Saturday, 29 December 2012

A Little Birthday Blog

Did you enjoy Christmas? Well don't stop celebrating yet because there's one more thing to enjoy! No not New Year, shut up, tomorrow's my birthday! Jesus asked if I wanted to do a double party but I said let's both have our moments, one for the righteous lord and the other one for Jesus. We have different friends anyway, plus our dads got into a fight once.

As excited as I am for my birthday, I will be 28 and that's weird. Why? Well there's this thing called Club 27. See, an unusual amount of artistic talent died at the age of 27. Thus they were immortalised as brilliant tortured geniuses. Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin… That's creative genius of course, not the useful kind. So all this year I've been thinking to myself "If I want to be one of those hyper-cool artistic geniuses, I better start living dangerously. Maybe I should start having sugar in my tea?"

There was also the small matter of doing something genius… I like my cartoons and comics but they're not quite up there with Purple Haze. Oh that’s the other problem of course, Club 27 is full of musical talent. A cartoonist might seem out of place. Maybe I could hand out the Pringles or something? On the plus side, at least my talents won’t be vastly over-rated by mourning fans. I'd much rather have everyone alive know me for my crap! Wait, what.

Seriously though, this is a really weird transition. Back in college, things were music-centric. I was going to add 'for me' but I reckon it's like that for everyone. You're young, you're making new friends and you all want to be vastly cool, and alongside the newest names in music (that you all swear you knew before anyone else) the old names are circling round. You grow up with them, they're known by everyone and there's idolisation going on. Perhaps, to a horrible extent I don't approve of, Godhood. Even if you don't like them, they're cemented in musical history. And now I’m gonna be older than those people? It’s weird. How can I be older than Gods? And still feel vastly uncool.

10 minutes. Time for some tea and a spoonful of- no, no I can't. Tea is meant to be refreshing, not a sugar hit! The bouncer of Club 27 knows my I.D is fake and that I've got a bottle hidden in my sleeve.

Well, it's time to find other people to idolise. I hear Stan Lee turned 90 yesterday? Okay. He'll do. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Comic #12, Sketch and Inks

Here's the sketch and inks for the 12th comic of The infamous Five!

Remember last week when I said I wanted to avoid drawing the entire cast in a small panel again? Well I drew the entire cast in a small panel again. I had no choice! There was a lot of dialogue and even though they're just sitting, I don't want the characters stuck in one pose for a long time.

Panel 3 was fun to draw, because it wasn't drawing someone acting out their dialogue. It was just Ant getting Elliot's attention. I'd like to have that more, humour based just on how a character is posed.

As I mentioned on The Infamous Five website, this was the LAST comic of 2012! It'll return next year, however this blog will remain active with sketches, stuff, whatever I'm in the mood for. It'll actually be good just to draw miscellaneous things for a while.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Comic #11, Sketch and Inks

Here's the sketch and inks for #11 of The Infamous Five! The 3rd panel was probably the most challenging as when I usually draw the whole cast, it's on a panel stretching across the whole page. This one had to be smaller to fit everything else. I managed it, though I'd still like to avoid doing that again in the future.

That said, the first thing I actually drew here was panel 6, where the logo is tormenting Lee. I had a specific image in mind and I wanted to make sure I got it right first before tiring myself out on the other stuff.

I really like Elliot in this one though. Him tearing off his shirt looks more dramatic than I thought it would, and he hasn't had enough opportunity to be silly yet.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Comic #10, Sketch and Ink

Here's the sketch and ink for the 10th comic of!

So far in these comics each character has had at least one panel all to themselves and I wanted one for spikey-haired Lee to complete the set. I finally got to do it in this one, although it ended up weirder than I imagined.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


I hit my hundredth tweet over on Twitter! Or at least I will, when I tweet about this picture. Twitter is quite the phenomenon, becoming an unexpected platform for free speech. Or at least it was, until people started getting arrested for speeching freely.

Despite the number I don't actually tweet much, using it only to announce some new art on this blog or over at The Infamous Five website. So basically that means I go on Twitter to tell people to get off Twitter.

That's not what people want. Not really. Twitter isn't popular because people can finally talk about all that war and corruption they're angry about. It's popular because it brings you closer to the people you admire more than anything ever has in history. Your favourite actors, your favourite singers... No more of that spraying your clothes black to hide in the tree with the binoculars, celebrities are now directly on on YOUR friend list. Sending messages directly to YOU. But you don't care about their tweets for a new movie or song, you know, those things that got you interested in the first place. You want to know what they're doing! What they're thinking! To Hell with those slow gossip magazines, you've got Hugh Jackman just a click away about to tell you he's off to the beach! And look! He even instagramed a picture of himself in his trunks. All for you.

