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…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.

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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.

So, today is that day.

I picked up the proofs of the this years output.

The Viking Saga book I’ve been working on with Rob Jones, (the sort of follow up to The King’s Leap), Ake’s Trial. From Madius Comics and Iron Shod Ape

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24 pages, b/w – With a colour cover.

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As well as Ake’s Trial, we are also going to have this…

“100 DRAWINGS”

90 (soft cover, b/w) pages of sketches from the imagination and observational drawing with a few notes on drawing and keeping a sketchbook, that has a sketch preview of the next Cthulhiad book at the back.

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Drawings of cars and other vehicles…

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Props and objects…

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and Character sketches, and places and environments…

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…alongside the drawings from the real world which inform them.

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As well as these new books, we’ll have books from previous years.

Scan 58

 

 

 

The first two books of The Lance – “Drakon” and “The White Ship”

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Scan 51

Vanitas & Severed Head Cult

(Read a review of Severed Head Cult here.)

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There will be copies of Tragic Tales of Horrere (books 1 & 2) available. From Little O and Madius.

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And of course The King’s Leap (read a recent review of that here, and others here), from Madius and ourselves.

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Plus sundry postcards and larger prints of the artwork from the books.

We’ll be at Table #185, New Dock Hall, @ThoughtBubble, in Leeds this coming weekend. 

Right next to Madius (Table #186-187b).

See you there. g.

Below is the probable artwork (minus the odd twitch and bit of finessing) for one of this year’s Cthulhiad books, and book that will contain three interlocking narratives looking at some of the catalysts for the events in the previous (and ongoing) Cthulhiad books.

Comic Cover Oil Paints 3

Three broad chapters, namely “Issue”, “Zero”, and “Origin”, that make up the handy over-Title “Issue, Zero, Origin”, in which we’ll find out a little more about Harry, find out where he went after leaving Hamburg, and be a fly on the wall as Detective Malham gets to meet motormouth, “Backbone” McKendry.

The art above was predominantly painted in oils (a medium I’ve been playing with a little of late) with Graphic finishes in PhotoShop, including the warning sign in the foreground of the field.

Painting The cover

It would be interesting to play with this or a similar medium to create a full set of internal artwork at some point… just maybe not this year, laughs.

The book should debut in time for Thought Bubble 2016 (we are hoping to have a table again this year), along with a second Horrere book from Little O and Madius, a follow up to the King’s Leap (another Viking tale), and the culmination and third book of the St George cycle of Cthulhiad books “Theogeny” – which concludes the story set out in The White Ship and last year’s “Drakon”.

Okay, so its a little late… but here’s my (Gareth’s) Thought Bubble, Nov’ 2015, roundup…

Straight to the point, I loved it

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But I’ve loved it every year I’ve attended/exhibited… that includes that year Sarah, Andrew and I just came as punters.

I’ve attended an number of con’s over the years here in the UK as a visitor, mostly in tow with friends Andrew, Damian and Simon, but TB is easily my favourite experience.

It feels cohesive, like the whole show has been designed (some others have felt more like a big enthusiastic jumble sale). And as much as I really hope I can get out to more cons in 2016, TB will always be the culmination and high point of my comics oriented year.

So to echo many of the post-con online voices (to which I’m quite a late addition)… Well done to all those involved in making it work, from Tullalotay and Martha, to the team of enthusiastic and really helpful redshirts that made things run smoother on the floor.

As for us, we turned up on the Friday and after meeting up with friends at Leeds station (Andrew, Amara and Gene et al) we headed off to find food and booze.

Pizza Game

…taking in the curious marvel that is Leeds Trinity food court on the way then heading off to Whitelocks.

Meanwhile, messages where flying around on our (Madius, Little O/Horrere) collab FB messenger feed, letting me know how my Horrere brothers were doing regarding their travels and arrivals,…

[It’s weird that for the past two years we had found ourselves in the Ibis, with The Palace just over the road… this year, now we weren’t anywhere near there, that would of course be the place to meet, laughs]

…and so eventually got the call to head over and meet those that had made it to The Palace… and though I didn’t stay for long, it was great shooting the breeze on a whole bunch of things creative with AlisdairNeil and the excellently ebullient Mr Bob Turner amongst others. Then it was back to Whitelocks and off to our digs.

