Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I was a bit stumped to begin with for this weeks theme; at first I thought of doing something purely historical from the War of Independence, but then I saw the amazing rendition of Marvelman created by Chris Weston and thought of using that character somehow. It's well known of course that Marvelman was only created after the Captain Marvel reprints dried up for reasons too complicated to go into here, so it seemed a natural 'Versus' scenario.

I was first intriduced to Marvelman (sorry, he'll never be Miracleman to me) back in the early 90's, when I found a load of random copies of Warrior in a back issue box in a comic shop on Liverpool's Slater Street. Having only a fiver to spend each weekend, a 50p box was great value so I got as many as I could find. Quite a few were waterdamaged and over the years I managed to get them replaced with better quality ones, actually direct from Dez Skinn himself if I remember rightly, through CI. As a teenager at the time, Warrior had a massive impact on me, almost as much as 2000AD, and I would try (and often fail) to emulate some of the art found inside.

Fast forward to today and although I'd never be able to match Chris Weston's stunning draughtmanship, I thought I'd have a go at drawing Mick Moran's alter ego myself.

 I started off with a couple of rough thumbnail sketches, trying to think of a pose for both Marvelman and Captain Marvel, and after going through numerous reference images including finding these stock photos (NSFW btw), worked this one up to a rough pencil stage, but realised it wasn't going anywhere.

Part of the problem with the internet and image search generally is that you can come across a image that you forget about seeing, but later draw upon subconsciously, thinking it's an original thought. We're bombarded with thousands of images everyday, and it's niave to think we're immune to their influence. While there may be nothing new under the sun, sometimes you do second guess yourself to make sure you are being, to the best of your ability, as authentic in your process as you can.

As a case in point, one sketch I developed I realised I had seen before and going through my folders found this image of Superman versus Goku, which became the inspiration point for my chosen layout. Though it's uncredited I thought it important to at least link to it here.

I liked the contrast in both characters physique- Captain Marvel being quite heavy, beefy and bodybuilder-ish, whereas Marvelman has always been portrayed as lithe, athletic, and incredibly toned, almost like a professional dancer.

After doing this rough I left it for a few days before coming back to it last night to finish it off. Instead I redrew it from scratch using it as a guide, while listening to the excellent interview between Kevin Pollak and Damon Lindelof. I worked to get MM body as thin and toned as I could compared to CM big barrel chest.

I changed the position of CM head to show the force of MM's strike, though I don't think I got CM's face that well.

I then cleaned up the pencils and went in with 0.3 pen to get the outlines down.
Something which I've started to do recently, at least for sketches, is doing outlines first then going back in with a pencil to reblock the blacks. I don't know why but this seems to be either a bad habit I need to break or a welcome loosening of the process. There is always that trepidation of ruining good pencils with bad inks. At least at this stage I can see more clearly where the blacks should go, and feel more confident that I'm not loosing anything in that process.

Rather than going in heavy with the pens (not having ink and brushes at home) I decided to just use the markers to build up the shadows, again using the blues which are a current favourite. The "tinkerbell" effect for MM was added in later in photoshop by reversing black marks to white and multiplying them, far quicker and easier than drawing them individually in white ink.After committing to the dark background I realised this should have been left a lot simpler than what I ended up doing, but there you go. I think I'd like to rework this at some point in the future, just to see if I can get anywhere to same ballpark as Weston's version.

Looking forward to next weeks theme. In the meantime checkout the other entries here.

Monday, June 20, 2011


My latest contribution to the Weekly TAB...


A quick Judge Anderson.


Add caption
Trying some old pens out. Sketch based on photo of model Melissa Tkautz.

Saturday, June 04, 2011


After a few missed themes due to work, managed to get back to the TAB with Fairytales and Folklore. It was either Red Riding Hood in a very tight bodice thing or a bike chick. Went with biker chick. Promise next one won't involve bikes.