Monday, 31 October 2016

Inktober 2016 and FIRST Videos!

I decided it was time to finally get involved with Inktober. Unfortunately, I also started a new job this month. Well, not that unfortunate. Now I can afford food and rent. The point is, I squeezed in as much drawing as I can. After rewatching the Game Grumps play Mario Maker and Mario Galaxy, I was inspired to draw the red plumber's enemies in new combinations.

Rocky Wrench and Mini-Airship

Bullet Bill and Lakitu
Hammer Bro and Reznor

I got really into this. I mean, designers working on endless sequels strive for new ideas all the time. But you can also develop old ideas, combine them. 20 years after these enemies first showed up and they're still capable of challenging the player in fun new ways!

I wanted to draw some real stuff too, so I found a few reference poses on deviantart and quickly sketched 'em:

This is a sketchbook I bought to keep me company while I'm working at this new place. Last time I got a job I disappeared for a few months and I don't want that to happen again. In fact, I'm so determined to stay in contact with the world I've dared to start video blog posts.

Do YOU dare to look at my face?

Friday, 30 September 2016

Super 13

I've been filling up a little sketchbook with superheroes and villains, though I haven't quite decided who is who yet. Regardless, I'm now going to share them with you. Why now? Just 'cos I needed to update this month, nothing special. No wait, I mean, uh, because YOU'RE special. Yes.

These characters share the same story as the ones I shared previously, here and here to be exact, though I'm not ready to share the story yet. Hopefully you'll find these guys and girls intriguing enough to eventually want to read it though.

The story isn't called 'Super 13', that's just how many characters I have in my current sketchbook. Coupled with previous updates, the cast currently looks like this:

I like a big cast.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pub Hack 1

Are 'life hacks' still a thing? They were at least more frequent a couple of years ago, telling us how we could use old water bottles to store our grandparents or something.

I had the idea back then for a series of posters called 'pub hacks'. Each character from The Infamous Five would share a helpful suggestion about getting through a night at the pub. More than one of those characters would use their own arse as a phone screen saver, so I really had to delve deep into their motivations to decide which one wanted it more. It's important to take your characters seriously like that.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

She Approaches COLOURED!

As the title says, I COLOURED! the drawing I posted here 5 days ago - 'She Approaches'.

And as I said back then, this was an idea I had to tell a mini story and I'm proud of myself for getting it down on paper - and pixels - soon after having the idea, instead of keeping it in my head forever. That's a habit I should get into more.

I quite like the guy I made up for this, maybe I'll use him again in something.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

She Approaches

I had to tell myself I was going to have fun and draw today. I had to tell myself this, because it's been a week since Britain - my country - held a vote on whether we should stay part of the EU or whether we should punch ourselves repeatedly in the face until we fall down a cliff onto used hospital needles. We chose the needles.

I'm mentally and physically exhausted from the fallout, the world is laughing at us, so today I had fun. I drew something completely unrelated.

I had the idea for this image a few days ago. It's unusual for me to have an idea then draw it so soon. There's usually a mandatory procrastination period of two hundred thousand years, but here it is.

A medieval-esque traveller is resting by a rock when he hears footsteps, so he silently grabs the hilt of his sword. The audience sees the one approaching is a beautiful woman, a mysterious ethereal figure, and that the sword's hilt is placed rather suggestively. I don't often draw scenes, but this is a scene. And an attempt to tell a story, to ask questions. Are these characters gonna rumble, or romance? I was gonna say 'fight or fuck' but thought that was too crude. I mean obviously I've said it now, but only to tell you I won't.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016


I decided to have a crack at animating!

I chose the word 'crack' because it deliberately downplays how hard I'm trying. Because if this doesn't work out, then it was just a crack! It wasn't a huge investment of my time, energy and emotions. Like the crack of an egg, or crusty bread, or biscuit, or - I think about food when I'm emotional.

It was a huge investment though. Ironically, it's been quiet around this art blog because I've been busy doing art. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see I occasionally gathered up enough energy to blurt out some pixels about what I'm doing. But it's time I spoke about it properly.

I'm working on a 3 minute short film, about a wizard gathering ingredients for a spell. It's a comedy, and the story will be presented entirely visually - no dialogue! I don't want to go into any more detail than that because... well, like I said, there's no dialogue. If my story-telling skills are any good you should be able to see what's going on when you watch it, right?

I'm proud to present moving image on this website for the first time, a sneaky peak at the animation!

I was able to present the work-in-progress film at an exhibit at UEL Docklands, along with my comic The Infamous Five! I was promised a bigger screen at the time, but that little thing is what I ended up with. If you've ever used a dating app, you'll understand my disappointed there.

