Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Just realised its been a month since I last posted, so it is time for an update…

Working on:
Whistler is all finished and ready for printing. Need to sort myself a story so far page for this as it may seem a bit disjointed seeing as it will have been a year since the last episode.

Latest from FQP:
We’ve just posted the 2007 christmas card, thanks to the amazingly talented Johnny Mcmonagle for the artwork featuring Neroy Sphinx.

Something Wicked
ON THE CARDS is a strip I’m working on for issue 04, and here are pencils for pages 1 and 3. I’ve almost finished the pencils for page 4, and then it is time to start inking.

DogBreath & Zarjaz
Zarjaz is now all ours. Scripts are being read and artists contacted. I’v also begun a blog for the combined might of the galaxies greatest fanzines- nothing to show yet, but I’ll be linking it when it goes live.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Mutterings and rambles....

Quiet today, so I thought I’d have a mutter to myself over here…

Working on:
I’m still putting pages together for Duke Etranges’ World of Weird, and apart from one sizeable strip, this is almost ready. Lots of faffing around with page layouts still though.

I’ve just sent a strip off for colouring that features PHOTON! In a healthy slice of action.

I’m in the Greytones stage on Whistler- up to page 4 at the moment, nearly finished.

I’ve also broken the A3 out for a strip for NEXT YEAR’s Something wicked. A four page strip called on the cards. I’ll be lamping bits up for it as time goes by no doubt.

Latest from FQP:
All pretty quiet at the moment. Lots of scripts being read- some going to artists for future issues, others being worked on to make sure they are as good as can be.

DogBreath & Zarjaz
Oh yeah, this is good. I’ve just secured the cover artist for the next issues of these titles (Seeing as it is going to be our first Zarjaz I am even more chuffed) and as soon as I can say who it is, I will.

Peeps the butler droid has been pressganged into our service and is in the process of collating the current files for Zarjaz ready for transferring into the Bolt-01 ‘Beast’frame so that I can begin sorting the new issue. Plans are already underway for some mighty impressive happenings.


Thursday, November 08, 2007



Teamwork, that is what makes things like FutureQuake possible. I know full well that I am part of a solid team and that if I need back-up I'll get it. Comics are by there very nature a solitary pleasure, yet the biggest pleasure I get in this mad hobby is actually meeting up with my fellow comic folk and having a good natter about stuff. I know that If I was trying to do all this on my own I'd go mad, so thanks and thanks again to all those folks who are part of the team at FQP.

The current crop of FQP titles is barely in print and I've already received all bar 12 pages of the next FQ, AND the cover!

The new website is doing well, though the forum is dead, mostly due to me being unable to add new bits to it that I'd like. However, I'm sure that as soon as our Webmaster notices the emails he'll sort it.

In other news I am assured that I'll have all the info I need to take over on Zarjaz soon, and the enigmatic Duke Etrange has camped out in my back yard and won't leave till I get his comic ready for him either.

I've also had to raid the FQP bank account in order to pay for not one, but two conventions for next year already! Next year is going to be a busy one- with Hi-Ex in Feb, Bristol in May and Brum con III in October! PHEW!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Sept 28th

Phew, what a week! Too many late nights, followed by too many early mornings has left me a bit frazzled today- still, all be worth it in the end.

Working on:
Still pencilling Whistler, as I’ve had a couple of last minute jobs dropped on me which has swallowed a lot of my time. Still, I’ve got six months to finish!

Latest from FQP:
The Cd’s for FQ, MQ and SW are at the printers! I had a call this morning about a formatting error I’ve made on MQ, which I’ll sort for Monday, but the others are all okay! I’ll be collecting in two weeks today- maybe sooner if I can.

After all the grief I gave one artist about delivering his strip on time (and him doing so) I’ve had to delay this getting to the printer due to another artist having issues. Hopefully I’ll have this sorted over the weekend, which will still leave me enough time to get the comics printed.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Print deadline 4 days...

‘Ow do? Decided to try and keep plodding on with this, as I always enjoy reading other folks talking about this.

Working on:
Still pencilling Whistler, reached page 4 of 5, so after that I’ll be doing the lettering and making sure it all works before I lock it in with the inks. I’ve also completed an entry in a comp for Mike Carroll’s New Heroes on the 2000ad messageboard

Latest from FQP:
Got my copy of Meg 263 this week, featuring NEROY SPHINX in the small press slot! The team for this episode are Dan Whiston (as ever) Johnny McMonagle, with colour by Richmond and the lettering by ME!! The strip looks great and I’m really chuffed for Dan and Johnny.
As for the new crop- Nearly there, Printers on Tuesday and still loads to do yet.

