Apothecary Supreme Page 22 blasts in

May 13, 2016


Stuff is getting all actiony! Which is a bit embarassing given how slow production is moving these days; were this a movie it would be the most awkward slomo freeze frame in the history of cinema…

Still! I am pleased how this one finally turned out, particularly in regards to the looser, more frantic linework as things really start to move. Check it out here:



Back into the Action

August 1, 2013

Even if I can’t post pages as regularly as I’d like a few updates on what I’m up to and why I’m being delayed seem to be in order.


Following on from the shift into more actiony content last issue this trend continues and as such I’ve got a few more challenges ahead. I’m sure I’ve already said that generally athletic/physical stuff is an area of comics I don’t have too much experience in drawing; although given how many comics I read with an action lean you’d think I’d have osmotically absorbed a bit more of it…

Anyhow, Branch has always been something of a learning experience and rather than find a shortcut, like an idiot I’ve set myself a complicated setpiece for my next page.

Above is a rough draft of my main panel’s background, although  ‘background’ might be the wrong word given how a certain character will be interacting with it. There are two main challenges presented; the raised perspective – something which nearly always gives me trouble – and the poses themselves which will be done in a three stage montage in order to clearly represent the action taking place.

There’s potential for it to go very wrong but that said I don’t think I’ve drawn anything quite like this before so as en experiment it should at least be interesting, just please don’t crucify me when I end up with bobble-headed characters :P

Signing up for MCM again, AWOL updates and ACTION

March 8, 2013

Well, I’ve gone and done it now. I’ve signed up for London’s MCM Comic Con this May, so where the hell are all those new pages I was meant to have?

‘In progress’ is a frustrating label to tack on I know but it’s the best way I can describe it, they’re coming together but I’ve had to run through a veritable factory of brick walls to get there. Hard brick walls, covered with rusty nails and that delightful black paint you can’t seem to wash off. The name of this factory? Action.

Much harder than it looks it turns out...

Much harder than it looks it turns out…

To clarify I’ve had plenty of other stuff keeping me busy too – which all being well should appear online eventually – but for the most part there’s no avoiding the fact I have almost no experience in planning or drawing a proper action sequence in a comic. I’ve had bursts of violence and quick motion before but they’ve generally been ancillary to the scenes they’re in rather than the focus.

The last time I really had a crack at it was around six years ago with my first proper comic Cyberdog…

The hands, the faces, the wasted space in the layout... Can we just pit it away now and stop talking about it?

The anatomy, the faces, the wasted space in the layout… Can we just launch it into the sun and stop talking about it forever?

<Insert shudder>

Suffice to say I had a lot to learn back then and the whole endeavour left a foul taste in my mouth that likely put me off trying anything similar for a long time. Still here I am again, facing a similar set of problems; my drawing’s certainly improved and actually having a script this time has helped but learning to draw action from Scratch (pun intended) has proved a challenging process.

The early sketches for page four highlight some of my worst sins, I apologise in advance for their slightly spoilerific nature:p4actionpose1

Here we have the bare bones of Scratch someone delivering an elbow thrust. I roughed it out, looked at it and wondered what was wrong with the picture when the obvious struck me; there is no thrust. Indeed no motion at all, this isn’t a professional delivering a crushing neck strike it’s an exercise enthusiast having a gentle warm up. Argh.

I’d literally got so wrapped up in the anatomy I’d neglected to think about the pose and how I might make it exciting. Conveniently it was at this point my memory fired up – for once – and I recalled a good bit of advice from How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way about exaggerating poses to emphasise motion.

Armed with this reclaimed knowledge I tried again:

p4actionpose2Better; the subjects legs are actually pushing them into the strike this time, with a general lean in the direction of movement and the arm extending further out suggesting actual force is being applied. It remains far to stiff though, with the victim being altogether too upright for someone who’s just been struck in the chin full force, while knees should be bent much further in both cases if this is at the end of the motion.

Aiming to make third time the charm I created a digital mockup this time:

Branchissue2page4rough Much better. There’s a far stronger sense of engagement between characters here while Scratch’s the attacker’s front leg being bent further suggests a much longer run up and push into the strike. The victim’s head being knocked back further also emphasises the force of the impact more tangibly.

By exaggerating the key areas of the action – exertion and impact – the snapshot’s extreme qualities imply what preceded them – approach and attack – allowing the reader to fill the gaps without even realising it.  We immediately know that it’s the end of a quick and likely powerful movement by the positioning of the aggressor’s arms and legs, while the victim’s reeling off-balance makes it clear that a painful strike has been made.

Unlike films and games comics can only imply an action since the reader is in control of acquisition; everything that goes in between the panels comes down to the mental images inspired by the real ones. The issue here is a broader one really and interconnects with much of what I’m learning and practicing in the medium as a whole, elbow strikes may not be subtle but the methods used to create genuine excitement and credibility are.

I’m still struggling a lot though the next page and those following it are closer to the right track now at least; I’ve set myself a tall order getting a new issue ready for the end of May but if I take some of that fighting spirit onboard maybe I can make it work after all.




Sketches: Scratch in action

December 8, 2010

Just thought I’d quickly upload these rough sketches I did to test how Scratch might appear in different poses. Given that she’s one of the most physically active characters in the narrative (as it currently stands) it’s important that she looks right in action. Also, note the jacket in the right hand image, an addition I’m still working out – it needs to look suitably modern for a future setting but at the same time I don’t want it to appear frivolous, rather being sleek and utilitarian.