Saturday, 31 December 2011

End Of Year Review

Last year I discovered that there is something of a tradition among small press bloggers of creating a yearly review of everything recently accomplished. I found this out a little late to write anything up myself, and probably would not have thought much of my achievements at the time.

This was unfortunate, as it meant I failed to thank my brother for getting me to create this blog, the Legendary Shark for dishing out his scripts to all who would wish to practise on them, Matt Mclaughlin for seeing this practise work and for letting me work on his own strips, and the wonderful people at Temple APA for publishing our first collaboration; Lugal.

Lugal: Temple APA Issue 8

Not to worry though, as this time I am more prepared! The year got off to a good start when Dirk Van Dom saw my art on Lugal and asked me to contribute to Vanguard. The first issue was released in July, and my story Halo And The Gryphon was met with pretty good reviews.

Halo And The Gryphon: Vanguard Issue 1

As we were working on this project, Owen Watts released Dr WTF?! in which I provided some art for Oscar Maltby's story of Apocalyptic Whovian Fan Girls. I got to draw varying standards of cosplay, and expressed my view on the term "Homo Repticular" (no italics).

Back To The Wreckage: Dr WTF?! 2011

By the time Vanguard burst free from it's release date, I was already working on episode 3 of Rise of the Mekkosapiens. Matt Mclaughlin once again trusted me to put my pen to his words and I got to draw crowd scenes, chase scenes, and all round robot action. This has recently been released in Paragon 9, so go check it out.

Paragon Issue 9: Rise Of The Mekkosapiens Part 3

Halloween saw the release of Hallowscream, which answered some reviewers requests that I put fewer lines into my art work. I got to add another writer to my list of collaborators, and Lizzie Boyle seemed pretty pleased with the results. Don't forget this one is available for free, and can be enjoyed not just at Halloween, but every other day of the year as well!

Storage: Hallowscream 2011

That's the last of my publication credits for the year, but it certainly doesn't finish the list of work I've been involved with. The art for Halo And The Gryphon part 2 is already finished, and my work for the next Dr WTF?! continues apace. I've also managed to ensure that I have made over 52 blog posts this year. That averages out at one a week!

Next year I'm hoping to be even more productive, but I feel that will be a tale for another day. Hope you all enjoy your new year's celebrations, everyone. See you in the future!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Tis the time of year when we celebrate the birth of He who has died and yet will one day return.

I speak, of course, of Great Cthulhu!

Many and various are the reasons I associate Christmas and Cthulhu, and it isn't just because Christ and Cthulhu are as one! Life has been pretty busy, and it has been a while since I have drawn any Mythos pictures. As such, this year's festive offering comes from my friend Jenny, and none other than Henry Flint! Mr Flint did this "doodle" for Jenny when she bought his new book, and Jenny said I could show it off here for Christmas! Her request was for Cthulhu eating a kitten. As you can see, the kitten does not look best pleased about this.

Henry Flint's Cthulhu Eating A Kitten

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My Work Here Is Done

Just a quick post this week to celebrate the completion of art for Halo and the Gryphon part 2. Here's a preview picture of the story's leading lady. We saw her from a distance last issue, but now we get to find out a little more about her.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

In Halo And The Gryphon Part 2...

Things go badly for this fella...

Things go badly for this lot as well...

In fact, things don't go well for anyone really...

Well, okay, the guy driving this helicopter comes out ahead, but something tells me his luck won't last...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

A Preliminary Glance At Halo And The Gryphon Part 2

I've been working on Halo and the Gryphon part 2. Next week I'll have some preview panels, but for now it's character-development-sketch-time!

This is Lissah, Sabillon holotype and catalyst for a whole lot of stuff that happens in this story. You may remember my earlier attempts to narrow down her look.

There will also be a helicopter in this story! Flying about in the sky, being all happy and free. Oh what a life helicopters must lead.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Paragon 9: Rise Of The Mekkosapiens Part 3!

