Wanderer above the Sea of Fog – Ink Study

As an attempt to improve my inking and move away from just reproducing comic art or doing a pin up, I recently did a study of ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ by Friedrich.

The original painting had a lot to for me to get to grips with. There’s the wanderer perched on a mountain in the foreground. Then you have mountains in the fog in the mid- and background to contend with.

The painting has more defined mountains in the mid-ground, but I felt that working entirely in ink required a change in my reproduction. Bolder/ better defined mountains in the mid-ground would either pull focus from the wanderer, or worse, have the wanderer disappear into those aforementioned mountains.

So I opted to have all mountains enveloped in the fog and represented in such a way that they are just about visible to the wanderer.

With the exception of the wanderer and the mountain he stands upon, the piece is almost entirely done with ink and brushes.

I’m pretty happy with the result. I don’t think it would have worked as well if I had used pens for any of the mountains in the distance. The wanderer takes the place of prominence in the piece.

I’ve included an image of the original painting below my study so you can compare my finished piece against the painting that I was working from.

My pen and brush ink study
‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’ by Caspar David Friedrich
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Inktober 2018

Had high hopes of getting so much arting done for Inktober, but things didn’t work out that way. That said, I am happy with what I managed to get done.

Batman

Domino and doggo.

X-O Manowar

Characters created by Irish comic folk
From following comics (top to bottom and left to right)
1. Celtic Clan
2. The Hellion
3. Superhero Helpdesk
4. Thimble
5. Bog Road
6. Neon Skies
7. Savage Town
8. Ocean City
9. Fate

Fearscape

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Red Rocket Comet

Written by Matt Garvey.
Art by Grayham Puttock and Andy W. Clift.
Cover and Logo by Michael Rea.

The glory days of Red Rocket Comets (Jerry Saviour to his neighbours) crime-fighting career is well and truly behind him. It’s evident from the run-down apartment he lives in that heroism didn’t pay well. The story opens with an unexpected visitor from his superhero days, his nemesis who goes by the title of Dark Skull (aka Lloyd).

The comic splits itself in two, the scene that’s unfolding in the present day in Jerry’s apartment and a flashback sequence to when Red Rocket Comet and Dark Skull met in their prime.

The art is split between Puttock and Clift, who each handle a different strand of the story. This gives the present day a grim and gritty appearance that is lacking the energy that is immediately apparent on the flashback pages. Lloyd has called to Jerry to revisit the events of their last battle, which is what unfolds in the flashback sequences.

Red Rocket Comet at times did have a Watchmen/ Black Hammer vibe to it due to the nature of both the present day story and the flashback sequences. The twist in the story was well done, particularly when you re-read the comic and see the clues that were peppered throughout the pages leading up to it.

The story also touches upon the strange relationship that comes from a hero and villain having repeated encounters over the course of their respective careers. It’s a similar to that of the police and career criminals where some form of relationship is inevitable as they each pick up details about each other over the years.

The difference in the two art styles makes for quite the contrast which works in the favour of the overall story. It’s as though two comics from different eras of the superhero comics genre were slammed together to make Red Rocket Comet.

Overall, the comic really worked for me. I liked how the story played out and that it still managed to have some surprises thrown in. I also liked how two styles of art were used to delineate between present day and flashback sequences.

It’s a small press comic that is certainly worth checking out.

Red Rocket Comet available via Garvey’s online store.

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Hollow Monsters #1

Hollow Monsters #1 is one of the recent Kickstarters that I pledged to that recently arrived through the letterbox. The comic is the product of Monty Nero (whom I discovered through his work on the excellent Death Sentence series).

The focal character of story is Jay whom we are introduced to as a young boy. The initial section dealing with his younger years deals with things like the innocence of youth and how memories can reshape events in your mind over time. It was also fun where his dad tries to reassure him after their home is badly vandalised only for Jays take a different meaning which only compounds the terror he feels.

I did like how the comic transitioned to Jay the adult. It was a nice creative touch to reveal that Jay is now a comic artists years later. During a afternoon wandering the woods with Pippa the atmosphere slowly begins to become somewhat unsettling. As the last panels of the forest scene come to a close, the reader is left with left with an ominous question. ‘Who is the Hollow Man’?

