Friday, August 31, 2007


Because none of you demanded it, here's another panel of Susan, from a Freak Show page i just finished.


Thursday, August 30, 2007


This is my favourite panel from my first batch of Frankenstein pages.
I wanted the charecter to be looking toughtfully out at the sea and think i achieved that.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Well, thought i might finally show something from Frankenstein. Here's a step by step process of how a page gets made.

First of all, i do a small thumbnail after having read the script. Here, i roughly work out the panel layout, keeping in mind who's talking, in what order they speak in, and what importance each panel plays. This is the first page where we see Victor Frankenstein, so i knew the panel where we first see him properly would have to be bigger in order to focus on him. The script also called for panel one to be big, so taking in those important points i decided on the appropriate layout. I initially thought of adding a panel before panel 1, but then decided against it.

Next was the more defined layout, drawn about 7" high. I used a grey tone marker just so i could loosely render the page without getting caught up in specific detail. Best not to get too detailed at this stage as that can distract from concentrating on the storytelling. Here, i also manage to get a rough idea of how i'll spot my blacks. Since they're in an icy landscape, there isn't much black, so i decided to use black panel borders to balance the page, and also, to heighten the contrast of the panel borders and the stark, cold landscape. I find white looks a lot whiter once there's some black next to it. This page was approved but it was suggested i change panel 3.

Next comes the pencils. I lay out my page reasonably quickly, since most of the decision-making was already taken care of in the more-realised layouts. I changed panel 3 as i was asked, and scanned the page only realising afterwards that i forgot the dead dogs in panel one (sometimes these things slip by you, you have to be careful of silly things like that). The pencils were approved, but my art director, Jon Haward, pointed out that The Master's (2nd character, panel 2) fingers were a bit too long in Panel 2 and to fix them before i started inking (he was dead right, they were way too long).

Then finally, the inks. All corrections have been made, so i just knuckle down with my pen, brush and eraser, and finish the page. Voila!

One down, One-hundred and ten or so pages to go.......


Tuesday, August 28, 2007



Another Your Round review today, this time on the Silver Bullet Comic Books website.

Make with the clickmaking here.

The reviewer makes note of how i've improved since Hero Killers, which was sound of him. It got 3 and a half bullets, so it did better than Amazing Spider-man, worse than X-Factor and as well as Immortal Iron Fist.

I can live with that.

It's described as "A series of entertaining and evocative stories that are well worth a read," which is pretty class. My baby's made me so proud.... sniff....


Sunday, August 26, 2007



Guh. I'm tired. Good week's work tho. Couple of commissions, 10 pages of Frankenstein layouts, 5 pencilled Frankenstein pages, 4 pencilled and inked Your Round pages and ...well ... that's it. If i keep this up, maybe i can die soon. The above workload explains the lack of posting the last couple of days.

Here's another panel from Your Round, with the scruffy, loose style i'm getting quite fond of....

Also, Declan's got a Portfolio website! He's so pleased he's speaking about himself in the third person, apparently. The site was all made possible by an old college buddy, Nina Lyons. Thanks Nina!

I've been meaning to sort a site out for myself for ages. Nothing mad, but if somebody wants to check out my work, their only option is to search through a years worth of material on this blog. And let's face it; they won't. The regular posts are great and all, but they're generally snippets of pages, rather than finished pieces. So now, i have a site where people can see my best stuff, such as it is. The webspace is part of a group of artists/illustrators/designers, etc. It's nice to be included with such a high caliber of talent. Check out the group site for some really nice work.


Also, click here for stuff you've all probably seen before on this blog.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


Ms. Susan White from Freak Show. The script called for her to look really sexy, so i spent a fair while trying to get this pose right.

I call this type of panel, the "Mooney-shot," in honor of Stephen Mooney, who likes to draw the sexy ladies......


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The ever-handsome MoonDog pointed me onto this today, another review for Your Round: Tequila. Make with the clicking here

It's a really positive review i'm happy to say.

"The black and white art by Declan Shalvey is reminiscent of Cully Hammer and Tony Harris, with heavy darks highlighting simplistic details and facial expressions."

