Sunday, 31 January 2010

Paris Manga 6-7th February.

I will be attending Paris Manga on 6-7th February. Looking forward to this event (as I missed last year's) Sorry to disappoint the Anime fans but I won't be in CosPlay. I may however wear my kilt. For the ladies, of course. Hoping to see some of my French fans there!

The main draw for me is superb artist Benjamin. Love his work. His digital paintings have so much colour and vibrancy. Very inspiring.

More details can be found here.

Elektra - Evolution of a comic character panel.

This week I have decided to show the introductory character panel of Elektra from the short story I did for Panini recently. Having thrown a bad guy through a restuarant's glass window, our heroine steps after her prey clamly with sai in hand. I liked the balletic elegance of her stepping gracefully through the sharp cutting hole. The intent of her actions is there.

The first panel shows my biro sketch. I normally thumbnail panel layouts in the margin of the script and work out the page quickly on A4 with a pen. This looks as near to the finished page as possible and most of the good ideas come out of this process. Fast and spontaneous, it is very exciting to see the page form so quickly, even in this raw state.

Panel two shows my layouts draft. I work in some shadows here and there and balance out the composition and correct any dodgy anatomy. To save time this is also done at A4.

Panel three shows the pencils (generally done with my inking pens as a kinda practice run of the finished page) This is the stage where I work in all the feathering and textures and some corrections are made here too. Pages are scanned again and turned into bluelines for final stage.

The fourth panel is the inked page. Sometimes I can be confident enough with a story to miss out the third stage pencils and go straight to inks (as on Dare) but Elektra was special and I wanted to make sure I got the details and storytelling spot on. The writer James Peaty had fashioned a tight lean script of only six pages but with near seven or eight panels per page, space was at a premium and getting a nice introductory shot of Elektra was tough.

The final stage is the addition of colour by James Offredi (who did the lovely job on my Knights of the Pendragon collection cover shown here recently) Ed Hammond edited the story at all stages and offered some good advice on creating a PG friendly Elektra for the Panini line, hence the cycling shorts. These concessions are part of the process of working for specific audiences and I feel the end product works very well. The final version appears complete in Marvel Heroes issue 19 on sale now.

Next blog will feature a whole Elektra page breakdown and will show more clearly the different choices and approaches made to create this action story.

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Another colour sketch. A spunky Riot Grrl. Who'd have guessed?

Had a lot of fun with her working the texture of the hat and designs of badges (which were all rotated and sized individually) I drew up some rough designs and ideas, pencilled, inked then coloured digitally. Probably going to be part of a larger series.

Futureworld illustration - 2009.

A sort of nod to the original Westworld movie although The Terminator might prove a more topical reference for the younger fans out there! My colleague Dominic's wife, Sharon posed for me during the Jack Cross sessions a few years ago now (playing both female parts) and this portrait was an outake. I re-worked it a bit with the face plate and added the circuitry and mechanics underneath. It has a kind of whimsy about it that reminds me of the early Metal Hurlant covers. Liked the focus on the eye in this one too. Nice and veined. The rabbit pattern on the shirt (Sharon's own! ;) really pops in the final image.

And no, Sharon can't remove her face plate in real life.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

As much as I love blue-skinned woman (Enki Bilal's Jill Bioskop is a favourite) the equally lovely Jennifer Susan Walters AKA She-Hulk is a very close second (albeit a different hue, literally) For this colour sketch I kept the image simple and flirty.