Friday, 25 February 2011

Chris Weston - Quick on the Draw!

Chris Weston has been gracing the pages of 2000AD for over twenty years. The meticulous artist, taught by the legendary Don Lawrence, is a firm favourite with readers for both his amazing attention to detail and his mind-bendingly trippy visuals.

I am a huge fan of Chris' work, but admit that I was blind drunk when I emailed him to ask for the commission - in fact, the first I knew about it was the next day when he emailed me back to say he was available!

Unlike myself, Chris was the model of professionalism, with this superbly detailed prelim sent within a day of that initial drunken contact..

Naturally I agreed with the image straight away (alas, this was before the days of the fabled 'Pete Wells Block') and I was surprised to receive this 'detailed rough' shortly after...

Chris says "All my roughs are drawn A4-sized paper, then, once I've been given the all clear, they are blown up and inked on A3 paper. For some reason I find it easier to compose the picture when it's smaller."

As if I was thrilled enough with the detailed image then wallop, the intricately painted A3 art was finished and delivered in little more than a week! Amazing!

I love this commission, the work that's gone into it is breathtaking. Furthermore, my commission made a cameo in Chris' excellent Future Shock 'Counts as one Choice' in Prog 1645 which was a nice surprise!

I can't recommend Chris highly enough. Super fast and professional with constant communication throughout, if only all artists were like this! His prices are more than fair, especially considering the level of detail and the amount of work he pours into your piece.

Another satisfied customer is Eric Moore, who got Chris to do him a commission of a character they both love, The Spider!

Over to Eric "Dunno quite know how this came about, think it was Chris talking about British boys comics he grew up on his Blog, coupled with my decision to try and collect modern artists takes on my favourites from that time, prompting me to email him to see if he could do his version of the Spider. He said sure, when he had a gap in his schedule."

"A couple of months later he got back in touch to say that he was free and was I still up for it? Sure was, so just like with Ian Gibson we established just how completed a piece I was after. Again, I went with B&W with a touch of colour."

"Just what the fella would look like i totally left up to Chris. Stunned and well chuffed to receive this while later..."

"A brilliant take on the character, with clever use of red to make the background of the web. Top work!" Thanks to Eric there for contributing to the blog again!

Here are a few more commissions from Chris, firstly this brilliant Judge Death commission for Chris Caira's esteemed Trophy Wall series. Chris gets very highly artists to depict a character (generally classic villains) with their kills behind them. Chris obviously asked for good old Judge Death...

Of the prelim he says "This is, if can believe it, a PRELIM by Chris Weston. Amazing attention to detail even in preliminary form. Chris and I discussed the elements of this piece once he finished the prelim and changed a couple small things..."

Below is the beautiful finished piece, can you spot the different victim?!? Chris says "Here's the final finished piece. Just amazing detail level by Chris. Judge Dredd's Sinister Villain and Chris Weston was the perfect choice for this piece. He filled the piece with wonderful bits everywhere and a couple little jokes."

Another famous set of commissions for which Chris has contributed is Michael Finn's 'One Minute Later' series showing famous covers erm... one minute later! Michael commissioned Chris to do a 'What happens next' on the golden age Captain America cover shown below:

Here's his freaking amazing inks (all logos etc, were hand drawn, not stuck on!)

And finally the digitally coloured image.

When asked about the his colouring methods in Photoshop for the above image, Chris said "I have a catalogue of home-made textures (scanned in bits of paper, photos of gravel, peeling paint) and I merely overlay them as a seperate layer in Photoshop... and "Multiply" the layer. I have a theory that the human eye doesn't like looking at flat, smooth surfaces... probably something to do with our primitive brain that's always looking for hand-holds to help us climb. Anyway, I like to chuck in a bit of grain and dirt... make it look weathered somehow."

A fan of early heroes, Chris got the chance to do a commission of popular character The Shadow for collector Alan Henderson. Again, his 'rough' is amazingly detailed...

With the finished piece being mindbogglingly good!

And finally, back to familiar 2000AD territory for me. Again, at the risk of repeating myself, here's the bloody amazing roughs for BSC's Dredd, Rogue, Archie and Dan Dare spectacular...

And the cracking final image, simply brilliant.

