Saturday, 26 November 2011

Illustration of the weekend

Hey all,

Just wanted to share something. As a rule, movie posters and DVD covers are kinda pedestrian and uninspired but once in a while, something comes along which really stands out. Today I was browsing horror movies in a couple of stores with the mighty Gav Heryng and among the standard fare on offer was this gem.

A little research revealed that the artist is Gary Pullin, whose site is here and contains a ton of horror-related imagery. Shame on me for being late to the party.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Keep Clams and Carrion

How quaint. I bet nobody even notices.

Look, it's nobody's fault necessarily.

Read up on the Keep Calm... poster here if you want, but essentially all you need to know is that a WW2 morale-boosting poster issued by the British government has been co-opted by all and sundry since its rediscovery in 2000. I was once a fan of the various parodies that would crop up here and there over the last few years, indeed I believe I still have a Fantastic Four-themed version in my cart at DeviantART from when I was umming and ahhing about how to decorate my flat earlier this year.

Modern Toss made me spit coffee in a shop when I saw this.
Recently, however...

It's getting stupid. While I appreciate that the font (Gotham, or a loose approximation), layout and simplicity is both recognisable and potentially ripe for effective and amusing reinterpretation, every Tom, Dick and Harry is getting in on the act, lessening the impact with each attempt. Primark had some in the window around the time of the Royal Wedding (remember that? Feh) and I would be willing to put seven pounds and fifteen pence (the price of Primark's executive range suit jacket) on the fact that they sold like the proverbial hot cakes. Or crack. It's a sad indictment of the general public's appetite for regurgitated ideas and it makes me want to cry man tears.

Omnomnom is also funny. Sigh.

Where's all of the originality? Of course, it's everywhere! That isn't the point. These posters aren't being created by design or advertising agencies, serious artists, typographers or anybody with any real hope of breaking the mould. They're the equivalent of this:

In Non-Star Wars, hats were very much 'in'.
People as a whole don't like innovation. How else do you explain reality television? People watching people doing the same stuff they just finished doing earlier. It's possibly a good thing, because we live in an age of rapidly-evolving technology and if everyone was to strive for innovation, the robot apocalypse would be upon us faster than you can say "common sci-fi trope". Instead, we're content to repeat the same actions, drink the same drinks, eat the same food, read the same stories, watch the same films, drive the same cars ad infinitum. Well, apart from when Steve Jobs announces... oh, yeah.

Anyway, I'm drifting here. But you know what? The Keep Calm clan aren't unique in the world of overused 21st Century posters. There's also this fella:

Shiny new prez!
If you need me to link to parodies, pastiches and blatant cash-ins that have cropped up in the wake of Shepard Fairey's artistic lovechild, you might want to go back to sitting in the corner with a ball of string. You CAN'T MOVE ON THE INTERNET for this thing, even after all these years (you can't move on the internet anyway, but you know what I mean). Google it and the world turns into pork. Seriously.

So I would like to take this opportunity to tell the world that you can all stop now. I have created the ultimate parody of both of these in one neat image. There is no point in trying to go further, for you will only look like the guy who still says "NOT!" at the end of a perfectly decent sarcastic remark. Wayne's World was a long time ago. World War 2 was even longer of the agoes. Stop it. Stop. Here, take this and explode in isolation. All hail your new poster overlord.


Are we all done now?

- Jamie

PS: Ed and Josh, the guys on the table next to us at Thought Bubble, had variations on the Keep Calm and the Hope posters. I feel like a prize turd for essentially lumping them in with the rest of the people I'm slagging off, but I will qualify it with this statement: It's bloody hard for freelance artists to make a profit at comic conventions and frankly I think they did the right thing.

* Oh, and I will be making this poster available to buy so I can cash in on the success of others.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Return of the Mack

Back from Thought Bubble/TB/Tho Bubs and I would have to place it right up there with one of my all-time weekends. So what if it I spent all my money, got ill after eating fried fish, slept for only six hours over two nights and came home with a good portion of the stock I arrived with? It was an amazing time because of friends, fellow creators, fans (yeah! I have fans!), coffee, beer, rum, roller girls, dancing, The A-Team, aloo potatoes, small press and the irresistible urge to yell "SHOOT HER!", "I know you didn't!" and "Mmmmmolten lava!" over and over again.

