Frequently asked questions
During his time as a Comic Book, Children's Book, Theme Park and Animation Conceptual Artist and Writer Tim has been asked over and over many questions.
Here are a few of those questions once again, with some answers.
Where can I learn to do what you do?
A: You can enrol on an Illustration course or a Graphics course like Tim did at a local Art College or University. A tip is to visit lots of different ones to see which Colleges and Universities can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Tim teaches a course on Fantasy Art at Livesey Children & All Age Centre in Blackburn, Lancashire, here in the UK entitled Fantasy Art Unlimited. Details can be found by clicking the link, or by calling the Centre on 01254 507950 and asking the receptionists for information. If you live local you can always enrol on the course. If you have any problems, just email him and he'll endeavour to sort things out for you. The important thing to remember, however, is you need to draw, draw, draw and then draw some more.
Due to demand from outside the borough, Tim is also developing an e-course, which will mean more people from around the world can enrol on a virtual version of the courses via the internet. Please keep checking the News Pages above for updated information in this regard.
Q: How Do I get into Comics?
A: You have to be persistent and most of all as an artist you must "Draw, Draw, Draw". You need to build up a portfolio of your best artwork only. Never submit something you know yourself is not your best stuff. As a writer, "Write, Write, Write". Again never submit below par stuff. Then keep sending off samples of your best work. Try to attend conventions and meet up with fellow creators and editors, etc. This way you are able to network eventually with the correct bunch of people, needed to start your career in comics. Never give up, for everyone that does places you that little bit nearer the top of the list.
Q: What Paper or Board do you use?
A: This depends on what the job entails. If the work is a pencil or pencil and inked piece then Tim would generally use either 220gsm Cartridge paper (Often sold in Pads) or else 220gsm Bristol Board. If the work is in full painted colour he generally uses Saunders "Waterford" 90lb - 200lb Hot Press Watercolour Paper. If it's an oil painting he would generally use either a quality Canvas Board, or a piece of Gesso coated Hardboard/Masonite. If the finished piece is created in the computer then it would normally be produced traditionally then scanned into Photoshop where it would be digitally painted using Photoshop and/or painter.
Q: What Pencils do you use?
A: Tim uses a 0.5mm propelling mechanical pencil. The leads he prefers are produced by Pentel. He also uses a 2mm Clutch mechanical pencil. The leads for these are produced by Staedtler Mars. As a general rule he uses blue leads. Although if he is using graphite he will use HB, B and/or 2B leads.
Occasionally he will use traditional pencils to sketch with, although this is a rare occurrence nowadays.
Q: What Pens do you use?
A: Tim uses traditional Rexel pen nibs (Ref: 1068A) and Hunt mapping pens (Ref: 9407). He rarely use Rapidiograph pens anymore, preferring to use permanent, fine line, marker pens to rule borders and the like. Photoshop enables him to create boxes around the illustrations.
Q: What Brushes do you use?
A: When Inking Tim uses two brushes mainly a number 1 and number 5 ProArte Acrylix 202. He uses these because the ink tends to kill off brushes rather fast. For Painting in watercolour he prefers to use Windsor & Newton Series 7 brushes. They are expensive but they give you great coverage. For Acrylic and Oil painting he uses a massive range of brushes ranging from 2 inches wide good quality decorating brushes, a variety of other Decorating brushes for different effects, Bob Ross Background brushes, Bob Ross Blender brushes, Liner brushes, Fan brushes, Pastry brushes and lots of different makes of brushes from size 0000 to size 7, depending on the type of job in hand. As you can see he has quite a selection of brushes for painting. Nowadays he uses the digital brushes and creates his own digital brushes in Photoshop and Painter.
The secret to looking after your brushes is to keep them clean and keep any colour and medium away from the ferule (This is the metal collar between the brush handle and the hairs.
Q: What Inks do you use?
A: Tim uses Higgins "Black Magic" for inking. He rarely uses coloured inks for airbrushing nowadays as he uses Photoshop and Painter for that kind of work. Nowadays his collection of airbrushes lie dormant, awaiting their next uses. Although Tim tells tells us that 'that day will most certainly come'.
Q: What Paints do you use?
A: Watercolours: Tim uses Artist Quality Windsor & Newton Watercolour paints. Acrylics: he tends to use Windsor & Newton "Galleria" Acrylic paints and Liquitex Acrylic paints. Oils: he uses Windsor & Newton Artists Quality Oil Colour paints. Nowadays he also uses the painting techniques available in both Photoshop and Painter.
Q: What kind of hours do you work?
A: That depends on the job. In the past Tim has worked around the clock, burning the candle at both ends. Anyone wishing to enter the art field must be prepared to work very long hours to meet deadlines. He tries to work more reasonable hours nowadays. The beauty of producing his own Graphic Novels and Prints and Posters, etc means he is working to deadlines imposed by himself. This doesn't mean he can "flunk off", however. The opposite is true in fact.
Q: Where do your ideas come from?
