Monday 29 November 2010

"There's a thin line between love and crime"…

So go the lyrics of the Pet Shop Boys song "in the night" (best known as being the theme to the BBC TV show "The Clothes Show")

The love in question, of course being my love of art and comics…

The crime - being mine again against art in making a mess of Steranko's unique vision…

The thin line?  Oh they are all over the place, witness the below:-

Sunday 28 November 2010

The Theme from M.A.S.H…

Did you ever wonder why the TV show theme was just a instrumental - when in fact the actual song in the Movie had lyrics…?

Well I can only guess it was on Monotone's mind during this exchange, which somehow comes across as a bizarre sit-com type delivery

O'Neil's dismissive "never mind", sums up the usefulness of Monotone quite succinctly, I mean after all he is black and white…

no shades of grey?  hmmm… maybe… maybe not…

Another double spread for you! (Parental Advisory)

I have finally managed to complete the "grisly elevator" page which now looks like this (parental advisory):-

And as usual here is the two pages together, as Steranko intended:-

Now I am getting a bit behind with this, so I am going to move onto the next page as soon as I can!

Thursday 25 November 2010

A man fell into a airlock - parental advisory

No the advisory is not for the text but rather the last panel on the page, which actually appears lined for the first time..

But before we get there is it me, or is this whole sequence completely unrealistic, not to mention rather unlikely

to quote a movie (though I can not remember which one right now), "You don't just fall into a airlock, levers have he be pulled and buttons have to be pushed" yes, and all in the correct sequence - what's the chances of doing that while out of your head on illicit narcotics? (oops that should have had a spoiler warning before it..)

and don't even start me with the depiction of what happens to the guy once he has managed to cycle the airlock - either the movie, which cuts to a shot implying that the mans guts turned inside out completely or Sterenko's version which seems to suggest the guy had a massive carton of tomato ketchup with him..

But - don't just take my word for it..

"In scores of science fiction stories, hapless adventurers find themselves unwittingly introduced to the vacuum of space without proper protection. There is often an alarming cacophony of screams and gasps as the increasingly bloated humans writhe and spasm. Their exposed veins and eyeballs soon bulge in what is clearly a disagreeable manner. The ill-fated adventurers rapidly swell like over-inflated balloons, ultimately bursting in a gruesome spray of blood.
As is true with many subjects, this representation in popular culture does not reflect the reality of exposure to outer space"

and it goes on to explain what would happen.

No, sorry these sort of "splatterfests", are just a hollywoodisation, similar to how a car can just spontaneously explode for no apparent reason what so ever, its all designed to introduce a element of drama in a cutting way, taken as a piece of entrainment, well that's  question of opinion

But as a fact, no - it isn't!

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Finally that panels finished

I was beginning to wonder if there could be any more pipes left in the world...

I mean how tiny is the character your supposed to be actually focusing on here...

Here is that tiny tiny figure in the airlock door..

He actually appears largest (in one piece that is) in that panel I infamously featured oversized...

before he meets his untimely (not to mention rather unlikely) end..

What did he do to deserve that?!

Monday 22 November 2010

The pipes are calling me..

Now I don't know about you but I think that is one heck of a lot of piping!

Am I slowing down here? Guess so… More time drawing and less talking then!

Sunday 21 November 2010

Another Twenty Four Hours?!

Hey no, Eddie Murphy it was only about 2 hours - again 

And I am short of time - so thankfully (?!) not much commentary

Anyways here is the progress I made, it's a lot easier to do this now I have covered my "methods"


Saturday 20 November 2010

Two hours Twenty Minutes

That's how long it took me to do this portion of base linework, a heck of a lot of tiny detail there especially the airlock itself:-

- Oh as I have had enough self indulgence in the last few days to last a while, I thought I would cut it our for a while and just let the "art" speak for itself..


The Dude Abides!

Golly - did I get carried away in my last blog entry or what?

So carried away I forgot a few things :-

A Big Thank you to Matt  "The Dude" Seneca who's views and praise are really out of this world

I guess it's more than fair enough to say "The Dude Abides..."

And this Dude is going to get the chance to be the first Professor of Comics at UCLA

If nothing else this shows finally how important comics actually are to culture as a whole, no more dismissive "it's just for kids" it is now serious enough to study at one of the most prestigious colleges anywhere!

About time - don't forget everyone - "kicking the doors down, both barrels blazing - now that IS comics" as Matt's uber blog and his rocking podcast will readily attest

And a special thank you and hi to Sean Witzke whose quote I misappropriated the last blog entry

Now - normal service will resume next time around!

Friday 19 November 2010


Ah, California – “Where the sun shines on the just and unjust alike” – Home to the O.C. and Matt Seneca…

Yeah that Matt Seneca:- 

“Matt Seneca is the rare guy who writes about comics that can make you excited about a medium that’s in the process of chewing off its own legs and slowly bleeding to death.” said Sean Witzke fairly recently

Well it turns out that Matt sent a tweet on his twitter account saying the following:-

"also: this cat is SO TOTALLY my favorite comics artist right now"

Which was linked to this very blog (and brought along a lot of extra views, Hi everyone!)

