Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Crikey, best intentions and all that. Been cleaning all day, and had a power failure earlier, so found the day over with literally NO drawing or painting done. So here's a couple of quick Santa themed doodles.

Merry Christmas everyone :D

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's not Christmas yet

I seem to be rallying against the changing of the years with some vehemence, as if magically I'll conjure something amazing before Christmas takes over my everything. Even now I'm receiving texts demanding I take part in the festivities.

But I ain't quitting. I think I'm back on the make-something-every-day bandwagon, although the landscape up above- whilst trying new techniques- doesn't seem like anything new.

The ship is close to older designs, but I'm happier with it than previous attempts.

I could rant and wax lyrical with all the moany emo crap, but its cold and depressing enough already. I've just over a week to sort my head out for 2011, and I'm gonna do my absolute best not to waste it.

But in case I DON'T make it back tomorrow, a very merry holiday to you all.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Been having a bit of an artblock lately, and the only thing that seems to be going right is that darklight's coming on mby leaps and bounds. Here's a shot of the DaRT, from left to right Engel, Max, Pete, Meatball, Melissa,Davis...all out for a bevvie, apparently.

I was gonna say 'stay frosty' but that doesn't seem to tricky right now, so STAY WARM.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Its been pretty much the coldest week on record here in Ireland this week, so I'm staying firmly indoors barring wanderings off for hot chocolate or the construction of phallic objects out of snow. IN THAT TIME, I've been writing and learning some more 3d. I had forgotten how utterly time sapping 3d is- I can stop painting at any time, but setting up renders/modelling can hold me for hours on end. If I had a maid bringing me tea I'm not sure I could stop.

After the advice of a good friend I took to using Maya with my wacom, which overcame my earlier problem of hand pains from the mouse. WIN.

The results so far haven't been good enough, but have been a marked improvement. This is why the attached picture is a speedpaint rather than a render.

ALSO, as part of my silly attempts at writing, I've started doing page tests for the big bad Darklight Book. Last time took way too long, and I'm looking to make the next book (and by that I mean an actual book and not a glorified pamphlet) in a reasonable timeframe. Currently thinking pencilled A4 loosely and then inked in manga studio. Bristol board is good and all, but not having an A3 scanner really blows.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sketchy Thoughtbubbles

So last weekend was the ThoughtBubble festival in Leeds. Despite various errors in judgement, flight times and bank balances myself and Alan made it into the city late Friday evening. We gorged ourselves on yummy chinese food and watched the Children in Need proceedings. Cue a night of dehydrated-from-salty-noodles-insomnia, but Saturday was the MAIN EVENT.

It got very busy, very fast. I was sitting next to the lovely Moo and Keo guys, who're great craic and charming folk. Stephen Downey arrived a little before noon with a selection of prints and quality original drawings for sale.

There were a TONNE of people there I'd loved to have gotten a chance to talk to, but enormous queues prevented this. I did geek out a little at Doug Braithwaite's table. Some pencils just tick all my boxes; usually those with a dilligent respect for life drawing.

Speaking of life drawing, we managed to find ourselves in the right place and right time for the Dr Sketchy's event. I've heard of Dr Sketchy's before- a nice mix of drinking, costume/burlesque and life drawing, but had never partaken. The theme for the evening was 'Superheroes' and we were treated to Ms Jupiter and Catwoman.

I really enjoy life drawing, and it was great to get some good practice in, as well as have the craic with Stephen and Al. As fate would have it, I won a prize for the above drawing so I was quite stoked.

Soon afterwards the tables were moved aside for the afterparty. There was a rotation between Travelling Man crew and Phonogram crew, and each brought something excellent to the table. I don't know how many people realised what was playing was the closing credits to the Raccoons, but I appreciated it's genius.

Cue drinks, dancing (Ilya has some serious moves by the way) and interesting conversations that shall never be repeated. Ever.

My profits exchanged for hangover, hampered by cold pizza and a late star, Sunday inevitably rolled around. We wandered up to the Art Gallery just in time for John Romita Jmr's talk which was interesting and entertaining, and gave me a healthy fear of Mrs Romita. I also got to sit in on Bryan Talbot's talk on the evolution of Anthropomorphic comics which was informative and different.

Last but not least was my portfolio review with Steve Wacker. I think it went well, though he did say that getting a job as a colorist in Marvel is the _hardest_ of all positions.

