Tuesday, 18 December 2012

We never talk

'Allo, stranger!

Busy busy busy, so this is a quick art dump and promo thing. Sorry, I don't like using you like a cheap hooker. Not that I use hookers. Over here, we call them prozzies.

Once again, I've entered the murky waters of Threadless because the savage beatings I received in the last two attempts weren't enough. This time, however, my entry isn't as part of a contest so I assume the tactical voting will be left well alone and I might just stand a chance.

It's called TV Don't Die and I like it. You can rate it highly here if you so wish.


Moving swiftly on...

They're also running an Iron Man contest, but frankly the contests are too much bother. They're as helpful to an artist's career as eating a bean bag. I drew an Iron Man portrait anyway, in two varieties. The red/gold version would have been in metallic ink, but hey-ho.



In non-Threadless news, I've designed (to a rudimentary level, at least) a toy version of a character I created years ago, called Timebadger. As I have no 3D modelling skills, this is still all drawn in my usual vector style and has been submitted to the toy design equivalent of Threadless, Shouldbee. So expect me to pimp this over and over in the coming weeks, as it would be an immense pleasure to see my work as a vinyl toy.



If I don't update again before Christmas, have a good one! 2013 is going to be a great year and I have so many things I can't wait to tell you about, but that'll have to wait a while...

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Spiral

Can't stay for long, got work to do. Here's something I've been working on between commissions to relax.



Thursday, 29 November 2012

Let me design your coffee

I love coffee and I love art. One allows me to do the other, which allows me to buy the other, and so on. It's a love circle. Or love tennis. Whichever analogy works for you.

So naturally, when I came across this Threadless contest (my second in as many weeks), I had to enter. This time, I have more than two weeks to gather a bunch of friends, family and kindly strangers who will click the link, sign up to Threadless (very quickly) and rate my design FIVE! A little comment would be lovely, too.

The winning artwork will be emblazoned on the bags of the official Threadless blend at Bow Truss Coffee in Chicago. Given the relatively recent turn of the season and the appeal of coffee in cold weather, I went with an autumnal motif, with cute characters. I think it suits the product well, but I need your help to make it happen.

Please click HERE and do the necessary! Here's my design:


Monday, 26 November 2012

Christmas portrait season!

It's almost that time of year which we all either look forward to or dread. Either way, it's going to happen so you'd better make peace with it.

One way of keeping the Christmas season fun and fresh is to commission me to create a portrait of either yourself or a loved one (or someone you can't stand, though why you'd do that I couldn't say)! From now until the 21st of December, I'm offering my arty portraity-type services to individuals and groups, so get your orders or requests in ASAP before I'm fully booked!

This could be a marker sketch (which will be sent to you by mail) or a digital illustration (emailed to you in high-resolution). Prices on request.

I'm also offering my marker portrait services to Christmas parties in Manchester! If your office is holding a shindig in the Manchester area, why not contact me about being the resident portrait artist for the evening? Similarly, if you manage a Manchester venue and want to offer additional value to your list of Christmas party highlights, contact me to see what we can work out! It'll be a unique addition to the usual tomfoolery and should be a great laugh to boot!

Here are a few I've drawn in the not-too-distant past:







Saturday, 24 November 2012

Dude

Spent the morning making Dude, my new design. A few more angles and I think I'll submit him to one of those toy design sites.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

SHAMELESS PLUG

And a cry for help, to boot! Aren't I just a horrible person?

Short version:

I entered the Threadless Spider-Man t-shirt design contest and although I made the deadline, I somehow have less than half of the allotted time to collect votes (it's one of those contests you win by being popular and something of an internet promotion whore). 

So here's the deal: See the picture below? That's mine! It could be on a mass-produced, officially Marvel-sanctioned t-shirt, but only if YOU click the link and rate my design 5 (or $!!! as it is also known). It requires you to sign up for Threadless, which I have been assured is very quick and painless and I imagine will not mean that your email address is somehow obtained by a swarm of killer bees which will fill your face with their beeness.