The artwork, particularly the young Jay sequences, really reminded me of the art of Hawkeye (by David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth). The combination of the line-art and colour palette really worked for me. It was also interesting that the scenes in the woods had a very different vibe. It seems almost like a walking through a dream due to how the backgrounds are illustrated. I’m very curious to see if this sensation of almost two different worlds within the story plays out of the rest of the series.

Both threads of Jays story show glimmers of things that may be coming down the tracks over the course of the series. Then again it could all be a trick of my mind. The story does remind us that the mind likes to embellish on the details of your memories.

The story and art really appeal to me which left me wanting more. Luckily for me, the Kickstarter for issue 2 is up and running. So I shouldn’t have long to wait for the next instalment.

Linky to Hollow Monsters #2 Kickstarter.

The rest of the goodies in the Kickstarter pack for issue 1.

Postcard of panel from Issue 1.

Verity (Art Girl) from Death Sentence print.

Postcard of panel from issue 1.

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March arting

Here’s the collection of drawings that I’ve done over the course of March.

The drawings are done digitally and using a movie still as a reference. The purpose of the drawings is to draw with more regularity as well as try to get to grips with things like perspective or more than one character in the image.

The Purge

Eagle vs Shark

Carrie

Tron

Ex Machina

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Power Pack Classic volume 1

Written by Louise Simonson.
Pencils by June Brigman with Mary Wilshire (layouts, issue #5), Mark Badger (layouts, issue #8) and Brent Anderson (issue #9).
Inks by Bob Wiacek.
Colour art by Glynis Wein.
Letters by Joe Rosen.

Power Pack is one of the Marvel titles that really made an impression on me as a young reader. I think part of it was that all other comics had college students or adults as the lead characters. Whereas Power Pack were about the same age as myself at the time (eldest member of the team was only twelve!).

For those new to Power Pack, it’s a comic that follows the adventures of four young siblings after they are gifted superpowers from a dying alien. The alien was injured in their attempts to protect the planet from the villainous Snarks.

The team is comprised of the four Power kids. Alex (aka Gee) is given the ability to negate the force of gravity on himself, other people and objects. Julie (aka Lightspeed) receives the ability to fly at super-speeds leaving a rainbow trail in her wake. Jack (aka Mass Master) can alter the density of his mass meaning he can expand his density to become gaseous or reduce it to shrink his physical form while becoming less susceptible to injury. However he still weighs the same as he does at his regular size. And last of the four is Katie (aka Energizer) is able to project “power balls” from her chest that contain great destructive force. She must disintegrate objects to replenish her energy levels after creating the “power balls”.

As Power Pack are quite young, much of their adventures are a result of the impetuousness and/or innocence of youth. I was pleasantly surprised on reading this volume to discover I hadn’t read any of the issue contained within the volume before. So I had the added bonus of having new Power Pack reading material.

The first four issues in the volume server as the origin story of the team and their fight against the Snarks. Reading these issues, it was easy to see why young readers would enjoy this comic. A group of young heroes doing their best to keep the world safe, without the oversight of an adult figure. And should an adult appear in the story, they are either a threat or telling the team to leave the hero-work to the adults.

With volume one containing the first ten issues, it gives the reader a great sense of the personalities of the four Power kids. From their interests to how they tackle the challenges that Power Pack face.

The art is bright and cheerful particularly when it comes to the teams uniforms. Each have their own variation of the uniform with some sort of symbol denoting that members ability. There’s some wonderful art and you could be forgiven for forgetting you’re reading a superhero book at times.

It’s issue six before the team bump into other Marvel heroes. The issues with Cloak and Dagger were the stand-out ones in that section of the volume. There’s a wonderful moment where the young heroes pulled Cloak and Dagger back from venturing down a very dark path.

It was great to get reacquainted with one of my favourite comic teams, and reading some new (to me) Power Pack stories.

The team recently had a new one-shot. That paired with this new printing of the classic Power Pack stories gives me hope that Marvel might kick off a new series of Power Pack at some stage. Comics really needs some new Power Pack stories!