And finally, I got some business cards made! I asked my Twitter followers - as a joke - if I should include 'love machine' on there. I should've known they'd say yes. By that time I felt not doing it would have been an insult to the handful of people who pay attention to me. Also, to be honest, it's true. I am a love machine.

Unfortunately, I got these made after the exhibition, when people interested in my could have taken them. Hey, I said I'd gotten busier. I never said I'd gotten smartier.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Doctor Strange


Today started wonderfully because my long lost brother called Edit: Marvel released the first trailer for Doctor Strange!

And with that one sentence, I've already dated this blog. Tomorrow, that sentence doesn't work. Next year the whole thrill of a Doctor Strange movie will be over, even if we liked it. In 10 years time, after sequels and crossovers, the entire superhero franchise may have been supplanted by a new genre of movies. Vegetables, maybe. "There are too many films about vegetables." We'll be saying. "Captain Asparagas, Iron Mango, The Mighty Thaw." That last one is about vegetables defrosting, obviously. D'you like the way I led into that whole vegetable thing with 'supplanted'?

But for now, it's exciting. Hell, I've been anticipating this since before the news was announced, re-designing a Doctor Strange for my own amusement. I ditched his costume as I imagined him less exuberant than superheroes. Instead of robes, he'd be dressed like a detective or gangster, quietly coming and going within the hidden areas of the Marvel universe's magical community. Admittedly, what I actually came out with looks more like a pimp... But his entire motivation will be about learning and keeping peace, discovering long lost arcane secrets and having battles that S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers never find out about. Of course, part of Marvel's success is their willingess to depict their characters in their full, brightly coloured original costumes, something early superhero films like X-Men were wary about doing. Hidden worlds is still depicted in this movie though, and people seem really excited that Doctor Strange will offer them something different.

As a kid, I thought his origin was the most intriguing. An arrogant surgeon, who lost the ability of his hands in a car accident, finds a new sense of purpose through personal growth and study in the mystic arts. I found it a fascinating blend of real life and fantasy. He wasn't born with powers, he didn't gain them accidentally. He worked for them. And it wasn't about being powerful or destroying evil or being a 'chosen one', it was about him filling a void in his life.

Benedict Cumberbatch in the Marvel universe. We really are spoiled, y'know.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 5

Wanted to end this fantasy week with something different, so here's some really weird creatures: humans.

There are many different types of magic, and many different levels. These people are considered the lowest level of the most basic type. Once mockingly referred to as 'Flakes', these people have since proudly adopted the term as their own.

Whereas magic is used by most serious people as way to understand the world, explore the world, save it or conquer it, these people employ their magic as a way to avoid work. They know basic spells but to truly survive they substitute their lack of power with tricks, fast talk or running away. Wizards and dark lords, despite being locked in an eternal battle of good vs evil, generally find each other less annoying than a Flake. We shall discuss 3 of them.

Gallius Freeborne is a slut. He has some skill with light and levitation, enough to impress certain ladies out of their pants. If he's really desperate, it can impress a few men too. He moves quickly on from each person he takes advantage of, learning early on in his "career" that his deficiences as a person become obvious after a couple of weeks. There are rumours that he's seduced royalty a few times, and that the man may be privately frustrated at his ability to consistantly rise so high only to fall again so quickly.

Shereni's magic forces her to move on quickly from one band of treasure hunters to the other. She provides protection to the band from wild threats: floating up with her red hair brimming like fire, she is able to scare off animals and thieves alike - but that's all she does. There is no destructive magic that follows this powerful display. Over time, she developed a second trick. If another magic person threatens her or her band, she is able to make that person believe they are even more powerful than they are. So powerful in fact, that Shernei and her band suddenly seem irrelevant. This allows them to sneak away whilst their attacker is distracted by the power to remake the universe in their image. By the time that person realises they've been fooled and they are actually just playing in mud, Shereni and her band are long gone. Those who have worked with Shereni claim her ability to appear as both powerful and irrelevant make it difficult for the girl to judge her own worth.

Brunfor just wants to be left alone, until he runs out of food of course, at which point he'll turn up at your house or business havening performed a chore in an unhelpful manner. "I killed all the rats in your basement" he once told a barman in front of all his customers, who had been hoping to keep the rats a secret. "I washed your guard dogs." he told the governor, having somehow used so much soap and water the dogs shrunk to half their size. "I cleaned your garden." He told an old lady, who found all the flowers picked out and her bird house in the bin. Brunfor is rewarded with food and lots of it, to delay his return for as long as possible. It's easier than trying to fight him. Spaces are always set for him at large birthdays or weddings, not because he's invited, but because he'll show up anyway. To his credit he tries to bring gifts, such as two snakes tied together to make a heart. Or he'll just bring a really, really big rock. Brunfor himself believes in minimalism. The only things he owns are his magic wand and a pair of tough boots. After some persuasion, he eventually wore pants.

