Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Bride of Frankenstein - Aviles, Spain.

Recently returned from the Aviles Comic Festival in Spain. A lovely event and this was our third year attending. Most of the day is spent drawing for the fans outside at the local bar. The rest of the time is filled with long lunches and late dinners with the rest of the guests. There is a very relaxed atmosphere and this year I got the opportunity to catch up with the Starman himself, Tony Harris. We haven't met before after near constant phone calls over fifteen years ago during the Starman era. Really good to see him.

Other guests include the ever delightful Renee Witterstaetter, Brandon Peterson, Ric Meyers, Jason Aaron and partner Kelly, Steve Englehart and wife Terry and RM Guerra and family. Many thanks to Jorge, German, Rocio and the rest of the Aviles crew who helped make for a wonderful event. See you next year!

Here is my favourite sketch of the event. The Bride of Frankenstein. Thanks to Emilio Lobato for the scan.


This was a quick sketch for Claire, a friend from the third floor of Hope Street Studio who was leaving for Canada to further her work in animation. We decided to get a small book together and fill it with memories or sketches for her journey. Since I can't draw a moose the next best choice seemed to be a vanpyre. Logical, no?

My initial sketch was a thumbnail barely an inch square. The biro pen sketch was at actual page size (approximately 16x16cm) I inked with a brushpen on 60g tracing paper and mounted it into the book. Very pleased with this image. Quick turnaround too (roughly fifteen minutes) I should do more work like this. The spontaneity still lives in the sketch!

Blackheart - Marvel Figurines

This week's offering is my recent Blackheart cover for the Marvel Figurines series by Eaglemoss. My friend and writing colleague, John Tomlinson is editing the series and asked me to provide a cover featuring Blackheart. I must admit to not being overly familiar with the character but John supplied plenty of reference. Seeing the figurine realised in three dimensions was also helpful and we managed to find a sympathetic solution to the different styles and designs of the character. We mostly deferred to the actual model to be supplied to the public but added a few extra horns to the crown for a more interesting visual look.

My reference pencils are always done with a brushpen as it provides me the opportunity to do a first pass of the inks (sorting out textures and problems) I also work in reverse as it corrects a skew in my work. Hold any piece of artwork up to a mirror and you will see that it is a more common occurence for artists than you think. Always best to do this trick with your own work too!

After final approval from Marvel (a few subtle changes were requested regarding the 'mouth and nose' of Blackheart to be more clearly defined) the pencils were inked and then passed to Chris Blythe for his lovely colour work to finish off the image.

Very pleased with this first cover for Eaglemoss' Marvel Figurine range and I am pleased to reveal that I am currently working on a second cover featuring...

Well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? Maybe in a future post?

Blackheart is TM & © 2011 Marvel & Subs.

Moon Landing.

This week's offering is an audition image done for a client and obviously concerning the moon landing. You will notice some subtle corrects from the lineart to the final colour image. These editorial decisons are fairly common and reference too is very important. The stars were removed per client's request. Loved working on this but found it very hard resisting the temptation to add the zombie from my previous moon landing image Earthfall.

The talented Yel Zamor did a lovely job rendering this classic scene without over-powering the final colour image.

Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions game.

Occasionally I get the opportunity to work on storyboards for AXIS Animation for game trailers and cut scenes within games. This is certainly a fun departure from the normal day to day comic work and teaching. Most of the time we work under Non Disclosure Agreements while the project is scheduled. This proves quiet frsutrating at times when all you want to do is scream and shout at the wonderful work that the studio is doing.

For my part, I am brought in at the start of the project to work up the boards with the director from the client's script, sorting through story-telling problems or technical restrictions ('no rain!') and generally refining it to a point where the animation team (with riggers and modellers) can get underway. Occasionally there will be a call back for last minute changes but that is very rare as most of the potential problems are dealt with at the initial session.

The released end product provides a strange sense of deja-vu for me. Yes, the scenes and compositions are mostly what I decided on and supplied to the director but the polish, texture and movement work by AXIS Animation studio really brings life to the scene and a finish I could only have dreamed of!

For last year's Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions game I was aksed to work on the opening scene and following in -game cut scenes. The game was released to critical success and a sequel is underway. See if you can spot the Glasgow Kelvingrove referenced museum interiors with Mysterio.

Here is the trailer for the Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions game. Take time to explore the rest of the AXIS Animation studio work. Some talented directors, producers, modellers and animators there!