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Death Bed #1

Written by Joshua Williamson.
Line art by Riley Rossmo.
Colour art by Ivan Plascencia.
Letters by Deron Bennett.
Logo design by Tim Daniel.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m planning to update this blog more frequently. It’ll be a mix of some of my drawings and writing. The writing will primarily be about comics that I’m reading that wouldn’t be a good fit for Irish Comic News.

So to kick off this latest reboot of the blog is issue one of the Death Bed mini-series published under the Vertigo banner.

I had seen the cover art (which is wonderful to look at) and the first three pages teased via social media, and that’s all it took for me to put it on the pull list. I mean how could I not be intrigued by a comic feature a infant held aloft while the father proclaims,¬† “You will be the greatest man to ever live…. or die trying”?

That infant is Antonio Luna who grows up to become one for the worlds greatest adventurers before he disappeared from the public eye. In quite a contrast to that introduction, the meets Valentine Richards as she is sitting on the crapper taking a pitch from her editor. And what’s the pitch? Why to ghostwrite Lunas memoir.

As you can imagine, the comic is having a lot of fun with the adventurer archetype. Of course he has the large country mansion with the required staff. I did like how the artists gives the back story of Lunas life through grandiose paintings as a member of the staff guides Valentine to where a dying Luna awaits her. There’s also the shadowy figures that are ever present in the background of the scenes within the mansion which raises some questions in the early part of the comic.

I did like the splash page where things really kick off. It’s a fun page to discover on a page turn that totally changes the energy levels of the comic. I did have a suspicion of how the story might play out, which is nowhere as much fun as what the team came up with.

The art keeps things interesting even though the comic is pretty much set all in the mansion. Good use of the camera angles switch as needed to give the reader a sense of the scale of the mansion to close-ups that put the reader right in the middle of some of the quieter conservation scenes. And there’s the change in energy of the comic on *that* page turn. It’s almost like getting a shot of adrenaline from the comic.

The lettering is well done, which it needed to be as there are plenty of dialogue balloons and captions through out the comic. As the action doesn’t kick off until late in the first issue, there isn’t a huge amount of sound effects but it’s something for me to look forward to in the following issues. I’m on a bit of a sound effects kick lately when it comes to lettering. I like seeing the variation letterers have to sound effects.

Death Bed promises some over-the-top violent adventuring with a healthy does of humour thrown in. Plus how could I not want to find out how things play out for a man that was told from birth, “you will be the greatest man to ever live…. or die trying”? It’ll be an adventure if nothing else!

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Yet another re-start post

The road outside the house is turning to slush which makes now as good a time as any to defrost this blog.

Last year was pretty poor when it came to posting regularly to the blog. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even break 10 posts, that’s how bad it was!

With the exception of Inktober, I didn’t post much art here. Social media makes it too easy to share compared to composing a blog post. One need only take a pic of the art and the phone has the ability to instantly share it with most social media platforms. All of which means that a blog can end up going unused for periods of time.

In an attempt to make more use of the blog, I’ll now be aiming to post at least once a month with some new drawings as part of ‘Plan 2018’. That way the blog won’t be sitting idle for months at a time as well as doing more regular drawings in an attempt to improve my drawing standard.

As this is the first post of 2018 and I’m already somewhat behind the schedule, here are the most recent drawings that I’ve done this year.

The second part of ‘Plan 2018’ is to do more writing here in addition to the art posts. This will almost certainly take the form of posts about some of the latest comics I’m reading. The reviewing started to get pretty regular towards the end of 2017 over on IrishComicNews.com and I was beginning to see small improvements in the writing as a result.

The comics that I’ll blog about here will be those that wouldn’t fit over on ICN. It’ll generally be a mix of my regular monthly pull list and small press purchases/ Kickstarters.

The hope is that the two sides of ‘Plan 2018’ will get me drawing and writing more often, which can only be a good thing when it comes to improving the skill levels.

Before I finish up with this post, I’ll share with you a personal moment of happiness that is comic related.