Awesome Merchandise, to whom I declared my undying love last week, came through again on two levels. Firstly, by printing my posters to an appropriately awesome standard and secondly by being cool enough to stay behind a short while after closing at the end of their week so I could pick up said posters (me having turned up 35 minutes late because of traffic). All round ace people Mike Bunt and his good lady Kaytie Picklechops put up with our bloke musk in their flat for the weekend, so big thanks to them too. Sharktopus and a pizza called 'Yam Yam Bear' were the pre-cursor to a Friday night of ill-advised debauchery, ending four hours before we had to get ready to leave for the con.

The con itself was a learning experience. Four creators sharing one table is not practical. Next time, I'm going solo despite the additional cost. It was brilliant to share with Gary, Dan and Gav as we had a real laugh, but I think the jumble sale-esque appearance of our table let us down somewhat and I suppose having fun is kinda only part of the gig. Sales are a big part too. I also learned the importance of a speedy commission. Grant Perkins, our good mate, was pumping out five minute marker sketches and they were looking great. My first commission took two hours! Vector work is s-l-o-w, so maybe a 'sketch now, vector later' deal could be the way forward.

Sketchington Cardbury

The mid-con party was... yeah. I was drunk and dancing again. Kieron Gillen played Reel2Real and made my decade.

Morning set-up
Sunday morning, bright and early and hungover and caffeine-fuelled.

This is the first year Thought Bubble has hosted a two-day convention and the Sunday was pretty quiet possibly owing to the broken cash machine which was, for many people, the only convenient place to get their spends for the second day, but it allowed me to have a wander around Saville's Hall and speak to Adam Cadwell, Kayla Hillier and Marc Ellerby. Picked up their The Everyday, Galavant and Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter respectively. Missed Jonathan Edwards, though. Sods.

Also sods is the fact that two of my biggest inspirations were there and I missed both of them! Olly Moss and Mick McMahon just managed to be somewhere I wasn't for the whole weekend. Maybe it's for the best, as I'd have probably turned into a raving mad goblin creature and lost all of my professional demeanor (ha!).

Quicker than vectors, but I couldn't Ctrl+Z the jaundiced thumbs...

Anyway, I got to practice new styles, rid myself of a few of my comics, draw Juggernaut for a kid called Logan (which seemed entirely apt) and speak at length to a lovely lady whose name I stupidly forgot to ask although she both bought a print from me and was one of the organisers of the Glasgow Comic Con in July this year. Cool beans!

All hail Gary Heaney, king of the dance floor.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Thought Bubble 2011

Here's the deal:

Tomorrow and Sunday (19th and 20th November), I'll be looking all sexy-like at Table 10 in Royal Armouries Hall, showing off my wares at the 5th annual Thought Bubble comics festival in Leeds. It's a great con, although 'con' doesn't really feel like the right term. It's a friendly, interactive, educational and above all else, FUN festival of all things comics.

There are some amazing guests: Tim Sale, Adam Hughes, David Aja, Gail Simone, Cameron Stewart among the internationals hitting Yorkshire, joining homegrown talent like the Etherington Brothers, Mick McMahon (EEEE!), Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Adam Cadwell and Kayla Hillier (she's Canadian, but she lives here so it counts) and many many more.

On Table 10, in addition to myself there will be a bevy of creative talent, probably rotating as numb bum syndrome dictates. Dan Hill, writer extraordinaire will be publicising The Adventures of Sir Harry Chiselton; Gav Heryng and Gary Heaney will also be showing their artistic prowess to all and sundry. Good mates, all.

Our mutual pals and all-round good eggs, Grant and Eva Perkins, will be attending but not on our table (too good for us, you see...) so say hello to them, too. You won't be able to miss them, they'll be the ones who chloroform you and let you wake up with a missing kidney and a copy of Spirit of Hope in your hand.

