Friday, 24 December 2010

Zen. Again.

Slightly less phallic looking design. Although not much less.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

LogicEngine: Zen

This is my first sketch for Zen, one of the characters in LogicEngine.  I think that head needs to be a lot smaller.

Bill Mantlo benefit book- ROM artwork auction

Remember that really grim Rom piece from last year?

Well, the book still isn't out yet- but one-off prints of all the artwork are currently up for sale on Ebay- so dig deep, ROM fans!

All prints for sale

The best of the lot. Obviously. BID NOW!

For all three of you that didn't know, Bill Mantlo, the writer of ROM, was injured in a hit and run accident in 1992 and has needed constant care ever since.

It's for a good cause, so I don't even care if you set fire to it afterwards or anything- just please bid on a piece now.



Friday, 17 December 2010


I've been waiting in for a delivery for two days now.  Two days!  I'm frightened to so much as go to the loo in case I miss it...

Friday, 10 December 2010

Time wasting fun

I rather foolishly downloaded the latest driver for my Cintq last night.  Error.  Have since spent the morning trying to get rid of it as Manga studio's been a bit glitchy ever since and Painter IX refuses to open.  Fortunately, I can still use Painter XI (I just prefer IX), as I was unable to get my old driver to work.

Morning wasted- so I thought I'd treat myself to some drawing therapy and allowed this doodle to get out of hand.

Daredevil- as brought to you by Manga Studio, Painter and Photoshop.  And tears of frustration and rage, of course.

I need a nice cup of tea...

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Is the working title of my very own creator owned project that I'm hoping to fit around other non-comicy stuff that will be paying the bills.  Sorry, big comic companies- you've missed your window of opportunity!

I've been tinkering with the storyline for a while now, but you can only tinker so much before you have to actually commit to something.  Anything.

LogicEngine is set in both the present and the future (sort of) and will hopefully explore life, death and everything in between.  Being an artist first and a writer second, I will understand if you think that this idea sounds a bit vague.  Or even shit.

I'd say "watch this space," but honestly, you might have to wait a while...


Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Weapon X

Fancied drawing something for me while waiting for approval on a couple of pages of roughs.  It seems that everyone is drawing Judge Dredd today- so naturally I've drawn Wolverine.


As usual, all I can see are the bits that don't look quite right.  One day, I'll draw something, be completely happy with it- and then the world will end immediately after.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Ridiculously inefficient character design.

I've had Manga Studio for ages, I just haven't had too much opportunity to get to grips with it, so I decided to use it for the basis of a character I needed to design.

I usually do all of my sketching in Photoshop and then shift between Painter and Photoshop once I go to final (although I'm quite sure that I could use either program pretty much exclusively if I made the effort to work more efficiently).

Ok- first up is my basic blue line sketch, created in Manga Studio.  Design-wise, I pretty much already know what I'm going to draw, so it's just a case of getting it on paper.  Or screen.  Whatever.

Once I'm happy with the pose, it's out with the pens.  Nothing fancy, because I don't really know what I'm doing yet.  I just use the G pen (which I can only assume stands for 'Great', because it is), with the stroke-in/out and auto-correct features turned off.  I add a few other lines here and there with the marker pen.  Again, nothing too ambitious.

Once I'm happy, I ditch the blue layer, leaving me with my basic line drawing.  And, in this instance, that's about it for Manga Studio.  So far, I haven't done anything I couldn't have done in Photoshop or Painter, but the actual drawing tools in Manga Studio are far superior to anything Photoshop or Painter have to offer, in my opinion.  The brushes are just lovely to use- none of that shaky line gubbins that you can get with Photoshop- just crisp, clean lines.  Plus, if I don't start using it soon, I never will!

At this point, I export my image as a PSD, so that I can open it up in Painter and Photoshop. This is the only place that Manga Studio falls down for me.  Once I've exported it, I have to import it into an entirely new document if I want to work on it in MS again- which is a bit of a pain.  If my work was all in black and white, I'd probably only ever work in MS, but as it is, I like to switch between Painter and Photoshop for the colouring process- and it would be brilliant if I could nip back into MS if I wanted to as well.  I'm hoping that this will be possible at some point (hint hint).

Anyway- I take my freshly exported PSD into Painter, where I smudge over all the lines (bear with me, I haven't gone mental), using a grainy water blender on top of a Ribbed Pastel paper texture- leaving me with this:

"RUINED!" I hear you cry.  Not so!  Well... ok.  It sort of is- but in a good way- because now I get to put all that detail back in again in Photoshop, using a brush set to around 85% opacity.

