Sunday, 28 December 2008

More Skoggin's Skull...

I have illustrated another five page Skoggin's Skull 'An Eye For A Profit' for The DFC. Due out in the first week of January 2009, I think.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Light Board

I made an A1 light board (as opposed to a light box) today.I have always been interested in spontaneity in drawing, although I very rarely practise it. The conflict comes when you try to draw something spontaneous again, like a character in a comic strip for instance. The border between spontaneity and 'getting it right' becomes a defining line. Over the years I have come to admire those that can draw straight off and make it look effortless and more to the point in illustration, make it look correct.

Light Box

I took myself off to Wickes in Wakefield this morning, to buy a sheet of Acrylic Glass. Helen donated an old A1 picture frame and I cannibalised a desktop style drawing board stand to fit onto the back. The light comes from an 11w neon desk lamp without its base. I screwed a heavy sheet of cartridge paper between the acrylic and the wooden frame glass to diffuse the lamp light. I have used windows and other smaller makeshift light sources in the past, but this is really nice, to sit down at a large illuminated work surface and draw away layer upon layer of direct ink drawings.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Comic Strip Production Process Part 3...

After I have coloured the pages, I flatten them off for safety and create a new lettering file version. Ben and I decided early on that we wanted hand drawn lettering rather than computer generated fonts, to fit with the 'storytelling craft' of the Will Skoggin's Skull strips. Although saying that, the strip has to be 'readable' and so the hand drawn with a pencil lettering, is treated in Photoshop to make it more solid, letters are adjusted and comas moved to make the page as legible as possible while staying true to the style. Techy Stuff: Hand lettering done with a 0.9mm technical drawing pencil with a B grade lead, scanned in grayscale at 400dpi. I duplicate layer and apply a cut out filter, I multiply the layer over the original to get more solid lettering keeping some of the 'roughness' of the pencil. There's more stuff done after that that involves generating the white backgrounds to the speech bubbles, but really, who is still reading this at this point?


The lettering is scaled down and positioned on another layer to fit with the coloured art work page. Sound effects are coloured and any other little tweaks applied. Writing or words are on a separate layer to the artwork in case the publishers get to publish the strip in a foreign language, it makes life simpler.

Friday, 31 October 2008

One Man Short

The Tales of Will Skoggin's Skull

Time to don your best topper, my brief week of fame with the Tales of Will Skoggin's Skull starts here at the DFC .

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Comic Strip Production Process Part 2...

A4 pencil layout page. Based on a 16 panel grid and used for timing and placement of the speech bubble. A3 Pencilled Page. The layout pencils are scanned into my computer, enlarged and printed off at A3 size so I can trace them onto clean layout paper. After trial and error, I have found that less contrast makes the drawing easier to handle when making colour adjustments later on. Colour Flats. I scan the A3 penciled page back into the computer and create colour flats, here I concentrate on the main characters and fore ground, emotional tones effect the colours I choose here but are by no means the final colours that I may use. Once this is done I can then select elements within a panel to work on. This page took about two hours to do, very dull work indeed but worth it for later on. Finished Colour Drawings (Above Detail). Okay, I have left loads out on how I get to this stage but honestly, I don't have a tried a tested 'process'. The end result is achieved by throwing everything that the computer has at the page and making it more organic then processed. Saying that I do use the cut out and poster edge filters, the multiply, hue and overlay layer filters and the lens flare filter (which I don't want to talk about, I have to have some secrets) quite a bit.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Favourite Sketchy Bit...

This is a layout panel from the second Will Skoggins Skull strip, which I particularly like. The original sketch is pencil on thick A4 cartidge paper, to accomodate lots of redrawing and erasing out.

