Hello! I’m Gareth Sleightholme. I draw and write comics amongst other things, mostly about monsters and the people that hunt or are hunted by them…

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And we are “Iron Shod Ape“! A creative collective of comic book fans now making our own books…

We had a Great time at Thought Bubble this year (Sept 2017), the new TB set up seemed to work. We got to meet a bunch of lovely people as always, and it was great to get some regulars back to pick up the new stuff… thanks to everyone who came by the table, and particularly to those of you who said cool stuff about us on the internet, you have no idea how much it helps, so cheers. You may also have see me at at the Hull Horror Fest in October last year too.

If you want to catch up with us, our next gig is at the Geek Fair on Saturday the 28th April 2018. See you there!

Iron Shod Ape Team Shots

00 001 Thought BubbleLeft to Right, Sarah, Gareth and Kate at the Iron Shod Ape table #TBF16

Over the last few years we have showcased titles such as:

The Boatman, Beached Rockets and several books from The Cthulhiad, as well as joining forces with indie powerhouse Madius Comics to publish two of a loose trilogy of Viking Saga books; The King’s Leap and Ake’s Trial (the third is coming soon!).

You can see the kinda fun we’ve had doing the shows here -> #IronShodApe

The Cthulhiad books look a little like this:

Scan 51

…people in the comics world have been kind enough to say things like this about the books:

Praise for “The Cthulhiad”:

“Dialogue is great, the story moves at break neck pace.”

“Glorious thick, dark inking and great use of shadow. Add to that great character work and design and it all adds up to make this book a pleasure to look at.”

“…this is is the first book I’ve read in The Cthulhiad series. Severed Head Cult has left me chomping at the bit for more. I want to know everything there is to know about this comic universe.”

Stevie Robinson, Other Worlds Than These.

a harrowing tale of monster hunting. Sleightholme choreographs an excellent fight scene with a creature that flows like water…”

“…part of Sleightholme’s Cthulhiad series. If this is what can be expected from it, I’m definitely interested in seeing more. He’s created a terrifying world dripping with mythology and lore.”

James Ferguson, Horror Talk

“In a world of quick, efficient storytelling and conventional three-act structures, the Cthulhiad stands alone like a bewildering tower of Lovecraftian passion and excess.  Challenging to read and gorgeous to look at, this is a series designed to reward the patient…”

“Intricately detailed and packed with expression and dynamism,”

“…it’s Sleightholme’s artwork which is clearly going to provide the main selling point for the Cthulhiad.”

– Craig Neilson-Adams, The Big Comics Page

xxx Kings Leap - Page 006

 

Praise for “The King’s Leap”:

“Rob Jones (Madius Comics) actually has some pretty damn impressive ‘straight writing’ chops. The narration is bold and dramatic.”

“Sleightholme’s artwork is an absolute delight… with a cinematic flow to his panels that keeps the story moving forward smoothly throughout”

“The King’s Leap serves as an eye-opening broadening of the Madius Comics horizon, and firmly cements Gareth Sleightholme as an absolute must-watch artist.”

– Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej), Big Comics Page.

“Robin Jones has captured the essence of the epic tale and twisted it…”

“I was unfamiliar with [Gareth’s] work before this, but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for it from now on… action sequences are as fast-paced as the script. Here there be monsters, and Sleightholme draws some fantastic ones, creatures that recall Lovecraft and those great beasts in Pacific Rim.”

Brad Gischia, BagAndBored.

Scan 58

…elsewhere including praise for (writer and artist on the Cthulhiad) Gareth Sleightholme‘s other comic art on books like Horrere.

“…gorgeous”, “…stunning art” – (Shane/Dawn of Comics), Comics Crusaders.

“[Gareth] packs a hell of a lot into his panels. The details in the line work are jaw dropping and the panel layouts are just great…”Stevie Robinson, Other Worlds Than These.

“…look at this artwork. Isn’t its messiness grand?” – Jessica Maybury, Girls Like Comics.

“The visuals were amazing too …almost overwhelming but in a really good way that adds to the buzz of the terror” – Susan Omand, Garbage File.

“[Gareth’s] art is surprisingly evocative” – Max Deacon, Scream.

“The artwork by Gareth Sleighthome is incredible; packing each frame with more details than you’ll take in right away”Kieran Fisher, ThatsNotCurrentBlog.

Sleightholme does another stellar job with the visuals, proving that he’s equally adept at zombies as he is with swords and sorcery…”Craig Neilson-Adams (AKA Ceej), Big Comics Page.

“[Gareth’s] work in this short is fantastic, looking like something that would be at home in 2000 A.D. or any of the other top anthologies on the market.” – Brad Gischia, BagAndBored.