The mighty Johnny McMonagle sent me a set of amended Neroy pages to make sure that the format difference between the Meg and FQ isn’t too apparent.

Something Wicked
Still waiting on three pages in order to make page count. I’ve been promised them, so hopefully we are good to go. Still waiting on some bios from creators, but if I don’t get those I’ll make them up myself. The worst thing is getting a strip finished and realising that there are issues with some of the text and that the writer isn’t answering emails. Do we amend as best we can or do we run a strip that has confused people on proof reading and needs explanation? It is a quandary worthy of Pat Mills himself…

Nearly there. Got the amended strip we were waiting for and Rich has completed the list of bios. Nest up is sorting the inside page and away!

Shh, don’t talk about it or I’ll jinx it…

Stak is all printed and ready to go! Need to sort some preview images in the next week, but for now I’m not worrying about that.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey ho. Not posted for a while, and I suppose I’ve only myself to blame for that.

Working on:
I’ve just completed some work for Cosmic Ray, and I’m pretty chuffed with it at the moment. Can’t really say what I’ve done, but it was great to have a chance at a character I’d not handled before.

I’ve just begun work on the third episode of the new Whistler, which will be in the spring Dogbreath. I agonised for ages over this and rewrote it several times to increase the action to a point where I was happy.

Latest from FQP:
Almost time for the printers! Each issue is at a different stage at the moment, so…

All I need to do is sort out a half page and then it is ready to go.

Something Wicked
This is possibly going to be a slim volume. Some of the strips may not make deadline- yet if all goes to plan then we’ll still be able to run.

Almost ready, despite some strips being missing due to creators apparently dropping off the face of the planet.

This is the tight one. One strip is only just being started and another one is hopefully going to be with me on the night I burn the CD! Talk about running close.

In other news, I’m hoping that STAK! Will be ready for the convention in Birmingham in October, and with Zarjaz on the stall as well, we are possibly going to be one of the most thrill-powered tables at the con!

Monday, July 09, 2007

This is the first image I've been happy enough with to share for folks. I'm starting a strip which is going to have a completely different look to my usual work, so I'm spending this week putting together sketches and sample panels in an attempt to get the look 'right'

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tales of the GI: In the zone...

I've not posted much lately- seeing as I've not really had anything to say...

FQP is plodding along really, sales are slow for the current crop, but we are in the period between issues now so I expect things to just carry on till we start to get some new strips in for the next issues.

I've finished a strip for Something wicked 03, written by my Jon & Gorath collaborator Mark Woodland it has a couple of panels I'm really proud of.

I'm also hard at work on the next episode of a strip with the mighty Sprout, see image for a tease. The second strip in this saga is five pages of fun, and I'm enjoying it so much i've managed to reach my fourth pencilled page since last Friday, a personal record, and the images are just falling out of the pencil.

The first episode of this characters tale (In the Dark) is over at 2000adreview at the moment, but it will appear soon in the Rogue Trooper fanzine "STAK!", that is fast approaching completion.

More soon...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jon & Gorath 31

Well, we didn't get the Eagle- that went to HERO KILLERS by Andy winter. Which I've now read and it is a top little book, well worth reading.

Forgive the length of time between posts, I'm all out of webstrips. I may still drop something in on here every so often, but until the next load of J&G get started then this may be it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jon & Gorath 30

This is the last of the Gorath goes on holiday episodes, sorry for the wait.
Since last posting- FutureQuake has been nominated for an EAGLE Award! Please vote for us, as the creators who have worked on the title over the years all deserve some extra recognition!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jon & Gorath 27

Over on the 2000ad Review website I’ve had a new strip posted that was written by the mighty Sprout.

In the Dark

Working on:
Whistler II 02: I’ve pencilled the first two pages.
The Beast Within: I’ve thumbnailed the whole strip and begun sketches of the lead character.
Down the Rabbit hole: Thumbnails completed.

Latest from FQP:
The script pile won’t stop growing! For anyone out there who has sent us a script since November, please be patient, we are trying to get trough them all in the order we get them.

