Monday, 22 August 2016

NICE Comic Con Commissions

Pre convention sketchlist is now closed! 

I'll have some pieces to sell at the convention though. Also, I am doign a limited number of free sketches at the con itself. Come by early to get on that list!

See you there!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

NICE Comic Con Legion Art meet!

A few Legion fans are meeting up at the NICE comic con in Bedford on the 3/4th September to have a Legion art show and tell. So, if you want to join in then message/email me and we can figure out a time and place that suits everyone. It'll be great to see any original Legion art whether it's published pages, commissions or sketches. If you don't have any Legion art but just want to chat about the book or check out the art then come along, eveyone's welcome!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Writing a Book part 3:The journey...

The following is an account of the past ten months or so in the journey of writing a book with Russell Payne...initially I was going to break up the following into three distinct blogs but decided against it! So there may be different tenses used in the following account...

The last months of 2015 were bleak where the book was concerned. Russ had jumped the shark. Not literally obviously, he can't swim, but his meagre offerings in both September and December made me question the entire project. Both of us were frustrated for different reasons. Russ couldn't understand why I didn't see his genius. I couldn't understand why he didn't care about narrative, character development or writing anything that wasn't comedy. And by comedy I mean an irksome, consistently unrealistic inner monologue that every character seems to share.

Payne was fully aware we weren't writing a comedy.

September: Flying over Canada on my way to the Baltimore Comic Con I read Payne's offering. He'd assured me it was great so I settled in to enjoy it. The park worker in Russ' fourth chapter, a middle aged woman obsessed with lines, order and who possessed a deep hatred of children was gone, replaced by a 14 or 15 year old girl called Emily. That in itself was an enormous positive step.

Emily, it turns out, was obsessed with lines, order and...you get the picture. He just recycled the same chapter and put a different character in there. Butcher, another teen now made an appearence in this passage and he was a welcome addition. He did have some hair problems though. He had short hair in chapter one and four and yet later in the book, he flicked his long hair over his shoulder. The 25 pages didn't take long to read. One long conversation was repeated twice more in different chapters. I watched a couple of movies for the rest of the plane journey.

Let's move on...it still bothers me.

December 2015, a new deadline; the day I left for France to visit my parents. No need for him to print the chapters out this time, I had access to a PC whilst over there. Here is not the time to write about my feelings upon finishing reading the still unfinished draft at that time. We've both moved on. However I will admit that I did write a 3000 word synopsis for a book project of my own that week. Russ is fine with that. He fully understands why.

With hindsight the fact that we both enjoy different books, Russ writes only comedy and is, let us say, disorganised and an advocate of the path of least resistance should have prevented us from ever moving past the idea stage of the project. Reckless optimism on my part is probably a major contributor. The fact we're still working on the book together shows that the book we're writing is pretty good, something worth persevering with. Or it shows that we're both as imbecilic as one other. One day soon I hope to discover which.

February brought a good ten hour chat driving to and from the London Super Con. We ironed out many plot and character issues and also a few continuity problems. Well not really continuity problems but things that would've created difficulties for us in the future if not addressed now. Upon returning home I wrote up the notes so Russ could remember our conversations.

A note on Russ' mind. He actually went to a memory assessment centre recently to see if he was suffering from early onset dementia. They told him that they don't usually test people as young as him but allowed him to take the test anyway. He nailed it and was told he possesses a perfect memory...No-one can understand how. Not even Russ. Although he's probably forgotten he ever went. Maybe he imagined the whole thing.

At that time I'd decided to rewrite the last third of my chapters. There are various reasons for this, the main one being that it wasn't good enough.

We were both in disagreement about the length of the book at this stage too. In this case Payne was right, I'd written way too much. I read long books and I was going off that as a comparison. we're not writing in that genre though! I'd also pushed ahead with the second book in the series, just to bide my time waiting for Russ to catch up really and was up to about 30,000 words on that already.
We both realised that we could cut the first book in half as it made much more sense plot wise, it was a natural place to end and now the book ends on a cliffhanger which I like. It also means we both have a head start on the second installment in the series.

