Saturday, October 2, 2010


New York comic con next weekend from the 8th-10th. I'll be attending without sitting in artist alley - I'll just be there for the convention and the schmooze....although I will have a couple of signings :


Marvel Booth from 4.30-5.30


Hero Initiative booth from 10.30-12.30

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I've contributed a pin-up to the wonderful whimsy that is Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann and Janet Lee. You can see it here;

Monday, September 13, 2010


Library: Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library
Location: Community Room
Groups must register in advance. Call (813) 273-3652.

Meet Marvel Illustrator Mike Perkins

Event Type: Teens
Age Group(s): Teens
Date: 9/16/2010
Start Time: 4:30 PM
End Time: 5:30 PM
Description: Mike Perkins is the illustrator and co-creator of Marvel Comics' Spellbinders and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang from CrossGen Entertainment. His most recent work at Marvel has included Captain America, Union Jack, X-Men, Annihilation: Conquest, and House of M: Avengers. His current work involves illustrating the Marvel Comics adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Adding to the pencils

Every now and again you may be approached by your editor to not only ink a project but to “finish” it. Don’t panic. He’s not asking you to hurry up as you’re fast approaching your deadline. He’s not even asking you to color, letter, edit and print the comic. What this means is that, for whatever reason – whether it be time constraints or the certain strengths of a particular penciler – you’re being asked to, essentially, strengthen up the pencils in your inks. Sometimes, you’re being asked to have a hand in the actual finished style of the job in hand.

If you’re being invited to do this you obviously have enough confidence in your own abilities that your editor has noticed that you’d be able to handle it, no matter how complete the pencils are – and sometimes you’re given very little to work from.

To illustrate this welcome predicament let’s take a look at one of the pages from Captain America #10 which I finished over Lee Weeks’ always strong pencils.

As you can see from the penciled page all of the basic information is there it just needs a little more depth and refinement. It’s up to you as in inker to determine how much refinement you feel is needed. There are some projects that are given to particular inkers so that their own style can shine through. The inks of Kevin Nowlan being a perfect example. Unless I’m specifically asked to take this approach I usually try to go in a different direction when I’m offered such an undertaking. I’ll try to take a look at the pencilers previous work – in particular something they
were pleased with or something they inked themselves. By doing this you’re probably on the fine road to less friction with the penciller – they’ll also want to work with you again in the future.

The first panel we see on this page is pretty much presented to me as shapes with a little more detail on the Magneto figure. If it was inked line for line you really wouldn’t be able to figure out what the giant figures are and the power of Magneto’s attack would be non-existent. This is where a little bit of research comes in handy. It’s now your job to go and find out what a sentinel looks like – don’t just rely on your hazy memory of a comic you read a few years ago.

Figure out where your lighting is going to originate from. In that first panel I’ve actually used the figure of Magneto as the power source, utilizing a central shadow to show the magnitude of the force emanating from within him. I’ve also accentuated the flow and ripples of his cape to lead the eye towards the focal point. This lighting is then followed outwards to the now metallic figures of the sentinels with the foreground figure capitalizing on the foreground placement by being the darkest element on the page to give the perception of depth.

Further power is underscored by the radiating lines – once again pointing to the focal point of Magneto – being cut into by the electrical affect achieved by using a white-out pen or white ink.

The next three panels consist primarily of a crowd scene in a New York street. In the pencil version shapes are indicated in order to establish figures and faces. The buildings are represented as basic boxes with rudimentary windows. Do NOT draw this! Finish it!! Look at life. Look at photos. Study the fall and texture of clothing. Put the most prominent shadows in the foreground and drop those buildings back. Add more figures if needed to give the crowd some substance (as you can observe
in panel 4). Think about where you’re adding the blacks – your page has to flow, it has to be composed, those solid blacks need to balance the page and lead the eye.