You go and say something like "That's all my blogging for this month," and then the inevitable happens, and by 'inevitable' I mean 'something I can't wait until Thursday to shout about!'

Paragon 9 is out!

Jikan the time travelling Japanese warrior could well be fighting some sort of demonic incursion. Icarus may possibly continue to have his mind blown by the alien mermaid who rescued him from the whole flying too close to the sun thing. Nazi secret societies will likely be getting up to all sorts of nefarious deeds, only to have their plans potentialy thwarted by the heroic Spencer Nero. And there's a one off story called No Compromise which looks like it might be about cowboys maybe?

Want to find out how many of these predictions are fulfilled by reality? Check out the comic and see for yourself. It is just 99p from lulu! The last 'jumping-on issue was number 7, so you may want to pick yourself up that one and number 8 as well, just to help you follow the stories.

My entierly biased reason for bringing this to your attention is that I have some art in it! Matt McLaughlin's Rise Of The Mekkosapiens Part 3 sees me drawing some robots, who end up having all sorts of adventures! I enjoyed drawing them, and hopefully you will enjoy reading them!

Friday, 25 November 2011

So That Was November.

Been a busy month. Been a busy couple of months. As such I fear I have completely neglected my Weekly TAB duties. Last theme was Self Portraits, and so I was able to cheat and post up a few old pieces of work.

Ignore what I wrote on that page. Quill? What was I thinking? It was a stylus. The fact that it was made of glass rather than a feather should have tipped me off.

That's all my blogging for this month. Next month will be seeing me talk frequently about the next episode of Halo And The Gryphon. I've been intensely enjoying that project, and I think you will too!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Me And The Rest Of The Internet Went To Thought Bubble...

... and it was simply brilliant and I'm going to ramble on about how much fun I had. For the easily bored, there will be pictures, and oh... what pictures!

Now, I am not one for crowded spaces full of people. As such, I would like to congratulate the organisers for making it feel less packed than last year. I am going to assume this is because they spaced the tables a bit wider apart, that was a brilliant idea. If the space was in fact created by lower attendance, then, er, just forget I said anything. I do not believe this could be possible though, last year was good fun, who wouldn't come back? And this year was even better!

First point of call was the Zarjaz stand, for which we were waved down by Bolt and Owen Watts. If you like 2000ad, then you will like Zarjaz and its sister publications. I will need to wax lyrical about these at some point, but I feel that is a post for another day. The stand also had some copies of Dr WTF?! for sale, which was pretty cool as I haven't seen these in the flesh before. Here is a picture of me with my art!

Next it was over to the Pirate Drawing Competition! This was being run by Gillian Rogerson and Sarah Mcintyre, respectively the author and illustrator of You Can't Scare A Princess. I was once again impressed that this convention welcomes people of all ages. Last year I met Sarah as she was getting kids to design aliens for You Can't Eat A Princess. This year I met Gillian, who seemed a little confused by my habit of being older than ten, but let me draw Captain McArrgh anyway. Regular readers will recognise this yellow toothed rogue as the villain from Marlypee Monkey And Baal The Bear, and he'll be returning next year in an exciting new project I can't talk about just yet. Oooooh, cryptic

We met the Planet Replica people, and Matt Booker and Ian Edington, and that was all wonderful. Then it was time to head back over and see what was happening at the 2000ad stall.

Simon Davis was doing sketches, that was what was happening. I hesitate to call them sketches though, for despite considering the sketch to be a proud and noble art-form, such a term falls short of describing what was happening. At several points I thought he was finished, but then he just kept on going, and, well, look at this, just look at it.

Simon Davis's Sky Ripping Elder Horror

He charged me nothing for this, and as he handed it over to me he said, "I'm sorry, the paint is still wet." He was apologising for giving me this thing of beauty. I felt humbled.

This feeling continued as I headed over to see Mick Mcmahon. He was giving away free sketches too. I got a Hammerstein for myself and a Deadlock for my wonderful lady friend. Mick was also the very definition of lovely.

