Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Here's a rough of Dr. Watson for one of the pages I'm working on right at this very moment for Hound of the Baskervilles. Thought I'd take a quick snap shot and post it here.
The wet proofs for a handful of test pages arrived yesterday morning from the printers so I could see how the color would print and I'm rather pleased and excited.
Now then. About Dr. John H. Watson:
IN the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy's country. I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties.
The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across a pack-horse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines.
- (Being a reprint from the reminiscences of JOHN H. WATSON, M.D., late of the Army Medical Department), A Study in Scarlet.
'No small part of our author's genius was his ability to tell a story so persuasively that it sounded like a narration of fact.'And it's that no small part of his genius that brings me to Dr. Watson and the Battle of Maiwand. Whilst many may know of Watson through Nigel Bruce's portrayal of a bumbling baffoon, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle portrayed Holmes' chronicler, Dr. John H. Watson as a capable and brave man - a 'whetstone' for Holmes' mind.
The bravery of the English soldiers that fought in the Battle of Maiwand was noted by an Afghanistan officer. The British had lost and were down to 11 men.
"These men charged from the shelter of a garden and died with their faces to the enemy, fighting to the death. So fierce was their charge, and so brave their actions, no Afghan dared to approach to cut them down. So, standing in the open, back to back, firing steadily, every shot counting, surrounded by thousands, these British soldiers died. It was not until the last man was shot down that the Afghans dared to advance on them. The behaviour of those last eleven was the wonder of all who saw it".Now, given that Watson survived he clearly wouldn't have been one of the final eleven (if we marry fact with fiction for a moment as Doyle suggests) but another matter cements his courage and devotion to my mind.
In 'A Study in Scarlet' (re: above) it states that Watson was shot in the shoulder (wounded by a Jezail bullet), and its this wound that had him pulled out of active service. In 'The Sign of Four' (another of the books we're adapting), he makes reference to a war wound in his leg.
'I made no remark, however, but sat nursing my wounded leg. I had a Jezail bullet through it some time before, and, though it did not prevent me from walking, it ached wearily at every change of the weather.'Which was it, the shoulder or the leg? That's something that's sometimes been a matter of debate. Well, if our Watson served at the battle of Maiwand and if the description given by the Afghanistan officer is anything to go by then the answer's quite simple as I see it. It was both. Not only that, but Watson was already significantly wounded before he took the bullet in the shoulder which retired him from the battlefield for good. Had he, even wounded, tried desperately to save lives in the chaos that was the battlefield of the Maiwand? Watson was a courageous and devoted man and yet he himself is quick to note the devotion and courage of another! In factual context, Watson was truly an exceptional fellow.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Prog 2009 is on sale today! And in it you will find the Stickleback Christmas Special I spoke of back in November. The story is called 'T'was the Fight before Christmas' which is by strange coincidence the same title given to the Sinister Dexter story Stickleback co-creator and original artist D'israeli debued with ten years ago as a colorist. For those following the references slipped into these stories, Fishpaste is not the only one I managed to sneak in.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Stickleback © 2008 Rebellion Developments/2000AD
Stickleback created by Ian Edginton & D'Israeli.
Drawn by me.
Many thanks to Ian, D'Israeli and Tharg for this opportunity. I had a blast doing it.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thanks to Col for the heads up.
In other news, here's a review of The Picture of Dorian Gray from The Bookseller.
(click to enlarge)
"Films and graphic novels have a lot in common – indeed I could have used much of this as my storyboards. It's terrific to see Wilde's work in this form and it's a great way to reach a wider audience. The visuals are bold and striking and the text very skillfully abridged."
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
And now for something completely different. Here's a letter I found addressed to me which mildly amused me.