“Geof Darrow-esque detail” – Pipedream Comics.

On that note…

IF YOU PICKED UP ANY OF OUR BOOKS, LAST YEAR’S “AKE’S TRIAL”, OR “100 DRAWINGS” OR PREVIOUS YEARS BOOKS SUCH AS “THE KING’S LEAP”, “VANITAS”, “SEVERED HEAD CULT”, “THE WHITE SHIP” OR “DRAKON”, AND YOU LIKED WHAT YOU READ… PLEASE, PLEASE LET US KNOW.

TWEET US @hesir, thank you!

…this blog is a work in progress, put together as we geared up for our first gig (back in November of 2012) at ThoughtBubble, where we launched Beached Rockets and The Cthulhiad/The Indian Fighter.
Let us know if there is anything we can do to improve it or anything else you would like to see on here.
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Firstly, thanks for subscribing, commenting and generally dropping by and seeing what we are up to… we really appreciate it, and hope that you still enjoy the posts we get to send you.

Now I’m sure you guys are bored silly with all the GDPR* craziness of late, so sorry to hit you with a little more.

For the most part if you are getting this mail you’ve signed up willingly for updates at some point in the past, if you are happy with that please just forget this post, as we can take it as read that you want to continue.

Re: the data you supply us with to do that, Iron Shod Ape has never had any intention to use your data for anything else than letting you know what we are up to, or responding to your comments should you wish to make them, and we will continue to operate that way.

Like any simple free WP built site/blog, the WordPress site itself handles any data you supply through subscriptions and comments etc in the background. If you would like to refresh your memory and read over the new WordPress privacy statement, you can read it HERE.

We just want to reassure you that Iron Shod Ape comics will never knowingly share any of your data with third parties without your express consent beyond that which you volunteer in your public facing comments/subscription process etc.

For any creators whose public facing sites I’ve linked or mentioned, if you would like these links removed or dealt with in a different way, let me know and we’ll do our best to comply.

And if you would like to check your subscription, or unsubscribe from our blog, you can do this any time by simply following the link supplied in your email notifications.

Cheers,

Gareth, and Iron Shod Ape.

*You may or may not be aware that there have been some recent changes to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These changes, which come into effect on the 25th May 2018, affect us all, and are making sure that your data is used and stored correctly. 

Tenebrae - Print Proof

New, first proof off the press – roughly 16″ x 31″ hand embellished digital print of “Tenebrae” from my series, some 1930s/40s Noir Style Superhero imagery, which will be showcased in a sketchbook hopefully by the end of the summer ready for Thought Bubble and NCC.

I’m hoping that this will be just the first of a series of prints, in different sizes from A4(ish) through to the large format size above, with the large format prints being hand embellished and so each a one-off –

Cheers, g.

…it’s about, and not about, Superheroes.

But they are definitely there…

Koenig City, from millionaires houses perched on a mountainside overlooking the skyscrapers,

parks and suburbs,

descending into the busy industrial bayside with its run down warehouses and busy marinas,

Then there is the crazy stuff that happens overhead every day…

And the crazier stuff still, happening below…

Heroes…

Villains…

…and those not quite sure.

…and those just passing through.


A 1930’s styled superhero-noir, short stories that scratch at the surface of a city and the people who live there…

…most of whom seem conflicted about their relationship with these heroes and villains that move amongst and fly above them.

That said.

It is a city where heroes race to save the day…

…and where crimes are punished.

…mostly.

So…

Welcome to Koenig City…

Enjoy your stay.

Okay, so, first post for a while.  So? What’s been going on?

Well it seems like yesterday that I was sat behind the table at Thought Bubble 2017 last September, seven months ago, and we are already gearing up for this coming September. Already looking forward to it.

Last year sow some really welcome reviews of the comics both in print, online and on air, some live events and cons, some weird but refreshing comics projects including pin-up pages & limited edition prints as well as some of my comic art projected in front of a live audience as part of a one person theatre production,

…as well as some top meet-ups with other creatives, out of which has come some potential new projects.

What are these you ask?

Well, first up, some vague news, a statement that I may well be committing to spending a little more time on Iron Shod projects and other comics and illustration based projects for a little while in the near future. Trying to get this, these, projects off the ground, trying to set up and exploit what potential my personal artwork etc might have, both digitally and as printed art.

All a little scary, but its a uniquely timed  opportunity I can’t let drift.

And with all that comes some new comics projects in the offing, most I can’t really talk about (yet to be announced creature feature stuff with regular collaborators, as well as potential new partnerships, etc), but here’s a couple of things that have been tentatively announced.

