Sunday, 30 August 2015

NOT JUST A LETTERER...


'Homage' to cover of IRON MAN #150.  Hand drawn, no tracing or graph
paper or projectors involved.  Characters copyright MARVEL COMICS

It's not generally known, but although I was primarily a lettering
artist throughout my 15 year career in comics, my original ambition
was to be an adventure comic strip artist.  I started lettering simply
to get my size 9s in the door, but when I saw that I could earn more
as a letterer than as an artist (on account of being faster at the
former than the latter), I stuck mainly with the lettering.

However, I did a bit of drawing as well, adding to panels when
re-sizing IPC comic libraries, and doing occasional spot illos when
the opportunity presented itself.  I also worked as a restoration artist
on some MARVEL MASTERWORK volumes, re-inking and even
re-creating JACK KIRBY art, which was a huge thrill for me.

However, my frank and forthright views on this blog on the
state of the British comics 'industry' (hah!) has brought me in for
criticism from some quarters, with a few disgruntled individuals dis-
missing me as "only a letterer" and a "Kirby tracer".  Thing is, I got
my first paying gig as a cartoonist when I was still at school, and have
produced artwork for publication (for which I was paid) since even
before (during and after) I started freelancing for IPC/FLEET-
WAY, MARVEL COMICS (and others).

So here are a few examples of my artwork ranging from my
teenage years right up to adulthood.  Quite a few are professional
pieces I was paid for, some were freebies for people I know, and the
remainder were done for my own amusement.  I've shown them all
before at various times, but it can't hurt to remind people that I'm
certainly more than "only a letterer".  Funny how some people
who work in comics mistakenly imagine that it's the only
legitimate outlet for an artist's work, eh?

******

Wow!  This is one of the fastest visited posts in my blog's
history - and quite a number of them via proxy servers and
'detour' routes too.  (Must be from people who don't want me to
know they've looked.)  And yet, no comments so far.  Don't be
shy now;  tickle my ego by telling me what I know already -
some of these images ain't half bad at all!


"If you don't like a certain cartoonist's version of DESPERATE
DAN,
then why not try drawing it yourself?"
someone dared me.
So I did!  Characters copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

B&W copy of colour ad for a local restaurant.  I was going
to be paid £100 for it, but decided against it in the end

2000 A.D. pin-up.  I was paid for it, but don't know
if it was ever published.  Characters copyright
REBELLION PUBLISHING

One of the lettering samples which got me the promise of work from
IPC.  Pencils by me.  Characters copyright MARVEL COMICS




Set of four cartoon illustrations for Equestrian event programme

Cartoon illustration for local business

Acrylic ink caricature of a friend's son

Pencil caricature done as a gift for someone

Parody of AMAZING FANTASY #15 splash page

Cartoon strip for local business

Proposed strip (at the request of BOB PAYNTER) for OINK!
comic while at the preparation stage.  Never got any feedback,
but a similar character appeared a few months later

William Hartnell Doctor figure and Tardis drawn in
1983, background completed 30 years later, in 2013

Acrylic ink portrait done as a gift for someone
after much badgering.  Yeah, you can see my
heart wasn't really  in it

Inked drawing done as a gift for someone.  Characters
copyright KING FEATURES SYNDICATE, INC

Newspaper ad drawn as a teenager for local business

Photocopy of pencil drawing done for my own amusement


Instruction leaflet for local business's delivery drivers

Newspaper ad for Glasgow hairdressers


Acrylic ink caricature done as a gift for someone

Logo for The ILLUSTRATED COMIC JOURNAL


Pair of flyers for local business

Proposed logo for Glasgow Con.  Don't know if it was used or not


Cartoons for two camping posters done in my late teens/early 20s

Logo for local business

Acrylic ink caricature done as a gift for someone

Quick caricature done as a gift for someone



Fun & Activity booklet produced for local business

Acrylic ink caricature done as a gift for someone

Unfinished pencil caricature


Comic strip drawn for The BOOTS NEWS when I was 17

Pencil drawing done as a teenager

Unpublished strip for local paper.  Others were published 'though


Cartoon strip drawn for my own amusement



And finally - a couple of pages of JK artwork I inked.  The FF
one appeared in an issue of The JACK KIRBY Collector

29 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Letterer, artist, inker, superstar blogger, rubbing shoulders with Stan Lee and Bob Hope - is there no end to your talents, Kid ? We mere mortals salute you :)

Kid said...