This was fun, haven't written creatively in a while. Maybe I'll get more into it. Thanks for looking and if you read anything, thanks for that too. See you again soon!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 4

  • The Mallex Tribe tribe have survived so many attacks that modern civilisation no longer tries. Over the centuries people have tried shooting them, only for the bullets to embed themselves harmlessly in Mallex skin. Tribe members would show off bullets to each other like jewellery. Then people tried poisoning their food, only for the tribe to eat more of it. Finally they tried bribing them shiney gems, which the tribe crushed in their hands. Since then, civilisation has kept its distance.
  • A resident of the jungle, Mistacube isn't known to many people. Those that do know him suspect he's an alien probe, as he spends most of his time cataloguing information about the planet. They also believe he crashed here rather than landed, as most of the information is wrong. For example, he believes apes evolved from humans rather than the other way around and keeps offering people bananas in order to speed the process along. Whilst Mistacube is friendly and always willing to help, he is a burden to others lost in the jungle. One such person built shelter to keep warm at night, to which Mistacube reasoned he would be more warm if he lit the shelter on fire. The light did attract a search party at least, who were able to take the man's smokey corpse home.
  • A Spinner feeds on whatever happens to be above it. A blast of fire shoots out of the hole on its head, into birds, hanging fruit, bee hives... and then the cooked food drops into it. Spinners digest the food by spinning wildly through the jungle, the spikes on its side cutting through whatever is in its way. Sometimes Spinners crash into each other, which is a wonderful sight - if you're standing somewhere safe.
  • Moss Heads are a popular 'living stone' creature due to the many styles of moss that grow on their heads, from mohicans to mutton chops. The hole in their chest appears to be a sign of maturity, whilst their wooden legs make a musical clip clop sound as they walk.
  • Hexflame Scamps are, like most Scamps, a nuiscance. They twirl into existence and run around your house giggling, leaving scorching footprints everywhere. They like to ruin books and documents too, picking them up and pretending to read them by speaking out loud in their nonsense high-pitched language as the paper turns to cinders in their hands. They can be calmed if you read to them however.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 3

  • The pleasing smell of a Sad Face is always ruined by its sad face. Some botanists say we shouldn't assume plants have human charateristics, a mistake made before with the aggressivley poisonous 'Happy Face', whilst others say it's sad because it's a fragrant plant with no nose. One botanist succesfuly grew a Sad Face that had a nose, but it was allergic to itself, earning itself the name 'Sadder Face'.
  • The Venus Fly Track was a popular house pet for a brief period due to its enthusiasm for chasing down and eating flies or spiders, until people soon realised it caused far more damage than the bugs did. Venus Fly Tracks will try to attract a mate by picking their own petals and making beds out of them.
  • Dragon Flowers are a rare sighting. Usually a botanist would follow the fragrance of a Dragon Flower to find one, though the Dragon Flower may have become aware of this tactic as most fragrance trails now lead over cliffs.
  • Face Plants are incredibly friendly, but incredibly stupid creatures that continuously collide into things with their heads. Their fierce loyalty is met with apathy amongst the rest of the plant kingdom. Whilst such behaviour may be reminiscent of dogs, you must never forget that they're plants. If you throw a stick, it will attack you for desecration of trees.
  • Rustle, which may be one of a kind, has adapted to camouflage far better than other big cats by becoming foliage rather than resembling it. Rangers suggest being wary of any bush with a nose.
  • This final creature has come to be known as Soulbark. Made of unidentified wood and leaves, it drifts through the forest with small glowing lights orbiting the empty space where a head would be. Facial expressions have been seen within the lights, some smiling, some crying, all talking to themselves in a gentle chime of unquiet that is sometimes heard long before the Soulbark is seen. Most believe it captures the souls of those that died in the forest, which is why travellers consider the sight of it an omen and immediately return home. Although in that sense it may be trying to help people, sending them home before they get hurt, acting as caretaker for those that didn't heed its warning.
More tomorrow, see you then!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 2

The theme for this one was 'triangles', 'cos I wanted to challange myself by drawing a shape unnatural to nature - so long as you don't consider mountains, certain plants, fins, the human torso and really a whole bunch of other things I'd forgetten. Never listen to me about shapes.

