Back to the late 1990’s!

When I moved house last year I happened upon a box full of student artwork, much of it typical of your graphic design student not wanting to do the projects assigned by his tutors. Anyhow I scanned some of the better stuff in, so I shall share it here. I produced these during and after I went on my Erasmus exchange to Antwerp. I really got into comics there, buying them from the Stripwinkel (Mekanik Strip), these included DC Vertigo’s Hellblazer (art by Sean Philips, the King Arthur plot by Paul Jenkins) Johnny The Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez, DC Vertigo’s House of Secrets (written by Steven T Seagle, art by Teddy Kristiansen) and of course Mike Mignola’s Hellboy.
The first couple of pages are cartoon characters I was doodling, including a swearing onion-headed man, a manic shoeless guy, a tubby, slightly sinister, jumper wearing middle aged chap who can shoot plasma balls from his eyes. Also a worried philosopher with a goatee and walking toaster.

Now we have a few more characters evolving from the messy lines: clones with barcodes on their foreheads, a viking, a caricature of a housemate from Plymouth who was into surfing, a scary punk (I avoided such a person once in Plymouth though he didn’t have nails in his head as far as I can remember) and there’s a self- portrait too! On the right page is a huge hulking chap who for no reason I’ve decided reforms his shape like the T1000 in Terminator 2, there’s an almost mask-faced character too along with lots of notes.

Next we have two scraperboard (or scratchboard if you’re from the US or Australia) pages of my manic guy with a hammer, lit by a window and troubled chap at the bottom of some stairs. I quite like the stark, scratchy scraperboard effect, I was considering using it for a whole comic but realised it would be very expensive!

A few more pages of character creation, there’s a dim fellow, possibly based on someone I knew, a one with a hemisphere head with mad eyebrows, a slightly gothy girl with a pet electric eel in a fish tank on wheels. The page of gore probably started as an ink sketch I wanted to obliterate. Rotring technical pen, dip pen and black ink was used for creating the characters on the next pages. The mask-faced chap is more Sci-fi now, I feel a bit sorry the sad clone with his mop and bucket. I’ve drawn one of my housemates of the time saving a cat.

And for the final of this trip back to the late 1990’s; I’ve almost got the hang of the dip pen and I’m using Quink ink to create the grey/turquoise effect and bleach applied with an old paintbrush to get the fleshy colour. There’s all sorts of silly ideas here too. More next time!

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