So I figured Matt must have meant Jaunty Jim Steranko – I mean its fairly clear that Matt is a massive Steranko fan, it was after all his enthusiasm and inspiration that started me off on this project in the first place – but if that was not enough grab two eyes full of his and Sean Witzke’s take on the first issue of “Nick Fury : Agent of SHEILD" 

 But in reply Matt said…

“No man, I meant YOU! Those Outland pencils look incredible, I love the rawness of the first drafts.  You should do some pages straight to ink with no pencils, really nail the immediacy of the off-kilter handmade shapes you're making before you polish them up.  The stuff looks incredible -- Barnard's Outland is looking like it's gonna be my favourite comic of 2011!”

Wow – I mean like, totally wow, what can one say to something like this? Barnard's Outland --- seriously?!!! Hey Jim I am profoundly sorry.

I think I need the rest of my life to recover from that, and I can't even contemplate it for real as that would be one lengthy blog entry,  full of endless soul deep pudibundity -  but instead -- in reply to Matt, I said:-

"Okay I am more than up for some wild experimentation as I suppose its kind of the name of the game as someone like me trying to do Steranko is a bit crazy - so why not got just a little bit further?!

So what I am going to do is the last panel I just done again but this time I have printed out as large as I could its about half A4 size and I will use JUST the rollerball to draw directly from what I can see on my tiny light box"

to which Matt replied:-

"Yes!  This is going to look great: Steranko's obviously got the structure, but what you bring to the table is the rawness, some human handmade element that cuts through the cold I always talk about finding in his comics.  

Can't wait to see it! "

This guy has just completely floored me...!

Well Matt, wait no more - here you go I done this exactly as I said I would!

Here is the large sized original under the white craft card on top of on my tiny lightbox, with the rollerball in view:-

with the base linework this time as well and inking straight onto the card using the rollerball I forced myself to try and do this quicker so it would look "rougher", I will let you judge how successful or otherwise I was

and here is the final product to which I probably have only mildly exaggerated the figure this time around, but the small letters degrade to pieces

Matt, I hope it is what you was looking for -?!

But honestly I love to hear from anyone following or visiting this little blog and  Iam more than happy to have a go at something - especially if its a bit off kilter

And yes my commission rate is zero , no dollars - Matt will be getting the original bit of art in the post hopefully soon

What on earth could possibly top this?!

Thursday 18 November 2010

Outland - The Methods - "inking" part 2

So, Okay I have a panel with base linework, and I said I use 2 more processes before having something finished

The first process I describe as "inside line" / small blacking in

For this I use a standard handwriting pen - small blacking in is reasonably self explanatory - anything that is too tiny for a large black out will get blacked out using the handwriting pen

"inside line" is where I will draw a line using the handwriting pen inside a object that needs more or a lot of blacking out

So in our example panel I have done "inside line" on the big lettering and on the figure:-

Another thing I have done is made the outside edge of the figure "pop" a bit by doing the outside line again with the handwriting pen

The next process is simply blacking in and for this I use a liquid ink rollerball pen!

Now the reason I do the inside line on any large object requiring black out is because the rollerball tends to make doing a fine crisp and straight line a bit difficult and its very easy to just go right over a tiny bit of white that should be left behind.

If you remember the Sean Connery drawing..

At this stage above all I had done was a bit of base line work some inside line and all the rest was just waving the rollerball over the white until none was left to show - like I said before when I first showed this page, it's a neat way of creating the illusion a lot of work was done - as a lot of the page is now filled

but with Outland its all in the detail, and there is mountains of it!

So anyway here is the panel all blacked in and as finished as it  ever will be:-

And this is a pure black and white scan rather than a greyscale as previous, notice how the pencils are now completely invisible - no erasing necessary - another neat trick to use in conjunction with the 4h pencil

and for comparison purposes here is what the black and white version of the original page scan looks like:-

So you can probably see in quite a number of ways how having a really big figure is easier to do than any of these tiny details as you have to almost reinterpret for these details to show up - and unfortunately this means the end result gains some of my "style" for want of a better expression

oh well, you can't win them all!

Anyway that was probably a exhaustive warts and all look at what I am using as methods, so now I can just carry on drawing without having to explain anything further and return to sometimes random and sometimes salient commentary on the art, the movie, the characters and the actors portrayed!

So some good news there?!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Outland - The Methods - "inking" part 1

Outland - The Methods - "inking" part 1 

So okay I have a penciled page - next up is "inking"

As it normally takes a 2-3 days  to put "inking" in place  for one page I have decided to focus on doing just one of the small side panels

Here is the barely visible pencils - the panel is very tiny 73mm wide and 49mm high and is not meant to be seen this large

Though I have not shown this previously I actually break down what I call inking into three separate processes, I will cover the next two next time around

The first process I describe as base linework

I use a ultra fine drawing pen, the smallest tip I could find (it has a 01 on top as its 0.1mm) and I use this to draw lines where I think they should go, this type of pen is ideal for tiny tiny details - I look at the black and white print out and the pencils, I use the pencils as a guide if they are not clear enough and will line as close to what I can see on the black and white print as I can manage - and I will line to the pencils if I think they are not too far from what I can see.

