Archives for the month of: October, 2014

I think the first time I ever totally fell flat on my face was when I performed Bo Burnham’s Words Words Words at a poetry event and I’d memorised it, completely, in fact myself and my Sister often spit hot bars of it at each other, but when I started chucking it out, no one even smirked. When you’re reading something, professionally recognized, as being hilarious, and you know you’ve got to read your own shit after, and no one even raises an eyebrow in humorous reproach you know you are doomed.

I really want to do an entirely word based blog.

I know that is essentially what a blog is, like right now you are reading my drivel but usually I pepper it with loads of photos and talk about art and comics. I am currently doing a LOT of colouring and its a sort of dull job, I enjoy it and am getting much better at doing colours, but its not very taxing on the mind. I’m also working on an art project with Robin Jones of Average Joe and more or less every indie comic coming out un til the end of time. He’s been sharing some of his recent projects with me and its enough to make me weep. I first self published Punk Rock Apocalypse six years ago and I am still without the powers to unleash my dream projects.

All this leaves me wanting to do short sharp blog posts with no particular theme or topic.

I really like Warren Ellis’ Morning.Computer. I thought it might be another cool micro blogging site, but it turns out its just Warren’s newest madness lens. But I want to do that.

Writing comics can be quite hard, in comparison to wiritng prose for example. If you think really cinematically then you can just story board a sequence of events and thats cool, but its not really pushing the medium out there, read something like Young Avengers by Kieron Gillan and Jamie McKelvie and you can see some things you will only see in comics:

I think that one, thats a good one, but not my favourite one.

That one is. I MEAN FUCKING LOOK AT THAT.

Anyway, so when I write a comic to keep things fresh and interesting and so that I never ever think about the terrible action of actually having to draw it or put it on paper, I write the story and the dialogue as one big mush and then slice up and refine it into a script. So I’ll have this big long chain of everything I want to fit into it and everything I want people to say, and then I thing what goes onto which page, and then what goes into which panel. If too much is going on in a page I find a way to get it in there from the big pack of comic book tricks people have got going. Things you can only do in a comic.

Leave a panel, as see above.

Panels within Panels. (The below from Hawkeye drawn by David Aja)

Infographics. I love a good infographic in a comic. (See Simon Roy drawing Prophet)

And the double page spread can be more than just a big image

The above picture is from the indescribably brilliant Desolation Jones that has some of the greatest page layouts and I REALLY wanted to put one up there that was just impeccable, but would ruin the story if you ever wanted to read it, and you should, you SHOULD!

Why even have panels at all anyway?

Fabio Moon, (FABIO MOON LADIES AND GENTLEMEN) killing it there with Casanova book 2, but look at the top and bottom panel. No panel borders and that totally gives you the sense of confusion and action. Its amazing how just not having a border can change everything about a page layout.

In fact I think the above image there, page 1 from NausicaĆ” Of the Valley Of The Wind by Hayao Miyazaki comes from Matt Fraction’s blog, where he talks about that panel, that mysterious second panel with no border. Its the only panel in the whole LONG ass novel that doesn’t have a border, and look at that sense of space, the way you smell the open sky spilling in from that boundless space.

So yes, I would like to do a blog of all words, but not today.

Anyway, there are lots of things you can do to tell a story and I don’t think you can fit these in either by yourself, or in a straight line. Back and forth relationships with artists is an amazing benefit to comics. If you write a script and expect an artist to just ratchet out the object exactly as you gave it to them I think you are doing it all wrong. If as an artist you simplify something to make it easier for yourself you are also doing it wrong. The envelope is there to push it surely. Embrace what you are both uniquely good at.

There are also a lot of Narrative techniques that you can only get in comics but thats another blog for another day.

Also: Want to be a great comics writer? Buy a book on art. Specifically, Buy THE book on comics art which is Scott McCloud’s Making Comics, and it’ll open your mind a bit on how you can layout a page. Its sort of like the Karma Sutra, no one can really expect to DO all the things in the book as it is illustrated in the pages of that oft turned book, but if it helps you put your knee in a new place it will revolutionize your love life.

Seriously though, lean in, and put the back of their legs over your shoulders or something.

Only in terms of comics.

Nighty night.

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leamington image lettered

So, Stu Perrins, international man of mystery is headed to the Leamington Comic Convention in order to sell Prime and advertise Harvey Spig. The new episode of Harvey Spig is done, just finishing up the colours and some minor tweaks but it’s more or less good to go. I always think when you’ve cracked the inks and the washes the work is more or less done. Colours are very important to me but because the tones are all done in the raw image with the ink washes its mostly just flats.

Why a lion? I wanted a ridiculous image to sell the concept of the ridiculous comic, originally he was riding a unicorn, BUT THAT IS THE NATIONAL ANIMAL OF SCOTLAND, and therefore not jingoistic enough to sell Harvey Spig.

Here is my comprehensive guide to issues of Harvey Spig that already exist, so click through each image to the page to download it:

DEAD OF NIGHT cover

Name: THE DEAD OF NIGHT

Price: FREE

A short 4 page introduction to the idea of Harvey Spig. Whilst riding through the city of London, Harvey Spig gets jumped by something terrible. The architecture of London heavily inspired by Biomega, a manga series by Tsutomu Nihei. Weirdly I wanted to get it all warped and freaky and industrial to introduce the idea that THIS IS NOT REAL HISTOTRY. Its meant to be Steam punk, but lets be honest Harvey Spig isn’t steam punk, its just a warped version of reality. I mean I don’t stick big coal boilers into everything, to me Harvey Spig is what would happen if nuclear power was developed in 1900.