Particularly happy with that comment, seeing as i love both those artist's works. Big time.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Got a start on a short story for the next Your Round book, this one titled Stout. Since this is my book and i can do pretty much what i want, i decided to step up the loose, drybrush-heavy approach another bit. So much so, in this panel, the only time i used a pen was the facial hair and panel borders. The borders are even done freehand, rather than with a ruler. The great thing about having your own book is you can try techniques that you can't with work-for-hire stuff. Trying to not be too precious, and embrace any unexpected results. Drybrush can really backfire on you if you're not careful. Enjoying it so far, hopefully i won't mess it up.

Too much.


Monday, August 20, 2007


I listen to a lot of podcasts these days, they're great to have on while i draw away all day. One podcast i listen to is the Around Comics Podcast. Its really entertaining, highly recommended by the Decster.

That's me.

Anyway, this week, they dedicated their show to the recently deceased artist Mike Wieringo. They share their thoughts on hearing the sad news of his passing and look over his dazzling career. Listen here.


Sunday, August 19, 2007


Right so, here we go. I sat down yesterday with the Frankenstein script and started doing thumbnails. Here's where i figure out the rough layout of each page, where characters need to be on the page, where speech bubbles will go, and what reference i'll need. From these, i'll do more finished layouts where i'll get a more specific idea of what reference i'll need exactly, work out light sources, spot blacks, etc. Then, eventually, i'll get to pencilling the page some stage.

If you can make any sense out of this, fair flay to yeh. I understand it, but at this stage, i'm the only one who needs to. I'll scribble down little details, in case i had an idea of what i'd like to add to a scene and i'm scared i'll forget it.


Saturday, August 18, 2007


Hello all. Today i officially start on the Frankenstein graphic novel. It's a very different job than i'm used to working on. Normally, on any other job, i do extremely rough layouts. They're almost abstract, but i understand what's going on with them, so that's all that matters. Then i do my pencils and inks, scan, letter and then i'm done. With Frankenstein, i have to do more finished layouts, then wait for approval from my art director, Mr. Jon Haward, do pencils after feedback is gotten on the layouts, then send off the pancils and do inks when i've gotten feedback on the pencils. So, it's a slower process in a way, but as long as i plan things out well enough, and am constantly working on an aspect of the art, i should have no problems.

May not have anything worth showing for the next few days as a lot of the work i'm doing at first is a lot of planning, layouts and working out what referance i'll need, etc. Ah, sure, i'll probably stick up the odd doodle.

Check out the Classical Comics website for the pages i did as a way of securing the project and of course, see all the other books they have coming out over the coming year.


Friday, August 17, 2007


Keen eyes might spot some of my favourite books here.....


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


What a great tune. Anyway, Here's a layout i did for the Mac Daddy of my heart, Bob Byrne. He's doing a new "Bob Byrne's Twisted Tales" for 2000ad. He's drafted me in to help him woth some layouts. To be fair, he's laid it all out perfectly, i'm just polishing them up, or 'knocking it up a notch,' as the kids say. Click here to see him go through the process of the initial layouts, then using my layouts to 'knock' it up another 'notch'.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007


A new panel from Freak Show. I'm trying out a rougher inking technique while trying to retain the graphic, high contrast way i illustrate my pages. I'll either get better at it of just give up in the end, but so far, i'm reasonably happy with my progress.


Monday, August 13, 2007


I was very saddened to hear of the passing of artist Mike Wieringo today. I didn't know him, but i was a big fan of his work. My tastes have always lent towards artists with a more 'realistic' style, but when i was younger, Wieringo's work blew me away.

On Sensational Spider-man, he was drawing these great, breezy, entertaining Spidey stories. I picked up the Modern Masters book dedicated to him last year, and from it, it was clear he really enjoyed fun drawing comics that anyone could read and wasn't fond of the trend of angst filled, dark heroes. It's a shame his return to Spider-man last year was a story that led in that direction, and didn't take advantage of the great work he could have done with the right type of story.

I suppose at least he left us so much amazing work for us to remember him by.


Sunday, August 12, 2007


Hey kiddies.

Right, close mates know all about this already, but, y'know, i don't have a lot of close mates, so this post is for the rest of ye.

