Friday, July 15, 2011

From The Archives #11: Zero To Hero

I'm sure some if not all of you are aware that I was involved in a TV show called Zero To Hero back in 2003/4. For those not familiar with it, the show was a kind of combination of Scrapheap Challenge & Gladiators.... what a heady mix.

Anyway, regardless of the show itself, which came & went without much of a fanfare, this post is to show some of the artwork I did to be used on the show itself, & on the website dedicated to it at the time.

The pencil pieces were done to be used as set decoration for a portion of the set which was supposed to be the comic artists studio. It would have taken an eagle eyed viewer to see them in the background, & since the show had problems attracting ANY viewers, eagle eyed or otherwise, I'm sure this is the first time anyone will have seen them. I did 15 or more of these things, but the ones shown here were the only ones I could locate.

The colour images were done for the Zero To Hero website, & were given away as prizes in online competitions. They feature the designs the costume design team & I came up with for the superhero costumes featured on the show. At the time, I had just purchased my first computer, & knew nothing about colouring using Photoshop to colour, as a result, the artwork was all done in markers, but with a few Photoshop filter effects added on top in attempt to mimic the computer coloured look of American comic books. It wasn't a technique that was particularly successful, but needs must. Where possible I've tried to include the original colour marker drawing prior to any Photoshop filter jiggery pokery.

For those who wonder what the heck I'm blathering on about, there's a few You Tube videos to give you a flavour of the show.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

From The Archives #10: Stunt Storyboards

Despite how they may appear these storyboards weren't done for an actual stunt, but rather they were done for a book to illustrate how a stunt is put together, including the storyboard stage.

It would be nice to do some of this kind of thing for real though.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From The Archives #9: WNBA

This was a piece done two or three years ago, for a project which (in a similar way to the wrestlers image I posted a couple of days ago) was aimed at trying to get a sporting governing body interested in promoting their star athletes as comic book stars, in this case, the Women's National Basketball Association, the WNBA.

Unlike the wrestlers image, I only pencilled this one, the inking (& possibly the colouring too, if memory serves) was handled by my old chum James Hodgkins.

As far as I am aware, nothing ever came of the project.

From The Archives #8: Batman Private Commission, 2001

This was a private commission I did for a collector in the States. He originally wanted to buy a particular page of original art from the Batman/Aliens II book, however, when I told him that page wasn't for sale, he asked me to produce 'something similar' as a private commission.

If you'd be interested in something similar, the price for a commission of this type is £250 + p&p.


From The Archives #7: Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, 1991

Hero Turtles?... HERO Turtles?? Yes indeed, the Turtles comics in the UK in the early '90's were aimed well & truely at the 'juvenile' end of the market & it was decided (by whoever decides these things) that back then the children of Britain weren't ready for the concept of Ninjas. The idea was deemed to be too violent, & would apparently induce 9 year olds to start wearing black pajamas & those funny little shoes with seperate toes, & start beating each other to death in the playground..... or something. But anyway, whatever the motive, the TMNT became the TMHT for the UK market with storylines focusing on fun & adventure rather than violence & fighting, which meant Michelangelo had to give up his nunchucks, they too were designated as ultra violent & a bad influence, although why Leonado's samurai swords & Raphael's extremely stabby Sai daggers past muster, I have no idea.

However, be that all as it may, the fact was that Fleetway were publishing a comic, which as far as I was concerned meant work, & since at that time I had just spent 2 years working on all manner of licensed properties, from GI Joe to Transformers, & Thundercats to Manta Force (huh?), I figured it would be a breeze.

So I produced a sample page, showing both my pencil work, & my colouring style, & sent it off. All the colouring was done on the boards with inks & gouache, no Photoshop back then boy. The sample impressed the editor sufficiently for him to offer me a strip, shortly followed by another. However, it turned out that the Turtles license holders were much more fussy than any others I had previously had dealings with, & even after pencils had been approved, I found the finished coloured strips returned to me for additional alterations.. a LOT of additional alterations. And when I saw pedantic notes like "reduce the size of Turtles head by 2mm..." I decided to cut my losses, & got the heck outta Dodge.

Anyway, here's the sample page I did, & a couple of pages from the two published strips I drew.

Monday, July 11, 2011

From The Archives #6: Games Workshop, 1990

Back in '90, I heard that Games Workshop were considering branching out into the comics publishing business, & were planning on producing a comic which would rival 2000AD. The plans were very much in the early stages of the magazine, but I contacted them, & was sent a proposal for a strip & was asked to produce some designs for the major characters. These are some of the designs I did.

