Thursday, 24 July 2014

Rasher in the raw

The new Beano Annual 2015 is out now and I have four Rasher mini-strips in there. Above is a photo I took last year of a couple of the strips when they were still in the pencil stage. You can also see part of my Rasher script, printed in red (for no other reason than my black ink cartridge had run out).

Below is part of the completed strip after I'd inked it and scanned it into Photoshop to colour. I thought you might be interested to see how it compares to the raw pencil version. 

The Beano Annual 2015 is available now (online for sure, if not in shops yet).

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Born To Giggle!

Despite the look of the chap above he's one of the illustrations I did fora book called Born to Giggle!, - published by Save the Children in 2012. 

The idea behind the book was to combine poets with cartoonists to produce a book of fun illustrated poetry for children. Amongst the poets are Paul Cookson, Jill Townsend, Ian McMillan, Celia Warren and many more and the cartoonists include Laura Howell, Will Dawburn, Noel Ford, John McCrea, and of course Hunt Emerson, who provided the cover and edited the book with Ian Billings. 

My contribution was illustrating the poem Rainbow Cloud, written by Fi Gallimore.

Profits from the book will help children here in the UK and in 120 countries around the world. The suggested donation is £5. If you wanted to order it from your local bookshop it's ISBN 978-1-84187-129-5

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Dandy Annual 2015

I received a copy of The Dandy Annual 2015 the other day, which I'd ordered online from the DC Thomson shop. It should also be in the shops by now, unless distributors are holding them back again. 

It's an excellent book this year and I'm very proud to be part of it. My contributions are:

The Smasher (Three full pagers, one two pager).
Korky the Cat (One full page, one two pager).
Keyhole Kate (Three full pagers.)

Art only (script by David Mason):
Smashing Word Search.

Plot only (script and art by Nigel Parkinson): 
Cuddles & Dimples (the three page beach holiday story).

The three Korky the Cat pages were a last minute commission and had to be written and drawn over a weekend, but it was great to have a chance to draw my favourite cartoon cat again. (Last time was about 14 years ago for the Fun-Size editions of The Dandy.) I was asked to draw him in my own style, rather than imitate Charles Grigg's Korky, but Charlie's definitive version was an inspiration. 

For the Keyhole Kate strips I chose to do them as a three-part time travel adventure, with the pages spread throughout the book. 

As Kate's adventures took her to different locations I thought I'd make The Smasher more home-based this year, so all of his stories take place in or around his house. 

Cuddles and Dimples was fun. I supplied Nigel Parkinson with a very basic plot and he turned it into a fantastically funny story. 

I'll be reviewing the book over on my Blimey! blog later this week, and showing a glimpse at the work by other artists. 

Cover art by Ken Harrison.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Things to come!

I don't have anything in this week's Beano because they're experimenting with the content a bit so the mini-strips have been postponed for a few weeks. Lord Snooty will be back soon though! They have 9 completed strips still to use, although I don't know if all of those will be used in this run or not.

My work on Snooty is finished for the moment but I've been busy writing/drawing a few puzzle pages for the comic. There's an image from one of them above, with Plug looking more handsome than usual. Expect to see those puzzle pages appear in a few weeks time. 

I've also been commissioned to draw a new series for The Beano featuring an old favourite. I've just sent off the art for the first one so it'll be a couple of months yet before that begins. I'll say no more about it until The Beano reveals what the strip is. 

I was also contacted recently by another company for a one-off strip featuring a 1960s character I never expected to ever have a chance to draw! My contribution is only small but other creators are also working on the comic. News of this special publication will be revealed in a few days time and it'll knock a few socks off I think. 

There's also another strip I'm developing for a magazine which I hope will be accepted as I'm very excited about working for that title. If it all goes well I'll reveal all in a few weeks time. 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Back from London

I had a great time at the London Film and Comic Con on Saturday. You can read a fuller report of my day over on my other blog here:

I really enjoyed meeting enthusiastic readers who had grown up on comics such as Oink! and Transformers and it was fun to sketch some of my old characters for them such as the Combat Colin one shown above. My thanks to all of you who stopped by for a chat, sketch, and/or book. It really makes it all worthwhile for a comic creator to know that the work is appreciated.

The event was incredibly busy. Certainly the most well attended show I've ever been to in over 30 years, with estimates of over 120,000 attendees. To see the huge scale of the event, Rich Johnston of the Bleeding Cool website filmed a short video as he walked from one end of the show to the other. It's quite a whirlwind tour. I appear as a blur sitting at my table around 5mins 55 seconds:

The next show I'll be at will be ICE, the International Comic Expo in Birmingham on August 2nd. This will be a smaller and more comics-focused event, so I hope to see you there!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

See you in London?

It's the London Film and Comic Con this weekend so this is just a reminder that I'll be there on Saturday only. As usual I'm in a bit of a rush at the last minute with work still to complete before I go, so I'm not sure what I'll be bringing with me. Copies of my 2005 book Brickman Begins! most definitely, and possibly small pages of original artwork from Robo Capers and Team Toxic if I sort some out. 

I'll be available at my table for sketches of my characters on request of course, reasonably priced. If you just want your comics signed, that's free. 

Please drop by for a chat and a sketch if you're attending the show. It'll be good to see old friends or put faces to names. Below is a photo from last year, taken at a deliberately wonky angle by Debbie Tate. I might even be wearing the same shirt again (summer shirts don't get much wear in the UK) but the angle probably won't be as wonky. 

Here's the convention website with all the details. Tons of guests this year, including the legendary Stan Lee making his final UK convention appearance:

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Toxic 240 Preview

I'm drawing a new Team Toxic strip right now but one I did a couple of months ago is in print today. This time, the Team encounter a new zombie, - Supercool Zombie, who is so cool he can fly and juggle with his eyeballs. That puts Kid Zombie's nose out. (Through envy that is, not the eyeballs putting his nose out. If he had a nose of course.)

The two page story also sees the return of the villainous Techno Troll, - half cyborg, half troll. This is him...

A bit better looking than real trolls but we don't want to scare the readers. 

Team Toxic in Zombie Rivals is in the latest issue of Toxic magazine, out now for £2.99, bagged with gifts. Here's what to look out for...

...and inside the bag...