Mick Mcmahon's Deadlock

Mick Mcmahon's Hammerstein

So was Henry Flint, who, it would seem, looks just like his avatar! He has released a book of non-comic art that he claims are 'doodles,' and this was the launch day! The people who sold me this book told me that Henry would "be along shortly to give me a 'personalised doodle'," and so I was expecting a quick scrawl that would none-the-less be pretty awesome. I love a good doodle I do.

So anyway, I wasn't expecting this.

Henry Flint's Nemesis

He also did that thing where every time I thought he was finished, he just kept on going. Once again he wasn't charging anything! There was another person who had stood beside us while Simon Davis was working our magic, and she ended up with us here as well, due to having similar exquisite taste. Henry drew her a Shakara, and my friend Jenny got... well, Jenny got what I consider to be a somewhat Christmassy picture, so I'm going to ask her if I can scan it in and post it up here as we reach the festive season.

That was my time at Thought Bubble. In a mildly intrusive moment of My Other Life (the life I live when I'm not on the internet or drawing comics), I haven't been overly well recently. This day has cheered me up no end. If I ever need reminding of the fact that there are good people in this world, I'm going to look up at these pictures as they hang from the wall, and think back to meeting all these brilliant people. It will help me, so thanks all, and if you've got this far in reading the post, I thank you for that as well.

Goodnight all, see ya next time.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Marlypee's Monkey Tail Mission

Following Dirk Van Dom's praise of Marlypee Monkey And Baal The Bear, I have decided to present what exists of the sequel.

It was during the creation of this work that I realised the size, format, and quality of these stories were simply not marketable, and my creative energies began being pushed in different directions. As such, two pretty important pictures exist only in pencil form, and not even with pencils that would lend themselves to scanning. Still, I'll push ahead regardless, and try to fill in the gaps. As before, I will spare you the terrible poetry that accompanied this art; there is even more of it than there was last time and it is not pretty.

Do you remember how Marlypee had his tail bitten off by a monster two parts mouth, three parts maggot, and one part Tyrannosaurus arms? Well, Marleypee certainly remembers, because it isn't the sort of thing you forget. Here we see him sat in sorrow beneath his tree. The blue bird is still there. I bet that bird was enjoying all sorts of loud music while Marlypee and Baal were off on their adventure.

But wait! Who is this raven that comes flying by? Why, it is a Good Samaritan! Not the one of biblical parable obviously, I am talking analogously. This charitable avian just so happens to have about their person a magical book containing the secret to reaching the legendary Old One, a wish granter of some repute who would easily be able to give Marlypee back his tail.

Marlypee decides to take this gift, offered with nothing but kindness, and begins ploughing through this voluminous tome. As the raven promised, the book contains a spell for finding your way to a key that opens a gate and takes you to the Old One. Or something. So far, so good, what could possibly go wrong?

What a surprise! The spell works! Marlypee and Baal travel through those strange and iridescent spheres to a strange land not unlike one experienced in dreams. Being new to the area, they do what any lost travellers would do, they find a member of the local police force and ask for directions.

Polly the Police Pufferfish swims through the air and blows out floating bubbles of water every time she exhales. What a topsy-turvy place this is. She knows the way to the Old One's castle and leads them through the forest of thorns, where armadillos jump and dance with sausages and prawns.

On the way they pass a warty toad person trying to sacrifice a cat amid a circle of ancient, other-worldly stones. Polly is having none of this, and bops the toad on the head with her trusty police baton. Law and order has prevailed, and Max the Manx is grateful that his life is saved. He takes great interest in Marlypee's plight, for would you know it, Max is lacking a tail as well! Their desires combined in common purpose, our party of four set off on their way.

Emerging from the forest, Polly reveals the citadel of the Old One, flying amid the clouds. Marlypee is uncertain of how to reach this castle, but Polly explains how they simply need to jump into her floating bubbles and swim in them as they float into the sky. They put this plan to the test and it works pretty well!

