Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Watercolour covers for MDACC

Something a little different from the usual comic based stuff this time.
I was asked to paint some covers for the MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital early last year. These are the finished watercolours for the covers.
It was the first time I'd used watercolour (and some gouache, mainly for the whites) since, well, ever, really. I'd used gouache to do a couple of pieces for my GCSE art coursework and I did a sci-fi style piece for an advert for a car salesroom back when I was at Uni in the early 90's...Since then I'd used what few watercolour paints I had for washes over Copic marker sketches. So, it was a new thing, something outside my comfort zone.
I really enjoyed the speed and immediacy of the process. There's a lot more freedom in using watercolours than in oils, at least in the way I use oils. I found that the paint took care of itself, creating incidental shapes, colours and marks that I had no intention of making. It was like sketching but with paint. Basically I enjoyed it and after I finished the job I continued using them. Currently I'm experimenting with paper types and brushes. I probably need to use thicker paper as I'm somewhat inept at stretching it and it still warps anyway...so it's an ongoing process.

Here's the cover art (along with one cover with all the text on it!).

Cover to issue one. I used my second eldest daughter, who was 10 at the time, as the model. This was about the 4th attempt (and the bear was added in digitally) on this cover. I used four basic colours on this one along with a hand mixed flesh colour. In fact, I very rarely use colours straight out of the tube (or pan). I guess that's a holdover from my oil painting where I mix every colour I use.

Above is the preview, or mock-up, of the first cover. Each issue concentrates on a different stage of  the journey. This one is diagnosis.

This was my second attempt at the cover when the colour scheme was different. I was using pencil crayons at the time also. I wasn't there yet. I stopped using the crayons after this piece.

Cover for issue 2. Again, similar colour palette to issue one, a stark, limited range of colours. This issue is about Treatment.

Issue 3. I introduced more colour for this cover. I added the headscarf in digitally on this cover. It was needed to depict this stage of the journey correctly, Remission. The unedited painting is below.

I like this piece. But the headscarf was needed for this point of the journey through the stages of cancer. 
Relapse. This was the most difficult cover to visualise and went through many different ideas at the sketch stage. A return to the limited palette for this cover after the more upbeat and colourful remission cover. 

This was an earlier idea for the cover that didn't quite come off!

Survivorship. A pretty much full colour piece (yet it still has an undertone of the original green that I used on the first cover). I wanted this to look like an illustration from a classic kids story book, Famous Five, something along those lines, depicting a sense of adventure and a summer day.

So, that's the series of covers I painted in watercolour that kicked off my current interest in the medium. 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017


There'll be a slight increase in prices for some kinds of commissions starting in 2018. Nothing massive, but I do need to tweak a few prices. My prices are, I have to say, pretty reasonable and I do think I offer value for money. There, that's the extent of me advertising myself, onto business.

I accept postal commissions all year round. So, if you can't make it to one of the comic cons I attend then no problem, we can sort it out online! 

How to pay: First, I take payment upon completion of the job, it makes the wait easier and also gives me incentive to get the commission finished. If the piece is for collection at one of the rare comic cons I attend, then cash on collection is fine. Also, if you have a phone, Paypal is possible at cons!

For postal commissions, postage is free, unless it's a massive piece or there's some other one off situation involved.

Here's the full rundown of what I do with examples and prices.


These are £50 for a b/w Copic sketch like the examples below. For a wrap that'd be £100. Colour (Copics and ink with watercolour wash) will be £60, £120 for a wrap. For anything like multiple figures, detailed background etc then it'll be on a per job basis.

Also, I must point out, that the quality of blank variant titles varies greatly depending on the publisher. For example, DC generally have the best surface to draw on, it's a decent surface. Except Adventures of Supergirl which has a surface like 1970's school toilet paper and has my vote as the worst blank variant ever made. 
Marvel tend to be hit and miss, some are fine, some are ink, Copic, paint and even pencil repellent. 
Dynamite...every tool I use skates across the almost plastic surface and coagulates in a pool of frustration. So, not all art options that I do will be available for every blank variant. We can always talk about it beforehand.

Cover recreations on blanks start at £70. They're pretty tricky to do although they do look nice!