We are up to 37 pages of completed work in the bank, which is comforting at this point of getting the issue together. We've also got a prospective final version of the cover! Really excited about this as I drew it- the first time I've thought a strip of mine was strong enough to support the cover.

Something Wicked
We’ve got 20 completed pages in for this issue as well, which is really nice. Another six pages arrived last night as well!

Do you see that dusty wind-swept file folder over there? That is where MQ pages should be...

We’ve commissioned a strip that has the potential to be the absolute dogs dangly bits. Can’t say more, but it is really special.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Jon & Gorath 26

Working on:
I’m actually starting the next Whistler and a strip featuring Werewolves for Something Wicked.

Latest from FQP:
Mike Allwood has managed to sort us a table for Bristol. Hurrah! The cheque is posted so I’ll soon be trying to sell some of the older FQP comics cheap to generate some cash flow.

We are up to 46 pages of completed work in the bank, which may sound like we are about to roll, but these include the pages for something wicked 02 as well. Some bad news this week from an artist who is having some serious back issues at the moment (and I don’t mean he’s just bought a collection), so get well soon Gibson Quarter!

The commissioned folder took a mighty wallop this week when we arranged what could be a major article covering an aspect of SD that hasn’t been covered in any real depth before. More on that as it happens. We also commissioned a new 6 page strip and read the first case files book!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

VC's: One Rule behind the scenes

Coming soon to Zarjaz, I’ve done the art duties on a strip written by Richmond Clements. I thought it might be of interest to someone out there to see how I take the script and turn it into the finished page.

Apologies to anyone who thinks this is navel gazing of the highest order, but this is my blog, so Frick off!

Everything below relates to the second page of the strip, which doesn’t give away too much.

The finished strip ‘should’ be appearing in issue 5 of Zarjaz, which is due to be available in August.

1. Script.
Rich has a writing style that I like. He is terse and to the point. His scripts tell me who is where and then lets me get on with making sure that it works in the panel. For example:

Page 2
6 Frames

Frame 1: Smith’s pep talk seems to have worked, as they have all climbed from their cover and are on the battlefield. They are running in a group in front of Smith.


Frame 2: A shell impacts in the group, sending the four soldiers skywards, while Smith is diving to the ground.



Frame 3: Smith is on his feet. He’s with what’s left of the team. Two are still alive, their armour battered and cracked in places as they help each other up.


Frame 4: Smith is pointing over his shoulder with his thumb towards the Geek lines. One of the recruits is beside him, while he other is crouching beside one of their fallen comrades.



Frame 5: Smith is standing over the injured Hollis, who’s being cradled by the other recruit. Hollis has a sizable lump of shrapnel sticking out of his chest.


Frame 6: The recruit is looking up at Smith.


…and there we leave it. Rich has moved the plot forward, given me a nice action shot to draw and set up a ‘turn-over’ to encourage the reader to turn the page over. All good. Next I’ve got to turn this into…

2. Thumbnails.
These are done in biro, on scraps of paper approx 15x10cm (A6) size. They are always rough and are there to show me how the various layouts of the panels will work. Unfortunately I only keep the version of these that I am using for the final, as it would have been nice to show the other versions I did and explain why that version of the page was scrapped. Another thing with this is that I can begin to look at the amount of text required and make sure I leave enough space in the panel.

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3. Pencils.
As this is for Zarjaz, and given that Zarjaz prints at A5, I decided to produce the original art for this strip at A4. So… with my thumbnail by my side and my trusty automatic pencil in hand I produced this…

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The pencils vary only slightly from the thumbnails, and I decided to make as much of the pencils ‘full’ as I could. In the past I have pencilled the bare minimum needed to convey the story and then gone into inks to add all the detail. Full pencils take more time but deliver a much richer feel to the finished page. This strip, and indeed all strips I’m working on at the moment, are pencilled completely before the inks are added. As this is a 6 page strip this means that I pencilled another 4 pages before the pens come out.

4. Inks
Not really much to say about these, as they are mostly refinements of the pencils. I did discover that I wasn’t drawing the helmet consistently in this strip, so I tried to alter the last panel to fit more in with how the helmet looks in later pages. Altering art in the inking is something I try to do less of these days, in an effort to raise my standard of finished art. Material wise I am a penman. I have a really nice Edding 0.1 nib pen that I have use for the last three months, and I’m lucky enough to have a box of cheap nylon tips that have a really fine point. They only last about 5-6 pages before the nib begins to blunt. After that they are good for outlines and filling in.

