Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HUZZAH!! 2009

Finished HUZZAH!! for 2009 late last night with a sprint to the finish line. It's been an interesting year. I think we realised towards the end that this really wasn't a year long self contained story but the beginning of a much bigger story and so it shall continue into 2010. Who knows where it will lead? All that is known is that the backdrop for next year's story is war.

Next year will see a small rule change. Contributors will still have 3 days to contribute, however they'll have up to nine plates they can contribute on their turn. Running HUZZAH!! NOIR slightly later in the year gave me the opportunity to try out the extended page count rule (which allows NOIR contributors to use up eight plates at a time on their turn) and what this gave the story was some considerable clarity and pace. So next year's HUZZAH's story will likely be a different beast to its previous year. Hopefully we'll have a couple of new contributors too.

Don't forget - you can read HUZZAH!! in full from start to finish here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Also, Pimpernel of Pimpernel's blog asked that I put together a top five Christmas gift recommendations list (I went for 5 catagories so you'll 11 recommendations in all). Goes without saying that Baskervilles and Study in Scarlet should be on every gift list... ah-hem...

Do be sure to bookmark Pimpernel's blog, especially if you're a fan of Pulp Adventure, comics Science Fiction, horror and stuffs, as there will be further lists over the next few days from Francesco Francavilla, Guy Davis, and Mike Mignola.

Friday, December 11, 2009


(The Sign of the Four © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
30 August 1889. The Langham Hotel, London. Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle met for the first time with Joseph M. Stoddart, to discuss contributions to the Lippincott's Monthly Magazine (a Philidelphian publication). The two works these gentlemen would produce as a result of this meeting would be The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Sign of The Four. An account of this 'golden evening' is discussed in Doyle's autobiography Memories and Adventures.

An explanation, albeit brief, with regard to the title as you'll sometimes see it referred to as The Sign of the Four (five-word title) or more commonly The Sign of Four(four-word title). The former is the book's original publication title, the latter being the re-serialisation. As we are given to defaulting to Doyle's original text our adaptation carries its former title (not least of all because that is also how 'the four' is referred to in the text regardless of which edition of the book you read).

Work, as mentioned in my previous post, is well under way on The Sign of the Four. Enough that I should be able to update more regularly with images of the book in production. The book will be out sometime in the spring next year (exact date to be confirmed) and will be followed by The Valley of Fear.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Well, its been a while since I've properly posted. My wife gave birth to a baby boy back in September and since then its been a mix of lack of sleep to begin with and busy schedule as work got under way on the third Sherlock Holmes graphic novel for SelfMadeHero, The Sign of the Four.

A Study in Scarlet is OUT NOW!!! (I heard it would be the 15th of December, but it appears Gosh! have copies already) - However, it is currently only exclusively available in London (Gosh!, The Sherlock Holmes Museum) and in Nottingham (Page 45) before Christmas. The book will have a general release in February.

Also, just to keep me on my toes, work has begun on another project for SelfMadeHero. At the moment all I can show you is this:

My first big solo book! But I promise there will be plenty more of that over the coming new year. I shall hence forth intermitently pop back to update this blog with images from The Sign of the Four as the book works its way to completion in February.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ian Edginton and I will be doing a book signing at the grand opening of Mondo Comico in Nottingham on Saturday 28th of November.

The store is located at 24 Heathcoat St, NG1 3AA.

Monday, November 02, 2009


My initial take on Doctor number 11.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


A Study in Scarlet is fully inked and ready for color!

The last panel I drew for Baskervilles had Holmes saying
"and now, my dear Watson, we have had some weeks of severe work and for one evening I think we may turn our thoughts to more pleasant channels?"
which seemed incredibly apt given all the work I'd just put into that book over more than just several weeks (Holmes and Watson had it easy in contrast). And now, completely by chance the last panel I drew for A Study in Scarlet read,
"Finally we put the last outlying post of the ________* behind us and freedom lay ahead".
I didn't seek out the panel (as its not the end of the book) it just happened to be, by chance, the last panel I drew. Now if I should end A Sign of Four on a similar note (work upon which begins immedietly-already done the layouts for the first four pages), then I shall be suitably freaked out.