Buzzing from that, we got some lovely nibbles from the walking dead this is McDonalds and were off, bidding adieu to Stephen and returning back from whence we came.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This was just for fun. Haven't really gotten a chance to do much speedpainting lately, and I missed the sheer freedom of it. Never really used 'pen tilt' as an option before, and I gotta say, I like.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Quick pic of Nightcrawler, on of my favourite of the merry mutants called the X Men. Getting psyched up for MCM this weekend at Excel in London. Festivities kick off on the Friday right through to the sunday. I'll be manning my post at table C26, and will be selling prints, sketches, copies of my books and glasses of lemonade*. Feel free to drop by and say hi. Taking preorders for prints, so if there's anything from my back catalogue you'd love to get your hands on, leave a comment or drop me an email/dA Note/carrier pigeon.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Black Dog

My soundtrack for the week has largely been made up of various episodes of Cowboy Bebop. An absolute classic, that still more than holds its own today both visually and through sound. Great writing, clever twists on archetypal characters make for suprisingly memorable characters and episodes. Jet is one of my favourite characters, so I thought I'd do this up.

Trying to go a bit more design-y, seeing as my last pic (Ratchet) was very background heavy. Tomorrow is the 24 hour comics event in the Central Hotel in Dublin. Never tried anything like this before, should be fun. Might start a few hours late owing to a family commitment, but I'm swinging for the 24 pages nonetheless. Maybe. We'll see.

I think it's time to blow this scene, get everybody and my friends together. OK, 3,2,1 let's jam :D

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hulk Warmup

A quicky warmup for this morning. I was never a huge Hulk fan, but I have to say I was well impressed by the Ed Norton film. Been toying with donig a hulk related pic, and might still get around to it at some point. For now, this 20 minute doodle is all I have.

In other news, I'm starting work coloring some issues of Chris Houghton's Reed Gunther which is new and fun for me. Can't wait, had a blast doing the sample page.

The 24 hr comic event is happening this Saturday/Sunday coming in the Central Hotel in Dublin, from noon til noon. I won't be there for the whole 24 hours, but will definitely be making an appearance.

To all of you going to NYCC I'm insanely jealous. Looking forward to MCM London and Thoughtbubble. Both should be fantastic, if you're around feel free to drop by and say hi. More on that closer to the day.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge Doctor Who fan, so when I got the chance to put some colours on Stephen Downey's Torchwood cover I was like a kid at Christmas. Had a real blast doing this, and you can find it in all good comic shops around October 31st :D

Monday, September 6, 2010

A big thank you to all who supported my head shave for the Irish Cancer Society. It was a huge success, and we managed to raise €486 :D

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nom Con

This is one of the sketches I did over the weekend at Nom Con.
Good craic; anime cons tend to be a lot...peppier than other cons. Still, I'll take any excuse to play with ink and washes all day. Really came across well, and congratulations to everyone who put it together.

In other news my site is now live at
Let me know what you think of it ;)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Atomic Robo

So, Red 5 have put out a call for Atomic Robo pinups, and I'm a huge fan of Robo. Tinkering around with ideas for what to work up, and this was one of the things that happened. Might rework this to be my entry, but as it stands its hemorhaging mistakes. This is just an overworked doodle, so I'm cool with that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

DRAGON not lizard, I don't do that tongue thing.

also, THIS. Was giving a talk last week on my workflow, and this was the image I used as an example. Worked back into it since, and I'm quite proud of it. Hope y'all like it!


Quicky for today. That scene in Eternal Sunshine sprang to mind when they were under the duvet; the orangey lighting around that point of the movie was really interesting, generated a great sense of calm nostalgia. Without going to hard into that, I wanted to do something relaxed, and god forbid, HAPPY.

Yeah, I do love drawing hair. Why I gave Melissa the most masculine haircut imaginable is beyond me.

Still can't tell you what's coming up, but I'm totally stoked about it.

For now, for daytime jobiness I'm upskilling with as many tutorials as I can get my hands on, getting my website off the ground and getting ready to knock on the door of every publisher known to man.

Time to get good at what I'm good at, and get paid for being good. At least that's the plan.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Big Things a-coming

OK, so I'm not allowed talk about it yet, but there's a big project coming up, and I'm involved in it.


In the meantime, I'm giving a painting demonstration tomorrow, so some more stuff like this'll be on its way- probably over at my deviantart account.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An oldish drawing test from a job I didn't get. I don't HATE it, so enjoy.