I am looking into doing oil panted sketchcovers. These will be on a per job basis. Still experimenting at the moment! Examples will follow if the experiments are a success.

I also do non-likeness sketchcovers like the examples below. These are the same price as the likeness ones.

Gal Gadot £50

Adam West, £50

Emma Stone £50

Stephen Amell £50 

Harrison Ford £50

Burt Ward £50

Harley £50


Gorshin and Meriwether £60 

Mark Hamill £50

Obi-Wan Kenobi £50

William Shatner £50

Benedict Cumberbatch £50

Adam West and Burt Ward £60

Hulk Ragnarok £60

Carrie Fisher £60

Burt Ward, Yvonne Craig, Adam west wrap, £125

Bounty Hunters wrap £135

Wonder Woman £50

Swamp Thing and Abby £65

Stan Lee and Marvel characters £150 

 Swamp Thing and Ivy wrap £120

 Cover recreation sketchcover £70


This is a new line for me. Last April I was asked to paint a series of covers using watercolour. I enjoyed it and the results surprised me (in that they looked quite good). So I now offer watercolour sketches as a commission option. These aren't to be confused with the Copic pieces with a colour wash, these are true watercolours, no ink or marker involved. 

Prices are £175 for something like the pieces below. They're A3 in size. 

Prices for A4 watercolours like the pieces below are £60.

For more detailed pieces, for example with a full background or more figures, prices will be on a per job basis.

Spidey v Goblin £175

Hawkman #11 recreation £175

Daredevil #8 recreation £175

Deathstroke v The New Teen Titans £200

Spidey v Goblin version 2 £175

Poison Ivy £175

A4 Wonder Woman £60

A4 Phoenix £60


Prices are £45 for an A4 sized one and £90 for an A3 sized one (or about 17" by 11" if you're from the USA). The reason for the price being cheaper than sketchcovers is that they're easier and therefore quicker to draw.

 Colour will be £55 for an A4 and £110 for an A3

Again, it's a similar situation regarding detailed backgrounds and multiple figures. They'll be priced on a per job basis. 

A3 Julie Newmar

A4 Chris Hemsworth

A4 Biff


I enjoy doing these, for the most part, especially by artists who's work I like. Straight price, $300 (about £200) for the linework ones. That includes me drawing in the logo, price etc. Unless you don't want it on...The full tonal pieces are $400 (£250), they're obviously more time consuming, but they look pretty nice. Cover recreations are approximately regular comic art size 15.5" by 11".

One important note, I'll no longer be doing straight copies of existing covers. There'll have to be something different about the version I'm asked to draw, whether it's a change of characters or different logos etc.

I also do completely original linework commissions and also tonal pieces done in pencil, inkk and Copics. Same pricing as the recreations. See the examples below after the recreations!

Recreation $400/£250

Recreation $300/£200

Recreation $300/£200

Recreation $400/£250


Recreation $300/£200

Recreation $300/£200

Recreation $300/£200

Recreation $300/£200

Recreation $300/£200

Recreation $300/£200

Tonal commission  A3, $400/£250

Tonal commission $400/£250

Tonal commission $400/£250

Tonal commission $400/£250

Tonal Commission $400/£250


Linework commisison $300/£200

Linework commission $300/£200

Tonal commission $400/£250

Linework commission $300/£250

Tonal commission $400/£250

I also do digital colours on commissions (you'd get an A3 sized print along with the original) the colouring costs an extra $115 (or £80)

I like to try and colour them in the style of the original cover which gives the print a nice retro feel

I paint in oil on canvas board. I can work to specific size requirements but the usual size is approx 18" by 13". I used to paint on stretched canvas but various postal services seem to enjoy bending the art and trying their best to damage it. 

Below are a some examples. I'll talk about pricing underneath each image! I price each piece according to the size and subject matter. It's easier that way!

This piece was about 19'' by 13''. It'd be $2000

Flash and Superman New 52, same kind of price as the Spidey one above. Basically, a couple of figures and a detailed background. 

This one would be a little more as it's a lot more detailed than the two previous paintings.

This piece is about a metre square. It'd be about $3500

So, if you're interested in anything then get in touch via watson904@btinternet.com or send me a message via Facebook!