  • The Triangel is a ghastly spirit, revered by the Cult of Pythans. There's dispute over whether there are three of them, or if it's one creature that consumed another two. It's attack does something to the mind that incapacitates people for hours, which survivors describe as ‘a sudden lack of understanding about everything'.
  • Drill-Bots are a defunct tool of the company Datt's Mine Unlimited. Drill-Bots would mine for materials and then, rather than deliver it to the company, use the material to build more Drill-Bots. The machines have since gone AWOL, promoting the company to offers rewards to each one destroyed. The best way to do this, they advise, is to drop an explosive down a hole the bot is digging. As few are willing to climb down the narrow burning hole afterward, the company has yet to pay out a single coin.
  • This hefty feline is given the affectionate name of Red Tabby Tubbs and is a popular figure in the various ale houses he frequents. He often finds work as ‘hired muscle’ for wandering adventurers, though his trusting nature can sometimes land him in with a bad crowd. The locals have a song about him that goes:
Red Tabby Tubbs,
Can be found round the pubs,
he’s tough with a heart of silk,
when you need someone tough,
one drink gets him up,
but he’ll want something stronger than milk.
  • Little Pricks get their name from the fact they don’t show their spikes until someone attempts to flick/kick/tread on them. Warrior tribes test their recruits by making them capture one of these bugs to remove all its spikes. Many are against this practice, though it’s never been made clear whether they think it’s cruel to the bug or the recruits.
  • Pyramites rise out of the sand and attack anyone nearby. It was believed they were guarding ancient tombs until someone cracked open a Pyramite and found a piece of treasure inside, suggesting Pyramites are ‘mini tombs’, each storing an item of the deceased’s wealth and protecting it as necessary. When this story first broke, many traveled to the desert ready to crack open some Pyramites themselves, mocking the ancient civilisation for storing their treasure in a breakable floating object instead of burying it out of sight. When heads, hands and other mummified corpse parts dropped out of defeated Pyramites to attack treasure hunters, the laughter soon stopped.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Fantasy Week, Part 1

When this blog began in 2012 I decided to share several fantasy drawings I had lying around in one week, creatively referring to this as 'Fantasy Week'. I did this at least once a year since then, and only just noticed. I've invented a tradition, like Jesus Christ or some other mighty holy figure it is perfectly reasonable to compare myself to.

Each time, the style of the theme changes slightly. First it was fully realised illustrations, then improvised illustrations (later coloured), and most recently: pages upon pages of random creatures. Descriptions of those creatures were vague, such as 'I drew this bat because I had space on the page' and 'angry cyclops guy'. In my defence I'm pretty sure only 3 people read the stuff I write, two of those being government agents looking for secret terrorist messages and the other just me doing a spell check (down with teh west).

This year will feature more random creatures as it's one of my favourite things to draw. There'll be one page a week which will give me time to do my other favourite thing: writing. So here we go! This is Fantasy Week, 2016!

  • A Nutskull is a vicious little mammal that will throw the nuts it's collected at any animal or human it sees. They will keep going until the entire collection is gone, and then hiss at you as if it was your fault. The acorn shell Nutskulls wear on their head protect it from nuts thrown back in revenge, an act which the Nutskull thinks its terribly unfair. Some people deliberately search for Nutskull trees, wearing padded clothes and a basket, in order to collect the nuts thrown. It's enjoyable taste comes from spiteing the mammal rather than the nut itself.

  • The Copy Cap is a mushroom that hasn’t had an original idea in its entire existence. Admittedly, most mushrooms don’t have ideas at all. But this particular mushroom’s tendency to copy the attributes of plant life around it makes its lack of original thinking more appalling.

  • Fox Bears are cunningly lazy. Varies incidents have been recorded, such as a Fox Bear that won a cave from a rival predator by blocking the entrance with a large boulder. After 2 days the predator escaped and fled, too weak and hungry to fight. Other incidents include a Fox Bear waiting by a hunter's rabbit trap so that it could eat the rabbit before the hunter arrived. One Fox Bear purposefully got caught itself, intending to eat the hunter.

  • Categorists argue that Laughing Spiders should be renamed 'Squeak Bugs', as its four legs disqualify it as an arachnid and its high pitched, recurring cry cannot be determined to be laughter. Others counter this with the fact that you can remove a Laughing Spider from your house by telling it a bad joke.

  • Marlon Winguard patrols a valley that is popular among hikers, lending aid to those that run low on supplies or get lost. He expects no reward for his efforts but always greatful to those who give it. Those who try to take advantage of his hospitality, to disover what he knows of its secrets or treasures, may find themselves abandoned without mercy.

  • Many say Crystal Slugs are beautiful. You must always remind them that it's the crystals that are beautiful. The crystals imbedded in its back are accompanied by levitating crystals just above it, both seemingly impossible to remove. Killing the slug only disintegrates the crystals. Many have attempted to follow this creature to find the origin of the crystals, but everyone loses patience following a slug.