It was released for Free Comic book day 2013 and I don’t really like it. Art wise I’ve become more comfortable with the pen and ink combo I now use and it features no washes, and the lettering was badly recieved. But as a comic, its fun, and as always, Stu writes the comic extremely comfortably.

Bad PRess page 2

Name: NO SUCH THING AS BAD PRESS

Price: 10 cents.

An unknown narrator recounts seeing Erasmus Jones unleash his Giant Robot at the Bastard of the Year awards, if only someone could stop him.

This comes as part of the Tales From A Lonely Planet anthology that was put together to raise Money for Cancer Research UK. I had a lot of fun with character design in the crowds, and blowing stuff up was cool.I’m amazed by the sheer volume of lines I put into this. Lots of detail,and the colours are pretty mad. I’ve tried to scale back the number of colours I put into things recently, make them a bit more subdued, and again do the tones on the raw image. So this is a bit rainbowy, but I like it.

I added a splash page to this one, the first time I ever randomly added a page to one of Stu’s comics. It won’t be the last. I added three panels into the current comic without telling him, its just something I do. I remember Alan Moore on the culture show reading from the script from the first page of the second volume of The League of Extra Ordinary Gentlemen and he was going into huge detail about the contents of the image that you could tell that if you didn’t deliver exactly what he wanted then he would flip out. With Stu and myself I feel that his scripts are getting simpler the more confident he gets in my ability to draw it, and soon they might just be a bit of a dialogue with the words “Then they fight” and I will be able to look at the post it note of a script and just KNOW what he wants.

Cover

Name: HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Price: Free

Something that really really fucks me off is how this cover always seems to get stretched. I love this cover. I think I did cool stuff with the composition and the title bar and the simplicity is groovy, but it seems to get stretched out a lot making it look like I have no idea how to draw.

Anyway, Harvey Spig has a birthday and Lady Martha Spig takes him somewhere special to get him a gift.

This comic introduces the more supernatural ideas of Harvey Spig and the last two pages take place in Hell, and drawing the Hell beasts was just so… oh so much fun. In read the script and was all:

I am really proud of this comic, and its the first time I did the ink washes on the inks and it really works. It works. Its tops, we’ve had a good time. I also slipped in my pop cultural reference on the front page. Theres always one. I drew an onion as PRINCE. COME ON!

Page 4

Name: WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN

Price: I don’t know. A couple of quid or something.

This is the first full comic. 12 pages, so not a FULL FULL comic, but its a self contained story that has a sort of end. Actually it doesn’t but whatever, and its funny and it looks great. I go to TOWN with the violence. Its the most violent of all the Harvey Spigs. Its the most violent comics I’ve done since… Punk Rock Apocalypse. I mean Funk Soul Samurai was violent, lots of blood and head lopping, but I tried to make this seem savage. No organs though, so it still hasn’t reached the heights of PRA when that emo gets the hole drilled through him by the big laser gun.

It has a demon clown though. It’ll be coming SOON and the cover is tops too. Borrows heavily from of EC comics style layout.

So there you go. Three issues of Harvey Spig for 10 cents. Go forth and prosper.

I just wrote a whole thing about how I fucked up the lion in the first image and then fixed it but I pressed a button wrong and it all swanned off, but I’ll do that in a seperate blog. WHEN THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN made me splash white out and corrective fluid all over the place because I kept messing up with the amount of ink on the nib and it would just void itself all over the page. But cleaning up a dribble is one thing, when you draw something so plainly wrong it just fucks you up.

Even the words White Out remind me of a story heard at the first Thought Bubble. Bryan Talbot was talking about an issue of Nemesis the Warlock wherein Torquemada unleashes a massacre in a Tavern. Just before I launch into this Nemesis the Warlock was a comic by Pat Mills about an alien warrior called Nemesis who was a Warlock, which is a sort of anchor faces horse legged space bastard, who fights against the tide of hateful nazi humans coming from earth to wipe out alien kind, lead by Torquemada, a despotic dictator. Its brilliant and savagely dark.

Anyway:

The newly ressurected Torquemada shoots up a Tavern, and Bryan drew it all out and used his tooth brush and ink to lather on the blood and gore. Remember this is the heady days of the comics code and Mary Whitehouse so censorship was strong. You can see the panels at the top of the second page in particular are the ones I’m talking about. SO he draws them out, sends them off to be published, and before they get anyway near the magazine they have to go under the gaze of the censor, who is a guy who whites out over the top of the gore and the beasty images and makes them fit to print. Only this particular day he was off sick and there was no one there to censor it, so it got published in its full blown savagery and blew minds across the country.

I love stories like that.

Bryan Talbot and Kev O’Neill practically made me. My Dad had all the 2000ad comics in our cellar and Nemesis the Warlock was my favourite. I remember the cover the with him fighting Mongrel.

That was the moment I really got interested in the idea of these freaky comic things. The there was this cover that basically sums up my motivations for a career in art and illustration:

Some people had Spider-man, my younger brother is growing up with Iron Man being his first steps into comics. I had these nightmares:

If you ever get oppertunity to, seek out the Anderson PSI story THE POSESSED, wherein a group of cultists attempt to summon a demon into a small boy, and the depiction ofn his increasingly warped mind and body through the presence of the demonic entity is just some of the most foul, safe for work body horror you can put into black and white. Not a drop of blood split, but this small boy clawing at his own increasingly elastic skin as these faces, each one a caricature of his own with sharp teeth, bulging eyes morphing out of the crown of his skull. I must have been 11 or so, and I remember hunting through badly organized piles of the comic to find bits of it so I could get the full story.

Night,

Nick