Then the next bit, please tell your friends to do the same. I'd love to see my work on an actual Marvel shirt (also, the prize money would be very useful in terms of keeping me alive) but I'm at a massive time disadvantage and there are only 2 and a half days left to vote. Your help really could change things for me, at least in the short term.

No pressure, like.


LINK FOR VOTING (and make it a 5, you scoundrels...):




Sunday, 18 November 2012

Tarzan got out of hand

The downside to working almost exclusively digitally is that sometimes my mouse's batteries die and I have to wait a while as they recharge, stopping my workflow for a couple of hours. (Yeah, I could charge them overnight but if something went wrong and the plug exploded and my flat burned down as I slept in it... well, where would we all be then? Eh?) 

Today, as I was waiting for said event to conclude and Crocodile Dundee was on TV, I started sketching Tarzan based on the fact that one of the characters in the film said the name. I only had a cheap biro and copy paper to hand, but that's sometimes a lot more conducive to quality work (less pressure to get it right, I suppose).

Added some quick colours in Photoshop, ate a pizza and voila! Tarzan!


Friday, 16 November 2012

What kept me going in 2012

I blogged last year about some of my favourite artists. This was mostly a list of who has informed my work, helped define me in terms of influence and flat out fearlessness and passion. It's time I did a sequel to that post.

This time, I'm going to give you some insight into who/what has kept me hungry this year for what is essentially a very scary existence, making a living through art.

Jamie Smart

The bloke is a legend in my mind. An inspirational thinker and hard worker who genuinely cares about comics, not just working in comics. (Yes, I'm not really drawing comics anymore, but the Ultra-Bionic Wonder Sheep submission I sent to The Dandy and now The Phoenix is probably due to the enthusiasm Mr Smart radiates. My first exposure to Jamie was when I bought Bear #2 from Forbidden Planet New York in... must have been 2003, I guess. I was squatting at a friend's tiny apartment and remember being in stitches at the humour and dying to delve further into what appeared to be counter-culture comics (as a frame of reference, at this stage I was sketching Daredevil in the vain hope I could get a job at Marvel). That's what I like about Jamie; his work is subversive but somehow entirely charming so you never feel seedy after reading it. Good job too, as he's currently helping to subvert the minds of Britain's youth with his various strips in The Dandy and Bunny vs Monkey in The Phoenix.

Adam Reed

It's no secret that one of my life ambitions is to create an animated sitcom. Adam Reed has created several. Sealab 2021 and Archer being firm favourites. In a world where comedy animation is still generally looking to Mat Groening and Seth McFarlane's properties as the gold standard, Reed's shows come from an entirely different angle. For one thing, they don't use the tired 'suburban dysfunctional families' as their setting. But the humour... god, the humour. Off-kilter, acerbic and snappy. On top of that, Reed employs a variety of art styles (Sealab used old animation from the old show Sealab 2020 and played with it to great effect), all of which have more effect than the ever-so-slightly amended McFarlane work.

Billy Connolly

Huh? Yeah, you might think this has no relevance to a freelance artist, but I'm inspired by Billy Connolly's attitude and his life story. On a personal level, I think he's hilarious and have done since I first saw An Audience with Billy Connolly (which I must watch at least once a year even now) from 1985. When I realised that everything I've seen of his work since then has been made after he turned forty, it gave me a lot of faith in my ability to make it over the age of thirty (I know he had success before that show, but nevertheless). Sometimes, you see your peers outperforming you by a long way and at a stupidly young age and it makes you cry a little bit, but it really doesn't matter. Anyway, watching Connolly's documentaries, I love how much enthusiasm and humour with which he approaches everything. Even if it's just for the cameras, I'd rather see that than the typical moans and complaints that surround us on a daily basis.

There are many others, including my friends and family who have never once said that going freelance was a silly idea or too risky; the artistic community in Manchester which I'm proud to finally feel a part of; the vast majority of my Twitter feed who can be inspirational, hysterically funny, supportive and intelligent all at once; the various creators of the ridiculous amount of entertainment I consume (including, I must admit with a little bit of shame, the people behind How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, which are familiar friends after a long day at the monitor/desk)... the list goes on. But the above examples are people who, this year at some point, have made me redouble my efforts and actively turn a corner into a more productive and successful place.

