Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Guest Post - Ray Frenden!

1) What was your first published work?
I think my first published work was a poster for an anti-drug campaign in the sixth grade. The teacher asked us to contribute a design for the given theme. It was proto-spec work. I drew a monster in a police uniform fighting crime. My memory is hazy, but I think I won third place in the contest and the image was displayed in Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

2) Who or what inspires you?
As a kid, I loved EC Comics. The Tales from the Crypt television show led me to seek out reprints of the comics on which they were based. Once that surface had been scratched, it was a short jaunt to discover Creepy and Eerie, and their stable of artists, too.

Some of my favorite illustrators include Johnny Craig, Milton Caniff, Mort Drucker, Alfredo Alcala, and Noel Sickles. Craig led me to Caniff and Caniff led me to Sickles. The latter two’s fearlessness with spotted areas of dense black account for the direction of a lot of my work.

3) What would be your dream job to illustrate?
I’m fickle. My dream job probably isn’t illustration at the moment. My sketchbooks have long been equal parts illustration and game design. I have a few rules sets for trading card games written and created some playable prototypes a few years back.

Illustration has been successful enough to keep me busy and I haven’t had much of a chance to try and make games. But I have had a few freelance game art opportunities arise of late.

It’s exciting to see those two worlds overlapping. I completed an update’s worth of art for the iOS app Tiny Tower, and have been asked to contribute to a few other titles, but my schedule hasn’t allowed for it. I’m trying to get my current slate of lingering obligations finished so that I can give these little game art gigs a shot at growing into more.

The last year has been my most successful to date, so it’s hard to complain about not having the time for vanity projects or dream gigs. Being able to support my family is reward enough. The rest’ll come as time allows.

4) Tell us a bit about the illustration(s) you've sent?
I'm probably best known for my low-brow, comic style work, but I like to create in a myriad of styles. Commercial success begets a certain amount of specialization. You often hear folks say that showing too many styles can confuse an art director. That they won't know what they'll be getting from you.

Specialization may be necessary for commercial success in most instances, but it's death to creativity and the learning process. You have to make room to try new things. That doesn't mean you have to market those new things to potential clients, but resting on your laurels and never attempting to expand your skillset sounds like a death sentence to me.

With that in mind, I wanted to include a mass based piece rather than line.

5) What can we expect to see from you next (what are you working on)?
I just finished a poster for Nickelodeon. I can’t tell you for what property, but it was a fun gig and that’s probably the next highest profile thing that you’ll see from me.

Last year, I spent around six months illustrating a line of Spongebob apparel and it led to this poster job. Nickelodeon is easily among the nicest folks I’ve worked for. Their notes on Spongebob were to veer further off model and make the character more *me.* That’s pretty amazing.

Aside from that, I’ve been busy reviewing digital art hardware and selling digital art tools. I hope that those sales can allow me to pause from commercial art for clients and start to build something for myself.

6) If you hadn't become an artist what do you think you'd have ended up doing?
I drew a lot as a child. I knew at six years old that I wanted to be some sort of artist when I was older. At fifteen, I left home and entered the workforce. I had to put my ambitions on pause and support myself in a more practical way.

I built, serviced, and sold computers for a while. It wasn’t until the age of twenty-three or so that I redoubled my efforts at making art for a living. If self-teaching hadn’t gone alright, I’d probably be doing something in the tech industry.

It’s that near equal division of technical interest and artistic inclination that’s led me to investigate digital art hardware and create my own art tools. If I feel burned out on the art side, I review a new graphics tablet or make a new brush setting and vice versa. It’s nice for my two areas of interest to overlap a bit in a venn diagram but still be different enough to feel like a pause from one another.

7) Where can we see more of your work (web links)?
I’m a Twitter junkie (@FRENDEN). I probably post more shots of work there than on my site, Flickr, Instagram, or Facebook page combined. But you can also find me at,, and

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guest Post - Liam Sharp!

1) What was your first published work?
My first published work was in 'The Living Planet', from the celebrated 'Storm' series by Don Lawrence. I was Don's assistant and got to paint a few panels solo. Very exciting at the time! But the first Liam Sharp work was in 2000ad. I did a poster of Judge Dredd in a judges wig, Mr Justice Dredd, banging his gun like a hammer, and a three page Future Shock, the name of which escapes me...

