Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Carl Critchlow - LAWS

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water... the instantly recognisable Carl Critchlow is back! After being tasked with wrapping up last years' brilliant Trifecta, Carl is proving the stunning art for the current Dredd tale, Scavengers. The story, by Low Life creator Rob Williams, explores what happened to Luna-City 2 after it plunged beneath the oily waters of The Black Atlantic...

Below, we see Carl's brilliant sketch which completely captures the feel of the cover. No wonder Tharg went for it.

What a pain in the tentacles...

And here are the inks, those nasty looking suckers on those tentacles must have taken an age to draw! There's a slight mistake in the image though, can you spot it?
Hey sucker, what the hell's got into you?

Finally, Carl's superbly muted colours. I love how he's kept this necessarily murky yet still manages to make it pop, brilliant!

Bubble trouble

Carl also included this alternatively coloured version which is even murkier, yikes!

And here's the cover as it will appear at your local thrill merchant. Lovely!

And good news for anyone who is a fan of Carl's hilarious, Eagle award wining series Thrud the Barbarian. On September 24th Titan Books will be printing the book with same day digital copies available on Comixology. It's a wonderful read and comes very, very highly recommended!

He didn't think it too many...

Thanks to Carl for sending the images, please check out his website at http://www.carlcritchlow.com/ and make sure you grab Thrud, you won't be sorry!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

IDW Dredd - Brendan McCarthy stands on the shoulders of giants.

IDW have been absolutely brilliant in terms of delivering a host of stunning Dredd covers by some of the biggest names in the business. They continue this tradition with issues 13-16 of their ongoing Judge Dredd series by commissioning a series of absolute beauties by the sublime Brendan McCarthy. In each, he channels the work of some of industries' founding fathers to produce a dazzling series of classics who's origins are instantly recognisable whilst still adopting his own 'Digidelic' style.

Below we have Brendan's Jack Kirby take for Dredd issue 13. The image boasts a fizzing, broiling galactic background and typical dynamic, extreme pose. Beneath that I've put a couple of examples of Kirby's work that compliment teh image rather nicely...

New Grud

New Gods.

Oh God!

For issue 14, Brendan channels Spidey and Doc Strange creator Steve Ditko. The Creeper was obviously the inspiration here, Dredd adopting the same extreme pose against a lightning streaked, rain washed sky...

The Creep!

The Creeper.

Issue 15 sees Jim Steranko's strong graphic design elements and those skin tight costumes, ace! This cover is obviously Brendan's nod to Marvel comics' Captain America issue 111...

Captain Megacity One

Captain America

Finally, Issue 16 takes inspiration from Silver Age artist Carmine Infantino. The artist is arguably most famous for his recreation of The Flash, however Brendan has chosen this Batman cover to pay homage to this particular legend.

Dredd and the girl who knows what you're wondering...

Batman and the Boy Wonder

It's always great to see Brendan's work and I've really enjoyed seeing him pay homage to artists who have obviously been so infulential on his career. The images were stolen from Chris Ryall's excellent Tumblr site, be sure to check it out for lots more Dredd goodies!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague - Feeling tyred and run down!


Vroooom, SPLAT! 

Cliff Robinson is back and man, I LOVE this cover, it's pure Robinson brilliance! I always enjoy a cover from Cliff, but his Dredd ones never fail to blow me away, he's the master.

As ever, the cover has been coloured by Dylan Teague who has done an exceptional job. 

Below we see Cliff's thumbnail sketch...

Keep death off the roads...

Next he begins to construct the Lawmaster, loving those fat firerocks! 

"He rides a huge, fat-wheeled motorbike towards a point of brightness" Name that quote!

I asked Cliff about the Lawmaster, he said 'I originally pencilled and inked half of the bike and then flipped it. It's actually a swiped image from one of my earlier Lawmaster drawings which appeared as a splash page from an episode of the 'Dragon's Den story.' Waste not want not!'

Hmmm, this 'un?

Next Cliff begins to sketch in the the other elements of the image - grumpy lawman? Check! Squished perp? Check!
Think bike!

Over on the 2000AD messageboard, Steve Longdon pointed out that the gun the perp holds also made an appearance in his brilliant Judge Minty commission, cool!

The sketch is pencilled up and looking awesome...

Road rage

Before being scanned and turned to blue line, ready for inking...

