I Dream in Scribbles

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Jul 082011
 

… or scribble dreams. That’s certainly the case this time.

While trying to rein in the horror that is my computer’s desktop, I found this little doodle I did of Morpheus of the Endless from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

The Lord Shaper

I vaguely remember doing this to try out some of the new brushes in the latest iteration of Artrage, which if you’re interested in digital painting, I strongly recommend you take a look at. It’s a budget price for an excellent piece of software.

Jun 242011
 

Today I have a really weird piece for the comic book fans among you. But first a little backstory;

From 1985 to 1997 London was home to the United Kingdom Comic Art Convention. The UK didn’t have many comic cons and this one, while far smaller than many American shows, was eagerly anticipated every year by UK comic fans as an unprecedented opportunity to talk to the major comic companies and to rub shoulders with British and American creators, though in the case of the creators, you usually had to track them down in the on-site bar. No, really.

These were amazing cons. I got to meet Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John Totleben during the height of their work on Swamp Thing and was at the talk where Moore first revealed his idea for a little upcoming comic called Watchmen. I got to chat to Brian Bolland, whose linework I’d long worshiped on such strips as Judge Dredd. Anyway, I could goob for days but let’s get to the point of this tale…

Like most comic cons, there was an accompanying con-booklet bursting with new images from fresh and established talent. One year I decided to give it a try because I’d gotten a mad idea that didn’t want to shut up and leave my brain.

Tidbit #1; By now you’ve probably heard of Neil Gaiman. At that time, he was mostly known for his comic book Sandman which features Dream, the personification and master of dreams and his six siblings collectively known as The Endless. The most popular and enduring of these personifications is Death, who appears as a cute gothy girl with an unusually sunny disposition given her rather harsh vocation.

Tidbit #2; 2000AD has been the most popular comic in the UK for decades. And no character is more popular than Judge Dredd, the toughest cop in the harsh Mega-City of the future. From a rich rogues gallery that’s been developed over 34 years, no enemy deserves the rank of nemesis more than Judge Death, a member of the Dark Judges, a dark mirror to Dredd from a dimension where it was decreed that all crime was committed by the living and so their perverse logic made life a crime.

See where I’m going with this?
Stare into the face of…

Behind the Scenes

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Jun 172011
 

Sorry it’s so quiet here. I’m in the process of re-arranging my workspace; putting in new bookshelves, throwing out and recycling the usual crap that builds up and – OMG – dusting.

Yeah, living the high life, that’s me.

I’m also working on one image that is a meeting of two fascinating steampunk worlds and I’m developing a comic book. It’s been a while and clearly it’s not just my room that needs dusting off.

Funny how no matter how many shelves you have you never have enough for those really tall books…

May 302011
 

Also known as Joe Dredd, and Old Stoney Face.

I’ve read comics regularly since I was three or four, and as much as I love the DC Comics characters I grew up with, my weekly thrill power hit came from 2000 AD and nothing was more eagerly awaited than the latest half dozen pages of Judge Dredd.

I was one of those kids that trudged down to the newsagent in Feb 1977 and picked up issue one. I never stopped after that. Though living in Seattle these days has certainly made it harder to get hold of new issues. I could buy them in a digital format but I’m not so sure I want to say goodbye to the physical artifact (though my groaning bookshelves would certainly thank me).

I actually did a couple of episodes of Judge Dredd for the Judge Dredd Megazine way back in 1993 and I bought my first ticket to the U.S. with those earnings and that’s where I met WotC. So I owe the old fascist curmudgeon big time.

And occasionally I like to sketch him and think idly about asking the guys at Rebellion if I could do another Dredd episode…

Judge Dredd pencil sketch

Such a grumpy old bastard! And such fun to draw.

P.S. My favorite story was Block Mania and the subsequent Sov Apocalypse. I always thought Block Wars were the coolest damn idea (Narratively. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to see one in real life).

P.P.S. Brian Bolland is the Man.

P.P.P.S. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the new Dredd movie starring Karl Urban. I try not to think of the Stallone version which was a squandered opportunity.