A: Tim doesn't truly know. Everywhere he supposes. They just come to him. He has never had trouble with getting ideas and conceptualising. He knows some artists that are very much in this vein and others that need to work to very strict briefs. He thinks that imagination is part observation and part genetic weirdness from somewhere. Some people are good at one thing…his thing is an ability to create things from out of nothing. He doesn't save the world or anything…
But he can save worlds in his stories.
Q: Do you ever run out of ideas?
A: He hopes not!!!
Q: Do you ever get Artist's or Writer's block?
A: Yes Tim has had that most dreaded of effects visit him. The best way he has found to combat it is not to meet it head on, but rather try not to fight it. He found this out quite early on in his career, when he did try to fight the seeming inability to create anything of worth. It's like suddenly you have lost the ability to draw or write. He finds looking at other peoples work or watching a film or taking the dog for a walk or going to visit someone or shopping for work orientated stuff quite often helps. The break away from the board or computer really can help.
Q: How long have you drawn for?
A: For as long as Tim can remember. He can remember drawing as a young kid.
Q: Can you give me any tips on drawing?
A: Draw, Draw, Draw, and then Draw some more. The only way to continually hone your drawing skills is to practice all the time. Tim still sketches all the time and he has worked professionally now since 1980. He knows a lot of guys in the field and they all continually draw all the time. You can never draw too much. Study lots of different artist' work in lots of styles. Try to imitate these styles, not to merely copy them, but to try to understand how a particular look or effect is achieved by other artists and begin to develop your own style. This will always shine through in time. Absorb as much information as you can. Study from as many "How to" books and other sources like museums and comics and photographs, etc, as you can. Art courses can always help. Most of all, however, practise, practice practice.
Q: Do you use a computer and if so what kind?
A: Yes Tim has a number of computers nowadays and this from someone who fought hammer and tooth against technology for so long. He watched as all his fellow creators bought and learnt to use computers and software packages. He soon realised that to compete he had to follow suit and learn to use them. He always thought that they would never catch on and be useful tools for artists to use. He doesn't know how he would get on without them now. He has an SGI Workstation working on Windows 2000 Professional with 1,048.040KB Ram for producing artwork and scripts on. He has a new "Beast" of a PC working on Windows XP Professional with 4 Gig Ram and a Raid system, also for producing artwork and scripts on. Then he has a laptop for taking to meetings, etc.
He also has the website computer set up, used purely for the website stuff. This one is also a PC working on Windows XP Professional with 2 Gig Ram and a Raid system.
Q: What Computer Programs do you use?
A: Tim uses the following programs:
Q: Do you listen to music when working and if so what do you listen to?
A: Yes Tim does listen to music whilst he works. He tends to listen to all sorts whilst working on artwork. He only listens to music without any lyrics and sometimes he prefers to have complete silence when writing, however.
The type of music he listens to, whilst working is:
Q: Do you enjoy what you do?
A: Of course, there would be no point in doing it if he didn't. Tim realises that he is amongst a small number of very lucky and privileged individuals that are able to do what they like and also draw and write stories for a living. He loves what he does and has seen bad times as well as good times in the industry…but he has never wanted to do anything else. It isn't a job, but a way of life. He doesn't see himself doing anything else. He tells us: "It is what makes me, me."
Q: Can I watch whilst you work to pick up tips?
A: As much as Tim would love to be able to provide this kind of service he would not be able to do this for everyone. Most people would miss out on this kind of opportunity due to sheer logistical problems and in the process he would get no work done himself. He suggests you try one of the courses at your local art college.
Tim teaches a course on Fantasy Art at Livesey Children & All Age Centre in Blackburn, Lancashire, here in the UK entitled Fantasy Art Unlimited. Details can be found by clicking the link, or by calling the Centre on 01254 507950 and asking the receptionists for information.
The course covers most aspects of the business, such as: Comic Books, Children's Books, Animation, Games, Conceptualisation, Sketching Skills, Typography, Graphic Design and the like.
Q: Where can I buy copies of your comic book work?
A: Tim does have a small amount of dwindling copies left in his inventory of certain comics.
Or Snail mail:
He can let you know if any copies of comics are available that you wish to purchase. Your best bet, however, is probably to frequent the internet websites for reprint Titan books with some of his early stuff in them, or check out websites that deal with comics. You can check out some of his older work here: Tim's Work for Other Publishers.
Q: Do you sell your original artwork?
A: Yes Tim has original artwork for sale, some of which is available to view on the Original Artwork Page on this website. Simply click on the Original Artwork button and this will take you to the relevant page.
Q: Can you recommend any reference materials?
A: Yes here is a small list of books and artists to check out. Check out as many others as you can though… It's immense fun searching for and then finding some gems as you discover old and new artists and writers.
Once you have checked out these artists find others using these artists as your source.
The above is only a small listing of artists and is only intended to whet your appetite. They are in no particular order – but they are all great.
Q: Who is your favourite Artist?
A: All the guys above for different reasons. In particular:
Q: Who is your favourite Writer?
A: Again all these guys for the same kinds of reasons.
Q: What is your favourite comic?
A: Conan. New Gods. Weirdworld.
Q: Do you have a favourite character?
A: Conan, and Darkseid.
Q: What is your favourite comic you have worked on?