More tomorrow, see you then!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Girl Sketches

It used to be a struggle for me to draw women. They'd always come out looking like men in drag. Probably because I'd just add lipstick and eyelashes to a face. Eventually I figured out rounder heads make characters appear more feminine, but that just led to an archetype. I wanted to be able to depict more differences between women than their hairstyles. So a while ago I did a series of sketches to improve my ability, and what better time to share them than International Women's Day?

Some drawings were referenced, some will be made up. This was the first batch I did and as you'll see through the rest of these, I mostly avoided the cliché of eyelashes and lipstick. I don't actually think there's anything wrong with doing that, I mean shit, women wear make-up... but I don't depict the lips and eyelashes on my male characters so personally I feel I should be able to depict girls without them too.

This last page is the one I like the most out of these head sketches, and that proves for me how important it is to regularly sketch.

Here I moved onto figures, using reference for most of them.

I have to admit, I'm really pleased with these. Practice is so important. I think the reason some artists may be averse to it is because we all want to make a good 'final image' rather than spend time and energy on smaller, unimportant things. But I'm probably prouder of these drawings than some of the bigger stuff I've done.

Also we might be averse to practice because it takes time away from playing games and shit.

Happy International Women's day! Let's end with a classic comic from The Infamous Five.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Spider-Man Week - Part 5

Peter Parker and WHO'D YA THINK?
Ending with the man himself.

What can I possibly say about Spider-Man you don't already know? I sure as Hell got nothing I think needs adding to the character. He was my favourite hero when I was a kid and still is now. In the year 2000, Marvel launched 'Ultimate Spider-Man', a series that retold his story in a modern setting. I found it in 2001 and loved it.

I used to buy the original Spider-Man comics but the stories were weird and slow, the continuity clunky, he was married... so to start fresh was really exciting, especially with Brian Michael Bendis' writing. I already related to Peter Parker as a skinny sarcastic nerd (though without the genius part), so that we were now the same age living in the same year was incredibly exciting. The art of Mark Bagley really captured the youthful and adventurous spirit of that age. God... I just got all nostaligic thinking about that time of my life. I was 16, in college, surrounded by friends, all of us thinking about nothing but music and comics. I don't know if I've ever been happier than that time.

A new Spider-Man was cast recently and I remember rolling my eyes at how young he is. "Why do movies cast so young these days? I want a good actor, not some fly-by-night talent catering to shallow audiences." And then I realised. Spider-Man was always young. *I* got old. Now, I'm really excited to see what Marvel studios do with what I consider their main guy. Especially in a cinematic universe that's already established the Avengers.

A hero might be defined by his villains but a villain is defined by his hero. And without Spider-Man, all those other guys are nothing.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Spider-Man Week 4 - Part 4

Doctor Octopus and Lizard
Doctor Octopus - "A guy named Otto Octavius winds up with 8 limbs. What're the odds." That line from J Jonah Jameson in 'Spider-Man 2' is so perfect I just wanted to include it here.

I don't like it when this character is put into spandex or armour and depicted as mad. I mean, he *is* mad. But I see him as subtley, quietly mad. I see him as a dignified scientist who doesn't want to be famous, leaving stuff like that to Norman Osborne, and he wouldn't see the accident that fused him to metal arms as an opportunity to dress like a super villain. Instead, his villainly comes from the fact that he has a ruthless dedication science and a cold heart regarding consequences, the arms giving him a powerful reach he never had before. Whilst I've depicted him in a suit, I do think it's cool when he's depicted shabbily. He's someone who has to go into hiding a lot, and it's in those desperate moments that you have a good reason to show the madness a little more.

Lizard - I've always liked the character of Curt Conners, though my impression of him comes from the 90s animated series of Spider-Man. He was kind hearted, friendly and always ready to help out Peter Parker or Spider-Man. They must have liked him too, 'cos whenever he turned into the lizard, Spider-Man would beat the crap out of him and then let him return to his normal life.

I also like this character because he has a real story. When I was a kid, cartoons, comics and superheroes weren't as prominant among adults as they are. 'Geek culture' wasn't cool. So when a character came along with genuine motivation I would get really excited because it felt like I could talk about it. Curt Conners only has one arm, which motivates him to study the way lizards can regrow tails and try to apply that to human healing. Of course, the serum he develops doesn't go how he wants and he turns into a monstrous creature. It's still mad, it's still disregard for reality, but that motivation is genuine.

I liked that about Otto too. He didn't invent robotic arms so he could terrorise the world, he invented them to aid him in science. If Otto Octavius had met Curt Connors and developed a mechanical arm with him, mechanical limbs for all amputees, they could have both been happier men.