The book, when completed, will have alternating chapters, Russ' first, followed by one of mine. I say mine but the idea is that when we get past the second rewrite stage that we'll edit one another's chapters to create more of a singular writing style. Also, we'll hopefully eliminate or at least cover over one another's weaknesses that way.

The entire series is written in the first person and there are, I believe six different point of view characters in the first book alone...it's a lot of work. The book is also set in two distinct time periods. That's a lot of work too. It isn't unambitious.

COLLABORATION!

It had to happen at some point, we're actually working together. Previously we were really writing solo projects that we then hoped to piece together. I was working up a historical fiction adventure, Russ was writing a strange and confused comedy.

This collaboration may be a passing phase but I hold out hope that it isn't. I'm rewriting a couple of chapters again after a recent thirteen hour car journey to Colchester and back where we discussed much. In fact 90% of the journey the conversation was based around the book. We both admitted our shortcomings and worked out key changes and sub plots (it's surprising how one small comment by a character can affect so much!). Last week we even worked together on one of his chapters, a true collaboration.

So, the upshot is that it's going well right now. Russ is still a massive conundrum to work with but I've found a new coping method. I put him in the book. If you know him at all then you'll recognise him instantly.

I initially wrote him into book two but since I penned those 30,000 words book two is now book three and is set in a different time altogether. So that tale will probably be a standalone book published sometime after book two (see, reckless optimism!). It's an important part of the story but doesn't quite fit into the sequence of alternating chapters that the first four books at least will consist of.

Here are a few of the illustrations I've done for the chapter headings for book one along with the names of a few of the characters.


Emily Sellers




Matthew Talbot


William Talbot

So, there you have the names of three of the characters who have chapters from their point of view. No, they're not all from the same time period...but they are all connected somehow. 

A future blog will contain a front cover image (already done the artwork, needs colouring and lettering) and a synopsis. The most I can say about the book at the moment is that it's a cross-genre affair.
There's a video in the works also, for advertising purposes. Russ will be filming that and I'll be acting in it alongside several other people. Then we'll both be editing and adding in the cool stuff. But I know that'll take time and I need to get a few costumes made for it before we can begin. And hats. My mum can't make hats apparently which is irritating and probably a massive lie. What she means is that she can't be bothered. She'd probably get along well with Russ.

NEXT WEEK...


No, that isn't when the book will be out. Or when it'll be finished. It's the standard reply I get when I ask Payne whether he's finished the draft of his half of the book. If it's not the cat (dead now thankfully and no longer a sap on the Payne resources or time) it's another problem with a part of the house falling down (for the past few months it's been the kitchen. Tedious.) or some other ridiculous turn of events that befall the balding fool on a weekly basis.

Russ has no time to write. So instead, what little time he does have is wasted in recycling discarded passages and terrible, unfunny puns and comedy inner monologue. It's not going to make the process any quicker in the long run...despite myself I sometimes have to admire his stubborn obtuseness. Most of the time I'd like to finish the project myself.

He did apologise yesterday though. For everything.

The rewriting process is interesting. Russ wants me to add in more flowery, descriptive prose which I'm attempting to do. He also takes issue with the way characters interrupt one another's sentences. Both fair points although I do like characters interrupting one another in frantic situations.

I'll tell you a tale now of a long car journey to a comic convention (Swindon) and the week preceding it. We almost quit on the book project.

Russ finished his second draft and handed it over for me to make notes and comments on. I did the same with his. The results were explosive. In hindsight it was quite funny, but not at the time, not at all. There was an outburst of vitriol and hate from both sides. I wasn't ready to pronounce Russ a genius and he took offense at my dissection of his words and well...everything else I did or said.
 I'm not going to go into details here, you'll be able to read a full account of what occurred in a second book we're collaborating on...a book that shows the collaberative process itself and examines the entire debacle of writing the book together in detail. It'll be quite amusing and I think, pretty original in concept and execution. I'm looking forward to that!