For the last few months i've been doing some extra work in an attempt to get a new job. Not an easy task, when also drawing Freak Show every day, but it seems to have worked out in the end. Now, i've hinted to side projects a few times on this blog. Some have developed, some haven't. But this is not one of them. I haven't hinted to this job once for fear of it falling apart and blowing up in my face.

I've just been hired to illustrate a graphic novel. It's an adaptation of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Yep, Frankenstein. The proper one. No futuristic crazy gun toting Frankenstein, this is the original, misunderstood creature. It's part of a series of graphic novels coming out from Classical Comics. They've other books coming out, such as Macbeth, Great Expectations and Romeo and Juliet by other artists like Jon Haward, John M Burns and Gary Erksine. What can I say? I'm thrilled to be working on a project that puts me in such esteemed company. For this book i have an editor, an art director, a colourist and everything! The script is adapted by writer Jason Cobley, writer of Bulldog Empire
Here's one of the finished pages i've done so far.

So, that means i've 4 different projects on the go:

The Frankenstein graphic novel,
The Freak Show Volume 2 series, with writer Rod Curley
A project called Tim Skinner: Total Scumbag, with writer Andy Winter
And my self published project Your Round, (with anyone who'll pitch in)

So i'm going to be a verrrry busy bunny.....

Not that i wasn't before, but now, i'll be even busier.


Friday, August 10, 2007


Well, i've had an interesting couple of days. Was supposed to meet a couple of friends from home in Edinburgh, but unfortunately, they missed their flight, so i was left to my own devices.

Spent a lot of it just wandering the city, NOT going to any shows, cuz i was on my own and would have felt ridiculously awkward going to shows on my own. Everyone there seemed to know what they were doing, and i was walking around like the awkward, difficult eejit i am. I did see one show, mind, but i knew the fella performing it, so it was okay. It was Kev F Sutherland's show, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, and it was very funny. If you're at the fringe, definitely go see it. Popped out with Kev afterwards also, so big shout out to him for lettin me tag along, and a huge shout out to illustrator Andy Hepworth, who was kind enough to give me a place to stay when i was really stuck. Thanks again Andy!

I also got to go for some drinks with some good folk i'd met at comic conventions and proceeded to talk comics all night, which was just fine by me! I'd done some sketches for them at cons before, so this time, they returned the favour! Check them out...

Also, just found this today. Established writing duo Leah Moore and John Reppion, writers of Albion and Raise the Dead mentioned Your Round on their blog, just click here and scroll down a bit. They say "Drunken pub stories in comic book form is really a genius concept." Well, who am i to argue with them......? Thanks guys!


Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Here's the inks to yesterdays panel. Off to Edinburgh for a couple of days to see what all this festival malarky is about. I fave a feeling there's gonna be a rake of hippies about. I hate hippies.......


Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Rough pencils from yet-another-one of my side projects. It has an ickle bit of violence in it.


Monday, August 06, 2007


Artist Kev Sutherland (The Beano) did a signing here in Aberdeen this weekend. Since i can't really show any work i've done the past few days i thought i might as well stick up this; a portrait Kev drew of me. I gotta admit, it's pretty accurate!


Friday, August 03, 2007


A commission i finished yesterday. Got a group of commission requests a while ago. This was the second request i received, but unfortunately, the last to get done. This is my 3rd pass at the image; i tried two different compositions, but they just weren't working. Pretty happy with it now .....eventually


Thursday, August 02, 2007


Rob (Freak Show writer/ creator) asked if i'd like to do an alternate cover for Book 2. Of course, i was very happy to be asked. As much as i liked Sean Phillips' and Stephen Mooney's covers for Book 1, i would have liked to have done a cover for a book which i'd drawn 60 story pages for. So i'm really happy i'm getting a chance to do a cover for my own book.

This is a rough sketch for my proposal. I had a previous idea, but Rob suggested i show characters from this new story arc, which i had no problem with.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Here's a couple of panels from a new Freak Show page. It shows James. I'm 80 pages in to my run and i'm only drawing James, one of the main characters, now! So i'm not as used to drawing him as much as the other characters, but so far, so good.