Monday, 30 November 2009


Like many red-blooded males, I've always had a soft spot for Supergirl - mainly due to the 1984 Helen Slater film, which I always thought was great fun.

Here's a personal piece I created this weekend, over a couple of hours. Supergirl on patrol over a Kandor/ Chicago/ Seattle type city.

Supergirl, keeping an eye out for trouble.
Don't peek up that skirt.

"Sexy but strong" is how I always envisaged Supergirl - I like the idea that any superheroine other than Wonder Woman can be powerful (and not just great big boobs in a super-suit, Power Girl!)

In other news - I'm about to start work on a new cover for the Galaxy's Greatest Comic, 2000AD - which sounds like it should be a fun piece - I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Murky Depths #10

A quick plug for the excellent Murky Depths magazine - of which I appear not once, but twice!

One is an illustration for Mike Carey's prose piece 'Now! and Then!'. Also, here's a sneak peak from the strip 'Finger', a Victorian-childrens-horror-nursery-rhyme, by Lavie Tidhar:

What's going on, what does it all mean?
You'll have to buy a copy to find out.
Make sure to tell Terry I sent you.

That's all for now, see you soon.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Judge Dredd 1988

Here's a piece from my archive (AKA my parents loft), a drawing of Judge Dredd by me from waaaaay back in 1988. I was a mere 13 years old. I've put it side by side with one of my recent covers to show just how far I've come in terms of art style:

Dredd on his Lawmaster.
What a difference 21 years makes...!
I love drawing this guy -
never gets boring.

1988 - the year of Bros, Rick Astley, Dungeon Master on the Amiga and Laser Squad on the ZX Spectrum. Great days!

As two great philosophers once said though "The best place to be, is here. The best time to be, is now" - which is a fancy way for me to say that I'm on Twitter - yep, I've made the leap! follow me here:


Also in the news - Thoughtbubble was great! A really well run show with a broad spectrum of people - both visitors and guests. I'll post up a quick review of my day there soon.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Thoughtbubble 2009

Just a quick one to say I'll be attending this years Thoughtbubble, part of the Leeds Comic Convention. The roster of artists and writers looks amazing (not withstanding yours truly) for a con just in its second year and I'm really excited to see what it has to offer:

If you're going, keep an eye out for a tired, but still handsome, artist wandering around - that'll probably be me - make sure to say hello!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Skinny is GO!

Oh, before I forget, my shiny new website has gone live, so go here:

I'll keep the site regularly updated as artwork is published. Also, it has some artwork I haven't put up here yet, so feel free to browse and have a good look around.

Big thanks to Russ for making it all happen.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Battletech: A Time of War

So, as promised, here's the cover for RPG rulebook 'Battletech: A Time of War':

The blurb for the book describe it as...

"It is the 31st century. Mankind has spread to the stars and spawned titanic stellar empires, each controlling hundreds of worlds across a thousand light years and beyond. Yet the sins of man have followed him from the cradle of humanity.

Political machinations of feudal lords plunge whole sectors into war; unscrupulous merchant starship captains smuggle weapons to their own faction’s enemies; greedy military commanders demand tribute from worlds they’re protecting; animalistic pirate kings harvest high technologies and human slaves in lightning raids; betrayals from oath-bound allies leave honorable soldiers growing cold on forgotten worlds; death at the tip of knife from a concubine turned assassin to avenge a world and love lost: it is a time of war.

What empire will you swear allegiance to: a warrior merchant of House Steiner; the honorbound samurai of House Kurita; the vat-bred warriors of the Clans; a mercenary that fights only for the highest bidder?

Choose your life in the universe: a MechWarrior piloting the thirty-foot-tall BattleMechs that turn the tide of any battle; a spy deep behind enemy lines discovering critical secrets; a merchant carrying critical supplies; a scientist unleashing the latest cutting edge technologies?

How will you become a legend?"

Sounds exciting, huh!

So, as always it always starts with a thumbnail.

As this was for an RPG rulebook, there was a lot of ground to cover as it had to have all the major houses visible and they all had to be doing something specific to their clan. So getting all the elements in shot and working together was the first hurdle.