Above is the 'this book belongs to' section of my Moleskine within which I scribble rough layouts for each of the books. I've comfortably managed to just squeeze in roughs for the first three Holmes novels (I've marked spaces for Sign of Four but Baskervilles and Study in Scarlet are all in there)- so for three 127 page graphic novels a Moleskine does just nicely.

(*I left this section blank so as not to spoil the story for those who may not have read it)

Sunday, July 26, 2009


My dear chum, Col, was visiting Mother London this weekend and took a snapshot of this for me. If you haven't been already pop into Gosh and be sure to pick up a copy. Many years ago I produced my own comic called Side-show which you can read about here in one of my earliest posts and Gosh were kind enough to sell it for me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Just posted a quick plate I did for HUZZAH!! NOIR. Didn't have a great deal of time to do anything more than just a single plate.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Saturday, July 11, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Thursday, July 02, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I've been incredibly busy over the last few weeks. So busy I've not really had time to even so much as prepare a post for this momentarily neglected blog. And lots and lots has happened in the meantime. Covered so much ground with A Study in Scarlet, penciled and colored an eight page Doctor Who story with the excellent Rob Davis on Layouts and inks for the 2010 Doctor Who storybook - you can see our Tenth Doctor here as well as another image from the story. I'm putting up the exact same pictures Rob's put up over on his Blog but in full color:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
I was rather pleased to be informed today that 'The District Messenger', which is the newsletter for the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, had the following to say:
"Just arrived in the post is The Hound of the Baskervilles, a Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel, adapted by Ian Edginton and illustrated by INJ Culbard (SelfMadeHero, 5 Upper Wimpole Street, London , W1G 6BP; £14.99). The address so close to Conan Doyle's consulting room, inspires confidence, as does the foreword by Daniel Stashower. It's very stylish, and obviously done with affection and intelligence, as the careful floorplan of 221B indicates. Besides, how could anyone resist the advertisements on an omnibus: 'R Stephens & Co', 'Lee Bros', 'Hoffmanstal', 'The Blakely Ballet'...?"
As well as the ever elusive six-fingered man there are throughout the Holmes books a handful of Holmesian Easter eggs like the one sited above. The above reference is to Billy Wilder's rather splendid film 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes' which starred Robert Stephens as Sherlock Holmes and Colin Blakely as Watson. I won't explain the Blakely Ballet or Lee Bros. part for fear of spoilers for those who haven't seen the film - if you haven't, you must.

In other news I have recently been penciling and coloring a Doctor Who strip for the 2010 Doctor Who Storybook. I can't really say much else about it or show you anything till it comes out, but I can direct you to art from the strip appearing on Rob Davis' blog (Rob Davis, a fellow HUZZAH!! squaddy, drew layouts for the strip and inked it beautifully).

Monday, June 08, 2009


Gosh! in London are selling a limited edition (200 copies) signed Bookplate edition of Hound of the Baskervilles right now (it hit the shelves on Saturday I believe). So, if you want one go and get one.

Have had a week away from Baker Street due to numerous unexpected happenstances - but I'm back now so updates will resume.

Monday, June 01, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Another review - this time from Newsarama.

Another panel from A Study in Scarlet - this time from early on in the book when Holmes and Watson first meet.

Friday, May 29, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Thursday, May 28, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Here's Watson waiting for his breakfast.

Following yesterday's review of Dorian, here are a couple of reviews for Holmes - one by author Rafe McGregor and another from the Forbidden Planet international blog by Richard Bruton.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Lestrade makes a brief appearance towards the end of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Here's his first appearance in A Study in Scarlet. I do like Lestrade. Like Watson, he's often misrepresented - mostly as a bumbling incompetent glory hound (again I think the Rathbone films are to blame there).

Also, nice things have been said about Edginton and I's first book, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' here which brightened up my day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Here's my contribution to Jonathan Edwards' wonderful new blog - 'Draw Serge'.

We've had a bank holiday here in the UK over which time I've been decorating my new studio so I've actually had a couple of days off from drawing! A rare event. Painted Holmes in emulsion paints on one of the freshly plastered walls only to paint over it.

Friday, May 22, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Didn't get any work done today as I had the day off today (maybe I should make Doyle's Birthday a holiday!) but here as promised is another daily dose of Holmes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


To mark Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's birthday tomorrow - SelfMade asked if I'd draw a picture of Doyle. So here it is.