The final panel – although simply a hand reaching into a wardrobe must be approached with the same kind of commitment and drama as the other panels otherwise the whole page could fall apart at a glance. Add that depth with shadow and give those clothes a few more wrinkes especially where the hand is grabbing the jacket. The wrinkes on the shirt sleeves of both the arm and the arm of the jacket lead the eye to the action.

When finishing a job in the inks follow the pencilers intent. It’s similar to the relationship of a director and a director of photography or cinematographer -all of the storytelling is there, what you need to do is add the drama and depth.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We’ve outlined the basic rules of giving the pencils a slick finish but let’s look at a different approach. A lot of the comic books on the stands today are concerned with real world occurrences where the actions of their characters are just a bit more harsh. Sometimes those situations and environments just get downright mean and dirty. Often your inks are going to need to reflect that. You’re going to need to create the kind of environment you would not want to be a part of.

I’ve provided an example to illustrate this point so let’s go over it and point out what I’ve done, why I did it and what I did it with…

On this page of Captain America I really wanted to portray the grungy atmosphere of this hole in the wall bar – roughing it up was , by far, the best way to go. In no particular order here are the tools I utilized….

A: The exacto-blade. Once you have the page finished you may still feel that some extra roughing up is needed. The blade will be your best friend. All those nice smooth lines you’ve laid down with your brush can easily be obliterated with one swoosh of it’s sharp surface. Here I’ve used it to emphasize the graininess of the roof structure. Pulling the blade along the lines there already and breaking up the solid edges. The blade is also one of the best tools for throwing a rain storm down on the page – just flick the blade upwards away from the rain drop and you get that atmospheric streak. Confidence is needed in the use of this tool. You can easily obliterate the parts you didn’t particularly want to get rid of.

B: The Prismacolor pencil. Using a black coloring pencil can give you some amazingly rough textures. The Prismacolor is one of the roughest. You can see here on the walls of the bar where it’s utilized to show the effects of fifty years worth of cigarettes and alcohol. By pressing down on the pencil you can bring the depth and density of the mark you’re making forwards and backwards.

C. The small #1 brush. Not only used for getting those delicate lines in there but also abused when you want to utilize the “drybrush” technique. This is a process in the inker’s arsenal which can be invaluable when portraying a little more grittiness than usual or if you just wish to soften a line. Make sure that you dry the excess ink off your brush using a piece of paper or a paper towel and sweep the line along the page. You’ll notice a ragged edge – it takes a lot of practice to get it to a point where you can be relatively happy with it. In the example shown I’ve used it prominently on the pool table so that the ridges on the sides are not so sharp and more rounded (as they are on an actual pool table). The drybrush is also appropriated on the baseball bat the barman is brandishing – it gives it that “used to beat heads in” look that’s needed in this scene.

D: The Col-Erase pencil. This is the smoother of the two pencils I use on my pages. This gives a much softer line and a more consistent tone. Great for softening jaw lines, indicating eye shadow and portraying the texture of leather cat suits ( a staple diet in any comic book)

E: The grey wash. Back to your brush and your ink. This ones a little repetitive but you’ll get used to feeling like a caged animal stuck in your little freelancing studio. Next to your drawing board you’ll, most likely always have a small cup of water close at hand – usually for cleaning your brushes ( NOTE: Try to always look when you’re taking a sip from your coffee cup. We inkers may have ink in our blood but it doesn’t taste so great when it mistakenly slides down to your stomach – also, attempt to clean your brushes in the water provided for such use… not in your
coffee). To get the best wash effect just keep adding a brush load of ink to the water each time you take a pass at placing the greys on the page. You’ll get a great sense of depth and texture when you do this.

Of course, you don’t have to employ all of these textural techniques on every page, just one or two will usually suffice, but when adding that “grit” the best advice is to practice and get increasingly more confident in wallowing in the dirt.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


A couple of years back I wrote a chapter on inking for Andy Schmidt's book - The Insider's Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels - which is available to purchase here:

Over the next couple of days I'll be re-presenting some of the individual subjects here:

Seperating Planes

On the comic book page the creator is fundamentally working in a two dimensional environment – attempting to visualize a three dimensional world. Sometimes, due to the imaginations of the hardiest of writers, the artist is also called upon to work in a multi-dimensional tableau – but let’s just stick to the basic three for now.