And not just that, celebrities LOVE that instant attention from a mass audience they start telling you their every meal, their every private thought and crazy mood. It's hot gossip direct from the source! Even newspapers report what these people say on Twitter as NEWS. But you had the celebrity's tweet on your feed first, and you know what? You even get to be a part of it. In fact, you have a new dream. You don't want to write a short story or learn guitar. You want to be retweeted by Stephen Fry. Every day you'll tweet him but does he ever see them? You hope so, you yearn for his attention the same way you used to yearn for a lover's caress.

And I can't give people that. Well I can give them a loving caress, but what I mean is, I'm not gonna tell you what I'm thinking. My thoughts go into writing like this. And I'm not gonna tell you how I'm feeling 'cos my feelings will go into a drawing like this. And as for photos of me at the beach? Well, maybe one day.

I'll keep using Twitter and the people who follow may have noticed me trying to loosen up about the whole thing. But Twitter wants to be it's own thing. You don't just 'say' something, you 'tweet' it. Your idea, your joke, it becomes a 'tweet' and that seems like a waste. I can't even bring myself to hashtag 'gnarlee' it just feels so tacky. Imagine it with anything else.

@shakespeare Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou, Romeo? #horny

@churchill We shall never surrender. #bringiton

So yeah. There are my thoughts on Twitter. It was 2961 characters more than Twitter would allow. The one solace I can take from this, however, is that it'll probably be replaced by a new fad called 'Zabloot' or something. "I just got a Zabloot from Gnarlee! I can't wait to Zableet it to all my Zablaaters."

Friday, 30 November 2012

Comic #9 Sketch and Ink

Here's the sketch and inks for comic #9 of The Infamous Five!  The moustaches made this one was particularly fun to draw.

I gave Tony and Lee moustaches that resembled the hair which I thought would look pretty funny, whilst snooty Elliot got a smart gentlemanly one. Ant, as a rough and brusque fellow, got the handle-bar moustache of a biker, whilst Craig... well I kinda went crazy and gave him the type of sharp tumbling moustache you see on Asian guys in karate movies. Ironically he had to shave his old moustache to put it there.

I want them to have moustaches all the time now...

Oh, and as of today, The Infamous Five has so far raised a total of zero money for cancer!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Friday, 16 November 2012

Comic #7 Sketch and Ink

Here's the sketch and ink for The Infamous Five comic 'Twilight', which can be read here:

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Infamous Sketches

Here's some sketches I did preparing myself for when The Infamous Five leave their precious table and have storylines. I don't know if I'll actually have them shooting guns or doing karate... but I want to feel like I can draw anything.

I might shift the focus of this blog for a while actually and fill it with sketches like this, really develop my confidence and ability.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

I'll be changing the address of this blog to the much simpler '' soon and I just thought I'd share with you the emotions I went through when first setting up The Infamous Five. I'm not great with computers. I can just point and click, really.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Grand Swedes

I'm in Sweden! Which you all knew already because you read my blogs with such fervent attention, don't you? Here are the Swedish grandparents of the family I drew last week. The one on the right feeds me treats and coffee, whilst the one on the left is an eccentric mechanic who helped repair, among other things, the long colourful train tourists ride around this little beach town. He's also saved three lives and, as a child, whacked a pig in the face with a shovel. I enjoy his stories.

Monday, 22 October 2012


I'm heading to Sweden this week! For the third time, and will again be staying with this family in their lovely house, eating their delicious food and wandering around their pretty country. A rich experience despite the fact that I am a poor man scraping by on pennies and charm. Charm or pity, I forget. Either way, I wanted to show my appreciation so I surprised them with this drawing. I also bought them booze, but I thought it best to draw them in their sober state.

I actually gave this drawing to them back in Spring, the first time I went. I cobbled it together from looking at photos of their faces and the kind of clothes they wear. It's difficult to surprise someone with a drawing if they have to spend a few hours posing for you.

The second time was in Summer, and now I'm going back there for... what is this, Autumn? Winter? It's cold and I'm sneezing, whichever it is. But I'm still determined to dip into that Swedish ocean. It's so BLUE. English sea water is filthy and green, uninviting even during a warm season. So in Sweden I am getting in that water, I don't care if my own skin turns blue.

I drew other things for them on my repeated trips (if you met me once, you'd want to invite me back too) so I might share them soon, too!

New blog post!

Friday, 19 October 2012

This was originally gonna be the third strip, but after spending all week drawing it I concluded; it's too long.

