Saturday, 28 November 2015

Convention appearances 2016 & cushions.

Star Wars Card Russell Payne

Hoping to have a new novel finished & published next year, so will be doing more literary conventions to promote that, but for now here some I'll be a guest at this year--

February 20th & 21st
LSCC - London Super Comic Con 

March 8th
Huddersfield Literature Festival

May 14th
Hollywood Comes to Blackpool

June 4th & 5th 2016
Swindon Comic Con

June 18th 2016
Hull Comic Con
I will be giving a talk on Jack Kirby in Hull.

August 7th
Blackpool Poetry People

If you would like me as a guest at your literary or comic convention, use the contact form on the right  >>>

In other news, the nice people at Zippi have approved some of my designs for merchandise, you can see my portfolio here. They have cushions......

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Swindon Comicon 2016

Here is our very 1st Comic artist signing yay!!!!Swindon Comic Con are proud to announce that Russell Payne be...
Posted by Swindon-comic-con 2016 on Thursday, 6 August 2015

Monday, 20 July 2015

LFCC London Film and Comic Convention 2015

LFCC cosplay 2015

Just back from LFCC2015, one of the biggest UK comiccons, with some absolutely amazing guests like Michael J. Fox, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Lloyd, Jonathan Pryce and me. I spent nearly the entire time behind a table though, so didn't meet any of the Back to the Future cast or other celebs, except for a very quick chat with Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls, Guardians of the Galaxy), who was astonishingly courteous to me considering I hadn't really slept for a couple of days and was beginning to look and smell like I'd died.

Sean Gunn and Russell Payne

I drove down with Marvel/DC cover artist John Watson and my daughter Chloe. John will no doubt write an LFCC blog post full of blatant untruths about me walking like a giant old man and being unable to draw, you can read it here. The bit about my shoes falling about is true though, I bought them for £5, they lasted about 8 minutes.

We stayed in a hotel a few stations east of the Kensington Olympia, a lovely family run place within walking distance of Stamford Brook tube – The Brook Hotel,  highly recommended for the weary traveller, much better than many larger hotels I've stayed in recently, on the last day when we didn't have time for breakfast, they gave us a carrier bag with fruit, water and juice cartons to take with us. You don't get that with Ramada.

LFCC was three full days, the Friday might not have started until 1pm but it went on until 8pm, even Sunday started at the obscenely early hour of 9am. It was absolutely packed every single day, although we were on the second floor which was quieter than the main bottom floor, sharing the level with YALC (Young Authors Literary Convention) and a Video Gaming area. A few metres from my table they were giving away free cans of Monster, so I imbibed a year's supply of caffeine and taurine in 3 short days and probably won't be able to sleep until next Wednesday.

I didn't do any panels or talks, but had a great time chatting to people, promoting membership of the Jack Kirby Museum, doing quick sketches and selling copies of my books and prints. Having made the mistake of offering to draw anything, one group of six girls asked for a sketch of all six of them, which is a challenge in a few minutes even for someone of my massive artistic ability, but they seemed pleased with the result, if you try hard you can even tell who is supposed to be who.

LFCC con sketch 2015

I had a couple of posters up advertising the Kirby Museum and explaining about membership and how to donate, so had some great chats about Jack Kirby with people. Mauricet came over wearing a Jack Kirby Museum T-shirt and showed me some lovely prints he's done for Kirby characters Kamandi, Etrigan and New Gods.


More frustratingly, a lot of people I talked to had never heard of Jack Kirby, but that's one reason I was there, so I enjoyed explaining to people who had spent the last year making a Captain America costume that it wasn't Stan Lee who created it. If you want to know more about Jack Kirby, visit the Jack KirbyMuseum website, but only after you finish reading this blog post.

I didn't get much chance to shop for anything, but the man behind Rocket Chips came over to talk to me and I bought a bag of Sweet Chilli chips from him, they are pretty amazing.