A: Dreamstone, Dr. Who, Dark Dominion, Monster Wrestlers, Dinoswords, Phage: Shadowdeath, Dark Crusade and now Worlds End.
Q: What is your best work?
A: Worlds End
Q: Do you use photo reference?
A: Tim sometimes uses photo reference, although it's very rare nowadays, except to inspire himself with great photographs of nature and for lighting effects occasionally.
Q: Have you any advice to give aspiring artists?
A: Draw, Draw, Draw, and Draw some more!!!
Q: How do I pay for Wizards Keep products?
A: Simply add the items you wish to purchase into your shopping basket and then enter your payment details as asked for in the shop. Remember to use the address that the card is registered to (as it appears on any statements, etc, from your Bank) as this is the one that has to be invoiced. If the delivery address is different to this address then add the delivery address into the appropriate field.
Please note, regarding payment:
Q: How long does it take to receive Wizards Keep products?
A: UK addresses will usually receive the ordered goods within 14 working days. All prices, including any relevant taxes, can be seen in the shop prior to placing an order, enabling a customer to make a choice on delivery. Wizards Keep uses the UK Postal service to make deliveries within the UK.
The "Special Delivery" (next day) service is used by Wizards Keep, due to the nature of the limited exclusivity of its products. This service is also mandatory when ordering Original Artwork or ordering a Private Commission within the UK.
Addresses from overseas can take up to 28 days for delivery.
For orders from outside the United Kingdom Wizards Keep use the Post Office "Airmail", again due to the nature of the limited exclusivity of its products. The Airmail service is also mandatory when ordering Original Artwork or ordering a Private Commission from outside the UK.
All prices, including any taxes and postage and packing are on the website when you enter your details into your shopping basket.
The Wizards Keep promise is that all orders will be dispatched within 72 hours of your payment clearing. Royal Mail Special Delivery is a brilliant service but you have to sign for it on delivery. If the postman cannot deliver he will leave a card. If you do not pick up your order from the post depot in the time allowed by the Post Office they will return it to us and you may have to pay extra postage for us to send it to you again. So... please look for the postman's card, if you simply have to be out. Better still try to arrange to be in or have an alternative address of someone you know will always be in. Please also note that the Royal Mail does not have a delivery service on Sundays. An email confirming the goods have been sent out will be sent to you on the day that the goods are dispatched. Again please look out for this too.
Q: If the goods are damaged what do I do?
A: Wizards Keep Limited guarantees to supply only goods of the highest quality to its customers, however, in the unfortunate event that goods arrive in a defective state, we will provide either a full refund or a replacement item if the item is in stock.
Wizards Keep simply asks that the defective goods be returned, to receive either replacement goods or a full refund.
Q: When will the Worlds End Graphic Novel be on sale?
A:Worlds End - Volume 1 - The Riders on the Storm is available in the Wizards Keep Shop now. Tim is working on the second volume now We will keep updating the website with updates and teaser art to allow you guys to see what is coming. You can also check out the Worlds End Website.
Q: How many books are there in the Worlds End series of Graphic Novels?
A: The first story arc will be contained within four Graphic Novels.
Q: Will you be collaborating with other creators at Wizards Keep?
A: Tim has already worked recently in 2008 with Joe Rubinstein, whom he hired to ink the Worlds End Ashcan Cover over Tim's pencil artwork.
In 2008 he also hired John Ridgway and Frank Zigarelli to produce artwork based on his characters for the Worlds End Ashcan.
In 2008 he also hired Sean Green, Jeff Meckley and Choi Chow to produce the sculptures for the Worlds End Figurines range.
In 2009 he hired artist/colourist, Yel Zamor, who produced the digital flat colours for 44 of the 51 pages of the first volume of the Worlds End Graphic Novel - "Riders on the Storm."
His most recent collaboration was in 2011 with Comicraft letterer, Albert Deschesne, who lettered World End - Volume 1 - The Riders on the Storm, James Hill who co-edited the book and Rob Sharp who was production designer on it.
Tim would love to work with other creators here at Wizards Keep and has already tentatively spoken to other creators.
Q: Can I submit any work to Wizards Keep for a critique?
A: Due to Tim's workload and the fact that there would potentially be so many such submissions and so many of you guys would be disappointed by us being unable to give personal replies the answer at this point has to be no, sorry.
Q: Are you looking for any submissions?
A: At this point no, but who knows in the future? Tim is hoping that the answer to this question is eventually a resounding YES!!!
There are other opportunities to have your work published here at Wizards Keep though, through the occasional artwork competitions, which up to press have included prizes, which have seen the winning entries within the Worlds End Colouring Book and one, which ran for the winning entry to see print within the Worlds End Sketch Book - There is also the NEW Colouring & Storybook Competition, the prize for which is to become the colourist on a Worlds End Project - PLEASE SEE THE NEWS PAGES AND HOME PAGE FOR MORE DETAILS.
Q: Will you be publishing any other creators' work?
A: Again at this point in time the answer is no, but again hopefully the answer will eventually be a resounding YES also - Please see the collaborations and submissions answers above too.
If your question is not answered then contact Tim directly via email or snail mail and he'll get back to you ASAP.
Thanks again for your interest.