In lieu of a Thanksgiving in this country, this blog post is my tip of the cap to the good things and good people of 2012 (and past years, too).

Saturday, 10 November 2012

You should be Danson

Holler. Yo yo yo. Guten tag. Salutations.

There are a lot of things happening behind the scenes at the moment, so I should probably start updating more often with my warm-up sketches and stuff so the blog doesn't die. There's nothing more depressing than a dead blog (other than a hell of a lot of stuff).

Today's warm-up is a quick portrait of 80s Ted Danson. You might call it random, but Cheers is being shown from the beginning every morning right now and I'm loving it, so there you go.


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Best week of my life!

This is not a particularly productive blog post, but I rarely make a song and dance about how excited I am.

On Friday 26th October, I participated in a live drawing session in Manchester's Soup Kitchen to benefit Movember. It was about raising awareness rather than money, and to direct people to Gallery Of Mo, a website where you can get a moustachioed portrait of yourself in return for a donation to help fight pancreatic cancer. What a good deal.

For myself, it was a bit of a departure! As I'm sure you have noticed, most of my work is digital in nature and here I was (along with a bunch of insanely talented artists such as Chris Howker, Craig Knowles, Emma Reynolds, Eight Bit, Pete Obsolete and Oliver Lancaster Smith) drawing marker portraits of people right in front of them!



Frankly, it was more than a little nerve-wracking, but totally worthwhile and great fun. I even got to draw Olympic taekwondo bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad and grime/rap artist Blizzard. Plus, free bar (always good for a starving but beer-loving illustrator).

How to follow that?

Well, how about a trip to That London to deliver my Polyphonic Spree posters for their Halloween gig?

The show was incredible, with a reduced-in-number but still energetic and optimism-charged Spree belting out two sets, one Rocky Horror, one Polyphonic Spree (and The Who). Ticker tape cannons, huge cobwebs, glitter rockets, Light To Follow (one of my all-time favourite songs)... immense. What might have pushed it over the edge was that I had an Access All Areas pass, which meant I had a beer with the band in the green room and later, following a (very) rapid period of reportage sketches, I met Tim DeLaughter and Buffi Jacobs from the band and handed them their sketchy likenesses as (possibly backhanded owing to the quality of my linework) thank yous.



There were a few posters remaining from the gig, which I'll be putting up for sale either here or maybe on a bigcartel site just as soon as I can figure out postage costs and get some poster tubes big enough.

In the meantime, you can pick up the live recording from the gig here: http://www.concertlive.co.uk/product.php?id=156 if you want. Yep, I can add Spree CD cover art to my CV, too!

Here endeth the self-indulgence.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Jimmy Savile is the Devile

Look, I don't want to come across all judgemental, but did anybody seriously ever look at Jimmy Savile and not think he was a sex offender? Creepy, straw haired weirdo who had a huge robotic chair and gave kids a quick go on a rollercoaster as long as they sat on his knee?

I'm only surprised it took this long for it to become news.

Quite rightly, his headstone has been taken to landfill, it looks as though he's posthumously losing his knighthood and even the website for Saviles Hall (the venue in Leeds in which Thought Bubble is hosted annually) has had all traces of his name removed, so I guess it'll be renamed very quickly.

Anyway, he's a prize arsebag and I made him into a demon.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Buy Once Upon a Time Machine!

Hello!

Well, my writer/artist/partial letterer comics debut has finally hit the shelves. Yep, I have an 8-page twisted retelling of The Three Little Pigs which is part of Dark Horse Books and Locust Moon Press' Once Upon a Time Machine.

It's been a long road, over three years since the project began life. With over 50 creators and in excess of 400 pages of stories, all re-imagining fairy tales in a future setting, it's a bargain at $24.99 (and you'll find it cheaper - $13.43 on Amazon) or £18.99 (£12.45 on Amazon.co.uk)!

