Tag Archives: comics

Meet Mr Wabbit, Brushes style…

Ok so: playing with the iPad as I am my intention was to draw a Wabbit being wabducted by an Alien. As mentioned earlier it’s the image that I tend to do with young people as a ‘you can learn to draw’ style pic because the nuts and bolts of it are so easy to pick up and I always like to see who does what to the two principle characters.

Life going according to plan, as it rarely does, I’ve only done the Brushes version before heading straight back to do the  Galactus and Hulk images also attached below. I have done the beginnings of a Wabbit image in Layers and in Sketchbook Pro, haven’t really managed to get into Art Studio but each have their glitches and oddities that leave me quitting the programs in frustration. I will finish all of these pictures at some point but for the moment lets start with Brushes and what I’ve found while drawing on it:

First off the larger screen on the iPad is a joy to draw on. I’ve not used a stylus yet but it immediately feels more free and open than the iPod Touch’ smaller screen. This is a good and bad thing for me as the tightness of the smaller screen informed what I was doing a fair extent but the ability to just sit and draw on something more akin to a medium sized sketchpad is intensely liberating.

Secondly oh boy do layer modes help you in drawing and colour correcting. Shadows set to overlay or multiply look richer and more vibrant than simple layers placed over each other. Similarly some of the new brush presets on offer are fabulous. One in particular – a noise brush – I’m finding very useful to add texture to pictures and others look like they’ll be very useful in the cross hatching and detailing moments of making a picture. Also it’s lovely to have a couple more layers to play with but I suspect I’d say that no matter how many layers were offered.

Downsides? A couple: The playback animation feature stops at a minute or so and has no controls to stop, rewind, hive off a picture from any given frame on playback etc. Merging layers breaks the layer style options (which makes sense, it does that in Photoshop too and it would be hard to make a layer that could both overlay and multiply but it’s a shame when you hit the layer limit and cannot merge different areas) and I keep clicking on the wrong icons for brush, eraser and options which I wonder whether I’ll become used to or whether they could be a little more intuitive. The shortcuts for the software have always been a cause for concern as well with it being as easy to go back to the Gallery as it is to change from paintbrush to eraser. Lastly it’s a huge shame, one that I hope can be remedied soon,  that the gallery cannot be more sensibly organised into folders. That would help me  a lot, although I suspect that I’m unusual in having 500 or so pics in my iPod Touch version of the app.

Also lastly ( 🙂 ) there seems to be no wi-fi connectability this time – you just have to email a file to yourself.

That’s a lot of negatives and that’s unfair. Brushes is a BLAST and, at version 1 of the iPad version it’s a corker and by far my favourite art app of them all. Yes it’s missing some of the lovely features from the competition: I’d like it to output PSD files, Sketchbook’s mirror facing drawing tool is lovely, Art Studio’s dry brush affecting of prior strokes is fantastic and so on… But Brushes has the better UI, a smooth movement of digital paint on digital canvas and the more sensibly arranged workflow.

More pics to come, especially when time allows.

Sigh… sometimes I only feel I get to do artwork when I’m ill*…


Long been a fan of Marvel comics (and comics in general but the X-Men were the ones who hit most at that time in my life) and the Sentinels were possibly my favourite bad guy: hostile yet unfeeling. Fancied doodling as I try and get better sooner and this is the result.

*Actually the title is blatantly not true as I’ve been lucky enough to be doing artwork all over the place recently but this is the second time recently and nth time this year I’ve been sick and it’s a bit dull lying here not able to do much bar squeak.

And a little bit of Cerebus created in Expression while I’m at it:


On comics, soko.

Somehow, accidentally, I’ve forgotten to take the foot off the gas and relax. Tonight I find myself surrounded by work, as normal. Depending on the fancy that takes me, and the difference in deadlines between beasts, I could be working on two course engagement tasks for the teacher training, two schemes of work for my relevant course (both done but both needing polishing), one comic manual for a piece of medical equipment, the Big Book Draw stuff (some images yet to be received, more emails to be sent, equipment to be sourced etc), one series of posters etc for a charitable trust, Dr Sylver 3, the book project that’ll follow Sylver, a youth artwork thing, two kids books and two graphic novels.

Oops. I really TRULY need to learn to say no. Each new project just seems so interesting…

Aaanyhow, as is my wont I needed to escape all of that for an hour and set myself an image I wanted to create. True to form I’ve now been working on it a little more than an hour over the past couple of days but it’s been a piece of beautiful therapy for me and possibly a little more descriptive of my situation than I’d consciously intended. A week or so ago I swapped to decaf coffee having had the level of my caffeinated refueling spelt out to me.