Blue loon

Let the inking begin!

Almost there... almost there...

The finished inks, simply breathtaking!

It's a hit (and run!)

The inks are then sent to Dylan for colouring. He's done a fantastic job here, the colours really pop and that orange really catches the eye.

Dog Deever has a very bad day

Thank you to Cliff and Dylan for sending the images for one of my favourite Dredd images ever!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Colin MacNeil - Anthology One

Something a bit special today, the 2000AD stars of the future! 

When I was at Glagow Comic Con I had a fascinating chat with Philip Bond Vaughan about potentially the greatest university course ever! Phil teaches at the Duncan of Jordanstone College for Art and Design, part of the University of Dundee. He is the creator and module leader of, get this, the Comic Art and Graphic Novels Expansive Module! This MLitt course critically looks at comics in terms of genre, style, formal properties and history as well as offering practical training in many aspects of comics production. As if that's not great enough, there are lectures and practical sessions delivered by comic greats such as Cam Kennedy, Colin MacNeil, Dave Gibbons, Ian Kennedy and more. It sounds amazing!

The University has published three, full colour anthology comics showcasing the students' work which are well worth picking up to see the artists of tomorrow! Anthology One features a stunning cover by Colin MacNeil, a former student of the Uuniversity. Over to Phil to tell us more...

"In September 2011, Colin MacNeil visits his old art school Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) in Dundee..."

 Colin discusses his Day of Chaos and insurrection work with a bunch of lucky gits! 

"Colin’s masterclass is part of the Comics Art & Graphic Novels Module created by Lecturer & Module Leader Phillip Vaughan (with input from Dr. Chris Murray of MLitt in Comics Studies fame at the University of Dundee). As part of the module the students produce a 6-8 page strip to be published in an Anthology. Colin was asked to provide the cover to the first issue. Colin very kindly agreed! The brief was simple; design a cover showing a typical comics student. Colin came back with quite an unexpected result which looked great! The stages are documented below..."

"Colin’s blue line pencil roughs and loose pencils. Phillip says “I really liked the  direction Colin took this cover commission , showing the various facets of modern student life and giving it a Sci-Fi twist! Colin picked up on the fact that the majority of the students on the module were female, so went with this as the main character! I was especially intrigued by the boxing glove!"

Attached to one of those wires is a Tory MP, outraged that the student is learning a creative craft as opposed to Winston Churchill or how terrible welfare is...

"Colin then works on layout paper and inks over the original pencils on a separate sheet using marker pens…Colin works at quite a large scale (A2) so this then has to be scanned in two halves and stiched back together in Photoshop."

Beer and doughnuts, the staple diet of the modern student!

"Close up detail of the inks."

A happy, fresh-faced student shortly before a life of Betelgeusian bullying in a nerve centre cubicle and dismembering by Mek-Quake. 

"Colin wanted to colour this cover himself, which he did in Photoshop. Colin told me he uses the mouse to colour, which is very impressive! This is an alternative version with a colour gradient background. The only change I asked for was that Colin change the acronym for Duncan of Jordanstone from DOJ to DJCAD, to avoid brand confusion with the Department of Justice in the US(!)"

Purple pro's

"The decision was made to go with the white background, to make the image even more graphic."

Hey Miss DJ 

"Here is the final image with the graphic elements added! Absolutely loved the way this came out, Colin did a great job and turned this around in a very quick timeframe! A joy to work with!"

"Anthology One is available here:

Huge thanks to Philip for sending the article and pictures. When chatting I was honoured to discover that this very blog has been used in the course to show how covers are put together and elements of graphic design - cool!

Anthology Two boasts a cover by Philip and Three by someone called (Pete checks notes...) Dave Gibbons. Look out for breakdowns of them on the blog soon.

You can find out more about the course here and see more of Philips work here.

Lee Garbett - Look, Kirby!

The 10 Seconders has made a triumphant return to the Prog with Godsend, a cracking story by Rob Williams with beautiful art by Edmund Bagwell. Edmund has a real skill for channeling comic legend Jack Kirby in his work, something which was not lost on cover artist Lee Garbett. He said "All the pencils were done with a Kirby-esque sci-fi in mind." This is a really powerful image, I'm sure Kirby would be very, very proud!