The days leading up to the Swindon con weren't pleasant at all though. I seriously considered not going at one point but thankfully things settled down. Russ stopped defending everything with the phrase 'but I like it' and we set off for the con at the ridiculous hour of 0430.

Russ had a few problems with my work, mainly a scene where, to be fair, one of the characters had turned into a Bond villain and spent the best part of ten pages explaining the plot to another character for no particular reason other than to explain the plot...He also took issue with a nasty incident where one of the 'heroes' is questioning a murderer and uses harsh and vicious methods to extract information. It involved an eyeball. I defended it as it's fitting for Tudor times and the way people behaved then...however it's gone. In the end, he was right.

However, he'd also gone overboard with pedantry...for example, questioning the levels of light as a result of the moon cycle on a particular date in 1551. I wouldn't have minded so much but he put more effort in trying to prove me wrong than in researching anything for his part of the book. It was irksome. He did explain, at length, my misuse of a particular word, 'clapped'...and then found that, if he'd bothered to read on in the dictionary, that I was right. I enjoyed that a lot. The fool.

Russ has got some new ideas for his part of the book...I really, really hope they include the concept of continuity, well rounded and distinct personalities and a linear plot. He's a re-cycler. He struggles to delete anything he's written for some reason. He just moves it about and tries to pass it off as new. Re-cycling...at the end of the day, it's still rubbish. Throw it away and move on!

We're both very excited about the new book that I've touched upon, the dissection one. Most of the journey to and from Swindon was taken up with conversation about that. The other book, the original one (the first in a series!)...it's getting there, we just need to get on with it really and push through.

Russ did state, at the beginning, that it was a terrible idea working together and it'd fail. It was the most coherent thought he's had in at least five years and he was right to protest. But we're still working together which proves the idea is worth persevering with, otherwise we'd have quit a long time ago in reality, and things are starting to shape up pretty well! It'll be interesting to see what other people think of it, whether they like it as much as we do!

Here's where we are as of the beginning of July. I'm still rewriting and I'm about halfway through. I'm addressing the 'Bond villain chapter' (Russ was right, it was a terrible scene!) once more as it's an important sequence which affects at least three other chapters so it's taking a while! Russ has replotted much of his part and also eliminated a couple of character's POV chapters as there were too many. It added to the confusion so that's a big step in moving forward. By the end of the month we should both have completely finished our rewrites! I'm excited to see what he's come up with!

The book may be out before the end of the year (our provisional deadline was September) but more likely early next! 

Next time I blog about the book I hope to be ready to ask for a few proofreaders to help out!





Wednesday, 22 June 2016

N.I.C.E. 2016 3rd/4th Sept

I'll be at NICE in Bedford this September, the weekend of the 3/4th. As usual Jeff and Bub have put together a great guestlist of comic artists and writers. It's a comic con that is actually full of comic guests, see here for more details about NICE Here

If you want to get on my sketchlist then please come by early or you'll be disappointed as I sketch for free! 

I'll be taking pre convention commissions as I did last year. See details below for prices and examples of the different stuff I do!

I'll also have a variety of Copic marker tonal sketches for sale at the con as well as a selection of DC, Marvel, IDW, Archie and Dynamite sketchcovers and some original art too! I'll try and post pics of some of the pieces I have for sale nearer the time (and when I've had chance to draw them!)

Contact me at watson904@btinternet.com or via twitter @johnwatsonart to arrange commissions! I've also just joined Facebook...so find me on that if it's your thing! 


