1. The search for a Child-friendly style

    This week has been one of fevered experimentation, as I sought to find a new style that would be suitable for young adult fiction. It’s an area I’ve always wanted to get into but have always struggled to develop any kind of portfolio with, for whatever reason (probably because I’ve never been able to settle on any one style long enough). But below is the result of today’s scribblings, featuring my favourite go-to for any kind of experimental work: Red Dwarf characters. 

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  2. Flashback Friday~! Batman: You Are Under Close Surveillance

    This was the first entry of the last 100 Days of Art project (interview about which can be found here), if I’m not mistaken. Batman has always been a favourite visual subject of mine but I’d wanted to try something different. This is, obviously, inspired by the Arkham City video game. Progress pictures after the jump.

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  3. Flashback Fri—, er…. Saturday.

    I noticed recently that, due to what I can and can’t show you all right now in terms of projects, nearly all of my posted content so far has been black and white. So, to balance things out a bit, have a few colourful pieces from my portfolio to chew on!

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  4. A Little Taste of Dredd.

    As if my recent post detailing the process behind my contributions to Zarjaz #21 wasn’t spoiling you enough, Dave Evans (aka BOLT-01) has now kindly allowed me to show off some of the finished artwork here, which I offer with a brief commentary. I must give thanks to both writers for giving me such great scripts to work with. Hopefully this will encourage people to buy the issue, rather than put them off…

    JUDGE DREDD: TRUE BELIEVERS, written by LEE ROBSON. image

    This was a fun, if daunting, page to draw. I knew what the semi-painted style that I was going for looked like in my mind, but it took a little while to get it on the page convincingly. This was the first page I drew of the strip and, as such, some of the little signs of experimentation are still in there but I don’t mind. I particularly like the shot of Dredd, the aesthetics of which would influence how the rest of the strip turned out looking. 

    TALES OF MEGA-CITY ONE - SJS: FEAR & LOATHING, written by SANTIAGO MAYAUD imageComing off the back of TRUE BELIEVERS, I itched to take what I’d learnt (ie that it’s incredibly difficult to hide your environmental weaknesses within an almost photo-realistic approach) and wrap it all back up in a nice line-art style. I much prefer the character design in this strip - in which the facial features and proportions are more exaggerated - but I think there’s a consistency between the two in terms of layouts, use of heavy blacks etc.

    The last panel is a subtle homage to my favourite childhood cartoon - Ren & Stimpy - and the way that backgrounds would occasionally be replaced by blotchy ink stains during particularly traumatic moments. Nineties kid alert! 

     

  5. To Catch an Art Thief…

    As those of you who’ve been following me for a while will remember, way back in 2012 I slowly drove myself to madness ran an art marathon project called 100 Days of Art to raise funds for Arts Emergency. On Day 78, I published the illustration below of The Walking Dead's Daryl Dixon, as shown by the included RT from the charity itself.

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    Fast forward to DeviantArt on 03 July 2014 and, alongside the usual requests to draw bizarre fetish scenarios for very little money, I receive a notice that some fella operating under the username JimsNerdNation has been taking credit for the work of many artists - myself included - and even selling for a profit. They included a link to a YouTube video that opens, I see, with a familiar yet different image.

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  6. Drawing Dredd for Zarjaz.. The Making of!

    July is promising to be an interesting one. Aside from a potential debut in The Guardian from myself (fingers crossed), I’ll also be making my first appearance in the popular 2000AD fanzine, Zarjaz, which will be including not one but TWO strips illustrated by myself in its 21st issue. Both gave me the amazing opportunity to explore Mega-City One in a more unique and personal way than ever before, so I thought I’d take a moment to explore the first of my two contributions - ‘True Believers’, penned by ‘Babble’ co-creator Lee Robson - which, somewhat unbelievably at 29 years of age, was my first ever attempt at a Judge Dredd strip in any form. 

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  7. Staffordshire Open Art 2014

    I’m not usually one to submit for Open Art exhibitions, but given that our local gallery and library is under threat of closure I figured I’d show a bit of support by getting involved. Hopefully it will be swamped by entries from Staffordian artists to send a message to the county council that our cultural heritage is actually something worth fighting for!

    My entry is an idea that I’d been toying with for a while, involving a drawing that I completed in 2012 as part of the ‘100 Days of Art' project. It was part of a series of 'Seven Deadly Sins' related illustrations. I always felt like it could work well as a solid black and white line-drawing, so I drew it up and inked it in A3 and so that's what I'll be submitting. Speaking of which, there's nothing quite like inking on a lightbox on a Friday night with a cuppa and a playlist of Podcasts. Bliss.

    For now, here’s the original. I’ll keep you posted on how the submission goes.

     

  8. Portraits Galore!

    If you’ve been following me for long then you’ll be aware of my involvement with Arts Emergency - not least of all 2012’s 100 Days of Art project, which sought to help launch the grass-roots charity set-up by comedian Josie Long and campaigner Neil Griffiths. But since then I’ve also been providing portraits for the Alternative ‘Old Boys’ Network - with a membership of over 1000 Arts, Humanities and Social Science graduates - and am chuffed to say that I today surpassed 200 portraits!

    These are a selection of my favourite entries from the past year or so. More often than not, the limited colour palette has me tearing my hair out but it’s also fun to find a good contrast and placement for the red. I try to avoid simply throwing it on the lips of all the women (as is so often used as a shorthand for femininity) unless it vibes with their particular style choices.

    Now 200 may only represent a tiiiiiny chunk of the network but it’s a testament to how large this still fairly recent endeavor is growing in such a short span of time and i’m very proud to have been, and still be, involved - if only for the unique joy of seeing my Twitter feed filled with profile pictures of my art!

     

  9. Happy Birthday 2000AD!

    Today marks a whopping 37 years since Tharg The Mighty came to Earth bearing a wonderful gift - namely a plastic space spinner but also the galaxies greatest comic, 2000AD - and it would be remiss of me to not wish a happy birthday to the publication that provided the spark to my artistic “Big Bang”. 

    Later this year I’ll be appearing in the fanzines Zarjaz and Dogbreath with a handful of strips (Dredd x2, Durham Red, Strontium Dog) which will also form the basis of my submission to 2000AD as an art droid. They’re up there with my favourite work to date, but Bolt-01 will undoubtedly release the Dune Sharks should I reveal any art too early so I’ll finish this post with this fantastic cover by Chris Weston from a few birthdays previous.

    Splundig Vur Thrigg!

     

  10. I found this old comic page a while back - based on the (not very good) 8th series of Red Dwarf and probably one of my first attempts at a fully-drawn strip. I remember showing this off at High School so it was probably in around 1999, making me 16. The title was printed off and glued on from a very basic computer that my sister owned.

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    In a weird way, I’m actually quite fond of this page (I’d probably do something similar now, in terms of composition) though it came from that period of your artistic growth where your influences are plainly obvious. This is, I’m sure, my own desperate attempt to channel Kev Walker who was drawing ‘The Balls Brothers’ in 2000AD at the time.  

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    Beautiful, right? I’m pretty sure this strip was first introduction to the notion of irregularly-shaped panels which is still a very strong feature of my current work.