Now the previous strips before were the same size, but it's this week's script that was the problem. I'd say the script-writer was an ass but he's me so instead I'll say I really like the joke but I don't think there's enough to it for the dialogue to be juggled around by five guys across 8 panels.

You can probably tell from the sketches, there was gonna be a lot of mentioning of the song, lots of singing and snark. Too much. Too much wait punchline. So I had to ditch all my work at the last minute and spent the night drawing out a much punchier strip.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


I wanted to do something a little grander, so worked on this fantastical scene. It's based on 'Armilla', a city described in a book called 'Invisible Cities' written by Italo Calvino. I'll let him explain:

"Whether Armilla is like this because it is unfinished or because it has been demolished, whether the cause is some enchantment or only a whim, I do not know. The fact remains that it has no walls, no ceilings, no floors: it has nothing that makes it seem a city except the water pipes that rise vertically where the houses should be and spread out horizontally where the floors should be... Abandoned before or after it was inhabited, Armilla cannot be called deserted. At any hour, raising your eyes among the pipes, you are likely to glimpse a young woman, or many young women, slender, not tall of stature, luxuriating in the bathtubs..."

This was something of a personal achievement. As I mentioned in the beginning, I've spent most of my time practicing drawing, not all the other stuff such as inking. This was an inking challenge I hadn't done before. SO many curvy lines. But I did it. There's a lot to colour here and a background to work out, the other thing I need practice on, so this is still in progress, But we're halfway through the week now and I didn't want to leave the update any longer.

So enjoy for what it is! I'll try to finish this week and update the blog when it's done.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Armstrong Ink

My comic updated today, head over to to read it!

In the meantime, I've been wondering what this blog's role would be whilst every other blog of mine updated with a comic and I've settled on this. Here is where you can see it in it's base form, what I regard the most important part. The line-work.

I like the third panel. I feel it's an interesting angle.

Monday, 8 October 2012


L.A. Noire. I bought it this year. The atmosphere of the game is fantastic, the makers really put a lot of effort in. But I still thought it was hilarious when the main guy picked up random crap in the house and gave it the same scrutinising glare as he would a blood stained weapon or useful clue. This is basically me as I play the game, picking up every object in a room before the 'not all objects' message comes up on the screen, which is a gentle way of saying "For fuck sake, the victim was not stabbed to death with a box of soap powder."

I deliberately made no effort to get the character looking like Phelps, I just thought the screen message was so funny it'd make a good poster regardless of whether you've planned the game or not.

Because I was going for a 'poster' look this became my first graphic piece rather than a flat out drawing of a character on white background. I don't always want to draw posters but maybe I can use graphic elements in future stuff to make 'em more interesting. We'll see next week.

Friday, 5 October 2012


So here it is. My baby. Very much a gentle introduction to everyone, with more jokes and stories coming as things get going. This may be the only time I post the comic here, it'll have it's own home over at

Because the comic won't be the only thing I'm doing. I still want to draw other things; heroes, villains, monsters and all sorts, which will make their home here. A blog AND a comic. Life is good. Busy. But good.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Infamous Poster

This means nothing to you. But for me, it's an unveiling.

I adore comics. And the internet is a goldstorm for that medium. They're all over the inter-webbington circuits and you can read them for FREE. You can MAKE them for free. Minus the hundreds of pounds for a computer and scanner and tablet and software and internet connection but SHUSH. The point is that I am an introverted but attention-seeking escapist scribbler, making this digital age of art and creation incredible. And I'm gonna have a punt at being a part of it. However small, for however long.

These guys? They drink, they make bad jokes and struggle with the world as much as it struggles with them. They've been in my head for a while. Time to let 'em out.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Arctic Shaman

An arctic shaman. I don't truly know what a shaman is, maybe it's ignorant of me to assume they're the guys who wear animal pelts. I at least know they're an old culture connected to spirits and healing, though to be honest I'm still going mostly with the pelt... I rather liked the idea of the pelt turning him part-wolf, too and made him a bit of a superhero. The blue point on his suit represents a snowy mountain, the low spikes frozen drips of water. I know the technical term is stalactites, but I didn't know if you did. Maybe that's patronising (if you know what that means).

This drawing, like so many others in my blog now, started as imperfect sketching that ended up a complete thing. Which is entirely the opposite to my usual process of carrying complete things in my head, but wanting them to be so perfect I end up not drawing them at all. Of course, there's nothing wrong with planning. But there's still a lesson to be learned here: less perfection, more sketching. It's something I've known for a while and am slowly getting used to.

