Gareth A Hopkins
email: gareth@grthink.com

These pages will be kept updated with forthcoming gallery shows and news on completed artwork.

Pages from my ongoing surreal/abstracted comic 'The Intercorstal' can be found here: The Intercorstal

My deviantart gallery, chock-full of my art, can be found here: grthink

Stories from my (old) walk to and from work can be found here: Trolleys In Odd Places

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Intercorstal: After Smith - where I'm up to

"The Intercorstal: After Smith" is a series of artworks reinterpreting comic pages written by John Smith. It will be exhibited at Projectroom 404 in Bremen from 11th September - 4th October 2015.


As announced* in my previous blog post, last month, I'm working on 10 pages for an exhibition which uses The Intercorstal to reinterpret** comics originally written by John Smith for 2000AD. Here's a quick update on what I've been up to. I've broken it down into steps to make it as easy for me as possible -- it's not necessarily chronological.

1. Spent a disproportionate amount of time trying to find the exact right shade of purple marker to use. Eventually I settled on 'Mulberry'.

2. Read and re-read an incredible number of comics to find the exact right pages to steal. The 'Final 10' has changed innumerable times. The last one's still not 100%. There's no set criteria for what makes a page 'right' but I wanted to cover as many artists as possible, make sure each page would work as well when reworked as an Intercorstal one, had made a palpable impact to me at some point in my life, and to look good on its own merits. The final 10 all meet at least 2 out of the 3 final criteria.

3. Measure each page, and calculate how much bigger it needs to be to fit an A3 page. There are probably computer programs that could that for me, or settings in programs I already use, but I did it all with a ruler, a calculator and a notebook. I suppose it felt more 'honest' to do it that way, as a part of me is still worried that 'stealing' pages for The Intercorstal is still somehow inherently dishonest. (here's a blog I did a while ago explaining why I 'steal' pages at all)
2 pages of Simon Harrison's work on 'Revere' get copied and measured.

4. Asked Tom Whitely, whose blog 'Suggested For Mature Readers' is at least partially responsible for the Intercorstal taking this route***, to write some notes on who John Smith is. He's exceptionally good at writing about comics.

5. I've used my calculations and measurements to transfer the layouts of 9 out of the 10 pages to A3. I've even done the black and Mulberry areas. This is probably the most important part of the project, as it's the actual work, but I've not got very much to say about them yet. Here's 8 of them laid out on my living room carpet:
Looking at this now, the one from New Statesment is very obvious, as it's a totally different format to the others.
 6. Made a very rash decision to present Tom's writing using a layout stolen from the illustrated text story 'Touched By The Hand Of Brendan', which was illustrated by Mark Buckingham,l appearing in the 2000AD Sci-Fi Special 1991****. I desperately wanted to include Tyranny Rex in 'After Smith' somewhere, but I couldn't find anything that really met the criteria from point 2 (above) quite as well as TBTHOB, and it also makes a handy way to present whatever Tom comes up with. This decision has of course increased my workload somewhat. Here's the cover drawn up, without any text yet, next to the original cover:



Aaaaand that's it for the moment. All I have to do now is the actual really hard work of turning the blocked-out pages into finished work, with all of the squiggly lines, dots, circles and stripes that entails.



*'announced' seems like a very grand word to use. Being naturally predisposed to humility and/or humble-bragging I'm still not really comfortable with it. But it's the correct word to use, I think, and can't think of a better one.
**'reinterpret' doesn't feel like it covers the ground I need or want it to. But it's the correct word to use, I think, and can't think of a better one.
***Without it, I'd never have read 'Still Life', which means I'd never have done this.
****Someone's typed the whole thing out here, if you're interested: http://homepage.eircom.net/~okku/tyrannyt.htm

2000AD® JUDGE DREDD® AND ALL OTHER CHARACTERS ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS, © REBELLION A/S, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Announcing - The Intercorstal: After Smith

On the left: Winwood and Cord in Killing Time (An Indigo Prime story) Part 5 Page 1. Art by Chris Weston, written by John Smith, Letters by Tom Frame
On the right: Prep page done for my reinterpretation.

