Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Opium Eater

Two sketches of an Afghan Opium Addict, from a photo accompanying an article in National Geographic

Monday, 27 January 2014


Done about the same time as the Moon Bone, playing with my interest in tribal masks and their ability to convey emotion.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

From an Old photograph

From a photo of my Dad, me and my brother (L to R) on a family holiday to Shetland in the late 70's. The long strings we're carrying/wearing are lines of corks threaded on rope, used to buoy up fishing nets. I think we found these on a walk.

Monday, 20 January 2014


A recent piece, part of a series of exercises I've been working on that look at adapting classics from other media into comic form, while avoiding the obvious route.

I've taken Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem "Jabberwocky", which he composed largely of imaginary words - arguably in an attempt to keep the reader guessing as to what he was on about, and force them to engage in their own interpretation.

The narrator here hasn't got a clue what he's on about, and manages to convey something of the impression the poem's made on him, while completely and utterly failing to describe the poem itself.

The model for this character is Microsoft's outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, who has wonderfully over-the-top hand gestures and body language when he's presenting on stage.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

More African sketches

Pet Portraits

In an effort to get my artwork under the noses of more people, this month I'm targeting pet owners. If you know anyone who wants a slightly more unusual portrait of their favourite animal(s), send them over to http://thousandmask.com. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Father & Son

A short strip experimenting with the following things:

  • speech balloons containing pictures instead of words, just to see if it'd work
  • minimal use of colour to highlight the emotional temperature - they get more coloured in as they actually start talking to each other (apart from the ghost of the Grandad), who takes the colour with him when he goes
Colour plays a big role in comics (apart from black & white ones, of course!) - from superhero motifs to general mood-setting, but it can also be used in a more stylised way, to communicate something more specific, which was what I was trying to explore here. 

Ed Hillyer's recent "Room for Love" does this, with the brown and blue palettes coming to signify the two protagonists - initially there's no strong reason why either colour should be associated with a particular character (any more than grey, black and yellow inherently signifies "Batman") but by repeated use of the motifs, he trains the reader to associate the colours with the characters, building up a vocabulary on the fly.

As a side-note, for another very powerful use of stylised colour schemes, see the early Jet Li film "Hero".

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Sketchbook - new pens!!

I've been using Pitt Artist pens for several years now (see most sketchbook entries here), and thought them the best thing around. I've recently discovered the Pentel Pocket Brush, with it's long, flexible and very pressure-sensitive nib,  and have been blown away by the kind of detail it can give. I'm still feeling my way with these, but I like the early results - here's a quick sketch from an old newspaper of a (low caste) Dalit family, with a close-up on the fine lines of the central character's face.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014