I also bought a Star Labs mug from the Flash TV show and a couple of t-shirts for my kids after we'd packed up and were walking out of the venue. I didn't see a single comic up close, although they were there in the distance, I do wonder sometimes why it's called a comic convention.

As usual Cosplay was a big part of the event, with some great costumes passing my table. One final, logical highlight as we walked out was meeting Spock Vegas, a Leonard Nimoy impersonator who looked amazing, partly because he was about eight feet tall, but mainly because he remained in character at all times. It was almost like meeting Leonard Nimoy, fantastic. He is much better in person than in any photo.

Thanks to the organisers for all the support, food and organisering and to everyone who came and talked to me, bought things and asked for sketches.

My next con is the excellent NICE Comic Convention 19th & 20th September 2015 at Bedford Corn Exchange - Tickets on sale now. Start sending your pre-con sketch requests now.

Russell Payne sketching at LFCC2015

Monday, 13 July 2015

Richard Ansdell Composite Portrait

I was a guest at the Lytham Arts Festival last week, a brilliant local festival organised with real enthusiasm for the arts. Part of my contribution was creating a composite portrait of Richard Ansdell.

A portrait of the painter Richard Ansdell (1815-1885) by Russell Payne composed entirely of sections of his own paintings.
A portrait of the painter Richard Ansdell (1815-1885) by Russell Payne
composed entirely of sections of his own paintings. 

Animal painter Richard Ansdell trained with portraitist W.C. Smith & at Liverpool Academy from 1835. Ansdell made his name with portraits of sitters with horses and cattle; then in Scotland with stags and sheep. Retaining a deep love of Scotland, he also visited Spain in 1856 and 1857, resulting in scenes of Spanish subjects, including mules and a richer tone of colouring. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy in 1861 and Royal Academician in 1870. 

During part of his career he kept a "summer house" at Lytham St Annes where a district, Ansdell, is named after him. He is the only English artist to have been honoured in this way.

A commercial piece I did for a French company a few years ago introduced me to computer mapped composite images. A program breaks down libraries of images into a simple grids of colour then matches those simplified grids to small sections of one larger image, giving a picture mosaic made from hundreds or even thousands of different smaller images. I’d also used it last year in an Andy Kaufman portrait for a London exhibition, taking screen grabs of videos Andy appeared in and mapping them all together into a portrait.

Talking to the organisers of Lytham Arts Festival about the collection of Ansdell works in Lytham, I wanted to show the scope of Ansdell's work, while also creating a personal piece that showed something of the man himself. Using the composite technique, but this time using a library of images the subject themselves had painted was a natural progression and the coming together of the old and the new seemed such a natural pairing. Each smaller image is a section from Ansdells body of work. In a sense this is an Ansdell self-portrait, every brush stroke you see is by Ansdell, they are re-arranged digitally in a way he would never have imagined.

Richard Ansdell
Original Richard Ansdell Photo
digitally coloured Richard Ansdell photo
Digitally coloured Richard Ansdell photo

I digitally coloured and tidied up a photo of the artist as an older man and used this as the template for mapping together the composite. Then I manually went through an archive of his works, including some high resolution scans provided by the Lytham Arts Society and many more downloaded from Auction houses and galleries who have scanned his work over the years. Then manually cropped out identically sized sections of these paintings, sometimes small details, sometimes nearly the whole painting, to create the nearly 5000 tiles that make up the image.

Richard Ansdell
Close up details of tiles

The final piece is printed 6 feet tall, a strictly limited print run of two only, signed and framed, you really have to step back to see the composite image appear, close up you can appreciate the variety Ansdell put into his work. It shows what a prolific career as an artist he enjoyed, maintaining a constant output for decades and leaving behind a magnificent body of work. It's still on display in Stringers shop window in Lytham, but I'll be removing it this week.

