Friday 30 October 2009

And the winner of the 2009 Observer, Jonathan Cape, COMICA Graphic Short Story prize is...

...not this.

The winner is available to see on the Random House page if you want to compare and contrast and play at being a judge. I shall crawl back to my sick bed and debate the merits of different approaches to comic storytelling and what comics can achieve another day.

"How I Built My Father" is dedicated to the memory of Brian Head. A lovely man and a brilliant Dad.

Monday 19 October 2009

Zoot, Mook and Kook

from left to right - Kook, Mook and Zoot

I put another Huzzah!! page up, page 50 would you believe! Anyone need an update on what's going on...? Well, as far as I can work out the Space Witch, mother to the girl eaten by the giant boy who now accompanies the Baron and Durante, was killed by Durante. Unfortunately as she was dead anyway killing her has split her into three. She now plans to reek her vengeance on all who've crossed her path by affecting the fates of the Gestalt Heir (the big blue baby), Lord Tesk and his missus, and the three stooges.

My latest page deals with the three stooges. They were partly responsible for releasing the baby from Xog, so that wicked old Space Witch is using them to kill the surviving Sister who's in the protection of Bohaan Vlax. The surviving Sister shares the blame for hiding the witch's baby and cutting open Xog (accident?) by zapping Zoot as he aimed his laser at Baron Kazam.

Make sense? Waddya mean NO?!?!? Well, I tried.

Friday 16 October 2009

Batman for Nige

I don't normally do superheroes, but a mate of mine is unwell and it was suggested to me that he would like it if I did him a Batman 'sketch'. Don't know that I've drawn Batman since I was a kid, so it took a bit of thinking about and ended up being a bit more than a sketch.

This is continuing my experiments at trying my no outlines style in Manga Studio with some aging effects for good measure. I'm no Batman expert, but I wanted to do an old style Batman with the batwings attached to his wrists and have him preparing for a dust up with some 1940s goons in a disused warehouse. I also wanted him to have an old fashioned approach to fighting, sort of 'sock on the jaw' rather than some kung fu-free running-pepsi max-matrix palaver.

Anyway, here's hoping Nige gets well soon.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

What a helmet!

Here's the other panel from my last Huzzah featuring the Baron. I've often wondered how my flat colour with no black keyline style might work for a comic strip and this worked out ok. With the aging and texture added these Baron images remind me a bit of Peter Blake paintings. Perhaps the answer to making this style work for comics is to ensure my characters all have plenty of targets and lightning flashes - maybe a strip about wrestlers is in order.

Saturday 10 October 2009

Is that...?

Yes it is. It's a new HUZZAH!! page! Well, I say new... it's an ancient looking page in keeping with the dust that's been collecting on HUZZAH in recent months.

Friday 9 October 2009

Wizard layouts

Merlin rushing off on some escapade or other

For what seems like an eternity I have been doing layouts and roughs for my latest projects. Eventually I'll get to do some finished art again. These images are from my first Merlin book for Random House, they're not far off finished looking because I wasn't sure how they'd come out myself and wanted to give the BBC folk a clear idea of how they'd look. I do a lot of roughing for jobs like this in Photoshop. It allows me to keep working over and over on the same image, cutting away at the black and adding finer black. Sometimes I rough in Manga Studio for the same reason. If I'm doing a project for myself or one that needs a bit more thought I'll scribble on paper with a 4b and scan in the resulting mess.

The Merlin stuff here all looks very tight. Below is a looser example. This is for a story about Apsley Cherry Garrard that Faz Choudhury and I wrote. Faz will be doing the lion's share of the art on this strip, but I like to stick my oar in and in this case I roughed out how I saw this panel. It was done in Manga Studio with the same cutting in and drawing over the top approach. There are 4 other stories in this series that we're currently working on for Weldon Owen, but the roughs for those are so rough as to be unintelligible to anyone but me. I shall post some examples of the later stages of those stories at some point.

Now though I have some characters from Emmerdale to draw for Inside Soap magazine. I'm livin' the dream!

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Widow's Curse Graphic Novel

Sweetleaf - design for a flying lesbian from Woman Who Sold the World

Just received my complimentary copy of The Widow's Curse Graphic Novel collecting Doctor Who Magazine strips from April 2007 to September 2008, plus the Storybook strips from those years. I wrote three of the nine stories in this book: The Woman Who Sold The World, Bus Stop and The Widow's Curse and drew two others: The Immortal Emperor and Time of my Life. The book also contains great work from Johnny Morris, Ian Edgington, Dan McDaid, Roger Langridge, Ade Salmon, Martin Geraghty, John Ross and Mike Collins.

There's twenty pages of commentary at the back and a bunch of sketches, character designs and stuff. Writing for the Doctor Who strip is incredibly demanding as there are plenty of demands put upon you as writer. You're robbed of the chance for any continuity due to the show being on air and Scott Gray, the editor, has quite fixed ideas about how the mechanics of a DWM strip should work. The commentary does reflect some of this struggle, which is good. As with all creative ventures though, it's the end result that really matters. I'm very proud of my work in this book and feel I learnt a lot working for DWM.

Scene from the Immortal Emperor
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