2) Who or what inspires you?
Lord, where to begin? I've been inspired by so many things over the years! My first non-comic inspiration was probably Michelangelo - I spent forever pouring over images of the Cistine chapel, and his incredible sculptures. As with a lot of romantically inclined creators, I got wrapped up in the Preraphaelites, and Waterhouse, and that tends to lead you to Mucha, Schiele and Klimpt. Love Sargent too, when it comes to representative art. I also got into the American illustrators - Rockwell, Parrish, Wyeth, Pyle, Bama, and so on. Then there's industrial illustrators and designers like Syd Mead, and the loonacy of H.R.Giger... My art book library is pretty extensive, but it amazing how many creators have somehow been drawn to the same books...
Of people in the industry I've been inspired by Sienkiewicz, Moebius, Jeff Jones, Frazetta, Corben, Fabry, Manara, Don Lawrence, Bolland, Liberatore, Barry Smith, Kaluta, Jim Lee and Scott Williams, Kent Williams, and loads more. There are so many genius creators out there! You can never stop learning from them!

3) What would be your dream job to illustrate?
The only character I always wanted to write and draw and never have is Conan. Beyond that I'm most happy creating new material, new stories and new characters.

4) Tell us a bit about the illustration(s) you've sent?
I've included two of the pieces I created with Bill Sienkiewicz for our Sherlock Holmes story. These are portraits of Mycroft and the villain of the piece! We've done over 40 unique illustrations for 'The Greek Interpreter', with me pencilling, Bill inking, and me colouring - but it was way more organic than that sounds. Lots of back and forth. A complete joy. Working with Bill has been a career highlight and I'm incredibly proud of the results.
Also included are a couple of pages from my magnum opus, 'Captain Stone is Missing...'

5) What can we expect to see from you next (what are you working on)?
More Sherlock and more Captain Stone! I'm also writing Ben Wolstenholme's incredibly drawn MONO story for Madefire. All of these stories can be - or will be - viewed on the Madefire app (available free from the app store for iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, and iPod touch) or in the new Motion Book section on deviantART (

6) If you hadn't become an artist what do you think you'd have ended up doing?
I'm lucky in that my other main ambition - to write - is something I'm now able to explore much more. I have a published novel, and another due out later this year, and write a lot for Madefire. Otherwise I'd have loved to direct movies - the dream of many artists! I make a fair bit of music too, which finally became another aspect I could incorporate into my work with the Madefire material. When I was a kid, though, I dreamed of becoming a zoologist, archaeologist, paleontologist or anthropologist... and you'd be amazed how many other artists I know who had those same childhood ambitions! I'm pretty much a cliche!

7) Where can we see more of your work (web links)?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Post - Alisdair Wood!

1) What was your first published work?
I suppose my first published illustration was promo artwork for GTA2. Some character art printed in PCZone. I'm not mentioning the Wet Wet Wet cover…

2) Who or what inspires you?
Probably in keeping with everyone else I would have to say I have limitless inspirations. Probably my first big love was Ken Reid in the Dandy/Beano/Beezer. The amazing work on Faceache especially stands out for me. Also Dudley .D. Watkins, the genius behind Oor Wullie and the Broons.
If I had to name some others then Jamie Hewlett, Phillip Bond, Los Bros Hernandez, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dan Clowes, Chester Brown, Chris Ware, Frank Miller, Hammer Studio, Sam Raimi, Kubrick, John Hughes, Woody Allen, Laurel & Hardy, Morecambe & Wise. Could go on forever really.

3) What would be your dream job to illustrate?
I would love to work for Hammer. Poster design, Illustration, floor sweeping, anything.
Other than that probably being a stay at home dad and drawing what I like all day.
Oh, would also love to do a Spideman issue as well.  One would suffice.

4) Tell us a bit about the illustration(s) you've sent?
a) 2 Panels from Beagle. Should be a 20 odd page B&W comic out this year.
b) 2 images based on M.R. James short stories.
c) Personal work. First is an A3 acrylic painting for a comic that never really got started, second is my attempt at sexy lady painting!
d) I suppose these are 'Fan Art' for a couple of Hammer movies. hopefully gonna do a lot more of this.
e) 'The Happiest Man in Town'. Done to coincide with a short film. Idea was to do an accompanying comic to the film, sadly work commitments got in the road.
f) & g) these were done last year after a holiday just outside Naples. Amazing inspiration and it was all heading in a Harryhausen direction. Will get back to this at some point hopefully.
h) Fry & Laury from a set of playing cards I did whilst at college. Painted in acrylic. Idea was all the Face cards were famous comedy double acts.

5) What can we expect to see from you next (what are you working on)?
Currently working on my first full comic. Called 'Beagle' the first issue should be out near the end of the year. I also do some horror illustration for an M R James Magazine and website. This as well as my full time work for Rockstar Games.