Now, picture this. The young Master Culbard, to whom the above letter was addressed (I still have the envelope the letter arrived in and no it doesn't have a stamp on it, it has a royal stamp, but not an actual postage stamp with the Queens head on it), was at that time a little boy reading The Hobbit, The Wind in the Willows and The Lion and the Witch in the Wardrobe (the three main books of my childhood at that time) and listening to Mozart, Holst and Wagner (I really wasn't fond of 'pop' music). Some might say a precocious child. Others might say disturbing. And others might say - oh never mind them, they're not important anyway. But I digress. Imagine, if you will, my delight at such a wonderfully naive and innocent age upon reading the following:
"The Prince and Princess of Wales have asked me -"They specifically asked. They said, "Henrietta dearest, do be a chum and write to that dear fellow and thank him for us would you. It was awfully kind of him to write to us and to spare a moments thought for us given how frightfully busy he is with all this and all that." Or at least that's likely the way I would have seen it aged nine.
"Their Royal Highnesses were most touched by the good wishes you have expressed"What the heck did I write that gave merit to a letter from Buckingham blooming Palace?
I can only imagine it may have gone something like this:
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Rumor has it that Paterson Joseph is to step into the 11th Doctor's shoes, 3-1 according to the BBC against four unlikely ones. Joseph can be seen here playing the Marquis de Carabas in Neverwhere:
And lastly, Russell Tovey was apparently RTD's tip to replace Tennant seen here playing the werewolf in the BBC pilot drama, Being Human (created and written by Doctor Who writer, Toby Whithouse - this show's getting a full series apparently):
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Got back from the Birmingham International Comic Show late on Saturday night. What a hoot!
Got to meet up with the lovely folk from SelfMadeHero again, signed some books for some incredibly nice people who were all saying incredibly nice things. And the first copy of Dorian Gray that I signed was for Mark Buckingham and his wife Irma. I also finally met Sean Phillips and got up to speed with Criminal and managed to get a copy of Seven psychos. Oh, and I got a comp copy of The Girly Comic (from marvelous Jay and Selina at Factor Fiction) which has 'War Canary' in it in full color! And I hooked up again with my dear chums Dave Taylor and Colin Fawcett with whom I ate food and drank wine (we actually got a free lunch).
In other news I'm going to be making more appearances in November. I've off to Bradford to run a workshop at the Bradford Animation Festival on Thursday the 13th of November (at 10:30 in the morning for two hours):
Storyboarding, alongside character design and scriptwriting, is one of the key stages of producing a quality animation. In this two hour workshop, Ian Culbard (animation filmmaker with experience in directing commercials, television, and short films) offers an insight into the skills involved in producing effective storyboards.That same week I'm dashing off to London to appear on a panel. Over at Paul Gravett's site there's info on a panel I'm going to be on:
Turning Classics Into ComicsSo November's going to be quite a busy and exciting month for me.
Shakespeare, Brontë, Wilde and Dickens are getting visual makeovers as comics. How does prose transfer to panels? What is lost, and found, in translation? Richard Appignanesi and Ian Edgington talk with their visualisers Mustashrik, Chie Kutsuwada and Ian Culbard, and John M Burns and Mike Collins discuss their versions of Jane Eyre and A Christmas Carol. Plus signings.
Supported by Classical Comics, SelfMadeHero & Letraset
Tickets: Each talk - £6, £5 concs, £4 members
Tickets: All three of today's talks - £15, £12 concs, £9 members
Where: Nash & Brandon Rooms, ICA
When: Sunday, 16 November, 6pm to 7.30pm
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Also, 'War Canary' a story written by Selina Lock and drawn by me, will be appearing in the latest issue of 'The Girly Comic' and will be on sale at the show, so make sure you pick up a copy while you're there.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
The Picture of Dorian Gray will be available from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon .com and Play.com as well as all good bookstores.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The game is afoot.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
I wanted to keep the inking effects very 'in camera' as they'd say in the film business, with regard to this plate. Basically, the frantic cross hatched shading level has moved from being something I would normally have dropped over the background on an overlay channel to being part of the actual finished inks (likewise speech balloons).
Friday, August 15, 2008
Following Nigel Parkinson's wonderful curve ball on the WKRR? I stumbled upon this idea just as I was waking up this morning with an somewhat unexpected and quite ferocious hangover. 'Wake up, Number 37' is a pop culture reference type thing (pertaining to "The Mothman Prophecies" wherein a character called "Indrid Cold" (aka The Mothman) who seemingly exists out of time, says it as a warning to one of the characters in the film. It must have got lodged in my brain because as I was waking up this morning it sort of popped into my head like a booming voice. Like the echo of a dream that somehow overlaps into the first few seconds of the waking day.
