Wraparound cover illustration for the London-based charity ScotsCare. An evolving brief to illustrate the cover of their Annual Review publication led to a representation of a group of Scots using the London Underground. There are various symbols in the image which suggest Scottish identity, and Old Street is the tube stop closest to their headquarters on City Road.
It’s the time of year when I’m asked to create business Christmas cards. Sometimes they are sent digitally only, and sometimes I hire a printer who posts cards and envelopes out to clients. Cards can be tailored to business’s needs or I can be left to come up with something (hopefully) amusing. Now is a good time to get the process started.
I’ve been going through the bitmap scans and filling in the blacks, meaning that pages drawn over a year ago are finally seen how they are intended to look. A page from The Mice book three, still in production, showing the humans attempting to hijack a giant alien forklift truck. An alien is about to be stabbed in the backside. It’s scenes like this which make me wonder at my writing style sometimes.
Pen and ink on A3, and then coloured digitally in Photoshop. This was for Ellaone’s campaign for birth control pills, and appeared in magazines at the time.
Cover art for The Prototypes, featuring a super heroine tasering herself. The brief was supplied by the band. These are my original photoshop colours, but it was eventually re-coloured by my colleague Robert Smith as the client asked me to make it darker. I like the pop art buzz of this version though.
Scenes from my current project. Painting a mural up eight flights of stairs in the studio building where I work in Dalston, Hackney. The mural is designed to show how the Bootstrap Company (who runs the building) engages with the local community, helps start-ups to thrive and provides below-market-rate studio spaces. It’s a great place to work, and I have been here going on seven years now. April 2016
On 5th March 2016 I gave a lecture at the Watersprite Cambridge Film Festival, called The Art of Storyboarding. Pictures here show the 75-minute talk, which included practical demonstrations, slides and the participants creating their own simple, yet functional storyboards. The talk was well received and I have been invited back next year, which I am really looking forward to.
The festival was great fun, extremely well run and had an awards ceremony in the fabulous Fitzwilliam Museum on the Saturday night. The picture below shows me and host Lenny Henry presenting the award for best production design for the film ‘It could have happened, it had to happen.’ Posted May 2016.
My brother George, who is a paramedic in Sheffield, commissioned me to draw a cartoon about some of the stressful encounters met by the ambulance service. It was specifically intended to show how noisy and chaotic some scenes can be, and in all this, the medic is trying to think clearly and responsibly.
I am really pleased with this. It feels like it hits the mark, showing lots of noise and confusion, yet in a legible manner. Pen and ink on A4 marker paper.
Page detail from book three which I really like. It’s funny how some drawings start by being unimportant to me – just something to get out of the way to get the story to progress – but after some work and some patient inking, they end up being my favourite.
This scene where Harry and Venus show up and surprise the group is a drawing I am very proud of. It’s great how Venus’s skirt creates a dynamic composition.
Diana’s face in the top two frames are beginning to show the fruits of my studying US comic artist J Scott Campbell’s women. The Mice by Roger Mason Posted 17/7/15
Keeping me busy this week, a mural at a primary school in south east London, depicting children at the school reading books. Painted onto the wall of the school library in acrylic paint, it will hopefully be finished this week and then I can photograph it properly and post the completed scene up here.
The Mice book three is on the drawing board and here is a page from the final chapter. The two main human protagonists are learning how to fly on of the aliens’ giant flying forklift trucks. It seems they might just be about to have a mid-air collision…
These storyboards were commissioned by Unit 9 to describe a promotion which took place in Manchester on 10th September. A football juggler dressed as a samurai, and being chased by ninjas, juggled a football through the streets and ended up at Old Trafford, cavorting about on the pitch. They have to be some of my favourite recent drawings, and some of my coolest storyboards to date.
Watch the film here:
Thanks to the people at Big Smoke Media, the above image, featuring Diana and Mulligatawny running away from the aliens’ ‘cat’, will be available on free postcards in bars, restaurants and various institutions across London and the South East.
Click on the link at the left to download a free chapter of The Mice graphic novel.
|‘Smiling woman’ storyboard frame, art by Roger Mason|
It’s been, so far, a summer of working part-time which has been very nice. I did start re-designing my business card,amidst all that inactivity, a task which I thought would take me about two hours.
Three weeks later, I have settled on this image for the front. It’s from a storyboard about hair products and was originally in pencil only. I have coloured it in Photoshop and became quite anal about her skin tones. The last time I got a business card printed one of my students commented that the guy’s skin was green. What with my uncalibrated monitor, RGB and CMYK and whatever hoops they put it through at the printer’s, it’s a tricky business guarding the right colours from start to finish.
God knows how the final printed card will turn out. I’ll be sending it to Aldgate Press, for your information. Very eco-friendly printer.
Oh, and I hear you say: “Business cards?! In this day and age?” Definitely.
|Frontispiece illustration for the new Jasper Fforde book, The Eye of Zoltar|
Here is the complete illustration which is in Jasper Fforde’s new novel, the third in the Last Dragonslayer series, called the Eye of Zoltar. It features one of the characters, who happens to be an australopithecine, hanging onto the underside of a giant, flying beast.
It’s the frontispiece, so appears before the text. Fforde also asked me to draw three images for a promotional postcard set which I am hoping to get my hands on any day now. I am a big fan of Jasper’s books, the Thursday Next series in particular, and have enjoyed very much the Last Dragonslayer stories. Any fans of Harry Potter and His Dark Materials are well advised to check them out.
|Poster for comic book drawing workshop by Roger Mason. © Roger Mason 2014|
Next month I will be leading a workshop at New Cross Learning, a library in New Cross, London, for young people on the subject of drawing comics. I am pretty happy with the poster I designed for it, as it recycles (or ‘re-purposes’ if you like corporate jargon) a frame from a diary comic strip I drew about four years ago.
The subject of the strip is some in-your-face schmoozing I did after going to a talk by Kevin O’Neill on the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. His reply is genuine, and he did not invite me to his studio. I have been re-reading Century, one of the recent League… titles and am finding it quite a dark, creepy and disturbing read. Very good though and it does not give up its treasures immediately.
Maybe in the poster the face could do with having a smile on it…?
|Diary comic page about meeting Kevin O’Neill. © Roger Mason 2012|
|The temp, Wade, gets stuck into some serious data input in the forthcoming Mice book. Page detail. Art by Roger Mason|
So, major drag, orders for The Mice from UK retailers, through Diamond, were terrifically low so new readers may like to go to scarcomics.com to get a copy – as it won’t leaping off the bookshelves in the near future.
Storyboarding commitments have been very time-consuming this year and some of the ads have been really interesting to work on. Can’t tell you what they were though.
When I get time I will continue with book three of The Mice, in the meantime, please take a look at these page details.
|A runaway flying alien forklift nearly takes out a worker in the forthcoming third Mice book. Page detail art by Roger Mason|