Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Gnarlee of the Galaxy

When I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last week, I knew I'd enjoy it. It has all my favourite things. Adventure, fantasy, an epic scope and a fun dynamic of characters... Still, it was dangerous to make the assumption I'd have a good time. That's a good to set yourself up disappointment. But I wasn't disappointed. I really did enjoy it! Now the danger is that I'm setting everyone else up for disappointment. Sorry.

Still, for all the praise I'm giving it I'm not above a little nit-picking. Spoilers ahead.

For a movie that billed itself as being so oddball, it had a standard plot. Stop evil, retrieve the macguffin. But it's easy to forgive simple plots when the reason you're in the cinema is for the adventure and characters. Speaking of, Gamora wasn't quite the lethal, savage warrior I was hoping for. She gave a sly, knowing smile in the trailer and I thought "Oh, you gotta be careful around her." NOPE. She had to be saved, twice. Counter to that, Drax was more entertaining than I thought he would be for a 'token strong guy'. Peter Quill, the main protagonist, was just as much the smart-mouthed, rough and tumble, goofy anti-hero as promised. There's nothing I can say that Marvel haven't already 170 million dollars to tell you. That said, for anti-heroes, the team were putting in a lot of effort to do something they wouldn't be rewarded for. I suppose that gets answered though when Rocket asks why Quill why he would want to save the Galaxy and he responds "'cos I'm one of the idiots that lives in it!"

Surprisingly, I didn't find the talking raccoon the most enjoyable character. It was Groot, the talking tree. "Talking" might be a generous way to describe him actually, considering he's only capable of 3 words. And yet, he got the biggest laughs and gave the most emotional performance. Sorry Quill, your dead mother ain't quite cutting it.

I found myself quoting Groot the most, so here's a pic of me, being Groot but not really, with Rocket Raccoon hitching a ride.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Wolverine Slices Up a Tin Can

I really liked the new X-Men movie, Days of Future Past. So much so that Wolverine was the next thing I drew. I didn't mean for it to become a fully coloured thing, yet here we are.

Days of Future Past is what the movies should've been this whole time: big. I really liked the first films but I felt like they had a small scope, feeling much more like TV episodes than movies. Although, they had to be like that in the beginning.

When the first X-Men movie came out in 2000, superhero movies weren't the cinematic trend that they are now. There'd been superhero movies before of course, everyone knew who Superman and Batman was. They'd happily buy a ticket for them. But only comic fans knew who the X-Men were, or kids like me who got most of their knowledge of X-Men from the 90s cartoon. Let's take a moment to listen to that perfect intro.

The filmmakers couldn't rush into this high concept and assume the broader public would want to see it. They had to introduce this very carefully. I was 15 in the year the first movie came out. I was at an age where I still valued the fun of superheroes and all the visuals, but I wanted them presented more maturely. So this approach by Bryan Singer to turn the X-Men intro something a larger audience would enjoy suited me just fine.

This wasn't men and women in bright costumes trying to save the world from a cackling villain. This was a smarter, cooler look at people with powers. This was real people, with real dialogue and real conflicts; and yet all the fun and visuals were still there. I loved it. I expected as time went on the franchise would become braver and do bigger things. But they never did. They explored other areas of the X-Men world and I enjoyed the sequels, but I still felt they weren't doing as much as they could.

Finally, with Days of Future Past, it feels like they're letting loose. Maybe it was The Avengers that helped them do that. Joss Whedon created a massive, unapologetic superhero film. Bright costumes saving the world from a cackling villain. It certainly made me realise you don't need to be so real all the time. Maybe it taught Fox too. So on top of the X-Men's character focused, thoughtful atmosphere, we got the high concepts of giant robots and time travel. It was everything I wanted.

Minor spoiler ahead.

I am slightly disappointed that the next film, X-Men: Apocalypse, is going to be another prequel. I feel the original X-Men cast was perfect. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are great as young Xavier and Magneto. But I want to see more Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen playing those roles. I definitely want more Kelsey Grammer as Beast. You know that final scene at the end of Future Past, where Wolverine was walking through the school and saw Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and the rest of the X-Men? I want to watch a film about that school, those characters, on the same scale as what Future Past was. Especially if the next film is about their greatest villain.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

COLOURED! The Royal Statue

It's finished! Every illustration from last year's Fantasy Week has been coloured and I'm ending it the same way I did back then: with this scene of a traveler standing before a statue of a kneeling king.

I was going to end with a short story about the traveler finding the statue and describing what he thought about it. But when I posted this in May 2013, I said the point was to arouse questions in the viewer's mind, not give them answers. So I'll stick with that. Still, maybe I shouldn't assume people have the same interest in my scribbles that I do.

I do want to say that the reason I decided to have the statue bowing is because that's not something statues do. They're usually standing tall and firm, for worship. I wanted something different, a King who remembers that worship should only come if you serve the people well.

There's other possibilities for why he's in that position though. Maybe he's bowing because the traveler is the next King. Or maybe he's bowing because he died of stomach cramps. Either way, it's probably written on that gold plaque, in that language I enjoyed making up.

