Sunday, 30 January 2011

Swashbuckling Simon Fraser!

Today the blog looks at a real comic aficionado, the wonderful Simon Fraser. This passionately creative artist is not only responsible for co-creating one of 2000AD's most popular characters (Nikolai Dante) but is the creator, writer and artist on Act-i-vate's Lilly MacKenzie. The popularity of the latter strip led to it being picked up by the Judge Dredd Megazine.

Simon is very busy, often juggling strip work with covers and his various blogs. In fact, it was on his blog in October last year when he announced he had a gap in his schedule and was open for commissions. I, and fellow fan James Stacey, jumped at the chance!

James' amazing commission can be seen above, He says "Here's my Dante / Lilly commission Simon did for me. I asked for a Frazetta inspired piece with Dante's bio blade in one hand, wine in the other and Ms MacKenzie taking the place of adoring eye candy. I think he's done it proud!"

I asked for two commissions from Simon. Firstly, I needed a Dredd in MegaCity One! I absolutely adore Simon's architecture, especially his futuristic buildings so simply had to see his take on Pete Wells Block.

A day after I contacted him, he came up with the brilliant image below! Simply sunning design work with wonderful framing, I was a very happy customer!
Naturally, I also asked for a Nikolai Dante pic, how could I not from the character's daddy? I asked for a swashbuckling Dante swinging from the page and the day after Si had sent the Dredd image I was delighted to receive the Dante one below! Superb.
Below are are a couple of other commissions taken from Simon's site. Of the artist's strong points, I feel that Si draws really 'believable' women which seems to add strength to their character. Below we have Cassandra Anderson and the beautiful but deadly Lulu Romanov.

The aim of this blog is to try to give an indication of what the artists are like to work with. Hand on heart I can say that Simon was a joy - his prices are very reasonable (if anything a little too reasonable) and he is super, super quick! As a result of Simon's speed, there are no WIP sketches to show in this post but when dealing with someone with such formidable the design skills, you know you can trust the artist to come up with something amazing. Finally, communication with the artist was also superb with prompt and cheerful replies to all emails.

So, next time Simon has a gap in his schedule, get in there quick!

Thanks to James for getting in touch with his cool Dante pic and Mr Fraser for the cool commissions!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Mighty Cliff Robinson!

Well, it simply wouldn't be proper if I didn't start this blog with the stunning Dredd vs Death commission I got from the legendary Cliff Robinson. A veteran 2000AD artist of nearly 30 years, Cliff's Dredd work is absolutely iconic, resulting in him being responsible the second most 2000AD covers and his images being used to market everything from socks to scented bubbles!

Quality(?) goods featuring Robinson's Dredds!

I initially got in touch with Cliff totally by chance, or rather he got in touch with me. Following a commission I'd had done by Ian Gibson, a 2000AD message boarder's wife contacted me ask advice on getting a surprise commission for her hubby's wedding anniversary. I suggested a couple of names, with Cliff being one of 'em.

Shortly after, I was stunned (and a little starstruck) when Cliff contacted me out of the blue to say thanks for giving the lady his details (though to this day, I'm sure it was actually Rufus Dayglo who got her in touch!) After a few sickeningly sychophantic emails back and forward I asked Cliff if he'd do me commission and sent him one or two ideas. Being a proud new dad I thought I either wanted Dredd with my new baby or an action piece with Judge Death. Thankfully, Cliff opted for the latter.

I was pretty vague in what I asked for, just Dredd and Death having a good old barney at Pete Wells Block on Deadworld. I always get Pete Wells Block in my commissions instead of my likeness as I've found that putting 'me' in the picture often detracts from everything else, especially with non-comic readers who 'just don't get it!'

With half of the cash paid up front (as is often the case when getting commissions) Cliff sent the amazing rough below, which was obvously born of the two images below it. I was thrilled and urged him to carry straight on...
The roughs

Soon after I was sent the inked version of the roughs which, to be honest, I would have been more than happy with as my finished commission. It's brilliantly detailed with faultless design and even suggests in own story - Dredd without his Lawgiver using anything and everything at hand to beat his deadliest foe. As you can see, Cliff is a perfectionist, so a commission from him certainly takes a while but is always more than worth the wait!

With the figures inked, Cliff began working on the background, sending me this Deadworld tower with my name on it in huuuuge bones!
Note, in the preliminary picture with Dredd's legs on it there is a skull. This would have been photoshopped to make a field of bones which Cliff would then have inked and, tada... we have my amazing image! The image itself is huge, A2 I think and is proudly in my study above the very computer I'm typing on now!

As a bonus to this story - Cliff contacted me a few months after and said he had found another load of preliminary sketches which he kindly sent me. Have a look at them, they're mental!



My eyes!

In summary, I can't recommend Cliff highly enough for commissions. He's by no means the fastest artist but that is because his work is absolutely flawless and stunning with many intricate details that you'll notice long after your commission is finished. He offers excellent value for money, especially considering his status in 2000AD lore and the fact that his work is universally admired. His imagination is fantastic, taking limited ideas and turning them into something that seems to already have it's own back story. He is generally good with communication though sometimes, when deadlines are swamping him, he can be a bit remiss.

If you wish to contact Cliff, you can get him through his blog or facebook.

So that's my first proper post on "Yes Commissioner!" Please let me know if there's anything you'd like to see changed for the next one...

Welcome to "Yes Commissioner!"

Welcome to my brand new blog, "Yes Commissioner!"
In this blog I want to share my, and hopefully other 2000AD fans' experiences of commissioning Tharg's greatest droids to produce something just for them! Usually, getting a commission is a wonderful process, an exciting chance to converse with someone who's work you really admire, resulting in a totally unique piece of art that's all yours! Sometimes... it's a little different.
Using this blog I hope to share the highs and lows of the process but mainly, show some amazing artwork that is guaranteed blow your socks off!