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By peter-richardson, Sep 8 2014 06:51PM

I've recently got hooked up with an illustrators group on Facebook and one of our activities is the occasional spot of speed painting.

This week we have political cliches as a theme.

Today's was "Blue-Sky Thinking"

I am also including some images that came to mind as I worked on this painting. The primary one is George Cruikshank's memorable illustration of Fagin in the Condemned Cell from Dicken's Oliver Twist. In terms of body language the pose is perfect—total fear and apprehension, which you can appreciate more clearly when you compare to Cruikshank's earlier sketches, especially the one of Bill Sykes as the character in the condemned cell (Cruikshank maintained that Oliver Twist was his idea and Dickens merely it's facilitator). In the final book Sykes dies before ever coming to trial but here you can see a complete contrast of body language, perfectly in keeping with his aggressive and pugnacious character—arms folded in defiance, brows pulled down. Brilliant illustration. The other image that hove into mind was the trial scene from David Lean's film of Dicken's 'Great Expectations' as the poor benighted souls are condemned to their appointment with the hangman a solitary beam of light from a window to a world they no longer can commune with illuminates their woebegone faces.

By peter-richardson, Aug 13 2014 11:16AM

Congratulations to Baden Smith for being the first person to correctly state that 'Spawn of Venus' was created using 6 layers. Such was the dedication to quality of the EC team, that the artists, including Woody, would render the background layer and then painstakingly add in another five layers of acetate. Each sheet of acetate would be pegged to an animators drawing board, so that everything would be kept in register.

The artist would trace the art (and in Wood's case the balloons and lettering as well). Each layer would then be flipped over and white paint applied to the reverse side.

Dedication or what?!

These days with computer technology, its a whole lot easire to achieve.

Here's the first page from David Orme and my unpublished meisterwork, 'Cloud 109'.

The first example is the flat page as originally drawn.

The second is the page prepared (as were the EC 3D comics) for viewing through red green glasses.

Don't have red/ green 3D glasses?

No problem—here is the same page again, but this time all you need to do is stare at the image and then slowly let your focus relax and gently cross your eyes.


The page now appears in 3D!

You might induce a slight headache attempting this but it does work.

Have fun!

By guest, Aug 3 2014 08:05AM

I can vividly recall the first time I encountered the work of the late, great Wallace Wood at his full-on, no holds barred, sci-fi driven best. It was within the pages of an almost impossible to acquire (at least if you were living in the UK in 1969) publication which went under the title of 'Witzend'.

'Witzend' was Wood's brain child, but by the time the story to which I refer appeared, he had pretty much consigned the editorial and publishing duties to his friend and assistant (one of many), Bill Pearson.

The story in question was titled, 'Spawn of Venus' and was breathtaking, it was a hitherto unpublished story for the legendary EC comics line and had been intended for publication as a 3D comic. But EC comics were in the last stages of succombing to the forces of moral outrage as US senators and upholders of morality railed against a publishing company whose output was unashamedly focused on tales of grand guignol horror and science fiction.

The tour de force moment of Wood's delineation of this story occurs right at the start of the doom laden epic, to put it quite simply it's all in the splash panel. Here you only get to see the reaction on the faces of the space explorers as they gaze in horror at the ghastly thing bearing down upon them.

Here you can see Wood's splash page in all it's 'original' glory and here is a series of snapshots of the self promotional artwork I created, clearly still heavily under the influence of this amazing art some 45 years later.

Now here is something for all you comics art buffs—a contest no less!

The lucky winner will receive an A3 print of my self promotional art (minus the text), signed by yours truly and printed on archival matte paper, sent to your own domicile/ fortress of solitude/ bunker/ whatever in a sturdy mailer.

So here is the question:

How many layers of acetate did Wood create per page for 'The Spawn of Venus'?

Drop your answers into the comments box below and the first person to come up with the correct answer gets the print.

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