Tweetdrawing

Earlier today, my friend John Reppion posted a little musing on twitter about a local Church being knocked down.

John is a great writer, and the tweet had a lyrical quality that I really responded to. So I thought, as I’m winding down to relax for a holiday (hahah) I’d do a quick drawing of it as I saw it.

Here’s the tweet:

Presented as an image to maintain the historical record!

And I quickly scribbled out a layout and chopped the words up as lettering (drawn in Clip Studio at the digest art size, so I couldn’t get too precious and fiddly)

Tweet as Comic

Took a minute or two. Sent it to John for his approval (I mean he was surprised to see it I’m sure, given it was just me faffing around).

Then I went off and did some paid work and came back to it.

Speed drawing is funny, the trick is to cheat as often and as much as you can.

Cheat one: don’t pencil. Just go straight from the roughs to inks.

Cheat two: photo reference. Just google the hell out of everything and trace it. Google a church. Google a wrecking ball. Google a digger. Using maps to get an overhead shot of some buildings so you can quickly use that to build out a panel. Copy a panel and draw over it. And finally google some birds.

Cheat three: TRACE EVERYTHING. Don’t grab photoreference so you can internalise what a digger looks like, grab photoreference so you can trace the digger. If you’ve any sort of eye at all you’ll introduce enough variety in what you’re doing that it won’t be a problem to describe it as a reinterpretation

Not gonna lie. There’s a lot of tracing in this.

Here’s the black and white:

Now for colour, I skipped the flatting/rendering stage and just stuck with simple colours – but I grabbed a page I liked by an colourist I liked which covered similar colours to what I knew I needed and sampled it for all the colours. That to is big fat cheat.

Channel Hex: Planet of the Blind

Got some work done, decided to start playing with logos and layouts for the kickstarter digest idea.

(To recap: a 64 digest comic, it’s actually 68 pages – once you include the covers, drawn while I do other work. Scifi/horror like the old UK Starblazer imprint)

So, in order to start working out layouts for a cover I needed a cover. And I didn’t have one. So I figured, it was time to test my working hypothesis that I could draw an A5 sized comic at A5 sized (which is about a quarter of the size of a traditional comic).

Man, my eyes are not what they once where, it was a little too tiny. So I might scale up – maybe not all the way to A5, but a decent 40% larger, maybe… (So a single page will fit on an A4 page, but it’ll still be smaller than A4)

This cover was a lot of fun to conceptualise and draw. I knew I wanted a sci-fi old school concept, spaceman, fighting monster on new planet. Then I covered his eye with an eyepatch and decided to make the monster blind (and he’s hunting it with some rotten meat).

And then a title just came – Kingdom of the Blind – wasn’t quite on-the-nose enough – good old pulpy sci required it be called Planet of the Blind (he also requires his surname to be King, if I ever wrote it)

Anyway, here’s the cover…

The logo in the bottom right is the Channel Hex logo. Spent some time figuring that out today, tried dozens of variations and ended up … going back to the original logo I designed when I first wanted to do some short channel hex stories a few years ago.

I’m gonna stew over some of these design choices, but it’s been fun doing this. I’ve a promise of a script from a colleague I’ve done loads with in the past, and he’s one of my favourite writers too – so I’m really looking forward to it starting. Gonna be trying “marvel style” (it’s alright for me to go – I’M DOING THIS FOR FREE! but it’s a bit out of order to say “YOU MUST WRITE A FULL SCRIPT FOR ME”)

If you’re interested in where this is all going, definitely sign up for my mailing list – I’ve not sent any posts out in a while, but it’s a sure fire way to know when the kickstart is kicking off. Still lots of research to do on that front, I wanna make sure I’m going in to it with my eyes opened as wide as possible -I’ve had a couple of great chats with people and one of the big things, especially as first kickstarter is KEEP IT SIMPLE – one digital book, one paperback and one hardback and that’s it. Try and keep the posting options tight, so you don’t accidentally push yourself over the edge promising stuff.

Why Not?!

Thomas(10) has been writing up and drawing up a storm. He’s written and pencilled a 24 page comic called Why Not?! – which is largely inspired by the Beano and the Phoenix.

One of the struggles of being a professional comic artist dad is knowing just how much help is too much help. When Nathan (now 14) was younger he used to stop drawing and just say “You do it, you’re better than me” – now I’m not sure if he’d say they same about any adult, but I can’t help feeling I was to blame on this one.

With Tom as much as possible I’ve tried to encourage but not overwhelm, but I think we’ve made a happy compromise. Essentially, I’m inking and lettering his comic. (Actually, I think I’ve got a raw deal).

Now, in his defence, he did offer to pay me. 50p. I refused, and he upped it to £2. (I didn’t take it, but there was no back end deal, so again, I’m feeling like I’ve been taken advantage of)

The line up of issue 1 (he has plans, we’ll see how far they go, but I’ve been slightly taken aback at how steadily he’s worked at this, chipping away a page or two a day) includes:

  • Monkey Arms (the boy with the long arms)
  • Spacedogs
  • Galaxy FC (two pager adventure strip!)
  • Electric Kid
  • Time Thief
  • Head Bump Hero
  • Mean Dean
  • Tim Teleport
  • Broken Reality
  • Element Man
  • and a page of Dad’s Jokes (which Tom included under protest)

So we’re gonna get this thing printed up and try and price it at £2.50 and I’ll probably point a limited run of about 10 (unless, you know… people ask for copies…) One thing I’ll say, it’s been fun doing it, Thomas is very very funny.