I may do a new Fantasy Week before this year is out, with new illustrations!

Friday, 23 May 2014


As I said when I first drew this, I didn't mean to give him an assault rifle. I imagined a charming, traditional weapon. Something colonial. Either way, this character is still shooting animals and cutting off their feet for trophies so maybe 'charming' was a futile word. You may ask 'why didn't you just do an internet search for colonial weapons?' Because it's only now, as I'm writing this blog post, that I realise 'colonial' is the description I meant.

It's strange seeing a modern element in a fantasy setting. Fantasy and sci-fi works, sure. That's epic. That's magic and robots. That's Star Wars! But fantasy and modern day? That's Gandalf listening to an ipod. Ruins the mood. Although I suppose Harry Potter's tale of fantasy and modern day had a bit of success.

Regardless, I like how this came out. It's easy to imagine he's using an assault rifle for a creature that needs to take heavy damage, like a Rhinoceratops or Justin Bieber's face.

And I like to imagine the four creatures those feet belonged to. From left to right, they could be a giant bird, a sea monster, a bear and a red dragon. Or, I suppose, it could be one weird creature with four different feet.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


5th colouring from last year's Fantasy Week! Red seemed like the obvious choice for a demon, and sometimes it's okay to be obvious. I wasn't going to make him pink for the sake of being clever and unexpected. After all, London wasn't expecting a fire in 1666 and no one thought that was clever.

Demons are generally depicted in two ways: a humanoid trying to convince innocent people to do bad things, or a monstrous beast. If this beast wanted the humanoid's job, he'd need to wear a very convincing tie.

I don't believe in the afterlife but I like the concept. I like the idea of two metaphysical realms, one of pure goodness and one of pure evil, trying to influence what happens in reality. Although I do wonder, what do demons do all day? Torture humans? Even if you really like doing it, surely it'll get dull after an eternity or two. I mean, I really like chocolate but even I get bored after the 17th bar. Angels must get bored too, all the fun stuff is a sin. Except chocolate, hence why the Pearly Gates are so wide.

An infinity of fluffy clouds or an infinity of fire pits... no wonder Heaven and Hell spend so much time with us.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

COLOURED! Air Beast Rider

I actually tried to colour this last year but gave up when I couldn't figure out what colour the rider's bits of clothing should be. He was simultaneously shirtless whilst wearing bits of pads, metal and feathers. What the hell is the theme?! I couldn't run this time, so I just blew through my worries. Now it's hard to imagine what I was worried about. I should do that more often.

When I first drew that mask, I imagined it was to help the rider breath at high altitude. But that'd be cold, so why go shirtless? So now I imagine he operates in the desert, low altitude, and the mask filters any sand in the air. Can probably make some bird screeches through it too.

I haven't come up with anything for the beast, I'm not a nerd.

I'm now over half-way through colouring the illustrations from Fantasy Week, so it may be time for me to admit that I'm colouring all the illustrations from Fantasy Week. I can't pretend this is a whim anymore, this is an actual task I'm doing. I hate telling people that I'm going to do something, they always get this weird expectation that I'll do it.

Three to go.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

COLOURED! Monkey Magic

What started out as one spontaneous colouring of an old drawing has now turned to three. Were I a more organised man, I could have turned the previous three days into an event. "On the first anniversary of my hugely succesful Fantasy Week," I'd have began, lying "I breath fresh life into my hugely popular characters by imbuing them with the brightest colours picked from the strongest rainbows." I've have ended, transforming my lie intro quite the most poetic bullshit.

The third piece is this magic monkey which I insist on titling Monkey Magic:

This could be a monkey that knows magic or a monkey that knows how to steal from a wizard's cupboard, either way you gotta admit it's a cool trick to simultaneously have grey hair and brown fur.

Maybe I'll go on to colour the rest of the drawings from Fantasy Week. Or maybe I'll do something else, I don't know. I've really got to start organising my spontaneity.

Monday, 5 May 2014

COLOURED! Plant Being

As you're avid readers of my blog, you'll know all about the old illustration that I posted yesterday with new colours. Well it was so satisfying that I decided to do another, this one also from last year's Fantasy Week:

As I said the first time I drew it, I wish these were the kind of creatures I came across when walking through the park. They could help if you're lost, give you food, heal wounds... Perhaps I was supposed to grow out of such whimsy, but it's either think about adventure or think about the massive student loan I took out so that I could be told by university art teachers I wasn't very good.

Suddenly that 'healing wounds' bit sounds a lot more psychological.

One of the joys of digital colour is that I can play around with the image after it's finished. Here's a couple of seasonal alternatives.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

COLOURED! Surfing Turtle

I decided to colour the Surfing Turtle I drew last year and after checking the date discovered it was almost a year ago exactly. Time sure flies when you're having fun! / Days sure blur together when you don't know what you're doing with life!

