Gareth A Hopkins

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

Friday, 23 May 2014


While I was volunteering at London Super Comic Convention I started to think about putting a proper Intercorstal comic together -- a single issue, 30-odd pages, of pure Intercorstal comic work. And I realised that the Intercorstal, on its own, as proud as I am of it, would be a VERY hard sell to a mainstream comics crowd -- the sort of people who spend money at cons and shops.

Figuring I'd need to anchor The Intercorstal to the rest of the comics world with something, I fell on the idea of doing Intercorstal-style portraits of comics characters, and making a small book of them -- buoyed up significantly by how proud I was of the mummy I did for my Secret 7s entry.

Here's the first step toward that -- everyone's favourite fascist lawperson, Judge Dredd. I'm still not entirely happy with this -- I think it works in its own way, but really I'd like it to be more dynamic, which will probably involve finding a more dramatic angle and pose. I'll have another go once I've done some Crosby & Syd pages and had a punt at Batman. Here's some photos of how I went about the finished image, in case you're interested.

First pencil draft. Had a few books open as reference, in particular Henry Flint's work on Trifecta. Carlos Ezquerra is always a constant influence whenever I try to do Dredd, too. But I suppose that's the same for everyone.

Corrected pencil draft - shaved a bit off the helmet, tidied a few other bits up. Was also very unhappy that I'd gone with (what I consider) a rookie Dredd mistake, which is to hunch him all over, and you can see here where I drew his shoulders back in where a normal person's would be. That decision was also informed by Flint's drawing of him in particular Dredd strips, where he's in meetings with senior Judges and stands silently, statue-like.

Jumping ahead a bit -- I traced over the pencils onto A4 Bristol Board, losing all the work I'd done on the eagle but that's how it goes sometimes. At this stage I really wasn't feeling it, because the bits that haven't been filled in yet throw off the composition. Was working on faith that once the rest had been done it would look alright.

I'd worked some swirl into the helmst to stop it being too flat, and had been very careful not to overwork the mouth/chin bits. When I cam to fill the body, I was aware that just going in without a plan would make it look too layered and, again, flat, so broke it up into sections which (very) loosely described the abstract shapes that make up his chest.

Bit more filling.

Um, more filling.

Final furlong. Once I'd cracked these bits, added a little texture to the metals left over (eagle, shoulder pad, zipper) and scanned. Then bumped levels, paint-potted the line work to make it look fuller -- IRL the inks are enough, but even with the contrast bumped the inks look too thin and reedy after scanning) and did a few touch ups, and voila, the finished image that's up the top of the page there.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Tallulah Rendall for Amelia's Magazine

Recently I got back on the horse and did an illustration for home-away-from-home Amelia's Magazine, for an interview with the very talented and inspiring Tallulah Rendall.

The finished, polished-up version of the illustration can be found at the article itself, but as is my way I wanted to share the original scan, because I think it just looks pretty nifty. The illustration itself was done on a St Bride's Foundation notepad because I liked the grain of the paper and the fact that it wasn't brilliant white (which is what I'd normally favour for this sort of thing). Then when it came to scanning, the scanner wouldn't detect the size, so I put behind it the nearest A4 piece of paper I could find, which was a scanning test sheet.

The approach I took was similar to the one I took for my Lorde Secret 7s entry, except I did't have a fortnight to source images and play with textures and spend hours really digging darkness into the page. Also, Tallulah Rendall has blonde hair, so the amount of detail in it needed really lifting off. And then in keeping with the pattern of the hair, the background work became more about movement than density, meaning I could really fill-in the patch of body and arm in the foreground.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Secret 7" successful entry

I have been very remiss in not adding my winning Secret7s image to the blog, and here it is! It was entered for Massive Attack's Karmacoma, and is based on a photo of a Peruvian mummy I found on this excellent travel blog: I think from a drawing stand-poit, it's the best single piece I've done to this point. I really, really love it, and it looked great printed out.

As I did for my Lorde piece, here are some process images.

First thumbnail sketch. At this point, I was going to do most of the work to the shawl, and leave the 'flesh' more or less blank. 
Photo of progress about 2 hours in. The first 2 hours are always the quickest... wait, that doesn't make sense. I mean, I get the most done on this type of image in the first 2 hours. I suppose it's because at that stage I'm setting up the rules that the work will need to follow, and so can be a little experimental. After this point, I'll be constantly referring back, to make sure it's coherent.

About 4/5 hours in, with the source photo and my carpet in shot for good measure.

To keep this neatly in a square format, I had to extend the 'shawl' area, but in working on A4 Bristol Board did not give this a thought when I started. So I taped a piece of A3 printer paper to it and carried the line out. You can clearly see where I took a wrong turn on the first go. I sent this original to James Mahan.

