Sunday, 11 December 2011

In the Wild Wood...

Die at Midnight
Page 11. 

Die at Midnight
Page 11. A little bit of drawing detail.

I am enjoying the mark making and the looseness that the brush pen brings. Although I know where this is going (the dream is thumbnailed in a note book from a few years ago) the getting there is taking some interesting routes. The drawing style is all over the place, I'm experimenting with my style in a public blog. I thought I had it with the pencil page drawings a few pages back, when I compare them to the brush pen pages I know what catches my eye the most. But that's the point of experimenting right? Trying to find a new way of doing something for your self, in this case it's storytelling and drawing.

(For the first time in a very long time I am getting lots of encouraging comments from this Blog and from Twitter. Not a huge amount you understand but more than my fair shares worth, which is a brilliant thing. Drawing tends to be a solitary pursuit and I have worked on drawing jobs by job basis for nearly ten years, which usually means a 180 Degree turnaround in thinking, if not the drawing every few weeks. So thank you people, you get to live another day.)

Friday, 9 December 2011

A Couple of Rejects...

Panels that were not working in the bigger scheme of things.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Drawing with Kaitlin

Spent Saturday night in a restaurant with family and with my niece Kaitlin,
drawing some of The Apprentice characters with her.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Drawing Dream Things

A couple of brush pen sketches I coloured up.
The characters  are from dreams and will one day
find their way into Die at Midnight.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

'The Apprentice' Comic Strip...

So, by now the secret is out across the internet. There is an Issue Zero of the new children's comic The Phoenix, Ben Haggarty and I have got a five page comic strip called The Apprentice residing within it's freshly hatched pages.

Issue one of The Phoenix, featuring lots of lovely other artists (not I) will be available in the first week of January 2012 through subscription (check out The Phoenix website for details) and hopefully through more traditional outlets. But that's 2012, for now you can get issue zero by going to the Phoenix website, it may not be that straight forward for some but with a little effort you will be sent a pristine copy of this 32 page full colour, story-centric issue in a special printed envelope... for FREE.

Internet ordering process explained more eloquently than I ever could here by Mr Neil Cameron... and also here by The Etherington Brothers.

Notes on Making 'The Apprentice'...

The Apprentice
Five Pages, The Phoenix issue zero
 Carries on the candle lit world of Haggarty and Welding, where magic
and the devil are never really that far away.

Blue pencils for The Apprentice Page 1.
Drawn A3 size.

Experimental page, using pencil and Photoshop.
Because of the panel count at this stage I decided to go with pen and ink for the finished strip.

An earlier attempt at pencil and Photoshop.

Pencils without Photoshop.

The strip printed in The Phoenix issue zero.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


'Die at Midnight' Page 10

Drawing style and colouring has changed a bit. I am justifying this as the dream world is different from the waking world. In truth the human character has been in the dream world for a lot longer than he suspects. This dream sequence is now riffing on the sensation of being able to run fast and athletic within the dream. Freed from mortal constraints, like the kids you see doing Par Kour in  the city centers.

The drawing is more detailed, pen rather than atmospheric pencil. Tree moss and individual leaves are now visible, being able to see clearer as his transformation takes place. There is a colour halftone effect thrown in with the colouring and finger print overlay, which is not really visible on this web jpeg web version.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Drawing and Redrawing

Die at Midnight Page 10 (well, most of it).

Started using a Pental Colour Brush to draw over my rough pencil layout yesterday. The top frame came out great, off character with the rest of the strip, but looks great. By panel three I was losing panel one's quality and so decided to go back using  my Faber-Castell  Jumbo Grip (sharpened in a style to impale vampires with). If I could start all over again... from birth, I would love to have a style like the first panel and be working on a series of graphic novels called 'Car Killer' or some such the like.

'Die at Midnight' Page 5 was drawn with a Pental Brush, the rest has been done using the Jumbo Grip, which is, (checks the website Faber-Castell website)... HB lead and a lot of Photoshop colour texturing over the top.

My drawing alters from day to day, morning and night. If anyone has any tips on drawing in the same style for the next 20 years I'd be eager to hear them.

Die at Midnight Redraw

'Die at Midnight' Page 10 Panel 1

The Redraw.

But there is something about drawing with a brush pen that will not let me go. After redrawing in pencil I intended to to scan that in and get on with colouring in Photoshop. But after scanning a little devil  on my shoulder said 'go on... you can ink that panel now'. Which is what I did, along with the rest of the page...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

'Die at Midnight' Pages 8 and 9...

Pages 8 and 9 from 'Die at Midnight' an ongoing
comic strip which incorporates several of my recurring
dreams and nightmares from recent years.

Originally there was to be more internal dialogue on page 9, as in the
thumbnails. I have edited it down as it just seemed to be describing and the
repeating the images. Wandering (or sleep walking) into a forest seemed to work
better from the characters perspective, without dialogue and savoring the moment.

The thumbnails for pages 8 and 9. I guess these are the closest record to
how the dream actually unfolded. I plan on putting 'Die at Midnight' online when this first
segment is complete, in approx seven pages time. The project is something I am doing
in-between illustration and comic strip projects for others and so I'm taking it as it comes.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Thursday, 3 November 2011

What I did drew today 3rd November 2011

In between jobs at the moment but will be starting on another Cordwainer of Scarletwell Street story very soon. Spent an hour researching  and then felt the need to draw freehand with a Joeseph Gillott 303 Extra Fine nib and Higgins Black Magic ink. The nib is scratchy but gives a great line to draw with.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Photoshop Colour Layer

In an effort to show you what I'm working on at the moment, yet being as vague about that work as possible, I present the Photoshop colour layer for page 4. Black line work and crosshatching will be overlayed, making pictures a lot clearer. For the publishers and writers involved, I apologise for being so damn slow.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Crosshatching Heaven

I'm on my third Uniball Eye Micro pen of the day today. They were probably half full, but still. The amount of crosshatching I am doing on this latest project certainly sorts pens out from lesser pens. I like using them, when they are new they glide across the page and make crosshatching easier. I have tried to research crosshatching techniques to see if there is a right way of doing it but there seems to be  a lack of information on the subject. So as always, with my drawing, I'll make it up as I go along. I am working A3 size for reduction but have cut the pages in half so I can get them on the scanner for colouring in later.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Prelim Sketch...