Richard Ansdell

The 6 feet tall framed portrait was on display in Lytham, then listed on eBay  and I really wanted it to stay in the area and not be shipped down to a London gallery. In the end the auction was won by a London buyer, but he was born and bred in Lytham, so thats close enough.

If you are interested in commissioning a composite portrait on this scale, I do a limited number of commissions each year. I have done some recently where I take every digital photo a family has and create one very large composite portrait of the family using these images, it makes a striking talking point for any house. Prices start at £250. Get in touch using the contact form on the right and I'll let you know if I have any available commission slots.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Klaus Kinski as Galactus

When Klaus Kinski died in 1991 I remember my first thought was - "He'll never play Galactus now". Kinski already looks like Kirby has drawn him and he just seemed so perfect to be the onscreen Galactus, his features, his intensity. I just always look at Klaus Kinski and think Galactus. Maybe it's just me.

As it turned out, the first time we got a Galactus story in the 2007 movie Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer, too late for Klaus, so he was portrayed as a bit of cloud and a shadow. Great. Today I decided to redress the balance and took the Kirby pencils from this classic Jack Kirby splash page -

Fantastic Four #75 page 4
Found a nice image of Klaus in his prime-

Klaus Kinski
I added Klaus' face to the Kirby pencils in photoshop, then digitally inked and coloured the whole thing to make a poster-

So finally Klaus gets to play Galactus, sort of.....

Monday, 11 May 2015

Jack Kirby - HOPE poster

I created a Jack Kirby portrait for a show recently, and went through a lengthy process deciding which look to go for. After lots of messing around and trying different effects, backgrounds, I ended up with a much simpler version, a straight homage to Shepard Fairey's iconic Obama "HOPE" poster. 

Barack Obama "Hope" poster is an image of Barack Obama designed by artist Shepard Fairey

The final version was printed as a limited edition poster. I made Kirby a little younger and gave him a wry smile, it seemed fitting given the recent Marvel/Disney/Kirby Estate court ruling.I still have a soft spot for that first one with the gold effect though..... here they are in order.

Jack Kirby Gold Portrait - by Russell Payne

Jack Kirby Portrait - by Russell Payne

Jack Kirby Portrait - by Russell Payne

Jack Kirby Portrait - by Russell Payne

Jack Kirby Portrait - by Russell Payne

Jack Kirby Portrait - by Russell Payne

Jack Kirby Portrait - by Russell Payne

If you want to know more about Jack Kirby, the man behind the Avengers, the X-Men, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer and Paranex the Fighting Fetus, visit the Jack Kirby Museum website.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Updated 2015 appearances list

I'll be a guest at -

London Super Comic Convention
14th & 15th March 2015 I'll be at a table in the Artists Alley all weekend and hosting a Jack Kirby panel with Jonathan Ross, Dave Gibbons & Tim Seeley.

Hull Comic Convention

27th June 2015

Lytham Arts Festival
4th-11th July

London Film & Comic Convention
17th to 19th July 2015

NICE Comic Convention

Bedford Corn Exchange - Tickets on sale now.
19th & 20th September 2015

Nottingham Comic Convention

24th October 2015

If you are at any of the above events, come and find me and say hello. Bring me books, art, t-shirts, get well soon cards, family heirlooms.... I'll sign anything for free, I'm not even fussy about whether I wrote or drew it.

Monday, 16 March 2015

LSCC London Super Comic Convention 2015 Review

London Super Comic Convention Excel Centre 2015 LSCC

Dr Doom and Yellow Lantern Scarecrow Cosplay LSCC 2015

Back in one piece from the London Super Comic Convention. Yet again, it had a great guest list, it was well organised, busy, varied and seven kinds of delightful, many thanks to George and all the LSCC team for looking after me. I like LSCC, everyone seems to have a good time, it's more about the comics and artists instead of TV and Film guests, and the staff brought me free water. I'm easily pleased really, some other cons leave me to dehydrate, LSCC kept me watered and I got to chat to Neal Adams. I was happy.