Here is where we miss one of the pictures, showing the interior of this grand building, wherein sits the rave atop a massive pile of treasure!

"Welcome Marlypee," says the raven. "I am the Old One of legend. In your humdrum world I can take the form of naught but a scrawny raven, but here in the Dreamlands my powers are almost without limit! Thus do I return your tail!"

And with the wave of a wing, Marlypee's tail grows back out of nothing! However, before they can raise the matter of Max's similar wish, the raven continues.

"And now I have grown a new tail for you, I will bite it off and swallow it whole! Then I shall grow it anew and bite it off once more! You are now my prisoner, to provide me with monkey tails forever, for there is no snack I find tastier than a fresh monkey tail.

Baal remains silent through all this, but you can tell he is sighing inside. Once again he steps up to defend his friend, releasing wrath as only a bear can. The raven remains unphased.

"Foolish bear! As I said before, it is only in your would that I am trapped in the body of a raven. Behold my true form!"

And then there is a massive green tentacled eye mouth monster, which starts picking everyone up with the afore mentioned tentacles and begins stuffing them into the afore mentioned mouths.

Yet in a fortuitous twist of fate, the Old One finds it's prey somewhat hard to swallow. Sneezing is instead the order of the day, and the next missing picture reveals it to have an adorable hanker-chief, with the letters 'OO' embroidered into the corner.

It would seem the Old One is allergic to cats! So it was a pretty good job that Polly rescued Max. Everyone runs away while the Old One sneezes so hard that it starts making the castle collapse all around it! Amid falling masonry, our animal friends find the fire exit that let the raven into their world, and they find themselves back where this all started.

Marlypee, Baal, Polly, and Max all retire to their treetop boat, and enjoy a meal of butted scones washed down with glasses of lemonade.

The End.

There was a third story written but the art was never started. It involved Marlypee and Baal going out for a picnic on Claire the Cow's boat. They end up somewhere called Zombie Island. Things go badly for them. There is a reason it is the last in the series...

Friday, 11 November 2011

Vril-Ja? Vril-Nein!

Owen Watts has taken my picture of Hauptmann Who and worked his glorious colouring magic upon it. I sat there for some time earlier giggling at the picture; this story is certainly playing to my interests. Er, by which I mean nineteenth-and-twentieth-century-western-mythology, rather than Nazi-ism. Just thought I'd point that out to make sure people do not stumble upon this blog, find this as their first post, and jump to all sorts of erroneous conclusions about my personal ideologies.

Oh dear, I'd better get some more pictures of the cuddly monkey and bear up here quick.

In the mean time, enjoy this teaser, and keep an eye on the Dr WTF?! Facebook Page for more from all the creators involved.

"Hauptmann Who, it's snowing!"

"No, Von Hendrix,
that is merely the ash being spewed out by the TARDIS's
Dimensionally Transcendental Holocaust Ovens.
They're bigger on the inside too..."

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Marlypee Monkey And Baal The Bear

As part of my work on Vanguard, I need to do some work in Full Glorious Technicolor. I know, shock, horror, and such like, me doing colour! Anyway, more on that later, for now I want to dwell on what I discovered when I went looking for my watercolour book.

You see, there was a time back in my youth when I wanted to write and illustrate children's books. This ambition has taken a back seat for now, as it requires the promotion of both writing and art skills at the same time, while it is difficult enough to promote these skills individually. Yet there was a time when I thought that all I needed to do was chuck a few pictures and words together and send them off to some agents. This post is about the results of that youthful naivety.

I have spared you a full rendition of the poetry. It... isn't good. The art is also, well, patchy is a polite word; but it is so full of enthusiasm that I could not help but share it with the world. Be forgiving in your judgement, this is a decade old, and I have grown as a person and an artist. Enough waffle, let's get started.