A brush pen sketch for one of the larger panels I'm working on at the moment.
I like the immediate quality of this and wish I had the guts to sustain it as a style.  

Monday, 17 October 2011

Work in Progress October 2011

After all the excitement of Blogger and their Dynamic Views this blog has gone quiet of late. Reason is I am working on something for a publisher, so a certain amount of compression time is needed before the work is released into the atmosphere. SO in the meantime here a e few vague photos of my desk.

I can say, because of the panel count I have had to adopt a slightly different drawing style to get the detail and clarity of the panels to work. Penciling pages and using UniballEye Micros to do the inking.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Getting into my stride...

'Whatever is in my blood now is drawing me outside into the moonlight and into the woods'.

Large panel pencil drawing from DaM, page eight.

Something I can't discuss has just come through on the illustrator hotline, which means I will be busy for the next few weeks. Fingers crossed. I will let you know more about it when I can, in the meantime I keep making this stuff from the dream Die at Midnight.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Midnight Hour Approaches...

Spent today out of the hot sun, colouring up these pages for Die at Midnight. I was going to wait until I had lettered them to post them here but I like them so much I want to share them now.

I like the roughness of the pencil and I am learning to not worry about the colouring so much. Most of it is done freehand without the need for flats or accurate pen selections which to be honest in the past have driven me mad. Saying that, my recent investment in technology and software has made things easier and a lot more natural.

Page 7 Original Pencils (Colouring Process Explanation)

Original pencil drawing before applying colouring in Photoshop CS5. Which usually involves using Burn and Dodge on a R153 G134 B117 (Light Cool Brown) coloured layer Multiplied over the Pencil Artwork. It helps to change the size of brush via the keyboard as you 'paint' and to set the opacity of the brush to around 40% to build up layers. My favourite textures, like fur and concrete, are then Overlayed as well as layers which are flattened and Cut Out and Poster Edges filters applied, using Overlay in the Layers palette.

It's also worth looking on the net for custom texture brushes for Photoshop. Some really simple designs are extremely effective, especially when they 'rotate' in their pattern. Lost & Taken is one of my favourite sites for Texture inspirations.

Basically I throw everything into the mix. I try not to use Undo if I can help it, if a layer combo doesn't work I tend to turn the opacity down to 8% and flatten it into the image any way. Mistakes are part of the process, a bit like 'physical' art.

My colouring secret that I can't tell anyone involves the colour R54 G47 B45 (Darker Cool Brown), applying Lens Flare and Gaussian Blur and then using the Overlay filter. It really makes the colour on the page come alive. But like I say, It's a secret and no one will understand my blabbering on enough to make it work for them.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Transformation Ahead...

Pencilled another page to my ongoing recurring dream 'Die At Midnight'. After my brief encounter with inking on the last page (see September 8th post*) I'm back using pencil and Photoshop on page 6. The above was drawn with a stub of a Blackwing pencil. I'm fitting this project into my spare time, which is why it's taking so long to get to page 13. Next, I get to draw transformation and wild wood scenes which I'm looking forward to, after all this moping around with an animal bite it's time for action.

* I'm using the new Dynamic Views Template with this Blog, features are promised in the coming weeks but as of now I can't find a way to link to previous John Welding Blog entries.

* Aha, found a way of linking to posts...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Think of the Day

Another one of those beautiful September days. Doors are open, radios can be heard, the cat's asleep in the flower bed. Wasps are hovering over the Ivy. It really is too good to be sat inside worrying, if I was to counsel myself, it would be 'get out there, on your bike'.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Drawing with a Carbon Pen

Getting the hang of drawing freehand with a Platinum Carbon Pen, watercolour applied over the top.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sketch Book

Not particularly impressive looking notes and sketches for new characters, photographed late in the night from my note book. My drawing has been in the doldrums of late and this is my attempt to get back to basics, by slowing the process down. When I draw a line I am thinking about what direction I am drawing that line in and doing the opposite to what my instincts tell me. Sounds confusing? It is, but that is the point. To break my drawing habits and reset the drawing bone so it is stronger than before.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

There’s something in the Bicycle Shed

Found this lovely looking critter sheltering from the rain in our bike shed today. He was still there after a few hours, trying to cram his head behind the shelf racking, I’m no animal expert but this behaviour seemed wrong. Putting on a pair of heavy duty garden gloves I managed to extract him, claws screeching as they dragged along the metal shelving. Once out of the shed  I checked him over for wounds, or anything else leaking. Physically he seemed fine, just very scared of something. I spent an hour sitting with him, which is enough for any body, so with a swish of his very long tail he was off, back to the mean streets of Agbrigg.

NB. 2015 and he's still lurking around the coal yard. He's sired litters of feral kittens and grand kittens and is a grumpy old bag of saggy fur. I wonder if he remembers hiding out in my garden shed?

Friday, 16 September 2011

There’s nothing the English like to talk about more than….

There were some great looking skies last week, the cloud, rain and sun effects and a memorable Harvest moon rising orange into the night sky. Late afternoon sunlight through storm clouds at an oblique angle. I think Autumn is my favourite time of year, it's dramatic.