Sunday, 24 February 2013

New O'Messy Life single pt.2

Had some people ask me over the last couple of years how I colour on Photoshop, so here goes.

1) Scan in at 1200dpi
2) Open in PS and use Image > Adjustments > Threshold tool
3) Reduce image size to 300dpi
4) Go to Channels tab and make a copy of the "Blue" channel
5) Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert
6) Use the "marching ants" tool to select the inks
7) Create a new layer
8) Paint bucket black into the selected area
9) Clear the background layer
10) Create a layer between the background and the inks to colour on

This is my tried and tested method, and exactly what I did for the O'Messy Life cover. I use a Wacom tablet and a whole bunch of Polygon lasso tool when colouring on that intermediate layer and it's a much messier business than it appears when you remove the inks layer from above:

In many ways, however, it actually looks much softer and easier on the eye than when my clumsy line work is slapped over it. Never the less, this is the finished product! More when I start work on the back cover.

Monday, 18 February 2013

New O'Messy Life single pt.1

Hello all,

I have a big news dump on the way, but for now here's what I'm tinkering with at the moment. I heard some rough mixes of some great new songs by O'Messy Life, that they'll be releasing on Tiny Lights pretty soon. This time, the external platform they've chosen to use for these deeply internal songs is the space shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986. I'm once again privileged to be asked to design the artwork for this release. Number one fan boy, right here.

Lead singer David Littlefair had some pretty specific ideas in mind to begin with, but I meddled with them a little bit and with our powers combined we've came up with what I think will be a really neat design. It's been a much more involved conceptual process this time around, and we've drawn from this amalgam of reference material to come up with the image.

 Stock photo found online.
 Incredible illustration by Rebecca Mock.
 Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Hans Bol.
 Photo of Challenger explosion found on the internet.

While the tragedy was worldwide and almost other-worldly in scale and coverage, we wanted to get at the sense of loss on a personal, domestic level. The obvious reason for this was that musically, the band are exploring personal ideas, using the disaster as a parallel/metaphorical narrative throughout. Here are some design process shots:

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Thought Bubble 2012

With Thought Bubble only a week away, I thought I'd share some news/plans with everyone. Firstly, if you're not planning on going to Thought Bubble - GO! It really is the finest convention the UK has to offer. Just the right kind of focus for anybody's tastes, just the right kind of atmosphere to make creators, guests and families feel welcome. This will be my fourth time exhibiting and I'm more excited about it than ever before!

I'll be sharing table 169 in New Dock Hall with P M Buchan, who I've been collaborating with for 8 years, since the first issue of our and Phil Marsden's collaborative anthology Blackout. They were humble beginnings, and we've periodically released 3 more issues since that first one, as well as completing a slew of other strips that Bucky has written and I have drawn, which have featured in, among other places, Starburst and SCREAM magazines. Meanwhile, Marsden has surpassed even himself, managing to weasel his way into illustrating for NME and Kerrang! magazines.

But none these accomplishments even remotely resemble the magnificence of our latest effort, which also features work by the incredible Andrew Waugh, some splendid colour and design work by Michael Barnes, and a guest strip and pin-up by Harley Poe's Joe Whiteford... ladies and gentlemen, I give you Blackout #5. In fact, so much does it eclipse the other issues that we've done away with the issue number and simply christened it BLACKOUT. It is a completely stand-alone, monolithic behemoth of pain, filth and gore. Within its confines, I have a silent, four-page strip entitled "Wages of Sin", written by Buchan, coloured by Barnes, and a seven-page romantic tragedy soaked in blood, affectionately named "What's Inside A Girl?" after the mini-comic of the same title that Bucky produced some 6 years ago. I was also roped into doing the cover, much like the first time we ever put an issue of Blackout together.... typical!

Bucky will also be releasing issue one of his Gothic-horror series La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and has work featured in the anthology Disconnected vol. 2 - read more about these delights on his website. As for moi, I'm disappointed to say no new issue of The Big Bang this year, as it's been all kinds of busy. But I do plan on putting out a beastly issue (if not a concluding issue) next year to make up for it. I will be doing some super sweet deals on comics and prints though:

The Big Bang Issues One, Two and Three - £6.00
John Henry Split My Heart - £2.50
The Gentleman Ghost - £1.50
Costume Party - £2.00
One print - £5.00
Two prints - £9.00
Three prints - £12.00
And I will be offering my customary "Anything you Like" A4 b/w commissions for £5.00 too!

The price of Blackout is yet to be announced, but you're looking at about £3.00 for 32 full-colour pages, on sexy uncoated stock - the only comic that come with a 100% guarantee that all contributors are going straight to hell! Blood sacrifices, hearts of virgins and other offers may be accepted.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Bath Tub

Something worth sharing with you.

Two Slides
Don't loose me again
Golden Mirror
Catch me from behind don't forget my hands
Yarney Veins
Search across the wooden floor tonight
Wide white walls
Whisper wrong directions
We sleep separately for protection
Wide white sheets
Holding everything in the morning
We hold everything in the morning
Wet wool by the window in the morning
Wet skin steeped in snow by the morning
Two A.M. and the bath waters still running

Friday, 5 October 2012

Loads'a Stuff!