This is the story of  Marlypee Monkey and Baal the Bear. They live in a tree. So does a little blue bird, but the bird won't be mentioned again, so don't worry about that. 

One day, Marlypee noticed that there was no food in their cupboards. Where are these cupboards? In the boat that is atop the tree. I didn't mention the boat earlier, but that's okay because I didn't draw it in the picture either. Anyway, Marlypee wants to go shopping so drags Baal off with him. They go to a fruit and veg shop.

It would seem they want to buy some peas. I don't like peas, so I don't know if 99p is a good price for peas or not. Did I mention I drew this 10 years ago? Take inflation into account.

 Oh no! Pirates attack!

They land their flying ship on the fruit and veg shop and start shovelling the food into treasure sacks. Maybe they are concerned about scurvy. Marlypee tries to stop them, because he is that sort of monkey. By which I mean; blind to his limitations. Did Marlypee not notice the swords and guns? Apparently not. 

So the pirates put Marlypee and Baal in a cage. They leave Claire the Cow in the wreckage of the crushed shop, maybe because she would not fetch such a good price when sold to illegal and unethical zoos or something. Don't worry though, she returns in the second sequel, "Marlypee Monkey And Baal The Bear Picnic On Zombie Island."

Anyway, the bad news is that Marlypee and Baal get hung above loads of monsters in the deepest, darkest hold of the ship. The good news is that the keys are just within reach of Marlypee's tail!

Well, that all goes predictably badly. Marlypee gets his tail bitten off and cries about it a lot. He cries about it so much the monsters start to feel guilty and all learn a valuable lesson about respecting personal space. They unlock the cage and help Marlypee and Baal escape.  

The pirates are a bit miffed about this whole situation. Especially when their prisoners steal one of their flying life boats. They fail to appreciate the irony of pirates having things stolen from them, and promptly give chase with blazing cannons. 

 Remember what I said about Marlypee being blind to his limitations? Can he pilot a flying boat? He can not. Crashing ahoy-hoy all round.

But who are these happy little people they have found themselves crashing upon? Why, it is a village of sentient peas, hidden away in unexplored mountains! What are the chances?

The pirates catch up with our reluctant heroes. Baal has finally lost his patience as far as their intrusive behaviour goes, and sets about ladling out the wrath. The pirates realise too late that they put down their guns and swords so they could play tiddlywinks. Too bad for them, me thinks. 

The peas are all pretty chuffed with this series of events. The pirates had for years pillaged their village, but now they will think twice about returning.

To show their appreciation, they help their new friends back home. Marlypee and Baal ride an avalanche of peas back down to the lowlands. It is pretty much the best slide ever!

Marlypee Monkey and Baal the Bear are soon back at their tree. They scoop up loads of peas, shove some of them in the freezer for later, and begin tucking into the rest for dinner. I'm not sure how much peas present a balanced diet, but they will suffice for one night before a new shopping trip tomorrow.

A happy ending for all!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Many Apologies...

To Bovril, to Doctor Who, to people who cringe when they see terrible lettering, to pretty much everyone really...

Dr WTF?! Coming next year to an internet near you!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Hallowscream: Storage

This cheerful chap is Mark. He likes surfing and quad-biking. He enjoys a good night down the pub, but also relishes the quiet solitude of the open countryside. His favourite book is The Beach, though he didn't think much of the film.

Mark works at a storage warehouse. It's Saturday evening, and he was just getting ready to lock up when the inevitable happened. Because there's always one isn't there? Someone who turns up mere minutes before you head off home. But you grin and bare it, because that's just good customer service. 

And then they start messing about...

Find out what happens next in this year's Hallowscream. Over one hundred pages of horror themed comics, all at the super cheap price of Absolutely Free! The story you are looking for is Storage, the second story in, page 9 according to the contents. It's written by one Lizzie Boyle, drawn by myself, and lettered by someone who appears to be uncredited, sorry mysterious letterer! Previous editions of Hallowscream are still available, also for free! Why not check them all out?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Spinning Of Many Plates.

