Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Imitation is the best form of art

So, these past two weeks, I've QUIT and RESTARTED my 'career' as a comic book illustrator several times over. Every time I sit down with the intention of drawing something good, within a few hours,  I'm snapping my pencils in disgust at my clear lack of talent. However, oddly enough,  being good at drawing isn't necessarily important when it comes to creating comics or art. It's just my own art snobbery that prevents me from accepting anything that I draw as competent and worthy.

My ultimate goal is to be able to draw my conspiracy based series, Get Woke, to a level where I wouldn't be embarrassed to show it to people. The script is very funny (which can help carry poor-average art) and conspiracy is so zeitgeist right now that I know it could be a hit. However, even the first issue, clocking in at 40 pages, is going to take me at the very least a year to draw! And that's if I can actually see it through until the end. 

Get Woke also features some of the most famous people of all time set in world renowned locations. It's a full-blown, giddy AF, international super-blockbuster of a series, with racing action scenes and visual gags galore. I couldn't have picked a harder story to try and draw. I do, however, have a plan...



Peppa Pig: looks like it's drawn by a five year old and is wildly successful. That's an extreme example but it proves good drawing isn't essential. My problem is that if I'm not drawing precise lines like Steve Dillon or Chris Weston I hate what I'm creating. These are amazing artists who spent years crafting their skills. I'll never be as good as these professional artists and that's something I need to accept, despite how fucking obvious it is.



What I need to do is get good at some more simplistic art. No less credit to the creators of Adventure Time, Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Lab and cartoons of that ilke (it's all very purposefully simple and clever and very hard to get right) but if I can somehow copy these simple styles with flat colours and basic shapes, I believe I could evetually come to some sort of level of drawing I'd be happy with. I think it would suit the subject matter really well too.



Here's a load of reference pics for some of the other top kid's cartoons at the moment.









I have no doubt that, given tons of practice and some hard work, I can create something similar to one of the images above.


Thursday, 21 December 2017

The Fright Before Christmas

Here's a festive story I've been saving for Christmas time. The Fright Before Christmas appeared in the Back from the Depths 2010 Xmas Special SHOCKING CHILLERS! with art by Christopher Geary.







Saturday, 2 December 2017

Learning to Draw #1

I've been promoting this blog as a place where you can follow me as I "learn to draw". Apart from the occasional short comic strip or sketch I haven't really fulfilled this promise. Time to make amends!

I'm fortunate enough to know enough comic artists and editors that I can usually find a home for the short comic strips I have written. When it comes to securing an illustrator for longer projects, the only way you can be sure of getting a what you want is by paying for it. That's not currently an option for me and it sucks!

Writing a comic series takes a serious commitment. You're not just making ink appear on paper you're creating characters and worlds and pouring time and energy in to a story. A standard 4 issue mini series could be between 80-150 pages long. Pulling together a full art team of pencils, inks, colours and letters means a project of that size could easily cost at least £4000. That's enough to put you off writing longer series as what's the point if you can never afford to bring it to life.

Anyways, I could ramble like this for ages before showing you any art. I'll continue this conversation later in the Learning to Draw blog series as the drawings flow and I reveal my full deluded intentions.

Meanwhile, I been sketchin'...









Thursday, 23 November 2017

Killer Bytes now available on Comichaus

I've been  putting off launching my anthology for a long time. Taking the final steps and committing a version to print is a scary move as once it's been printed you can't make any changes should any errors appear. So, I've decided to do a soft launch of the digital version, which you can now read by signing up to the all new Comichaus app. Killer Bytes is a collection of 10 short comic stories, that's 34 pages of pure comic goodness written by Tim West.



I still fully intend to go for a 50-100 print run and take them to sell as physical copies at a few conventions. The 'Bytes' contained in the title does lend itself nicely to the digital format and I'm more than happy to just release this to the wild and get some feedback. But why Comichaus?




The Comichaus app, after a long time in development, was launched this week with full fanfare. I met the founder Pete Genepool at Thought Bubble this year and he came across as a very decent guy with an obvious passion for comics. Comichaus are promoting their new app as, 'The Netflix for Indie Comics', and you can sign up for a mere £3.00 per month to read as many comics as you want.

Taking a closer look at the comics on the app, I noticed that there were not actually that many there! Understandably, it was only launched this week and word takes time to get around. I'm sure there will be plenty more indie creators uploading their comics in the next few months as Comichaus splits any revenue with the creators depending on how often their comics are read.

It seemed the right time to add Killer Bytes to the app at this early stage. People are just starting to get involved and the limited number of comics means my anthology is less likely to get lost amongst all the other comics on offer. Hopefully it will earn a few pence as well!

So, get on over to Comichaus and join the revolution. While you're there, read my comic and give it 5 stars.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Wizards of Westside Concept Art

I've written a script that's been approved for the anthology The Psychedelic Journal  of Wizardry due to be published in 2018. The 4 page story The Wizards of Westside is a hilarious tale of how wizards would act if they were modern days Gangstas.

I recently received some concept art and a rough page layout from the artist who has been assigned to the story, Jonathan Scott, an awesome illustrator who, by the looks of the images below, is going to do an excellent job of bringing this story to life.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Why pigs can't look up.