Monday, 13 October 2008

DFC Biog Illustrations

Have just finished this Ben Haggarty biog illustration for The DFC creators web page. Oh and below is mine which should be appearing in a few weeks time when our Will Skoggin's Skull strip appears at last.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Comic Strip Production Process Part 1

Here I am at work on the second Will Skoggin's Skull strip. These are the detailed A4 page layouts which I produce for me, the writer and the editor. When they have given them the go ahead I enlarge the drawings to A3 and trace them through onto nice sheets of white paper. Although it looks like very detailed page layouts at this stage it pays off in the long run.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Shh.. don't tell a soul, but..

I have some work in the Halloween issue of The DFC which will be available at the end of the month. Written by Ben Haggarty, the stories are one off, 19th Century 'Folk tales'. The kind people at The DFC asked if I could supply a biog picture, which I have spent the entire day doing. Huge public commissions are a 'doodle' compared to summing up your entire essence in to one tiny drawing.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Still can't talk about it...

The problem with working to commission is you can't really talk about what you are doing until the 'big reveal'. There are writers and publishers and editors involved too, so it's not fair to ruin things if they are in on the 'secret'. I have spent the last few days tweaking artwork, colour saturation, lettering corrections and so on, and I still have the cover to do, oops... shouldn't have said that.

Photo: digitally enhanced pencil

Friday, 22 August 2008

Evening All....

Last night working late into the evening, getting on with a project for a publisher. Drawing by Day Light simulation bulb makes things a bit unreal to start with so when I did look up from my board it was to watch this light show of a sunset.

Friday, 15 August 2008

A Cnyht in the Studio

August Art Walk evening went well, lots of friends old and new coming through my tiny studio to see what I am up to. Can't show you anything from the comic strip I'm working on yet, so here are a few new bits from the Cnyht Bachelor thing I'm working on.... Again, these photos taken with my tiny camera phone, I must make more of an effort to find my misplaced 8Mpx camera, although my camera phone is just so easy and convenient to use, sigh.

Friday, 8 August 2008

August Art Walk

I will be in my tiny studio on Art Walk night trying to explain what it is exactly I have been up too recently, to the cultural hordes that will flow on through Westgate Studios.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Get Ahead... Get a Skull.

Have been doing some preparation work for an upcoming project. Again, dodgy photo from my camera phone, but I kinda like the effect.

Blue Pencil, Uniball Eye Micro, Pentel Brush Pen, Grey Marker on Scraps of Paper.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Here Comes the Cnyht.... Again.

Big sketches taken with my small 2mgp camera phone. The top two have appeared here before, the bottom one is kind of exploring the 'image' a bit more, tacked to the studio wall at the moment.

Pencils, pen, ink and marker pen on layout paper. 840 x 297mm

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Had an exciting meeting with Ben Haggarty this afternoon.

"Launching in the brand new weekly subscription comic, The DFC September 5th 2008 'MeZolith' a stunning Stone Age Horror Strip by Ben Haggarty (Story) & Adam Brockbank (Art) Only in The DFC !" Ben is a storyteller who I met last year at the leeds Storytelling festival 'Beyond the Border' and he is writing comic strips for the new comic 'The DFC'. He came to talk to me about another potential comic strip that he has planned, in chatting he showed me some samples for the strip that will be appearing from September in the DFC. Now, I know from the internet that the DFC has had mixed reception but I must stress that you must start buying it for Mezolith, by Ben and the artist Adam Brockbank. Looking at the samples, I had the feeling I had when I saw Miricle Man by Gary Leech and Alan Moore, when I saw Glen Fabry art work in a Sunday supplement, when I saw Sky Between Branches by Joshua Middleton and when I saw Blankets by Craig Thompson. these moments are few and far between but I am so pleased for British comics that it has happened again for me with Ben and Adams work on Mezolith. Sad thing is I can't show you any of it.....

Thursday, 24 July 2008

A Cnyht in the Woods.....

These are sketches for something I'm working on involving the psyche of the Cnyht Bachelor. My original thought was I would use these as sketches to work from and then do something a bit neater for the finished Drawing. I like the feel of the pen and ink and brush and think I am going to go more along the lines of enjoying the process rather than stuggling with making things look right.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Quick Update...

