Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Hi-Ex! 2010

I'm looking forward to heading up to Inverness this weekend as a guest at Hi-Ex, the Highlands International Comics Expo. Me and loads more artists and writers shall be there, some of whom I'm very excited to meet; I'll have my autograph book at the ready. Whilst there, I'll be sketching to order - with any proceeds going to the Children 1st charity.

New issues of Dogbreath #22 will be on sale and I'll be venturing into the Games Room to see how the RPG and wargame sessions go. Also, I'll be selling (and signing) prints of some of my covers, so feel free to come along and say hello - it'll be good fun.

See you there.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Workshop Sessions: Huntingdon

Hello All,

Last Thursday I spent a fantastic day of workshops at Huntingdon Regional College, at the behest of Andrew - whom I met at this years 'Black Library Live!'

Huntingdon Regional College.

I knew the day was going to be special when I arrived and found I had a special V.I.P parking space. Oh yes, I said V... I... P...! Check it out:

Yo, for real - check out the VIP.

The whole day was very well attended, with the morning sessions talking about approaches to and problem solving within concept art.

Great turnout - everybody was keen and enthusiastic.

The importance of silhouettes.
As taught by 'The Skilful Huntsman'

Then it was over to the students to practice what I had preached. They all did a great job - taking on board the basic ideas and having fun making stuff up. Well done all.

Busy at work.
Silhouettes based on 'Old Ironsides' -

the nickname of Oliver Cromwell, from Huntingdon.

After a lovely lunch, we spent the afternoon talking about 3D, modelling and rendering. I used some of my early Black Library projects as examples and explained to the students basic core concepts such as subdivision modelling, 3 point lighting and the importance of clean topology in their models.

One of my early 'Horus Rising' models.
Talking about subdivision smoothing and lighting rigs.

Then, as a last bit of fun, I took requests from the crowd to draw on their whiteboard. After each sketch I got a round of applause. Yeah, that's right, APPLAUSE!

It was quite humbling to get that kind of response to my doodles, the only other time I've seen that happen was when I went to see the late, and most definitely great, Tony Hart at my school in High Wycombe. I figure I'm in good company.

Tyranids, Predators, Cloud Strike and a Space Marine (in helmet)
Now, where's my round of applause?

Although if anyone is really deserving of applause it's the students who were keen, attentive, polite and hard working. They made the whole day worthwhile. I wish you all the best.

A big thanks to Andrew-Fovargue for the photos and for organising the day.

Next up: To the north of Scotland - HiEx in Inverness...!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Recap: Signing, London GW

Hello, it's been a while since a solid beefy post, mainly due to deadlines/ illness/ family commitments/ more deadlines.

So let us take this opportunity to talk about the signing Mr. Graham McNeil and I had a few weeks ago at the Games Workshop store in the Plaza, Oxford Street, London.

Graham has already posted his write up here, so I won't go into too great a detail again, in case our stories don't corroborate.

I travelled down on the Friday, and visited all the comic shops I could find - and found a truly wondrous cavern of artists materials, Cornelissen & Son - where I could have easily spent a small fortune. We had a meal at Monkeynuts in Crouch End, where I had the best steak and pepper sauce. Good times.

Google maps on my iPhone made simple tourist-style wandering a truly revolutionary experience. London seemed a far more fun place to explore with the power of the internet and GPS in my pocket.

Abracadabra! International Magic Shop on Clerkenwell Road.

I also took the opportunity to visit the International Magic Shop to say hello and stock up on more Bicycle cards. They were extremely welcoming and offered us a cup of tea and a chat. I shall be visiting again, methinks.

Chatting to Dan Havardi about composition or colour palettes or something.

I arrived on time, having successfully negotiated the London Underground with help from my sister and a shiny new Oyster card (thanks, sis!). The whole session went extremely well, Mark, the store manager commented that it was the busiest signing he'd ever seen. Graham and I were signing and sketching for a solid 2-3 hours, if I remember correctly, and only when the queue petered out did we get a chance to have a quick chat.

nabbed from Graham's excellent blog

The wonderful staff kept us well fed and watered, even some of the good people in the queue brought us doughnuts - that is above and beyond the call, good work all! Mark and the staff gave Graham a parting gift of a fantastic Magnus the Red conversion and I received a diorama of Leman Russ and his wolves. Cool.

Awesome conversion - very flattering as well. Good work chaps!

After that, Graham dashed off to sign some books at Forbidden Planet and my sister and I went to El Camino in Soho for a big bowl of Nacho's. Had a quick mooch about some more shops and then back on the train filled with drunk football fans - finally getting home to my beautiful wife and children. Life is sweet, as they say.

A plate of Nacho's - my benchmarking system for any establishment.
El Camino's were amazing.

Thanks to all that made it such a memorable day, thanks for the doughnuts and thanks for the compliments.

See you all soon.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

A Thousand Sons: New York Times bestseller

Double WOW! - fantastic work Graham, Black Library and little old me, we've made it onto the New York Times bestselling novel lists:

There, highlighted, look... it's us!
A THOUSAND SONS, by Graham McNeill (Games Workshop)

I'm aware freelancing can sometimes about peaks and troughs of success, so I'm currently savouring this monumental peak in my career by having... tonsillitis *cough*

Still, I have to say how proud and honoured I am to be associated with such an incredibly successful, talented and decent bunch of people as those who consistently put out such entertaining and high selling books. Not only to those who make the books, but also those millions - yes, that's right, I said MILLIONS, who have bought and read the series - without you good people supporting us and enjoying the books, we wouldn't be here.

Bah, this is beginning to sound like an Oscar™ acceptance speech.

Anyway, here's to much, much more.


Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Cover: 2000AD Prog 1673

It's been a long while since any real posts (deadlines and all), so here we go with another 2000AD cover for the Galaxies Greatest Comic.

My initial idea was for a "90's rave version of Dredd in a Denim advert" - but with more mutants:

Add to that a dash of Brendan McCarthy 90's colour palette, a hairy chest and a good dose of digital painting and voilĂ , the finished product:

Apologies to Jon Haward and Chris Blythe, as the reference I had for the piece was the B&W line art - so I went ahead and gave her blue hair because it contrasted well against the pink. It was only when I recieved my contributors copy did I notice that she had green hair - I think no-one seems to have noticed!

It seems to be a cover that has split the online fans, which I'm quite pleased about, it's better to have an opinion than not.

With that in mind, here are some of my favourite comments regarding the cover from the 2000AD messageboards, copied and pasted ad verbatim:

W.R. Logan - "Cover: Would go in to my worst cover ever catagory."

DanDontDare - "That cover could have been so much better - the actual artwork is fantastic, but I loathe that pink background Ugh! "

Jamescor - "All the purples on the cover remind me of McCarthy for some reason."

Mikey - "Cover I like this; initially I thought I'd eaten a funny mushroom, but on reflection it's eyecatching and different with being greatly executed."

Tim Tailz - "Havent got round to reading it yet but the cover is superb."

Good work all, thanks for caring enough to post - that's why I love 2000AD fans (myself included!)