More inane gibberish from inside my head; this short skit achieved a massive (sarcasm) 61 Upvotes on Reddit's comics forum. Not bad actually as it makes it my second highest comic post on the site.




I usually digital ink all my work but this was done by hand and then scanned in to colour in Photoshop. I found hand inking to be soooooo much faster than doing it digital so may try it again in the future. Overall project took around 2 hours to complete.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Hallowscream 9

Once again I'm proud to be a part of this great project. Our 9th issue. Who'd have thunk it were possible. I've got 3 stories in this year's issue. Hope you enjoy.

Behold! The nasty ninth edition of the Hallowscream! Hallowe'en Special has arrived! 48 pages packed with peculiar and paranormal perils!

Here Are The Download Links (right click and 'save as') :

Lo-res Version (file size = 19.9mb) :       MEDIAFIRE     DROPBOX

Hi-res Version (file size = 61.4mb) :       MEDIAFIRE     DROPBOX

You can also read the issue online at :      ISSUU

These are the full contents behind the demonic djinni cover by Ken Best...

Page 3 : Be Careful What You Wish For  Story by Mark Keenan, Art by Carol Kewley
Page 7 : Peril In The Park  Story & Art by Tim West
Page 9 : Java Dreams  Story & Art by Denise Van Hulst
Page 12 : A Brush With Death  Story & Art by Gordon Innes
Page 13 : Fate Worse Than Death?  Written by Marta Tanrikulu, Illustrated by Pramit Santra, Coloured by Joshua Jensen, Lettered by Micah Myers
Page 15 : Bestiary of Beasties : Jersey Devil / Home-Made Jampire  by Malcolm Kirk
Page 16 : Terrorvision Guide  by Malcolm Kirk
Page 17 : The Dock of Sorrow  Story by Troy Vevasis, Art by Klaudia Bezak, Letters by
Adam Wollet
Page 19 : Bloodlust  Written by Paul Bradford, Art by Luciano Fleitas, Letters by Marx Blum
Page 20 : Hades Recruitment Drive  Story by Tunc Pekmen, Art by Patrick Halpin
Page 30 : TV Dinner  Story & Art by Gordon Innes
Page 33 : Knights of The Beige Workbench  Story & Art by BP Johnson
Page 34 : The Ikuchi  Script by Christopher R. Matusiak, Art by Loc Nguyen, Letters by Nikki
Sherman
Page 35 : Caught In A Moment  Story by Tim West, Art by Boris Pecis
Page 37 : The Deadfast Club  Story, Art & Letters by Ricky Perez
Page 40 : A Wine For Every Occasion  Story by Tim West, Art by Ken Best
Page 41 : Dinnertime  Story by Kae Verens, Art by Philip Sneyd
Page 42 : Deadvertisements  by Malcolm Kirk
Page 43 : Do Skeletons Dream of Psychedelic Beer?  by Philip Sneyd
Page 44 : Terror of The Sheep 2 : Chapter One  Story & Art by Malcolm Kirk
Page 47 : Notforthenervousment  (sometimes they come back)
...and...
Page 48 : Back Cover Skull  by Malcolm Kirk

Previous issues of Hallowscream are available to download from
www.hallowscream.net or you can buy real-life monochrome paperback versions from Lulu.com. HAPPY HALLOWE'EN!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sliced Quarterly #8



The Passenger (probably the best thing I've ever drawn) is in the latest issue of Sliced Quarterly, which is now available to read for FREE over on their site. Sliced run an open submissions policy and are always on the lookout for...

‘Slice of life’ stories told in experimental and innovative ways, this includes comics, narrative illustrations and infographics. We aren’t interested in zombies, vampires, aliens or superheroes, there are plenty of comics that have those bases covered.We want stories that communicate. They can be funny, serious, moving, thought provoking. You can do whatever you want, as long as it isn’t offensive or inappropriate.

I submitted The Passenger as it fitted the subs guide and was delighted to have it accepted. Editor Ken Reynolds re-lettered the story from my original piece and it ended up looking even better. Head over to the Sliced Quarterly website and check it out.

UPDATE: Here's a nice review in which The Passenger gets a special thumbs up. Love it when this happens. Hits you right in the feels.

Friday, 13 October 2017

A Wine For Every Occasion

It's been a few weeks since my last blog post so take a look at this short one page strip written by me with art by Australian artist Ken Best. A Wine For Every Occasion is based on an idea my dear wife had while we were sloshing our way through a couple of bottles of wine one evening. The idea translated nicely in to comic format and will be appearing in this year's Hallowscream. Take a look below...



Ken has done a lovely job with the art and he's also doing the cover art for Hallowscream, which will be released in to the wild this October 31st. It's going to be a spooky one.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Logo Practice

Comic book logo design is tricky AF. You've got to convey a message using just a simple word or phrase that lets the reader know what to expect from your comic. It can help to sell the comic to potential buyers so getting it right is an important part of the comic creation process.