Today's been really prolific, doing some more work for scouting, finishing a painting for private sale AND a quickie ink commission still to be done. If I get time this evening, I'm gonna start coloring on a new project which I'm looking forward to.

Coloring is definitely one of my preferred art chores, purely because I love bouncing lights around in photoshop and playing with how it passes through objects. Which is what really kills the pic above here- with no defined lightsource (it was to be on a transparent background) defined it was tricky to render and I think the piece suffered for it. Add a lack of SSS, and you've got why I'm not really into rendering standalone objects without a world to belong to.

A load of deadlines coming up for different things, but managing OK. The difference getting up early makes is unbelievable.

All the best.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In the spirit of the 24 hr comic challenge itself, I put a clock on this. And rather than use your silly hours and minutes, I choose the medium of Shawshank Redemption. I THINK its around 3 hours, but I wanted to see how fast I could work without cutting too many corners. Went straight from blue to inkpen for this, which is something I NEVER do, but it got me in juuuuuust over the deadline. That is, just as the film stopped rewinding.

This is all I'm putting up of this comic til October- until the anthology comes out, but I might update this page with tones when I get to it. Let me know what you guys think!

All the best,


5, what you waiting for...

Trying something a bit looser, this is where I'm at for the main character in my submission for the upcoming 24 comic day anthology. Just about to sit down and start drawing the first page.

Stay frosty.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Quite stylish

Right, back onto the subject of style. I've dealt with this before over at deviantart, but I'm gonna rant a little about it here.

I'm like a magpie. I see something shiny, and I'm all over it. New gimmicks, looks, approaches, media, the lot. I like to try a bit of everything, and at this stage I've dipped my toe into about as many media as I have come across.

Where has that gotten me? A fairly broad understanding of a lot of things, but lacking in a mastery in any particular field. Its like walking down a street full of different restaurants and only getting to eat a mouthful of the cusine in each.

Yes, you taste it, but you don't get the whole meal, the subtlety, the secret behind the sauce.

I think it was something Dan Panosian said that he disliked coloring because he kept trying new things, and it stopped him from mastering any one approach. At the time, I disagreed with him, but in wholly practical terms he was right. I don't see Cheeks painting like Dan Luvisi, and I don't see Dan painting like Cheeks. Masters of different fields.

What makes them both excellent though? I hate to say it, because the idea is as old as time itself, but its the basics. Mastering the basics. Anatomy, gesture, posing, storytelling, colour, light, materials. I recently read something else that said 'style is what you leave out', and this is the main reason I use the example of Cheeks. His work is bold, and minimal. But everything's there.

Seeing as I'm talking about style, now is the time to say 'simplicity is the ultimate sophistication' Maybe. It depends on the intent. We're in the business of storytelling, and style says a lot about content.

Now the key difference in this rant is WHY styles are applied, most notably in comics.

One thing I've noticed recently is that the higher line mileage in a panel, the longer I spend looking at it, the visual equivalent of using big words.
The other end of the spectrum is Scott Pilgrim, whose simple visual style is very easy to read. I got through 2-5 in just under 90 minutes, and 6 in under 30. Not rushing, just that's the speed the books took me at. I'll read them again and again, because they're a great adventure, but the upbeat pacing worked great.

The art and method of pacing is still very foreign to me. What works in a film storyboard is not what works in comics. I've so much to learn, its thrilling and terrifying.

I'm working on two projects at the moment; one of which I'm keeping to very simple lines and cartoony designs, purely as a test to see how it affects storytelling. Also, busy pages take a hella lotta time.
The other, I'm going all out on, and hoping to really make it pop in the best way.

One of these days, I'll pick one style and master it. In the interest of making all of darklight work at some point in the future, I've been gearing myself towards darker, grittier stuff. Am I just kidding myself? I dunno. I've stopped thinking like 'I love XXXXXXs work, I wish I could draw like him'. Now I'm thinking 'I need to work on my gesture/design/storytelling' In a ways, I'm saying 'screw how everyone else draws, I'm not happy with how I make things look. Gotta do something about that'

I'm guessing that's where style is born.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kitty Fritters

(Painted directly from reference, about 10/15 mins)K

So today was spent catching up on things...writing things, tidying things and even a little bit of painting. I've done some quick pics of explosions and cats, although none of the two together as of yet.