1 – Part three of “The Viking Saga” by Rob Jones (and Madius Comics) and myself, the concluding part of our three issue run looking at myths and monsters in the lands of ice and snow.

2 – A new* project “Koenig City Sketches”… superheros, super villains, corporations and crime in a 1930’s noir styled sprawling metropolis. This first instalment a visual intro to the city and some of the characters who live, work and hunt there.

3 – The, at present, tentatively titled “Reality Obscures”, the next book from The Cthulhiad, with more monsters, occultists and monster hunting following on from 2017’s Some Rough Beast(s).

and

4 – probably more mini-sketchbooks, postcards and even some larger printed art – Watch this space for more details.

Well, I’m excited…

Time now to catch up on the backlog of mini-collabs and friendly projects that have probably languished a little while other parts of my life took precedent. 2018 should hopefully end as a fun year creatively, making up for all the stress and trauma of the Christmas break and the first half of this year…

 

You can find me post sketches and finished art in all the usual places – Twitter – @hesir / Instagram – AKAhesir / Facebook – @apoheniainc / and my Art Station / Visual Development Portfolio amongst others and oh, I now have one of these… Ko-fi I’m not exactly sure what it is yet (I’m sure this will feature as part of the coming week’s/month’s efforts), but I have one, laughs.

*to be fair this is actually an old project, one that has basically sat around until I found a style for the art I liked, and has now reached critical mass in terms of material ready to go.

…Okay, so if you’ve been following my Twitter feed (@hesir) you might have seen some of the work I have been producing for the new book (see last post also). If not you can find a whole bunch of process work, sketches and page layouts by either just following me @hesir, or checking out the #TheCthulhiad hashtag on twitter.

I thought it might be interesting to show a slightly more ordered version of that process, including what happens both before and during the production of those pages etc (and that’s all this is, I’m not suggesting that this is the best method, but its the process that is working for me – at the moment).

So here it is…

Rough Script:

This might be loose notes done during research phases, at this point maybe just notional lines of dialogue, or the names of characters etc. All joined together with arrows denoting the beginning of a plot or scene direction.

Typed Script:

This is the culmination of an editing stage, bringing all the script ideas and plot points together in order, then editing out all the unnecessary ideas and scenes that would work better later or in a different book maybe.

This doesn’t mean its the end… I’ll often add more hand written edits and notes to a script as I get ready for the thumbnailing/layout phase.

Thumbnails:

These can vary in size, from actual thumbnail sized images (3.5x2cm) through to these my average sized images, which are usually about 7x5cm.

Mostly this is about pacing the story, breaking the script up into visuals, single images that incorporate several pieces of dialogue or multiple narrative.

Script edits might still be happening at this stage on my own work, visuals might spark connections, that suggest dialogue or narrative additions, I tend to just add the notes to the sheets and then look at incorporating them fully when I get around to adding the balloons…

Pencils and Inks:

My pencil work is pretty loose as its really just for me to decipher. Usually I pencil up from the thumbnails, and then scan these, then print off a blue line version to work over in ink… this builds in a redundancy and is less destructive over pencil originals.

Sometimes these scans are resized to actually print ready size, allowing me to add type and balloons and SFX in a separate layer, meaning the finished art can simply be “slipped underneath”.

See this example of balloons and PS boosted pencils >HERE< from the previous post.

Sometimes though, I work straight in over the original pencils.

Below you can see this latter process.

You can also see that once the pencils are complete, that even that might not stop changes happening.

Whether to pencils (see below where I have rubbed out the original panel centre and replaced the extreme close up of the figure with the camera with a midshot)

And the inks of the panel in which we see the shooting victim (above) which just felt a little “pedestrian” once complete…

and so I sketched out a new composition in my sketchbook,

…and then made a “paste-over” (a piece of white paper stuck over the previous artwork) added new pencils based on my sketch and inked it up…

The inks are then rescanned, any flashbacks of previous panels added, and the artwork cleaned up in Photoshop.

Here (below) are the most recent pages I’ve been working on.

Then its just a case of adding these scans to the existing text/ballooned files and adding any final tone/colour examples of which can be found >HERE<.

…and so on, and so on, usually for me in small cycles, finishing batches of pages then going back to thumbnail a new section.

Here’s the cover of this year’s Cthulhiad book… which you will see on the table at #TBF17 later this year.

We are looking at around 48-54 pages (at least) of black and white/grey-toned art…

Comic Cover Oil Paints 3

This and the preview (rough layout) pages below where all previewed in last years Sketchbook “100 Drawings”.

Page 001 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 002 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 003 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 004 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 005 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 006 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 007 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 008 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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Page 009 – The Cthulhiad/Origins

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So … back to the drawing board.