Tuesday, 24 November 2015



If you've missed the 1st session - your welcome to sign on mid - module!

Look forward to seeing you...

...'How to Draw Superheroes (& Villains)!' at Framin' Art...

Well, the first session of 'How to Draw Superheroes (& Villains)!' Module 1 got off to a great start. A hearty heroes welcome to students - and potential comic artists/concept designers - Jack, Finn, K.C., Toby, Zack and James. 

In my efforts to create a veritable Batcave of a classroom with hero sketches, character designs, a selection art books on Jack Kirby, Marvel and DC Comics, graphic novels and comic books - in the brightly lit classroom it probably came off more as The Fortress of Solitude.

The classes first communal creation - 'THE SPIKED AVENGER'

Nonetheless, the room was a hive of creativity as the class and I created a couple of heroic characters of our own. First up was the almost untouchable nemesis known as 'THE SPIKED AVENGER' followed by the dynamic and mysterious 'BLIND NINJA'!

The dynamic and mysterious 'BLIND NINJA'

Once we'd warmed up on the first two characters - and after a brief refreshment break - the students were straight into the nuts and bolts of the class - designing their own heroes! 

Zack Evans creating his latest superhero

In this first wave of new super heroes - the students are using exciting costume design styles, with an additional influence of manga and popular themes such as military weaponry and attire.




...and last but not least...

The first installment of the 'Bite-Size History of Comics!' 

With the first installment spanning 40,000 years or so, and then every decade - it goes without saying that it's going to be exceptionally concise.

I'll be covering a handful of key developments in each period, from the the 1940s Golden Age of Comics onwards. While it's unavoidable that a tremendous amount of information will be left out, I can certainly revisit the period in question and add additional pages as time permits.

In the event that any student has a particular query or question regarding comic history, they can ask me in class or via email or - dare I say - 'google it'.

And thanks James for your question - 'Who came first - The Atom or the Ant-Man?' - watch this space.

Next week - the Birth of the Golden Age of Comics!

A big thank you to Simon and Becka at Downham first and foremost 
art shop - Framin' Art - for all their help and support!

Friday, 30 October 2015

...Superheroes over Gaywood...

'Heroes and Villains' - having carried out  a few Superhero days at Downham Market's Upwell and William Marshall schools last June, I approached Downham Library and asked if they would be interested in a Superhero Demo at the library. They not only said yes, but would I be able to hold a Demo Day at Gaywood Library - of course I said yes.

In order to create the appropriate atmosphere and to encourage inspiration, I'd brought along a variety of drawings and sketches which I blu-takked around the library and also a selection of graphic novels and 'How to Draw...' books.

And being almost Halloween I couldn't not bring along my old friend - a huge portrait of none other than Dracula! 

The session was well attended by children and parents alike. We quickly got into designing the first character from design suggestion the children called out. I could see the popular themes popping up - spikes, flames, wings, mohawks and lightning bolts. Many thanks to the young lad in his Spider-Man outfit who came up to the easel and drew his suggestion of three eyes in place on the lightning bolt mask!

It wasn't long until our hero or villain - emerged. Presenting the '3-EYED BEAR MAN!' Oops, clearly no spell-check on my easel this morning...

The unstoppable 3-Eyed Bear Man!

I could see the children were getting itchy fingers and had already started drawing their own characters on the template sheets, it wasn't long before our next character appeared. A super-heroine or super-villainess - long blonde hair, bat-mask, 'Incredibles' eye motif, bat cape, boots of fire and ice and pneumatic 'Falcon' arms - none other than V-WOMAN!

...and the Invincible V-Woman!

Meanwhile...there was silence and pencils drew and crayons scribbled, felt pens flourished and coloured pencils coloured. Following is a sample of the fantastic ideas the children came up with...


What a surprise also to meet parent John who'd brought his family along to the workshop. John and I had a lot in common - turns out he's not only an old time comic fan from the 60s and the 70s, but also like myself - a dyed in the wool Marvel Comics fan! 

We reminisced about the pre-comic shop days when you had to get on your bike and search for your favourite mags at the newsagents, and also the Plus Books and Comic Exchange shops where you could swap the mags you'd read for those you hadn't read. I think the ratio was swap two for one. 

We could scarcely have imagined fifty or so years ago, that the 1/- (5p) comics we were buying and swapping might become an investment commodity in the 21st century, many valued at extraordinary prices. And that comics and superheroes themselves might become an integral and - dare I say it - respectable part of popular culture. 

...and more ideas...


Move over Marvel and DC Comics - I think we've got a whole new generation of comic and superhero artists, concept artists and gaming designers on the way!
A big 'WELL DONE!' to one and all - and a I know a few of you parents designed the odd character here and there...

Many thanks to all the participants and parents who came along to the library this morning to make it a big success, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. A big thank you also to Elena who organised both events at the two libraries and also to volunteer Grace who assisted with administration and hosting at Gaywood on the day.

When you're ready to draw more superheroes - let me know!