Ah, there's nothing like a bit of irony to bring a man's ego down to size, eh, CJ? Yours is the only comment so far, yet the posts has had loads of hits. Do you think, perhaps, that I'm not as popular as a superstar blogger should be? I don't understand it - I thought everybody loved me. (See? I'm quite good at irony too. Hee hee.)

Phil said...

Well done!

Kid said...

Shucks, Phil! There's no shutting you up once you get started, eh?

moonmando said...

Bit of a retrospective going on there kid. And,we've only just scratched the surface. A collector of note,and an officianado of all things comics industry related.
Excelsior! The Kid!

Kid said...

That'll be aficionado, Moony, but never mind all that. Just tell me how brilliant I am. You've been paid already!

Mark Carter said...

The Frankenstein pic - photocopy or not - is fecking awesome!!

Kid said...

Thanks for that, but nobody's going to believe I didn't type your comment myself. Especially as you used the word 'fecking', which I use all the time. However, your appreciation is valued nonetheless.

Graham said...

Kid, just getting to these. The Kirby homages are awesome and so is the Iron Man/Doom pic. I really like the FF one at the end. I like your humor strips, too. I always wanted to draw professionally, but I just never got any better....probably needed some instruction, no definitely needed it. I could entertain my kids with the occasional super hero drawing, but they're beyond that now.

Clive Huckstepp said...

What are you doing wasting your talent,your artwork is way better than most of the artists working for DC Thompson[have you seen the latest Dandy Summer Special].

Kid said...

I got better, but I never got as good as I wanted to be, Graham. Nor did I get any faster, and you have to be fast to make a living from it. Besides, I'm never really happy with anything I draw.

******

Thanks, Clive. I saw The Dandy Summer Special and thought the interiors looked awful. What's more, I saw the number of Beano Specials reduce over a week or so, while The Dandy one didn't seem to shift.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Can't see why the state of the British Comic trade should the topic of controversy, it's pretty much extinct. DC Thomson, that's about it as far as original content goes, since 2000AD was taken off the Smiths list and given discretionary distribution, or have a I missed a thriving publisher promoting a vibrant range of rich and varied narrative genres through the medium? Er, no I don't think I have, yeah there's a minor, very minor, niche market for eclectic work, which is mostly up it's own backside but there's zero depth to the medium here, by that I mean there's nothing in the way of diversity of interest. This is no great revelation, everyone knows about it, some people have even tried to do something about it but they keep hitting the same brick wall, distribution costs. Factor in media hostility to anything that garners interest from the Kids, even loom bands are deadly in the hands of eight year olds according to the Daily Mail, then you have a very poor risk for prospective publishers. The consequence is that the likely hood of a resurgence in the British comic trade is about is about the same as the prospect of success for a venture selling thong bikinis to the female beach goers in Saudi Arabia.

Jeff Austin said...

Nice range of work, Kid. Especially like your color pieces.

Kid said...

It's the topic of controversy, DSE, because certain comic contributors with a vested interest in 'talking up' the situation are in denial. There is no British comics industry these days - as you say, it's a niche market. But never mind all that. Where's your glowing praise for my artistic endeavours? (Oh, I see - another one that thinks they're sh*te. Well, you can't win 'em all. Sigh.)

