Saturday, May 31, 2008
In 2007 Dez Skinn, the creator and ex-owner of Comics International, called me up and asked if I would be interested in becoming a part of a book he was planning to produce called Comic Art Now.
With CI now a thing of the past and him moving onto new pastures Dez was now working on other projects.
Now it's always great to be asked to become a part of anything like this, but having wanted to work with Dez, since his Marvel UK – Hammer House of Horror - Warrior days, this was too good to pass up, as I knew it would be a superb publication.
I wasn’t disappointed when the complimentary copy arrived through the door.
From the design of the cover, to the graphic design inside, to the actual standard of the content of the artwork within its pages, it is testament to Dez’ passion for both the comics industry and what makes great design work.
It is a honour to be a part of this book, due to both the feeling of pride as my artwork is displayed amongst that of my peers and also that Dez, thought enough of that work for me to be included in his list of an who’s who of comic art today.
I chose to have some artwork for Worlds End as my contribution. I didn’t have any current colour inner pages ready for when Dez needed it sending through, but used the Poster art instead. It is a great place for it to be representing Wizards Keep and I.
Dez is quoted as saying; "With Comic Art Now, the plan is for comics to have a long overdue equivalent to The Creative Handbook, The Illustrators Annual and all those other directories of who's who in their field. With content broken down into genres, it not only allows artists to strut their stuff in the real world, it includes their contact details so they can be found and hired."
Published by Ilex Press (UK) and HarperCollins (US) the 10.5" square Comic Art Now coffee table book is now on sale.
Some of the names included in the book are: John Ridgway, Ken Reid, Lew Stringer, Robert Deas, Norm Breyfogle, Mike Collins, Mike Ploog, Bryan Talbot, Jon Haward and Mychailo Kazybrid to name but a few of the ninety creatives within its pages.
I highly recommend this book, not because I have something in it, but because there is some incredible artwork inside it.
I would like to thank Dez, for asking me to be a part of it, alongside some incredibly talented people.
If you don’t yet own a copy, but love comic art, you will not be disappointed with this book…I promise you that.
Until next time have fun!
May 31st 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Having picked up the initial first volume of Tokyopop’s “Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy – volume one - DRAGON HUNT” when it first came out, I immediately bought the Ultimate Edition when I saw it in Borders.
I had not managed to pick up the remaining volumes of the series in its original format, but loved the black and white artwork. The book is based on Blizzard Entertainment’s hugely successful online video game, “Warcraft”.
The format for this ultimate volume version is wonderful. The size is much larger than the original small Manga format and shows off the fine detailing of the artwork.
Accompanying the book is a full colour trading card and a poster of the cover art for this ultimate edition.
This version also comes with a full colour introductory Prologue, not included in the original volumes, along with the prose section from volume one. There is an afterword by Vice President of Creative Development at Blizzard Entertainment, Chris Metzen and a little piece about the creative duo of Knaak and Kim. It also has a black and white sketchbook section showing the development of the comic book versions of the characters. There is also a large full page, full colour illustration of the Role Playing game card, and a double page spread of the Poster, and Point of Sale/Purchase display art for the Trilogy.
The book’s credits look like this:
Written by Richard A. Knaak
Illustrated by Jae-Hwan Kim
Lettering and Layout by Rob Steen
Edited by Rob Tokar
Cover Art by Jae-Hwan Kim
I’ll not spoil the story for those who will go out and buy it, but are reading this before they do, but I will say the story is great especially if you are into Dragons, Elves, Orcs, Goblins, Dwarves Zombies, Sorcerers and all the character types associated with Heroic Fantasy and if you are a fan of the games or toys then this is also one for your collection. There’s lots of intrigue, emotion and action aplenty
The artwork is very finely rendered, excellently drawn and is well paced. As a massive fan of Jack Kirby and using splash pages and double page spreads myself in my work I can also tell you there are lots of big pictures all throughout the book.
This stunning oversized and very thick hard backed version now adorns my bookshelves in my studio and is a very impressive tome. I for one salute Tokyopop for producing this excellent book despite a prevalence in comic books today of uniformity in size and format.
