Heads! Issue 4 was released right on top of lockdown kicking in. Its been a bit frustrating, as I feel like that release ended up going rather unnoticed. Understandably, people had other things to worry about, but other than Kickstarter backers I haven’t been able to get it out there very much. This includes getting a copy to one significant person.
James Clarke (known as Brown, for reasons best not delved into here) is one of my best and oldest friends. We’ve known each other for longer than I can remember. We have played in bands and made music with each other for about twenty years. He started dabbling in digital art several years ago, but last year he made a big commitment to upping his game as a colourist. Among many artists whose line art he honed his skills on, Brown tapped me for any and all line art that I had lying around including sketches from my first every Inktober.
I desperately wanted him to help out a Heads! cover so we decided to work on issue 4 together. Rather than just give him line art to colour, I decided to give him full reign on the design. I knew what the cover needed to be, so I gave him the brief and all the inks and let him off the leash.
I’ve never worked with another artist in this way, so it was interesting to see how Brown interpreted the brief and how he chose to add his own flair to it. I discovered how picky I actually am about the way my art is presented – I lost track of how many times I asked for a head shot to be moved to a different position behind Datsun, or to change the by-line placement. Luckily, Brown didn’t go too mental dealing with my shit! As well as this, I also gave Brown a concept sketch of Datsun firing a raygun. It’s a sketch that is for future reference, as its to do with one of the places the story will eventually go. I liked it a lot and when I showed Brown he snapped it up immediately and came up with the wonderful colour and background treatment you see here.
When Heads! Issue 4 came out, the one person I wanted to see to give a copy to was Brown. But I couldn’t. I posted out the backer rewards and hoped to get to see him, but lockdown stopped that. Then my local post office closed so I couldn’t even post him a copy. But at the weekend Brown was able to swing by and say hello. We cracked open the back gate and he sat out in the woods behind the house while I sat by the shed. I gave him copies of Heads! and a stack of raygun prints – his first work in print! Those of you who have every had anything released in print, it’s a pretty big deal. Something that has always existed as a single piece of art is now suddenly a proper comic or a high-quality print. It’s impressive to behold. Brown now has his first print work in his hands – and judging by the work he’s pumping out right now it won’t be the only print work you see from this guy.