The number 37 is of course loaded with meaning as is every number and everything if you chose to follow the white rabbit down the hole. From the number of plays written by Shakespeare to a bad year for Antioch. From the first irregular prime number to the number of the beast (37 is 666 divided by its digits added together [37=666/(6+6+6)] ... and technically speaking, its the 'number of a man' associated with the beast, but that would mess up the lyrics to "The Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden). 37 means everything and nothing at all.
Will be fun to see who or what 37 is, presuming Nigel picks up on that as he's Huzzah'd the next turn.
Watched 'Maestro' for the second time last night. A new 'celebrities making complete asses of themselves' tv show from the BBC but unlike previous 'celebrities making complete asses of themselves' tv shows, I rather enjoyed this one as it was about one of my favorite subjects. Classical Music. And it proved that conducting an orchestra is not unlike driving a ruddy great big tank laden with very large guns. Wonderful stuff.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
And whilst on the subject of being inspired ... here's something pretty awesome:
'This is a game. It is inspired by the project "Round Robin" in where a series of professional comic artists join to create an unexpected history'The work over on Cadaver Exquisito really is quite exquisite, so please do go check it out. I was able quite easily to work my way through the story with a translator widget (that's the glory of comics, not a lot of text).
Their contributors include Bachan, Edgar Clement (both of whom have contributed thus far), Humberto Ramos, José Quintero, Patricio Betteo, Lucas Marangon, Francisco Herrera and Tony Sandoval.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
When I first introduced 'the detective' (who has a name of course, Captain Noah Arkright), I actually had planned to introduce three. Basil Rathbone, Margaret Rutherford and Sidney Toler alikes, getting under one another's feet... but that would have been a nightmare so I'm glad I didn't venture further beyond the signs saying 'turn back, that way madness lies'. I settled for a cross between Basil Rathbone and Gregory Peck instead ... sort of.
Oh, one last thing - there's a joke hidden away in this one... it's written in Zoctarian across the ship as it passes overhead in the second panel.
If you've no idea what I'm on about then you've not been reading 'Who Killed Round Robin?' Shame on you.
Go and watch the Watchmen trailer for yourselves.... thanks to Apple.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Right then. Here's the process I used to create Plate 2 of Page 26 of "Who Killed Round Robin?"
Starting with the concept - I wanted to elaborate more on what happens to people who witness the birth of an Outer God without the proper protective eye wear and seized my chance when I noticed that because of Woodrow Phoenix's perception of what I'd drawn earlier he'd drawn a previously faceless character with a face again ... and from that I got my idea. How we perceive one another's contributions is obviously just one part of what shapes the story, with people interpreting what has gone before in ways that a contributor might not have imagined in the first place. So I figured I'd find a way to cement the original intention a bit more concretely (excuse the pun).
Also I wanted to reintroduce a concept contributed by Colin Fawcett all the way back on page Page 15 (plate 3). We'll likely catch up with Cockrell and Stone's progress at some point (one would certainly hope), but I quite liked the notion that people could be used like trained circus fleas. So I started sketching. And as with most of my WKRR? contributions I just have time for one shot at it, so pretty much what you see is more or less what you get. Straight out of the tin, as 'they*' say.
Once I got the general idea down I then inked it thus ...
.... using Manga studio for the nice big brush lines. Manga Studio is all levels of awesomeness. Try it out. Took me about fifteen minutes to ink fully then on to the crosshatching.
Basically, creating a new layer I went Robert Crumb Crazy. Manga Studio organizes your work into layers... much like photoshop, which is handy as I'll explain in a minute. I then worked into the cross hatching with an erase tool and erased small ember like dots. more on that cross hatched layer in a mo...
