The Shadow Knows

A quick scan of a commission of the pulp hero The Shadow for the collector-alpha Alan Henderson, whose formidable monograph collection of convention sketches and commissions of the hook-nosed pulpster has an online mirror here.

The Shadow

As the click-happy will see, Alan has a raft of Shadows from true luminaries of the comic industry, and I was desperately trying to make a piece for him that would hopefully in some way stand out amidst all the others in concept, if not in steely pencilling/inking execution. Shapes are fun you know. They’re what human vision and the best works of art are based on.

I first met Mistah Henderson at the Bristol con back in May. where I did this for him on the fly while I was signing and sketching:

And that led to me having a crack at The Shad’ on a bigger field and with more time on my hands. Here’s a scan of sketchbook page with shapes jostling about all-over, as I tried to wrestle the formula down:

The Third City of Abacus

Here are some of the twenty, digest-sized pages of The City of Abacus Volume 3 art I did while a while back, written by VV Brown and David Allain….

Volume 3 is going to be published in the 7-volume-encompassing City of Abacus collection at some point in the future, with the art on parts 4-7 by John Spelling. I got to draw the cave made out of liquid metal, and in return John got to be the guy who drew an army of monkeys. Lucky!

Favoured Media

Another Drift Record Shop window I drew on in Totnes High Street down here in Devon. I think this one’s the best so far:

There’s some more lovely photos in a smooth-as slideshow here, on the Drift Record Shop Blog.

And then I went and did some live drawing in the background of The Drift Record Shop Radio Hour on SoundArt Radio, broadcasting on FM and world-wide on the interwebs. In terms of audio I’m mostly the guy sniggering off-mic, making it all sound like student radio, but I did manage to shoe-horn in a bit Art History (well, sort-of) among some other nonsense…

The sketches (and there’s quite a few of them) were all put up live as I drew them via Tumblr, and now the show itself is also up on the online archive, so you can view and listen all at once. The hour of drawing absolutely flew by. I got to hear some great records, and I’ve got to say that the Drift radio venture is fast becoming my go-to place for good new music over mainstream radio or online snark-blogs. I love radio, I love good music, and I love drawing. Yew do da math(s).

That’s one of my sketchbooks that are with me at all times when I’m out and about, in a messenger bag at my side, in that photo. They’re full of observational drawings like these. I’ve been meaning to put up scans of them, and I will at some point in the future.

There’s also a page of pencils from the Evil Star Graphic Novel hiding in that photo up there…

Elsewhere on SoundArt and podcasts, my Call of Cthulhu RPG ‘Keeper’, Bill Eaton presents ‘SoundArt Stories’, a great programme on short fiction, with great stories to listen to and bits of writing shop-talk. The show has its own blog and online show archive, so have a listen.

Gangsters and Songbirds

Quick scan I took of a birthday card for the lovely Dom Reardon, before I ran out the door to go to the pub with him and hand over his present of some quality meat products. Dom’s currently drawing the second series of the ‘Ichabod Azrael’ strip for 2000AD, set by writer Rob Williams in 1920’s Gangster-ridden Chicago. Hence Pin-Stripiness!

Panel Borders

And once again, while I’m on, I’m on another Panel Borders podcast, recorded at the Bristol Comic Expo, talking about the Sioux Warrior musical comic. You can Listen to that here.

Further-Delayed Gratification

After appearing in the first issue, there’s another set of ‘And Finally…’ news stories of the last three months illustrated as comics by me in the second issue of Delayed Gratification magazine, the quarterly almanac that’s an exponent of the ‘Slow News’ approach, the idea that journalism shouldn’t be so twitchy and focusing on filing in the next thirty seconds, but should instead digest events and then collate them.

Delayed Gratification Magazine Cover

Delayed Gratification Magazine spread

There’s a story about a Greek former soap actor turned politician bulldozing toll-road barriers, how some Milton-Keynes residents kept their library open, and how people power in Wisconsin meshed with technology equals lots of pizza, but not necessarily political reform.

Not only are copies available to buy from the Delayed Gratification website, you can subscribe there as well.

Visual and Audio Sketches

Just got back from the Bristol Comic Expo 2011. Much fun was had in a smart, social atmosphere. It’s just as well I remembered to 1) take my camera, 2) actually take pictures of sketches…

Juno
Slightly cheating, here’s one I was commissioned to do in advance of Ellen Page as Juno for Alison Sampson, who’s building a series.

Migo / Fungi From Yuggoth from The Whisperer in Darkness
A Migo / Fungi from Yuggoth from the H.P. Lovecraft story The Whisperer in Darkness.

The Shadow
The Shadow. Good to draw some pulp material.

George Takei as Mr Sulu from off of that Star Trek
Suggestive, shirtless George Takei as Mr Sulu, as seen in lady-bait classic Star Trek intros.

