Ashley Wood is an Australian (comic book) artist who’s work has ranged from the UK and US comic book market over to everything from toys, computer games, film, TV and advertising to fine art gallery shows.
This might just be me, but I found him to be an artist who you never could quite grab hold of. His work was always around, in my local comic stores for example, but it seemed to appear and disappear without any rhyme or reason. One day there would be a new comic series but you would find two issues and then: nothing. Or suddenly there would be four or five gorgeous art books, all hugely expensive (for my budget at that time), which you would thumb through every time you visited the shop. It seemed he was always doing something cool, but then something happened… Did he quit? Did the series get cancelled or was put on hold? I don’t know. I soon gave up on trying to figure out what exactly was happening and contented myself with what I could get my hands on (or could afford).
I’m delving in the big pile of work and projects of Ashley Wood in this x-part series of specials. I’m not going to even try and be somewhere near complete. There is too much stuff (like the toys) that don’t really interest me. Luckily there is also heaps of stuff that does.
As an introduction, today, a random selection of comic books to get acquainted…
You’ll notice Wood is not the man to go to for delicate rendered artwork. Most of his drawings are rough and sketch-like. He explains (in an answer to an emailed question, on his blog):
I use markers and calligraphy pens, some watery paint and ziptone on paper.
There are no sketches as they are the sketch 99% of the time ( sometimes I’ll doodle a small rough, really basic if its a dicky compostion ), they are drawn directly onto paper, light-boxing is for lesser types plus its more to draw twice :)
Thats the skill to me, not the final image, but the process of making it. Its where the fun is and the danger…
Sometimes these sketches end up as the final artwork, often they are accompanied by or enhanced by some painted stuff or digital effects. At first glance, you would think this makes for comics that aim to impress, but I’ve found that Wood very often manages to produce some very good storytelling with his way of working.