Tis my birthday on Monday, and as far as creativity goes I feel I have the next year all completely booked up.

As regular readers will know, most immediate on my schedule is Halo and the Gryphon, closely followed by Dr WTF?! These projects are still in the design/storyboard stage at the moment, with November seeing the beginning of The Great Gryphon Push. Unlike the war, this one will be finished by Christmas, with the good Doctor landing his Tardis in the editor's tray some time in the new year.

These pictures were attempts to create an alien species for the story, but I think I have gone in entirely the wrong direction. The thing in the bottom left corner is a Glitter-Shark, best if you don't ask.

Back to the drawing board tomorrow, I feel. Not to worry though, for these designs will be put to use in the next project: Age of Iron, or, Bigfoots and Dinosaurs. This is going to be a collection of non-sequential art I am creating to illustrate a role-play text. It should hopefully allow me to experiment with different styles and techniques, and I think my art will only benefit as a result.

That project needs to be completed by next summer, and may well prove to be quite time consuming. I'm hopefully still going to be working on a few comics at the same time; episode three of Halo and the Gryphon will inevitably drop into my inbox shortly after the release of Vanguard 2, and I've also been asked to draw one of next year's Mekkosapien episodes.

Finally, we have perhaps the most exciting news at all. In fact, it is so exciting I dare not speak of it yet, lest I jinx it all with my careless tongue. I'm just going to leave you with this little chappy, and I'll return to the matter when I have a little more to say.

Not that you will have to wait quite that long for a new update. I'll be back soon with news of where you will be able to find the last few pieces of work I've completed over this past year. Thanks for reading!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Some More Reviews!

Some of you may remember a few months back when I posted some reviews of my work. Well, I'm back to do more shameless self promotion, on this blog that is almost entirely shameless self promotion! Go me!

To start with, my work for the next Dr WTF?! is already getting good feedback, and I'm not even past the preliminary sketch stage. Greg Meldrum seems happy with the work so far, while over on Facebook  Owen Watts claimed that "This is easily going to be the MOST INSANE story in Dr WTF?! 2012." So while editor, writer, and artist all stand around slapping each other on the back and marvelling at their own brilliance, let's anchor this post to the ground before it disappears up our collective backsides. 

Forbidden Planet International has a less glowing review of Vanguard. It's not a completely bad review, but is certainly the least positive we've had so far. Here's what it says about my work;
The art by Louis Carter starts out so strongly, that very first page above of really nice, almost abstracted shapes as the Halo makes planetfall. But after it gets too damn busy, panels just so full of detail, with everything a mass of lines and shading. It’s not bad, not at all, but if it were stripped back just a little, to what we saw on the opening couple of pages it would be so much better. But the potential here is huge.

Not to worry though, for if that was our least positive review, this next one is the most positive! Comics Bulletin has seen some cutting reviews in its time, and I think many of us were waiting for this one with nervous anticipation. It all turned out well though, take a look at this;
"Halo and the Gryphon" feels like an underground comix adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix; the big selling point for me is the art of Louis Carter, a strange and evocative mix of fine detail on the characters and a far more blocky, abstract approach to backgrounds. It looks like nothing else I've ever seen -- aside from perhaps David C. Sutherland's artwork in the early days of Dungeons and Dragons, and even that's not quite the same -- but it's stunning work.

Amusingly, the page that they picked to illustrate the Comics Bulletin review was the one that I find the most crowded, while the Forbidden Planet one chose a page in which only one of the six panels has a background to distract you.

Still, I welcome constructive criticism, and I will be considering my strengths and weaknesses as I continue working on part two of Halo and the Gryphon. As such, I would like to offer my thanks to Richard and Kelvin, and all those who have taken the time to offer their opinions elsewhere. The next few weeks should see me posting some sketches of some new characters, so don't forget to drop by again!