Eventually, this is what I'm left with.  To be honest, I could probably create the exact same effect in half the time with a 2B pencil and a bit of actual paper- but that's a discussion for another day.

Then it's back off to Painter to add the grey tones.  Tell a lie, I put the basic tones down in Photoshop, but I then take in back into Painter to use the same water blender/ribbed paper combo that I used when smudging my lines.

Straight back into Photoshop, where I add a 50% colour layer, set to multiply which gives my colours that washed out look without my having to think too hard.  They looked washed out because they are washed out.  This is just a basic flat layer- big blocks of colour.

Next up are the detail layers- again, set to multiply.  Red airbrush around the base of the horns and around the eyes and mouth (sweat stains on the clothing- that sort of thing), before adding a couple of highlight layers over the top.

Finally, I bung a colour burn texture layer over the top of the whole thing- set at around 30%.  I do this to a) make it more interesting to look at and b) because I think it pulls the colours together (what's left of them!).  This is one that I made myself, but you can get some really nice textures from Caleb Kimbrough over at his blog,

And that's about it.  Apart from using Manga Studio at the beginning, pretty much all of my work is done this way- comics, cartoons, covers and interiors. Workflow-wise, it's not the smartest way of working, but I'm usually reasonably pleased with the results.

Right.  Back to work.

Once I've had a cup of tea.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Darkness #88 cover

I really am the world's worst blogger.  If you're following me on Twitter, then you probably saw this last week.  If not, here it is now.  And you should follow me on Twitter.

It's slightly different to the version that's being used for previews at the moment in that it's more awesome.  Fact.

Lots to do today.  LOTS.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

54 Jones

Not a very productive work day today, but I did manage to doodle this- which I really like.

I still have fond feelings for 54 Jones and he's a character I'm hoping to revisit (with writer, Paul Scott) at some point. Basically, I've tried to make him a little more interesting to look at, as I think he was a bit too good-looking before.

Friday, 4 June 2010

In an alternate universe, I draw cartoons...

It's true.  Once a month, I change places with my doppleganger and he draws a bike themed cartoon for Cycling Plus magazine.  I don't usually post them because I assume that people are more interested in my comic work- but I quite like some of them:

As it goes, I might be switching places with my doppelganger on a permanent basis pretty soon.  If so, he will be drawing cartoons, while I will occasionally pop back and draw comic covers, rather than sequentials.  I hear his universe is pretty funky, actually.  Elvis is alive and well, nobody has ever heard of Simon Cowell and personal rocket belts were invented quite some time ago.

Unfortunately, skinny jeans are also in fashion over there as well- but you can't have everything.

More cartoons here.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Darkness #88 cover (partial)

This is as much as I'm allowed to show for the next couple of weeks- and I'll probably have gone off it by then...

It's a lovely day.  I've got a few calls to make, some odds and ends to finish off and wheels to set in motion- and then I'm going to skive- yes, SKIVE.  In the sun.  Possibly with a beer or two.  Eat that, 9-5ers!


Friday, 28 May 2010

Return of the Screaming Skull. On a T-shirt.

Yes, due to practically no demand whatsoever, I have sorted out some skull T-shirts in various shapes and sizes.  I have the slim-fit T for myself and it looks brill- no idea what the others fit like, but at least the design looks good.

I don't need to sell many- just enough to fund my own T-shirt habit.  Now buy my tat, mortals!

Get your Nosmit skull T-shirt here!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Bristol Expo

The Bristol Expo was, as always, fantastic.  I took it pretty easy on the Friday night, but got in a horrible state on Saturday night/Sunday morning- although others got in far worse states, it has to be said:

Yes, that is indeed Jock and Dom Reardon.  It's probably best not to go into any greater detail- but I assume it's a Totnes thing.  Whatever it was they were doing, it had me in stitches.

I spent most of the weekend with the Com.X guys, who are all really nice, but I also bumped into loads of people I haven't seen in ages- which is what Bristol's all about for me.  Bit quieter this year- and I missed the likes of Spurrier, Molcher and PJ- but I met a few new people as well, so that was nice.  Particularly pleased to meet up with John Higgins again, who I think is a really top bloke.