Want more reasons to buy it? Okay, here's a few of the creators involved:

Ryan Ottley (Invincible), Khoi Pham (Scarlet Spider, Daredevil), Farel Dalrymple (Prophet, Pop Gun War), Marcio Takara (Irredeemable, The Incredibles), Cary Nord (Conan, X-O Manowar) and a whole bunch of writers, artists, letterers, colourists and editors with whom I've shared a lot of funny, constructive conversations, tip, critiques and dreams of making it. These would be people such as (in no particular order) Gav Heryng, Gary Heaney, Jim Giar, Chris Stevens, L Jamal Walton, Scott O. Brown, Jason Rodriguez, Andrew Carl, Chip Skelton, William Blankenship Jr, Jason Copland, Fred Duran, Drew Moss and Lee Nordling (I'm sure I missed some, sorry!)

Simply put, this is a dream achieved for a lot of people. It started as a fun project to get people excited, but it's ended as a VERY well-received anthology which will no doubt be the start of a lot of careers. If you have any interest in sci-fi, fairy tales or just great stories and art, you should pick up a copy and let us know what you think! Support the little guys!

Enough now, here's the cover, by Farel Dalrymple:


Links to where you can buy it:

Forbidden Planet
Waterstones

Amazon (UK)
Amazon (US)
TFAW
Barnes & Noble


And links to the glowing reviews so far:

http://auggie-talk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/review-once-upon-time-machine.html
http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=13825
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15739430-once-upon-a-time-machine
http://www.comicbooktherapy.com/review-once-upon-a-time-machine-50355
http://mediocrityisthenewgenius.com/2012/08/21/dark-horses-once-upon-a-time-machine-future-schocks-classic-fairy-tales/
http://bkfaerie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/once-upon-time-machine-by-lee-nordling.html

The trailer:


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

My Polyphonic Spree poster

Just been given the go ahead to show this, so here's the first look at my gig poster for The Polyphonic Spree's show in London on October 31st (that's Halloween, in case you hadn't noticed)! Now, unless I'm very much mistaken, this will be the band's first appearance in the UK since 2007 and as they're one of my favourite bands of all time and yet fate has never allowed me to see them live (many near misses, though), the fact that I'm going to be at their show along with 100 prints of this poster (all signed and numbered) is... well, it's all I can do not to explode.

I strongly suggest you come along. Some Rocky Horror Show tunes, some Spree originals, fancy dress, shenanigans, art, wildebeest (okay, maybe not wildebeest)... you'd be mad to miss it.



Monday, 8 October 2012

May LaFours be with you

I scoured the internet last night and discovered something startling: nobody has made anything of the (in retrospect) obvious pun which can be put together using LaFours (from Butch and Sundance) and 'the Force' (from Star Wars). Considering that Star Wars is one of the most plundered properties for internet humour, this came as a hell of a surprise. Recent searches have turned up precedents for 'Doctor Hoot', 'Centaur of Attention' and at least two more puns, so how the hell this has happened is beyond me.

Never one to let the opportunity slip by, I woke up this morning and started on my Star Wars/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid mashup.

If you don't get the pun, you probably need to watch Butch and Sundance (or even Mallrats, maybe).


Friday, 5 October 2012

Upcoming events

Sketch-O-Matic

If you find yourself in Manchester between the 12th and 21st of October, why not pop to the Cornerhouse on Oxford Road and get your portrait drawn in the Sketch-O-Matic? The details are all there in the link, but the basics idea is that it's like a photo booth with an artist instead of a camera. Dozens of artists are doing one-hour shifts (mine is Oct 15th, 4-5pm). Obviously, I won't have time to do vectors, so it'll be markers and other pen-shaped tools. Should be a larf!

Movember

I'm one of many artists contributing to Gallery of Mo next month. In addition to growing a sure-to-be enviable moustache on my unenviable face, I'll be drawing portraits to order throughout the whole of November. Sorry, Movember. This will be in my vector style and because it's for charity, each of my portraits will be £20. Be ready when the site starts taking orders and I'll draw an angular version of you with a hairy lip.