Lee inks and colours his work on a Cintiq and didn't have these to hand, however he was kind enough to dig out these awesome pencils, brilliant!

The deities millennial game of astral basketball was about to begin...

"I like to play with things a while, before annihilation..."

Hey, handball!
"Ouch! Ouch! Hot! Hot!"

And here's how the prog looked on your shelves, very eye catching indeed!


While I'm on with Lee, I couldn't resist showing his brilliant, brilliant, brilliant cover for Megazine 336. So dynamic, so clever, I love it!

Faster than a speeding missile...

Massive thanks to Lee for sending the images. He was really up against it with multiple deadlines but took time out to dig out the images, I'm sure you'll join me in thanking him. Please check out his excellent blog here!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

PJ Holden - That Yellow Bastard!

This week saw the Titan release of Si Spurrier and PJ Holden's magnificent Number Cruncher. This brilliant, brain-bogglingly clever story first appeared in the creator owned slot of the Meg and was so good it made the Megacast's Iz and Whittle's knickers melt! The Titan version has been expanded and coloured, so fans of the strip should definitely track this down.

The comic focuses on dead thug Bastard Zane, top enforcer for 'The Divine Calculator', the omnipotent accountant who keeps the universe checked and balanced. It's Zane's job to speed people into the afterlife, something he was born, or at least killed, to do.

When mathematician Richard Thyme dies, he crafts a deal with The Divine Calculator to be reincarnated to see his true love. What follows is a chaotic cat and mouse game of plots and counter plots between two brilliant minds, with poor Zane caught in the middle.

Over to PJ to tell us more...  

"Numbercruncher snuck up on me. I'm more used to how 2000AD's deadlines works, and while 99% of the art for numbercruncher was completed long ago for the meg, what we didn't have were covers. "

"So the deadline for the first cover came at me out of nowhere."

Above: Very clever logos designed by some shyster called Pye Parr

'In a blind panic I sent off the original Numbercruncher Meg cover (read all out it HERE - Pete) as a holding image - Titan wanted to be able to launch the book at San Diego and were looking for the cover in November! A recoloured version of the original cover would end up being used as the cover for issue 2 which I photographed and sent off - I can't remember now, but I think my internet was on the blink, so I could only send email via my phone - luckily it has a camera…'

Hard Bastard...

'At this point, there was an idea of using some sort of fancy pants/clever/clever two tone cover thing - splitting the cover into the real world and some sort of abstract "time travel" diagram (very cleverly setting out the story in a subtle way people wouldn't notice until they'd read the whole thing).'

'Time being what it was, that idea was shelved.'

Clever Bastard

Scary Bastard

Nasty Bastard

Inglorious Bastard

Bastard Bastard

"Early preference on the sketches were for #1 and #4."

"I can't find the pencil sketch now, sadly, but in order to give Steve White (my editor at Titan) something to look at, I quickly pencilled, inked and coloured a standalone figure of Bastard Zane. It was pencilled traditionally but inked in a really early version of Manga Studio 5 (which Smith Micro were kind enough to send me as an early adopter). Numbercruncher - which features some of the most traditional grey washed art I've ever done, was going to be my stepping stone to all digital art."

Moody Bastard

'I coloured him up and sent him on. Have to say, I was pretty pleased with how the big fella looked…'

Big Bastard

'That sent, I got on with some other stuff, oddly both Titan and I knocked up a final image idea with a lot of yellow in it.' 

Zany Bastard

'At this point, I had something they could use as a final cover, but I felt like I needed to add more to it (and, by more, what I actually did, was took away from the straight forward impact).'

'Luckily, the final cover I sent Titan, they rather ignored, and brought it back closer to the original simpler image. '

Dated Bastard

'In hindsight, titan's decision to lose the clocks and expand the yellow into the whole background really is a good one. The clock cover above already looks a little dated (to about 1986.)'

'And the final cover.'

Cool Bastard

'It's out NOW! GO AND BUY IT!'

'Oh, for issue 1 I was asked to do an alternative cover. Time was pressing even worse for this than the previous #1 cover, so to be honest, I'm far less happy with it. BUT, here it is anyways...'

Rough Bastard

 The alternative Bastard

Wonderful! It's great to see Numbercruncher find a bigger audience, it really is a fantastic story and PJ's art blows me away every time!

As Paul said, it's available now and I can't recommend it highly enough!