PRE-CONVENTION COMMISSION PRICES

Prices are £45 for an A4 sized one and £90 for an A3 sized one (or about 17" by 11" if you're from the USA)

 Get in touch if you'd like a pre-con commission sketch doing before the convention begins, in plenty of time so I have time to fit it into my schedule/put it on my list. They're basically copic marker, pencil and ink and are  finished/detailed convention sketches. No, they're not Adam Hughes level of quality but that's reflected in the price! They do look quite nice though. As pre convention commission prices in general have seemingly gone crazy (have you seen some of the prices? And by people who've never worked in comics and can barely draw too...I won't get into that now but it irks) I'm quite the bargain  Colour will be £55 for an A4 and £110 for an A3



 An A4 Nightcrawler


 A3 Poison Ivy



A3 Lightning Lad


A4 Starfire



 


A3 Hawkgirl


A3 Poison Ivy


 A4 Wonder Girl




FILM AND TV LIKENESSES

As I hope you can see, I do pretty nifty likenesses. These pieces often take an absolute age to do. For now, the cost is £45 A4 and £90 A3...For multiple characters it'll be more. we can work it out on a level of difficulty I guess. Colour ones (a watercolour wash) are going to be £55 or £110 for an A3. 



A3 Julie Newmar




A4 Chris Hemsworth




A4 Uhura

A4 Hayley Atwell

A4 Biff

A4 Quinto Spock

SKETCH COVERS

Ok, sketch covers. This has escalated, I'm getting asked to do loads of these before cons now. I do have a stock of my own but these are limited so I generally ask that you provide your own comic for me to sketch on. Cost is £45 for a b/w cover. Prices are for regular comic character ones and also for likenesses, examples below.  By the way, I don't mind at all if you get me to do these and then get them slabbed or sell them at a marked up price, as long as you're upfront about that, I have no problem with it at all! It's pretty cool seeing a piece I drew signed by Stan Lee or Michael J Fox!

Occasionally I get handed a very shiny Marvel cover...these are virtually impossible to draw on, just bear that in mind when asking me to draw something! The less shiny, the better. 

I've been asked to do wraparounds recently. These would be twice the price!



Bones


 Romero


Reeves


Doc and Marty


Eartha Kitt


Hayley Atwell


COLOUR SKECHCOVERS

These are going to be £55, for now. I've been asked to do wraparounds recently, these are going to be twice the price.



Supergirl

So, that's the sketch info. Prices are £5 more than last year. I think they're still very reasonable for what you get! 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Thought Bubble 2016

I'll be attending Thought Bubble on the weekend of the 5th/6th November this year. I'll only be sketching for a short time each day as, like last year, I'll be on the rotating creator table. As a result, if you want to get on my sketchlist then please come by early or you'll be disappointed. I'll be sketching on the weekend for free, as usual.

I'll be taking pre convention commissions as I did last year. See details below for prices and examples of the different stuff I do!

I'll also have a variety of Copic marker tonal sketches for sale at the con as well as a selection of DC, Marvel, IDW, Archie and Dynamite sketchcovers and some original art too! I'll try and post pics of some of the pieces I have for sale nearer the time (and when I've had chance to draw them!)

Contact me at watson904@btinternet.com or via twitter @johnwatsonart to arrange commissions!

PRE-CONVENTION COMMISSION PRICES

Prices are £45 for an A4 sized one and £90 for an A3 sized one (or about 17" by 11" if you're from the USA)

 Get in touch if you'd like a pre-con commission sketch doing before the convention begins, in plenty of time so I have time to fit it into my schedule/put it on my list. They're basically copic marker, pencil and ink and are  finished/detailed convention sketches. No, they're not Adam Hughes level of quality but that's reflected in the price! They do look quite nice though. As pre convention commission prices in general have seemingly gone crazy (have you seen some of the prices? And by people who've never worked in comics and can barely draw too...I won't get into that now but it irks) I'm quite the bargain  Colour will be £55 for an A4 and £110 for an A3



 An A4 Nightcrawler


 A3 Poison Ivy



A3 Lightning Lad


A4 Starfire



 


A3 Hawkgirl


A3 Poison Ivy


 A4 Wonder Girl




FILM AND TV LIKENESSES

As I hope you can see, I do pretty nifty likenesses. These pieces often take an absolute age to do. For now, the cost is £45 A4 and £90 A3...For multiple characters it'll be more. we can work it out on a level of difficulty I guess. Colour ones (a watercolour wash) are going to be £55 or £110 for an A3. 