"The Intercorstal: After Smith" is a series of artworks reinterpreting comic pages written by John Smith. It will be exhibited at Projectroom 404 in Bremen from 11th September - 4th October 2015.


A few months ago I was approached by Gregor Straub of Projectroom 404 in Bremen to participate in a series of exhibitions running this year that cover the Abstract Comics movement. Obviously, I agreed, and then set about worrying about what I'd exhibit.

With time to worry, I continued work on The Intercorstal 2, which naturally ended and turned into The Intercorstal 683 (which I'm still being a little coy about sharing). The last page of The Intercorstal 2 was a reinterpretation of a page from Revere, which ran in 2000AD in the 90s, and is one of my favourite comics of all time. On posting it, Tom Whiteley, who blogs at the superlative Suggested For Mature Readers, mentioned on Twitter how good it would be to reinterpret Revere in its entirety. I think he was only half-joking.

That thought merged over time with my thoughts of continuing the After Wainwright series that I started for the Lakes Comic Art Festival and then coalesced into paying tribute to one of the writers that has the most effect on my life - John Smith.

It's impossible to quantify the effect Smith's writing has had on me, both as an artist and person. I very much doubt The Intercorstal would have existed had it not been for his influence, although I hadn't actually realised when I started it. I joked recently that my entire 'swirly line style' is a subconcious attempt to recreate Winwood's hair as it appeared in Killing Time, which is probably more true than I'd like to admit.

So, 'After Smith'. I've selected 10 pages from his work for 2000AD based solely on how much I liked it and how much the series it appeared in had an effect on me. The selection also covers a number of my favourite artists, including Chris Weston, Sean Phillips, Edmund Bagwell, and Simon Harrison.

As prep, and so that I can be sure the whole idea's not going to fall apart, I've completed two half-size pages which I've included here, alongside the original pages I've worked from.

As the project continues, I'll be adding WIP images to Twitter (where I'm @grthink) and hopefully adding updates here where I'll try and go into more detail about why I've chosen particular pages/series and why I like them so much.

If you're around in Bremen during September, I hope you'll take a look.

Splundig Vur Thrigg.

On the left: Still Life Page 7. Art by Sean Phillips, written by John Smith,
On the right: Prep page done for my reinterpretation.


2000AD® JUDGE DREDD® AND ALL OTHER CHARACTERS ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS, © REBELLION A/S, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday, 10 May 2015

"Chavs"

These are a series of images I did on request for a magazine that seems to have disappeared before going to print. I'd initially been asked to do 8 pages of illustrations, said I could do four, and then a pretty full-on case tonsillitis meant that only three got done.

From what I understand the magazine was going to be themed on subcultures of London's East End, and I was given 'chavs' almost definitely because of some illustrations I did for Amelia's Magazine a few years ago. I felt pretty uneasy, especially when looking online for reference, since so much of it is vicious, nasty and horrifically classist. So I tried to make my illustrations monstrous, a reflection of how 'chavs' are viewed, as well as trying to build some sympathy in too -- whether that was successful or not, I don't know.

Earlier sketches and drafts replaced the figure's heads with ant heads, or abstracted tribal masks, but in the end I went with what I know, which worked in my favour. Although, with more time to work on it, who knows what might have been.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Secret 7" 2015


My sleeve for The Chemical Brothers' 'Let Forever Be' which depicts a researcher investigating a Buddhist statue that had a mummified monk inside it.

Here are the four designs I submitted to this year's Secret7". I was absolutely thrilled to get a design through again, for The Chemical Brothers' Let Forever Be, and even more thrilled to see it sell on the day (and to have gone to a great home, by the looks of it).

It's a great charity, and consistently does exemplary work for their chosen charity. It's fantistic to see them grow every year, and I'm honoured that I've been able to be a small part of that journey for the third year running. Year-on-year, my work for Secret 7's gets better, and I'm really looking forward to taking part next year.


A picture of my friend Kate Dowling's dog Bella, done for Underworld's Born Slippy. The song was named after a greyhound, a fact which a huge number of contributors seem to have picked up on.

