Monday, May 31, 2010

Jonday - Muse Challenge

So over on the ArtOrder blog, intarweb home of Jon Schindehette, head of art on the DnD brand at Wizards of the Coast, there is a challenge/contest in progress. Jon runs these things quite regularly, and they're well worth checking out. The ArtOrder blog is general is an absolute goldmine of info for anyone looking to break into freelance illustration.

Anyhow, this challenge is about taking some reference material of model and artist's muse Veronika Kotlajic and making a piece of art for a poster. The winning 5 entrants will feature on posters to be sold for charity. You can check out all the finer details here.

I don't normally get time to take part in these things, as my schedule runs pretty full most of the time. But since this one was for charity I found the time. Here's my entry:
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And here's the thumb wot you can click to see it a little bigger:

The deadline for entries is tonight. Mine's in. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Repeat Offender Post - Alex Ronald!

These are some of my painted images from the first episode of the Crackdown 2 motion comic. The dystopian future of Crackdown 2, with terrorist cells, warring militia and mutant freaks was right up my street being a long term Dredd/2000ad fan. It also allowed me to develop my painting and lighting skills with over 160 images spread across all 5 episodes of the story. I'll have more to show over the coming weeks as the episodes are released over the web as well as some of the deleted shots and sequences.

Now Crackdown is complete I'm currently back working with Black Camel Pictures on the sequel to Outpost.

From mutant freaks to Nazi zombies. Great times!

Remember you can drop by Alex's own blog to get your weekly hit of Ronald goodness.

The Guest Post on Sunday is open to all who wish to take part, so click here and join in!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

1993, I'm YOUNG again!

So it's STILL 1993, I'm still broke and high power American Editors are making a point of NOT calling me ( BASTARDS!)
So I'm plugging away, making money in whatever way I can think of and doing more samples. I thought that maybe a more photo realistic style would be useful, so I wrote a drew this one page scene.
I was very happy with this page ( still am in fact ), it was one of those pages that looked a bit better than my actual ability at the time. It was all easy stuff to draw and I avoided anything that might give me problems. Editors started calling me...

A contact at Dark Horse tipped me off that they were looking for an artist to draw the Indiana Jones licence. So I did a few spec samples.

Harrison Ford is actually quite difficult to draw. I didn't do such a good job of the likeness.
I didn't get the job.

Then my buddy Martin Millar ( who I had worked for on Lux & Alby: Sign-On & Save the Universe ) started pitching ideas at me for a Vertigo style magic fantasy story featuring a character called 'The Gambler', there were some character sketches and this sample page.

No dice.

Next week, my first ever page of coloured artwork ( which got me a job drawing a famous character) and as a special bonus, my first EVER drawing! ( that still exists )
Until then...

Friday, May 28, 2010

ARMy of three

A couple of sketches from life drawings this week, basically just looking at the structure of real arms - muscles, veins etc. always helps to know the reality before pumping them up for comic character illustrations.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Penguin. Sketch.

Penguin sketch this week. Yak Yak.

Always an interesting character to draw. Lots of lovely little details and shapes to get lost in. Sometimes more fun to draw than the Joker.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

more life drawing

Another old piece of life drawing today, one of those sessions when the tutor demands you use a certain material, rather than your usual comfort zone tools, in this case line and wash. At least it wasn't charcoal, which for some reason is a tool of doom for me, but using alternative tools is always a useful and growing process.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Always crashing in the same car...

Graeme Neil Reid,Illustration,Torchwood

A short while back I had mentioned how sometimes on a job there would be an element that I actually really liked but tended to be overlooked in general by the rest of the image. Well this week I've picked out another example, this time from the Worlds Strongest Man advert I did last year.

I'm not sure why but I knew half way through drawing this car wreck that I really liked it and that I was on a winner as far as pleasing myself goes :) I just like it.

© 2009 Virgin Media

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jonday: Welcome to the Shire, squeal like a pig.

Yo. A work in progress today. I'm hard at work making artwork for a new Lord of the Rings tabletop roleplaying game, all of which will be kept from public view until the game is released. However I can make my own LOTR "fan" images not for the book and show them whenever I like.

Here's the underpainting for one such image I'm working on.

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And actionate some clickerisation on this one to see it embigginated:

Saturday, May 22, 2010


So there I was, it was 1993 and I'm absolutely finished with my first book 'Lux & Alby: Sign-On & Save the Universe' , the issues had come out and the offers of work that I was SURE would start pouring in ...hadn't. So faced with the stark reality of utter brokeitude and slow starvation I had to get practical. So I drew some samples...Lots of comics at that time seemed to involve large men hitting each other, so I picked up a copy of Frank Miller and Walt Simonson's ROBOCOP vs TERMINATOR and I taught myself how to draw that.

