Thursday, 17 December 2009

The Family Factory

Finished my mountain of work for this year. The last job was this Spartans strip. Above is the art for the wrap around cover, below are coloured versions of some of the inks I posted the other day. I explained in that post that I was a bit pushed for time and therefore when it came to the colouring I needed something that would look effective without requiring too much work.
This is where the family came in. Last Sunday I had all three of my kids throwing paint around making "textures" for the Spartans strip. Some of these I would drop in as backgrounds, adjusting the colour to suit, and others I would make a transparent layer of and lay on top to texture the colours.

Here's how it works:

I start with a spread, speedily inked in Manga Studio. Notice the lack of colour...

Then get my children to make an unholy mess with paint. Here comes the colour...

here are the final pieces drying
I scan those in and then paste them all over the spread, which by now has a few flat colours added. The result is something like this.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Comic Short Cuts

Getting short of time as we head towards the finish line on these 7 comic strips for Weldon Owen. Short of time means two things for comic artists - no sleep and no backgrounds, and if you're really pushed it can also mean silhouettes! Ah God bless you silhouettes, you are my saviour!

This last strip in the series is about those rough tough chaps the Spartans. Thankfully I chose not to write about the battle of Thermopylae (apparently some other hack has already done that) instead I've concentrated on the institutionalised bullying and abuse that goes into making a good Spartan. This means the approach I've chosen is perfectly suited to the story (just in case the publisher is reading this).

When Geri, Faz and I finish this project I'll write something about all seven stories, because it's certainly been an experience turning out all these strips whilst managing other projects at the same time.

Saturday, 5 December 2009


Last weekend I took a busman's holiday and did some painting with the kids. As many of you know this is where creativity and destruction become the same thing. Great fun.

Above is a speed portrait of Edie (3 minutes I guess) done with the worst brush and paints I've ever used and under the threat of Oby destroying/creating it at any moment. I've never been obsessed with materials the way most comic artists are, perhaps that's why I was happy to embrace digital inks. All mark making is artificial to some degree and choosing a pen or brush to make an exact mark is no different than creating a pen in Manga Studio to do the same in my opinion.

I kept all the children's paintings, the marks they make are so fresh and wild they make great textures for my own work (multiply layer in photoshop etc). The red and purple composition that Oby is working on here ended up providing texture for Gerraint Ford's cover to one of the Infinity books we've been working on. It's here, take a look.

In the past I've used Edie's painting to create textures for Kackernory, H.G. Smells and Family Pet (click the labels for examples).
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