It didn’t strike me at the time but a period of SERIOUS headaches and a smidge of overt grumpiness followed that decision. I do feel a little better at the moment but, for a day or so it was touch and go.

Aaaanyhow, theraputic image attached. TBH It’s always been a dream of mine to be let loose on a Marvel or DC character, not something I anticipate ever happening but a dream nonetheless. From Marvel I think Spidey is my favourite although visually I’ve also had a thing for Cloak and Dagger in the past. Team wise maybe New Mutants were my favourite? Maybe Excalibre? Don’t know, difficult to say. DC wise I’ll always be a fan of the Bat although it does very much depend on who’s doing the writing and art. Team wise? I guess Giffen’s Justice League hit me at a particular time and I’ll always look back on them fondly.

Truth to tell I guess 2000 ad will always hold the top slot in my affections. Ian Gibson is possibly the man who inspired me to pick up a pencil more than any other, his artwork being a thing of fun, weight, gravity and beauty, all in one go, but there were so many fascinating artists on display the weekly pick up of the comic was always an anticipated joy: Bolland, Bisley, Gibson, Kennedy, McMahon, O’Neill and many, MANY others all made me want to see my work on a comic book page for all to share in and some artists who bored me at the time have come to sow their worth: Ron Smith for example who I hated at the time but now love. The ABC warriors, Strontium Dog, Dredd, Robo Hunter, The VC’s, Rogue and others all shaped the way I viewed artwork. One day maybe I’ll get a crack at one of the stories that shaped my youth, maybe, although I guess I doubt it. Nothing I’ve worked on would put me on the same radar but hey, that’s what dreams are for eh? My ultimate job, maybe, would be a crack at Green Lantern. He’s always been a character with a rich slice of possibility and I keep hearing EXCELLENT things about the current Blackest Night story arc which I want to get the trades for sometime soon.

That said, and almost totally contradicting all I’ve just said, if I had to pick a desert island comic it would be the collected Cerebus, a tome so deep and rich and full and artistically wonderful on every possible level you could read it for a decade and still discover more. I know I’ve mentioned it before (and it’s by no means an easy read, very dark and adult in places and the central character is written to be a selfish, hard hearted earth-pig) but I stick by my assertion that it is one of the more important works of fiction that this world has delivered.

Anyhow: Spidey attached, both created in Brushes on the iPod, as if you didn’t know that already. I kind of know the story that would follow from such an image (as would anyone, it’s fairly self-explanatory) but for the moment the pic will do. Was fun to work into off and on. But, for now it’s back to work 🙁



Also: back to Red…

Busyness wise things have been hectic recently but it’s about to get a whole heck of a lot more chaotic over the next month or so between now and Book Fest and a couple of freelance gigs on the go.

Aaaanyhow in my attempts to get back on the horse I’d been looking for my wacom tablet pen which has been missing since we decorated the lounge a month or so ago. Strangely, in terms of looking, I found it and this fell onto the page via the loveliness which is Pixelmator 1.5. I do REALLY want to get back to Red at some point but at the moment other paying jobs have to take priority (apart from Book Draw which is just for the fun of it) but couldn’t resist bring Red back for one quick doodle.


Behind the trees part 2.

I think, as the story gels in my mind, that I may call it Behind The Trees… even though I only brought it up as a description of the elaboration of the images that the current batch of Pixelmator doodles has led to…

By which I mean as a very long winded intro to the next image in the series.


Which also serves to show my revolting habit of not always naming layers when I’m working quickly. Very naughty, no-one tell my students ok?

Going for an imaginary jaunt through an art gallery of one picture…

Nearly there on Sylver, 20 pages to go – in terms of re-jigging characters that is, typing (sigh) yet to come – and taking an achey breakey for a mo’. Get up, stretch, move about, sit back down and do a bit of blogging.

Prior to that I was having a mooch around le timewasternet and, somehow, found myself on a 2o00ad tribute site. Now, regular readers (hi mum and Ian 🙂 ) will know that 2000ad was possibly the most formative collection of art for me but I didn’t know if I’ve mentioned THAT image. Because, surprisingly, there was one image, and one image alone, that changed me around from doodler to determined wannabe artist. I did mention going up to Forbidden PLanet to get the artists scrawl on a sketchpad of mine but that picture. Wow. The Scret of Nimh made me want to be an animator, that was earlier and equally imprinted on my mind, but one picture alone made me hold a pencil in my hand for every waking moment after I had seen it.