As I think I have mentioned before I try and line inside a shape that will be filled in with black and outside a shape that will be left white - some of the bits of white that will be left are really tiny and need all the help they can get!

I spent around 45 minutes on this bit of base linework - again the panel is very tiny 73mm wide and 49mm high and is not meant to be seen this large - you can see that I have particular problems with hand lettering - which is why I have left the speech balloons all blank so far so apologies for that

Tomorrow I will be letting loose the handwriting pen and possibly the roller ball on this panel as those are the tools I use for stages 2 and 3 respectively….

Oh and hello to whomever is tweeting about my blog!

I would love to hear any comments anyone has, by all means tell me to shut up if I am going on too much!

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Outland - The Methods - Pencils

Okay so I have already penciled the next page - so I thought I would use this page to explain / clarify the methods I am using - probably will disappoint a few people here, but I am nothing if not honest!

Firstly I downloaded all of the brilliantly scanned original pages from The Drawings of Steranko web site (be sure to drop them a email and say Hi and let them know what your doing!)

Next I used iPhoto (but you can use anything similar, photoshop etc) to make the images all black and white and to remove as much colour as possible - this image is then printed out on the biggest size you can make it on the biggest size paper you can print on, in my case its A4 size .. (that's 210 × 297 mm)

then… I blue tack this print out onto the back of a bit a standard craft  white cardboard the same size (not  that thick, but thick enough to soak up the ink without bending too much) and place it ontop of a light box (I only have a rather small one, which was cheap)

and use a 4h pencil (as I tend to not erase the pencils from a finished piece due to the sheer amount of ink on a page!) and spend around 2 hours drawing everything I can see - 

so yes I am just a shameless tracer

 - but the challenge is between the end result being too degraded and as close to the original as possible

I do try and take my time and make the most of the existing detail as I can, but I have to admit my pencils tend to be rather loose - the method and pencil type I am using do not lend themselves well to the extremely tiny details found in outland..

Anyway - this is what I got after about 2 hours - (thankfully its barely visible!)

Why don't you have a go, I would be interested to see the results!

Tomorrow I spill the beans on how I do linework..!

Outland: A quick recap

Okay I have been busy on "another project" for a while - but that's enough about that for now!

Now it's time to get back to Outland!

Just before I do that, a quick recap if you have only just joined or to save you going through the history of this blog…

Inspired by Matt Seneca's review of Steranko's Outland and the stunning art itself,

I decided to make this my next project - it's like my personal Mount Everest - a height to which I have never dared go before or even contemplate - a test of stamina, patience and what passes for my ability at drawing.

I set out realistically enough, guessing that I would complete one page in about a week, and I had kept this up for 5 weeks, here are the pages I have done so far:-

Now finally - onto page 6

Sunday 14 November 2010

Photo primitivist no more?

Hi everyone - I have nearly finished my other project and should return to Outland sometime this week, probably Wednesday, so not long to go!

In the meantime I have heard from Dave Sim… I had a bunch of "Glamour-gals" from earlier this year taking up space on the table I use to draw and I sent them off, accompanied with my usual rhetoric about how bad they are… ( I said they was 97% bad)

Yes it appears I have learnt next to nothing from doing this previously, as last time I did this, I ended up on the cover of and inside Glamourpuss 12, inside Glamourpuss 14 and being featured on Cerebus TV (Episode 18)…

Anyway this is what Dave has to say..

"I think you're under-rating your achievement here.  I'd say the improvement is closer to a good 20 to 30% better.  In fact, in gp 17 or 18 (I think 18) glamourpuss will be dropping you as an agent because you've completely LOST that Photoprimitivist quality to your work and now are JUST an aspiring photorealist.

Considering the source, high praise indeed."

Well, rather than get into much debate - let me say that:-

1) I never considered myself good enough to be a primitivist in the first place

2) While I did use photos it was only the most fleeting glance

3) I certainly would never describe myself as a "genius" (as I was on the cove of Glamourpuss 2) but then that was OBVIOUSLY a joke?!

Anyway the upshot of all of this is yours truly will feature in Glamourpuss once last time, to be fired by Glamourpuss one presumes and possibly one of the many, many awful drawings I sent will get featured - but I reallllly hope that is not the case this time around…

Oh this will either be January 2011 for issue 17, or March 2011 for issue 18 so a fair way off into the future before I officially loose the mantle that was not mine anyway

What you want to see one of these drawings?! Are you crazy..

Oh go on then, you can't say I didn't warn you

Friday 5 November 2010

St. Elsewhere

Oh sorry!

Yes I am busy drawing away on my "commission" again - okay lets be fair it's more like a favour - however I am going to give over the original art to the requestor once completed

and they may well sell it for a small amount..

well you know i am only new at all this drawing after all!

It will be a while again (a couple of weeks) before I can hopefully return to Outland - thanks for your patience and understanding