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Viewing Blog: Kev Lev's Blog, Most Recent at Top
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1. Disconnected Press Volume 3.

My good friends at Disconnected Press asked me whether I'd be up for providing a cover for their third volume.

My answer was always going to be an emphatic yes (knowing those lovely people as I do) and above is a sneaky, hi-res crop from the very same!

This is a raw scan of my final 'inks', un-fiddled with and simply presented here to show my newer approach using watercolour, I think this method is helping to lift my inked line art and give it a bit more life!

Here also is the very, very rough concept art I sent Liz and Conor. I was surprised that they were happy enough to trust me to finish the cover art from this alone! If you'd like to see the final art to volume three, simply follow this: link!

The final art has been finished in photoshop, tinkering with the heart and adding colour to the figures.

All in all, I'm very pleased with this piece of work - and the stakes were high as the strip that it references has art by the incredibly talented Verity Glass. Who you should definitely check out.

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2. Hot Dog

Finished a 'sketched' commission for another 2000ad forum member last week. Rob Ellis, who I did a coloured and more 'finished' piece of Tyranny Rex for a long time ago. I blogged the whole process during May 2011 for those who're interested.

This time I was just doing a sketch of Halo Jones, one of my favourite characters from the 2000ad archive.

This was the digital rough I produced. I knew I wanted to try the watercolour approach I used on the recent Dredd and Anderson piece, but I wanted to make sure I was getting the forms right first.

Here's the piece printed out in blue and then inked.

Here's the same stage with the blue removed. I scanned it in case I made a mistake on the watercolours. Nice to see what the clean lines looked like though!

Here's the final piece without any adjustments. I removed the blue from the piece in the first image above for a cleaner look, but Rob liked the blue on the final piece anyway.

I'm available for commissions similar to this for around £75 inc. P&P - please do contact me for a quote though as I charge a lot less for head shots, single characters and 'convention' style sketches.

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3. The Usual Suspects

Here's another commission for Ian Leonard.

Originally, it started out as a re-working of the classic 1983 Judge Dredd annual cover by Brian Bolland.

Some of the villains Ian and I wanted to include were a little less well-known and also we had Anderson in there too. So in the end, the piece has very little resemblance to the initial concept... I'm still pretty pleased with it though.

I think in part it's because I tried something a bit different for my blacks on this piece. I worked in watercolour, trying to add something to my inking process, to help me stay away from being too tight. I also think it makes the image a bit more visually interesting as watercolour is a little bit more unpredictable.

1 Comments on The Usual Suspects, last added: 9/15/2013
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4. A Little Less Conversation

This will be a little like coming late to the party. However, it's something I've done and would like to help promote. However late I may be in doing so.

Earlier in the year my good pals at FutureQuake Press asked if I'd be willing to contribute a cover.

My answer was simple: Of course!

The story to feature on the cover involved Elvis impersonators...

There's a lot more to it than that, and it's not the only story in their magnificent publication either. £4.75 inc. P&P will buy you some of the most original in independently produced Sci-Fi comics your likely to find! Let's not forget the multiple Eagle Awards nominations either.

Enough of the hard sell for now though, here's how the final cover looks, and I'm proud to say I suggested the tag line and dialogue - and that they liked my suggestions enough to use them!

If you'd like to buy a copy, here's a handy link to their shop. There, hard sell over.

I've been lax with respect to posts this year, but there is some other stuff to show, so hopefully it won't be as many months before I update again!

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5. 2000AD Lego part III

Here's the third installment of the Lego 2000ad characters I've been doing as commissions for Ian Leonard.

There may be a fourth (and final) batch in the offing.

  

Above in an easily clicked format are all 72 current characters.
Which ones remaining from 2000ad's illustrious history do you think are the glaringly obvious omissions? Who would you include in a fourth set of twenty-four? What characters would it be remiss to overlook in the final set?

From my own point of view, there are some I feel would work if they were going to be officially produced, but might not necessarily work as a variation of the standard and iconic Lego mini-figure.

All thoughts, comments or criticisms would be gratefully received!

2 Comments on 2000AD Lego part III, last added: 7/16/2013
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6. 2000AD Lego PART 2

A long while ago, I did a commission for Ian Leonard - Lego 2000AD characters, some may remember it, others may have stumbled onto it elsewhere on the web (it did do the rounds)!

Well, here's a second batch I finished for Ian a little while ago, and there is a third set currently sitting on my drawing board ready for inking!

