A (Un)fortunate Tale of art direction

The new Unfortunate Tales script landed in my inbox at the weekend. For those that don’t already know about it, Unfortunate Tales is a webcomic published on the Attack From Planet B website. It’s written by AFPB main man Ken Wynne and I do the art for it. Each strip riffs off of a different horror movie concept, with each strip linking subversively to the next. This edition takes on Return Of The Living Dead, having jumped from a reference in the previous Street Trash inspired strip.
Other than being a great little strip to work on, it’s an excellent opportunity try out new things. Ken’s scripts are particularly detailed for such short pieces and it forces me to very quickly learn how to draw things I haven’t drawn before or tackle compositions that I wouldn’t have come up with myself. This script presented a compositional problem, so for the first time in this working relationship I needed to negotiate how we produce it.

Ken’s original script describes a front facing one point perspective layout. The direction makes sure all the details are captured, but when it came to drawing this I found the camera angle to be very restrictive. Unfortunate Tales is exclusively produced with square panels. The layout Ken described called for a focal character at the front standing with legs apart so that we can see characters visible in the mid-ground. There is then a background layer with a suggestion of activity. In a wider panel, this may have been good, but we can’t change the panel shape. If I could crop to just knees down on the foreground character we could see more detail, but it is essential that we see all of the foreground character in full. So I was limited to roughly this layout:

I decided to try out a few different variants and eventually settled on tracking the camera around to the right, keeping the foreground character in full and in front of the panel, but now off to the left. The mid-ground character remain in the mid-ground, but I can come closer to them, showing more detail. And the activity in the background now appears directly behind them, adding a bit more urgency to their predicament:

I pitched this to Ken to get his take on this and he appreciated what I’d done. Once he saw the two compared to each other he felt that the side angle helped to show off more of what he wanted in the strip. So we went with this layout, and I am now working up the pencils for it. The last time I had to negotiate on scripts and layouts with a writer was when I drew Brutal Bombshells to Craig Jex’s scripts. It can be a delicate process, and sometimes it’s hard to tell a writer that what they’ve written doesn’t quite work. It comes down to not just respecting each other’s particular skill, but also respecting the fact that sometimes an objective eye on something can really help to make something better.

5 reasons to buy Rock In Purgatory

Not got a copy of Rock In Purgatory yet? Are you mad?! Here’s five clickbait reasons to put your money where your mouth is…

More than just a comic
Rock In Purgatory is presented as a parody music magazine. So alongside the awesome comic strips, you’ll get a poster pull out section, fake ads for tours and instrument endorsements, articles about the bands who have influenced the strips and behind the scenes pieces that show how the art came together.

It sets up for Heads! my new comic project
Heads! begins on 29 May and one of the primary story arcs revolves around a band called Vortex Face. This band’s first appearance features in Rock In Purgatory and serves as a prequel to the events they instigate in Heads! Get yourself ahead of the curve by buying Rock In Purgatory.

Loads of never before published comic strips
Though it ran as strip in Popcorn Horror magazine for over a year, this collection brings all the published strips together with loads of others that have never been seen before. Discover awesome new bands who meet incredible and outrageous deaths!

Supporting comic creators makes you cool
Subjective, I guess, but I’ll certainly think you ar e a lot cooler if you buy my comic…

It’s the most fun you can have without going to a metal gig
Rock In Purgatory combines heavy metal music, horror movie gore and comic book sequential art. If you love any or all of those genres then you are bound to find something in this collection to amuse and entertain you.

So what are you waiting for – go buy a copy now!

Rock In Purgatory available to order!

Get over to my store and order your copy of Rock In Purgatory right now!

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A long last, the print edition of Rock In Purgatory can be yours. The comic is being finalised with the printers, ready for shipping in May. As well as the 48 page full colour print edition of the comic, you can buy bundles including exclusive art prints and awesome badges too.

I’m really excited to finally have this comic in print format and am looking forward to getting copies out to everyone who loves Rock In Purgatory as much as I do. I will soon be booking onto comic events for later in the year, so stay tuned for news on where you can meet me.

Buy the comic now – or read some free samples to try before you buy.

Unfortunate Tales – new horror webcomic

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Love VHS horror and unpleasant comics? Then you need Unfortunate Tales From Planet B in your life!

Written by awesome awkward writer Ken Wynne and illustrated by yours truly, Unfortunat Tales is a new horror webcomic published on the Attack From Planet B website. Riffing off of classic horror movies and sub-genres, this fortnightly strip will be providing your horror comics fix from now on.

Presented online, Unfortunate Tales utilises the traditional three panel newspaper strip format and slaps it in your webcomic loving face. Make sure you check out the first edition now.

Follow me on Twitter for updates and be sure to follow Ken Wynne and Attack From Planet B as well.

Radvent Day 23 – Yesterday’s Screws

Radvent Day 20 – Sweaty Suzy

Radvent Day 16 – Peekaboo!

Radvent Day 14 – Nancy Says ‘No’

Nancy says 'No'

As a massive Nightmare on Elm Street fan, I have drawn plenty of fan art and some exciting commissions related to this franchise. Though Freddy is an amazing character to play with, I always liked Nancy so much that I would draw her more often than Freddy.

In this piece I took the classic Dream Warriors scene with Freddy as an all-devouring worm and gave it a bit of a Calvin and Hobbs treatment. The result is a nice little homage to my favourite Elm Street movie, turning Freddy’s humourous quips back on him in a single word from Nancy.

I have A6 prints of this piece available to buy from my store. I am also selling the original A3 sized artwork – if anyone is interested, name your price!

More radvent tomorrow….

Radvent Day 12 – God Murder

Radvent Day 11 – Popcorn Horror magazine cover


I’ve been working with the awesome people at Popcorn Horror for about a year and a half now. They have been publishing Rock In Purgatory in each issue and it’s been great to see it out there among loads of other outstanding horror content.

I’d wanted to approach them about illustrating a magazine cover for them for a while. When I broached the subject back in early summer, I was amazed to be asked to draw a piece for the Halloween edition. Being an indie horror mag, the Halloween issue is the biggie for the year, so of course, I jumped at the chance.

I threw some ideas around and finally settled on this trick or treat piece, which is heavy on the ‘trick’. Inspired by the album cover for Unmasked by Kiss, I decided to have trick or treaters taking off their masks, only for us to disocver they really are horror icons Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger.

More radvent tomorrow, check back to see what’s next.