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

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.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Ravens And Chimes

Recently did an illustration of the band Ravens and Chimes for Amelia's Magazine. Here's the process:

Draw the band from a promo photo on their website
Draw some ravens in flight, using Google Images as a source.

In Photoshop, create a background by rotating and pasting the ravens image, and add the band drawing in the foreground.

Print out the combined image and paint the background. Printer ink mixes with the watercolour and makes unexpected hues and shadows.

Crop the image, bump contrasts and levels: Final image.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Mr Soft

A little while ago I was posting WIP's and other information about some illustrations I'd done of the character Mr Soft... well, here they are. The zine they were done for didn't get printed for the same reasons many of these things don't and there's no hard feelings.

I've posted the final black&white versions, with some info about Mr Soft himself at the Abstract Comics blog:

And I've posted the cropped colour versions to my Facebook page:

SO to keep things interesting, what I'm posting here are the rough, untouched scans, which have their own charm. They were made on A3 paper, if that helps make sense of them at all.

Monday, 10 June 2013

A post about how much I love Anticon, prompted by the Wandering Wolf

Nowadays, with two children to feed, and two cars to drive them around in, and a house I pay for them (and me, and my wife) to sleep in, finding money to spend on music pretty much never happens. But back in the day, when I was working on the Deli at Tesco, and my girlfriend (now wife) was off at uni, I spent a LOT of money on music.

And a large proportion went to Anticon. I'd never have found out about them, bizarrely, if I hadn't been looking for post-hardcore records online -- I was obsessed with Rival Schools' "United Against Fate", and looking for other stuff by them took me to Some Records, which is where I fell in love with The Ghost, and looking for more like The Ghost took me to Southern Records (who did distribution for Some, back in the day). Southern were handling distribution for a whole bunch of really interesting record labels, including Anticon, and had a great website littered with free samples from bands I'd never heard of, and probably would never have heard of otherwise. At the time, as I said, I was after rock music, and one of the artists was 'Different' by 'Sage Francis'. In a shocking bout of naievity I thought maybe it would be like Frank Black (aka Black Francis) so I did the ol's Right-Click-Save-As and as it was 2003 left the download going overnight.

Sage Francis is a rapper, as I found out the next morning. And I instantly fell in love with 'Different' so I bought 'Personal Journals' and was blown away by it. So then I started scrabbling around for anything similar, and since it was released on Anticon and I had some spare money (I was living with my mum, so all my money was spare) I bought a whole bunch of stuff that was out then -- Selling Live Water, Bottle Of Humans, Oaklandazulasylum, Music For The Advancement of HipHop, Forcefield Kids -- I was just eating it all up. And obviously that spilled out to records by Anticon artists on other labels, like Boom Bip and Doseone's Circle.

I was, frankly, obsessed, and stayed that way for a good few years, even now to some extent with most of the energy I'd use on obsession burned up through fatherhood, chomping up everything they released. I used to check the website twice a day in case there was any news (they usually updated about every two weeks...) I was on the Restiboard, and when that closed jumped over to Sole's board for a long time. I dragged my wife to the 'Live From Rome' release party and my two best friends to see Passage (hungover) at the Spitz. (Actually, over the years, I've dragged my friends and/or wife to a lot of hiphop gigs they weren't really keen on.)

Here's an illustration I did of Doseone and Andy Broder, as CrookandFlail, as part of the review I did of the Unearthing live shows for Amelia's Magazine.

Those artists are still top of my agenda, when I do have money to pay for music or (heaven forfend) going to gigs. Subtle will probably always be my favourite band, I'm still trying to keep up with sole intellectually and ideologically, I'm still waiting for Unindian Song Vol2.

Recently, Yoni Wolf (I'm not sure if he still uses the pseudonym why? or if that's just the name of his band now) has been releasing podcasts with various artists, and the two featuring Adam Drucker (Doseone) are just... Well, they're great. But it's a weird experience for me, because suddenly all the information I was so hungry for about Anticon 10 years ago is just THERE, and it's great. Trouble is, now I want MORE. I want extra from Dose and Jel and Yoni and I want to hear from Passage and Telephone Jim Jesus and Sole and all those guys with superb, ridiculous names.

This is the latest one, which also has Jel covering (some of) his own personal history. I'm really hoping there are more soon.