1 Comments on 2000AD Lego PART 2, last added: 6/13/2013
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7. d'Anger

A while ago, Terry Martin asked me if I could do an illustration for him. The brief was a simple one.

"I’m publishing a limited edition hardback of the American writer Matt Wallace’s The Failed Cities. Everyone who pre-orders will also receive a free 8-page 6”x9” booklet featuring black and white illustrations of the eight main characters in the book."

Here's a bit of the blurb:

"Told through the revolving voices of eight characters – a street preacher, a back alley negotiator, a hot-rodding master of edged weapons, brother and sister assassins, a pit fighting pulp writer, a reluctant detective, and a Machiavellian femme fatale – THE FAILED CITIES is the story of a divided dystopian metropolis, the humanistic struggles of its citizens, and how their lives intersect over several weeks of intrigue, greed, struggle, revenge, and love that threaten to unravel both halves of a flawed and beautiful whole."

I got to illustrate the femme fatale of the piece, the evocatively named d'Anger.

The house of Murky Depths is taking pre-orders for The Failed Cities now.

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8. Escape Pods

WOW! It's been a long-time since I posted anything here... all I can say is that the demands of being a full-time dad and a comic artist leaves very little time for frivolities like blogs and social media...

Anyway, before I digress any further!

Here's a page from part two of the upcoming "Banned Across the Universe" that I've been working on with John Freeman for ROK comics.

As per usual, I got carried away and spent some time in sketchup building escape pods...

As per usual, you can hardly see the effort I went to!

1 Comments on Escape Pods, last added: 4/7/2013
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9. Feeling Festive

So, it's the silly season again... can't believe this year has gone so quickly.

For those of you who've missed my previous super-hero themed seasonal e-cards, here they are:

2011 Spidey's miscommunication

2010 Superman's snowman

2009 Batman's little friend

Anyone who hasn't received an e-card from me this year and normally does, or if you would like to receive one next year, please let me know!

2 Comments on Feeling Festive, last added: 12/21/2012
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10. The First Banned Cover Shoot

Last week, the cover for 'Banned Across The Universe' was leaked on facebook!

So, for those that missed it there, here it is, sans logos and stuff for now!

I did a couple of roughs, based on two well known images (the other needs to remain secret for now, in case we use it at a later date). This one though, I think, wears it's inspiration very obviously...

...for those that spotted straight off that this was a blatant compositional swipe (from the Star Wars poster below), take ten house points!

This has to be my favourite Episode IV poster, the original UK one sheet, with the other, 'opening crawl' style logo.

1 Comments on The First Banned Cover Shoot, last added: 11/30/2012
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11. More Machine Than Man

I mentioned that I have had a touch of RSI in my thumb in my previous post.

I was away for a week in sunny north Norfolk last week. I had hoped that the problem would clear up with the rest. Nope!

Now, I've been prescribed some special gel to rub into my thumb and I've been given this splint to wear.

I feel decidedly Darth Vader-ish or Luke Skywalker-y! I've been told it should sort itself out in a couple of weeks. Interestingly, the most effective thing has been alternating the hand between bowls of warm and cold water. A minute in each and swap five or seven times, starting and finishing on warm!

The tendon in the thumb is inflamed and any strain will exacerbate the problem...

...I can type and drive a mouse, but pen-work has been nigh-on impossible. It's a worry, but hopefully, it should clear up in time for me to start the next episode of Banned Across the Universe!

2 Comments on More Machine Than Man, last added: 9/12/2012
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12. Bowl Me Over

Just finished the inks for the first episode of Banned Across the Universe.

Some of these inks may be a little scrappy, but I've had a touch of RSI in my thumb over the last couple of weeks and that considered, I'm not that unhappy with the finished art.

This page, and I don't think it gives too much away, shows the main characters, in situ at the Hollywood Bowl. Now, really, to the unbiased eye, was this worth the effort involved?

The Bowl does appear another couple of times to similar effect in the strip, but still, I don't think you'd know what I went through!

2 Comments on Bowl Me Over, last added: 9/1/2012
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13. The Final Frontier

I painted this over the weekend. Yup, paint, real life, real world, good old acrylic paint.

A much needed rest from the computer it was too!
Not exactly relaxation from the recent workload as I do need some space backgrounds for Banned Across the Universe (the strip I'm doing with John Freeman). Which, if you missed the official announcement, is being released as part of ROK comics expanded audio comics range.

No toothbrush, no photoshop (other than scanning and levels), all hand-painted. Actual dimensions 650mm x 500mm.