I highly recommend this book and say to all the creative team involved, I am looking forward to the forth coming second Trilogy – “Warcraft: Dragons of Outland”.
Until next time have fun!
May 25th 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
I received this last week, but due to circumstances could only post it here now:
FROM THE ILLUSTRATORS’ PARTNERSHIP
Call to Action:
Last Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed their Orphan Works Act. It is now headed for the full Senate.
If you’ve written before now’s the time to write again.
Urge your senator to oppose this bill.
Because it has been negotiated behind closed doors, introduced on short notice and fast-tracked for imminent passage without open hearings, ask that this bill not be passed until it can be exposed to an open, informed and transparent public debate.
We’ve drafted a special letter for this purpose.You can deep link to it here:
Contact your Senator in opposition to S.2913 NOW
The House Judiciary Committee is considering H.R. 5889, the companion bill now.
Please write them again:
Contact your Congressman in opposition to H.R. 5889 NOW
2 minutes is all it takes to write your senator and representatives and fight for your copyrights. Over 68,000 e-mail messages have been sent so far.
Don't Let Congress Orphan Your Work.
Please forward this message to every artist you know.
If you received our mail as a forwarded message, and wish to be added to our mailing list; email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Place "Add Name" in the subject line, and provide your name and the email address you want used in the message area. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
To have your name removed from this mailing list, send a reply email with “Remove Name” in the subject line. You will receive verification.
Please read the Bill by visiting the link to the Illustrators partnership.
Until next time have fun!!!
May 24th 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
I thought I would share a couple of pieces of artwork from Worlds End in full glorious colour with you all.
This is the first time I have shown any of the inner pages in colour, but felt it would give me a chance to show everyone what to expect from the finished artwork inside the Worlds End Ashcan.
First up is the Ashcan cover pencilled and coloured in Photoshop by yours truly and inked by legendary American inker Joe Rubinstein.
Next up is the first page of the story, sans lettering, which introduces the first of our characters, Gweldar the Elder and his familiar, Geek. I digitally paint the inner pages over my pencils, using Photoshop. It also gives a foresight into the look for the graphic novel, which will see publication in 2009.
I look forward, as always, to your views on the artwork.
Until next time have fun!
May 19th 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Hi Guys, Well I am continuing to recover after the Bristol Comics Expo this last weekend and can report it was a great success for us.
The weekend had some brilliant weather, other than the thunderstorm on the Friday evening. The crowds of fans were queued right the way around the venue all day on the Saturday and at several times they were prevented from entering the hall due to fire regulations. Luckily the Star Wars Storm Troopers were on hand again to stop the rebels gaining entrance without being fully checked. Obviously folks are back reading comics again!!!
It was again great to catch up with folks in the comics business, although with some it was only very briefly. But this year I managed to get some time with Jon Haward, Mike Collins, Liam Sharp, Barry Kitson, Mike Ploog, Simon Wyatt (watch this guy’s work), Lee Townsend, Jim Stewart, Bryan Talbot, Sean Phillips, John McCrea, Simon Furman, Harry Markos, Brian Gorman, Lew Stringer, Ed Hammond (Congratulations again on the Eagle Award), Charlie Adlard (Congratulations on winning your Eagle Award too), Matt Smith and the 2000AD gang, Tony Lee, Laura Howell, Craig Johnson (well done with the Fete), Dave Taylor and his wife and lovely baby daughter, Dave Windett, Mike Conroy, Brian Clarke, Tom Sweetman, Martin Griffiths, Geoff Senior and his wife, Kev. F. Sutherland, Tommy Castillo, Rodney Ramos, Martin “Biff” Averre, and I am sure I will have forgotten someone, so if I have, please accept my apologies.
It was also great to see members of the "How Novel group" again. They paid a visit to the stand and once more bought lots of goodies.
On show we had the Worlds End Ashcan, the new Worlds End Figurines, “Gweldar”, “Ralf”, and “Master Chl’Atheeir, the new Worlds End Mouse Mats, The Worlds End Door Posters, Bookmarks, the last remaining copies of Dark Crusade from way back in 1995 (we still have a few copies left if anyone is interested – just drop a line to us at email@example.com with your enquiry). We also had lots of Freebies as giveaways and of course we had the usual product ranges.