Sandman and Venom

Sandman - This guy is a shape-shifting element much like Hydo-Man so I was worried they'd look too similar. I had to conciously do something different but I really like drawing wild, swirling shapes. After looking at some images of explosions in sand and some free sketching, I stumbled across the dea of choppier swirls, bursting shapes, dusty clouds and broken clumps. I say clumps, because I wans't prepared to draw a billion individual grains.

I don't know much about Flint Marko other than the fact he seems to constantly switch between good and evil. That's a good path to keep with. He wants wealth, he wants respect, he was lucky enough to stumble onto a power that could get him both. But he's impatient, short tempered and controlled by his impulses, resulting in him never achieving either.

Venom - This guy's popularity has only grown since he was first introduced in 1988. For me to even hint that I want to change some things is probably heresy. Well don't worry, I don't work for Marvel. Nothing I write here will affect him. But I'm gonna go ahead and write it anyway.

Over the years, he's been depicted more and more muscular. Almost Hulk-level of size. I don't like it. He's gotten more and more teeth, more and more drooly. I think it's been forgotten that he's essentially an evil version of Spider-Man. That's why he was popular. People love dark versions of heroes, unshackled by morals and responsibility. When you see muscle Venom swinging around on a thin spiderweb, it looks ridiculous. He should be as limbre as Spider-Man, matching him move for move.

That said - a muscular Venom drooling through rows of sharp teeth *is* also cool. I just think he should only get like that during a battle - perhaps when he's losing or just enjoying himself -  when the man inside the symbiote starts losing control.


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Spider-Man Week - Part 3

Green Goblin and Electo
The previous drawings were all villains that hadn't yet appeared in Spider-Man movies. This is where, over a year later, I went back and just drew all the buggers.

Green Goblin - A hero is defined by his villains. Superman has Lex Luthor, Batman has Joker, and Spider-Man has the Green Goblin. Although, it's an odd pairing. What do goblins have to do with spiders? The juxtaposition of Superman and Lex Luthor is great. Superman is an alien with immense physical power. Lex Luthor is a human with powerful influence in business and politics. Batman is a dark, sombre figure whilst Joker is a bright, laughing maniac. I feel Goblin and Spider-Man lack this contrasting dynamic.

It certainly works better when you consider the men beneath the mask. Norman Osborne is an older scientist working wihout consequences. Peter Parker is young with full respect and responsibility for what science can achieve. But in costume, they're both bright and eccentric figures. It seems to kill Spidey's sense of humour when the Goblin is around, laughing and making his own jokes. Also that whole 'he killed Gwen Stacey' thing.

Man, I didn't mean to shit on him so much. I mean, the Green Goblin is a great character. Visually and personality wise. I've actually been trying to draw him for a long time and am really happy with how this turmed out. But as a main villain, I think Spidey would be better served with Doctor Octopus. He's also a smart, devious scientist without concern for other people in pursuit of his goals. And that's his personality all the time. It gives Spidey more of a chance to display his wit, whilst those robotic arms match Spidey's wall-crawling and quick combat. To be fair, Doc Ock is pretty high on the list of Spider-Man's most prominant opponents. You'll see him later.

And to be fair to Goblin, maybe hes just been used too much. There's been so many variations with various people beneath each one. Hobgoblins, Grey Goblins... cut them all out. Treat 'em mean, keep him Green.

Electro - Of all the villains I've drawn, Electro is the one I gave the biggest makeover too. His original costume is one of the goofiest there's ever been (or maybe we take comics too seriously now) but I didn't want to depict him as pure electricity like modern interpretations do. To figure out his costume, I had to figure out who he could be. 'cos ultimately, he's just another superpowered thug chasing money. That's not much to work with. The film clearly had the same idea, reinventing the character as an anxious, paranoid nerd. Personally, I don't think that works. I have no problem with keeping him a thug, he just needed a fresh angle. So what's different about him?

Unlike Spider-Man's other enemies, Electro's power is immense and limitless. He could be a god. In fact, considering he shares this word with other Marvel characters such as Thor and Storm, that's exactly how I imagine he would view himself. Delusions of grandeur.  That's what his costume could be: ceremonial armour, a cape, and hell why not, throw in some spandex just for the Bowie-esque showmanship of it.

Rhino and Chameleon

Rhino - A lot of the people I draw are skinny. Even when I try to draw muscular characters, they come out rather slim. For example, this Hulk I shared on Twitter. The drawing here of Rhino is the first time I've drawn a character with real mass. I'm not sure why this happened. Actually, you know what I think it is? It's the tiny pink face in the grey rhino suit. It's hilarious. A squashed man surrounded by muscle. It makes him look bigger than the Hulk, and other Marvel tough guys such as Thing and Juggernaut.