I have been really bad at keeping this blog of late. There is too much going in my world, which is good, right?

The Harry Potter project in Rotherham went well, here is one of the drawings I did in class, the kids ended up calling him Dumbledoodle.

Senior Moments, the Game.....

I should have posted this a few weeks ago when the publisher sent me the box (featuring my drawing), must have had a momentary lapse of memory and forgot.

Friday, 4 July 2008

HP in the studio....

I am doing a bit of preparation for a project in Rotherham next week, based on a Harry Potter project organised by the Clifton Partnership. This is my third year of going into schools and showing the basics of character design to the children. My public workshop drawing style tends to be quick loose so I prepare beforehand by doing more detailed pencil studies to get to know my characters, here's one of Dumbledore.....

Friday, 27 June 2008

Last Night...

In between doing an illustration commission for Brand Design, tinkering with Westgate Studios website and playing with the petty looking Vista on my new laptop, I managed to do this doodle while talking with Helen, after dinner - 10pm.

Drawn freehand on a scrap of paper with a 'Uniball Eye'.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Art Walk 2008 (No.1)

Art Walk aims to encourage cultural growth and establish a network for visual art in Wakefield, with city centre exhibition venues opening their doors for a series of free evening events.

Wander the 'Merry City', meet the establishment and discover what Wakefield has got going for it in these heady creative times.

Wakefield Art Gallery is on the trail and my show 'Drawing the City' will be in it's last days of display.

Art Walk 2008 (No. 1)
Wednesday 18th June 5 - 9pm
(Participating venues - The Coach House, Beam, Wakefield Art Gallery, The Wall Gallery, Westgate Studios, The Art House, Mocca Moocho, Interval Cafe, Artplace.)

Monday, 9 June 2008

Setting Sun

Mum died last Tuesday 3rd June 2008. Helen and I have been down in Milton Keynes being with family, visiting Registrars and Funeral Directors and helping Dad with bits and pieces. Which mainly involved terrible tea making skills on my half.

I spent the last week with Mum at Willen Hospice and watched as she slowly went away with exhaustion and pain relief. She had cancer for the last five years and I knew that this day would come soon when the chemo stopped working for her last October. However much you prepare, you cannot fill the numbness that is left. I promised Mum that I would be sad but not angry at her going and believe that in one form or another we will meet again.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

First Drawings from New Space.....

Part of my Quad Space, have far too much stuff really should rationalise and get more space back, although the stuff I do have there is very necessary.... I think?

Managed to draw some birthday cards for friends too. (Dip pen, ink, watercolour on watercolour paper).

Friday, 2 May 2008

'In the Picture' Talk at Wakefield Art Gallery

I'll be giving a short talk at Wakefield Art Gallery on Wednesday 7th May 2008, 12.30 -1.15pm admission FREE. I'll be discussing my life, universe and everything in-between that got me to where I am today, which probably means talking about comics and drawing and that large wall drawing thing I've just completed.

Private Views....

Last night was the private view for 'Drawing the City', my nightmare scenario was me, with a glass of wine and a cold wind blowing through the galleries and no one turning up. However... people did turn up by the dozens, from all walks of life, it reminded me of the Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams and the ghostly voice from the corn field saying 'build it and they will come' - well it's an old film and I might have misremembered the exact extract but the feeling is the same, only with drawings. My friend Carrie very kindly gave me a bunch of daffs last night and this morning they have come out in the sunlight.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

For the Archives....

Richard Bruton has written and pictorial account of 'Drawing the City' here.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

New Inspiration

You know when you find something that feels right and you wonder what you have been doing in the meantime? Drawing in these Muji white blanks seems to be an answer to a lot of questions I had about my art of drawing. This is an image from a book I did last weekend on an Art Hike at Flamborough Head with a bunch of friends and artists. The book contains about 15 of these black and white drawings with notes added in afterwards. Most of the drawings were made while walking along the coastal path at Flamborough. It's a one off I'm afraid.