For those of you who may have missed my ‘speed paint’ of the Cirque Du Mort ring leader from my original Kickstarter campaign, here it is in all of its glory. I’m hoping to create a lot more of these in the future and start streaming my artwork live via Justin.TV. This will include traditional and digital painting and even some of my professional sketch cards. What would you like to see me draw live?
Cirque in Progress
Do you see what I did there? Work? Cirque? … Okay, yeah, I’m pretty tired. Had a very productive day however and can safely say that two more characters are well on there way. First off, allow me to introduce you to Callista, the Bearded Beauty. I absolutely love Callista’s character. Her costume is inspired by Persian art and fashion as well as obviously burlesque. She is a thick, gorgeous woman and I love that she just oozes sex appeal while also rocking the body hair. You may be able to see I didn’t just go for the beard, she also has un-shaved underarms and thick inner eyebrows. Looking forward to colouring her and inserting her into the Cirque along with her story and center fold.
Next up we have ‘The Torso’, Miranda. When I was writing Miranda I just imagined her having this confidence and mystery (as will be shown in her story). You’re not sure what Miranda’s real story is, she never seems to tell the same story twice. She is only sure of one thing and that is no matter who you are, what you are, she is twice the woman you will ever be. I love her 1930’s hairstyle and can’t wait to introduce her to you properly in the book (Can’t show you too much in the teaser phase as I don’t want to give anything away.
Finally and pretty excitingly, I have a logo for the book, merchandise and general publicity. I actually worked on this during Birmingham MCM the other week but only just got the chance to clean it up and scan it. Thanks to Jeremy from Zombie Bears who was sat next to me throughout the con and gave his professional feedback (see how us horror Indies stick together). I also managed to pick up some A5 backing boards and plastic dust bags, so each copy of Cirque Du Mort which gets sent out will be bell protected and professionally packaged. They will hopefully all also be sealed with a sticker with this little logo on it.
I can also excitingly reveal that I have today applied for a batch of ISBN numbers! This is ridiculously exciting as it means I will be able to stock the Cirque Du Mort in Amazon and other online retailers as well as attempt to sell it into bookstores. If you know a local book store that likes to encourage indie creators, please send them my way. I already have a few comic stores kindly looking to stock it, but the more the merrier!
Well, I hope you all got the chance to purchase the Kerrang! Komic while it was still available in shops. If not, I can now actually upload the comic that I contributed so you can see it here. I thought I would also show you the process I went through from sketch work to final product for anyone interested.
Step One – Roughs
After I was sent the finalized script for the comic, I got to work straight away on the thumbnails and an eventual rough. I think I had about 5 thumbnails altogether trying to figure out the spacing and sizing of the panels. I hadn’t worked with such a tight frame work before as I am used to larger full page spreads, so this was a really good exercise for me. I actually looked through a load of old strips of Ray Zell’s Pandora to get a feel for the sizing and possible panel structure. Above is the finalized rough that I sent off to the editor for approval.
Step Two – Pencils & Inks
It took a little time for my approval to come through as the editor was obviously very busy putting the actual issue of Kerrang! together, so when it came through I had to move quite quickly. I wanted to get the finl piece through to him in plenty of time in case their were any big changes that needed to be made. He only made a few notes on the rough. One was that he decided to change the script to be a little more implicative of swearing rather than actually swearing, so we changed the dialogue in the final panel. He also wanted to zoom in on Dave Grohl in panels 4 and 5. I made these changes and went straight to inks. The rest of the process was all done without any more editorial notes as he seemed very happy with the way things were going.
Step 3 – Lettering
I moved the cleaned up inks from Photoshop to Illustrator and digitally lettered the script. The good thing about doing this before colouring is you can add some nice colours/effects to the bubbles later on in the process. As this was quite a simple comic and had a lot lettering, I decided to add some colour to the bubbles/boxes just to make it a little more interesting.
Step 4 – Basic Colours
I then went in to basic colours. With a more intricate piece I would probably flat out all of the colours, but as this was the same figure in each panel with little detail (due to the size of the comic at reproduction size), not many colours were actually needed. Once I had the basic foreground tones sorted out I went in and added the background, detailing, light and shadow.
The final piece was then saved in a variety of ways (TIFFs, JPGs, CMYK & RGB) etc… and sent off to the editorial staff. This is simply to ensure that they have different file types in case they wanted it for internet use, or wanted to edit it in some way. I’m happy to say they were very happy with the final product and no changes were made to it.
Cover photo is © Kerrang! Magazine 2014