Now if only I could find that 'Friends Of Ol' Marvel' membership card from the 70s...

 For more comic drawing fun I'll be carrying out a Superhero workshop at 
Framin' Art in Downham Market in November - look forward to seeing you.

Monday, 7 September 2015

...where do those superheroes come from...?

Like every six (and sixteen) year old I copied characters and superheroes  relentlessly from any comic I could lay my eager hands on - TV21, Fantastic Four, Hulk. Pencil, colouring pencils - pots of poster paints when I'd progressed at age twelve to reproducing comic covers and full splash pages up to A2 on cartridge paper which were often often pinned up on the display boards outside the first floor school art room. 

Ahh a warm glow when a for a few weeks only, ascending the stairs from the vestibule to attend classes on the first floor hundreds of young minds were momentarily captivated by the vivid painted image of an angry Galactus raging at the Silver Surfer, or Maximus the Mad glowering over a trapped and frustrated Hulk. 

What marvelous joy.

Almost without fail in those 'best days of your life' if you were caught reading a comic - especially in class or assembly - you were facing comic book confiscation at least until the end of said lesson or in some cases - until the end of time ie four o'clock - home time. 

I almost lost Tales to Astonish #97 this way in assembly, but managed to distract the Deputy Head by dropping and breaking my glasses - yep - made of glass in those pre plastic lenses days - my mag became a side issue compared to my now inability to see the blackboard and learn. Still confiscated until the end of the day though - curses, I wouldn't know if the Hulk survived the terrible threat of the Legion of the Living Lightning for hours now...

Fantastic Four Annual #6 featuring the birth of Reed and Sue's baby boy almost met the same fate in woodwork class. As fascinating as mortice and tenon joints and wooden wall lamp units - shaped like an upside down shoe with a protruding tongue was - it couldn't compare with the majesty and mystery of Reed, Ben and Johnny going up against their newest foe Annihilus in the demented wonderland that was the Negative Zone.

Boy-oh-boy! When the woodwork teacher noticed that I was distracted by a comic when I should have been paying attention - I discovered that dear old Mr Griffin was as implacable a foe as any Stan (The Man) Lee and Jack (King) Kirby could dream up! Luckily he instructed me to put it away rather than have it confiscated here and now. Phew! Did Sue or didn't Sue have her baby???

OK - I've gone back to the beginning to get to the present, but - life drawing! From my first time life drawing at Croydon Art College during my Foundation course - I was 18 and I expect the model was 68 or so - the tutors mantra was as follows - "Draw what you see. Not what you think you see."

Any comic book course I've attended in the past - such as 'The London Cartoon Centre' back in the late 80s could not stress strongly enough the value of drawing the human body from life, and whenever the opportunity presented itself - to get onto a life class. 

Certainly it's all very well referring to and copying from your favorite artists such as Gil Kane and Neal Adams (who know their anatomy inside out) - providing you back it up with a solid foundation understanding how human anatomy works. One editor I spoke to said it was comparatively easy (and fun) drawing superheroes, but the hero has to inhabit a world of real people. Creating the real world environment allows our hero to be who she or he is. 

The more real and more believable the environment, the better.

The two life classes I have attended recently are The Ely Life Drawing Group which takes place on Thursdays at Ely's Babylon Gallery, and The Ouse Life Drawing group which takes place on Wednesdays alternately in a converted church on the River Little Ouse and Ely Community Colleges Art Department - both are highly recommended!

Oh, and by the way - Reed and Sue had a baby boy...

Friday, 21 August 2015

...Framin' Art 2014 - 'Here there be Heroes'...

In conjunction with the 2014 Open Studios taking place at Framin' Art, participating artists were invited to take a workshop during the course of the exhibition. Although a good deal of my work was of an illustrative nature, naturally I chose to do a workshop on Superheroes!

So there I was - Dracula behind me, Spider-Man and Iron Man to my right. 
Running down the middle of the room, on a central arrangement of tables was a respectable selection of Comic book collections, graphic novels and 'How-to-draw Comics' books, alongside template pages of blank superhero silhouettes, pencils, Staedler plastic rubbers, and a couple of glass jars of coloured pencils. 

We had the technology, we had the reference material - we just need the imagination!

And right on time - enter Lauren and Sam.

Lauren arrived first with her parents and we proceeded to draw Norfolk's first farming superhero - none other than - 'Super-Wellington!'

After the appearance of Super Wellington, Lauren and her mum both had a go at designing new characters using the template sheets provided. 

And hot on the heels of 'Super Wellington' Sam arrived just in time to create the one and only unstoppable - cosmic powered 'Fellow Hunter!'

The good news is that beginning this November 2015 we'll be running a couple of four week modules on Thursdays called 'How to Draw Superheroes (& Comics)!

So if you like superheroes (and villains), and get a kick out of telling a story in pictures either call me 01366 381087 or send me an email - andy@andyscordellis.co.uk - to take part!  

Look forward to seeing you comic fans.