I’ve drawn fan art before. If you scroll down this here bloggatron, you’ll come across renderings of various musical persons and beat pop combos of whom I am a fan. There are a few drawings of authors I love in the older posts, too. However, this is the first time I’ve ever drawn fan art of someone else’s comic book work.
The monster-whupping figure above is Chloe Noonan, and she can be found whupping monsters in a series of brilliant independent comics by Marc Ellerby. You can find out more via his site here.
As we’re on the subject of firsts, that’s the first time I’ve used the verb whup. I won’t be doing it again. Whoop.
Here’s my suitably spooktacular cover for today’s Phoenix Comic, which you can buy all over the place, see?
I had great fun doing this one, especially the pay-off on the inside front cover ‘Welcome’ page. Who ya gonna call?
Quick! Whilst the sun’s out (oops, it’s gone again) and everyone is feeling sporty, here’s the front cover of tomorrow’s issue of The Phoenix Comic, rustled up by yours truly. In addition to the usual subscription stuff I keep bashing on about, you can buy it in Waitrose shops nationwide (every shop has a supply: if they’ve sold out, ask them to stock more!) and from these lovely bookshops.
It’s all in the timing.
Part of my weekly contribution to The Phoenix Comic is what we call the Welcome slot. It’s where my characters say “hello” to the readers every week. Occasionally, we decide to make the Welcome slot tie-in with a real-world event. Recently, the Welcome slot has been given: a splash of right royal river pageantry; a Wimbledon-esque centre court slant; a rush of Marathon madness; and a Grand Prix-referencing whiff of petrol.
Coming up soon is the fourth of the images above, making subtle, LOCOG-friendly reference to a certain large sporting event. That’s right, the 2012 World Hula Championships.
You know, for kids.
Bloomin’ heck, it’s all kicking off over at The Phoenix Comic.
The editorial offices have been infested with spooks, ghouls, ghasts, ghosts and other assorted spectral ne’er-do-wells. Quincey Trowel (the in-house boffin, see previous post) stepped in with his patented Ghoul-Go© spray, with limited success. So when the aggressive afterlifers made a move on the Phoenix Feather Vault, luck would have it that editor extraordinaire Tabs Inkspot was on hand to battle them off with an magical Ice Blue Phoenix Feather.
Fortunately, I was on hand too, and was able to capture the image above (which appears in this weekend’s edition of the comic, issue 20).
And if none of the above makes any sense whatsoever, you really should be subscribing. You can buy one here, too, if you fancy trying out a single issue. It’s spooky how brilliant it is.
More work for The Phoenix Comic! (Sorry indie kids: more Ticket Stubs gig drawings are in the pipeline.)
This time, the good folks at Phoenix HQ asked me to tackle that Holy Grail of comics pagination: the centre spread. Gulp. As I’d already made a few Meet the Team drawings of my editorial characters, we agreed that the centre spread of Issue 16 would be a perfect opportunity to introduce more of the team: this time, the Workers.
I’d already decided that I wanted to show the worker dudes operating some kind of high-tech, shiny, slightly clunky comic-making device, having been inspired by these amazing magazine covers at the London Transport Museum. Behold the retro-future loveliness:
Here’s my initial Post-It note sketch of the machine: The Silver Lining Think-bubble Generator. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
And here’s my slightly more worked-up sketchbook version.
Based on the two shonky sketches above, and fueled by a desire to make something red and shiny, I then decided to roughly plan the Silver Lining in Adobe Illustrator. This helped keep the curves smooth and the lines straight. Next I stuck the basic Illustrator keyline drawing on a lightbox and traced the machine: I don’t want my drawings to be too clean. I enjoy the splodgy, uneven line that the Pentel Brush pen gives me. Next I added another layer of paper (cheap, slightly textured stuff from Cass Art) on the lightbox and added the Workers themselves: Big Dave, Jemima Grizzlehorn, Gustav Shootzenleaves, Jock Nutshell, Joe Bananas and Quincey Trowel (resident boffin at The Phoenix Comic).
Here’s the end result, complete with annotations added in Illustrator:
And here are a couple of close-up details.
Hope you like it.
Up the workers!
Terrible, dastardly deeds are afoot over in Phoenix Comic land.
If you’re a reader you’ll know all about the sneaky owl Barnaby (Barney) Knowles; about how he framed mild-mannered sub editor Chops Piggerton; about how it turns out that it was Barnaby who stole the magical Phoenix feathers all along. And if you’ve got this weekend’s Issue 10, you’ll know that the bad bird has half-inched the Phoenix Comic’s own time machine and scarpered with the feathery loot.
