Saturday, 28 February 2015

IRON, now in colour!

Here's the first page of a new (very) short IRON strip.

As with all of these, it's real purpose is to try and teach me stuff, and for this one, I'm attempting a more conventional looking strip. With inking. And colouring in.

I've attempted a sort of semi-painted look here. I did try to do the airbrush style colouring that seems to be in vogue in comics at the moment, but found it really, really didn't go with the drawing style. Perhaps a better colourist than me would have more luck.

I found this style took me a hell of a lot longer, but I suspect that's for a couple of reasons - I'm not used to working in this way, and I was still producing ultra tight pencils as I didn't trust my rather shoddy inking. I'm hoping practice will speed the process up.

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


None of my work is pornographic, but it often contains mature themes and language, and also nudity, both male and female.

Now Blogger has announced it's going to ban explicit content. Who is judging what is ban-worthy and what isn't? Nude photos and videos banned. What about drawings and paintings next? Or literature? Would the next 50 Shades of Grey be banned from the site? Which culture's standards are being used to determine what's suitable and what isn't? Are we all now subject to the puritan right wing of American politics?

I am against exploitation in any form. I am against anything that hurts the participants against their will.

I am also against blanket censorship. I am against arbitrary decisions that blow with the political wind.

The following drawing was done by one of the greats of 20th century art, Egon Schiele. It's one of his milder ones. Will that be banned too?

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Page Eight, the final page of IRON!

This is the last page so it's now all done. It too way too long for eight pretty simple pages, and literally nothing happens in it, but it's finished.

I've done three of these short little strips, all set around the same time, with fundamentally the same people involved, and in my head they're really all primers. They're all set in the British Dark Ages. Following the fall of Rome and the withdrawal of it's infrastructure, troops and market economy, Britain really collapsed. We don't need to look to science fiction to see a post-apocalyptic society. It's happened. Here.

I'm interested in just following normal people as the go about their lives, and was hoping that the setting would at least provide enough visual interest for people to want to look at it. This past strip is simply a small group of people who've been called to the funeral of their king. Nothing more or less.

Each one of these strips has also served to answer questions I'm having about my own art. For this one, I've really tried to push the boat out with my drawing. I've literally spent days on each page, treating the drawings more as paintings than simply pencils. The average length of time taken to draw each of these pages was 3 1/2 days. I must admit, I'm still not sure if it was worth it.

Having said all that, I've enjoyed doing them.  All comments and crits are gratefully received!

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pages Six and Seven

Two more pages of my IRON short-story...

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Another page of IRON

Here's page five of IRON.

I'm just trying to tell small human stories in an unusual setting, and I hope it's working.

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

IRON, and what I'm trying to do...

I thought I'd take some time to spell out some of my influences for IRON. I'm not sure how interesting it is, but I'm doing it anyway!

My influences for this are pretty varied, and include Frank Bellamy, Francis Prior, Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Dale Mettam, Dave Elliot and Valia Kapadai amongst many others.

Frank Bellamy really influences all my work, and I suspect all the work I shall ever do. A brilliant draughtsman and a wonderful storyteller, he's also the reason I draw. Through Dan Dare, Heros the Spartan, Thunderbirds and Garth, Bellamy drew real people in fantastical situations.

Francis Prior is an archaeologist, specialising in the Bronze Age, who is I suppose best known for his appearances on Time Team. I find his approach to looking at the ordinary people of history inspiring, and despite the shift in time period to the Dark Ages, IRON is heavily influenced by that desire to examine the ordinary wonders of the everyday in history. He used a fantastic phrase for the scatter of finds people come across while field-walking; "The background noise of history". That's really what IRON tries to be, the background noise of the big stories.

Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol were two of the leading lights in European New Wave cinema. Their revolutionary framing, pacing and storytelling transformed film making, and their influences are still felt today, in everything from blockbusters to art-house. I think it's interesting to look at their work through a sequential narrative lens, and try to take their lessons on board. That's certainly what I'm trying to do, but as to whether or not I have anything approaching the skill to so so, that's a different question.

Dale Mettam writes great stuff, is very funny and after briefly working with him on Jael has transformed how I look at comics, especially the writing. He's a nice chap too.

As is Dave Elliot, co-founder of Atomeka Press, head honcho, writer and editor on A1, and a ton of other stuff, including being heavily involved in deviantArt these days. When I was falling out of love with the medium his work rekindled it. He has been very kind about my doodling and, more importantly, knows who The Steel Claw was.

Valia Kapadai is perhaps the nicest person I know who draws comics. Annoyingly she's also perhaps the most talented. Seeing Valia's work always makes me burn with envy, and force myself to try harder and practice more!

There are a string of others: Marc Laming and his lovely linework, Gail Simone's wonderful work on Red Sonja, Ian Struckhoff for suggesting I draw his comics an age ago when I was more pants than now, The British Museum for having such great stuff to inspire and on and on.

I wanted to do something I'd be proud of, which is why I'm spending so much time drawing each page. It's only going to be a short strip - around six pages, so the same length as the previous two IRON stories, but at least it'll hopefully be something that's the best I can do at this time.

IRON page four

Here's another page of my new IRON strip.

Still putting the hours in on the drawing - the chain-mail, although time-consuming, is something I'm pretty pleased with. It's currently made up of 5 separate layers of tone, but I think it's working in that it gives it a feeling of real depth. Just wish it was faster.

IRON is ©2015 Jonathan Wyke