The first sketch was deemed too 'head on' and lacked any drama so it was quickly revised to a worm's eye view for more 'oomph' - I also tilted the main characters head to the side as if she were in mid-chat with the pilot behind her - it gave the scene a more natural rhythm.

The initial thumbnail

Worm's eye view - although, technically, I don't think worms have eyes?
The star placement was changed so it was more astronomically correct.
This stuff doesn't happen by accident!

The first stage was the block in. I posed up my generic characters and got the layout as per the sketch. The Mech and distant shuttlecraft were also placed to give it all context.

Using simple blocks of geometry that will get ZBrushed at a later stage.

I modelled the mech, background and shuttlecraft. The main characters were refined and sculpted and lit accordingly. I went for a strong key light to simulate the harsh light of a distant sun. The rim lights I'd paint in later.

Everything in place, I'll model the BG elements next.

The background elements were modelled and everything was textured using rudimentary textures and UV maps. The alternative materials and shadows were rendered and it was all taken into Photoshop for the final composite and paintover.

Final image.
The BG elements were great fun to work on - each section had it's own story.

The final image looks pretty good, It's always a pleasure working on illustrations with women in it - it makes a nice change from the usual. Also, I'm trying to be bolder with my colour choices, whilst still keeping a good sense of layout. You might have seen it in my 2000AD covers recently.

The downloadable BETA for the rulebook is available for purchase here.

Monday, 16 November 2009

How it's made - 2000AD prog 1659

So, just a quick post today, 'cos I often get emails about how I set about creating cover art. I'll concentrate on my recent Dredd cover for 2000AD, from a few weeks ago:

Prog 1659 in all its Technicolour glory!

It always starts with a sketch, in this case I did 3 quick B&W thumbnails for Tharg, of which he preferred thumbnail #1:

Thumbnail_001 - the chosen one!

Thumbnail_002 - classic Bolland angle

Thumbnail_003 - off roading it!

From here, I quickly mock up and render a version of the cover using various items of stock imagery and models from my now extensive library of 'bits'. It's amazing how quickly you can build up a good resource for use in any illustration.

Initial render and Photoshop composite

Then on to the fun part - the final paintover, painting in detail and effects, adding in elements that would probably take days to set up and render (yes, particle effects, I'm talking to you!).

This is where I tie all the pieces together, getting character into the expression, adding in film grain and some EFX to give the image some 'pop'!

Final image with all the bells and whistles.
I received a lot of great feedback at BICS for this one.

In a nutshell, that's how it's made. I use the computer merely as a tool, the same way other artists use watercolour, airbrush or oils.

As usual - if anyone wants to drop me a mail about this or any other piece, commissions or any potential work- feel free to contact me at the email up there on the right. Alternatively, if you'd like leave a comment don't be afraid to do so.

Next up - Battletech.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Sculpey Head

Here are some pics of the Super Sculpey head I mentioned I was going to make a few weeks back:

I modelled it using a wire coat-hanger bent into shape then I blocked the head shape out with tin foil and thin wire to give the Sculpey something to 'grip' on to. I then modelled the head over a few hours whilst I watched Generation Kill on my PVR - great times!

I din't take any WIP photos as I didn't know if it would turn out okay - next time I'll document any such adventure - I'm sure someone will find it interesting!

I based my sculpture on Loomis and Bridgmans planes of the head sketches - I didn't want to base it on the Asaro head model as I wanted something more bespoke and suited to my needs.

Once modelled (using basic 'student' modelling tools) I baked the head for about 20 mins in a medium oven. I might have overcooked a few areas, but I wasn't worried as I was going to spray it a neutral 128 grey acrylic that I purchased from my local Boyes store. I didn't want a white base because it tends to 'bleach out' when photographed.

So far I've been using it for sketching and thumbnails for future covers. So it's already proving its worth.

If anyone is considering doing something similar - I say, do it! Sculpey is a great material and sculpting is a real extension of your art skills.

Reference pose for an upcoming illustration.
Looking mean with a green plastic toy rifle,
surrounded by toy garages - wearing my Crocs.
Freelance a-go-go!

Oh, in other news, my PC is back to it's old ways of crashing at random moments - they're so random they're becoming almost regular. I'll have to get it sorted with minimum impact on those ever present deadlines! Such are the highs and lows of the freelance lifestyle!