I may as well put up my price list here for all you tech-savvy folk.
  • Sketch card (black and white) - £5
  • Sketch card (colour) - £8
  • Bean Man (pencil sketch plus digital file via e-mail/bluetooth) - £10
  • Geo portraits (pencil sketch plus digital file via e-mail/bluetooth) - £20
  • A3 prints (Dead World/Death Spore/No Shit Sherlock/Where the Dead Dwell) - £8
  • Hex Heroes poster (A2) - £15
And remember, you bring me an egg nog latte from Starbucks and I will propose to you. I will not marry you however, unless I really want to.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Geek appeal?

Today, I thought of an idea which I want to make into the next official Jam-Wah project (Hex Heroes being the last, since the b-movie thing became a bit sporadic). It's a series of illustrations based around a concept which I think might be good enough to get noticed if I play it right. So what's the problem?

Everything I've done up to this point has been steeped in pop culture and geekyness. The more I think about dropping that side of things and concentrating on more varied and 'serious' art, the more I wonder whether that would lose all the momentum I've gained over the last few years (such as it is). Still, there's no reward without risk and a change is as good as a rest and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and I shot the sheriff.

What I'm saying is that this blog should soon be a bit more pretentious. Just be ready, yeah?

Oh, and this weekend is Thought Bubble! I'll be sharing a table with my esteemed colleagues Gav Heryng, Dan Hill and Gary Heaney in the Royal Armouries Hall in Leeds. Can't speak for the others, but I'll be selling prints of the four b-movie posters and a larger format Hex Heroes poster, plus doing both sketch card and digital commissions. I will probably also be hungover, so if you come along, bring coffee and I'll love you forever (Starbucks' Egg Nog Latte will earn you a proposal of marriage*).

*May not be legally binding.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Awesome Merchandise!

Just a quick Monday morning shout-out to Awesome Merchandise, based in Leeds. They've rescued Christmas (okay, Thought Bubble) for me despite my floundering!

Check them out for all manner of exciting products!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Jeff Universe

Back in the long, long time ago in a land populated by college students, dreamers and Placebo fans, I read about a new animated series called South Park. It seemed to have a lot of comedy potential, but what made it stand out for me was the idea that it was seemingly possible to have a popular animation using crude, almost rudimentary artistic skills. Wow! I only had a rudimentary artistic skill at the time, so suddenly this opened up a whole mess of options!

I could be the creator of a brand new animated comedy show, written and designed by me (but with the animation handled by experts, I would decide later - delegation was an art I mastered when I was nineteen). How hard could it be to put together a winning show and get it broadcast on primetime TV? Okay, so that was a leading question which doesn't really require an answer. In any case it would inevitably come in the form of a punchline. Fortunately, my teenage slacker nature rendered the point moot and I never got past the concept stages. No harm done.

What I came up with, however, was Jeff Universe. Via a dozen or so filters applied to the core concept to ensure I didn't just create South Park, the characters formed and became something my brain won't allow me to leave alone. The central character - the eponymous Jeff - wore a coat which he bought at a charity shop and which was in fact donated in error by a wizard's housekeeper. The coat could teleport Jeff and others to crazy alternate universes, which would allow for varied episodes, experimental art techniques (I suppose you could argue that Family Guy eventually did this in their Road to the Multiverse episode) and ridiculous situations. There was a recurring antagonist; the coat's former owner and evil wizard, Wendal. Other characters included Beth (Jeff's girlfriend), Marcus (a vampire), Mister Mackranakan (a less-than-pleasant college tutor) and Phoebe (a bohemian art student).

The reason I bring this up is that today I drew Jeff for the first time in five years. Now I want to bring the guys back (this happens to me a lot, you may have noticed), maybe not as a potential animation but in some form or other. We'll see. Anyway, here are the 2006 models, followed by the 2011 model. I hope you can see improvement...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Thursday, your punishment...

...for behaving like a Tuesday or a Wednesday or something is that I only wish to spend seven minutes on piece of art just for you. The rest of it, you'll have to share with Friday. Don't look at me like that, you brought this on yourself.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Progress is overrated

If any of you followed my work back in 2006-7 you may remember that after a little experimentation, I developed a style which became known as 'bean men'. It got me work, got attention and did its job. I became a little bored with the stagnant nature though, so I dropped it to get all crazy mit der other stuff.

