Monday 24 August 2009

The Deep Hereafter

Dan McDaid's brilliant Doctor Who Noir story The Deep Hereafter, drawn by me, can be found within the pages of Doctor Who Magazine 412 and is available in your local newagents right now!

The story is DWM's tribute to the Spirit comics of the 1940s. This meant I could pretend to be Will Eisner for a few weeks (more taxing than you might imagine, and I don't think it looks much like Eisner anyway). I wanted to go the whole way on this strip - taking 10 pages of Doctor Who Magazine back in time with me. I was reined in somewhat (perhaps wisely) as there were concerns that Eisner and The Spirit may not be known to DWM readers and making the pastiche too absolute (old printing effects and newsprint texture etc) may lose the reader. Some of my ideas survived including the "Action, adventure, Time travel" banner thing across the top of the first page (see above).

In the end James Offredi was patient enough to let me interfere with his colour work( Gawd bless yer James), re-paintbucketing panels to fit my vision and then aging all the colour to ensure that the reader knew this was from another time.

Below is one of the process things showing the stages, I haven't included James original colours. This is one of my favourite panels, not just because it features the Doctor and Madge's fine behinds, but because it's just not the sort of panel I wouldn't have thought of unless I was aping Eisner.
I roughed all the strip directly into Manga Studio so I had total control over the amount of black (I don't usual get my roughs this spot on by the way)

inks in Manga

my recoloured panel - paintbucketed in Photoshop with no modeling or effects

Final stage - I used a sepia-yellowish 'multiplied' layer over the top to age the colours.

I must also mention Roger Langridge who made an Abe Kanegson font (Abe was The Spirit's letterer and one of the best letterers there's ever been) and I should also say thanks to Scott Gray, whose original idea it was to do a Doctor Who / Spirit story and who tolerated my constant interference with every aspect of the strip's development.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Storybook 2010

The Doctor Who Storybook 2010 is out now and amongst other delights it features Space Vikings! a strip written by Jonny Morris and drawn by Ian Culbard and me. I was originally commissioned to do the whole strip, but due to workload I'd asked Ian to do the colour. I did the layouts for the strip then got ill and realised that I wouldn't have time to pencil up all the pages. I asked Ian to help me out and take over pencil duties which he did and from there began a weird game of comic strip tennis as we batted the strip back and forth to such a degree that working out who did what is virtually impossible. Ian changed some of the layouts, I changed some of his pencils when I inked the pages, he changed some of the inks as he coloured and just for good measure I changed his colours around several times until I was happy with it.

Below is an example of how things evolved from layouts to pencils to inks and then a colour version.

My wild roughs, thankfully Ian could understand them - the script was lacking rhythm so I added the little viking-ish motifs to punctuate it (I did a Drashig in one actually, and Ian managed to get the TARDIS in this one)
Ian' delightful pencils
...which I then scrawled over with my inks. I adjusted small things here and there because I like a more angular 2 dimensional feel to composition (especially when it comes to positioning scrawny Mr Tennant). Things like that incredible ceiling that Ian did I just painstaking traced - even my mad obsessive approach allows me to realise when someone has done something infinitely better that I could.

This was Ian's first colour version. Nice, but I didn't like the orange

This was my version replacing the orange with red - which Ian hated

and this was the winner - we both liked the blue!

Each page went through this bizarre back and forth process making this a true collaboration and something both of us can be proud of without any trace of arrogance. You see, I don't know who drew this strip because it doesn't look like it was either of us.
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