I'm always looking to practice and improve on my graphic design skills so when a hole appeared in my schedule I decided to offer my experience to a few lucky comic creators on Reddit and design them a FREE logo. I find it more challenging to work to a brief rather than just making up names and maybe these logos will go on to better things if the stories get picked up.

Below are 4 examples I've just completed along with the brief supplied by the comic's creator.

Brief: A modern-day occult/detective noir story in the vein of True Detective.


Brief: A story about twin bandits that involves magic, travelling to different worlds and defending themselves from an evil force. It's a bit futuristic in a way and it's called...


Brief: The book has tons of swearing it in, so its not appropriate for children. I'd like a logo that very adult-looking. Also it should be extremely legible even when it a tiny thumbnail, because a lot of people buy comics online on sites like Comixology and they are picking books based off very tiny thumbnails. The only other suggestion I have is to make the "post-apocalyptic" part prominent (or at least don't minimized it too much) because there will be a huge dinosaur on every cover so people will already know its about dinosaurs no matter what. The "Post Apocalyptic" part is the unique thing.




Brief: The character's name is Pulsar, and he's a kinda down on his luck guy with an absent father, who literally explodes one day. Everything around him is wiped out, and he's covered in a strange blue plasma from head to toe. He has several orange orbs that orbit his chest, and can fly, is strong, fires the plasma in bolts and beams and stuff... you name it. And, you know, uses his powers for good.


Quite a different range of genres but hopefully you can see a little of those genres injected in to the logos.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Latest Update #5

These updates are a useful way of keeping this blog fresh and also reminding myself that making comics is a never ending battle against the most evil of super-villians - The Time Stealin' Goblin! "West" I say to myself, "Make some more comics." You gotta keep sticking it to that bastard of a goblin.

  • Hallowscream 2017 - We've got a cover artist sorted and loads of great stories for this year's issue of everyone's favourite indie horror comic. Next month's launch will come quickly so you can be sure all the contributors are busy working on their comic strips.

    I've got 3 stories appearing in this issue! My very own attempt at art Peril in the Park, a 2 page story titled Caught in a Moment, drawn by Croatian artist Boris Peci, and a single page story called A Wine for Every Occasion drawn by Australian artist Ken Best. It's a real international affair! Preview pics below...





  • My 2 page strip Made for Each Other has been accepted by the team at Strange Romance. This is a professional comic and I've had to sign a contract to give them the story rights for a year but there will be some level of payment for my work! Getting paid to make comics, how bizarre!
  • I'm still fine tuning my anthology Killer Bytes which is now looking like a 2018 launch date. I've pretty much missed convention season so it makes sense to hold it back until the new year.
  • Half way through the first draft of issue 1 of Get Woke, the dead-celebrity conspiracy comic.
  • There's currently 4 scripts approved by various indie anthologies that are waiting for an artist to be assigned Mommy's Little Angel, The Wizards of Westside, Misery BusinessMika and the Godheart.
  • Recently finished writing a 7 page sci-fi story titled Familiars. I'm making an effort to write some scripts in advance so when a new submissions call goes out I'll have some stories on file I can send immediately rather than writing them in a rush to meet deadlines.
As you can see, there's plenty going on and plenty more to do. As a writer, I keep a list of story ideas that grows each month. There's also a second list I maintain, to manage the stories in progress that have qualified from the first list, as ideas that are worth further attention. This list is getting BIG. So fuck you, goblin. I'm going to make some comics.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Mbrustah's Millions

Apologies for the lack of recent posts but overall it hasn't been too painful leaving the previous Get Woke post at the top of this blog for the last couple of weeks. It's an awesome image and the script for issue 1 is coming along nicely.

In the meantime, I've just finished this little strip that made me giggle. I believe I'm actually getting faster at the art! For the people of Reddit, the art isn't that important, it's the story that counts. Hopefully this will be to their liking. It made me giggle.


EDIT: 34 up votes on Reddit. Not great but not a total disaster.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Get Woke Concept Cover




The swirls effect doesn't quite work on some devices. Best viewed on desktop PC.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

New Art Commission

Us writers are a highly secretive and paranoid bunch when it comes to sharing our ideas. The wild imagination required for conjuring up new worlds and fantastical plotlines also generates shadowy figures round every corner trying to steal ideas like sinister child-snatchers (for these stories are definitely our babies). Truth is, ideas are ten a penny. Good ideas are rarer, but ultimately it's the getting up off your arse and doing something about them that really separates the creatives from those with just ideas.

I'd like to share with you a good idea for a comic book series I had that I found so cool I commissioned awesome artist Dean Beattie to sketch up the characters. Check out his process below...








The brief: Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, Bigfoot and the disembodied brain of JFK battle evil in a world where conspiracy theories are true.

I'll be posting more about this idea in the coming weeks so stay tuned. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Rumblebot Rampage Preview

It's always pleasant when an email arrives containing artwork for a script, and that's exactly what happened this morning. Rumblebot Rampage is a 4 page sci-fi/comedy that is due to appear in the 20th issue of 100% Biodegradable (released March 2018). Beautifully drawn and lettered by Ed Norden (Torsobear, Murky Depths) this story has it all, fighting, robots, aliens and jokes. Here's a little preview panel below...