But get this! The beans are back in town and hopefully will be leading to some cool work which I don't know if I can spill about yet (another oh-so mysterious project...) These are just examples of the style produced on spec, but it's been cool to re-visit the old methods.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Comics to be sold...

Oy-oy! Here's a list of the comics I'm planning to sell. Most are listed by title, followed by available issues. Where there isn't a significant number of issues, I've left them out. They're headed to charity. At the end is a list of Issue Ones and Issue Zeroes that I happened to find. Apologies for the length of this list and the boring post in general.

Wildcats vol 2 1, 3-8, 10-28

Wildcats vol 3 1-2, 5-7, 17, 21-24

Wildcats vol 4 1

Wildcats vol 5 4

X-Men: Children of the Atom 1, 3, 6

ShockRockets 1-6

Sleeper 1, 9-10

Sleeper Season Two 10

Midnight Kiss 1

Hope Falls 1

Atomic Robo: Dogs of War 1

Invincible  9, 17, 34, 44, 56, 77, 79

Anna Mercury 2 1-3

Marshal Law 1-3, 5-6

Marshal Law (misc) Kingdom of the Blind, The Hateful Dead

Brightest Day   0

'76 1, 3-5

The Authority 24-28

100 Bullets 18, 23, 26-27, 31, 33, 36

Mr Majestic 1-3, 7, 9

Watchmen (Millennium Edition) 1

Watchmen (1986)   2

Marvel Team-Up (2005) 7, 14, 17, 19

Hero By Night 1-4

Scion 4-5, 20, 25-26

Captain Marvel vol 4 1-5, 16, 20, 23

Batman vol 1 655-658

Batman & Robin (2009) 1-2, 13-14

Transformers (US) 44, 62

Transformers: Generation 2   1, 4-10

Transformers (UK)

Transformers (1st mini) 1-3, 56

Transformers (2nd mini) 3-6

Transformers: War Within 1, 5

Transformers: War Within: The Dark Ages 1-2, 6

Transformers: War Within: The Age of Wrath 1

Transformers: Armada 1-3, 7, 14-15

Transformers Summer Special 1

Transformers (Ongoing) 5, 7

Transformers: Infiltration 0, 3-5

Transformers: Stormbringer  1-4

Transfomers: Escalation 4, 6

Transformers: Devastation 1-2, 6

Transformers: All Hail Megatron 6, 13

Transformers: Spotlight Optimus Prime, Sideswipe, Prowl

Transformers: Megatron: Origin 2

Transformers (Ongoing) 3-5, 9-10, 20-23, 26

Transformers/Gi Joe 1-3

Daredevil vol 1 182, 232-233, 263, 265, 276-280

Daredevil vol 2 1-34, 36-50, 56, 58-61, 64, 66, 68, 70-71, 75, 77- 78, 81, 84, 88, 101, 501-504

Daredevil: Ninja 1-3

Daredevil specials Yellow #4, DD/Bullseye: the Target #1, Reborn 1-3

Cable 24, 28, 33, 38, 43, 49, 53, 58, 71-74, 80, 82, 87, 97, 107, Annual (99)

X-Men/New X-Men/X-Men: Legacy (1991)   -1, 2, 4-11, 14-20, 23, 27-29, 43, 45, 48, 50-51, 53-55, 57, 59-60, 62-93, 95-98, 100-102, 104-108, 112-113, 115-122, 124-134, 137-139, 143-148, 150-152, 156, 164, 166, 168, 184, 186, 188-191, 200, 231, 234-235, Annual (2001)

X-Force vol 1     1-5, 7-11, 13-14, 16, 18, 20-22, 24-27, 31, 39, 44-58, 61, 63-67, 69-86, 89-91, 102, 104, 108, 119-129

X-Force vol 2   1, 5, 13, 21

X-Force (mini-series) 1

Uncanny X-Force 3, 5, 5.1, 6, 8, 10-11

X-Statix 1-8

Uncanny X-Men -1, 169, 226, 238, 240, 243, 265, 275, 277, 280-281, 283, 288, 292, 294, 295, 316, 323-337, 339-353, 355-389, 391-400, 402-417, 419, 445, 464- 465, 475, 477-480, 482, 486-488, 491, 494, 496, 516, 521-522, 524, Annuals (1990, 2001)

