New book coming soon for Oxford University Press
Update, April 2016
So the final artwork is in, both the cover and the inner 8 pages. This has been without doubt the most difficult project I’ve ever had to do and I’m frankly nervous about what the OUP editors will come back with in a few days time.
I’ve read and loved comics for as long as I remember. I’ve even had tiny stabs at making one or two and never completed on it because they were incoherent and unplanned. In any case my admiration for comicbook artists has always been devotional.
With this being an 8-page comic, that reverence has simply been amplified. I’m Never Criticising Anyone Ever AgainTM. With such a structured brief it’s been a great way to explore my ability with the format; moreover it’s been especially rewarding having my layout suggestions adopted. But even so, this has blunted every tool in my toolbox and I’ve never felt more fulfilled.
“My reverence for comic-book artists has simply been amplified. I’m Never Criticising Anyone Ever AgainTM.”
The primary learning is the time it takes to develop the characters consistently – that’s been an entirely different process to the one taken with any others I’ve done. From technical aspects like perspective, to more complex character design problems, like complex emotions and characters changing with time.
The other significant challenge has been the painting. Digital painting vs. real-world painting? One word: undo.
I still can’t share too much before publication in September, but if you’re reading this and have any comments on the artwork shared I’d be hugely grateful. I can’t wait to share the whole thing and get feedback from friends that are making comics (YOU ARE DEITIES) about how I’ve fared on my first complete sequential work.
Update, March 2016
As you might expect at an early stage of any book, I can say very little about the project. The final roughs have been approved with just some minor layout tweaks, so it’s all go for the final artwork phase.
It’s greatly gratifying to work with OUP again, with another team, on a completely different and more challenging story than the wonderful Warriors of Honour chapter book.
What I can say is that the editor, senior designer and I are gunning for a very emotional piece of work, about one of the most tragic periods in modern history. As it’s for Year 8 kids at the very top of their reading game, it’s able to bring out some of the most beautiful and emotionally complex character expressions that I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to capture. I hope the colour rough below conveys a little of that.