Tuesday 23 November 2010

Prog 1713 - Dr Loo!

Oh no! The Victorian Kingpin of Crime, sneaky old Stickleback himself, has stolen D'Israeli's latest blog post and has posted it here! His crafty gang also lifted extensive notes detailing each stage of the creative process, what a bunch of cads!

The notes, beleived to be written by the artist begin "This was my first cover drawn in Manga Studio... for a Judge Dredd story drawn by 2000AD titan Brendan McCarthy, so I've got a lot to live up to!"

Indeed he did, McCarthy made his debut in the galaxy's greatest comic way back in Prog 82 (September 1978) and quickly became one of 2000AD's most respected, creative and daring artists.

Matt continues "Below are the original roughs I sent to Tharg. The brief was "Dredd rapping on the doors of the public loo, with maybe a Tom Baker-style scarf sticking out from the bottom of the door". I did the first two without reference, which is why it's the wrong kind of loo (also the old 2000AD cover grid). Tharg sent me some reference and I produced three, which was okayed."
Next we have roughs...
and approval rough pencils.
"Below are the tidied-up working rough pencils, with perspective and Dredd's anatomy tightened up. I use a pink colour for stuff that has required a second pass - for example, I draw Dredd by doing the outlines of his figure first in blue, then adding all the pads and eagles in pink - if they were the same colour the drawing would get lost in places."

One of the joys of D'Israeli's work is seeing how he uses technology to enhance his already formidable skills. He says "The loo, the wall and the console were all plotted out using Manga Studio's Perspective Rulers tool - this forces drawing tools to run only along perspective lines, which makes roughing out objects in perspective an absolute doddle."
Next we have the 'pencils' stage "I only add finished "pencil" drawing to the figure, since the background is already plotted out nicely and there's no point in duplicating work. Note the grid (build using Manga Studio's "Vanishing Points" filter) which is a handy guide for freehand drawing in perspective. I made the "Mega City Public Restroom" sign on its own layer, copied it and distorted it to fit the side of the loo. (Note: this job was the last I drew using my old copy of Manga Studio EX 3, which had trouble managing the distortion, so I exported the sign and distorted it in Photoshop. I've since upgraded to Manga Studio 4 which is much happier with this sort of thing.)"
Next the image is inked in D'Israeli's distinctive style; "I like to ink everything freehand to keep a slightly looser, hand-drawn look. I added very slight curves to the edges of the loo, to make it look a little more rounded - Brendan's design looks as if it's made from moulded plastic..."
"The inks on their own, including "colour holds" (coloured outlines). From here I export the drawing from Manga Studio in Photoshop format."
Time to start adding colour - I certainly don't envy Matt having to contend with McCarthy's insane use of colour! The artist says "Flat colouring in Photoshop. Brendan McCarthy's colours for the strip are really psychedelic, so I'm trying to follow that while making something that looks pleasing to the eye. I set up a series of purple mid-tones that I can work off with other colours..."
"Next shading, added on its own layer in pale violet, using Multiply mode - this is like adding a transparent wash."
Next we see further evidence (as if needed!) of D'Israeli's amazing sense of design, "Highlights 1 - now the colours are starting to pop! I'm adding opaque highlights on a new layer, then cutting into them with a Layer Mask to establish shadows. Brendan used a really strong cyan for the wall behind the loo. I can't handle that kind of contrast with the same aplomb, so I'm pushing the strong blue up the top of the frame where it'll back the 2000AD title block and hopefully push it forward..."
"Highlights 2 - a few extra little highlights to add 'zing.'" Stunning!
Off to computer program number three, Coral Painter, to help get that gritty D'Israeli finish we all know and love. "I make a copy of the file and open it in Corel Painter (which can handle Photoshop files so no need to convert). Painter has a load of useful texture brushes, which I use to break up the smooth Photoshop finish - Sponges to add texture to the pavement, Sargent Brush and Chalks to modify the texture on the wall, and Water Blender to just tweak the edges of the shadows on the loo. I also added a few more colours to the scarf."
Adding the Fishpaste! To add a thoughtful finishing touch to the piece, D'Israeli adds some very special graffiti "Back in Photoshop, I use a layer set to "Multiply" to add graffiti to the back wall and "gum-spots" to the pavement. Except for my trademark "fishpaste," all the graffiti relates to work by Brendan McCarthy."
Finally... "Flatten layers, save as TIFF, upload to 2000AD FTP, done!" Oh, he makes it all sound so darned easy!