It didn't need to be in colour, as the strip itself will be coloured by my old pal Matt Soffe. BUT, as with most everything else to do with Banned Across the Universe, I got carried away, as will be seen in the coming months!

Finally, I'm also delighted that another old pal of mine, Jim Campbell will be rounding out the team on lettering duties!

Did I mention that I am excited about this project?

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14. Hollywood Bowl in Sketchup

For reasons I'd rather not dwell on right now, I needed to build a sketchup replica of the Hollywood Bowl this week... well, almost a replica - this was to be a future version...

In order to replicate some photographs, I needed to be fairly accurate. So first I did a search for the overall dimensions, which are, according to the article I found, 60' x 130' for the largest truss.

During the search, luckily I found this satellite view of the Hollywood Bowl, courtesy of the USGS (United States Geological Survey).

I imported the satellite image into sketchup, and from the very blurry image made some guesses as to the sizes of things, based mainly on that one dimension I had, and some other images from wikipedia to get a sense of the proportion of things.

Once I'd laid out the rough geometry of it, I was clear to start building the main elements. Initially I tried a couple of inner 'fin' versions but none were quite right.
Even though I was working at full size, I couldn't fit enough of them in, so my Hollywood Bowl (one of the future by the way!) has fewer fins than the real one.

For me, one of the most useful tools in sketchup for creating interesting and difficult shapes is the "follow me" tool. Define a flat shape, create a path and drag the flat shape along it to create your complex 3D object.

The seating in the amphitheatre would be impossible to create simply in sketchup without the "follow me" tool.

I added some simple 'tower' elements I'd already designed quickly. These were never intended to be particularly inventive or stylish, they were simply supposed to vary the look a little from the current Hollywood Bowl. Finally, I added the screens and some rough blocks to represent the surrounding buildings.

...only, I'd forgotten the darn lighting rig! Again, "follow me" was my friend in creating this element too.
Hooray! I have my own 3D posable Hollywood Bowl - I'll probably never need it again and in my opinion, you'd never know the trouble I went to from the artwork I've produced...

...having said that, the power of a having 3D environments that I can move, alter aspects of and change camera angles within makes my life a lot easier if I'm using something for multiple panels in a strip.
I think that I probably spend a little too much time in sketchup, creating objects and environments, but I'm never sorry when I can drop a complex object into my page layout and know I've got all the perspective correct... well, until I spoil it all by drawing the figures all wrong.

1 Comments on Hollywood Bowl in Sketchup, last added: 9/8/2012
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15. Itching to Tell

For the last couple of weeks or so, I've been hard at work designing all manner of characters and vehicles for a strip I'm doing for ROK comics with John Freeman.

It's probably not quite possible for me to express how excited I am about this project within the confines of a blog posting. It's also not really possible for me to go into too much detail about it just yet either.

I will however post more about it just as soon as I can!

In the meantime, here is a sneaky, sneaky, leaky, peeky at one of the ships I've designed.

This ship is called "The Flea" and will be a regular hang out of the characters in the strip. I've spent a bit of time in sketchup working on this for the basis of the repeated scenery/background I'll need for a lot of the panels.

This is a work in progress cross-section of the Flea and although it's looking quite spacious here, one of the characters is pretty large and I expect things to be extremely cramped in there... especially when there is cargo in the way too!

The tone and content of the strip is a lot of fun to be working on and I'm delighted to have been asked to develop this strip with John!

5 Comments on Itching to Tell, last added: 8/6/2012
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16. Dredd without Dredd

Go now and buy Zarjaz #15!

I have a strip in there written by Lee Robson. It's a great little old-school Dredd strip, peppered with just the right amount of humour in my opinion.

Here's a teaser panel from it I trailed on twitter and facebook a while ago, when the Dredd 3D trailer hit.

Here is a sneak peak at ALL of my pages (just the pencils and inks though) - but with one key element removed, yes, I've blanked out Dredd, so you'll need to go buy the issue if you want to see how they turned out rendered up and with the all important lawman in them.

Hopefully they don't give too much away already...

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17. I Ron Man

So, here's another con-style sketch I did recently.


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18. Inked Hulk

Something screwy is going on with my blog feeding to twitter... and so this is more of a test post than usual and one I might pull again in a couple of days.

This is an inked version of something I sketched at CamCon, and it fits with today's experiences.
'Technology' really is enough to to make me go all "Hulk Smash!" when things stop working.