The penciler will most likely turn in pages that lack line weight and depth. It’s the inker’s job to bring a certain amount of depth perception to the pages provided. This can be attained by utilizing various approaches, sometimes depending on the subject matter and the desires of your penciler. One of the most widely employed techniques is concerned with going from using a thick line in the foreground to a thin line in the background. The inker can also darken the figure or fixture in the
foreground leading to a shadowless background. Both techniques are viable.

For another approach let’s take a look at one of my Captain America pages and see what techniques and tools I’ve used to give a little depth.

The script required a page of Black Widow bounding , leaping and jumpingthrough a cityscape. By necessity this would be a highly detailed page and if the inker is not careful the figure and surroundings could easily mould into one mass.

Let’s go panel by panel and I’ll show you what I’ve done to make sure this doesn’t happen…

PANEL ONE : Black Widow is leaping forwards and upwards in this shot towards the reader. In order to make sure that she doesn’t look as if she’s just standing on the roof ledge I decide to make the most of the grey techniques I had been using throughout my run on the title. By using a combination of tools the depth perception became that much more pronounced. A Prismacolor black pencil gave a grey texture look to the brick work. Above this brick work is a flat plain weathered by using a grey wash. To make sure that the background plain was prominently in the background a little bit of “flecking” was introduced by scratching away at the greys with the exacto-blade exposing the white page beneath. These kind of approaches enforce the separation of planes.

PANEL TWO: Now we see the Widow jumping from the ubiquitous New York water towers. Again this depth separation is required and shown by using various techniques from the grey wash on the towers to the distant water tower in the far background – illustrated by employing the use of a lighter, smoother black pencil. There are very few solid blacks in this environment. They are used sparingly on the figure itself and also on the wall underneath the towers to balance out the panel.

PANEL THREE: To separate all of the clashing planes in this panel the penciler ( in this case myself) has used a rim-light effect on the prominent figure. By doing this Black Widow “pops” forward a little more and doesn’t bleed into the surrounding buildings, This is a method of utilizing shadow in an effective way that, most often, the penciler will provide – but sometimes not. As an inker it is your job to make sure that all the information on the page is portrayed clearly and adding shadow to certain planes and people will emphasize the prominence of the particular element.

A good knowledge of anatomy and an understanding of the structure of real world surroundings is not only the responsibility of the penciler. It is most important that you educate yourself in these essential aspects.

Again, for the background elements, I ended up using a combination of grey wash, Col-erase pencil and, in this particular scene, just an ordinary 2H pencil.

PANEL FOUR: Lots of chimneys and rooftops in this panel - a lot of ways for this panel to look completely flat! I ducked that particular problem by making sure that the foreground bricks on the chimney were solid black with the background chimney bricks worked in with the grey wash. The other building in the top right of the panel was given that hazy quality by availing myself of the Col-erase pencil once again.

PANEL FIVE: Just a completely solid portrait shot of The Black Widow using a lot of solid black on the back and side of her face so that, even though you can not see the city she is looking out at, she’s still part of the environment. The colorist can also add depth to a page but do not concern yourself with this. It is the inkers job to differentiate the depth and seperate those planes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010



The New York Comic Con is way down the road ( October 8th-10th) but I've started to get my travel details together and will be attending. I doubt that I'll have an artists alley table (sometimes I just want to enjoy the show and do a little schmoozing) but will, no doubt, be signing at the Marvel booth at some point during the weekend. I have a few other commissions to get through before-hand but I WILL be taking on commissions before the show itself and dropping them off to people personally. So if you'd like to get on the list - and will be attending the NYCC - then drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do. Please tell me if you're more interested in a convention sketch ( $60 for a head and shoulder, $150 for a full figure) or a more refined commission illustration (prices on my site :

Go on....challenge me!

