Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Joe Pineapples

ABC Warriors Project No 3


Here is the third in my ABC Warrior project, Joe Pineapples. What a huge gun!

For me, Joe really came into his own stylistically during The Black Hole when Simon Bisley artwork radically changed the look of the former X-Terminator. Nevertheless it was not Simon Bisley's Joe that drew me to the character. It was Kev Walker's fantastic artwork at the end of Khronicles of Khaos. My first viewing of these brilliant images was out of context. My eldest brother had given me a small number (about seven, I think) of 2000 ADs, possibly before I started my own collection and in them was the final two parts of KoK series. The little 10 year old me saw those pictures of Joe and thought "ooooooOOOOOOOHHHHHHH SOOOOOO COOOOOL!!!!!" I loved them, they were and still are fantastic. It is my favourite representation of Joe and it is him at his most awesome. Having since read KoK in context just makes me think that I underestimated just how awesome it was. I think it is a shame that Joe reverted back to be more in line with the previous Black Hole version. All inhibited and repressed once more and far less interesting.

The picture itself was quite difficult to achieve as it was one I really wanted to get perfect (and unfortunately I have my doubts to the level of success I have had with it). The pose needed to be spot on and I think I got that right, with a nonchalant indifference endemic to the character. He also needed a big and stupidly absurd sniper riffle. I did make a few mistakes in planning, forgetting the gloves and getting the leg wear completely wrong. It turned out for the best because it made re-evaluate the basque as well. Overall I'm happy with how he turned out, even if it isn't perfect. It is also the first I've posted that was of a ratio that would fit into my wallpaper series.

Joe Pineapples and ABC Warriors are copyright of Rebellion. 

Monday, 25 February 2013


ABC Warriors Project No 2

The second in my ABC Warrior project and it is our favourite foul mouthed, disobedient, sewage droid, Ro-Jaws. Ro-Jaws originally starred alongside Hammerstein in the fantastic comic Ro-Busters and then found his way into the pages of Nemesis before ending up attached to the ABC Warriors. He was briefly one of the warriors before being replaced by Terri (I spelled her name right this time) near the beginning of The Black Hole story. He stayed with the Warriors through to the end of Khronicles of Khaos when the Warriors disbanded and he joined Deadlock at the Kollege of Khaos. He has reappeared in the strip in more of a guest capacity since. Nevertheless, for me he is an essential part of the ABC Warriors. The Black Hole and Khronicles of Khaos are pretty much the high point of the comic for me. Not to say it's ever gotten bad, just never that good again. It is certainly a period of Pat Mills writing (which may owe a lot to his writing partnership with Tony Skinner at the time) that I remember fondly and sorely missed.

This actual image for Ro-Jaws was simple to come up with. Certainly one of the easiest. After all there is not a great deal that can be done with sharp-toothed dustbin on wheels. I figured I just have him waving as he has always been a friendly and likeable character.

Ro-Jaws, ABC Warriors and Ro-Busters are copyright of Rebellion.

Friday, 22 February 2013


ABC Warriors Project No 1

I actually had to think long and hard about which ABC Warrior I should post first. Should it be my favourite of the pictures I've done (too hard to choose)? Should it be Deadlock (seemed like a natural choice)? Should I just choose randomly? In the end I figured there was only one of the Warriors I could, in all good conscience, post first. The first to be recruited in the strip. Hammerstein.

Hammerstein was created by Pat Mills for a different strip that appeared in a different comic to 2000AD. The absolutely fantastic Ro-Busters, which was printed originally in the comic Starlord but moved over to 2000AD (if you don't know your 2000AD history). It was a take on the popular TV show Thunderbirds concept of a group dedicated to extreme rescues. Except it had robots in it and was (imo) better. Ro-Busters also featured two other Warriors who were not in the original ABC Warrior line up. He was the first leader of the Warriors in their mission the tame a terraformed Mars.

The concept for this image came easy. Through much of the run of ABC Warriors Hammerstein has exemplified a concept of a perfect soldier with all the trauma that carries with it. By the books, disciplined, always ready to follow orders. Coming up with his pose was naturally easy. Of course he would be standing rigid, saluting. I could have done some fancy dynamic pose of action, but this was part of a line up and I had to take that into consideration. I'm really pleased with how he turned out, but I do think the pose will look better in context.

Hammerstein, ABC Warrior and Ro-Busters are copyright of Rebellion.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Sancho Panza


Back in 1998 Dan Abnett teamed up with Henry Flint in an attempt to repeat the success he had had with Sinister Dexter three years before. The result was Sancho Panzer about a Robin Hood saviour figure on the war torn planet of Vainglory Five. It lasted eleven progs culminating in the ultimate sacrifice of three lead characters (title character Major Sancho Panzer, a.k.a Val included) saving the planet from the threat of giant worms.