As usual, I've been so busy actually doing stuff that I haven't had much of a chance to post about it on here. As I have a rare window of opportunity today on account of my school being closed and having no lessons to teach, I thought I'd share everything that has happened since last time.


I have one! It's fun! I created a little reward system/game/poster thing to go on my wall, called "Quest for the Golden Skull" - the kids earn points for being awesome in various ways through the week, then on Friday they use their points and the spinner to pass through the castles and use their minds (which I have moulded) to answer questions posed by the various villains along their path to victory. The winning team gets comfy cushions the next week, sweets and first dibs on using the Creation Station. That's a little area I set up with a red octopus called Francois, who holds challenge envelopes in his hands that are worth points if completed in the Words Book, Pictures Book or Scrapbook. Behold!

New Rob Heron Cover
After the success of the last cover, I had the pleasure of working with Rob Heron & The Teapad Orchestra again. This time was a little draining on the band and on myself, because my iMac is on its last legs and finding Photoshop to be a very tricky customer. But we're both happy with how the artwork turned out and what I've heard of the album also sounds swell. You can find out more about the release and where to pick up a copy on the band's website.

O-Messy Life T-Shirt
I had loads of fun drawing this scene of gore and death - took me right back to childhood! I also managed to side-step having to do anything on Photoshop, which helped with the turn around and my sanity. It's an even nicer commission because it marks the triumphant return of the band after an injury-related hiatus. More gigs and releases soon I hope! The t-shirts are available from the Tiny Lights website.

As almost a cheesy motivational poster for my classroom, and something fun to do over the summer, I created this little illustration. I'll probably be putting it in my Etsy shop soon, and I'll have copies for sale at Thought Bubble this year.

How I've never picked up a copy of this magazine before I have no idea; it's brimming with reviews for movies, TV shows, books, comics, videogames, table-top games and basically all of the stuff I live and breathe. BONUS! Now that Bucky is on their writing team, we have a comic in the current issue (read more about that here) and I also get a mention for my series The Big Bang in his column Adventures on Alternative Earths. Go to any good stockist and pick up a copy!

The crude A5, black and white, hand-folded and -stapled overly offensive rag of death, alcoholism and rage that saw me through my self-publishing fetish as a teen is back with a vengeance! This time, in addition to the 'original three' contributors: myself, PM Buchan and Phil Marsden, we are also welcoming to the fold the immeasurably talented beard of Andy Waugh, who will be offering some original work of his own creation, AND the miniature making, miniature painting, comics writing, comics drawing Michael Barnes, who will be colouring some of mine and Phil Marsden's work.

What's that? Colour you say? You better believe it! This is going to be like no other Blackout you've read before. In fact, so redundant does it make all of the other issues, that we're simply giving it the monolithic title of 'Blackout' and doing away with issue numbers! It will be full colour, much lengthier than the other issues and more succinctly offensive and filth-ridden. Here are a few sneaky peeks of my progress so far.

Okay, I swore to myself that I would never submit. As a devout technophobe and hater of all social networking websites, apps and other nonsense, Twitter seemed about the stupidest thing of all. HOWEVER, when I found out that the game designers I turned onto my dice game Teltos at a recent stag party were creating wonderful ripples in the gaming world, going so far as to create Teltos arenas, custom dice bags and a slew of new and hilarious gaming names, I had to be a part of it. Nay, I had to stake my claim! Plant my flag! And now that I'm on, I'll occasionally post an update about arty progress or gaming stuff. Follow me @Teltos.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

School's Out for Summer

Greetings all. Well, I'm now officially a qualified teacher and have an exciting September ahead of me. Until then, I also have a little more time to devote to drawing and stuff, so I thought I'd kick off with some old stuff that I didn't have the chance to post up here while I was in school etc.

First off, here's the cover artwork for the second Tiny Lights release from O'Messy Life. It's a reference to the Heaven's Gate Cult and originally had a different back cover featuring the head of their ultra-creepy cult leader Mark Applewhite.

Here's the unused Applewhite head:

I also had the tremendous pleasure of being placed at Benton Park Primary School for 8 weeks at the end of my course, and I got to know an absolutely lovely and utterly bonkers group of kids whose teacher acted as my mentor while I was there. Every morning they would tell me about the bizarre dreams they had the night before about being eaten by various food stuffs, mostly fruit. As a parting gift I made this illustration for them:

Finally, a bit of fan art for Mountain Man. Go lisssen.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Threadless Submission - PLEASE VOTE!

I have decided, after years of fandom, patronage and purchases from the splendid t-shirt website Threadless, to submit my own design and see how it does. Check out this re-vamped toaster bot, and if you'd like it hanging around your excellent physique, GO VOTE FOR IT! It would look awesome on you, and I'm not just saying that.

If it's successful I'll pick a bunch of you bloggers to get a free tee - just comment below to say you've voted! Thank you in advance for your support!