There was without doubt a strangeness to the Saturday morning which might have been the weather (the rain wasn’t the type you could laugh off), plus there was the terrible news from Paris (where I was to be flying straight out to on the Monday), but what ever it was, as the first morning progressed, all concerned seemed to get into their comic-loving stride and when the announcement came that the hall was opening I was excited for what the day would bring.

Though short of some of the other IronShod creators (Andrew Segal was in attendance at the show, if not with us behind the table), we did have a three strong team this year of Sarah and myself and young Kate (her first Comic con, which she seemed to love).

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It was also fantastic this year to have the magnanimous pantheon of Though Bubble gods look upon our enterprise with favour and place us right next to our new collaborators Madius Comics… Whether this was in fact by design or just a happy chance I have no idea, but it was a fun weekend with those guys by our side. It was also our first time in New Dock Hall, which though now replaced by the TBMarquee as artists alley still had a massive buzz to it.

The last few years have been interesting, getting to know some of the other attendees, and more recently, getting to work with them on some great projects.

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Projects like The King’s Leap (which Rob Jones and I debuted at #TBF15) which have now taken on a life of their own; we have ideas up to issue three now, not bad considering it was supposed to be a one of 24 pager, and before that a 6 page short in an anthology. Plus the call to participate in the excellent (Tragic Tales of) Horrere with a great bunch of artists and writers (yes, those Madius boys again).

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Watching Horrere garner a whole bunch of great reviews on the lead up to, and following TB was amazing, and sitting there last night with a copy of Starburst in my hands and seeing our names in print in the comics reviewed section was knockout.

On top of that I’d hoped to get another book out from my Cthulhiad cycle of comics… but with the other non-IronShodApe books and moving house, teaching and a series of research trips to Europe, it started to seem less and less likely.

Then in the early part of October, strangely (as I was back into the new semester at work) things eased off a little, my evenings freed up and I started to doodle…

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The second book of The Lance cycle began to take shape and I thought, “what the Hell” let’s get this done.

I used a ink brush pen for the art this time, and really enjoyed the results, learning a lot about spot-black placement while I was working on it.

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It turned out to be a pretty fast way of working, and one I’ll gladly try again.

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To speed my process further I tried out a new (to me) technique for toning the book, scanning some Letratone, laying it over the whole page of art in Photoshop to create a medium tone and developing highlights with the eraser tool.

Process of Work

I got deeper tones by lassoing sections of the Letratone layer and pasting them over again with a slight nudge to the left and down to create lines from the halftone dots. It ended up with a strange retro look that I liked… and again, so very quick, which I needed it to be.

Four weeks later I took Drakon (pt 2 or The Lance, Ashkelon) to the printers and there it was a third debuting book on our table.

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  • Nice to be able to do the cover of the book above in collaboration with my long-time creative buddy Dave Eccles too (there’ll be more of that if I’ve got any say in it).

Working the table was fun… and we got to meet a whole bunch of lovely people as always.

Whilst unknown to me Sarah was making deals and sorting out a great gift for me in the form of an amazing Hellboy print and sketch from Duncan Fegredo (a genuinely nice bloke).

So… Onto this (last) year’s TBF15 Haul, and a bit about the things I’ve missed…

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Things I missed or put to one side in favour of other harder to find stuff… Rob Davis’ Motherless Oven (which I eventually picked up just before the end of 2015); the rest of the Chris Wildgoose/Improper books/Porcelain-bone-china stuff (still to pick up); and The Goddamnned, Jason Aaron and R. M. Guera’s pre-cataclysm old testament skirting tale of Cain’s wanderings out of Eden (I now have the first two issues)… and the intriguing title from Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham; Nameless (which again I’ve still to pick up).

Oh, and I left my second copy of the sign language episode of Hawkeye at home (also tried to find a copy of it at the much diminished stands of back-issue retailers at TB, but no luck)… I had hoped to get it signed to the Hull Deaf Centre* and get it framed to go in the hall there… (*Sarah is now manager there).

