Over recent years, I’ve explored various approaches to cartooning. Some have been somewhat against the grain for me and difficult to pull off, while others have seemed to be as natural to me as breathing. Drawing in my sketchbooks and just letting ideas fall out onto the page is probably the closest thing to the cartoonist I see myself as in my own head, than anything else I’ve done. I suspect that most artists taste-levels are far above their ability and for me, having started cartooning somewhat late to the game, I feel I’ve been playing catch up with my own mind! Does that make sense? I feel I’ve made some significant leaps forward recently though, and that feels good.
One of the things that I’ve been striving to do is bring that looseness that I put into my sketchbooks into my main work. Not easy at all! I like to see that liveliness in a cartoonists line and the sense that the pen is connected as directly as possible to the true psyche of the artist. For me, the artist who embodies this sense above all is Robert Crumb – one of my very favourite artists.
Crumb’s work feels like it’s been spewed directly from his fevered brain and I love it for that reason. His technique is simultaneously loose as hell while being incredibly clear. His wobbly line and dense hatching aren’t the product of needless doodling or hiding behind noise. No, each pen stroke is absolutely necessary to get his painfully self reflective and often hilariously crude points across.
Anyone interested in the counter culture of America during the 60s and 70s (and onwards) would do well to explore Crumb and his underground comix. He and his art embody the true outsider looking in on the madness of modern life. I’ve always related to his surreal, sidelong look at the world and its stupid people (including myself). He explores his own sexuality on the page in a way that is fearless while still self mocking and grotesquely titillating. And of course he loves old timey Blues music, as do I. For me, flavour-wise, Crumb goes hand in hand with Zappa, Burroughs and Smith. Tasty, more-ish but slightly bitter. Altogether wonderful.
Here we go! There is a lot to do this year. I’m working on a project with Mister Ellis Bojar which is a wonderful story that won’t see the light of day for quite a while. In the meantime I have a few things to share with you all, my lovely chums. I figured it’d be groovy to show you the kinds of things that inspire me to be better or work harder, so here is the first instalment of:
WHAT FLOATS MY BOAT?
For your delectation, we have the master himself, Will Eisner, about whom much has been written by far better folk than me. Suffice it to say that I adore his line. I like that we can see the waver in it that indicates very human movement of the brush across the paper. I’m not an enormous fan of super clean artwork. I like to sense the person behind the ink, y’ken?
Also we have Jorge Zaffino, the Argentinian power-house! If you haven’t experienced this man’s work, let me recommend WINTERWORLD, a graphic novel available from IDW Publishing. Beautiful textural ink work and a fearless approach to using spot blacks. Those of you that draw know the – often debilitating – fear that laying down spot blacks can induce! Zaffino was a superb draughtsman with flair for naturalistic movement. A true wonder. Sadly he is no longer with us, but please do seek out his work. It will reward you with many delights!
Finally, I’m including the sublime Jaime Hernandez. I fell in love with this man’s mind and skill a long time ago. I’m not sure what I’d do if I met him. Probably pass out… Despite saying that I’m not a fan of super clean artwork, I do make an exception for Mister Hernandez. And in any case, he doesn’t use rulers to draw his edges and I love him for that. His work needs to be clean because it focuses so much on the subtlety of character. I also love that he doesn’t need to clutter his stories with constantly shifting angles. Everything is depicted mid-height with the occasional distance shot. Economical story-telling is the key in Jaime’s work. Again, a master of the use of spot-blacks but in a more graphical sense than Zaffino. Love this man.
Enough from me. Go seek out these fine folk. See thee soon!
Hey chumlets! Here are a few new images for you to peruse!
Hey all, the big T-Bubs is is nearly upon us. For those that don’t know what that is check this out:
Thought Bubble 2017
I shall be there with the new Amelia Cole Omnibus from IDW and the Once And Future Queen stuff too! I shall be doing sketches but if you fancy a commission like the ones below, please contact me through my Facebook:
Nick Brokenshire Comics & Illustration
The 11 O’Clock Comics podcast has a special place in my heart and I am thrilled to have been interviewed by the throbbing hunk of man that is David A Price. Please follow the link below and give it a read. It gives a few insights into the inner working of THE ONCE AND FUTURE QUEEN.
Thanks 11 O’Clock chaps!
Nick Brokenshire Interview
Here’s a panel from issue 3 of The Once And Future Queen. It’s of an intersection in Portland, Oregon where some of the story is set. It’s tricky drawing real places, particularly real city or town scenes. There’s the temptation to focus on getting every little shopfront and telegraph pole spot on. I try to avoid that, though, and get the impression of the street – use broader strokes, so to speak.
Here’s me inking a panel from Issue 3 of The Once And Future Queen from Dark Horse Comics.
Tools: Tachikawa G-Nib, Koh-i-Noor Handle. Speedball Super Black Ink.
Music by yours truly. A little tune about Amelia and Lemmy.
I know, I know. I’m late to the game but holy frijoles! This is the greatest thing since sliced arepas! I won’t lie. I want to do story about them. Just putting it out there into the Multiverse. Have a look at the colour process video below the picture! Ciao babies.
Hey pedigree chums. Check out this process video for our new Dark Horse comic ‘The Once And Future Queen’. It’s fun!
I had the distinct pleasure of being asked to supply some artwork for this episode of ERB. If you haven’t seen these amazing videos, do yourself a favour and look them up on YouTube. They are hilarious, super clever and always pertinent. These are truly talented people utilising the internet as a perfect delivery system for their art. Flippin’ splendid.
Clink the link below to watch the Rap Battle!
Trump vs Hillary ERB
Click the link below to watch the making of the poster video!
Making the poster!
Making the poster!
Of course I adore Miller’s lumbering brutal Bat, but I also have mad love for Kelly Jones’s quasi-supernatural take on him so in my head he’s a mix of the two. I’d love to do a story about this guy. I shall ink this dude, presently.