Astonishing X-Men (mini) 1-3

Astonishing X-Men vol 1 1-4, 6-18, 20-22, 25, 27-28

Wolverine vol 1 42, 69, 75, 77-79, 88, 93-97, 99-100, 105, 107-108, 111-112, 114-115, 117-118, 120, 123-134, 139-140, 143-147, 150, 154, 158, 165, 170, 182, Annuals (1996, 1999)

Wolverine vol 2 23-27, 30, 50, 73-74

Captain America vol 1 445, 452-454

Captain America vol 2 (Heroes Reborn) 9

Captain America vol 3 (Heroes Return) 1-15, 17-24

Captain America vol 4 (Marvel Knights) 2, 4-9

Captain America vol 5 (Brubaker/Epting) 1, 11, 14

Amazing Spider-Man vol 1 426, 430, 441

Amazing Spider-Man vol 2 1-2, 4, 14, 21-24, 33-35, 37, 40-41, 43-44, 46-50, 500, 509, 513, 525, 529, 532-539, 541, 543-544, 546, 555-557, 568-569, 571-2, 576, 611, 622, 652, 665

Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Spider-Man, 1990) 4, 35, 65, 67, 83, 87-98

Peter Parker: Spider-Man vol 2 1-4, 6, 9, 12, 21, 23-24, 29-30, 33-35, 39-40, 44, 47, 49

Web of Spider-Man 101, Annual 2 (1986)

Spectacular Spider-Man vol 1 140, 145-148, 150, 153-155, 171-172, 232, 244, 255

Spectacular Spider-Man vol 2 2-3

Sensational Spider-Man 2-3, 11, 26-27

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2099 15, 32, 41

Complete Spider-Man (UK)   16, 18, 23

Spider-Man specials Dead Man's Hand, Blue #1, Backlash/Spidey #1, Mangaverse #1

X-Men specials Prime, Omega, Prelude to Schism 1-2

Civil War 1-7

Secret Invasion 1-6

X-Men: Schism 1

The Mighty Thor vol 2 1, 7, 22, 30-31, 41 (plus #1 Rough Cut), 615, 618-619

Iron Man vol 1    216, 222, 266, 330

Iron Man vol 2 (Heroes Reborn) 5-6

Iron Man vol 3 (Heroes Return) 5, 8, 18, 27, 30, 33-34, 50-51, 53-55

Invincible Iron Man    4, 25

Iron Man vol 4 (Extremis) 1-2, 4-6, 27

Avengers vol 1 259, 267, 269-270, 338-339, 363

Avengers vol 2 (Heroes Reborn) 1-8, 13

Avengers vol 3 (Heroes Return) 0, 26-27, 33-34, 59-63, 77, 500-501, Finale

New Avengers 1, 3-4, 11-12, 15, 18, 20-21, 31-35, 38, 40, 42, 46, 48-49, Finale

Mighty Avengers 1, 4, 10, 12, 14-17, 21-22, 26, 32, 35, 36

Avengers (2010) 2, 12.1, 13

Avengers Forever 1-12

Deadpool vol 1 0, 2-35, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46-47, 51, 58, 62-63, 66-68, Annual (1998)

Agent X 1-2, 5-7, 9, 13-15

US War Machine 1-12

Ultimate Spider-Man 1-3, 6-39, 66, 70, 72-76, 78, 85, 89, 91-92, 95, 98-100, 102, 104, 114, 121, 128, 131, Annual 2

Ultimate X-Men 1, 3-4, 8-31, 33, 39, 48, 52, 55-58, 63, 65, 70, 73-77, 79, 84, 94