Below is a 'sketch' that Matt for me at the brilliant Thought Bubble in Leeds last weekend. I asked him for Stickleback doing something for this blog so he drew the image below with a space to add a cover. The cover in the sketch was obviously disproportionate to a standard 2000AD cover but D'Israeli was kind enough to correct this on a scan I'd sent him...

Also, as is customary for keen photographer D'Israeli, he took pictures of his sketches and sketchees for his own blog. For mine, I tried to ape the pose of Stickleback from the sketch then had the idea of making a never ending optical illusion by repeating the photo over and over in the sketch. Again Matt was kind enough to take my shoddy version of it and correct it. A fine, fine fellow indeed!
So, thanks a million to Matt for being so unbelievably kind in leaving so many fantastic images and such a fascinating commentary lying around for Sticklebacks gang to steal! On a personal level, I'd also like to thank him for being kind enough to fix my sketch and being such a nice chap when I met him. He really is D'best!

Go visit his wonderful blog here.

Friday 19 November 2010

Holy Moses, it's the multi-talented Karl Richardson!

Holy Christmas, it's another excellent cover from Karl Richardson, this time depicting dimension diddling Don, 'Holy' Moses Tanenbaum from hit strip (no pun intended!) Sinister Dexter.

I mentioned the resemblance to Bad Manners' front man Buster Bloodvessel to which Karl said "Actually, there probably will be comparisons with Buster, but hopefully from the sketches, people will see I just painted it from the sketch..." (below)

Karl continues "I hardly ever use reference, probably because I come from more a cartoon background. I remember using refs for Big Ben, when I did the robot/monster cover, but for things like that you have to - not that there's anything wrong with using reference, it's just quicker to do it from your head if you can!"

So, here's Karl's roughs from his sketch. He says "It was fairly straight forward as I remember - I did the sketch, sent it in - got it approved, then I started to render it..."

With the rough complete, the further details were added, "I remember adding more weight and width to his face as it wasn't nearly fat enough!" Almost there, just a few minor, and one major (for the observant among you), things to do "Yes, initially I spelt his name wrong!" admits Karl!

This really is another excellent cover from Mr Richardson, I'd love to see an alternative cover in the mould of the famous Obama 'Hope' posters.
If, like me, you were surprised by Karl's 'cartoon' roots, just check out some of the brilliant images he sent me! The first would make for a superb 1 page Future Shock...

Next we have some freaky Zombies...
And finally, of course, a Mexican bandit riding a T-Rex!
Thanks to Karl for once again being so brilliant with his time. He had a bunch of deadlines but still took the time to send the images and comments. What a lovely guy!

Monday 15 November 2010

Edmund Bagwell - Goodie in a Hoodie!

Yikes, here's the amazing cover for Prog 1711 showing the Megacity-One's premier lawman being served up as a gastronomic delight! This magnificent feast was created by the brilliant Edmund Bagwell who was responsible for the very unsettling artwork on last year's hit horror strip 'Cradlegrave.'

Above we have the delicious coloured version and the inks below. Edmund says "Not much of a story to this one, just Dredd bring served up at some sort of alien food convention! I had way too much fun drawing the alien fruit though!"

This is Edmund's second cover with his first being, of course, that iconic demonic hoodies cover of Prog 1633 (shown in all it's gory glory below...)

Edmund explains "This was all Tharg's idea. He had wanted "Something creepy and atmospheric – maybe a group of teens in hoodies facing us but we can’t see their faces, it’s just darkness under their hoods..."

Creeeeepy - Edmund's main reference picture.

More hoodies, aaaagh!

The alternative cover...

Edmund continues "I chose a really basic colour scheme to make it feel like a night time scene..."

The final mock-up

Below we can see Edmund's fantastic line work for the piece...
The artist continues "After seeing that Tharg suggested "a spatter of blood on the lead figure’s hoodie" to give it, literally a splash of colour!"