Back in those days there was a comic called the X-MEN ( do they still publish that? ) which was REALLY popular. Now 'REALLY popular' usually means MONEY, right? I wanted money...oh yes.

Then there was this comic called 'The Judge Dredd Megazine' , which a friend of mine worked on. They seemed to be hiring like crazy back then, they had all kinds of crazy stuff in there, so I did some samples for that. As it happened that worked out quite well and I got my first SHIMURA job from those samples, which led to me meeting a fellow called Robbie Morrison. That's another story though.

I also knew this guy called Gordon Rennie who at that time was writing a comic called MISSIONARY MAN. The artist on that was a loser called Frank Quitely ( yea that's what he called himself, can you believe that? ) so I thought I could do better, naturally. Nothing much came of that, but I quite like this pic.
(Dunno what happened to that Quitely guy)

Friday, May 21, 2010

That's me that is

Not much to say about this one - i always try to fit in a 'real' drawing every now and then to counteract all the 'cartoony' stuff, so a pencilled self portrait (of sorts) this week.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Doctor Doom. Sketch.

Another sketch found on my camera SD card from the recent Paris Manga trip. This one was for Francesco and he was suitably delighted. Would again like to work this up into a cover or pin-up of sorts. Moody lighting and all that nonsense. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


While cleaning out the old hard drive the other day I found this illo of a washerwoman. At first I thought it was a plain old picture of a servant girl, but then recalled it was for a doomed series of horror sketches I was thinking about. Look closer...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Torches at the ready!

Graeme Neil Reid,Illustration,Torchwood

I did this a year ago to try and tempt the powers that be at Torchwood Magazine to give me a gig doing the illustrations on their text stories. Sadly I never received any kind of response from them. Not usually one to take this as a no I tend to then bombard my target with more samples but alas real life and work got in the way and stopped me on this occasion. Still I enjoyed doing it and when the opportunity to draw Jack and the team comes along again I'll commence my attempts to convince the editor once again.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jonday - even moar owlbear

The previews of the Kingmaker Adventure Path have been coming thick and fast over on the Paizo blog, so in a double whammy we get to see the last two parts of the Owlbear saga!

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You can check out the images at a larger size, and see the whole saga in it's entirety over here:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Remembering Frazetta

On the 10th May the legend that was Frank Frazetta passed away. Simon has already paid tribute to the man with his post yesterday and today we received this from guest contributor Dominic Regan.

I couldn't believe it. How could Frank Frazetta be dead? I didn't want to believe that a man who could produce work that seemed to pulse with such vitality could now be gone. The world would be a much darker place without him if he hadn't left behind such an incredible body of work.

Frazetta could capture such life on the canvas. It may seem funny to describe his brutal renditions of carnage and mayhem as being somehow life-affirming but to the teenage me, his artwork produced something almost undefinable, something close to joy. As for how Frazetta could paint women, well, that was a different set of feelings!

Frazetta also stirred a mixture of envy and ambition in me. There was no way I could ever produce something as amazing as his paintings but his work always inspired me to keep trying, to keep fighting to get images out of my imagination and, hopefully to give to people the same sort of feeling that Frazetta managed to inspire in me.

Frank Frazetta, thank you for everything. My thoughts are with your family. We will all miss you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Farewell Frank

In a change from my advertised programming, I decided to mark the passing of the great Frank Frazetta. While I can't say I've been directly influenced by his work, I know I've been massively influenced by people who were influenced by him. Indeed I find it hard to imagine modern heroic fantasy without his influence.

I did this drawing on a postcard, so it's pretty small. I've been doing a lot of scribbly hatching lately, this drawing is most particularly a victim of this. I need to stop because it doesn't colour well.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hot as Hell

Some photo manipulation this week. Basically just took an image of flames then pushed and pulled the pixels around until i managed to create a flame headed demon. Adjusted the colour values a bit to make the head more obvious but that was about it - a quick and easy wee experiment.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Elephantmen - Evolution of a page.

This week we have another Evolution of a Cover piece. Actually more of a page but...

Richard Starkings of Elephantmen fame and founder of Comicraft approached me (pop-up chat on Facebook) last month and asked me if I would like to provide a page for issue 25 of Elephantmen. As a former Marvel UK artist I couldn't refuse and Elephantmen is one of the few books I read and love (mainly for the genre) What an opportunity!

The story for this particular issue was all flashbacks to key moments in the Elephantmen timeline. My page focused on Hip and Sahara's near capture by UN troops in his restoration tank of the recovery bay. An exciting stand-off image was called for.