Ultimates 1 1-13

Ultimates 2 1-4, 6-13, Annual 2

Ultimate Marvel Team Up 4-8, 10-12, Super Special

Ultimate Human 1, 3-4

Ultimate Nightmare 2-3

Ultimate Secret 1

Ultimate Extinction 5

Ultimate War 1-4

Ultimate Six 1-3, 7

Powers vol 1 4, 6, 10-30, Giant-Sized Annual

Powers vol 2 3-6, 9-10, 15-16, 18, 24-25, 29-30

Alias 2-3, 6-19, 21, 24

Astonishing Tales 1-3, 5, 6

Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown 1-4

Wolverine: Origin 1-6

Weapon X (AoA) 1-3

Thunderbolts    0-2, 10-20, 22-24, 27-31, 33, 36-37, 39, 44-46, 49-50, 60, 76-77, 110-111, 114-115, 119, 146, 158

Fantastic Four vol 1 263, 292, 377

Fantastic Four vol 2 (Heroes Reborn) 4, 6-7, 9-10

Fantastic Four vol 3 (Heroes Return) 4-9, 12, 14, 16, 24, 28-29, 36, 55, 554-557, 559-560, 562-563, 579

Hulk 20, 25, 28

The Incredible Hulk vol 1 162, 317, 436, 451, 462

The Incredible Hulk vol 2 15, 19, 21, 36-37, 39-49, 607

Ronin 2-4

Sentry 1-4, Sentry/X-Men, Sentry vs the Void

Issue Ones: Nextwave, 1602, The Traveller, Truth, Gun Theory, Mr Stuffins, Daredevil (2011), Battler Britton, Fighting American: Rules of the Game, All-New Exiles, Marvel Boy (MK), Young Liars, Space Doubles, Marvel Fumetti Book, Awesome Holiday Special (Youngblood/Kaboom), Locke & Key, Universe X, Pax Romana, Angel (MK), Ultimate FF, Ultimate DD/Elektra, Ultimate Origins, Ultimate Iron Man, Ultimates, iZombie, Captain Britain and MI13 (2nd print), Painkiller Jane, Hellspawn, 300, Hawaiian Dick, Darker Image, Doc Frankenstein, Killraven (Linsner), Raise the Dead, Fury (MAX), LoEG 2, TMNT (1996), Bodycount, War Heroes, Nemesis, Kill Audio, Buck Rogers, Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine, Majestic (DC)

Issue Zeroes Sky Between Branches, Gen 13, Rising Stars 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

It's a life-changing clearout with the Dandy Warhols part one!

This entry has nothing to do with the Dandy Warhols. I was merely indulging my penchant for combining sentences with song titles.

Anyhoo... you may have noticed that I occasionally lapse into comic book mode. I have long periods of having nothing to do with them, and then I blog about the state of the industry. Accepting the fact that I'm hardly in a position to change anything about distribution models or widespread acceptance of non-superhero comics has made me step back and consider a future with no comic book stuff at all. The trouble is that every so often, something drags me in. It could be that I have a spare 30 minutes and re-read an old Joe Kelly Deadpool issue, which eventually snowballs into a reading frenzy and a desire to create a comedy superhero book.

That ends now. No more distractions.

Another motivating factor is that my flat, which doubles as my studio and trebles as my office, sadly also quadruples as the perfect illustration of a manchild's lair. Picture the apartment in The 40-Year Old Virgin, minus... well, most of the stuff... but there's still a proliferation of comic books, graphic novels, DVDs and games consoles which I never use. If all of this stuff served any other purpose than nostalgia, I'd keep the lot. As it is, I'm getting rid of everything.

Literally, all of it.

I'm unsure how it's going to work, as there are well over 1000 comics in various states of disrepair. A few complete runs/sets but mostly partial collections. Ebay is an option, but as well as letting my childhood go for £2.67, there would be many trips to the Post Office in my future. What I might do is offer the most attractive packages on this blog and throw in a commission as a sweetener. What I will certainly be doing is taking a ton of comics to Oxfam Books and also offering some to doctors' surgeries, dentists' practices and the like for use in waiting rooms.

So, before I complete the inventory (a thankless task which is removing my sanity, brain cell by dolphin), I'm offering the chance now for anybody who may be missing a vital issue of an out-of-print run to come forward. I might just have it. You might get it for free. If you commission me to draw something for you, I'll throw in a comic too.

Lastly, a PAL Sega Saturn, Dreamcast and a Nintendo 64 plus games are also up for grabs.