Got told off by what seemed like everyone for not really believing in my own abilities, so have made a mental note to look down my nose at people and assume that I'm the absolute best at everything I do from now on... :D

The only fly in the ointment this year was somebody getting knocked down right in front of us, outside of the Ramada- which was all very unpleasant.  I'd particularly like to thank the stupid cow that tried to get a better view for her toddler (seriously!).  Clear views of people broken and bleeding in the street- just the sort of thing that every young boy needs!

Anyway...  apart from that, it was a top weekend all round really.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Screaming Skull

Well, it's probably not screaming, to be honest- but it does look a little bit fed up, doesn't it?  I know how it feels.  I had a couple of T-shirts made up with it on, only to find that they'll ship too late for me to show them off at the Bristol Expo grrrrr....

Then I decided to use it as my profile pic- only to find that for some reason, it doesn't embiggen* when you click on it.

It's obviously cursed.

*frighteningly technical term.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Demon Cowboys...

Today's efforts. Yes, somebody has already pointed me in the direction of the stupid Jonah Hex trailer and his stupid horse, with its stupid gatling guns on its sides. Needless to say, I am suitably irritated. Oh well...

Manga Studio

I recently acquired Manga Studio from the good people at Smith Micro and I agreed to post a tutorial of one of its features in return.

Things being what they are, I have so far totally failed to live up to my side of the bargain and have failed- utterly- to even give the program a decent test run that's worthy of some of the fantastic features that I know it has. I will get there, Manga Studio, I will!

In the meantime, here are a couple of pieces I did using the symmetry ruler, which I think is a cracking tool. Now, you might ask, "what's the point? Surely you can just create a mirror image in Photoshop that's just as good?"

Well... yes and no. Technically, you could do that- but I think that this is much better. For a start, the brushes are lovely to work with- much smoother than in Photoshop (which I live by and use every day). Also- and this might not seem like a big deal- you can draw on either side of the ruler and you'll get the mirror image on the opposite side.

Again, you might be thinking, "so what?"- but you'll be surprised by what you'll think to draw on the right hand side that you didn't think to draw on the left.

Try it. If nothing else, it's quite therapeutic.

Again- I'm really sorry that there's no actual "how to" with these images- but I was just playing around with it at the time and I didn't think to get any screen grabs as I went along. When I've got a bit more time, I'll create some proper step-by-step tutorials.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Bad Guys...

...Infinitely more interesting to draw. Fact.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Impaler 5/6 Interior panel

One more panel to go to crack the page I'm working on- but it's fair to say that I've spent most of the day on this single panel.

I think this means that I'm doing comics wrong...

Monday, 15 February 2010

A parcel arrives...

It's pretty big- what could it be? I don't remember ordering anything that necessitates a box- but it wouldn't be the first time I made a drunken internet purchase...

I'm half suspecting some kind of joke parcel now- it seems to be all packing and nothing else...

Just LOOK at all the packing material! What could possibly need so much protection?!?

Aha! It's the Cla$$war book I ordered from Forbidden Planet. No wonder I didn't realise what it was- books usually come in flat packages, not big boxes! Either way, I look forward to reading this- although it'll probably be a while before I get the time. And look- somebody's scrawled something on the cover. Bloody vandals...

Friday, 5 February 2010

Dave Gibbons bought me a pint

Travelled down to London for the Forbidden Planet signing yesterday, which went really well. First person I ran into (apart from AL Ewing, who I bumped into at St. Pancras, on his way to the SFX thing in Bognor Regis, or whatever) was Boo Cook, who was lost. I pointed out to him that he wasn't really lost as the building he wanted was quite literally across the road. It had the words, 'Forbidden Planet Megastore' written on it, in letters 40 feet high (Ok, they were a bit less prominent than that- but it was still funny). :D

After the mental arse-kicking that my ego took last time, I wasn't looking forward to the whole sketching aspect- but the first guy that asked wanted me to draw him the Joker. I couldn't believe my luck- the Joker is one of those characters that I quite often doodle without thinking, so it was pretty easy and, more importantly, it didn't look like ass. I also decided not to humiliate myself by attempting to draw with pens this time and did it in pencil instead. Result! I did a few other sketches, met the other artists (there were 13 of us in the end!), signed a bazillion copies of '45' and ate lots of pop and crisps (I had strategically placed myself behind the table with the biscuits and crisps on it, while I sketched).

It was good to meet new people and to reconnect with a few familiar faces- and then there was the drinking at the Phoenix Club afterwards, where a good time was had by all. Well, I had a good time and I tend to assume that if I'm having a good time then everyone else is having a good time as well. Had a really good chat with Eddie Deighton, of Com.X and Dave Gibbons (who bought me a pint) and Dave's son, Dan (who, comically, looked like Dave's replacement clone) about comics, the iPad and the imminent digital revolution. I also had a great chat with John Higgins- so that's two thirds of the Watchmen team in one day.