I decided to draw each element seperately to allow for Richard to do some editorial tweaking on figure sizes and proportions and general composition. Hip was obviously in the background with Sahara middle gorund and the guns (of the UN soldiers) immediate foreground. A fairly familiar scene, I'm sure. Was fortunate enough to have Dougie Braithwaite provide the reverse POV of the UN soldiers on the previous page (introducing their guns especially well) and that allowed me to crop tight on the barrels for my piece and still be able to tell the story. Might seem a little odd out of context but works well enough in the actual issue. There was some photo reference used on Sahara to get the 16mm lens effect I wanted (not quite fish-eye lens but still rather forced view) Delighted with the final pose..

The final angled skew on the overall image was to inject a little more of a dynamic quality to a rather static scene (hinting at the characters unbalance) Kind of Dutch (Deutsch) angle effect. The wonderful colours were added by Gregory Wright who worked up some magic on this page.

With a movie deal already in discussion, we hope to see more of Elephantmen in the future and I would certainly love to do more on the series. Really helps promote the cyberpunk hardware approach to my art. Pick up a copy if you haven't already experienced the series. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Life drawing

I was doing some spring cleaning of hard drives yesterday, erasing GB after GB of redundant files and ref shots, backing up my master art files and wondering why the hell I was keeping half the stuff I've managed to collect over the years. I can justify the future use of almost any ref image it seems...

But there were a couple of old life drawings I came across as well, from a class I went to with Jon years and years ago when he still lived in the centre of town. Here's the first!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where does he get those faulty suitcases?

Ian Brown,illustration,Graeme Neil Reid,Joker

Pencils from a commission back in 2007. The rest of the image featured Batman and the commissionee and partner so I hold off showing you that.

Apart from being insane it seems the Joker needs to invest in a better supply of suitcases or perhaps not stuff them so full of money?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jonday - When barbarians attack...

...your civic monuments dedicated to bizarre rpg monsters may be in danger...
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(c)2010 Paizo Publishing LLC

PS, Artrage, Painter.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More Delving, Part1

I left college in 1991, I got a couple of jobs from my degree show and I'd been doing smallpress for a while, so I pretty much assumed that I would walk straight into a cool job and be set for life.....

.....that was not the case.

So I sat there with the dawning realisation that I would need to eat and that having spent my Dole check on artbooks I might not be able to afford to do that.

Then I started working on my portfolio. At the time I hadn't really settled on any particular style, I could draw one way one week then totally differently the next. The page at the top was supposed to be some sort of ABC Warriors deal, a band of plucky mechs taking on a big bad monster. Very tight, lots of blacks. Then I did this,
All kinda grungy, drawn of textured watercolour paper and inked with a drybrush.
The I was a big fan of Film Noir and Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth.

Up to this point I had never attempted to do full colour artwork. So when I heard that there might be some work on Roy of the Rovers for full colour art vaguely in the style of the then lead artist Rob Davis.

So my attempt to do that will be next weeks episode.....

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wipe yer feet, big man

Thought i would give the new version of Artrage (3) a test drive before committing to an upgrade. So used it to knock up this Swamp Thing sketch, even on a quick test like this it seems to be massively improved both in the way the 'paints' interact and a host of new useful features have been built in so it seems worth the jump up a version. Just need to decide if i should shell out now or wait until an appropriate project comes along first.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wonder Woman. Sketch.

A Wonder Woman sketch this week. Always loved the character. Need to work up a full figure action shot some time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


On Friday I finished a year's worth of work on a large and ongoing board-game project for Alderac Entertainment (and much fun it was too - but NDA'd still for a few months) and over the weekend I actually sat down and painted for fun. Not just had a play with paint for a long time, and really enjoyed the results, and paying attention to some different lighting (reffed).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Smaller on the outside...

Graeme Neil Reid,Illustration,Doctor Who,Tardis

I've become somewhat busy in the last week and the chance to draw something new for the blog this week vanished very quickly. So here is some pencils of a rather normal looking old police box.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Digging Deep

If you were ever to visit my parents house and sit in their kitchen you would most likely see an assortment of linedrawings on one wall. They were drawn by me....a very long time ago.
The one above was drawn when I was 16 years old. It may be one of the earliest drawings I did using a crowquill and indian ink.

This one probably dates from a year later, the hatching is a bit more ambitious, though you can tell I've never drawn from life at this point.

I think this one was done just before I left home, I was keen on drawing monsters at that time and also crosshatching....lots of crosshatching. The bemused looking creature on the lower right was the family dog.

Next week I will continue to trawl through the very early stages of my career, this time some of my portfolio pieces from when I was trying to get work in 1993. So you'll see what 4 years of Art College did to me and 2 years of patchy employment and Dole.

Until then...