Wednesday, March 17, 2010



Some initial sketches of Clone Wars styled Anakin. Not saying what for.

People sometimes assume that drawing in an established animated style is easier than drawing realistically. Well, its not. Unlike drawing realistically, there is nowhere to hide bad drawing. Every line has to be exact, accurate, and clear. If you're off even slightly, it throws the whole thing off, and everyone can see it immediately.

Animated styles also have a certain rhythm to the body language, embodying the energy of the show. And within that, each character will have their own body language and rhythm. Once you have that down, the rest falls into place.

I'll be working on these all week and post the results each night here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fractured Visions - Comic Books in the UK & Ireland

ome essential viewing found on youtube:

"Fractured Visions is an 'open source' documentary of the comic book scene in the UK and Ireland. It highlights some of the themes and approaches to the medium that have emerged from social and political issues. This 2 part video features sequential artist David Lloyd (co-creator of V for Vendetta), artist Decaln Shalvey, writer/artist Malachy Coney, writer/artist Bridgeen Gillespie and assorted clips from the 2d comic book festival in Derry, Northern Ireland. This film features scans and digital reproductions from the artists and other sources to illustrate certain points in the documentary. If any of these infringe upon copyright, please let me know personally and I will remove them. Above all this film hopes to illustrate the depth of content within the comic book industry, from commercial to independent, and as such is a not for profit, open source film of a medium that I believe is seriously undervalued. Best Regards, Craig Smith."

Part 1:

Part 2:

Saturday, March 13, 2010



The first drawing I ever sold was of a Predator: a copy of the final page of issue 1 of Predator VOL.1 from Dark Horse, art by Chris Warner. It took over a month to do, as inbetween I broke my finger playing basketball in school (or rather some prat thought it would be funny to kick the basketball, missed and caught my right hand instead); a1 sheet, rotring pens, on the floor of my bedroom, as I wasn't allowed to use the dining table for stuff like drawing. It would mark the beginning of a lifetime of sore shoulders.

It went for 50p.

Even adjusting for nearly 18 years of inflation, that's still not a lot. But copying Chris Warner's fantastic art was a great exercise of learning how to do those lines which look so good and work so well on the page, even if I didn't have the right tools, knowledge or understanding as to WHY they worked at the time.

The excellent Dark Horse Predator, Aliens and Terminator titles were my first real introduction to the direct sales comic shops in Liverpool- Worlds Apart upstairs in the Acorn Gallery off Renshaw Street, Liverpool Comic Company downstairs in the Palace arcade on Slater Street. Saturday mornings meant knocking at my mate Neil's to jump the bus into town and spend my hard saved £5 from that weeks dinner money to get a few comics. Sometimes there'd be nothing new out that would grab me; I'd look in disappointment and awe at the huge collection of trades which were well outside my budget, so instead would ruffle through the back issue boxes, finding gems like Marvel UK's Strip, Warrior, 70's Planet of the Apes, and tons of 2000AD's. Though I soon moved from the licensed titles onto the likes of Vertigo and Dark Horse' Legend line (which of course gave us Hellboy), I would still go back and copy from those panels.

Fastforward somewhat to present day, and I still find it a useful exercise, especially when I've not drawn for more than a few days, or I get fed up with other work. A few quick warm up sketches which end up in the recycling pile, and then I'll just pull a few books from the shelf, have a bit of a read, and start idly sketching.

Which is where this came from::

Which is an homage (copy) of this:

I never actually intended the sketch to become a finished piece, but I enjoyed doing it so much, I thought I'd have a go colouring it in photoshop, if only as a distraction from the weaknesses in the drawing itself.

I went though several variations, and as much as I liked the monochromatic palette, I remembered how well Cam Kennedy used such a strong palette for his STAR WARS artwork, way back when- not strictly 'true' colours, but effective all the same. So by combining a couple of the monochrome versions, wacking the saturation up but reducing opacity, and then adding a gaussian blur effect, I ended up with two final versions.

The green version appeals to me more, but the red version hints at a harsher alien environment, for some reason.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010



I know, its been a while. Skipped over the whole 'end of year' shenanigans. Just trying to concentrate on getting work done.

To that end...