For St Vincent's 'Digital Witness' I drew a secretary bird and added a background based on  a predominant colour in the video to the song. Like with greyhounds and Born Slippy, I get the impression that a whole slew of contributors used the same colour. Also, no idea why I drew a secretary bird -- it just felt right, and looked good.

I found out that 'Maccabee' is Hebrew for 'hammer'. So for The Maccabee's 'Go' I drew a horrendous visual pun based on the band's name.


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Americorstal


Here's some photos showing the process for my Intercorstal-ised version of the iconic first page of Judge Dredd: America. They're running back-to-front, from my finished image through the various iterations ad finishing on Colin MacNeil's incredible original (the scan of which I've nicked from here: http://scans-daily.dreamwidth.org/3892533.html)

If for some baffling reason you've not read America, you can buy the collected edition here or alternatively it's only £1.99 as part of Hachette's Judge Dredd The Mega Collection

Here's my final version, now officially known as 'Intercorstal 2 Page 26'



Starting to fill in close details.


Got bored, doodled with a brush pen for a while.


Picking out/inventing shapes.

Blocking out the black areas. Picked this up from a tip by Henry Flint. For me, it makes the page feel half-done from the start, so less of a scary empty page. Also, it helps start the page balancing.

Here, in the first stage, I've just blocked out the major shapes. If I'd spent any time working through details here I'd never have made my way back.












Wednesday, 3 December 2014

'After Wainwright' Prints pre-order


I've set up a pre-order for prints of my 'After Wainwright' pages, that can be accessed through this link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/grthink

Prices run at £18 for a single page, or £50 for all three.

'After Wainwright', and my involvement generally with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, has been overwhelmingly positive so far. I'm really proud of what I achieved together with Jonathan and the folks at Petrie Design. I haven't really got words past that...

In other news, I've potentially got really exciting news about exhibiting in 2015 -- whether that's more Wainwright or something entirely different isn't clear yet, but... well, keep your eyes peeled.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

'After Wainwright' for Lakes Comic Art Festival 2014

picture courtesy of Jonathan Petrie
Update 22/11/2014: Just a quick note on top of what's gone before (which is below) -- a competition was run on the Window Trai on a bunch of categories, and I was extremely humbled to win 'Best Professional Artist'. I'm still a little blown away by that, as well as all the great feedback I've had on these pages. I'm in the process of arranging prints right now.

Also, the pages are STILL on display, as part of Kendal Mountain Festival, at least until tomorrow (the 23rd November). So, yeah... Go Team G!
........................

I've been extremely fortunate in securing a spot on the Window Trail associated with this year's Lakes International Comic Art Festival, in Kendal. The festival itself runs from 17-19th October but the trail starts on the 3rd. My work's on display in the window of Petrie Design. (as pictured above)

The idea of doing reinterpretations of the work of A Wainwright came from Jonathan at Petrie Designs during our introductory emails. I'll admit to not being very familiar with Wainwright until that point, but a quick search on the internet made it clear what a great idea it would be.

For any others reading this who're unfamiliar with Wainwright, he was a fell walker who took it upon himself to record the Lakeland fells in the 7-volume Pictorial Guide To The Lakeland fells. The guides are an incredible achievement -- the entire collection was done by hand in his notebooks and reproduced directly from them. I'd recommend visiting the Wainwright society's website for further information, as they've got it down far better than I'll be able to.

The pages I've presented for the Trail are re-interpretations of three pages from The Pictorial Guides (Bowfell 16, Blencartha 26 and Grasmoor 16). The pages themselves are laid out very much like pages from a comicbook, although I'm not sure Wainwright had that in mind when he did them. Each of his pages represented different facets and views of the fell he was describing, exquisitely rendered in ink. I've approached them as I've done with comic pages I've reinterpreted for The Intercorstal, as well as using lessons learned from working on the mummy I did for Secret 7 and the birds I did as giveaways recently, where you take the contour and movement of a shape and redefine it, and twisting it at the same time. 

Scans of the pages are below -- if you are in Kendal for whatever reason, please take a look and let me know what you think.