A3 Julie Newmar




A4 Chris Hemsworth




A4 Uhura

A4 Hayley Atwell

A4 Biff

A4 Quinto Spock

SKETCH COVERS

Ok, sketch covers. This has escalated, I'm getting asked to do loads of these before cons now. I do have a stock of my own but these are limited so I generally ask that you provide your own comic for me to sketch on. Cost is £45 for a b/w cover. Prices are for regular comic character ones and also for likenesses, examples below.  By the way, I don't mind at all if you get me to do these and then get them slabbed or sell them at a marked up price, as long as you're upfront about that, I have no problem with it at all! It's pretty cool seeing a piece I drew signed by Stan Lee or Michael J Fox!

Occasionally I get handed a very shiny Marvel cover...these are virtually impossible to draw on, just bear that in mind when asking me to draw something! The less shiny, the better. 

I've been asked to do wraparounds recently. These would be twice the price!



Bones


 Romero


Reeves


Doc and Marty


Eartha Kitt


Hayley Atwell


COLOUR SKECHCOVERS

These are going to be £55, for now. I've been asked to do wraparounds recently, these are going to be twice the price.



Supergirl

So, that's the sketch info. Prices are £5 more than last year. I think they're still very reasonable for what you get! 



Monday, 6 June 2016

Swindon Comic Con: Postscript

Back from the Swindon Comic con at the weekend.

Well, it was a fun con for everyone. The venue at the Steam train museum was a great idea and created a fantastic, classic backdrop to the con. Vintage trains are much cooler to look at than conference room walls. It was also an adventure trying to navigate (the toilets were seemingly never in the same place twice)!
There were a lot of guests, cosplayers and also fans through the door. I think there was something for everyone. I only saw the trade hall on Sunday afternoon and wished I'd made time earlier in the weekend to check it out. Also, the guests were well looked after and supplied with food and drink throughout the convention. So thanks to Luke and Mark for putting it all together. It was a success.

As usual I went down to the con with Russell Payne. He's already blogged about the con this morning, the usual mix of lies and misdirection which you can read about here!

It was an early start, 0430 as Russ wanted to get there for 0930 and the journey South is always littered with mile upon mile of roadworks and standing traffic. Unusually we arrived in plenty of time despite Swindon's roads being a mix of multiple layered roundabaouts and traffic that, for a time, appeared to be American or European in layout. Still not certain how cars can be driving on the right hand side of the road in the UK and it doesn't cause an accident. We just kept going around the roundabouts until we figured it all out.

Russ had somehow been given a table that had a poster above him calling him a 'Comic artist/writer'. Impressive as he's never been either. He is a writer however, just not of comics. This gave him license to draw all weekend. If people are happy to give £3 for a sketch to a man who failed art at school then...ok. Although I did laugh when someone asked him how he got so good at drawing. It was almost avant garde in it's lunacy. And if you happened to buy one of his dodgy Watchmen badges then please make sure your tetanus jabs are up to date.

I'd not previously met a lot of the artists and writers who were sharing the stretch of tables with me. John Chapman, an X-Wing pilot from the original Star Wars movie was at the table next to me and we had a chat about his educational comic book series Jonnie Rocket. Great stuff. Sci-fi fun for kids with a positive message.

I'd somehow never met Martin Griffiths before either which is odd as we've frequented many of the same cons in the past. Had an in depth chat about the industry and different artists we both know or admire with him on the Saturday night.

Graeme Reynolds and Matt Shaw, both horror writers, were very entertaining throughout the day as every time one of them left their table they'd come back to find a book vandalised or a demeaning comment scrawled across something. I thought it was only Russ and me did that...They took it to another level by posting each assault on Facebook.

Russ made a careless mistake as he drew a sketch for someone on a piece of paper that I'd already drawn a picture of him on the back of with 'fraud' written underneath it. To be fair, I did that at a previous con. He really should've checked beforehand...

Also nice was meeting Grant Perkins and his wife. Again, been to cons they were at before but never had opportunity to speak!