Monday, July 5, 2010


One of my favourites here, illustration-wise.

Friday, July 2, 2010


A bumper crop of Captain America commissions to take you over the independence weekend....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Another illustration commissioned by Jeff Corbett here - he of the "Perkins Point" fame ( a section of his home dedicated to all things Perky!). He loves the Punisher and good ol' Frank Castle is always a joy to draw. I just wouldn't want to bump into him on the street. The Punisher, that is .... not Jeff - he's one of the good guys.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


One of the best books on the stands right now is Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin and the new Robin is just simply brutally funny in a very disturbing way. Wonderful work from a writer who almost always challenges your perceptions.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Nick Fury - one of the coolest one-eyed characters EVER!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I sat next to Marjorie Liu for a signing at the Marvel booth in Chicago and found her to be extremely charming, attractive and intelligent. I'd previously experienced her writing in NYX, Dark Wolverine and - just released at the time - the new Black Widow series ( which comes highly recommended ) and, after chatting with her for some time, figured I would check out her novels too. She's a prolific writer and all of it is quality work. If you can get over the "Romance" packaging of the novels they're well worth tracking down and they usually deal with our very own realities, sidestepped into the super natural, heightened by intrigue, mystery, adventure and depth of character.

I was both honoured and a little bit terrified at kicking off her own sketchbook but figured I had to do something that may keep the input of sketches in there at a comparable quality - hope it works out like that ! So, above, we have a portrait of Marjorie surrounded by characters she has brought to a vividly, searing life ; l to r - X23, Daken ( Dark Wolverine), Kiden (NYX), Natalia Romanova ( Black Widow) and, her very own creation from the Hunter Kiss novels, Maxine Kiss.

More information on Marjorie's life and work can be found at her own blog at :

or her website:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


By specific request ( thankyou Mr. Andy Rudd) here are a couple of Boba Fett commissions I've illustrated. Easily one of the most popular characters from the Star Wars universe this brutal bounty hunter will stop at nothing to claim the price on your head...except for when he's being digested for a thousand years by a Sarlacci!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I'm a HUGE fan of Iron Fist and relish any chance to draw the character:

Monday, June 21, 2010


The death of Captain America was a HUMUNGOUS success both critically and commercially and I'll always be grateful that I was a part of that - the Eagle Award we won as a team for the story arc covering issues 25-30 sits in pride of place in my studio.

Here's a commission of the actual shot that took the good Captain down - surrounded by the true villains of the tragedydrama. I liked that image of the character of Sin so much I utilized it on a later commission!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Going to start another indeterminate run of showing off some of the commissions and con sketches I've been doing over the past few years.
Kicking things off with a recent favourite of StarLord. Sometimes it's these obscure characters you can really get your teeth into because:

a. You never get asked to illustrate them and, when you do:

b. You never now when you'll get a request to illustrate them again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Had a great time taking part in the Rack Pack Comics Podcast on Saturday chatting about Marvel, The Stand, Wolfgang Parker's 1888 and the novels of Marjorie Liu - the first half of the programme is available now...although I'm giving fair warning for little ears, some of the language could get you fined in the State of Pennsylvania...

Monday, May 17, 2010


Out this week is Origins of Marvel Comics #1 featuring two origin tales I've illustrated ; the all new Captain America and Moon Knight.

Also - keep an eye out for my Captain Britain variant cover for Age of Heroes #1. Here it is below shown EXCLUSIVELY without the uniform "Heroic Age" background.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The C2E2 convention in Chicago is taking place next weekend : 16th to the 18th of April -

I'll be sitting in artists alley - table L4 - in between Bob Layton and constant collaborator Butch Guice. Stop by for a chat, a commission, a print or a signature! I've also got some signings lined up at the Marvel booth :

Friday, April 16th
Signing @ Marvel Booth – 2 to 3 pm

Saturday, April 17th
Signing @ Marvel Booth – 2 to 3 pm

Sunday, April 18th
Signing @ Marvel Booth – 3:30 to 4:30 pm

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I LOVED Preacher. Still do, in fact, as I often re-read the creativity, profanity, insanity and ingenuity provided within it's pages. Above is an illustration I produced for one of the UK Convention booklets.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

R.I.P. John Hicklenton.

