Friday, 28 December 2012


This is the stuff of my childhood. when I was 6 or 7 years old I collected bubblegum cards of my favourite tv shows and other cool stuff.   These cards were like the best things ever back then.
Some of the most collectable cards back then were a series called Mars Attacks (the inspiration for Tim Burtons 1996 movie), Civil War News and  Battle.
Civil War News and Battle were and probably still are some of the most graphically violent trading cards I have ever seen.




 You'd never have such products available and freely sold to kids of that age nowadays . Is it any wonder I grew up the way I did?

The crème de la crème of my card collection back in the 60's were these Batman cards.

Although not as graphically violent as Civil War News and Mars Attacks, they still teased with images of potential violent death*. There were three series to collect. The black, red and blue series (indicated by the coloured bat graphic in the right hand corner.
*They also came with the possible threat of real violence from another collector wanting the all important, yet elusive, card to complete his set that you happened to have in your possession.
 What all of the above have in common is that they were all painted by Norman Saunders and Bob Powell. Norman Saunders was well know at the time for his sci-fi and crime  pulp covers.

Related links

This link goes into more detail about the Batman cards. There were were seires: black, red and blue (I didn't want to bore the pants off you all with my nerdiness).

To get back to Batman....

Here's a nice post by Eddie Campbell about his childhood reading material which , by what he writes here, was the same as mine.
Eddie Campell's  blog is very good if you have time for a coffee break.

Batman # 90 (1955) has a story drawn by Dick Sprang, but my fave story in this issue is WEB OF DOOM, drawn by Sheldon Moldoff. I just love the big shadows.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


This post will feature reviews of the following students work (in no particular order): Vanessa, Orazio, Eric, Paul, Tamsin, Harvinder and Tannith

I know you have experienced some difficulty completing a body of work this term. I hope you do not become disheartened. When you get into your zone you produce some really good stuff, and for my money, it's worth the wait .
when you consider this early drawing from 2008...
  and the work you are producing in 2012...
there is some definite progress being made.  I appreciate that the piece from 2012 shown above is not finished and that you are not really that happy with it but I think it's great. I think you are carving an interesting path with your art.
I look forward to seeing your next finished work

Good solid body of work this term.
Your sci-fi themed work is your best  in my opinion, so continue your focus and development in this area.

I also like your ideas on costumes , keep this going.
 good work this term, Orazio.

The drawing is from last term but I really like it . Nice detail and tonal range on the dragon.

Keep working on the figure work . Some strong pieces produced this term.

Nice lighting on this piece. Good work.

I'm pleased with the progress you made in just 10 weeks.
Keep working on your figure work. The more you observe movement and how the body works and put that  into your loose sketches the more your work will improve.
 Cast your mind back to the examples of loose sketches produced by the pros that we discuss during class, notice how they capture power of the action or set the tone for the proposed work.
By Frank Frazetta

Also try adding slabs of tone or solid ink with a marker or brush to develop shape and form and also to determine light source.

 By Frank Frazetta

By Jim Lee
Have a look at Michael Oeming's site , he often posts production sketches of his work.

I like the pattern on the tree in this piece. Would be good to see it finished.

another interesting piece.

Good work.

As much as I like the work produced following the exercises  presented in class, I would like to see you develop your own ideas more. I think you have some great ideas waiting to  burst out but I think that lack of confidence is holding you back. This is common with a lot of illustrators both amateur and pro so don't worry, it will happen, either a little at a time or maybe in one great big breakthrough.

 Your figure work is improving. I would like to see more completed work once you settle in to your new home.

Good progress  in only 10 weeks (20 hours)
I'll be honest, at first I had some doubts about how much you would achieve within the time frame of the course but you really came through.
 In the composite image above, week 1 on the left shows stumpy and blunt figure work, by week 10 the figure work is opening up nicely. Well done. Keep working on your figure work and I think you will make very good progress.
I notice you like to get right in there with the detail. This is good but try not to limit your work and ideas to A4 paper, expand your work onto A3 if it needs the space.
Nice to see you developing you own creations. Keep this going too.
Good work.