Apr 142011
 

After the five previous sneak peeks of my pieces for the upcoming Transmet Art Book, I discovered a number of people thought the final images were going to remain black & white.

Not so! Here’s a portion of the left half of my double page image from the book…

Transmet Sneak Peek 6 - Spider & The Wife.

You’re getting just a portion of the page for two reasons –
1) Because I’d like to save the full image for those of you who bought the book.
2) The full image is OMG NSFW! Seriously.

If you’ve read Transmetropolitan, you may recognize that this is the younger version of Spider from several years before issue #1. The other person is his wife, better known brusquely as The Wife. Their relationship could be described as ‘troubled’ in much the same way as the void of space could be described as ‘nippy’.

This image is entirely conjecture extrapolated from a few scraps of info from the comic book, but that’s what made it so much fun. I knew a lot of artists were going to be focusing on events or people from within the timespan of the series, so I decided to set mine outside of that period. That might give you a clue as to the nature of the other half of my double page image.

I had a blast with these pieces and it was great returning to comic book work after all these years. Also, having read the Transmet series a number of times I took a little bit of fiendish joy filling the images with Easter eggs.

And somewhere in my double page spread, I hid one of the hallmark three-eyed smiley face symbols. It won’t be easy to find. Have fun hunting for it, the book should be with you soon. I’m looking forward to getting my copy!

Feb 112011
 

Man, that was a fast week. So it’s the last of my Transmet Art Book previews and I figured we’d end where we began, with Spider Jerusalem, this time accompanied by Yelena. Spider seems to have exchanged his furious expression for… well, what is that expression? Annoyed? Repulsed? You tell me.

Transmet Sneak Peek 5 - Spider & Yelena.

All will become clear when you see the final piece. Hopefully you’ve got a copy preordered. And since I mentioned it, you have until early evening on Valentines Day to make your preorder. This book is not going to be distributed normally so unless your comic store went and did the exact same thing I’m suggesting you do now, you won’t be able to find a copy, except maybe for an outrageously inflated price on eBay…

So, follow this link to the Transmet Art Book on Kickstarter.
It’s for Charity! Hurry, time is running out.

Transmetropolitan Art Book Sneak Peek 2

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Feb 082011
 

Firstly, many thanks to Warren Ellis for showing yesterday’s sneak peek on his blog! And yes, we totally met doing vampire graphic novels for Tundra UK.

So, here’s your second sneak peak, this time featuring a ‘lovely’ ‘lady’ that appeared in a massive four panels in the book’s run, if you don’t include the head in a jar shots…

Transmet Sneak Peek 2 - The Wife.

She’s a charmer.

Feb 072011
 

Buckle yourself in because this week you’re gonna get daily previews of the linework from my pieces (yes, plural) in the Transmetropolitan Art Book. Don’t know what that is? Well, Transmetropolitan was a comic book set in the not too distant future and it’s lead character is Spider Jerusalem, an honest-to-god investigative journalist living in a world where news is just the pap that the newscorps want you to see (sound familiar?). The comic – created by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson – ran from 97 to 02 and if you’ve never read it you owe yourself this treat. Trust me. It has a brutally wicked sense of humor. I love it.

Anyway, this art book is not only a celebration of Transmetropolitan, it’s also for a damn good cause. The proceeds from the book go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (who protect comics-related first amendment rights) and the Hero Initiative (which “creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment”).

And it’s all being funded through Kickstarter, a brilliant new way for creatives to fund their projects. Here’s the link to the Kickstarter page for the Transmet book. And you don’t have to give them any of your credit card info as checkout is actually run through Amzon’s checkout system so if you already have an Amazon account, it’s just a matter of registering at Kickstarter to get your copy. And remember, your donation (of $55+) is your preorder.

So, after that much lengthier sales pitch than I was expecting, here’s is your Transmet moment of the day –

Transmet Sneak Peek 1.

Feel free to throw out some guesses as to what the hell is going on!