Nothing ever came of the comic at the time, although as I'm sure you know, GW did eventually get into the market a few years later.

For what it's worth, although they did like these designs, they felt that they didn't look 'Games Workshop-y' enough, & art editor John Blanche made extensive suggestions on tracing paper overlays to show how I should ammend the designs. However, I had already gotten wind that the comic might not go ahead, plus I wasn't being paid to make these sketches/ammendments, so I decided to call it quits, & moved onto another venture. More of which in the next post.

From The Archives #5: Marvelman

Done some time last year, if I remember correctly, this wasn't exactly a private commission, but was rather a drawing done for someone as a thank you..

Marvelman was one of my favorite characters in the early 80's, mostly due to the fantastic art by first Garry Leach, & then Alan Davis in Warrior magazine. Like most people do (I imagine) I find the fact that the character is now owned by Marvel comics (considering all the acrimony surrounding the character & that company) to be a supreme irony.

And for what it's worth, he will ALWAYS be Marvelman NOT Miracleman to me.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

From The Archives #4: Emma Frost Private Commission

This is a commission I did almost ten years ago, infact, I have a feeling it was the first private commission I ever did. This was long before I even owned a computer, & as a result this is a scan of an old colour photocopy. The original was done with markers.


Saturday, July 09, 2011

From The Archives #3: Voldermort

Something vaguely topical, what with all the Harry Potter final movie nonsense all over the news at the moment. Here's a couple of pics I did for some HP related project about a year ago. Not sure what they were for, not sure if they ever got used.

From The Archives #2: Cop.

Another piece done a couple of years ago. I don't even remember what this was for exactly. I have a vague recollection that it was part of a recruitment drive by the NYPD, in which they wanted New York cops depicted 'heroically'.. or something.

Friday, July 08, 2011

From The Archives #1: Wrestlers...

In the absence of anything new that I am allowed to show, I decided to post some of the stuff that is clogging up my hard drive that never got shown on here, either because I did it before I started this blog, or because it was never meant to see the light of day at the time. So to kick things off, this was a piece done a couple of years ago, a kind of cover 'mock up' thing for a proposed comic featuring American Professional Wrestlers. The project never got off the ground.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Batman/Aliens II on Ebay.

Just a quick post to let you know that there is a bunch of pages from the Batman Aliens II graphic novel (among others) available on Ebay currently. In a change to the way I usually sell on Ebay, these pages aren't up for auction, but are on a 'first come first served' Buy It Now basis.

Among them are these pages....

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Rogue Trooper/Major Easy Commission

I was contacted recently by Eric Moore, author of the rather fabulous AIEEEE! blog, when he asked me to produce for him a private commission of Rogue Trooper & Hellman Of Hammer Force (from the gloriously violent 1970's comic, ACTION). His idea was to combine a character from the past with a more contemporary one. It could be argued that both Rogue & Hellman are old, but since Rogue has had a few brief outings in recent years I figure Eric just about gets away with it. Now anyone who has read this blog on anything approaching a regular basis will know I don't need asking twice to draw Rogue, & since I was a HUGE fan of Action when I was 11 years old, the opportunity to draw Hellman was tempting to say the least.

Anyhoo, I went ahead & did an initial pencil rough of a scene I thought would work, mainly just the figures with little costume detail, but then had to put it aside for quite a while due to deadline commitments. By the time I had come back to the piece, Eric had changed his mind, & now he wanted Major Easy instead of Hellman. This was an easy (pun intended) fix, since I realised when making the few changes necessary that Easy & Hellman have an almost identical silhouette, I even decided it wouldn't be necessary to change the gun I had given Hellman (a German MP40), since I figured Major Easy was the type of unconventional guy who wouldn't be a stickler for using regulation firearms all the time. So this was the final pencil layout, about 13 x 17 cm.

Having completed the layout, I scanned it into Photoshop, enlarged it to the right size, then printed it out & traced it through to the final board on my lightbox, using my usual Sharpies fine liners.

I was going to leave it at that, but at the last minute I decided a little touch of grey marker would help to really make the image 'pop'.

And hey presto, there we are, two characters who are never likely to meet, duke it out mano a mano... or something like that.

Eric plans to make the 'someone old someone new' a regular theme in his commission collection, & as such has started a blog to show them all off. Click the link below, take a look, & tell him I sent you. There's some really nice stuff on there already.

Someone Old, Someone New Blog!

If you're interested in something similar, an A4 'marker sketch' is usually £65 +p&p, but contact me with your requirements & I'll be able to give to a definite price.

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