6) If you hadn't become an artist what do you think you'd have ended up doing?
Initially I wanted to be an architect, so maybe that, although I really wanted to grow up to be Suzi Quatro. Sit-Com writer would have been my second choice. Lucky Window Washer a close third.

7) Where can we see more of your work (web links)?
follow on Twitter @Alisdair_Wood

Friday, July 26, 2013

S is for Superior Spider-Man

Pantone sketch card of the new 'Superior' Spider-Man currently running about the Marvel Universe since the death of Peter Parker. Sketch cards sold out quickly at the Glasgow Comiccon a few weeks ago so will probably be doing a few more that will end up on here as i restock.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hunters Hunted

Crapsticks, I totally forgot to post last week, and it nearly slipped by this week too.  Bah!  A pic from The Onyx Path's Hunters Hunted 2 book.  © The Onyx Path 2013.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scotch Corners

I was in the wilds of Perthshire last week on a quick family break and while visiting the very picturesque village of Pitlochry I just had to get an ice cream from somewhere suitable.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jonday - Nazi Ice Base Mercury

2013 Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd
In the frozen wastes of Mercury the devilish Nazis hide their secret bases, with the purpose of who knows what?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy drawing

Sometimes I do a drawing that I am particularly happy with. It's usually a figure. This is from my current project "GRINDHOUSE: Prison Ship Antares" written by Alex DeCampi.

Friday, July 19, 2013

H is for Havok

Literally just started on a Havok commission for someone - only the pencil sketch here just now but i will add the finished inked version once it's done.  Thankfully they want the original black suit by Neal Adams as most of his outfits since have been rotten and the current Avengers one is probably one of the worst :(  (IMHO)

UPDATED - inked version attached.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Evil Genius

EvilGenius_GNREID.jpg photo EvilGenius_GNREID_zpsac14f90d.jpg

"If I were creating a world, I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, eight o'clock, day one!"

The Evil Genius played by David Warner in one of my favourite films Time Bandits. Pencils, Copic Markers and Brush Pen.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jonday - Rocket Age

More Rocket Age goodness:
©2013 Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd

Friday, July 12, 2013


Sketch card doodle of Bat-Mite done with Pantone inks. I mostly remember this character from the old 70's Bat-man cartoons when i was growing up - not sure how much he featured in the comics at the time.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Andy Murray cover for the Sunday Mail.

On Tuesday last week I was asked by editor Jim Wilson of the Sunday Mail to contribute a cover for the Sunday Mail. He wanted an inspiring image of Andy Murray before the Wimbledon final. Of course, he still had the quarter and semi-finals to win but that was a sure thing, wasn't it? I called my colourist Yel Zamor and explained the opportunity we had for some seriously national [Scottish] mainstream exposure!

Well, the Wednesday quarter final proved a close and bitterly fought game to the end with Andy just winning in the last game. Were we going to be paid if he lost? It was best not to think about that. The London Film and Comic Con loomed ever closer and we had a Friday morning deadline. I woul dbe at the event from ten that morning with little access to internet to do any corrections.

There were two sketched versions. Both made reference to Superman and in particular, Alex Ross' classic imagery [including his homage to Joe Schuster's classic cover] I preferred the aerial shot of Andy Murray serving over Wimbledon but Jim went for the Saltire reveal, and I understand why. It was ALL about Andy and we needed to focus on that.

Below are some of the images and sketches for the piece. Yel Zamor did a wonderful colouring job [as always] considering the win/lose nature of Andy's games till the final. In the end the Sunday Mail ran with our cover and also made a double-page spread of the image as a pull out poster. We heard of fans posting them up on walls and fridges on the Sunday Finals Day! It was a real treat to work on the cover and the 285, 000 circulation [even seen in London City airport on my return from LFCC] was better than most comics.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hunters Hunted

Posted one or two images from The Onyx Path's Hunters Hunted 2 a while back, and here is another, mostly Artrage.  © The Onyx Path 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Thrud the Barbarian

Over on my own blog I posted up an old interview I did with the creator of Thrud, Carl Critchlow, then years ago. Sheesh time flies! Go take a look.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Jonday - Rocket Age

Shouldn't really be showing this, but we'll call it an exclusive.  One of the many and splendid perks of being the art director on the project, I guess.

An internal piece for the forthcoming Rocket Age from Cubicle 7,  The Silt Seas of Mars:

©2013 Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Pantone ink version of a New 52 Superman pencil sketch posted here previously.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More LOTFP npcs

Another batch of NPCladies from Lamentations of the Flame Princess;

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Little My

LittleMy_GNREID.jpg photo LittleMy_GNREID_zps550463ae.jpg Telephone doodles of Little My, I find her disposition most pleasing and she's fun to draw.