Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Guide Dog Detective

Many moons ago (well, about 3), I worked full-time in a comic shop. I'd previously been working part-time in a video shop after leaving uni whilst trying to sell my magic illustration beans when the opportunity popped up; at the time, this was one of my dream jobs so I jumped at the chance. Working in a comic shop for three years was awesome and influenced my artwork no end. We sold a lot of small press comics and zines, and while I'd always been fascinated by them and even tried my hand at a few poor attempts, it was purely by accident that I decided to draw my own small press comic.
Guide Dog Detective was my attempt at something familiar yet different and I still get people asking me when the next issue will be coming out! Unfortunately, I haven't got the time to put into it any more so it's been on permanent hiatus since issue 2. However, I got a fantastic response from people about it and it really helped to get me into the small press and comic con scene in the UK.

GDD was a crime comic with animals; it happened purely by accident and the first issue was drawn as I went along - it was only sheer luck that it all made sense and fit together! I got it printed and started to sell it in the shop and to my delight, people really liked it. I made enough money back to get more printed and drew and released issue 2 which was also a success (as far as small press comics go).

Issue 3 is written and thumb-nailed but only got as far as pages 1-4 being drawn out. I have a whole 12-issue arc planned and will get back into it at some point. However, it's been so long since I drew, I can imagine it would look totally different. Looking at these pics make me cringe a bit! It was a lot of fun to do though and I think I'll get the urge to pick it up again sometime in the future.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Artists To Look Out For 2!

Welcome to Part 2 of my blog series on the Talented Fiends I know through the Internet and real-life! Here are two chaps that I think just manage to crank out pure genius every time their pencils hits the paper.
First up we the awesome Matt Kaufenberg, a US based artist I met through Deviantart. As well as being very pleasant, Matt is a fantastic artist with a great personal style; he does brilliant character fan-art pieces that have a lot of individuality and charm and caricatures that are spot-on. He also does month-long character design projects that are really fun to follow. I would highly recommend checking out Matt's gallery as he has an extremely diverse portfolio.

One of my favourite fan-art pics!

I had the pleasure of buying the Hordak pic below for my boyf!

Next is a fellow I met at a con, where our mutual love for crap films, drawing film characters and energetic babbling cemented a friendship that seems to revolve around David Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China. Dylan Cook is another artist that seems able to capture characters perfectly; he works like a trooper and his drawings are always full of humour and style. Dylan's enthusiasm is also very clear in his work and talking to him for 10 minutes is enough to get anyone geared up and wanting to get on and draw.

Link as he appears behind closed doors.

The best Venger I have ever seen. Full stop.

And David Lo Pan. Genius.

New Superhero Prints!

Over in my shop, I've just added a range of cute superhero prints! Included are: Wolverine, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Daredevil, The Punisher, Spidey, Green Lantern, Nick Fury, Batman, The Flash and Clark Kent. These will also be available at the upcoming comic conventions I will be attending so keep an eye out! Added to the growing list of cons, I will be at Thought Bubble in Leeds on the 20th of November.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Elongated Coyotes and a note on style

Today's inexplicable brain-fart; I really cannot account for the weirdness my imagination comes out with sometimes...
Anyway! This last couple of weeks I've been grappling with overtime at work, commissions, t-shirt designs, looking for a new house, sorting out cons, worrying about bills and subsequently pretending none of this exists by playing video games. I'm in a constant state of nervous panic at the moment; great for drawing, not great for brain! It's all good though. I also had the pleasure of doing an interview with the lovely people at We Blog Artists; read it here!
But enough griping, I want to talk about style. As an illustrator, I constantly worry that my personal drawing style is rubbish. I have a lot of influences that have contributed to how my work looks now (hopefully none of them glaringly obvious) and continue to find new artists that spark ideas of my own and help push my work forward. Trying to carve out a unique "look" is bloody difficult and has taken me the last 5 years to get right and I'm still trying to polish it. What really makes an artist stand out though? There's so much out there, it's sometimes hard to know if your stuff makes any kind of impact.
I think enthausiasm has a lot to do with it which is why I try and go to as many cons as possible to meet people; I get quite manic at these but it seems to draw people in and take an interest in my work which makes me realise that personality also has a lot to do with individual style. I like to think my personality manifests itself through my work; my boyfriend told me that he thought this is what the inside of my head would look like if someone burst it open like a pinata which made me laugh and also pleased me! Does anyone else see their work as a physical manifestation of their brains? How do you go about trying to make your style stand out?

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Monday, 16 August 2010

A couple of artists to look out for!

I'm lucky in that I have a lot of very talented arty friends, from painters to textile artists to comics book artists to colourists. This means I'm constantly inspired/intimidated by my creative pals, but it's all good! There are two of my friends at the moment that warrant particular mention as they are bloody awesome and work like troopers.
First off we have the awesome Jennie Gyllblad. Jen has just finished her degree in illustration, whilst also drawing a full colour graphic novel and has also just started a fantastic online comic called Skal. Jen doesn't do things by halves and Skal is also full-on gorgeous watercolour action! I can't wait to see where this goes and you shouldn't either!

Quite possibly my favourite pic of Jens; just gorgeous.

