Tuesday, 6 June 2017

LSCC: London Super Comic Con and some other stuff that a few people may be interested in...


A reminder that I'll be sketching all weekend (including the Friday) at London Super Comic Con at the end of August. If you want a commission doing then make sure you don't leave it too late as I'll have a lot to get ready in the weeks leading up to the convvention. Here's a few recent pieces for anyone not familiar with my work. 

As always I'll be sketching for free at the con itself. They won't be as detailed as the pieces above as they'll be quicker and under less than ideal conditions but they are free. Why free? It takes the pressure off mainly but also, I like sketching for free. Unless they get slapped on Ebay soon afterwards which is irksome. 

I plan to bring a good selection of sketches and sketchcovers with me to sell also. Possibly some watercolours as I've discovered I can use them recently!


Actually it's been around 2 1/2 years but still, it's been some time! I had a book summit with my co-author (or am I his co-author? Meh, I'll take the lead) a few weeks ago where we managed, over four hours or so, to complete a read through and detailed edit of the first two full chapters and a prologue. Surprising to the both of us was, after all the difficulties and several bouts of mutual animosity, that it read rather well, as if we'd planned the synchronicity. 
Currently, I'm reading through more of Russ' chapters awaiting the next summit that I've been assured will take place once he's finished posing as a comic artist/writer/colourist at various events around the country (read his latest blog Here...some of what he says is true). He's very close to finishing his part of the book...it'll be next week. It's been 'next week' since June 2016 but we're getting there, really. Everything is positive. That isn't just because Russ totally removed a couple of chapters that were terrible, it's because it's coming together. I'm messing about with book two right now, changing a good chunk of it as it was utter pap and was headed towards being about 30,000 words too long. 

Book one ends on a cliffhanger, in fact two different cliffhangers. I'm not going to explain that right now but it's cool. It's about one hundred thousand words long and is written in first person from, I'd like to say, 5 different character viewpoints. I have three myself...not sure about Russ as he's rewritten some of the chapters totally. Russ has also decided to base a couple of chapters around homework as the word homework is in the title and previously there was no mention of it at all. Russ' section is no longer a comedy either yet it contains some very funny passages. One of his characters, Butcher, I really enjoy reading. All of the above makes me...happy.

We're still hoping to publish the thing this year. Once we've edited it we're sending it out to several people for proofreading while we finalise the cover art and copy (I'll be drawing that, probably doing the copy also) and, if we're still speaking, make a short promotional video. Russ will be filming, I'll be playing one character (really it's so I can have a Tudor hat made for myself) and we're trying to source a very tall person to play the main protagonist. 


There are many sketchcovers that are good to draw on. By that, I mean that they accept pencil, ink and Copic markers without issue, watercolour too. Some though, are awful. What's this about, another beef regarding something irrelevant?

No. I'm making a point that, although I'm generally happy to draw on whatever blank variant there are certain brands that it's a massive struggle to make look good as I'll be fighting the thing at every stage. When an artist has issue with the surface of a blank variant, it's usually not because they're being difficult, blaming their tools for their own inadequacy, it's because it's a terrible surface to draw on. Some blanks are so bad that the ink won't dry for an hour and looks like oil on water, Copics won't stick or blend and again, slide across the 'paper' and watercolours laugh at the sheer audacity of expecting them to work in any way whatsoever in the manner in which they should.

So, here's a rundown of blank variants and their quality of surface to draw upon.

DC are pretty fine to pencil, marker, ink or paint on, always have been, no issues there. Fair play, well done. IDW, they're pretty good, the odd one has fought me from time to time but pretty good. 
Marvel, totally mixed bag. Anything from '16 on are fine and I've no issues with at all. Earlier though and there's a fair few blanks that are shiny disasters that Sharpies will be fine on but are a lot more difficult to draw on with anything else. And why publish blanks with a massive circular logo in the middle of the cover? Odd to say the least. But they are still manageable although Copics don't function as well as they should at all and generally, Copics (the pro ones anyway) are great, adaptable and versatile. Except when skating across a Marvel blank panicking as they've no idea what's happening to them.
Dynamite...they repel pretty much every tool ever made, even pencil. Yes, you can draw something on them but it's a lot easier for everyone involved if we just pretend they don't exist. 


  1. I'm so glad I've found someone else complaining about the awful quality of many of these blank variant covers. Why? Why can't they use a material that works? Is it so difficult for these idiots to actually test them, or have they carried out special research to find every artist's Kryptonite? I've just spent the past few hours on one - I even tested it with a dot of black ink first. It didn't smudge. A dot of copic? Didn't smudge. So I thought, okay, it may feel a bit slick but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I got a bit suspicious when I couldn't blend pencil like I normally do to add an underlying gradient, but the black ink over the top settled reasonably well. I relaxed. But then I added some Copic flesh tone... The character now has the face of a sunburnt leper. The whole thing is ruined. At least with those wafer thin magazine covers like Supergirl #3 or Vampblade #1 I can just throw them straight in the bin when they arrive. Wasting time along with the money makes it even worse. I just don't get it. The Harley Quinn Rebirth #1 blanks were produced by a single American store as their exclusive variant, so surely their choice of material is far from the most expensive, and yet it has a great surface to work on. So why are there so many bad ones out there? Do they spend extra money on getting that slick, art resistant crap? It must be hell for the artists of those particular comics who keep being handed this useless white turd to sketch on at every event they turn up at. I agree wholeheartedly with your quick review of the various ones out there; however, I'm unable to pretend the Dynamite ones don't exist because I now own too many of them. I'd never tried them before, the titles SHOULD allow for much creativity, and the covers looked thick... so I got suckered and bought a bunch of them. I was wondering if you'd had any success with adding colour to them using any medium whatsoever? Besides blood? Great work, by the way!

    1. I think the reason for the massive inconsistency with the quality is that the companies really don't care. I could go on a rant about the way comic books are coloured, printed etc...but I'll save that for another time.

      Dynamite. I got a few in a batch of variants I bought. I thought about it for a time and then just put them in the bin.

    2. Thanks for the response. Yep, it's a shame, but I guess that really is it. Most companies just couldn't care less about the product they're selling or the people buying/using them, as long as money is being made, and maybe it's just a coincidence that some companies happen to use good stock for their blank variants.
      On another not, I was curious as to how you use paint, especially water colours or ink washes so successfully without ruining the inside pages or warping the covers. Do you unstaple the cover to work on, then tape it flat like you might do with normal paper? Any time I've tried using anything more than copics, the covers buckle and go wavy. What's your process for that if you don't mind me asking?

  2. Watercolours...I do get warped covers. I usually try and flatten them by stacking comics on top. I've thought about removing the covers, especially when doing wraparounds but since a fair few people want them to be stabbed I'm worried about what that'd do to the grading etc.