Monday, September 13, 2010

The Red Skull Vs The Green Skull

I've posted this on the Cloud 109 Blog, but hey ho - thought it might possibly be of interest here especially as current work on Cloud 109 is being kept well and truly under wraps.

I was contacted by the QI team and their publisher to come up with an image or three in the style of classic comic book superheros for their QI annual cover. It was a job which I thought could be a potential mine field with at least a dozen likenesses to try and achieve but in the end the whole thing was a breeze with a really open brief and the only tweaks and twiddles required were really to ensure that the whole thing worked with the areas of type and cropping required.

So here from the top is how I did the thing.

Stage 1 Do a crappy old pencil drawing - drawn real small - so I can a). feel confident about what I'm doing and b). can see at a glance how it's working.

OK that's that bit done.

Stage 2 Scan the thing.

Stage 3 import the scan into Manga Studio (love this software!). Now comes a bit of fun as you digitally ink the thing with a selection of pens and or brushes which are the best I've come across (although I'm still on Creative Suite 3 - rather than 5 - times are hard etc, etc)

Stage 4 Add in the lettering and send the thing off to your art editor.

Stage 5 Await response - At this stage the wait was endless and I thought the thing was going belly up on me - but no they 'loved" the idea.

Stage 6 Bounce around the studio like Stimpy the Cat singing "Happy Happy Joy Joy".

Stage 7 Import the visual into Illustrator - ideal for this kind of job because it's so flexible and alteration friendly.

And then it's just a case of working all the elements in on separate layers, tweaking and twiddling and Hey Presto!.

You're done!!!

Apart from a concern about the Red Skull- i.e. will Marvel sue the shit out of QI?

Hmmmm OK be cautious and make that Skull Green.

Still prefer the Red one...

In the shops from November onwards and here's a photo of Mr Fry with a copy of the thing.

Fame at last!!!

"I've waited years for this moment Mr Smee ...."


  1. Ha ha, fantastic! What a great job... you really couldn't ask for a better bunch of subjects to caricature!

  2. Yes Nelson it was one of those moments when you think to yourself - and I'm getting paid to do this.

    Definitely beats having a proper job.

  3. Haha! AWESOME! What a hoot!


  4. Stephen Fry holding something you drew! On a motorbike! Good lord.

    Very nice work!

  5. I know Neil, my artwork is hanging out in all the best circles, tarting itself around the cocktail circuit, being ushered into all the most exclusive night spots, beautiful women hanging on it's every Adobe utterance,it's little digital chest puffed up with pride.

    Whereas me it's creator is scrabbling around grubbing for pennies, reduced to searching the overdate bins at Lidl's, trying to grow veg in the flower beds.

    I just hope the little shit remembers it's creator - the tears, the sweat etc, etc.

    Better stop now, can't see to type through the tears.

  6. That is superb - a difficult job when there's lots of real people to draw!


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