Hopefully, it'll be more accurate than my portrait of Bob Mould, iconic member of Hüsker Dü, influence on the grunge scene and currently ripping up the airwaves with his amazing song The Descent. Sorry Bob, you deserve better than this...


Process:




Disclaimer: I don't have any Bob Mould tracks, so the music on the video is provided by the equally amazing Weather.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Portrait and process

It's past 2am which is quite late for me these days, being an old man, so I'll keep this brief.

Despite deciding yesterday to finish my Rock Frontmen series with Josh Homme, I made another one. Someone on Twitter asked me about my artistic process, which led me to have a go at livestreaming. Naturally, I went with a portrait as it's been my thing recently and as I was listening to Incubus' Light Grenades (mint album), I decided on their singer Brandon Boyd as my subject.

While the resemblance may be debatable, I hope at least that it's a decent image and that the video (reduced from 1 hour 40 mins to just over 12 mins for the sake of your sanity) gives you some insight into how I work. You may be surprised to note there's no sketching at all. You may not. You may be a bison. If so, fair play to you for navigating the internet to this point.



Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Three more portraits

Three portraits, three different approaches, although it may not look like it.

First is a simple, cartoony affair (appropriately enough given that the subject is a cartoon character). Here, I really tried to go back to the minimalism I originally used on the Chad Kroeger and George Lucas portraits which I guess is easier given that I'm not necessarily concerning myself with a likeness.



Next, I allowed myself the luxury of curved lines for a change. This is the first female portrait in this style, which I haven't exactly been looking forward to as this style works best with strong, preferably exaggerated features. Well known women on the whole tend to be less exaggerated than men in terms of basic stuff like nose length, brow size, etc. Some (a lot of) men are the same, actually, but I don't mind playing up men's cartoonish (ugly) features, plus they sometimes have beards which can help. I feel guilty making women look like Transformers (yes, I'm from the 1950s with my gentlemanly ways).

Anyway, I attempted to draw Lauren Laverne. It proved difficult, and maybe I went too far again into details. I asked for people to guess who it was and nobody got it...



Lastly, a return to the style developed over the past few weeks. Part of the rock frontmen series. I found this one incredibly easy to do, and I hope it's obvious who it is supposed to be. If not, maybe I'll go eat a wall or something.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Mister Grohl

I need to re-buy the first three albums. The Colour and the Shape is one of my all-time favourite rock albums and New Way Home is a great, great ending.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Two more Transformers


The real G1 Ironhide

Listen, as far as I'm concerned, the toy is gospel. Never mind all this cartoon "Ooooh look, I've got a face" malarkey. Ironhide has no head. End of discussion.

Not really, but it always makes me laugh to think of how poor the toy of Ironhide (and, I guess, Ratchet) was. I owned it as a kid and I remember how flimsy it became. The robot could stand up without the aid of his futuristic zimmer frame and even then, he slumped like a drunk over a bin.

So... happy Friday!


You lack even Prime's courage...

Behold... Galvatron.

Always been my favourite Transformer design.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

My spare time


I don't usually post works in progress, but this is a personal piece which I started off playing around with and (hopefully) will be too busy to complete for a while.

When I was a kid, I had a set of square boards with roads and buildings drawn on them, which I could rearrange and create my own town to drive my old Matchbox cars around. Simple stuff, but I loved it. That wasn't in my mind when I started this - I just started laying down rectangles with no real plan - but it seems to be shaping up into a similar concept, however ill-measured in retrospect. As I developed this, I imagined it as an animated gif, with the truck and car passing by. Maybe I'd do a night time version in orange hues. I don't know. Which, I guess, is why I'm okay with showing the work in progress, as there's no real reason for its existence.

I know I like it though. I wonder how ambitious a project it would be to go back to square one and create a digital version of those square boards, with animated components? Maybe I could make a series. Or would that just be the original Grand Theft Auto game?