I (think I) met Mark Pearce through the comic shop I used to work in. He's an absolutely awesome comic book artist and his latest outing, Ronin Dogs, is bloody fantastic; brilliant art, hilarious dialogue and some top-notch pacing. Issue 2 is in progress and I cannot wait for it as Mark seems to have out-done himself in terms of artwork and just gets better each time I see something new of his. Mark is particular good at drawing robots and odd characters who are full of charm and humour and I never fail to chuckle (read: piss myself) at his work.

Currently my work desktop wallpaper!

Please check these guys out as they deserve a lot of props for their work. Please also note that the work on here was used with their permission and shouldn't be nicked - ta! :P

Conan The Barbarian Intro!

I've been listening to the Conan The Barbarian OST a lot the last couple of days and the first track features this little bit of dialogue read by the awesome Mako. I couldn't resist doing a little doodle to amuse myself.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Know Your Lovecraft!

In keeping with my current Lovecraft obsession, here's a handy guide to gods, people and places. Part two coming soon! Also available as a spiffing print in my shop.

Friday, 13 August 2010

More Designs and mug based stuffs!

Here are a couple more random designs featuring two of my favourite recurring things I love to draw: Sasquatches and gherkins! I've been having a lot of fun with these - it's nice to do some random pics once in a while!
Also, thanks to those that commented about the mug designs; I've decided to let you guys decide what design I get made into mugs! I'll be doing some proper designs from the rough ones I posted here and I'll run a poll where YOU get to vote for your favourite design. The winning vote will get used as my first mug design! I often just make what I want but I thought I'd see what other people want instead. This should be fun!

All Hail The Onion!

My love of random facts is starting to have an effect on my artwork! :P

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Cthulhu Lives!

Prove it to everyone with this rad tattoo design! :P

Tee design in Retro Gamer!

I've never been much of a subscriber to magazines (apart from Owl TV and Bugs! when I was a kid) but I get the awesome Retro Gamer every month through my door without fail! As an 80's kid who started out with a Spectrum ZX 128K, I've seen the amazing leaps and bounds that the world of video games has taken over the years and RG is a constant trip down memory and sad pining for my Amiga. I got my new copy through the door today and started to flip through when what did I see:

My Genki Gear design! In my favourite mag! Apologies for the bad photo; I was too excited to take a good one! Genki Gear have a few tees featured in the issue and I'm really glad mine was one of them. I wont be sneaking peeks at it for the rest of the day...

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Designs! Designs for stuff!

I've felt at a bit of a loose end in between commissions and starting Doodle Treehouse so I thought I'd just make some random designs to get back into some kind of productive mode. I thought the idea of making temporary tattoos was pretty funny so you can expect to see the Bad Eggplant (sorry fellow Brits! :P) as one when I get the materials through! I've got a load more on the go which hopefully people will find amusing. If they turn out half-way decent, I may post some photos of myself sporting them! :P
I'm thinking of maybe using the tea design for my first batch of mugs (with a format re-design); what do people think? Too boring? Prefer one of the others?

Transformers Mosaic: Small World

The Transformers Mosaic JP and I worked on is finally up over on DeviantArt! So far it's been getting great feedback from the fans; nearly every comment contains the word "cute" which pleases me! I was a bit worried about how my art would be received by the TF fans but the only negative criticism received (so far) has been something along the lines of "I know it's a super-deformed style but the art could be improved" - fair enough! It's not the most polished piece ever so I was expecting people to criticise my art rather than the writing but I'm happy that the people it was made for seem to like it!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Dung Beetle

Entomology rocks!

Doodle Treehouse!

Myself and the awesome Katie Green have started a collaborative blog on the fun and foibles of being illustrators! Doodle Treehouse is an ongoing comic between Katie and I where we will discuss various illustrator-y things and how we both go about approaching our work. Even though our styles are vastly different, we have a lot in common about how we both work as illustrators and the joys and frustrations there-of! We're running a small giveaway to kick the blog off, so please head over and leave a comment for the chance to win 2 prints!

The Longest, Most Amazing Chaffy Journey of All!

The rather spiffing Jamie Smart has just released his first kid's book and it looks bloody brilliant! I'm still waiting for Amazon to dispatch my copy (want it NOW!) but I already know it's going to be great! As a fun little collaboration, Jamie has set up The Longest, Most Amazing Chaffy Journey of All; an on-going comic between lots of artists that he hopes will go on for as long as possible. I've been lucky enough to be featured in both of Jamie's Fat Chunk anthologies so I couldn't resist contributing to this. Here is my meager effort:

You can read the adventure here!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Mug Designs!

I like tea quite a bit; I'm also partial to a few cups of coffee a day and have two special mugs, one for each beverage (very sad.) After supping my x-teenth cup of tea the other day I thought I'd have a go and get some mugs printed. Here are a few designs I scribbled in my sketchbook! They're very rough and the colour was just to make them look less boring, but you get the idea! :P

Any opinions on what designs work best? I will no doubt be drawing some more but thought I'd get the feelers on what people might like. Let me know your thoughts and hopefully I can get some one's future favourite cup made up!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Podcast mention!

I've had a brief but lovely mention on the Star Wars Action News podcast! I'm mentioned near the end. Awesome!

Monday, 2 August 2010

I like feeling special! :P

A rather lovely chap called Jack whom I met at the LFCC sent me these absolutely awesome pictures of my work he had framed. They look great and I'm rather flattered at how much trouble he went to to get them so nicely presented. I particularly like what he's does on the back of the frame; there's even a photo of me at the con sketching a Kirk for him! Thanks Jack! :D
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