Speaking of the Worlds End Ashcan, anyone who wishes to purchase one (or more!!!) priced at £1.50 will receive a £2.50 voucher which can be redeemed against the price of the graphic novel when it sees publication in 2009. So depending on how you view it you get £2.50 off the graphic novel or your money back off the Ashcan and £1.00 off the book. The Ashcan contains some work which will not see print in the graphic novel, so it is a standalone comic. Even the sequential pages will see plenty of changes.
The Ashcan, Mouse Mat are available now from the Wizards Keep on-line shop and the Door Poster will be available in its new section sometime over the next week or so, as soon as the latest Hot Wheels has been completed. There is also a new section ready for the release of the Figurines. We have some Kit Versions ready for sale, but the manufacturers are still producing the others.
Congratulations to all those that took part in the “Draw RALF” competition over the weekend to try to win a one off Giclee of the Ashcan cover at original size. This is different to the regular one now being offered in the shop section.
The winner of the exclusive “What Now!?! Worlds End Giclee is: Thomas Warne Age 14.
We never have losers here at the Keep however and although we never announced this previous to, or during the event, everyone that took part are winners.
All the runners up win a signed “On the Run!” Worlds End Poster.
All the runners up names can be found on the Wizards keep website.
Congratulations also go out to one of my students, fifteen year old Lewis, who wrote his first published comic book Galleon 43 with artwork by Sean Phillips’ son Jacob, which went on sale on the Saturday of the Expo. It contained a fantastically supportive foreword written by Bryan Talbot and sported a cover by yours truly. Well-done guys!!!
Well now it’s back to normal and this month will see me working on the next Hot Wheels and then finishing off the Markosia Project, then I have a series of Educational Bookmarks to finish and that should take me to June, when I will be returning to work on the pencils for the Worlds End graphic novel. Once these are finished I will begin the digital painting process.
The summer months will also see the Hall of Fame launch at last.
I would like to take the opportunity of thanking Mike Allwood for everything, which made the event so successful for us, including constantly answering all the questions I had regarding the Expo and the stand, the Spotlight position on the Bristol Expo website, charging my camera on Saturday morning, keeping a check on how things were running and inviting Paul and I along to the Eagle Awards ceremony, a first for me and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Thanks also to David Morris and Martin House for their work on the Spotlight appearance.
I would also like to thank Craig Johnson for all his on-line promotional work, all over the Internet for Wizards Keep.
I would also like to thank Simon Wyatt for his fantastic sketch of Ralf, which he gave me over the weekend.
I would also like to say a big public "thanks" to my best buddy, Paul Roberts, who not only manned the stand with me this time around, but also signed lots of issues of Dark Crusade for the public.
Thanks also to all the customers that took the trouble to stop by and chat and buy our products. Your support means everything to me.
I for one am already looking forward to next year’s Expo. In the meantime we have been invited along to the 2D Northern Ireland Comics Festival in June and the Leeds Thought Bubble Festival in November, so we may see you there. There is also a second Lancaster Comics Convention doing the rounds in the rumour mill of comicdom, so I will be letting you guys know whether this is on the cards or not ASAP.
Below you can see some photos, which hopefully show some of the fun aspects of this year’s Comics Expo:
(Unsure if Paul was suffering with the heat, hangover or nerves in the prescence of celebrities)
He is offering to produce these SFX without the aid of Photoshop
Lew Stringer & Tim Perkins at the Wizards keep Stand - Photo courtesy Paul Roberts
(Paul still suffering from the heat, hangover or nerves in the prescence of celebrities)
Paul works hard on the Wizards Keep stand (reading Dark Crusade) Friday afternoonCRIKEY it's Tom Sweetman & Brian Clarke
Also please check out this little bit of madcap fun and frolics by comics buddy, Kev. F. Sutherland…barking mad, but then again aren’t we all…well done, mate. BTW: If you look hard you can see a Wizards Keep stand cameo, with two of our "Draw Ralf" contestants.
The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's Bristol souvenir video
Until next time have fun!!!
May 17th 2008