I was hoping to document your work better than I have but failure to bring the work in to class has made this difficult. In hindsight, I should have documented the very rough stages of your work. What I did see you develop during class showed a lot of promise. When you put your mind to it you can produce the foundations of  some good work.  I hope you will continue with drawing whether it be  in class or elsewhere.

Some of you are limiting your work to A4 sheets of paper.You are attempting to draw what should be A3 pieces of art on A4 paper. The result is that the detail you want to  put into your work is becoming cramped and in some cases messy.  By this I do not mean that your drawing skill is bad, I think some of you are trying to cram too much into a small area. A4 sheets are great for rough workings and sketches of full figures or more detailed drawings of  head and shoulders .
 The original drawing of the wolf tutorial was drawn on an A3 portrait sheet of paper. I think I could produce a similar amount of detail on an A4 sheet if I used a 0.5 Rotring ink pen but as I was using a pencil I chose to use an A3 sheet.
Always consider the size of your proposed work and the appropriate size of paper to work on.

  If I remember correctly, Adi Granov produced these ink drawings   within an A5 area. I could be wrong  but I think they were produced on an A4 sheet, so the work would have a white boarder around it.
I am not really sure of the type of pen used but I am guessing either an ultra fine copic multiliner (or Rotring ink pen but I don't think Adi uses Rotring pens) for the fine hatching and  a brush pen or an actual brush for the solid application of ink.


As much as I  would like to focus more on anatomy during class , given that each course is only 10 weeks (20 hours) , there is only time for a crash course in figure drawing. I recommend investing in at least one good book that focuses on anatomy. There are plenty of good resource books out there by Andrew Loomis , Burne Hogarth and magazine  omnibus editions of FX magazine.

Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth

Drawing Then Head And Hands by Andrew Loomis

Friday, 21 December 2012


Welcome of the end of term review part 2
This post will feature reviews of the following students work (in no particular order): Rebekah, Rosie and Jake.

Ok, next up we have
I hope you made notes and can remember that moment when the penny dropped  regarding the foundations of figure drawing. If not we can recap next term. If you can find time to just have some fun with loose figure sketches, whether it be for one of your projects or for simply exploring  where you go with it, I think you  will find it helpful.
 Above we have development sketches by Claire Wendling
and below, by Frank Frazetta, . If it's good enough for the pros,....

I can see where this idea is going but remember what we discussed in class about observations of anatomy and how it works.

This piece (below)  I really like....
and I was pleasantly surprised by your response to the final tutorial (shown below) . I am really pleased with how this is developing.

I think you have moments when it all fits together so well and it would be great to see that become a more consistent with future work.

 I like how you are exploring perspective and other angles as opposed to straight ahead, eye level p.o.v.

Keep working on your facials, they are getting better.

I really like where you are going with this. Nice work. The top sketch is my personal favourite. It is a good character study.

...and, yes! more of this! keep this going.

I think you made good progress this term. Breaking out of your comfort zone of drawing small and compact will  enable you to produce work with a higher level of detail.
Below is a recap of the feedback on the wolf project.
 Looking good, but the outline of the cape needed adjusting. Notice where it ends at the shoulders and then reappears  below the waist. Little details will make your work stronger.
Also you will notice the inside of the cape has been shaded to throw out the shape of the figure.
I have also created some tonal definition on the figure around the head. This is optional but whether you keep the head dark or a mix of tonal ranges, make sure that there is clarity.
 I wasn't sure whether this character was wearing tartan trousers or fishnet stockings. I went with fishnet stockings as it  looked like  it was where you where going with this. 
 To make anything you draw look convincing and like what it is meant to represent you have to have some knowledge of what it is you are drawing. If you are drawing something that you are unfamiliar with, go  and research some reference. Google images gets  most artists out of a fix but printed material is also excellent too.
If you are drawing lingerie there are  plenty of places you can look that are safe from stronger adult material. Most high street stores such as Debenhams, Anne Summers etc.  have websites that will have plenty of reference.

  Good work, Jake. 

Style and application inspiration.
Study other artist's work  that you feel inspired by. It may encourage you to try other  materials and applications.

Below are some really nice pen and ink drawings by Adi Granov. Believe it or not, these are A5 drawings!

Nice hatching from Esad Ribic

 and Claire Wendling