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19. Sale update

A few pieces have gone. So here is an updated for sale "gallery" with the last of the pieces I'd earmarked for selling added in.


Act quickly and take advantage of the cheaper postage costs before Royal Mail hike the prices at the end of the month!

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20. Psychic Sidekick

I've recently done this sketch of Judge Anderson...




I was asked to do a companion piece for this Dredd sketch that I was selling (now gone obviously).

If anyone wants something similar, A3 in pencil, I'm doing them at the moment for £25 inc. P&P. I'll be ending that offer from 30th April onwards as Royal Mail is putting up the postage costs... so that's a tight window for anyone wanting something.

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21. Cam Com Con

This coming weekend, Saturday 12th May to be specific. I'll be sketching at the inaugural Cam Con. Cambridge's first anime, comics and gaming convention. It's being held at the popular Cambridge venue, The Junction 2 on Clifton Way.

I'll be sharing a table with the lovely Leigh Gallagher... and these here pictures are a taster for the kind of things I'll be drawing...


... I see that these here Avengers types are quite popular at the moment, and that movie is playing just across the way from the Junction at the local Cineworld Cinema. You call it shameless shirt-tail riding, I call it entrepreneurial...


...not in the same league as Tony Stark I grant you, but nevertheless I'll be drawing for me supper and hoping to take a few commissions too.

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22. Dogtaroo

As previously mentioned, tomorrow, I'll be at The CamCon.

First person to drop by and say "DOGTAROO!" to me will earn themselves this picture of the current Doctor Who for free.

Admittedly, it's not the best portrait of him, and the anatomy is a little off in the arms, but it was one of those 15 minute sketch things with limited reference, so I'm not too unhappy with it.

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23. At a Junction

Saturday was CamCon. It was a brilliant day, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first event "behind a table", assuming that's not a euphemism. I sketched more than I thought I would and was pleasantly surprised by the sale of some of my pre-drawn examples. I was also suprised that someone did indeed pop up and exclaim "Dogtaroo!" at me (see last post).

Thanks go to Ziggy Newman and Ian Rudd who were organising the event. If there is another one next year, I would definitely be interested in attending.

I owe a massive thanks to Leigh Gallagher for letting me sit near him, for not minding the car-boot sale of books I also had stashed away for sale and also for feeding me chewits!

It was good to see the always cheerful and chatty Terry and Liz Martin who were sat behind us, giving Murky depths and Dead Girls the hard sell!

Opposite our Table were the lovely Luba and Hong who were selling beautiful Kimonos at what I thought were incredibly low prices.

It was great to catch up with Sean Phillips and Emma Vieceli. I also bumped into El Chivo who showed me the gob-smacking amount of worked he'd got through for Davey Candlish's Jikan Chronicles.

Finally thanks to all those who stopped, chatted or bought graphic novels or sketches from me!

I did have a number of sketches I did speculatively, and here are two examples of the sorts of things I was drawing. The Batman above is looking for a home and I'd happily part with him for £7.50 inc. P&P (UK).

Hulk here already has a new home to go to, and I also have another Iron-Man to do too!

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24. CamCon Interview

I was interviewed at CamCon... mainly, I think, because Leigh was AWOL at the time.

It's definitely a bit weird seeing myself like this, and I now recall my mind going blank under fire, but it was very nice to be asked things about what I do all the same.

There is a quick pan across some art I have no other record of for the eagle eyed!

Thanks to Nick Starwind and his cameraman and again, all the organisers and those that attended CamCon... I'm hoping there is another one next year!

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25. Long Arm of The Law

I did this a while ago, as a cover pitch, I haven't heard back on it (unsurpisingly) so, I thought, probably safe to share.

This colour version, has a revised arm, the problem was spotted by the eagle editorial eyes of Bolt-01.

I fixed it in photoshop, after I'd had one of those disasterous "flatten and save" incidents in (bloody) photoshop - so it's a little more detectable than it would normally be.
Really, adobe, how difficult would it have been to save the sanity of millions of application users and build in a simple back-up... anyone who mentions dropbox, timemachines or any other second party fail-safe back-ups will be ignored - I FECKIN' KNOW, it's my own stupid fault!

See, it's there in the inks, Dredd has a disturbing case of "the long arm of the law"!

but weirdly, it's not so noticeable in the roughs, well, to my eyes at least.

Inks are for sale, and they come with a nice A3 print of the (revised) colour version all for the bargain price of £95 inc. P&P (to any UK address).

3 Comments on Long Arm of The Law, last added: 5/29/2012
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