Can’t find it on the webs, which is a bit of a shame as it should be on someone’s gallery somewhere, but in a strip called ‘City of the Damned’ I jumped into 2000ad for the first time, half way through the stories telling. In the centre of the comic, as a splash page, was an image of the hero, Judge Joe Dredd, precursor of Jack Bauer himself for all the diplomacy and gentleness he brought to the table, struggling across a burning, jagged floor, too tired to stand, blinded by monsters, near death. The words said something like “For you are a Judge…. And it is your duty” giving him all the motivation I needed to understand having seen the character for the very first time. 

Ian Gibson this is all your fault. You are the reason I’m not a postman.

Actually it was a whole hooting heck of an image. Gibson’s – correctly – more famous for his signature characters Sam Slade and Halo Jones and both were truly wonderful comic strips… But his depiction of Dredd on heat (sorry) was not just an eye opener but a brain opener for me. Other artists would have done the picture differently: Hicklenton would have made it ugly and grisly – possibly more suited to the image itself, Hughes would have made it very angular and possibly pop arty, maybe focusing on the flames and the colours of pain as, thinking about it, would have McCarthy. Bolland might have focused on the shadows cast from the napalm floor and others… Bisley would have slapped a few hallucinatory half dressed fairies?  Let’s just say that if I was rich, which I patently am not, I would commission a number of 2000ad artists to redraw that panel and have each and every picture framed. It’s the one image that I can look to and point at and say ‘that’s the one where my journey as an mock artist began’.

In my mind I think I’d go for the aforementioned artists plus Kev O Neil, Ron Smith, Scarfe, Dave McKean, Kent Williams, Mike Mignola, McMahon, Kennedy, McNeil and thinking about it a whole host of them, too many to name, all re-creating one picture in their own unique style, all making it their own. I’d LOVE to see that and, in my mind, I think that’s the gallery exhibition of art that I’m going to imagine myself walking down for a little while over a cup of coffee. 

And when I get to the last image, the Mona Lisa shot of the image under a stark light at the end of a corridor, held in reverence for all it means to so many people (and by so many people I mean ‘me’) and viewed in stark respect  that’ll be Ian’s original. Possibly my favourite piece of art in the world.

Like I say can’t find the image. Here’s another Gibson rendering of Judge Dredd… Not quite the same but hey, sets my imaginary jaunt to the gallery going.


Apparently, at the end of the year, we’re going to have a Creative Technologies art blogsebition. I was asked yesterday if I blog at all… Had to say that I did, a little, but now I’m wondering if I should just have stayed schtumm… Ah well. May well be a lot of fun.

Postage smiley…

I have a slightly strange postman. He’s got a bet on with someone that he will wear shorts on his round without fail longer than the other guy and this has been going on for a long time now, years in fact. So last week we had a chat, on the doorstep, while he passed over a parcel in the bleak mid snowy winter. In shorts. Strange. Aaanyhow, eeking out my Christmas money as I have a package arrived for me today that evoked many smiles:

Them were the days...
Them were the days...

Years ago I was way into comics and primarily 2000ad. At the time I was primarily into artists like Ian Gibson (then my favourite and purveyor of many classic images), McMahon, Kennedy, O’Neil and many others. Bolland was less on my radar, as was Ron Smith, yet, as I grow older (sigh) I realise that technically they were among the best that the comic had to offer…

Gibson’s still probably my favourite if I had to vote one way or another but Brian Bolland’s fabulous artwork, layout and shading is the work I would choose to use as a teaching resource when I do comic art with the kids. This image adorned a paper bag I received when going to a comic signing of which Gibson was the brightest star on show. Funnily enough, apart from the que and upsetting Nemesis artist Bryan Talbot by mistaking him for O’Neil (hey, I was very young at the time) the thing I remember was getting the bag and thinking it was the very best thing ever, more so than some of the contents I bought at the time. Thinking about it now I have no idea where the cherished Gibson autograph is yet I know exactly where the bag is. Strange….

Aaaanyhow: Forbidden Planet – the shop – was selling canvasses of the print, signed, for £80 and it was the hardest thing to not buy one. The size was the dealbreaker and the knowledge that it would not help my son to see it on a wall somewhere as he deals in images in a different way than I can understand really (yet another autistic trait I can barely get my head around) but I DID buy the t-shirt and am, indeed, wearing it now 🙂

So um, yay. Geek credentials ensured I go to teacher training in an hour or so with a smile on my face knowing that my t-shirt is enthused even if I am not, in the class at least…