I travelled up with John Watson, I'm sure his blog post about the event will include blatant exaggerations on the poor quality of my driving, but the fact remains we arrived there safe after only 8 short hours of solid driving. This was a great opportunity to chat about projects, which we actually did for a while before the task of navigating central London took over all our energy.

We'd booked into the Ibis hotel this year, which is right next to the west entrance of the Excel centre. Unfortunately the Excel centre is 5.3 miles long (That is a fact. Don't check it.) and LSCC was being held near the east end of the centre. so walking the entire length of it carrying heavy boxes of prints, art and brochures was life threateningly difficult. Fortunately due to a personal regime of diet and exercise I was able to make it. John struggled but I carried the heavier stuff and jogged ahead of him clearing a path.

After setting up the table Saturday morning, the legendary artist Neal Adams came over and introduced himself and had a quick, friendly chat. I nearly passed out with joy. Neal Adams is an all time great, just being in the same country as him is pretty exciting, so having him come over and chat basically made the entire convention worthwhile. This was within the first ten minutes of getting there. LSCC is great. I mumbled something to Neal about how awesome he was, John bailed us out by asking a coherent question about when Adams worked with Lou Fine at Johnstone and Cushing.

John Watson and Russell Payne at LSCC 2015

I was at LSCC this year in an attempt to sell a few prints and to host a Jack Kirby panel. The panel was on the first day, so I had the morning to sell prints while John sat sketching and selling art. I'd done a portrait of Jack Kirby in the style of Shephard Fairey's Obama HOPE poster that I thought might look nice framed on the wall of a Kirby fans home. On the Saturday John did marginally better than me for sales, for every one of my prints, he sold about 40 sketches. That is to say that in total on Saturday he sold about 40 sketches, you do the math. It's possible I need to work on my selling technique. 

Jack Kirby

I did get distracted looking round, there was a particularly good selection of comic retailers selling cheap books and I find it very hard to resist buying old comics when they are cheap, despite the fact I already have a house full of them and a nasty habit of buying the same issue repeatedly.

The panel came round at 14:45, I'd called it "Return of the King" because Kirby was often called the "King of Comics" and I wanted to concentrate a bit on the recent upsurge in interest in Kirby due to the settlement between the Kirby Estate and Disney/Marvel and all the successful films being made that feature his characters. Also, I couldn't think of a better name than last year's "You Don't Know Jack" and a Lord of the Rings reference was the best I could manage. If you're not familiar with Jack Kirby, visit the Jack Kirby Museum website and you won't be sorry!

Kirby Panel LSCC Russell Payne Tim Heeley Dave Gibbons Jonathan Ross

It was originally going to be just me in a smaller room, possibly one of the cupboards, but when Jonathan Ross, Tim Seeley and Dave Gibbons agreed to do it too we got bumped up to a large panel room and it was standing room only. It was actually a really great panel, a really good chat about the King of comics Jack Kirby by three very knowledgeable and articulate people and one overweight poet. I pretended everyone in the audience was there to see me though and so I had a great time. I expected Tim and Dave to know their stuff, and they did, but Jonathan Ross really held his own too, if you only think of him as a chat show host and general trouble causer, then you should know he has also written successful comicbooks and had some interesting opinions to contribute to the panel, it was a really, really good chat, I didn't really have to do a great deal, I just sat and enjoyed it, and I had a better seat than anyone else.

Dave Gibbons had a lovely story about why his “grail” Kirby piece is a story called Space Garbage, you'll have to find a video of the panel online to find out why. 

Dave Gibbons Kirby Grail piece

For the rest of the con people were coming up to me to say how great it was, and they were right, it was great, massive thanks to Dave, Tim and Jonathan for providing the quality content. There's some nice photos of the panel by Van Norris photography posted here.

