumped it into Artrage and set aboot it with a palette knife tool til I got something that looked workable. Here's  the pencils (converted to blue for inking), then the raw ink...
and here's the coloured version with the post-artrage colour layer for comparison...
Once I got that back into photoshop, lined up properly and cleaned up with the inks overlayed I, I had a play around with blending the original shading and highlight layers back over the top again, so here's the painted colours & ink against the re-shaded and high lit version...
I'm torn between the two- i like the more intense greens on the first, but I like the stronger, more purpley shading on the arms and legs in the second. Maybe I should try to put the two layers together somehow...

Day 7: Hugo Chavez

Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías 28 July 1954 – 5 Mar 2013, president of Venezuela from 99-2013. Founder of the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement, leader of the Fifth Republic Movement and close ally of Castro, Morales and Ortega. Outspoken critic of the US. Recently deceased.

hmmmm- I accidentally picked up that bloody mechanical pencil without thinking! This took 11 minutes and I'm not overly happy with the results- some you win, some you lose, some are a Pyrrhic victory. I blame the mechanical pencil- avoid those tools of Satan at any cost! Still not thought of a theme for the next weeks sketching yet. I will give it more thought til a whim hits last minutes.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Day 6: One of the original Avengers....

José Buenaventura Durruti Dumange 14 July 1896 – 20 Nov 1936, or simply Durruti. Mechanic and anarcho-syndicalist revolutionary, Durruti was a key figure amongst the Anarchist faction of the Republican army during the Spanish Civil War. An inspirational character who died in disputed circumstances during the defence of Madrid against Franco's insurgents. There's just too much to say about this guy. Oh yeah, and he helped set up 'Los Justicieros' (The Avengers) in 1921, so Captain America can just fuck right off.

Graphite stick this time- 8 minutes again, so that's good. I confess, the Spanish Civil War and Mexican Revolutionary images seem to me to be part of the Strontium Dog inspiration- at least as much as the whole Sergio Leone spaghetti western. Look at that hat and the big collar- Kreeler, anyone? Oh the Irony! One more in this category to go, then it's a change of theme, I still have no clue what the next weeks portraits will be about.  

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Warming Up...

Last week I completed my first bit of comic work in maybe 2 1/2 years or so, for Strontium Dog fanzine Dogbreath, 2000ad's longest running fanzine. Now that's done, I thought I should concentrate on getting back to where I was at before illness struck. For no particular reason at all, I thought I'd do a quick character study of Laura Gonzalez- the nose-less, Latina, mutant Search/ Destroy agent. Regular Dog-Breathers might remember her in 'Shadow of the Mutant' and 'From Below'. I've said before that I like the character and I decided to mess about with her costume a bit as I still wasn't totally happy with bits of it in From Below. I did the usual drawing and inking, but this time inked it more for colouring- i.e. less black line shading.  I haven't really done a lot of photoshop colouring to comic stuff before, so it was just a quick and dirty job. Anyhoo- here's the results so far...
Click Image to enlarge

Day 5: Pancho Villa

Born José Doroteo Arango Arámbula 5 June 1878 – 20 July 1923, Pancho Villa is the other great figure of the Mexican Revolution. Met with a lot of initial success, but eventually deserted by most of his men after a catastrophic defeat where many of the Division del Norte were lost, they accepted an amnesty. Villa and some 200 of his men retreated to continue the fight, allegedly raiding American territory. I guess it's from this that we get the large bands of Mexican pistolero's in The Magnificent Seven and lookalike movies.

I liked that blue pencil so much, I used it again- should have sharpened it first though! 9 minutes this time- it was a blurry source photo- but I liked the pose- the crossed bullet straps and sombrero won it for me!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Day 4: Red Clydesider MacLean

John MacLean, 24 Aug 1879 – 30 Nov 1923, legendary Scottish Socialist imprisoned in Peterheid for sedition for vocal protests against WW1, Subject of songs, poems and fitba chants and honoured by the Soviet Union with an avenue in Leningrad and an appearance on postage stamps.
I was quite happy with this one- 8 and a wee bit minutes, which was a surprise- weapon of choice was a blue colouring pencil of the el-cheapo variety. It was actually quite nice to draw with and seemed pretty effective for speed. I also like how, with different pressures, the blue seems to have different colours-it almost looks like two different pencils. Kind of reminds me of phthalo blue paint.

Day 3: Woodcock

George Woodcock May 8 1912 – Jan 28 1995, Canadian writer, historian and Anarchist thinker. A pacifist and WW2 conscientious object, called 'The Gentle Anarchist'.

Graphite pencil this time- broader tip made things a bit faster- 14 minutes this time. I'm looking to get the sketches down to the 10 minute mark. Once I can do that I'll start being a little more concerned about accuracy.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Day 2: Kropotkin

Next up, still with mechanical pencil, Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin (9 Dec 1842 – 8 Feb 1921). Russian zoologist,writer, economist, scientist, blah blah and revolutionary anarcho-communist. Noted as believing that the authoritarian-communism of the Bolsheviks was a disaster for the revolution. Predicted that any state founded on such would eventually crumble and revert to Capitalism. Em... kaching!

18 minutes this time- trying to pare it down to 10, I think a normal pencil will help- maybe a 2b- the larger point should give me faster coverage.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Back From Luna-1 (again)...

I just finished my first comic strip in over two years. Again, it's for Dogbreath- a 3 pager to get me back into the swing again. Still some rust needs worked out- but I'm glad I took the plunge and enjoyed doing it. In the meantime I got to thinking on ways I could get back on top of it again, and I remembered Matt  Soffe doing a blog on a sketch a day for a year. His work improved dramatically over that year, it was an inspired idea, so I'm going to give it a go. Starting with pencils for a while, I decided on this weeks theme being 'revolutionary figures'. First up, Emiliano Zapata Salazar- (8 August 1879 – 10 April 1919) was an important figure of the Mexican Revolution; leader of the Ejército Libertador del Sur and purveyor of finest mustaches.

Not the greatest likeness, but it's a start and the object is to improve on things. Mechanical pencil (yeah, I still manage to make it all messy with the anal-retentive's art-tool of choice) in about 25 mins or so.
I have some ideas for tomorrow's choice too.