So this character really came out of nowhere, as have many others so far. Mostly, I've left them as they are to become whatever comes naturally to the viewer's mind. But I'm looking at this guy now and thinking I want to give him more stuff. The same goes for the detective last week and a few others that have potential. Suddenly it's 'screw your imaginations, these are my toys!' I'm thinking they should have names, backstories... futures?

No concrete plans right now, of course. It's just some good imperfect sketching.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Dandy Detective

Dandy. My basic understanding is that it was a term used during the18th and 19th century to describe people who were eccentrically (but smartly) dressed, groomed, cultured and obsessed with themselves. I’m not sure what the origin of the term ‘dandy’ is but I suspect it was an insult these people appropriated because ‘prick’ and ‘asshole’ was less appealing. They remind me of hipsters.
My own desire to be a super-skinny indie douchebag is often thwarted by my hatred of arrogance and love of pastries.
All that leads to this drawing. I like that appearance stuff but I also like wisdom, modesty and wanting a better world. Hence this dandy also being a detective.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Cybernetic Chick

After last week's idyllic beauty I thought we'd go in a slightly different direction and have a screaming girl from the future jumping into your face with a laser gun. Keepin' it fresh.

I told a friend of mine I'd be updating with this girl today and he referred to her pose as being "somewhat dubious". Ha! A comment one hundred times more subtle than the drawing.

When I first sat down and began drawing this, I didn't think I would be drawing <i>this</i>. It just happened. I remember me and another friend (I have more than one friend, impressed?) sitting down with pencils and paper, he with a very specific illustration in mind, me sketching lines to see what would happen... huh, this is starting to sound like an apology. It's not.

Simply, I thought it would be a cool action pose. Then I thought it was overtly sexual. Then I thought that was okay too.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Out in the Sticks - Day Six

Village Manor

If there's ever a TV show or movie about the countryside, this is where the bad guy/girl usually lives.

Concluding on a biggie! Upped the challenge on this one, picked a house with a lot of 'layers'.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Out in the Sticks - Day 5

Village Shop
Village shop. 1 hour 45 minutes.

Thus far I've been adoring of the country lifestyle, but now we get to the hard side. I used to visit a mate that lived in the country, and one day I fancied chocolate. In the town I live in, a shop is rarely more than 10 minutes away, thus a choclate is rarely more than 10 minutes away. But in the country, where he lived? 30 minute walk. Perhaps even 40. I remember that being a really difficult time.

Went with a sketchier style. I do that sometimes. Originally I wasn't gonna bother with the wall crawler because it was small, complex and just draped over everything. That's the benefit of sketchy style though. Instead of fretting over perfect lines (as I am prone to do), you just go for it.

I added reflections to the windows, which are working a pretty cool effect for just thin lines thrown down in a few seconds.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Out in the Sticks - Day 4

Village Café
Village Cafés are cleaner than Town Cafés, and usually furnished like grandma's house. Actually, with the places usually having tea, sandwiches and cakes being served there by old ladies, you basically are just paying to be at grandma's house. Does that make grandma a whore? Yes, kids. Your grandma is a whore. And where's grandpa? Pretty much any man sitting apart from everyone else and tutting at his newspaper is grandpa. He won't say hello to you, but he angrily read at you sometimes.

Originally this took 1 hour and 40 minutes, but add on 30 minutes of going back to fix things. It was time well invested, because originally this was another building that looked like it was gonna fall over. You might be able to see the original shape in the blue sketch lines, where it's leaning too far back. But yeah, I sorted it. Because even though these are practice drawings and I'm not afraid to make mistakes, you gotta practice fixing them too.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Out in the Sticks - Day 3

Village Pub

Village pubs are wonderful. They're such quaint buildings, but inside you can get smashed off your noggin'. That's a good combination of things. Better than getting smashed in a smashed place, or doing quaint things in a quaint place. Smashed you + quaint place is what you want. Provided you don't smash it after.

Incidentally, I don't think I've ever used the word  'noggin'' before. It feels like a quaint word. Maybe the village theme is having an effect on me.

I drew this building to test myself on a slightly more complex structure than the others. Think I did alright.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Out in the Sticks - Day 2

Village Church

Every country village has one, and they're usually crumblier than biscuits. But providing less comfort than biscuits.

I like how the lower buildings came out but the tower on the left is quite misshapen. Sure, I want my buildings to have more interesting shapes than reality's straight lines, but there's interesting and then there's imminent danger of collapse. People in there have basically forgotten all about God and are just praying to architects.

Still, I'm pleased with it overall.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Out in the Sticks - Day 1

Village House

Updates every day this week! Including the weekend? Maybe, baby.

