I’ve known artist David (Dave) Hitchcock for a long time, we used to write letters to each other before emails where a thing, so that long. He’s a good friend and an amazing artist with a long list of projects to his name. He made his name with his creator owned work like ‘Spirit of the Highwayman’ and the Eagle Award winning ‘Springheeled Jack’. He’s produced a wide variety of comic work over the years including the two volume Madam Samurai with film screen writer Gary Young, Frankenstein Texas with Dan Whitehead and has an ongoing association with the UK’s sci-fi comic 2000ad.
Dave has a very recognisable style to his art, something that I think a lot of artists spend a lifetime searching for but he’s refined and expanded upon his ‘look’ over the years. I sent him a couple of questions and then asked him to talk us through his work on an illustration.
You are well known for your style and fluid pencil work, do you have any favoured tools of the trade?
I prefer a soft lead, a 2b or 3b sometimes even 4b for darker areas. Last year I started adding a colour wash to some pieces. For those I use coloured inks and watercolours, no particular brand, whichever is at hand.
You’ve produced a varied amount of work but have you always favoured comic art for your own projects?
I started self publishing around 1987, yep I know, I’m ancient. I’ve always had a fondness for gothic type work and found that that had become my niche. Recent years I’ve done the occasional bit of work for 2000ad and Heavy Metal, currently I’m working on commissions and any other gig that might come my way.
Whose work outside of comics do you look for inspiration?
I do like many artists outside comics, but my mainstay is the Victorian illustrator Arthur Rackham. I’m always amazed when I look through any of his beautifully illustrated books, the sheer imagination, for the time period is unbelievable.
Where can we see more of your work?
I’m sadly lacking a website, so I can only direct you to either my Facebook pages or Comic Art Fans where I have a gallery of my work and also a few pieces of comic art from other artists I admire.
Here’s a handy list of links:
Dave’s Artist Page on Facebook
Dave on Comic Art Fans
Dave’s old but still clogged full of art blog – https://davehitchcock.blogspot.com
Insta Dave at Instagram
I’m generally always available for commissions, a lot of the work I produce is simply just what I fancied to draw at the time, like this Thor image. I love Jack Kirby, so I fancied doing my take on Thor v The Destroyer. I’m always on the lookout for more regular comic work, but in the meantime I may as well scratch a few itches.
Here’s a step by step of the way I generally work. I do my initial layout loosely on the actual paper the piece will be on, so there’s never any scraps of paper floating about as a rule.
I begin to pencil a little tighter then I start inking certain areas. There was a lot of erasing with this one in order to get the correct stance for our thunder god and the destroyer. At this point I was thinking how the colour would be on it, as there is a lightning bolt right through the middle.
I continue pencilling in some background details. And then use an ink wash to darken the sky and the masonry above the destroyer.
As the lighting is reflecting off the sides of the figure I thought it only fitting to add some patented ‘Kirby Krackle’.
More watered down ink wash to try and create some ‘light’ from the open visor.
Then I begin to add watercolours. Sometimes I use coloured inks too. Whichever suits at the time.
I then add some colour to the crackle effect and use the same shade as reflection on his torso.
Finally I add more falling rubble and masonry. I lay the watercolours/inks directly over the pencil shading.
Here’s the finished scanned image.
Many thanks to Dave for taking the time to answer the questions and walk us through his process. I’m sure you’d all agree that Dave should get himself a nice new website to show off his portfolio of fantastic art. Check out the links above to see more of his work or contact him for commissions.