Thursday 28 March 2013

Announcing the UK's FIRST children's comic festival!

We're very excited to announce the UK's first ever CHILDREN'S comic festival! On the 4th of May (Star Wars day - May the 4th be with you!) the Oxford Story Museum will host an entire day of activities, workshops, book signings and more, all centered around children's comics! We Etherington Brothers will of course be there, signing books, meeting our young readers and performing one of our shows! Other awesome creators appearing include Neill Cameron and Adam Murphy, as well as publications LOAF and the DFC Library! Tickets are limited to this very special event, so stay tuned to The Phoenix for news of when they go on sale.

More info about this most awesome of festivals HERE!

See you there!


Tuesday 26 March 2013

Von Doogan Character Designs!

A little collection of character designs from The Great Air Race. In order of appearance: Marlin, Karmann, Abbey, and the Doog himself! Enjoy!


Thursday 21 March 2013

Long Gone Don - from script to page

This morning I thought I'd show you a little behind-the-scenes process for how we create pages of Long Gone Don, hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Robin creates the script for the page. He works in a format similar to that of a screenplay, with scene descriptions, all dialogue, and panel count. This is how it looks when I get to see it for the first time:

Step 2: Using the script I create the rough page of artwork. I may make tiny tweaks here and there, but by and large I keep pretty rigidly to the script. This rough page then goes back to Robin, who checks it over and adds his superb lettering, sometimes re-writing the dialogue a little as he letters. Getting the lettering down at this stage is vital to the overall composition of the page, and helps tremendously in marrying up word and art in a visually balanced way.  
*Click Image to see at a better size*
Step 3: With the page lettered, I can set to work on the final art. I begin by putting all the speech bubbles in place, to make sure everything fits nicely and the bubbles don't feel "stuck on" the final page. I have a slightly unusual process for the final artwork, in that I like to fully paint each panel one at a time, instead of inking all panels in one go, and then colouring all panels together, as many artists do. When everything is ready, the page goes back to Robin one last time for final checks, and then it's off to The Phoenix! 
*Click image for larger version*

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Long Gone Don book 2 - Deeper into Broilerdoom!

A few more shots from Long Gone Don book 2, which is well over halfway through it's serialisation in the The Phoenix as we speak...!


Monday 11 March 2013

Forbidden Planet International finds us funny...

All-ages sequential tales, principally aimed at the younger reader, do not often make headlines in the world of comics.  They tend to be ignored in favour of whatever superhero fare is currently doing the rounds.  Which is why the support of Forbidden Planet International has always been such a joy.  They were the first to champion the DFC comic and now they are at the forefront of supporters who sing praise for The Phoenix.

On Saturday they posted the third in a series of special Phoenix 'Weekenders', a collection of their favourite highlights from the latest issue, and guess what?  Long Gone Don made the cut!...

... literally, as this excerpt featuring Castanet's dangerous brother, Juju, clearly demonstrates)...

Nothing like some comedy action to start the week, eh?

The Phoenix is available to purchase by subscription from the website HERE, or from lots of amazing bookshops, a map and list of which can be found HERE!

Friday 8 March 2013

World Book Day Action

Yesterday marked the 16th World Book Day, that special day when children from over 100 countries celebrate the magic and fun of storytelling.  The central aim of the event is to encourage young readers to explore the many pleasures to be found from reading.  This is a value we Etheringtons hold dear, and try to promote whenever we host a show, so we were delighted to be invited to the Brunel Academy in our home town of Bristol to perform two special World Book Day workshops for their Year 7 and 8 students.

The staff had created some wonderful promotional materials for the day.  This is what I call a collage.

These shows are actually pretty hectic, as we tend to bounce around on stage for hours, and between workshops Lorenzo and I always try to relax.  Fans of my brother's artwork will be interested to know that it's during these quiet interludes that he conjures some of his best sketches.  Here's one of my favourite sneaky shots of him in action.

And so, after a great day of sharing our hints, tips and secrets with over 400 students you'd think we'd be spent, right?  Well, as it turns out I still had enough juice in the tank to indulge a new hobby.  Have I missed my calling as a ballerina?...

Maybe not.  Boy, that bar felt high ... and I probably should have limbered up first...

Many thanks to Sarah Middleton and all the staff and students of Brunel Academy for making us feel so welcome on World Book Day.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

RHSCE and Komixx Entertainment option Monkey Nuts Animation!

Today we are delighted to announce that the animation rights for our debut graphic novel series, MONKEY NUTS, have been optioned - and by the same partnership that recently picked up Jamie Smart's Fish Head Steve!  Woo Hoos all round!

Here's the full press release for your delectation.

Random House Children's Screen Entertainment (‘RHCSE’), a full-service UK production house created by Random House Children’s Publishers UK (‘RHCP’) and Komixx Entertainment (‘Komixx’), has optioned the Monkey Nuts comic series by celebrated authors, The Etherington Brothers.

Monkey Nuts is a vibrantly illustrated, slapstick action comedy series set on the Isla de Monstera, home of the world's only tap-dancing, banana-loving, rust-fighting, coconut-talking, crime-busting organisation, and the latest project from RHCSE based on the David Fickling Comic (DFC) library, an imprint of Random House.

Andrew Cole-Bulgin, Partner and Head of Film & TV, RHCSE comments: “Monkey Nuts, is a fantastically fun-filled property with richly detailed characters that will directly appeal to boys 8-12 years of age. It’s a wonderful series and the action-packed comedy storylines will doubtless sweep children along with each adventure.”

Robin Etherington, series author, comments: “We created Monkey Nuts for boys who were not only looking for engaging stories but, more importantly, wanted their reading experience to be both funny and fun. There has always been a significant gap in the kid’s market for humour, and the same dearth of great comedy exists in the world of cartoons. We’re therefore delighted to have the opportunity to widen the Monkey Nuts brand with RHCSE and Komixx. The team at Komixx share our passion and commitment both to the quality and vision for the series. And most importantly, they want the end product to be FUN.”

Philippa Dickinson, Managing Director, RHCB comments: “As with many books from the DFC Library, Monkey Nuts is perfect for children due to the hilarious plots and appealing, slapstick characters. The Etherington Brothers have always produced imaginative storylines and stunning, complex illustrations, and Monkey Nuts is no exception.” 

There you have it, folks - a rather fun day to be in the comics biz.  We'll bring you more information as and when it breaks.

Monday 4 March 2013

It' a BOY! Announcing the arrival of Edward Doogan Etherington!

It is my absolute joy to let you all know that on Thursday 28th of February my incredible wife, Esther, gave birth to our son, Edward Doogan Etheringon. I thought about trying to draw something to celebrate this indescribable day, but I'll never have the skills to capture the true enormity of the emotions Esty and I are filled with. Plus, I'd much rather be cuddling and playing with my wonderful son than drawing pictures of him. To my Esty I can never truly say thank you enough for the bravery it took to bring our little pal into this world, and I know that with you holding one of his hands, and me holding the other, he will be wrapped in love each and every day of his life.

I leave you with a few images by the talented Pacal Campion, who knows a bit about how all this stuff feels...

I love you, Eddie!