Modern interpretations of Rhino, such as in Marvel's 'Ultimate' comics and the movie, depict his suit as being robotic armour. It looks cool, but considering several other characters have armour plating, I decided to ditch the suit and making him fully mutated. No, I don't know how he pees.

Chameleon - Whilst researching the Chameleon, I found he's always wearing a white mask to cover his own face. Has he ever revealed it? It's a great feature, that a man who can look like anyone chooses a featureless form for his own head. I've taken this one step further and removed his face entirely. No, I don't know how he drinks.

Looking at images of him, he comes across as very machiavellian. I like that. He combats Spider-Man not through physical force, but through intelligence, manipulation and lies. He appeared in Spider-Man #1. Perhaps he could be a more prominant foe than he is. Chameleons eat insects, right?

That's all for today. Tomorrow: Doctor Octopus, Lizard, Sandman and Venom!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Spider-Man Week - Part 2

Vulture and Kraven
Vulture - Adrian Toomes used his skills as an electronics engineer to invent a flight harness. Then, like The Shocker, he decided not to sell this brilliant invention for millions but instead begin a life of crime with it. What's wrong with these people?

I like that the character is old, it's rare for a supervillain and adds extra vivere to his desire for flight. It's be interesting if more emphasis was put on the 'Vulture' aspect too, wherein he steals from other criminals rather than commiting crimes of his own. Otherwise, he might as well be another bird. A bald eagle, perhaps.

Kraven - Considering Spider-Man's plethora of villains using animal themes it was a fine idea to add a hunter to the mix, someone who's as interested in defeating them as Peter Parker is. Unfortunately, his theme is animal too. Not many hunters consider spiders worthy prey, so maybe Peter could take it as a compliment.

Morbius, Jack O' Lantern, Tombstone
Whilst thinking of who else to draw from Spider-Man's rogues gallery I realised that, along with animals, he seems to be regularly bothered by Halloween-themed folk too. I decided to put these 3 together.

Morbius - This character has some interesting trivia beyond his fictional story. He debuted in 1971, shortly after the Comics Code Authority updated its rules. These new rules now allowed sympathetic portrayals of criminals, corruption among public officials, the deaths of law-enforcement officers by criminals and stories involving seduction - although the seduction has to be suggested, not shown. No kissy lips or bum bums. How bizarre is it that these things were banned in the past? Hard to imagine such strict rules in any medium these days. We're even allowed to show kissy lips and bum bums now.

One of the other things allowed after the Comics Code Authority updated its rules was the portrayal of supernatural characters such as vampires, ghouls and werewolves. Thus, the appearence of Morbius that same year in Spider-Man #101. This was also the first Spider-Man comic not written by Stan Lee.

I've drawn Morbius as a scruffy, desperate creature because his backstory is pretty tragic. He became a vampire when trying to cure his own rare blood disease with an experimental treatment involving bats and electroshock therapy. Unfortunately, this made things worse and he turned into a bat-like creature hungry for blood.

Jack O' Lantern - I don't know anything about this character, aside from the fact I always liked his flaming pumpkin head. That's really the only reason I included him. He never turned up in any of the comics I had. From what I've read, he's an ex-CIA operative named Jason Macendale who was disgraced from the organisation for being violent and amoral. Sounds like perfect CIA material to me?

He began a new career as a freelance mercenary - although I can't find any specific reason why he chose Jack O' Lantern as a persona. Maybe he likes pumpkins so much he just needed an excuse to snack on them while he's working. I myself am thinking of becoming 'Toast Master'. He flies around on a flat circular disc but that's pretty dull, so I equipped spinning blades to it too.

Tombstone - Lonnie Thompson was born albino and teased for it, eventually using that to his advantage by filing his teeth and nails to sharp points to resemble a vampire. From a story perspective, we already have Morbius... Lonnie is a stronger, more physical character though so I focused my drawing on that. He's a hitman and enforcer so I should probably have drawn him more gangster than I have here. But I had this idea that these two urban horrors could be the counter-point henchmen to Jack O' Lantern; a more intelligent, dapper and archaically dressed villain.

That's all for today! Tomorrow: Green Goblin, Electro, Rhino and Chameleon!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Spider-Man Week - Part 1

Spider-Man has the best rogues gallery in the hero business. Some people would argue Batman does but I disagree, due to the fact I haven't drawn Batman's rogues gallery yet. I've drawn Spider-Man's. And I need you to be excited about that.