I then exported the file into photoshop (you can export your work, layers intact, straight out of Manga Studio... did I mention how marvelous Manga Studio is?) and did a quick color rough which, when I'm doing round robin work is finished colors... but I do probably take a little while longer coloring than I do inking. It's the bulk of the work in fact. I basically color the whole thing quite baddly, with only a rough idea in my head of the contrast I want. So the colors will be quite primary to begin with. Then I isolate areas of the color and tweak them using 'photo filter' in photoshop. Which washes colors through with either a uniform warm or coldness etc. Cyan photofilter is great for deadening flesh tones if you're doing a zombie comic etc. I then pass the whole thing through a photo filter tonal wash to ensure the color is equally distributed. So the over all image feels either warm or cold or dead even. I enjoy this process way to much. It's my favorite part out of the entire coloring process. No idea why but its totally my bag. In the previous panel Penney has set the alien on fire so we loose the usual colors for this environment.
And then I take my cross hatched layer, remember that? Hopefully I haven't lost you by now with all my talk about photo filters... anyway, I switch that to an overlay channel and it burns over the image quite nicely. Then, on a layer over the original inks I drop the oppacity and work glow into the eyes of the damned and the lighting.
I add two additional layers, one with a texture over it which I put on a soft light with high contrast... it's basically a mottled texture that actually makes any overlap in the color seemingly bleed, so it gives everything a marker effect or water color effect giving the color a pinch more depth. I also have like an old newspaper texture which I drop over the whole thing on a multiply channel, which means that anything white is now creamy colored, like aged paper, and pulls the image together a bit more in terms of tone and depth and all those bells and whistles.
And lastly I add lettering, returning once more to the log entry of the previous page, describing in some detail what happens to the skin of a 'witness' who is unfortunate enough to see an Outer God being born (or to even meet one at all). I also use words of Yiddish origin for sound effects, quite specifically choosing schmaltz (which you may know as being used for 'excessive sentimentality' but is also the word for melted chicken fat, which I thought quite appropriate for the sound of someone's face falling off) and schlub (which is a clumsy, stupid, or unattractive person ... not very nice, I know).
For the finished thing, click here.
*more about 'them' later.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Here's the inks for my new WKRR? plate (click here to see the full color version).
I decided here not to show the Outer God - we've had glimpses of it so far, nothing too detailed, and I thought it more horrid at this point in the page to show the effects of looking at it rather than showing it. And of course the introduction of journal notes... although who's journal notes remains to be seen.
I named the burgeoning regenerating aliens "Dren". As in 'children', because they've always looked quite eerily childlike.
Also I was rather curious as to why Penney wore tinted specs. Well now we know.
(*next week I'll be calling it The New York Times Best Seller, and the week after that we're going for the Pulitzer)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Battle of Agincourt again is of notable significance. It's incorrectly associated with 'flipping the bird', that most popular of obscene hand gestures. Apparently the French wanted to cut off the middle fingers of English bowmen so they could not use their bows (a cunning plan!). When the English won they displayed their middle fingers to show they still had them. Nonsense of course, but then so was the Angel of Mons. I thought it interesting though that bodkin point's (the arrows used by longbowmen at the Battle of Agincourt), were fired in sun blotting volleys at the French and yet St. George in Machen's story sent the very same bowmen to be allied with the French in order to defeat the Germans.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A fictional cover for a fictional book. A work of fiction in every sense of the word. Frank Solomon's my chosen pen name if ever I become a 10,000 word a day pulp novelist. Jack Tallahasse's someone I'm going to have to work with some day. Just playing around here with textures and light really as my work seems to be increasingly moving in this direction as can be seen in my latest Round Robin contribution (I got pretty obsessed with the number 3 while I was working on it, see how many references to three you can spot and what they all mean).
Got a lot of work to do over the coming week or so. Pitches galore.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Meanwhile I'm putting work together for another five projects, two I'm doing on my todd, one with Jay Eales of Factor Fiction, another with Ian Edginton again, but that'll come after the prep work for the next SelfMadeHero outing, and one of which is with Round Robin collaborator Colin Fawcett. More on that too as it comes in, all I can say right now is it's a corker.