Whatever, this is what I do in my spare time.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Anna May Monger

Those who know me will probably be aware of my... shall we say 'ambivalence'... towards anime and manga as a whole. When I was a teenager, I became obsessed by the Japanese style of comics and animation, devouring everything I could get my hands on. If I recall, I had VHS copies of Akira, Fist of the North Star, Venus Wars, Judge, Patlabor 2, Street Fighter II, Armageddon, Panzer Dragoon, and I'm sure quite a few more (despite not really having any money). I collected a few issues of Dark Horse's Manga Mania magazine, which serialised Akira, Godzilla, Appleseed and Dirty Pair amongst others, with reviews of upcoming releases. I was even in the Manga Club for a time.

Then... something happened. It was like my favourite band had suddenly become huge and I wasn't happy. Not because I'm too cool, but because the stuff which really seemed to be popular was so generic and dull. Dragonball Z, for one. I gave it a chance, I really did, but it was a series of half hour distance shots of two people looking at each other from cliff tops, with maybe one punch thrown, then a preview of the next episode (which was just as cliff toppy). Poke-sodding-mon. Don't even try. It was garbage.

So the band analogy, I can expand on. It was like my favourite band had recorded a single with Rhianna,  sampled Tubthumping and convinced Peter Kay to star in the video. Then said video had gone viral, sending the band in a new and horrific direction and inspiring other bands to make more like it. The current popularity of anime and manga in the western world seems to me to be based on a foundation of the worst examples. This is, of course, subjective. However, let's not forget that every other entertainment industry is dominated by very poor examples. Chart music, reality TV, YouTube vids of cats, Fifty Shades of Grey... so this shouldn't be surprising.

I've mellowed now and then, going through phases of enjoying a bit of anime. When I was subscribed to Netflix, I discovered Redline, 50 Centimetres per Second (visually lush but dull as dishwater), The Sky Crawlers, Robotech (yes, discovered it in 2012...) but this week I re-read a chapter of the original Akira manga, by Katsuhiro Otomo and it absolutely blew me away. Here's a sample page from the chapter:

My old band was called Tetsuo. Just so you know.

To me, this is the gold standard of comic book (and manga) storytelling. Not this particular page, per se, but it's indicative of how Otomo approached the whole story. It's a rare page in that the panel count is low (Otomo was hardly a Rob Liefeld in this regard) but it tells the story at the perfect pace. Minimal dialogue because the whole thing takes place in seconds. Incredible detail and perspective in panel two. The thing which pushes it all over the edge for me, though, is that you get a sense of the physics of the sky bike. Fast, light, manoeuvrable and buoyant. The speed lines do a job beyond pure dramatic effect, they're crucial. This is the difference between the exceptional manga that I once loved and the meh which followed.

I'm overcoming my prejudices now, looking at the (what is it? Genre/industry/movement?) with new eyes. I'm seeing a lot of merit in the artists who practice restraint. I've also got to deal with the fact that I entered this world via what is still widely considered the best example of anime and manga, so of course others would pale in comparison to some degree. Happily, I now own DVDs of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Sky Blue (I know it's Korean) and, naturally, Akira. They have their weaknesses, animation restrictions and habits which make them unique, I guess, but they show a lot more invention than most western animation, particularly since we all went CGI gaga over here.

In fact, this just reminded me of the last time I tried overcoming prejudices towards manga. It was as part of a writing/storytelling exercise set up by Jason Rodriguez on the Digital Webbing forums when we first started to put together Once Upon a Time Machine (buy it now, folks!). We were given three adaptations of the classic Star Wars scene where ***SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE STUCK IN 1977*** Ben Kenobi is killed by Darth Vader.

These are the pages:


This was my assessment:

The 70s Marvel adaptation is far too clunky and unnecessarily wordy. The dialogue seems to have been expanded upon merely to fit Marvel's house style at the time and the whole scene (I imagine the whole book) suffers greatly as a result. The emphasis is on all of the wrong moments. By filling the fight scene with captions and dialogue and leaving very little room for the action to breathe, the pacing is exactly the same as the Han/Luke et al part. Across the four pages, there's no real sense of drama. It has the same effect as somebody verbally telling the story using the tried ans trusted "...and then... and then..." approach.