From the 2000ad message boards:

We have just been informed by Pat Mills that John Hicklenton has sadly passed away.

Here are a few words from Pat: John Hicklenton passed away peacefully last week. His ending was an expected one and he saw it as a triumph over his illness MS. Amongst his final words to me were "MS - you have a week to live, you've met someone you shouldn't have f***** with". A great artist and a true hero.

Pat Mills

I met John a couple of times - we had the same agent - and he was always very nice...a little weird, perhaps...but who of us isn't?!! Pat, my agent, would tell me stories of his original art...created on whatever he could find or cobble together ( deconstructed cereal boxes being most prominent in my mind). He was a true original and the spontaneity in his artwork was truly inspirational and unmatchable. Goodbye, John.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wrapping things up with the commission posts for a while due to just having loads of work on the go - but here's a Tusken Raider to tide you over until the next entry...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Batman:The Dark Knight Returns blew me away when I first read it and subsequent readings don't blunt the experience. It's a seminal piece of the comic-book medium and, if you haven't had the chance or opportunity to read it then please do take the time. Don't bother with the sequel, though.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I truly enjoyed working on Ruse at Crossgen . It was unlike any other book - in outlook, in execution and in the way we collaborated on it. Maybe one day I'll go into the ins-and-outs of how we all chipped in and, perhaps, what was actually going to happen in the comic disregarding it's untimely demise.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Change of pace here today in order to show you the basics of advertising :
One Wolverine print - check!
One cute little kid in Wolverine costume - check!
Print sold!

This little guy at Megacon was just fantastic! He's probably all of two years old but as soon as he saw a camera he was down on one knee and posing! Brillant!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm a huge fan of Greg Rucka's writing - and, in particular, his Queen and Country books ; both in the comic form and his subsequent novels. Today I present to you his damaged heroine - Miss Tara Chace:

Monday, March 15, 2010

A few Megacon Commissions....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A bumper crop of card commissions today as I won't be updating for the next three days due to the convention. See you all on Monday - enjoy your weekends.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This weekend it's the Megacon in Orlando. If you're in the area do pop along - for me, it's one of the highlights of the convention season.

I'll be signing, sketching and chatting at my table over the whole weekend. I've also got a group signing at the Hero Initiative booth:

200-300pm: 100 Wolverines: Joe Benitez, Jim Calafiore, Mike Choi, Darwyn Cooke, Joe Jusko, Andy Smith, Bill Tucci, Mark McKenna, Mike McKone, Jimmy Palmiotti, Mike Perkins, Brandon Peterson

Then later on Friday I'll be "instructing":


Time: 5:30 PM - 6:20 PM
Join Nelson Decastro, Mike Perkins, Sergio Cariello, Andy Smith, and Graham Nolan as they show you what goes into a page and how it takes more than just knowing how to draw. This will be a question and answer session where you can pick the creators brains. Ask the questions no one has answered yet.

Room: 222B

And....hopefully, I'll have some new prints for sale at the show:

Some fans are D.C. people - some are Marvel people. Me? I just like good comics - wherever they're published. Saying that, though, I don't get asked to illustrate a lot of D.C. Comics characters. A shame because they have a lot of visually striking protagonists. Here's a convention sketch of The Spectre:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mary Jane Watson - of Spider-Man fame - has an extremely interesting face to illustrate. It's not a visage you can just slot in "female face #1" and get away with it...and I've tried. I guess it's the dimples and the eyebrows but more importantly it's the playfulness and the light behind the eyes. Get that correct and , well, "you've hit the jackpot".