And if you don’t know about any of this, perhaps it’s time you subscribed. That way you won’t feel embarrassed when dinner party conversation inevitably turns to the saga of the time traveling, feather stealing, beaked baddy and you don’t know what anyone is on about. Think on.
I’ve posted my drawings above, which chronicle the Barnaby Knowles saga to date. Just to keep you in the loop(y).
Man alive. I knew that the weekly issues of The Phoenix Comic would come around quickly once we got into the flow, but this is reeee-diculous! Issue Six is in the shops now, with an amazing cover by dino-supremo Neill Cameron. My usual Welcome page shenanigans are in there too, as well as the drawing above of Phoenix Newshounds, Mr Bruno Barker and Ms Iris Hasselblad. Meanwhile, I’m beavering away on Issue Eleven! I know! I’m having the time of my life and expect to come up for air some time around St Swithin’s Day.
Before I crack open the pencil case once more, here’s a quick look at the working process for my Welcome page illustration for Issue Two; from scratchy pencils, to wobbly inks (Pentel brush pen and Kuretake Fudegokochi), to fully coloured-up Photoshop file. Not sure where Ellie Waggins appeared from on the right: she has habit of sneaking in like that…
As the mighty Cud once said: now is the time and the time is now!
After much frantic drawing, inking, writing, designing and promoting, Issue One of The Phoenix Comic hits the shelves on Saturday 7th Jan 2012. Erk, that’s tomorrow!
I know I may have mentioned this once or twice before (OK, maybe three times), but it bears repeating: this is an awesome comic! All of the contributing writers and artists are world-class comic heroes. If you have kids, are related to kids, are a kid yourself, know kids or are of a youthful persuasion, you really should consider subscribing. You can do it here. It’s dead easy and you’ll be pleased you did. Imagine: 32 pages of jam-packed story coolness thunking onto your doormat every Saturday morning.
It’s been a good start so far. We made 10,000 free preview Issue Zeros, all of which were requested by eager readers. All gone! On top of that, The Times on Saturday (tomorrow) is featuring an eight page Phoenix special pull-out and the BBC are interviewing the editorial team over in Oxford as I type.
My characters Tabs Inkspot and Chops Piggerton (that’s them up there) will be in the comic every week, along with an entire cartoony editorial gang: reading letters, running competitions and keeping the ship running smoothly.
It’s official: 2012 is the year of the comic!
Just a quick, post Christmas post. If you see what I mean.
Amid all the hectic drawing activity for the launch of The Phoenix Comic (first issue 7th Jan!), I just had time to do this brush pen and colour pencil drawing for my mum for Christmas. It features my little lad and his two North Western cousins in a very typical granny’s house scenario.
She who holds the remote wields the power.
Up until today, I’ve been sworn to secrecy on pain of fiery feathered death. Until today, that is…
Because today we officially launch The Phoenix comic in all it’s weekly awesomeness. From today you can get your mitts on a special, limited edition Issue Zero. Did I mention that its free? All you need to do is pop into your nearest Waitrose and pick up their free Waitrose Weekend paper (you’ll see some of my cartoony dudes messing up their nice masthead, as shown above): inside you’ll find a web address and a special code. Follow the instructions, sit back and wait for 32 pages of comicky coolness to land on your doormat.
I’m particularly excited about Issue Zero. Partly because I drew the cover. And partly because the characters I created (Tabs, Bruno, Iris, Chops, Scoop and co) make their debut. And party because it’s chock full of great stories by Brit comic legends such as Jamie Smart, the Etherington Brothers, Neill Cameron, Chris Riddell…
And what of The Phoenix itself? Well, I’m glad you asked. After all the excitement of Issue Zero, the first issue proper hits the shelves on the 7th January. And weekly thereafter. You’ll be able to buy it in Waitrose initially as well as independent book shops and comic stores, before it spreads to other retailers later (we’re starting out small and concentrated). Even better (and cheaper), you can subscribe via the Phoenix website here.
I need to get back to drawing bands with very few members. Misty’s Big Adventure are a brilliant band, who cram loads of people on stage (including their multi-limbed, blue-faced ‘dancer’, Volvo), but they take ages to draw. However, I forgive them, as they’re so bloomin’ ace. I managed to catch Mistys in Brighton a couple of weeks ago, and I’m dragging Kate and DMH to see them in London tomorrow: big brassy oddpop is guaranteed. Got a spare five minutes? Then watch some of their wonderful videos here and here and here.