Safely tucked up in my hotel bed by 00.30, awake again at 04.00 for about an hour (I think I was just a bit hot and bothered).

The view from my window at 4 in the morning. I was somewhat confused by the Christmas tree lights

Finally got back to sleep, only to have the maid wake me up at 08.00, because I'd forgotten to put the little 'do not disturb' tag on the door. I resisted the urge to kill her with a machete- mainly because I had no clothes on and had no machete handy- and then went back to sleep, before being woken up again- this time by the fire alarm. To be honest (and don't do this at home, kids) I decided that I would rather die in bed than get up again- so I ignored it, in the hope that it was simply a false alarm. Which it was.

Train journey home was slightly surreal, in that I had the entire carriage to myself- and it wasn't a tiny carriage either.

Nobody in front of me

Nobody behind me either. There was a disconcerting 'Midnight Meat Train' moment for me- but overall, it was quite a pleasant experience

It was a non-stop train until Market Harborough, so nobody got on before I got off. Naturally, I had to fight the urge to take full advantage of the situation by lazing around in my pants and singing along enthusiastically to my iPod- which is probably just as well as two ladies came by with a trolley of goodies for me to choose from. I chose Quavers.

Yum yum.

So anyway- main points again:

Didn't suck.
Finally feel like a real comic artist.
Dave Gibbons bought me a pint.

The only downside is that I didn't get a lot of work done today or yesterday, so I'll be working like a demon over the weekend to catch up.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

'45' signing at Forbidden Planet, London

I'll be there, along with the Com.X guys and some of the other fantastic artists that worked on '45'.

Being surrounded by such stellar talent, and bereft of all my digital trickery, I'm hoping to avoid sketching- but I'll sign anything you want and talk at you until the restraining order kicks in. The fun begins at 5:30pm tomorrow (4th Feb), at the London Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue. I will be the one wolfing down the complimentary food. Probably.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Impaler sneak peeks.

Interior panels from Impaler 5/6.

Really liking the work I've done this week. Unfortunately, I can't really show too much of it off as we're coming to the end of the series and I don't want to give too many spoilers away.

Typically, now I'm looking at these again, I can see things that desperately need fixing.

Hey ho!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A humbling experience

So... the 45 signing. To be honest, it was all really enjoyable, apart from one aspect- being asked to draw stuff when you've got Charlie Adlard on your left and Ben Oliver on your right.

Never let anyone bamboozle you into believing that drawing digitally isn't easier, because it is. Either that, or I've been doing it for so long that my 'proper' drawing skills have simply withered away. I genuinely struggled to draw on paper without all my references and other trickery. I couldn't judge line weights, I second guessed all my proportions and I really hated the results. When I stood my scrawls next to Charlie and Ben's superior efforts, I actually felt like crying.

Despite this horrific lesson in humility, It was really good to meet people that I feel like I've known for a while already- particularly Ben Oliver, Rob Williams and Lee Carter (Lee's live drawing efforts would also have kicked my arse, no doubt, but I didn't see him draw anything). I'm a big fan of Ben's work, so I was especially pleased that he brought a big pile of it with him for people to look at (although, naturally, it brought on further bouts of weeping). Also in attendance were Eddie Deighton, of ComX, Andi Ewington and their significant others- as well as John X. I'm calling him John X because I've forgotten his second name- but he works with Eddie and Andi and did some editing on 45. Also, having managed to foist the kids off on friends of ours, I was able to take Mrs T. with me as well and we all went out for food afterwards- which Eddie paid for. Thanks, Eddie!

I'm going down to the London signing on the 4th of Feb and I'm currently trying to decide whether to get some practice in, or buy myself a sling and feign some kind of injury, to avoid further embarrassment. Having a good six or seven years worth of bad habits to break in the next two weeks makes me think that I might be better off buying the sling...


Now go out and buy '45'. It really is rather good. Especially my page.

Friday, 22 January 2010

45 signing in Cardiff

World's worst blogger has just remembered that he will be in Cardiff tomorrow, signing copies of 45 and (presumably) sketching stuff- along with some really good artists.

I'll be the one wearing the Impaler T-shirt and (probably) crying with fear at the prospect of drawing on real paper. With pens and stuff.