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5. Tones.

Before I add the tones I transfer the image from the hand drawn to the digital. I scan at 300dpi in bitmap, which I then transform over to greyscale. The actual scan image is larger than the printed, so I adjust the size to make sure the page will fit into the available printing area for Zarjaz. Once I’ve got that sorted I save the document as a TIFF with LZW formatting. Then I have a page that I can play with to my hearts content from now on without destroying the work I’ve put in so far.

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I’m colour blind (which is a massive pain in the arse as you would imagine) to the degree that I do not trust myself to colour anything. So this strip being in B&W was a nice opportunity to have a play with grey-tones. In the past I’ve toned my strips either with a pencil onto prints of inked pages or by selecting a level of grey in photoshop and plonking it on with a brush tool. Dan (who will be 16 in just a few months, where do the years go?) is something of a phototshop wizard in my eyes and he has created me a custom brush, which had a feel to it that I was happy to use. By sorting a couple of extra layers in the image I was able to apply backgrounds and details to the art that, in my opinion, really add to my image and lift it quality wise.

I am still learning to use this technique and plan on developing a ‘look’ for my pages that is both pleasing to work on and look at. Time will tell though.

6. Lettering.
Something I have really embraced over the last few years is computer lettering. I remember hand-lettering strips back in the ‘80’s and the results were always poor. I could not understand how the letterers of the time got such great results with the tools available. Of course I was just being crap and eventually I got better. The biggest aid to my lettering was getting access to a PC, as the simple matter of being able to produce the text in a uniform font across the whole strip really helped. I was also getting to be quite reasonable at crafting my balloons then as well, so my lettering was actually readable at last.

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However it is Adobe Illustrator that has enabled me to finally produce lettering for comics that I am proud of. I’m still learning, but aren’t we all?

This page contains a set of standard balloons and captions as well as a cracking opportunity for SFX. Illustrator is great for this sort of thing as you can play with letter placement to your hearts content and then, when happy, you can finish the image in almost any style you can think of.

I’m becoming a bit of a font hoarder, and sites like Blambot are brilliant for getting started with lettering digitally. The font I’m using for this is ‘Evil Genius’ which has a nice legible style while still looking interesting. I’m sure I’ll change again soon though.

7. Final page
Here is the final page, all assembled in photoshop and ready for printing.

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Hopefully this will be in the August edition of Zarjaz, where you’ll be able to see the rest of the strip proper.

Dogbreath 15 Feature

Thanks to Matt Badham for this, appearing in the latest edition of the Judge Dredd Megazine (255)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Jon & Gorath 25

Wahey, two weeks in a row! I’m cookin’!

This weeks J&G sees the start of a series of not-seen before strips. Enjoy…

Working on:
Legends of the …. I am pencilling the images for the eleventh row of fifteen.

Latest from FQP:
Bristol looks like it will be without me this year. Dan turns 16 over the same weekend, so it is very likely we’ll be doing family stuff. Hopefully this won’t stop FQP from attending, but we’ll see.

We are up to 16 pages of completed work in the bank, with three more strips commissioned this week. Getting into a decent routine at the moment, though the strips are being generated faster than we can run them…


Friday, January 19, 2007

Jon & Gorath 24

Hey there! I’m back, what with holidays and all that malarkey it has taken me ages to get back to being able to get anything done!

Working on:
A 2000ad based webstrip from the mind of Sprout is taking shape. I am inking the images for the seventh row of fifteen. Hopefully this will be something different.

Latest from FQP:
Should be booking the table for Bristol next week.

Scripts are being read, and artwork commissioned. Some strips are also appearing which is nice. At present we have 41 pages of completed artwork ‘in’ though this is being split to accommodate…

Something Wicked
Issue 02 is now being actively planned for, with strips of a suitable nature being herded over from the main FQ. We have a cover all ready to go for this beauty that is stunning.

Got a plug in 2000ad prog 1518, which is nice, and I believe that we are also due to be featured in the Small Press pimp slot of the Meg. Hopefully this will lead to increased sales. Over the course of the convention in Birmingham, Rich and I met Nigel Dobbyn, who has agreed to provide us with a Middenface cover for a later issue, and the gentleman known as Rufus dropped hints about asking some other Professionals to donate art to the comic. He also had an amended version of the art for the cover to issue 15, which I am now arranging to use in any future printings of the issue.

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