I've been posting completed artwork of varied themes but what I haven't shared yet are my studies, or anything involving scenery, so here are my studies, on scenery. Let's go with a country theme because, uh, that's what I've been doing.

Side note; I use the word 'scenery' because there's something about the word 'background' that sounds like a chore. "Bah, I have to draw a background." becomes "Yeah, time for some scenery!"

Monday, 27 August 2012

DJ Lipring

DJ Lipring

Because I like music.

This is a DJ. Not an MC. I had to read the difference. Apparently, an MC talks to the crowd more whilst a DJ doesn't. That's what I like from people who play music in clubs. To shut the fuck up, and play music in clubs.

The DJ at a club I used to frequent would keep scrap paper and a pen near his set for you to write requests. Now, whilst I consider myself to have a pretty decent taste in music, there were times when the songs I wanted played would be signed with an apology.

Drunk, out with friends, big dance floor... you know how it is. Sometimes Sk8er Boi is appropriate.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Freeze, hoodlum!


Following the previous posts of whimsy fantasy and cartoon fun, we're suddenly onto action-thriller stuff. I hope your taste in art is as eclectic as mine.

Amidst the real horror of crime and war, it's easy for us to forget that guns are cool. Only in films and games though. In real life they can be owned by complete dicks. I'd like to own a gun.

I worked in a game shop for a while and this mother put a violent game (Battlefield, I think) on the counter to buy for her son. As she rifled through her purse she gestured grumpily to the soldier on the cover and said "If I was going to do this, I'd do it for real." "And kill real people?" I joked. She looked up at me with a facial expression that suggested she didn't know what a joke was. "Well the people who play this are just kidding themselves, aren't they?" She snapped. The lady was kidding herself that her words made sense.

I must admit, my desire to draw guys with guns did occur after playing GTA 4. Is this proof of games inspiring violence? Not really. Mostly what it did was inspire me to buy GTA 5. I like how sometimes you hear people blaming games for gun violence and then calling for the banning of games rather than, say, the banning of guns.

Anyway, out of fear that this will turn into some massive moral debate I'll get back to the art. When I originally drew these two pieces I had no plans to have them relate to each other. But they look good side by side, so I've decided to display them side by side. Even their individual titles work well together.

I still wanted them to both have their own personality though, hence the different backgrounds.

Monday, 13 August 2012

London 2012

With the Olympics now over, I got a little nostalgic and decided to share with you my favourite moment from the opening ceremony. You don't remember this bit? Just after the Queen parachuted from the helicopter? It definitely happened.

Monday, 6 August 2012

My Dæmon

I read His Dark Materials earlier this year. Now I want a Dæmon.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Fantasy Week, Part 3

Different species - intelligent species - are what makes Fantasy fun for me too. Elves, Dwarves, Orcs... although Orc intelligence is debatable. The point is; here's a Mermaid. Or as I call her, Merdanser.

Originally I wasn't going to bother with a unique name and just say 'my version of a mermaid'. Further motivation for this developed when all I could come up with for a while was 'merlegs'. No Gnarlee, no. But merdanser is good. Hmm, perhaps I'll draw male versions in the future and call them Mermarchers. That sounds pretty good too.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Monday, 30 July 2012

Fantasy Week, Part 1

Here's a story.

‘twas the 3rd night of the summering drink-times that I sat upon the Tree of Revelation, turned to my elven friend Fairskin Pointyears and said "You know, I think Fantasy may be one of my favourite genres."

Most of what I just said isn’t true of course, (it was actually the winter drink-times and my Dwarven friend Beardy Stumpfoot) but fantasy IS one of my favourite genres. I've been trying to figure out why. Is it dragons? Magic? I wanted to pinpoint a specific reason so I couldn’t just say ‘everything’ because they don't make pins that big.

Then it occurred to me that it is everything, but only because it creates one thing; adventure. That's what I love. And with fantasy, it feels like that adventure is just outside the door for anyone. You don't specifically need to be a wizard, or a knight, or anything like that. Those can just be things you meet along the way.

I’m gonna call this fantasy week. A trilogy of updates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Accept quest?

We’ll start with this; a group, a fellowship, or just those you meet along the way.

Monday, 23 July 2012


So let's start with a good one:

Graffiti Dude. Drawn 7 years ago when all I wanted was the ability to draw well. Coloured this year when all I want is the ability to do everything well. Ink, colour, shade... One thing that hasn't changed, aside from still wanting to draw, is wanting a goatee like his but being incapable of growing a decent amount of facial hair.

If you enjoyed this, stick around. We're just getting started. Like my beard.