Also! At 5pm today, I'm interviewed by Alex Fitch over at Resonance 104.4 FM where I talk a little about adapting Baskervilles and Dorian with Edginton. I did during the interview something typically radio unfriendly (to talk about something listerners couldn't see) and started to talk about a scene in which I supplemented the portrait for a stick figure in order to alleviate the pressures of having to paint 'one of the greatest things in modern art' as Lord Henry puts it. So here is the 'stick figure' variation (at the suggestion of my dear friend and fellow HUZZAH!! contributor, Colin Fawcett).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Ay, there's the rub! Only got five hours of interrupted sleep last night. Sheesh. Also, this just in - there won't be a signing at Gosh! BUT- when the book launches you will be able to obtain a copy of Hound of the Baskervilles there with a specially commissioned and signed bookplate (limited to 200 copies) available there at the end of the month.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Above is a picture of one of the many visitors to 221b.

Jay Eales from Factor Fiction sent me a link to the trailer for the new Sherlock Holmes movie with Downey Jr as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson - directed by Guy Ritchie (making a very Joel Silver sort of film - as in it doesn't look like a Guy Ritchie film). Personally, if it has Sherlock Holmes written on the tin then I'd buy it. I do ravenously collect non-canon Holmes (as does Edginton) - enjoyed the likes of Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear enormously and even collect Solar Pons novels, so I will undoubtebly be going to see this when it comes out. I don't know anything about the plot of this new film of course but I'm willing to bet that there will be freemasons.

By the way, while on the subject of non-canon Holmes films, can I recommend to any reader passing by Billy Wilder's 'The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes'. There's a reference to this film tucked away within the pages of 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.

Monday, May 18, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Another of Holmes' attributes. Note: Rough lettering on this one. I never serif my "i"s unless its a possessive pronoun. I always rough letter in Manga Studio before exporting into Photoshop where I do a layer of live type for the editors.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
Yesterday I promised more frequent updates and I started as I mean to go on. So here we are. I've just finished re-doing for a second time a page from the book where Watson lists Holmes' qualities. It has yet to be colored. It's quite a busy page as there are twelve qualities listed in all.

I was actually tempted at this point to make Holmes the six-fingered man. But what at first appears apt is often too obvious. For now the six-fingered man shall have to wait.

Friday, May 15, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
I did an interview last night for Resonance FM's Panel Borders with Alex Fitch which should be up next week. We talked about Dorian, Holmes and HUZZAH!! which was nice.

Above is a panel from A Study in Scarlet - a schematic of sorts for a sequence where Holmes and Watson are unpacking (you might just be able to see some of the perspective lines if you look closely enough). Those familiar with the first book may notice here additional cupboards etc. With each book, because there's a significant enough difference in time scale, I'm able to go back and tweek some of those early ideas. So 221b's had a little bit of a makeover. Architecturally its exactly the same building - none of the walls are different, all doors and windows are in exactly the same place - but I do get to change the wallpaper and rearrange and often change the furniture which keeps everything fresh for me as I approach each book.

I'm going to now try to keep updating this blog quite regularly, maybe even daily as we move in to the latter half of production on Study - often with choice images from each day - so stay tuned, there's plenty more to come.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Back from the Bristol Expo. Had a great weekend. Met a lot of people including many of the fine folk whp contribute to both HUZZAH!! 2009 and HUZZAH!! NOIR. Also had a chance to talk to Dave Gibbons about Manga Studio (after making an ass of myself by getting his name wrong - I was nervous, what can I say?). He was very nice indeed. Also met Paul Cornell (who's name I didn't get wrong - but then he's a 'Paul', it's only if you're a Dave will I get your name wrong as Dave Taylor will no doubt testify), Liam Sharp from Mam Tor at long last, Roger Langridge and Paul Peart-Smith (both of whom are artists who contribute to the excellent Act-i-vate) and many many more.

As you can see from the photograph above SelfMadeHero had a banner outside the hotel (it was HUGE!). I signed a fair few copies of Hound of the Baskervilles - thank you to all those who bought a copy of the book and came up and said hello.

But now its back to work - back to Baker Street and A Study in Scarlet.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Over on the Gosh! blog you can see the bookplate which I produced for them.
"Holmes enthusiasts will be pleased and relieved by Edginton & Culbard’s back-to-basics approach, retaining the authentic tone and character of Conan Doyle’s original stories; hence no bumbling Doctor Watson nor deer stalker as added in later cinema and theatre versions."