For most people – Dan Abnett included – the series was a flop. For me, I loved it. I still love it on re-reading. There was nothing wrong with it and it was, imo, not given a fair chance. The story was certainly no worse than any Sinister Dexter story and again imo it was funnier, too. That is forgetting the simply sublime artwork by the magnificent Henry Flint. It is certainly one story that stuck firmly in my mind, so in respect to what I thought was a great missed chance at a long running strip I decided to do a homage. I had it all planned out but realised that I could fit it all into one wallpaper when I got started. Here is the first I completed of Sancho Panzer's tank, as infamous as the man himself, Mojo.


Here is the second Sancho Panza inspired wallpaper. This piece was much more an exercise in speed painting than anything else. Most of the wallpapers I have done so far have taken seven-plus hours, but this one only took around two. It is my first successful speed paint and I think for the feel I wanted to get I could have done much better if I put more time into it. The only thing I'm really disappointed with is that I didn't manage to give the impression of scale. After all, those are full sized trees the cows are grazing on.

As always Sancho Panzer is the copyright of Rebellion. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Treetown of the Spiderfolk


Another Henry Flint inspired art piece here. This time from the tales of Mega City 1's top enforcer, the lawman of the future himself, Judge Dredd. This image was inspired by the introduction of Treetown nestled in the Cursed Earth that Judge Dredd, Judge DeMarco and a group of rookies came across during a hotdog run in Dance of the Spider Queen in prog 1041.

I loved Henry Flints original artwork of Treetown, but felt for the wallpaper I would need to expand on the premise a little. I wanted to add more of a spiderweb aspect and a cavernous quality to my interpretation and give more emphasis on the play of light.

As usual, Judge Dredd is copyright of Rebellion.

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Mazeworld


Mazeworld was a creator owned comic that appeared in three instalments in 2000AD between 1998 and 2000. Written by Alan Grant with artwork by Arthur Ranson (who was also responsible for the artwork on three volumes of the amazing Button Man - written by John "Judge Dredd" Wagner).

My image is a bit of a plagorism, I'll admit. The original can be found on a double spread in prog 1017 where Arthur Ranson gives us a view of the vast Mazeworld itself. The image seemed perfect for interpretation with the style I'm trying to develop on the computer.

As an illustrator friend told me, the original is like a detailed diagram of the Mazeworld whereas mine is the reality as if you are travelling through the clouds and stumble upon it. Very kind words, indeed and certainly what I had hoped to achieve (ego aside).

Mazeworld's copyright is owned by Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson. There is a graphic novel collecting the three volumes available from Rebellion.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

ABC Warriors Project

It has been over a month and a half since my last 2000AD desktop wallpaper was posted and I had promised more.  That month and a half has been a busy one.  There was Christmas and New Year which occupied a good few weeks of my time.  There was the nightmare prospect that my graphics tablet had reached the end of its life and it was time to buy a new one which I could not afford (eventually I found out what the problem was and managed to fix it).  Then there was the ABC project.  No, I wasn't learning to read and write, thankfully I've been able to do that for a long time now.  Nope, the ABC project was my seventh 2000AD desktop wallpaper which I planned to depict a line up of all ABC Warriors from self-named strip.  It has been a while since I've done any character work and I never felt particularly confident in doing robots.  I decided that I would do each warrior separately, so I'd have an individual picture of each of them that I could then use for the line up.  I did end up with two pairs, which would give me a total of 11 pictures.  The way I had planned the project meant I could not post anything until all the pictures were finished.  I have to admit that my planning was not the best thought out and I probably extended the project a week or two unnecessarily.  I did learn some new things and did some inks that I was very pleased with, so it wasn't a total loss (try to look for the positives).

Anyway, those of you who know the ABC Warriors and are sharp may very well say:  "Hang on, 11 pictures?  With two pairs?  That makes 13 Warriors in total, but there have been 15!"  I decided against including Nemesis and Terry on the basis that they aren't robots.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Imperial Court


This is taken from the second part of the introductory story of Nikolai Dante in 2000AD's prog 1036 back in 1997. The artwork was by Simon Fraser, co-creator of Nikolai Dante alongside Robbie Morrison. I instantly fell in love with the strip, it's raunchy, swashbuckling attitude and fantastic artwork.

The final appearance of Nikolai Dante appeared in 2000AD this year in prog 1791 after a fifteen year run. With such a wealth of material I am sure this won't be my last Nikolai Dante inspired wallpaper.

Nikolai Dante's copyright is owned by Rebellion.