As the two of you that read this blog might remember, I did a Black Bolt piece as part of Inktober last year. A few weeks after that, I had a ‘feck it, going to do it’ moment which lead to me putting together an email destined for the letter department of the Black Bolt monthly comic.

It’s a comic that I’ve been enjoying a lot and figured I might as well share my Inktober piece with the Black Bolt team. So I typed up the email, attached the Inktober picture and clicked ‘Send’.

I didn’t give it any further thought until I saw the cover art for issue 9 of Black Bolt being shared on social media. The thought went through my mind along the lines of, “How amazing would it be to have my art in the back of the comic with that cover?”.

Fast forward to when I have issue 9 in my hands, which may have been shaking just a little bit. I flip straight to the letters page and take a breath. And there’s my Black Bolt screaming at me from the pages of a fricking Marvel comic. It was the first time I’d ever had the nerve to send a letter or picture to a comic but I had the same reaction as if I had done it when I was 6 years old. Pure joyful giddiness.

And that was just getting printed in a letters page of a comic people around the world are reading. I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like if it was a comic I’d created. But I’m certainly excited to find out.

I’ll leave you with the cover and letters page of the comic below as well as the Black Bolt art.

See ya next time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Inktober 2017

I had a go again this year at the Inktober challenge and it went pretty well. I managed to get 19 pieces completed for this years challenge. I’ve included the completed pieces below for those who are interested.

The complete list I was working from is the Inktober Ireland prompt list as per this post on ICN.

Day 1 – Draw What You Like Sunday / Marilyn Manson

Day 2 – Judge Dredd

Day 3 – Defenders

Day 4 – Star Wars / Rey

Day 5 – Mad Max / Furiosa

Day 9 – Superman

Day 10 – favourite game / Joe and Mac

Day 11 – Deadpool

Day 12 – Jack Kirby creations / Ikarus (Eternals)

Day 13 – Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Day 14 – weather / lightning storm over ocean

Day 15 – Draw What You Like Sunday / Wolfman

Day 16 – favourite song title / negasonic teenage warhead

Day 17 – Tattoos / Prison Break

Day 18 – Hellboy / Abe Sapian

Day 19 – Steampunk

Day 20 – Nature

Day 21 – Mecha / Guyver

Day 22 – Draw What You Like Sunday / The Scream – Black Bolt mashup

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Scurry – Book 1: Doomed Colony

Written, illustrated and lettered by Mac Smith.

Introduction to the Scurry series from the Scurry website (which also hosts the ongoing webcomic of Scurry):

Scurry is the story of a colony of mice in an abandoned house who are struggling to survive a long,¬†strange winter. The humans are all gone and the sun is rarely seen. As food becomes scarce and many mice fall ill, the scavengers are forced to search farther from their home, braving monster infested lands in search of anything that will help the colony survive another day. Being hunted by feral cats and predatory birds is part of life for these mice, but beyond the fences stalks something far more fearsome…

Scurry is a webcomic that I had been dipping in and out of. It’s a beautiful looking comic that is similar in tone to some of the movies that I loved in my youth. Movies such as the Dark Crystal, Secret of NIMH and the Never Ending Story. Smith himself does mention that they had an influence on his work in the afterword of Book 1.

Once Smith announced his Kickstarter for Book 1, I just had to pledge to the campaign. The comic looks great on-screen but I really wanted a physical comic. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy webcomics but I do try get physical copies if the creators decide to release them. Especially with the previews Smith posted and the option of a slipcased hardback.

The story opens with Wix (a mouse) and Umf (a rat) searching an abandoned house for food to bring back to the colony. All the while they must avoid poison, traps and cats. The colony itself is facing starvation as they are running out of supplies with winter face approaching. Word reaches the colony of an overturned truck containing food outside the area the foraging groups usually travel.

The whole comic is of a really high standard and I find it amazing that it’s freely available to read as a webcomic. If you haven’t already made a start on reading Scurry, you really should make a start on it. The artwork itself, both characters and the sets/backgrounds are stunning.

You can read the comic (as well as buy book 1 whiles stocks last) on the Scurry website.

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