And there we have it, the making of the third most popular cover of last year as voted for by the members of the 2000AD Message board!

Edmund has started producing his own fantastic blog called Four Colours Good which further shows off his versatility and superb ability. Thanks again to Edmund for supplying the images and text - I've been dying to feature that iconic Cradlegrave cover since it appeared and this week's prog isn't bad either!

Sunday 14 November 2010

Hey, don't read this! Read that!

Yes, I know we've already seen this wonderful cover but, the most romantic man in comics Leigh Gallagher, has updated his brilliant blog with a typically excellent 'making of the Cover' post. I don't want to rip it off or upset Leigh so please, go there now and see lots and lots of fine images and commentary in his usual humourous style.

I can't resist however teasing you with a few of the many highlights! For example, here is Leigh's initial Bernie Wrightson inspired idea which he couldn't use as... well you'll have to go to Leigh's blog to find out!

Here are the initial pencils and inks but what was it that Pat Mills didn't like?

Next the coloured figures version where Leigh had a great time researching lizard skins, (insert you own Tory MP joke here.)

And finally the fully coloured version again. Leigh shows a couple of variatins on his blog so for heavens' sake go there now!!!

Thanks to Leigh for such a cool blog and Emperor for the nudge!

Sunday 7 November 2010

Clint Langley - The Axe Man Returns!

Wow! A very welcome return to the magnificent Clint Langley who's wraparound covers should always carry health warning! This wonderful Slaine cover for prog 1710 could cause any unsuspecting reader to suffer Thrill Power Overload!

Clint has a couple of other 2000AD covers in the thrillpipe-line including, early next year, his first fully painted, non-digital cover for twelve years! Can't wait for that!

Speaking of next year, Repeat Offenders, Clint's media company that he co-owns with Pat Mills and Jeremy Davis will be releasing their first, 'game changing' graphic novels! So here's to more Langley goodness in 2011!

Thanks to Clint for sending the superb cover image!

A Vyle Boo Cook Cover for the Megazine!

The Mighty Megazine continues it's run of fantastic covers with this excellent Judge Anderson offering from the wonderful Boo Cook. The cover was painted in acrylics and once again demonstrates Boo's amazing use of vibrant colour - his covers seem to glow! For further evidence see this post I did last year, absolutely beautiful stuff!

Thanks to Emperor for the heads up!

Saturday 6 November 2010

No Maybe about it, Liam Sharp knocks it out of the Park this Christmas!

I simply had to share this poster by Liam Sharp which is being given away with the December issue of the Judge Dredd Magazine. Look at it, it's fricking beautiful!!!

Liam, who is technically PJ Maybe's dad, has illustrated a 10 page Dredd strip inside the Meg too which looks similarly gob smacking (see the sneaky peeks below.) Christmas has never been so exciting!!!

PJ Maybe - The Monstrous Mashinashun of Liam Sharp!

"Leigh's getting married in the morning! Ding! Dong! The bells are gonna chime!"

Sorry about the delay for this weeks' Prog cover, but I'm sure you'll agree there's a good reason. You see, it's artist, the very beautiful Leigh Gallagher was kinda busy producing a wonderful marriage proposal for his girlfriend Nikki so didn't have time to put this cracking Defoe cover on his blog.

In true comic artist style, Leigh made a rather moving comic strip of his proposal which he showed to her in a 'lovely hotel room overlooking the incredible Tokyo skyline at night!" Sniff, s'beautiful!
Naturally, Nikki said "Yes" so now there are legions of brokenhearted women across the world and at least one Welsh podcasting 2000AD reviewer. Come on Rich, we've all felt the Brokeback Mountain-esque sexual tension between you and Leigh! So, now that the world's most attractive copmic book artist is officially unavailable it seems only right to print the phone number for the Samaritans, it's 08457 90 90 90.

Speaking of the fantastic Everything Comes Back to 2000AD podcast, Rich McAuliffe has started writing a superb blog to accompany his and Flint's ramblings. The blog has links to previous shows as well as some great 2000AD articles and prog reviews. In fact, it was friend of the blog Rich who kindly sent me Leigh's cover, so thanks for that mate!

So once again, congratulations to Leigh and Nikki, here's to a long and happy life together!