Monday, 11 February 2013



This image is based on the Rogue Trooper - Hot Metal Part 1 from prog 983 with artwork done by the wonderfully talented Henry Flint. The panel is to be found on the third page of the story.

Rogue Trooper one of 2000AD's oldest characters, created by Gerry Finley-Day (writer) and Dave Gibbons (artist). A genetically engineered infantryman (G.I) called Rogue out for revenge against a traitor general. He is accompanied by three of his dead comrades, Helm, Bagman and Gunnar who have had their personalities downloaded to biochips which are attached to Rogue's Helmet, Backpack and Gun respectively.

The original run was from prog 228 in 1981 to the 2000AD winter special in 1989 (with the final story in 2000AD appearing in prog 603 in 1988). The character was brought back for the fabulous "Cinnabar" story in progs 624-630 and 633-635 in 1989 and a few appearances in annuals and specials after that.

Rogue Trooper returned again in 1989, in prog 650 but re-imagined with a new Rogue Trooper called Friday. Eventually he'd be accompanied by his own set of biochip buddies called Top, Lucky and Eightball (even though I loved the original run, reading my eldest brothers old copies of 2000AD he gave me, I always thought these names were better). This story had a very different tone to it than the original and with the colour artwork it set itself apart.

In 1995 there was an ill-advised attempt to try and join the two different Rogue Trooper stories together in a convoluted continuity. Although it saw the re-introduction of Venus Bluegenes, a female G.I, back into the story. After the debacle I felt that the story got back on firmer ground. It introduced a new enemy in the form of religious zealots, The Karvanu. Even though I enjoyed many of these stories, there was a general decline in popularity and the story tragically was allowed to fizzle out with Friday and Venus flying into a black-hole in prog 1022 in 1996.

It is from this period that the story Hot Metal appears, with an image that stayed with me from childhood. It was obvious to me that this would be the place I'd start my project. There was something about this run down refugee convoy that had been hiding from attack in the soaking rain that spoke to me as a child. It was probably the rain which always evokes emotions in me.

I gave myself 6 hours to complete this image but it ran to more like 12 in the end. There was a lot of stuff I had to figure out and a lot of lessons to be learnt, but I got there in the end.

Oh, and if you are curious, Rogue Tropper - the original - did return to the pages of 2000AD along with a couple of other G.Is in other strips. Friday, Top, Lucky and Eightball drawn by Henry Flint will always be my favourite though.

Rogue Trooper is copyright of Rebellion - I guess I should mention that.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

2000AD Wallpaper Project

So here's the story.

I had been looking at operating systems for my upgraded computer and had been considering changing to Windows 7 as my windows operating system (as I dual boot my computer – some programs I use don't work in Linux).  I had a play around with it and decided that I didn't like it.  I felt for my needs it was useless due to it's lack in backwards compatibility with some of the hardware I use.  There was one feature, however, that I did like.  Changing desktop wallpapers.  So I had a look for a program that ran this feature for XP (which I decided to keep as my Windows OS).

I then needed a cool collection of wallpapers.  My old collection was mainly for my previous monitors aspect ratio and I never really bothered looking for more.  I actually prefer making my own desktop wallpapers, but with this feature I felt I could shove in some inspirational artwork by other artists and some cultural iconography.  This led me to discover a total lack of wallpapers for my monitor ratio based on my favourite comic, 2000AD.

I had this brainwave.  I could make some 2000AD inspired wallpapers.  What a great idea!  I can take my artwork into a new direction like I have been longing to.  My personal space is filled with unsold canvases and I have no more room to store them and barely enough room to paint them.  Returning to digital media will get me doing artwork again and space isn't an issue (not even hard drive space).  Plus I have a perfect reason to start re-reading my 2000AD collection.  I felt like a complete genius.

Except there was one snag.  I had learnt to do decent work on a canvas but my attempts to translate that to digital media had been less than successful.  I had done digital art work for years before I got out the paintbrushes again and that digital work was laborious, patience straining hard work for what were less than stellar imagery.  I did not let this deter me.  I had taught myself how to paint well with acrylics (with a little help from some books) and I can teach myself how to paint well on the computer (with a little help from some books).

Friday, 8 February 2013

New Look

New look, new direction and a fresh start on the blog and what I intend for it in the future. I have recently returned to the digital mediums as paints and canvas' have become too cumbersome and I am now producing what I believe to me my best work to date. I hope to be updating this blog with images or whatever to do with this new direction. I also might put some more personal stuff up here, like reviews of films I have recently seen or music I'm into. Be a bit more broad.

I'll be surprised if anyone actually reads this anyway as I'm just restarting with the blogosphear and the social networking thing. Still, got to start somewhere and this is it - I think.