Sauron
Avert your eyes, Tolkien fans, this guy’s called Sauron and is apparently an X-Men baddy. He has a lovely pair of trousers.

Mike Dowling's Edible Hat
Scribble for the ridiculously talented Mike Dowling, who wanted a drawing of either something edible, or a hat.

Matt and Pedro from Evil Star
Matt and Pedro from Evil Star.

Space Girl for Dylan Teague
Sketch of a Space Girl in return for a print from the lovely Dylan Teague, whose love of space, girls and space girls is legendary.

Dr. Strange
Dr. Strange, both a proper doctor and a Master of the Mystic Arts. I think.

Cthulhu
My Lovecraft nerdery had become apparent to some by this stage, so I was asked to draw more Mythos beasties. Here’s Cthulhu.

City of Abacus
Some characters from The City of Abacus.

Becky Burdock from Paul Grist's jack Staff
Becky Burdock, Girl Reporter from Paul Grist‘s ‘Jack Staff‘.

Batman two up
Batman comic zoom
Me mucking about and generally besmirching other artists on the communal sketch page the con provided. Sorry, Lee Bradley. I think that’s what your signature says… (It should be noted here that the brilliant sound effect ‘ZWAZ!’ is the actual sound of time travel, and is unashamedly stolen from Cat Sullivan‘s Droid Life strip.)

Archeopterix
The animal/human angle was rearing up a bit at this point. Here’s a bird-man. Eating a cereal bar. Because it has seeds in and you need opposable thumbs to open the wrapper.

Belgian Beer!
Best of all, I was given some lovely Belgian beer by a lovely Belgian fellow called Ivo in return for sketches! This is living!

And while I’m on…

Panel Borders

You can listen to a Panel Borders episode with VV Brown, David Allain, John Spelling and I talking to Alex Fitch about the City of Abacus comic at Sci-Fi London right here.

Social Season

Mr Fabian & Susan Ashwood from Evil Star

Miss Ashwood from Evil Star wants you to know that she’s leaving…

I’m escaping the desk for a while to appear at a couple of events over the next few weeks. I’ll be at…

Sci-Fi London 2011 at the BFI Southbank on Saturday, April 30th for Day One of the comics event, with a panel on The City of Abacus which I’ll be at with fellow artist John Spelling and creators VV Brown and David Allain. The Panel is at 12:30pm and runs for an hour, and I should be around for the rest of the day sketching.

And The Bristol Comic Expo 2011 on Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th of May. I’ll be signing and sketching in the relevant bit on both days from 12-1pm, alongside the esteemed Dom Reardon and Henry Flint.

I’ll see you there, my treasures.

Top of the Shops

Comic panel I drew on the window of The Drift Record Shop down here in Totnes in Devon, for Record Store Day. The photo here’s flipped for easy viewing because I drew in reverse so people walking down the street could read the text…

I should have said, I did Drift a logo a while ago too y’know. They have a lovely blog, put on monthly band showcases at the Dartington Arts Centre, and host a weekly radio show on SoundArt Radio called The Drift Record Shop Radio Hour, which is archived for free listening, and is one of my favourite radio shows in existence.

Also, Rupert and the Drift crew have taken and put up some wonderful photos of the shop window in the afternoon sun in this blog entry here.

Musical Theatre

Artwork for what is, as far as I know, the world’s first self-contained musical comic, courtesy of a fellow called Sam Gardner and Cape Fear Comics. Originally mooted as the companion comic to a superhero-themed stage musical(!), this comic comes with its own battery-powered sound module(!) built in, which will play the three or so minutes of audio as you read along with the comic(!) Lots of reverb and comedy phrasing abound!

If anything here looks slightly suspicious, it might be because there’s a gag about it about to turn up…

As if all of those new dimensions of art objects wasn’t enough, Sam’s lovely partner Chloeeven made a gingerbread man of the main character!

This is quite possibly another first as I’m not sure anything I’ve drawn before has passed into the realm of the edible…

Animated Exeter Comic Expo 2011 Sketches

Some convention sketches from the recent Animated Exeter Comic Expo

Spirit Green Lantern
The Spirit being a Green Lantern.

Matt and Pedro from Evil Star Graphic Novel
Matt and new characters Pedro and Sebastian from the Evil Star Graphic Novel.

Dead Zombie
A Zombie! In fact, it’s a Zombie from the old Horror Western comic I did called ‘Dead’!

The Crack Fox from the Mighty Boosh
The Crack Fox from the Mighty Boosh, from memory. Just because the convention had, somewhat disturbingly, just been flooded with furries.

Frog Knight by Laurie Shaky Kane
And last, but by no means least, I sometimes ask people to draw sketches for me in return, this was from Shaky Kane‘s son Laurie, who I asked to draw me a knightly frog holding a sword and shield. I think it’s the best drawing I’ve seen in ages…