Friday, May 01, 2009


(A Study in Scarlet © 2009 SelfMadeHero)
HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES arrived this morning in the post. My advance copy and I am very very pleased and rather excited now. There's always that awful period of dread before it arrives, always wondering/hoping it printed okay. And I'm very pleased to say it did. SelfMadeHero have done a brilliant job in putting this book together.

The book comes with additional content at the back. A sketchbook which looks at numerous versions of Holmes and Watson from my early sketchbooks, a map of 221B and a four page preview of A Study in Scarlet which I am currently working on.

Now, about that. A Study in Scarlet has been presenting new challenges. It's a slightly different book in so much as its earlier in chronological order to the events which take place in Baskervilles. As such Holmes and Watson look a little younger - Watson returns from the Battle of Maiwand "thin as a laff and brown as a nut" and Holmes has slightly more unruly hair than before to complement a slightly more unruly, arrogant attitude. There's a greater abundance of floppy hair and sideburns generally in the book. And of course 221b gets a slight redesign - structurally exactly the same space, but there will be different furniture and different wallpaper etc.

Above is the first sneak peek from A Study in Scarlet (which comes out this October).

AND I'll be at the Bristol International Comic Expo on 9th and 10th of May. There's a panel scheduled in the Park Suite on the Saturday at 11am and Edginton and I will be signing copies of the book there. Also, later in the month, the book will be on sale at GOSH! in London with an exclusive book plate (limited to 200 copies).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


More HUZZAH!! plates now up. Click the picture to be beamed up.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


New HUZZAH!! is up. Two HUZZAH's in one week. One for the all new HUZZAH!! NOIR (to be there from the very beginning, click here), and continuing the space opera epic over on the main HUZZAH!! site with the return of Bohaan Vlax (albeit briefly). Did this page super fast so the brush line's very loose again and the coloring is mostly running through a rince cycle with red sock (otherwise known as using 'photofilter'). The name Bohaan Vlax comes from the names of two dialects, one Mongolic and the other Romani.

Monday, April 06, 2009


HUZZAH!!NOIR is finally up and running. We've got some of the regular HUZZAH!! gang joining in and a few new face too. My first plate to kick things off is now up so go check it out - add it to your bookmarks/toolbar.

This HUZZAH!! is going to be a little different to the main HUZZAH!! in that it's Film Noir and as such all the artwork is black and white.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I have been waiting to blow up Prison Planet since page 1. So I was rather relieved when Page 30 of HUZZAH!! presented itself with the opportunity to do just that (even though technically its just the Prison Planet part and not Voldar itself that blows up).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


My latest HUZZAH!!'s are up. The idea for the look of the Voldarians came from talking to Rob Davis who'd mentioned a design he had in his sketchbook of an race of Hairy-angler faced fish aliens with old men's heads instead of lights. I figured that at this point the secret of Voldar had to really be a lot more than just the Uroborus child and figured on the planet of Voldar itself actually being the prisoner given the events of chapter 5. So now the concept of a prison planet isn't so much a planet full of convicts but a restraining device that coats and existing planet in an artificle surface. The silos you see from page 1 onward are essentially gigantic restraining bolts dotted all over the prison planet's surface.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Dave Gibbons with a demonstration of how he uses Manga Studio.
(cheers to Faz for the heads up)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I absolutely love this track and was delighted to hear it being used as the title track for Stewart Lee's new series "Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle". It was an international hit for Elias and his Zig Zag Jive Flutes back in 1958.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


New to STRANGE PLANET? Not aware of HUZZAH!!? Click the picture! NOW!!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


A detail from my latest HUZZAH!! This latest page introduces a new character called Bohaan Vlax.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Drawing a winter scene is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Anyway my latest HUZZAH!! is up, and here's a detail from it. Main idea behind this page was that after all the orange hues of the previous pages I wanted something cold, though, as you'll see by reading it here, things soon warm up again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Just finished my second full page HUZZAH!! contribution this week and I thought I'd take the time to make more of a record of the process, taking desktop snapshots as the thing took shape.

