Friday, 21 January 2011

Lee Moyer delivers Lovecraft art for new author documentary

Watch more free documentaries
Sci-Fi Art Now contributor Lee Moyer has provided the art for a superb new documentary about the life of author HP Lovcraft, the forefather of modern horror fiction who has inspired such writers as Stephen King, Robert Bloch and Neil Gaiman.

The influence of Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos can be seen in film (Re-animator, Hellboy, and Alien), games (The Call of Cthulhu role playing enterprise), music (Metallica, Iron Maiden) and pop culture in general.

But what led an Old World, xenophobic gentleman to create one of literature’s most far-reaching mythologies? What attracts even the minds of the 21st century to these stories of unspeakable abominations and cosmic gods?

Written and directed by Frank H. Woodward, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown is a chronicle of the life, work and mind that created these weird tales as told by many of today’s luminaries of dark fantasy including John Carpenter (The Thing), Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), Neil Gaiman (Coraline), Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), Caitlin Kiernan (Daughter of Hounds) and Peter Straub (Ghost Story).

"This isn't  just a documentary about HP Lovecraft, but interviews with many of the smartest minds in horror," Lee enthuses, "including a couple people I'm working with even now - the formless and formidable Paul Komoda and that fabulous fabulist Caitlin R. Kiernan."

With a haunting soundtrack, it's an excellent overview of Lovecraft's life and influence and well worth checking out.

Lee provided both cover and interior artwork for the DVD release.

Watch HP Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown Online on CineEvolve

Buy Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown on DVD

• More of Lee Moyer's wok on his official web site: Read our interview with Lee here

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Sci-Fi Art Now Creator Interview: Chris Askham

Space Ape by Chris Askham
For as long as he can remember, British artist Chris Askham has had an obsessive desire to draw comic strips, beginning at an early age by copying characters out of The Dandy and then progressing to tracing panels of Judge Anderson from issues of 2000AD. As he began to gain an understanding of how comics work, he started self-publishing his own work in the early 1990's. "The small press seems to come a long way since those days of photocopied flimsy a5 booklets, with today's publications being indistinguishable from their professional counterparts," he notes.

Chris has produced work for indie titles such as Dogbreath, Zarjaz, FutureQuake, Bulldog Adventure magazine and PJANG, as well as co-creating Doctor Sponge and Sin. He's also a regular contributor to the ongoing web comic, Fractal Friction.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What tools do you mainly use to create your art?

Chris Askham: I still do 99 per cent of my drawing in the traditional way, using pencils, dip pens, Indian ink, brushes. But this is then scanned into Photoshop to be cleaned up, tweaked and coloured and generally played about with.

Sci-Fi Art Now: Why?

Chris: I still enjoy the process of drawing with pens and brushes, rather than the Wacom tablet. No doubt if I put enough time into practicing, then I'd grow accustomed to using the graphics tablet, but at the minute I'm far too clumsy with it other than for colouring purposes (and I still struggle even then). Also I don't trust anything I produce on the screen - I need to physically see it on a piece of paper in front of me.

Having said that, Photoshop is a godsend for colouring and tidying up. I've always had trouble working in colour, but in PS it's just so easy to re-do things and change whole colour schemes at the touch of a button. Not that I'm any master of Photoshop. I'm still very much a neanderthal.

Fractal Friction page
by Chris Askham
Sci-Fi Art Now: What inspired you to become an artist?

Chris: Like many others I was inspired by British sci-fi anthology 2000AD, which I read from the age of 11 back in about 1984. I am also of that lucky generation to have seen the original Star Wars trilogy in the cinema, which was also a major influence. I was also a big fan of the Fighting Fantasy adventure game books of the 1980's, which were always full of some of the best black and white fantasy illustrations of the time.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What was the most useful piece of advice you were given when you began learning your craft?

Chris: I don't remember the exact advice, but I do remember sending some samples to the editor of an indie comics publisher (maybe Trident Comics, based in Leicester at the time). It was a rejection letter, but it was about two pages long and it went into great detail about how I could go about improving my work, which was admittedly bad at the time by anyone's standards. But it was good that this editor had gone to the trouble of filling two whole pages. Even though my work was pretty bad, it made me feel that it was worth carrying on.

Sci-Fi Art Now: Which artists most inspire you?

Teenage Zombies
by Chris Askham
Chris: The legendary roster of 2000AD artists from the golden years - Brian Bolland, Ian Gibson, Mike McMahon, Kevin O'Neill to name just a few. Their art from those days looks just as fresh today as it did when it was originally published.

Aubrey Beardsley's penmanship is just mindblowing, the amount of time he must have spent (in not the best of health) knocking out such intricate detail and fantastic depravity. Jason Brooks draws some of the most gorgeous women in fashion illustration - in some alternate universe he's surely putting out some beautiful comics work!

Sci-Fi Art Now: Do you have a favourite piece of work or project you have worked on?

Johnny Alpha - one of Chris Askham's
artworks forthe Carlos Ezquerra
'Get Well Soon' card
It was really good to work on the 'Get Well Soon' project for Carlos Ezquerra, the Judge Dredd co-creator who was seriously ill last year. It was concocted by The Legendary Shark on the 2000AD message boards, and was a complete secret. Lots of fans and professionals alike got together to produce pages of art or words, in tribute to the great man. It was a fantastic moment in fandom!

Sci-Fi Art Now: What most frustrates you about being an artist?

Chris: Not having enough hours in the day to produce half of what I'd like to. Or maybe just my inability to organise my working hours better.

Sci-Fi Art Now: What keeps you going despite the hopefully occasional frustrations?

Chris: Probably the thought that there's nothing else I can or want to do with my time (other than play computer games...). Also there's a great community of other artists out there, working in similar conditions.

When I get any feedback at all about my work, whether good or bad, it's always nice to know that someone out there is taking the time to look at it and comment on it.

Rise of the Robots by Chris Askham
Sci-Fi Art Now: What advice would you offer to anyone starting out as an artist?

Chris: Draw, draw, draw. Always. From life and from your imagination. And make sure you draw what you want to draw. I've spent, and still do spend, far too much time drawing things that I think people want to see, when I should just be drawing what I want to see. And get your work out there.

• For more of Chris work, check out his blog at To contact Chris, email him at

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Wanted: Your Mechanical Elephants

As part of their 'First Fridays' events, Marine Studios in Margate are putting together an exhibition that looks at comics, graphic novels and sequential art.

Featuring work from a range of local and international artists and writers, live talk from guest speaker Paul Gravett, more comics than you can stand, and the chance to discuss your work and ideas.

To kick start proceedings prior to the show they are inviting submissions for a 'Two Page Comic'.

The task: to create a two page comic under the title: 'Mechanical Elephant'. All ideas are welcome to inspire, amuse, terrify and entertain. There are no limits other than sticking to the two page rule (206 x 280 mm each, in either portrait or landscape), and of course, don't forget the Mechanical Elephant!

Send your entries as electronic files (jpeg, pdf, tif, eps or mov format) with the subject 'Mechanical Elephant' to: or

The deadline for entries is 21st January 2011. Marine Studios will display the finished artwork and as much of the preparatory work as possible in their show beginning 4th February 2011 at Marine Studios, Margate.

• Further info available at
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