Evil Star Graphic Novel Workings #6: Keep Moving

Travel becomes a theme in Evil Star, Gwenda’s got a ticket to ride in a flipping huge petrol tanker (I had a bit of a nightmare referencing that, but it came good in the end.) Matt seems somewhat shocked by something…

Evil Star

There’s a killer scene I’m skipping over here that I don’t really want to show here because I’ll spoil it. Afterwards…

Evil Star

Richard and Matt have a chat on the train on the way to somewhere. I’d just been looking at a lot of Sergio Toppi‘s work before I drew these, so I was buzzing with layout ideas. When they arrive, the get out and stretch their legs a bit.
The nice thing about this series is that it gives me chance to draw very British things that I and most of the readers over here are familiar with, like the train thundering along the top of the page. The lobby is referenced from the lobby of a hotel in Bristol I’ve stayed at a few times, when I’ve been attending the comic convention there.

Evil Star Graphic Novel Workings #5: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

…A woman who claims she can talk to ghosts, and a Peruvian academic! Yes, once Matt gets back from school it’s a big night in at big-brother figure Richard Cole’s flat in ‘The Shambles‘ in York. (Exactly the kind of street-level detail that makes this series of books sing.)

Evil Star Graphic Novel workings 5

Here, unexpected guests drop in and offer information on potential forthcoming adventure!

Evil Star Graphic Novel workings 5

The squashed-up grid page of reference-heavy work is supposed to be a news item on television. For the grey-line frame of the flamboyant fellow in the hat, I’m going to create an engraving style frame based on old paintings of Francisco Pizarro. At the top of that block, there’s a bit of straight-up photo-ref, it’s a photograph of my ol’ PS2 console’s disc tray and my non-drawin’ mitt, standing in for Mr. Fabian putting a DVD on for the rest of the characters in the scene to watch.

Evil Star Workings #4: Matt Freeman’s Schooldays

After the supernatural hullabaloo of Raven’s Gate, main character Matt’s shadowy group of new benefactors – ‘The Nexus’ – arrange for him to attend a new, exclusive, private school. This being the world of Power of Five though, things are never plain sailing.

Evil Star Graphic Novel

After saving the world from ancient demons, Matt has to deal with trying to fit in and lippy kids wanting to bully him. Ahh, the joys the secondary school.

Evil Star Graphic Novel

I even had fun designing what the story picks out to be a tawdry, modern chandelier in the school’s canteen. Can you guess what generally happens to fragile-looking things made out of glass in comics..? Yep. That.

Evil Star Workings #3: At Home with Richard and Matt

After having the most strange of vivid, portentous dreams, it’s time to have some good hearty breakfast. Matt – the main character of The Power of Five – lives with his big brother figure / guardian Richard, one of my favourite characters in the series. Anthony Horowitz (who’s writing The New Sherlock Holmes books, chappy) wastes no adjectives in describing him as a lackadaisical, unkempt, crumpled, untidy twenty-something. His flat is a mess and there’s nothing anything in the cupboards to eat. Even if you’ve just experienced a coded visual flash-forward of the events that are going to happen in the book.

Evil Star Graphic Novel pencils

I did some pretty heavy photo-reffing of myself in relevant bits of clothing for the figures in this scene. I was trying my best to measure up to Dom‘s work on Raven’s Gate, and probably slightly self-conscious at drawing the book’s main characters for the first time…

Evil Star Graphic Novel pencils

Next: Why Matt looks like a mini-businessman in this scene…

Evil Star Workings #2: At Home with Gwenda and Brian

In Evil Star, a character who was more-or-less a cameo in Raven’s Gate reappears – Gwenda – the main character Matt’s aunt and foster-mum. Things aren’t going too well for her and her husband Brian though, and she ends up becoming somewhat twisted supporting character.

Evil Star Workings

Gwenda’s domestic situation’s gone downhill a bit…

Evil Star Workings

But she’s made a new friend… He might be ‘a bad-un’ though. Never mind how he comes around to visit. As always, I’m trying to sidestep the SPOILARZ in all the little reveals that you get to see when you read the book…

Evil Star Workings #1

I said I’d lob up some workings from the Evil Star Graphic Novel, so here we go. The plan is to make a regular series out of these: all the interesting pencils, layouts, thumbnails and scribbles on the script that never see print.

Evil Star

Starting at the beginning, this is some detail from the pencils – well, I’m calling them pencils, most comicy people would probably call them ‘breakdowns’ – for lowly page two of the one hundred and seventy or so in the book. We open up the top of a tall mountain in the wilds of Peru, with an ‘Amauta’ wise man making predictions on the future for the story and the characters. I seemed to remember the scribbles being tighter than this, but don’t worry, they’ll get better as they go on.

Evil Star

You’ve got to love an old wise man. I had a look at some photos of elderly Peruvians and the place takes a toll on their skin – the ones who live in the mountains above the clouds (or so it looked) have nothing to keep the harsh sun or howling winds off them, so they end up with wrinkles on top of wrinkles on their faces. This old salt was drawn first by Dom Reardon in Raven’s Gate, thankfully in a deliberately mysterious way, so I could come in later and construct him fully, going by the ideas that he was old, had a poncho, a stick, and a hat with ear flaps. I must find out the proper name for those, since the book’s full of them…

More soon…