The Dark Horse adaptation... meh. Even less room given to the scene. I don't know if there was a strict editorial mandate regarding page allotment but Christ, this is Star Wars! Do it justice. I'd consider this to be pretty much by-the-numbers storytelling. The angles seem to be taken directly from movie stills, except with occasional cropping and in the case of Vader's fatal blow, an implausible zoom out? Possibly to save the effort of Luke's reaction being awarded its own panel. You know, nothing crucial. Only one of Luke's major turning points... sheesh. The dialogue is obviously lifted directly from the movie which is fine, I guess, but the pacing doesn't fit.

Now. The manga. I'm going to have to admit here that I'm not a fan of manga, but this adaptation is streets ahead of the first two. The first thing that struck me, other than the huge grin on my face, was that the scene was given its due. You can't do a movie adaptation shot-for-shot, and this has been duly noted. Every mark has been hit. The crucial elements are there, as they were in the other versions, but the drama has been well and truly amped up. A crazy kinetic lightsabre duel which wasn't present on celluloid (does that matter?), altered pacing which makes the most of the big moments. God, this is good reading. It shows how the same dialogue can be ultilised to far greater effect when you control your pages. The art has been given free reign here. The killing strike, far from being dealt with in a single panel, is given a double-page spread and feels more important. Even Ben's knowing glance immediately before is dealt with better here than Dark Horse's lifeless panel (he's just looking to his left. If I hadn't seen the film, I wouldn't have caught the significance from that panel).

Although the manga art style isn't my cup of tea, I'm honestly going to start reading more after seeing how they handled this scene. To me, the whole approach was the biggest difference. Marvel's seemed constricted and bound by superhero conventions and is very much a product of its time. Dark Horse was too literal and sterile and unfocused. The manga was a comic telling the story of Star Wars.
Maybe I should remember this.

Finally, here's some awesome manga-style art I've come across in the last couple of days:

The backgrounds and detail in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex are insane
The aforementioned Redline
Again, stunning setting, detail and lighting. This is 50 Centimetres Per Second
An art book I want to buy more than I want to buy food

An amazing illustration by William Gibbons. Check out his brilliant work here: http://ashwara.tumblr.com


Friday, 14 September 2012

Too far?

Not in terms of subject matter, but I'm comparing this to the Chad Kroeger illustration I did which started this whole portrait spree I've been on recently and it's gone from a pretty quick and very geometric approach to (what seems to me) a more accurate representation of the subject. It could be that I'm a perfectionist, or that because I'm submitting a lot of these portraits as portfolio pieces to publishers and whatnot but as per usual, the initial idea and the charm that goes with it has developed into something else.

It could also be artistic growth, I guess! Frankly, not every person's face lends itself to caricature (as I found out to my disappointment with my awful attempt at Ainsley Harriott) and some require more attention to detail. Whatever the reason and whatever the resulting style, it's a positive step in that I couldn't draw a recognisable caricature to save my life last year, so that's good.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Dam

A quick warm-up based on a public domain photo of a dam. This is simplified as much as I dare.


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

American Idiot

Moving onto portraits of music types for a few days. Mostly influenced by what I've been listening to recently. Although I was listening to Green Day's Dookie, the version of Billie Joe Armstrong I went with was the (only just, I suppose) more up to date eyeliner-wearing American Idiot look.


Monday, 10 September 2012

Friday, 7 September 2012

Final Chef

My Ainsley Harriott portrait was frankly a bit poo, so I tried for the weird experimental Heston Blumenthal as my final chef.


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Morrissey Operating System 1.0

Morrissey. Personally, I'm not a fan. One of the major reasons being that almost every song I've ever heard him sing has the same melody in it.

So, I made a little Garage Band project with said melody, knocked up a (fairly accurate, though I say it myself) profile shot of Mozza in silhouette and animated it in Photoshop. Just for a laugh. Imagine if Morrissey actually had his own OS. It'd refuse to work with anything.


I'm a hero hunter. I hunt heroes.

Haven't found any yet.


70s Bowie

Been listening to a lot of Bowie songs from the 1970s and finally became inspired to draw this. Makes a change from chefs.