Have written the outline for my submission for the 24 hr comics anthology. Tomorrow I'll judge whether or not its any good, and get down to the fun character design bits.
I'm not sure how exclusive the submissions for it have to be, but I'll be quite happy to post bits and pieces here as I go.

For now though, it's 1.30, and the later I leave it the harder it'll be to pry myself from my comfy comfy bed in the morning.

Expect a big long rant about style tomorrow. In the best possible way.

Stay classy,


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Backbone of the Economy

My back's out at the moment, so drawing is a bit difficult. Trying to keep in some way productive, so here's a sort of warmup for this morning. Simple and straightforward, trying to hold back from going super saturated right away. I noticed recently that I've a lot of green in my work, but I guess that's what happens when you're surrounded by lush fields 24/7.

Also, apparently purple is indicative of indecision of the color temperature of a piece. Not sure I agree with that at all, but that's what I heard.

BOOKS, right now I'm reading more) Freakshow by Rob Curley, with Mooney and Thompson on art if I remember correctly. Usually I inhale books, but something about FS has me taking my time. Could be the black and white nature. Hmm. Anyway, its good. Supernatural without being superheroes. Realistic without being real.

Also in the pile at the moment is Atomic Robo vol 3. Great writing, and wonderful art. Chunky and cartoony, whispers of Mignola in there with a chunky animated feel to it. Great coloring throughout, well paced storytelling and at times laugh out loud funny. Anyone who hasn't read it really should.

Going back to inhalation, Scott Pilgrim 6. It was everything I wanted it to be. I got through it in about 30 mins. I guess the simpler the character/more stylised, the easier to assimilate the information. Something to remember when doing my own work.

I've to do a 5 page story for the 24hr comic event. Well, I don't HAVE to, I WANT to. Pilgrim has me wanting to try something closer to my animation roots, so we'll see how that goes. I've the bones of the story there, now I just need to flesh it out.

Those of you who follow this blog might notice I'm talking more than usual, and this is a result of my Blog CRISIS in which all of my blogs have been collapsed into THIS, which will update more regularly than before.

I won't say daily, because that'll ruin everything.

But I'll try.

For now, amorphous figures lying in a park.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Just a little story I wrote to try out Manga Studio. Grand little program it is. Now with an actual readable resolution.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A little warmup for Issue 2

Issue 2 of Darklight is going to deal more with Pete and Melissa, so here's some concept work for it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hot off the ...well, photoshop, this is to be the cover of my first issue of Darklight, titled 'Strength' Max kicking all sorts of monstery butt. Book should be out start of June. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Some sketches I've been doing for the dailies. Just for kicks.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Avengers Initiative

Linework by the brilliant Jorge Molina, coloured for practice by meself.

Been trying to sort out working in grayscale first vs refining huge spoldges of colour, and I think I've solved my problem- do both! I roughed out the colours, then flatted it, desaturated a copy of the flats later and rendered it up. Set that on luminosity and worked from there. Will definitely use this approach again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thor...I guess

I've been an avid reader of Thor for the past year (I know it's EXACTLY a year as my sub just ran out) and I have to say its been consistently breathtaking.
Wanted to try and do a bit of a redesign of the big man himself, and it seems to have gone down the Joe Mad Ultimates route a bit...not where I wanted it to go but I ran out of time.

Also, first time trying the Kirby crackle ^.^

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I didn't think I'd have so many parallels between my comics stuff and my sketch stuff. OH WELL. A rather animated looking Joker.

This is just a quickie I did whilst watching the Incredible Hulk film, also to let you know I'm doing a daily sketchblog over here

Getting all my gear back this weekend, so expect more proper comics to happen in the near future.

All the best,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

We Need a Doctor

I'm a huge Doctor Who fan, and had JUST gotten David Tennant down by the time this guy Matt Smith. The irony of a man named Mr Smith playing the Doctor just dawned on me. Anyway, he's NOTORIOUSLY difficult to draw, so I decided to give it a shot.

Quite happy with the result, although there's some mistakes with the TaRDiS that I wouldn't make again.

Monday, January 18, 2010

turtle sketch plus photoshop = this

Been quite prolific this year so far. I'm taking part in the Imagine FX sketch challenge, the aim being to draw or paint something every day. I'd been doing it on my own for a while, but I'm at 18 days and counting so far. The results have been immediate, and the best of them can be found over at my deviantart gallery


Turtles are property of Mirage