You can see more of Chris' fantastic work on his excellent blog and site. Go on, contact him today!!!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Cute Work of Ian Gibson

Welcome to another instalment of “Yes Commissioner!”

This time we’re going to look at a few commissions from the legend that is Ian Gibson. Ian has been with 2000AD from the start, though after a very public spat, it is unclear if he is still on speaking terms with old Tharg!

I am a HUGE fan of his, as an adult I love his character designs, his beautifully elegant line work and his mastery of the airbrush. As far as I know he still hasn't gone digital and I love him for it. And as a kid he was the first artist I remember noticing - it was his strips I looked forward to in the prog, his work I poured over for hours and hours and his ladies that made me feel all... funny.

However, it was his work on Dredd that I particularly adored. He somehow managed to make it quirky and funny, yet seriously cool all at the same time. His distinctive citizens, sexy Anderson and amazing robot designs all screamed 'Mega-City One' but what I really loved was that he actually brought Dredd's shoulder eagle to life. It's a daft idea, it shouldn't work, but bloody hell, it does! I used to love catching it emote or craning it's neck to look around at the action in the frame. As a child I imagined it was a little game I was playing with the artist and I loved it.

There's a fine example on the beautiful star scan below:

Naturally, my first ever commission was a Gibsonof all the artists I could have chosen, it simply had to be him. I was given some cash that I wasn't expecting and decided, as opposed to just drinking it, I was going to do something special with it. And hence my commission addiction began! But more about my first commission in another post, in this one I want to look at my second Gibson commission, Dredd vs. Mean Machine at Pete Wells Block.

This commission came about by chance, the artist contacted me and asked if I fancied another painting. Of course, it was impossible to say no, so I decided I'd like to see Ian's take on Mean Machine (having somehow completely missing his Daily Star strip featuring the lovable psychopath.) Before long Ian sent me the sketch below which I approved straight away...

A few months went by with a couple of Ian's trademark mischievous emails - he kept going on about size and wall space and how I may be surprised with this commission... Again, before too long he sent an update, this gloriously rendered image with a blue base wash. I can't convey how excited I was when I got this!

Again, several very friendly emails went back and forth and after a few more months Ian blew me away by sending the scan below. When the package arrived I got the biggest surprise though... the painting is HUGE, A1 I think, and is perfect in every way!

Generally, Ian is a pleasure to work with. He answers most emails and is cheerful and very interesting in his correspondence. Both of his commissions took a looooong time but are absolutely worth the wait when you finally get them, absolutely faultless. Price-wise, he is very fair for a man of his considerable experience and history and is one of the few artists who are still offering fully painted work which really does make a difference. I must say though, in recent years I've tried to contact Ian again as I'd love another commission from him and have found it increasingly difficult to get a response, I blame Farmville!

Another satisfied customer is collector Eric Moore, who got this wonderful Alias/Avengers mash up below...

Over to Eric who takes up the story: "Back in the summer of 2004, my wife was deeply into the Alias TV show. She's also a huge fan of The Avengers, especially the Diana Rigg years. I'd been thinking about what to get her for Christmas and just so happened to have finished the Grant Morrison/Ian Gibson mini series, when the penny dropped that Ian would be at the upcoming Dreddcon."

"I sent him an email if he'd be up for doing something combining the two shows and I had it in mind to have the most up to date female spy teaming up with the most iconic. Ian said 'sure', and that he'd talk to me at the convention."

"Ian was looking forward to it - well, he was looking forward to attempting Jennifer Garner's face as "she's odd looking" and therefore easy to capture. He wasn't as keen on having a go at Diana Rigg though as he'd learnt from experience that her face was "too perfect". That is, she didn't have anything that was distinctive!"

"Anyway, I had a few emails on the lead up to Christmas saying work was progressing and it arrived about a week before. We'd already established that it'd be pen and ink with maybe a bit of colour so was surprised to find that he'd put quite a bit on - its more a colour work than black and white, no?"

A brilliant piece I'm sure you'll agree, featuring some of Ian's trademark sexy ladies too! Speaking of which, we'll end with a beautiful picture of one of Ian's most beloved creations, Halo Jones, it's brilliant...
You can visit Ian's website here and gawp at some of his amazing work...