I also had a great rap about "Jack Kirby" by Ills & DJ Johnny Juice to end the panel, but technical difficulties made it inaudible. You can check it out here though and you should, it's ace.

Saturday night was good fun, often the best part of comic convention is the evening, I ended up at the Aloft hotel bar chatting to people about Kirby and comics, one young man called Billy (not Danny as previously reported, sorry Billy!) had an enthusiasm for Kirby that very nearly restored my faith in the survival of future generations. Once we escaped the thumping music of the Aloft hotel bar, a few of us escaped to a quieter bar to play the “what sketch would you ask for?” from nominated artists, a game you can only play with people who really know their comic artists, and Mick, Rich, Biff, Nigel and Larry held their own despite some very obscure names being thrown in the pot.

After a sound night's sleep unhampered by anyone snoring, Sunday at LSCC was very enjoyable too, the last day is always better as retailers start to worry they might have to take all those heavy comic boxes home and begin to lower their prices. I stole a few minutes to pick up some gifts for my three daughters, it's always nice to take something home from a con, my only regret for this year at LSCC was that I didn't really get to chat to many other guests, but as I'm now a full time poet and artist, I have to take opportunities to make money where I can get them because I've chosen a career that is 400 years out of date and quite likely to lead to starvation.

Talking of starvation, all I had to eat on Sunday was half a polo mint and a Pain au chocolat from the Excel food court that cost £83 and was the size of a thimble, we did finally get a Subway at about 8pm when we picked up my daughter on the way home but by then I was nearly blind from hunger. I must take a packed lunch next time I do a comic convention.

So a great con, LSCC always manages to get just about everything spot on, looking forward to going next year. There's a blog post here by Andrew May about the panel, and there are some items online you can buy featuring the print I was selling at LSCC here. If anyone reading this spots an online video of the Kirby panel, can you send me a link? Thanks!

Jack Kirby Panel LSCC 2015
James Bond Cosplay LSCC 2015

Monday, 9 March 2015

London Super Comic Convention 2015

One week to go to the London Super Comic Convention. I'll be sitting in Artists Alley next to John Watson on table A121 all weekend and I'm doing a Jack Kirby panel with Jonathan Ross, Dave Gibbons and Tim Seeley on the Saturday at 13:45. Come say hello, come to the panel, just don't ask any really difficult questions.....

Friday, 13 February 2015

2015 Comic Convention Appearances

I'll be a guest at the following comic conventions this year. If you're there, come and say hello. I sign and sketch for free, if you saw my sketches you'd know why. If you would like me as a guest at your convention, I'm probably not available for 2015 now, but it doesn't hurt to ask and I'll probably offer to come in 2016 instead.

London Super Comic Convention
14th & 15th March 2015
I'll be at a table in the Artists Alley all weekend and hosting a Jack Kirby panel.

London Film & Comic Convention
17th to 19th July 2015

NICE Comic Convention
Bedford Corn Exchange - Tickets on sale now.
19th & 20th September 2015

Nottingham Comic Convention
24th October 2015

I won't be able to attend the Blackpool Comic Convention on 12th September, I'll be at a friends wedding that day, but anyone not going to a wedding should check it out, it's the very first Blackpool one, go and support them.

List of Book and Literary festivals I'm attending this year to follow.

I'm also branching out and doing a local arts festival in early July, more details to follow on that too.

Russell Payne at the Cardiff International Comic Convention

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Life is a circus.....

So busy lately that my blog has suffered, apologies to both my readers, but no-one pays me for writing this, although I did make £1.34 in advertising revenue from the blog last month, woohoo!

To show I am doing something, here's an image I created for a client today -

Apparently they are gong to get metal signs made with this on. One for the clown fans I guess. I'm also writing, photoshopping and you can still see my recent comic lettering and finishing work on Comicartfans.

 I'll be appearing at a few comic conventions and literary festivals this year, details to follow. If you would like me to appear as a guest at your convention this year or next, get in touch via the contact form on the right.