Here's the final scan. A little bit of Photoshop after scanning (removing the paper fold from the middle, increasing the contrast, scrubbing that stray line from the right hand side and paint-potting the shawl, then whacking in a very orange background colour) and I'm done.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Aquila Illustrations

Aquila Magazine recently asked me to do some illustrations for their April 2014 issue, to accompany a story featuring Shakespeare and his players. This is the second time I've contributed to Aquila -- for their September issue I illustrated (quite graphically) the dangers of cross contamination along with a knight being thrown from his horse (they were seperate illustrations, if that wasn't clear)

Working on these illustrations was a lot of fun, and I also learnt a lot about Medieval armour and Elizabethan fashion to boot. Here're some of the images I created -- they're very different to the stuff I'd normally do, but that's all to the good, and have served as great confidence boosters for my current Big Project, a full length figurative graphic novel...

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Secret7s: Lorde process pictures

This year's Secret7s has been announced, and I was lucky enough to get in again. One of the entries that didn't get in was for Lorde's 'Team':

Here's the final image, and underneath it are photos I took as I was working on it.

This last image (and hello there if you've scrolled through all that!) is the final scan before I shaded it in Photoshop. It might be worth noting that there's more hair in this version than the final version -- for the sake of the composition I had to chop some of it out for the final image.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Intercorstal VS Still Life

Working on The Intercorstal can be difficult. There's a need to constantly re-invent or reuse, and although certain elements and patterns crop up often, there's no set way to go about the creation of the comic, and it always feels like I'm making it up as I go along. It's a tiring process, and with the obscurity the comic exists in, it's not often as rewarding as I'd like.

To help me along, I hit upon the idea of re-purposing pages and layouts from the narrative comics that I love, and it's an approach that's worked pretty well so far. To this date, I've stolen layouts from Kevin O'Neill's 'The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen', Sean Phillips and Duncan Fegredo's work in 'New Statesmen', Will Simpson's 'Tyranny Rex', Chris Weston in 'Indigo Prime: Killing Time' and Sean Phillips again with two pages from 'Still Life' (those paying attention, and in the right know, will notice that a lot of those comics were written by John Smith for 2000AD, and that's not really surprising knowing my tastes, although it actually wasn't intentional).

The amount actually 'stolen' from each of those artists is debatable, I guess. Mostly it's just layouts. I doubt that unless I pointed it out every now and again anybody would be any the wiser. But it's interesting, and I felt like sharing. In particular, I wanted to show off a particular page, for a few reasons:

1. It's an accidental collaboration with my 4yr old son. I love making stuff with him - he's not got any kind of patience for completing an image, but he does have the best ideas. For instance who else would suggest a Fiat 500, Lego Mr Freeze and C3-PO as decorations for the birthday card of an 82yr old granny?

2. I wanted to draw some attention to the comic it's worked from. I wasn't really aware of 'Still Life' by John Smith and Sean Phillips -- it was in the Revolver Romance Special in 1990, when I was 10, so it passed me by when it first came out) (Revolver being a short-lived 'mature' offshoot from 2000AD). I only found out about it from Tom Whiteley's superior blog "Suggested For Mature Readers" where he wrote a perfect review of it, and also made it available for download. It ruined me when I first read it, and continues to haunt me now, months later.

3. I wanted to show off a bit of process again, for my own gratification. And I also wanted to maybe highlight this particular page, because I think what's great about it might get lost with only casual observation.

So, here's the page I bit from, by Sean Phillips:
It's an intensely, and genuinely, intimate page, which is so rare in any media, let alone comics. So I felt that if I was stealing and re-purposing pages, this is one I had to use. I started by sketching out the rough shapes, getting the perspective approximately right, giving the right feeling of weight. And then... well, then I got scared. It felt like too much to take on, and I left it to one side while I worked on other stuff.

And then Bill came along while I was drawing, and wanted to help. I balked at him 'helping' on any pages I'd already started inking, so let him at my pencils of this, and he attacked the page, ruining one of my pens and leaving this behind: (this scan was taken after I'd already started working back on it - you can see where I started by working into the edges of the bath):
And then I liked it enough that I started working further and further into it, until finally I had this:
Which I then did this to, getting the final image:
And...yeah, that's it. But hopefully it's clear now (why I feel it needs to be clear, I don't know) why I'm working in the way I am. The latest page I've started is based on one of the classic Ditko Spider-Man pages, although whether anyone will know by the time I'm done with it... well, I guess that'll be up to whether they've read this, I suppose.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The things that are happening now

1. I collaborated with a bunch of people to come up with a non-narrative graphic novel. It's called 'A Kick In The Eye', it's available from Amazon, and best of all it's CHEAP. You should get a copy, like, NOW.

Here's a scan of two of the pages I did, in their original colour (always intended to greyscale out for the finished book):
2. I'm mostly working on The Intercorstal, in a second phase. I'm up to Page 11 now, and am genuinely excited by it so far. Sharing on the internet has been random and sporadic -- sometimes just a crop via Instagram, sometimes the scanned page, sometimes the finished article. Here's some of it:

3. Um, I actually think that's it.