******

Thanks, Jeff. Colour is tough for me, 'cos I'm slightly colour blind. Always nice to get a compliment from a fellow artist.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

Some nice stuff there - I particularly like the caricatures ( a couple eerr stick out!) and the Popeye one is very good indeed - your lettering is top drawer I still prefer hand lettering to the PC (or whatever they call it) ones - why not do a regular comic strip on-line no need to rush just take your time with it have fun etc etc

Kid said...

I've thought about it, McS, but it's too much work and I'm just not up to it. I'd have to colour it by hand and I don't really have the stamina anymore. Haven't ruled it out completely 'though.

TwoHeadedBoy said...

Love the Popeye and the Frankenstein's creature ones... And I think I've sung the praises of the Comic Journal title thing before? But that's a LOT of range right there!

I'd love to argue that British comics aren't dead, but it's been a long time since anything "new" has interested me. Well, there's been a few things, but their contents are HIGHLY "niche", if you know what I mean. Erm.

Kid said...

That's a LOT of YEARS right there, THB. The earliest ones are from the '70s, right up to the present day. The Frankie one was very early '80s.

It would be nice if there was a comics industry in this country, but despite claims to the contrary by some deluded individuals, the glory days are long gone, unfortunately.

Now, where did AJ get to?

Dunsade Dave said...

I love the Frankenstein pic too, it'd make a great poster.

I don't get why anyone would be criticised for being 'only a letterer'. Lettering is a hugely important part of any comic. Unfortunately it's probably a bit like football refereeing- you don't tend to notice it when it's done well, but when it's done badly, it becomes difficult to ignore it.

As for the state of British comics, I remember going into papershops and being bewildered by the sheer variety and choice in the mid-80s- humour titles, war, sci-fi, sports comics, TV tie-ins, adventure titles, and all of them were affordable, unpretentious and fun. I don't see very much of any of those qualities in the comics section of WH Smith's these days, and sadly I don't see any realistic way that we'll ever get back to those days either.

I'd love to see a few cheap reprints of, say the Beano, Whizzer and Chips, the Victor, Cheeky, Roy of the Rovers etc done in the Marvel Essentials format. Obviously us nostalgia-hounds would buy 'em, but it would be interesting to see how today's kids would react to them too.

Arfon Jones said...

Kid, please except the following fawning, exaggerated out-of-proportion comment as feedback on your artwork. Accomplished in both line and colour work you are clearly a man of many talents. Even though you have a distinct style of your own you can clearly imitate the style others, not an easy task! Keep up the good work sir.

Kid said...

Well, it's a strange one, DD. I've seen people who can't letter by hand, but who use computer fonts by Comicraft (or some other outfit) described as 'ace letterer such and such', and have their ability to type extolled to the heavens. However, if someone like me, who points out some plain and obvious truths about certain British comics (which everyone with an ounce of sense can see for themselves, except for a few contributors who are up their own @rses), then my observations are dismissed on the grounds that I'm 'just a letterer'.

As you say, it would be interesting to see what the current crop of kids would think of comics from yesteryear if they were reprinted now, but I doubt such reprints would be aimed at them anyway.

******

Aw, shucks, AJ. You're only saying that 'cos it's true (he said, modestly).

John Pitt said...

Kid, you've GOT to add your William Hartnell / Doctor Who page to the gallery!!

Kid said...

You're right, JP, so consider it added. How could I forget it? It's one of my fairly decent ones.

Irmantas said...

With some delay, I take my hat off to the artist with an undeniable talent across the range of the genre.

Kid said...

I take my hat off to him as well, Irmy - but what do you think of MY stuff?

Irmantas said...

Isn't it your stuff that you've shown here?

Kid said...

Of course it's mine, Irmy - it was a joke. You being such a lover of the British sense of humour (as far as comics go anyway), I thought you'd have got it. I obviously need to work on my delivery. Thanks for the compliment - the cheque's in the post. (That's another joke.)

Irmantas said...

There's nothing in the mail yet as of today. PayPal is my preferred method of payment.

Kid said...

Ah, now you're catching on!

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