The books I did pick up you can see above… a few of which I’ve even gone as far as to review (I intend to try and review all the books I picked up).

The Old Dark House & Shore Leave by WJC.

WesterNoir (issue 3) by Dave West and Gary Crutchley.

Papercuts & Inkstains (1,2,3a & 3b) by the guys at Madius Comics.

and

DTHRTL by Bob Turner.

I’ll add my other TBF15 reviews – inc Vincent Hunt’s Red Mask of Mars, Line & Wash by Duncan Fegredo, BPRD Covers (sketchbook) by Lawrence Campbell, Farel Dalrymple‘s It Will All Hurt, and Dan Berry‘s Hourly Comic 2105,  – here as I get them done…

So… that’s really that.

I’m already looking for ward to working on this years comics, and I’ve made a start…

x Ymir and the Fisherman's Daughter

Oh… and a few days after Thought Bubble the guys from Intercomics Podcast got in touch and asked if I would answer a few questions about the work I had at the show… The interview can be found >HERE< on their site : http://intercomicspodcast.com

I’m also already looking forward to this years Thought Bubble #TBF16… with the hope we can fit at least one other con in beforehand.

IRONSHOD STUFF

And as I always say… if you’ve read one of our books or maybe more than one of them, let us know what you think… send us a message @hesir on Twitter.

It really helps us to know what you thought.

Cheers, g.

 

 

 

The Old Dark House (Inktober 2015)

B/w, 28 pages.

&

Shore Leave – Views from Quinthaven

Colour, b/w & monochromatic, 42 pages.

Both created by WJC (Warwick Johnson-Cadwell)
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Reviewed by Gareth Sleightholme

After following his output on twitter @WarwickJC, and picking up WJC’s fantastic Tom Hand – A Tale of Stories and beautiful fold out Quinthaven (some of which is reproduced here) the year before last at TBF14, I wasn’t going to miss the chance to pick up more of Warwick’s great artwork. So I snuck away from the IronShodApe table again and drifted past his table and grabbed these beauties (Shore Leave with a great bespoke tentacle tattoo on the arm of the character on the front page).

I’m not sure when I cottoned to the fact I loved this style of image making.

I know a younger me that bought so heavily into the works of Giraud, Hughes and Frazetta would perhaps have avoided, even derided it… I found it strange that I liked it. But I did.

Kind of like the moment you realise you love Tom Waits’ voice and all those box-kicking, guitar twanging, pot’n’pan-banging beautiful melodies about black wings and murders in the barn.

I can’t tell if it’s because his art is maybe (just to me probably) somehow reminiscent of a blend of the quirkiest of Ted McKeever (Plastic Forks), Bill Sienkiewicz (Stray Toasters), and Dean Ormston (Lucifer), or if it puts me in mind of an elaborated, sophisticated jazz riff on Edward Gorey or Tom Gauld (Goliath)’s character work… or all or none of that.

The visual language here is certainly off-kilter, all Cabinet of Dr. Caligari angles and shadows, figures with elongated, stunted or stretched geometric anatomies, like pages from a German-expressionist Giles, Feiffer, or Oscar F. Howard cartoon.

Ultimately what I’m trying to say is… it’s wonderful.

The Old Dark House is a re/interpretation of the 1932 James Whale film* starring Boris Karloff about a unlikely group thrown together in the foreboding manor house of the eldritch Femm family… done as part of the Inktober art celebration, strewn with glorious scratchy figures with baleful eyes and malevolent intentions.

While Shore Leave adds more lyrical mythology, characters, geography and shanty/fiddle ballad fodder to WJC’s port of Quinthaven, a dark, lyric soaked, labyrinthine town of old soaks, pirates, merfolk and tattooed exotics.

What else can I tell you? Just pick up everything if you can, but particularly these great little books he brings to Thought Bubble, then go home and read them whilst listening to Tom Waits or Jolie Holland.

Go check out their blog: http://warwickjohnsoncadwell.blogspot.co.uk/ and their Twitter feed: @warwickjc

*based upon the novel Benighted (1927),by  J B Preistley.