Dave McCluskey, horror comic writer, was another new creator. As a bonus I could chat to him about football! He got a lift in Russ' car to the evening event as it was 3 miles away at a leisure centre so I got to know him quite well. Free food for guests and a cheap bar!

When we got back from the event we got lost.The hotel was a only a short walk from the Steam venue where we were parking the car that night. Except we couldn't get back in the car park. I tried running about near the barrier but couldn't set off the sensor so we left the car in the street.
Half an hour later we still hadn't figured out how to get to the hotel as there seems to be an all encompassing trainline surrounding it. Eventually we got in the car and used Dave's sat nav (possibly the most irritating sat nav ever...seriously, how many times can a robotic American voice fit the word 'Now' into a sentence?) to find our way. Dave went for a kebab and we never saw him again.

Russ and I sat in the hotel bar and tried to work on the book for a while. He'd promised a pretty much rewritten chapter one but it was the usual stuff. He'd removed an odd word here and there, taken out a sentence or two and then moved the paragraphs around. He hates losing words from his writing, never mind entire sequences that dontt work on any level. He railed against all the decisions we'd made earlier in the day and justified all his decisions by saying 'but I like it,' or, 'I like confusion.' This was the trip that I discovered that when Russ is tired there's no point talking to him as he turns into a petulant teenager.

Thankfully a quiet, slight man parked himself on the next table next to us and introduced himself. Turns out his name was Paul Warren and he's a creature actor from a ton of top movies including Star Wars Episode 7, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy. The tablet Russ and I were working on powered down as Paul regalled us with tales from his movie experiences and what it's like to work on Star Wars. The fact it was after 2am didn't bother me! Who doesn't want to chat with an actor like Paul? If you ever see him as a guest at a con go over and meet him, a genuinely nice guy.

I wasn't sharing a room with Russ so I got a decent night's sleep. Sunday was more of the same, sketching, chatting with fans, listening to Russ lie and enjoying the con!

Unusually we made it home before midnight!


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Swindon Comic Con June 4th/5th 2016

I'll be attending Swindon Comic Con in a couple of weeks, June 4th and 5th. As usual I'm taking commissions, same prices as last year and I'll be sketching all weekend also. Sketches I do at the con itself, as always, are free, it takes the pressure off me in case they're not very good basically. And it's cool. For pre-convention sketches, continue reading!

As it's all last minute get in touch sooner rather than later!

Now here's the information you'll need about commissions!

All the pre con commissions are done in pencil, ink and Copic marker. I can do something different, say pencils only, or linework, just let me know. I'll also be doing colour pieces again, basically they're copic marker pieces with watercolour added. They're a lot more finished than what I can accomplish on the day of the con and they're pretty cheap!

Here are some examples:

A4 B/W. These are £40.






A4 sketchcovers, these would be £40. If you want to supply your own comic then send it quickly! I do have a small stock of titles...there'd be a small charge if you want me to supply the cover.












These are pretty popular at the moment. The DC covers are a better surface to draw on but as you can hopefully see from the Stan Lee cover above, I can still draw ok on the Marvel ones...except the dead shiny ones they did a few years ago. Well, I can still draw on them but they wont be that good!

A4 Colour. These are £50


A3 B/W. These are £80



These tend to be more full figure than the A4 ones as they're twice the size!

A3 Colour. These are £100





I don't mind doing a couple of figures on the A3 colour pieces, as long as it doesn't get crazy with detail


I'll also have some colour prints for sale, £10 each. I think they're pretty nice. I've, at the moment, got five different ones but by the con it'll probably be up to ten, depends on whether I get chance to colour them! Here are some examples.







As well, I'll have some new original art to sell also, Star Trek for IDW. And some other original art that I've had a while (hey, who wants to own an original Marvel Apes cover?) and cover recreations for sale. 

There'll be a selection of pre drawn sketches for sale also!

Get in touch for sketches etc by the usual methods, basically watson904@btinternet.com, see Twitter for updates too.