Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Influence Map

I resisted the urge to do this meme when it popped up on DeviantArt about a month ago, but everybody's been having so much fun on Twitter today I couldn't abstain any longer. If you fancy spending way too much time than necessary on your own map the template is available here.

Friday, 3 September 2010

2000 AD Week: Alan Davis

We conclude our week long celebration of 2000 AD with a look at some rare artwork by Alan Davis. Davis' time on The Galaxy's Greatest Comic was rather short, contributing to just two series, Harry Twenty on the High Rock and D.R. & Quinch. It's testament to Davis' high regard as an artist that both of these series now form part of Rebellion's current move into the U.S. graphic novel market. All of the following images were taken from the British fanzine Arken Sword, #17/18 published in 1986.
Davis had already made his name on Captain Britain and Marvelman before his short stint at 2000 AD. D.R. & Quinch continued his successful partnership with writer Alan Moore.
The original, realistic version of D.R. & Quinch.

D.R. & Quinch T-Shirt design.

Harry Twenty proved to be a gritty departure for Davis after a couple of years of drawing sleek superheroes. When compared to his subsequent superhero work for Marvel and D.C. Davis' time at 2000 AD marks a distinct and unique period in his career.

After a memorable run on Batman and the Outsiders and Detective Comics Davis returned to 2000 AD in 1988 for his only Judge Dredd story, the mocking "Bat Mugger" published in Prog 585.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

2000 AD Week: Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is perhaps the most revered of all the artists to work on 2000 AD and it's a pleasure to present these rarely seen illustrations of his from BEM #29 published in 1980.
BEM's editor and publisher, Martin Lock, notes in his editorial that McMahon was forced to draw the cover artwork twice due to the first version disappearing in the post, a common occurrence in those pre-internet days.
The issue itself contained an interview with acting Mighty One Steve McManus and script droid Alan Grant. McMahon provided original artwork that, with the exception of Dredd, are to my knowledge the only examples of him drawing characters such as Dan Dare, Mach Zero and Blackhawk.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

2000 AD Week: Kevin O'Neill

2000 AD Week continues with a selection of rare Kevin O'Neill artwork, which originally appeared in the Anglo/American fan magazine BEM, issue 35 from Spring 1982.
Beneath a startling cover, by the man who was to become the first artist to be banned by the Comics Code, lay a Pat Mills interview and a feature on the making of Nemesis The Warlock, both of which were accompanied by these original illustrations by O'Neill.

An unused cover sketch for the first Nemesis story, Terror Tube.
And finally, O'Neill's original pencils and inks from the four page story that introduced Great Uncle Baal and his familiar Grobbendonk, published in Prog 229.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

2000 AD Week: Ian Gibson

Ian Gibson was one of the main Judge Dredd artists in the first eighteen months of The Galaxy's Greatest comic. While his contribution to the development of Dredd has been over-shadowed by likes of McMahon, Bolland & Ezquerra, Gibson is fondly remembered for the character he made his own, Robo-Hunter. His quirky and imaginative rendering of the world of Sam Slade made Robo-Hunter one of 2000 AD's most popular strips.

In 1984 Gibson teamed-up with Alan Moore to create one of 2000 AD's true classics, The Ballad of Halo Jones. For this series Gibson toned down the cartoonish elements of his art to create the detailed reality of 'The Hoop' and the universe beyond. The character sketches presented below of Halo, Rodice and Brinna are taken from issues 15 and 17-18 of the British fanzine Arken Sword and show a taste of the considerations Gibson gave to the look of fashion in the 50th century.

Monday, 30 August 2010

2000 AD Week: Brian Bolland

Stalwart British weekly 2000 AD hits Prog 1700 this week. So to celebrate I'll be posting a week of rare bits & pieces from the archives (well, some old fanzines from the loft) from some of the cornerstone creators of the magazines' early years.
First up we have Brain Bolland. All of these images were taken from #13/14 of Arken Sword, published in 1985, which featured an extensive interview with Bolland about his involvement with the fanzine movement of the early 70's, his break-through into published comics and the production of his first major work for American market, DC's Camelot 3000.
Of particular interest is the reproduction of these sample pages from three strips submitted to D.C. Thompson in 1976. Above we have a page from 'The Box' which was printed in an issue of The Wizard, the others stories were unfortunately rejected.

Nowadays Bolland is one of the premier cover artists in the industry. Below, you will find a superb cover from 1988 created for The Comics Journal #122, an issue that focused on British comic scene and the invasion of 2000 AD creators who were then storming the States.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Draw Serge

Here's a portrait of Serge Gainsbourg I created for Jonathan Edwards' wonderful Draw Serge! blog. It's an immense honour to be featured at the blog as I have been a Gainsbourg fan for many a year now and never tire of listening to his music.
The figure itself is taken from this photograph which was drawn and coloured in photoshop. The lettering (all Gainsbourg compositions) is all hand-drawn. I thought that it would be interesting to show the various stages behind the creation of the text jacket.
I decided that it would be too labour intensive to use my Bamboo tablet to draw the text. So I printed the basic shape of the jacket onto A4 and the traced the outline on to layout paper. I added the lettering quite loosely and then began to ink.
It quickly became apparent that working at A4 was very restrictive, even with a 0.25 pen and my choice of using layout paper was a mistake as it soaked up the ink. You can see, in the bottom left hand corner, an ever growing list of song titles that I was dissatisfied with and had noted for later retouching. Despite these problems I soldiered on as I wanted to take a break from the computer and try and tackle a project with pen & paper.
My eagerness to include all of my favorite songs led to the very squashed text on the shoulders of the jacket, making the whole thing look uneven. To eliminate this I would have to go into photoshop and reconstruct the layout. This turned out to be immensely liberating and the final jacket, after intensive copying, pasting, re-sizing and re-touching and a lot of re-drawn text, is very different to the pen version above.

Overall a very enjoyable project with some important lessons to be learnt along the way. Add to that the fact that I worked exclusively to a Gainsbourg soundtrack I'm already hatching ideas for my next Draw Serge submission.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Doctor Who Novels - Penguin Style

I've recently hit a brick wall on a couple of projects, so for fun I've created these Doctor Who book covers in the classic Penguin house style.

Monday, 28 June 2010

More Whitechapel Remakes

Here's a couple of recent cover re-imaginings by myself that originate from Warren Ellis' fiendish remodel challenges over at the Whitechapel forum.
Here we have an imaginary third book of the short-lived literary magazine of the British Vorticist movement, BLAST.

And secondly, volume 14 of the Nineteenth century periodical, The Yellow Book. I originally used the Adam & Eve illustration on a record cover I did some years ago. It's based on an sculpture that forms one of the arched doorways of Notré Dame Cathedral and it lends it's self quite well to what was considered a rather decadent publication.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Recent Projects

Quick collage put together whilst listening to The Avengers radio series, available to stream or download at Avengers Declassified.

I do love my French female singers. Here's a portrait of the wonderful Marie Laforêt.

Finally, a cover design for legendary British Sci-Fi magazine, New Worlds #223, imagined for Whitechapel's Remake/Remodel thread.