I started sketching Spider-Man villains back in April 2014, after seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I thought the film was good; not amazing. However it was indeed the second film, so I had no quarrel with '2'. At the time I focused on villains that hadn't appeared in the movies yet, but recently I went back and just drew all of them. That's enough for several updates so hey, let's have a Spider-Man week! Focusing, of course, on characters that aren't Spider-Man.

I improvised the costumes as I went so if it seems like the designs are off from the original, that's because they are. I'm also gonna share my personal thoughts on each of the characters because like all geeks, I assume I know better than the people who've actually achieved employment in the industry that publises these stories.

Scorpion and Mysterio

Scorpion - He really should be a bigger threat in Spider-Man's life than he is. They're so similar. They're both arachnida, they can both climb walls... but he comes across as little more than a dumb thug, hastily dispatched each time Spider-Man engages with him. Perhaps he'll never reach the personal, imposing level of villainy that Green Goblin and Venom have on Spider-Man, but I'd still like to see a more ambitious Mac Gargan. Basically, he needs more sting.

Mysterio - I'm surprised Mysterio hasn't appeared in the films yet. There's so much potential for mad imagery with this illusionist, so many ways to mess with Spider-Man's mind and the audience's own grasp on what is reality within the movie.

The Shocker and Hydro Man

The Shocker - Herman Schultz invented a device that could crack bank safes with powerful high-frequency vibrations. He has no desire to be a super-villain or fight heroes, even the suit he wears is just to protect himself from the power of his weapon. I like this premis. If he ever ends up on the big screen, I hope they keep that; a villain who never meant to be a big name. Although really, it was his own fault for calling himself 'the Shocker'. In fact, anything beginning with 'the' is pretty attention grabbing.

As for my drawing, I always thought it was more interesting for Shocker to wear one shock unit rather than a pair. Aside from being more interesting to look at, it really shows that this guy is on a budget, using whatever scraps he can come by to build his weapon and make a quick buck.

Hydro Man - Morphing powers are fun to draw; I went all out with the swirly water. Incidentaly, 'made of water' is all I really know about this character. That and his tremendous hair. From what I read just now on Wikipedia, Morris Bench gained his powers after Spider-Man accidentally knocked him off a cargo ship during the testing of an experimental generator in the ocean. That's pretty damn unfortunate, and unusually clumsy for a superhero. I'm gonna hold on to my drinks particularly careful now, in case one wrong spill results in the birth of 'orange juice man'. That might sound ridiculous, but something about a man named 'OJ' seems pretty dangerous to me.

That's all for today! Tomorrow: The Vulture, Kraven, Morbius, Jack O' Lantern and Tombstone!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Infamous Fizz

There really is no better expression of who these characters are then having them burst out of a bottle of booze. Plus, it ends this illustrative trilogy with a bang! Or at least a pop. I can manage a pop. Hre's the previous two if you've missed them:

Infamous Flight
Infamous Puke

I like drawing expressive hands, and that unexpectedly became key to this drawing. I don't think bursting out of the bottle would have been enough to make this interesting, and then each character's hand can express who they are individually. Except for Ant's of course, who nabbed what he perceives as his rightful place, lazing at the top.

I almost left Tony's hand hanging lazily by his side to potray his apathetic attitude but it made the drawing look unbalanced, and it made him seem unengaged and unfriendly. I see him as wearied by the world, not entirely detached. You can still value things, even if you've stopped believing they will actually happen. Like being a professional artist for example. Wheeeeeeyy! Oh I made myself sad. Time for real booze.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Sketch Dailies

 @Sketch_Dailies tweets a topic every day for artists to sketch, then retweets the results. It's a good drawing community to be part of, where you can discover new artists and maybe be discovered yourself. I've built up enough of these sketches now to post a decent blog about it.


The Topic here was 'Kraken'. I knew everyone would post giant tentacled sea creatures - because, well, that's what a kraken is - so I went the opposite direction to stand out. I... can't say this particular tactic has brought me much success yet.


This topic was 'Ghoul'. I thought that was just another word for ghost but apparently it's an evil spirit that eats corpses. I tried to draw loosely, hence the strange anatomy and weird eyes. I imagined he goes 'ngyun ngyun ngyun' as he eats. That was also the sound I made when I drew it.


This topic was 'Basilisk'. I assumed they were simply giant snakes but after checking, they're apparently smaller and with a white spot on their head shaped like a diadem. I also had to check what a diadem was. When I found out I had fun coming up with a design for it. Apparently Basiliks can have bird-like features too, but I went full serpant.


This topic was 'Kappa'. I hadn't heard of a Kappa before, but after reading the Japanese folklore I was raring to draw one: a frog-monkey-like creature, with a tutle shell on its back and a pool of water in its head. It sounded really fun. I mean I did go on to read they sometimes attack, rape, and drown people but whatever.