I'm really pleased with how it came out and might put it on the back of my own business cards. Though I am worried clients might think the turtle is a metaphor for how quick I work. Still, at least the surfing part shows that if I do take my time, I take my time in style.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

I Drew Some Friends Because I Love Them Also I Wanted Their Money

I drew some friends. Now I'm going to show them to you, because you and I are also friends. Actually you're just a faceless section of the internet and I'm nothing to you, but we're both human so let's try to make a connection.

This is Johnny Chiodini. He's the cantankerous bearded wanker (his words) that used to present various shows for Gamespot, but he left to pursue a career in not-being-sworn-at-by-angry-gamers. Which is a shame because it would've provided me with a good name-drop. "I know someone on the internet." How many people can say that? Still, his name is so hard to pronounce I kind of drop it anyway. Apparently it helps if you do it phonetically: jon-ee. That's not so hard I suppose.

This is Wiggy. She's an artist too, so I can link you to her own art page like so. Please don't go anywhere just yet though, I've got lots of good stuff to say about MY drawing first. It's, uh, well as you can see there's, uh... hair. Red hair. Hand. Posing all like. Face? Eyes... Next.

Now when my third friend asked me to draw him, he wanted specific focus on his tattoo. But the problem is, the tattoo already exists as a drawing. I didn't think I could do any better than the thing that was already on his arm. So I decided to do something tattoos can't do, and make it 'come to life'.

Okay, now you can go.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Hugging Dudes

I drew this years ago. I coloured it last year. I wanted to share it but wanted to do it at a good time. This month, my country legalised same-sex marriage. So now seems like a good time.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Zelda Collab: Water Tektite

This is a Water Tektite! My second entry to Dan Jones' Zelda collaboration, multiple artists drawing every monster in the Zleda games. I wasn't planning on doing two, but there are 270 monsters on his list so he had some spare. "No one wants this little guy..." he tweeted, so I nobly stepped in. I nobly stepped in to draw something I knew he would retweet to his 1000+ followers, getting me some free publicity. 'cos I'm noble.

There really wasn't much to draw. I Googled 'water Tektite' and all the pictures were of of vicious looking one-eyed bug monsters. They all looked cool, but which one was the one I was meant to draw? 'cos apparently these were just normal Tektites, someone else was drawing that. Mine was specifically water.

Eventually, on a Zelda website, I found some images. Tiny, pixelated images. I couldn't figure them out, so I was starting to worry. I was collaborating with hundreds of other artists here, so I wanted to do a good job. Thankfully, the internet is full of nerds. So I was able to find a video on YouTube of someone playing the newer Zelda game 'Link Between Worlds' where the website said some water Tektites show up, and there they were. Cute, colourful little bugs! Not quite the bug monsters I found earlier. These ones didn't even have ONE eye.

Seeing as there weren't much to the design I decided to give the critter as much energy as I could, have him really lean in to his attack and throwing up water. Then I made the colours as bright as I could without burning my eyes. Maybe that's what happened to theirs.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Zelda Collab: Desbreko

This is Desbreko! My entry for the Zelda collab! Which is a collaboration put together by Dan Jones, to have every single enemy from The Legend of Zelda drawn by a different artist. I looked at the list of enemies that hadn't been drawn yet, Googled their names, and picked the coolest one. It was either this toothy skeleton fish or 'Dexivine', which is basically just a vine...

Pencil Drawing

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

To Russia With Love

I was originally going to draw Vladimir Putin getting bummed.

With the Russian president creating laws against homosexuals, the first temptation is obviously to draw sodomy with his face on it. But I hate his face. And sodomy is great. The other thing is, it felt provocative. You see, in my country same-sex marriage has been legalised. In Russia, homosexuals are beaten on the street. I'm safe from that violence in my country, so provoking facists with an illustrative 'fuck you', quite literally, seemed... well I thought I could do better.

So instead I decide to draw something patriotic. Something loving. 'cos that's really the point.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Infamous Comic #39

Here's the latest installment of my webcomic The Infamous Five! The group finally find out why Ant is so insistent on them having a gang name, and what it means for them. Click here to read!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mario Bothers 6

I thought I had drawn all the bad guys from the first Mario game. I relaxed, felt safe in victory, I grew plump and complacent. But I had missed one. The realisation struck  me like a hammer. I mean, it didn't really. I just needed a verbal link to the image.

I can't decide which of the bad guys in Mario made me more fearful as kid. Lakitu or the Hammer Bros. Lakitu rained enemies on the player but you could at least flee through the level. Hammer Bros would block your path. You had to wait for an opening in their attack or defeat them, which wasn't easy as their movements didn't seem to have a pattern. There were usually two of them, jumping between a pair of platforms, whilst throwing an erratic barrage of hammers, waiting for you to come forward.

And there was one moment I had forgotten. Or perhaps blocked from memory. If you hung around too long, waiting for the right moment to avoid or kill... they'd start moving towards you. I can't remember who was playing at the time when this first happened to me. A friend, a family member or myself. I just remember the screaming.