So... I had an idea. With the previous page I briefly mentioned Pample's past and his dealings with those monkey mobsters. With this page I wanted to pick up the thread from where Paul left off on panel 3 of page 15 and pick up my own thread from the previous page and use page 17 to explain how these characters came together, while also laying out what's potentially to come. I also wanted to use the talking stone device (an idea thrown into the ring by Rob Davis). This would be the first time I'd drawn my 'featuring' character Zhadira since page 1.

I decided to start with a script for a change, something I rarely do when working on HUZZAH!! unless I've got a lot a character needs to say and I need to say it in as few words as possible. It's sort of an oblique strategy of mine. If I'm having trouble writing something I often change how I write it just to get it written. Synopses for example - I always find those things devilishly hard to write in a word document. If however I'm writing an email to my friend and telling them about the story, suddenly I'm way more succinct and clearer about what I'm wanting to say (note: when you speak to a friend you're informal, the pressure's off) - so I shut down whatever word document I'm writing in and open up email and write the synopsis in that. Just a change of surroundings as it were unblocks me and away I go. Totally psychological I know, but it works for me. But hey, next time you're stuck trying to write something, consider dusting off the old typewriter in the attic, or writing what you want to say on post-it notes, or consider who you're addressing and email a friend. You might find that that unblocks the thought process for you.

So I knew what I wanted to say on this page, but my usual method of drawing thumbnails with little balloons sprouting off wasn't working. So I hit the keys. And here's the script for page 17. It's actually plotted out into three plate chunks. Even though I'm writing and drawing a full page, I try to break things down into three tier beats.

And from here we go to thumbnails. Sometimes I draw all over the script, in the case of working on Holmes I have a moleskine I draw in as followers of this blog will know, but in the case of Huzzah!! I opened up a page in Manga Studio and roughly worked out my layout for the story like so:

I took all the text I'd written in the script and made rough word balloons for them on one layer and then placed those balloons approximately where I intended them to be. And then I roughly sketched out the layout, very loosely. At this point really I'm considering composition and how to balance the pictures against the text. Once I'd got that all down I took a second pass at it on separate layer like so:

And what this second stage of roughs is is really just a chance to fill in any details I felt I hadn't figured out properly on the first stage. It's a hybrid stage layout and part pencils. Not really one nor the other. After this I would start inking so any information I didn't feel was enough to start inking with would be filled in to help me along my way. They're not 'full' pencils in any sense because I'm not conveying information for anybody but myself. If this were a pencil stage done for someone else there would be way more information, but as it's just for me...

... I started inking:

There were several layers of inks at work here. The suns were all put on a separate layer because I knew they'd be a colored line - in fact any lines that are colored lines are inked on separate layers just to make like easier when it comes to coloring. So the suns and the orb the Baron is holding are inked on separate layers. There's no order to how I drew this page. I started with panel 6, then five then 2, then 4 then 3 and so on. Going for whatever felt easiest, till in the end the job was done.

Next we have shadows.

We have three lights sources on this page. The seven suns (which combine as one light source as they set), the glow from the orb and the inside of Durante's vac suit. The shadow layer was split into two. There's a darker shadow layer for metal edges, like the side of The Baron's helmet and the side of Durante's vac suit just to give it added definition and then there's the main shadow layer which picks up the highlights on the faces and clothes. I used this layer to really accentuate the lines in the Baron's face - details like that.

Finally, with my inks done, my shadow layers done etc... lettering.

The tails were drawn on a separate layer - Manga Studio does have a feature that adds tails to word balloons, as it does for making the balloons in the first place but I chose here to draw my own tails. I started out with this lightining zig-zags for the Baron's speech balloons and the rest sort of followed suit along that same line of thinking. Also, the balloons I used I made myself - the only preset was the Eldar speech balloon which is a modified version of a balloon called 'insecure' which comes with Manga Studio. Manga studio rather niftly allows you to create your own which atomatically scale to whatever text is contained within.

So we're done with this stage, goodnight Manga studio. Next, color.

Here's a version of the finished page without the panel grid and lettering. Because of the shadow layer in Manga studio, most of the work is done here. I shifted the oppacity on the shadow layer to around 43% and then got to work on flat color fills underneath. I took my palette cues from earlier contributions, like the light inside Durante's vac suit being pink etc. And really the rest was all mix and match until something didn't make my eyes bleed. Job done.

For the finished thing, click here.