Life

Comic book cover story

I drew a comic book cover today.

In honour of Todd McFarlane hitting the 300 issue milestone with his comic book Spawn, I decided to make the first sketch cover for Lady Phantom issue 3 an homage to his iconic Spider-Man 300 cover. It is perhaps the most homaged, parodied and copied comic book cover in the history of comics, and for good reason!

Here’s the result : a one-of-a-kind hand-drawn comic book cover.


McFarlane’s Spawn blew me away when I was young, long before I ever seriously dreamed about making comic books, and here I am 300 issues of Spawn down the road, getting ready for my second year as an exhibitor at the Stockholm Comic Con, with the third issue of a comic book I co-created fresh from the printer (well, technically the fourth issue).

It feels surreal, and drawing this homage reminded me of all the comic book magic from when I grew up.

There is something humbling and empowering about following in the footsteps of your idols, and the journey I’ve had during the three years since I thought ‘hey, how hard can it be to make a comic book’ (hint: a lot harder than it seems) has been nothing short of amazing.

McFarlane has made a huge imprint on the comic book industry, through his art as well as his stories of course, but perhaps mostly as the co-founder of Image Comics: a handful of creators who took on Marvel and DC and not only persevered, but raised the quality of comics and changed the industry forever.

And here I am, on the verge of putting pen to paper in the creation of not only my own comic book character or comic book mini-series, but my very own comic book universe with a whole pantheon of characters and ideas for at least thirty issues worth of stories – an insane undertaking, to say the least, and something only a handful of comic book creators have succeeded in bringing home, but hey…

…how hard can it be to create a comic book universe?

Lady Phantom, Issue Two

This morning I put the final touches to the coloring and lettering of Lady Phantom Issue Two…

…and discovered that I had inadvertently missed an entire panel! When putting down a layer black borders on the ink, I accidentally filled in and convered one panel of page 23, and by the time I got around to colour it I didn’t notice my mistake.

It wasn’t until I was making the file for printing that I discovered a speech bubble sitting in the blackness, and so I had to quickly flat and colour it to match the rest of the page.

Hopefully, everything is now in order and the printer won’t serve the file back.

Making this issue has been a ride, and not a very pleasant one at that! I drew several of the pages for this issue over two years ago, and it showed. Trying to fix poor lines with ink isn’t my strong side, and in the midst of inking I suffered an eye injury.

The show had to go on, and my inking suffered for it…which in turn made flatting a challenge and a bit. As I went into renderinh, I desperately wanted to redraw at least half a dozen pages. Preferably more.

But, now that the colours are down I’m happier. Not as happy as I want to be, but I can at least and it out to you all without being totally ashamed…

…even though it’s four months late.

Lesson learned.

As I move forward with Issue Three, I will take all this with me and do a little extra work on the lines. A stitch in time saves nine, they say – and that certainly applies to comic book creation as well as clothes maintenance.

Now comes two weeks of preparations for the annual Swedish Comic Book Festival, which celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

If you are in our near Stockholm on the weekend of April 6th, come say hi and take a look at Issue Two in person!

International Women’s Day

Just over two years ago, I got in contact with an amazing woman – writer Julie K Taylor. She had an idea for a new strong, black female superhero, someone young women of colour could look up to.

Now, two years later, we celebrate having released the first promotional issue of Lady Phantom.

We hope to make the Lady Phantom comic inclusive and diverse, focusing on deeper issues in addition to providing four-color superhero comic book action!

Green Grass

The grass is always greener on the other side, or so the saying goes.

Where I live we currently have a daily mix of snow, rain, sun, and storms turning any excursion into a wet, slippery, cold adventure.

In stark contrast, my social media feed is filled with fantastic vacation pictures from friends and acquaintances currently in Sri Lanka, California, Indonesia, Colombia and Nairobi.

It would be easy to envy them and long for similar adventures, and yet I’m perfectly happy exactly where I am.

My days are spent with my one and a half year old son, playing, meeting friends, taking walks. My evenings are spent on the couch with my girlfriend, talking, watching movies or series, cuddling. And when they sleep I squeeze in some creative work, toiling away on the comic I’m drawing or working for clients.

To me, that’s the greenest grass there is.

I don’t have to travel to the locations above (though a few of them are on my list of places to visit), I get to see and experience them through the lens of my friends – and that’s plenty.

I’ve never travelled all that much, but I have been to various places around Europe and North America. During my younger years I spent a fair amount of time partying – burning the candle at both ends and indulging in a variety of pleasures. The remaining time I spent quietly reading, watching movies and playing games with a handful of close friends.

I’ve lived an eclectic life. Now I just want to spend time with my family and my art.

Undoubtedly there’s still a lot for me to experience – both at home and abroad – but I hope the next few years will be spent close to the loves of my life – my son, his mother, and my art.

It doesn’t matter if the grass is found wanting for colour – I have a lot of paint!

Happy New Year!

2018 is here, Dear Reader!

Best instagram posts of 2017

Last year I took the leap from occasional creator to running my own business as a professional illustrator, graphic designer and writer – something that took a lot of courage, hard work and determination. 

There’s been bumps in the road causing delays in setting everything up, but I’m still on track.

My next steps are advertising myself more, catching up on both personal and professional projects so that I have a clear schedule ahead of me – and most importantly: improving my daily routine both personally and professionally.

All while balancing life as a father and partner, and going back to my part time day job after more than half a year as a stay-at-home dad.

I start the new year with clear goals in mind and a path staked out for turning my business into my primary means of support.

2017 was full of challenges, learning, and new acquaintances and connections. I bought a new apartment with the love of my life and together we built a home for our little family, something which allowed me to finally set up a professional creative work space (no more drawing at the dining room table!) and sort through all of my art supplies. 


I’ve connected with some amazing people, both privately and in my business, and they have been a big help and inspiration for me as I move forward with my goals.
2018 will also see the release of Lady Phantom – the vigilante comic book I’m doing with writer Julie K. Taylor – after nearly two years of preparation and hard work.

What did you accomplish in 2017 and what challenges do you anticipate in 2018?

Fade to Black

Black Friday has come and gone.

Having just shelled out for a new computer I abstained from the maddening rush of consumerism, and I refrained from doing any sort of Black Friday-related discounts on my own works.

Why not take the opportunity to attract customers, you may wonder?

Well, that’s a good question. The Plan was to do a campaign for this week, but life got in the way. i am still struggling to catch up with everything that was put on hold when my computer gave up.

And honestly I don’t feel it was a bad decision anyway. This webpage is still not tweaked for my proper launch, I have a list of to-do’s to work through, and new augments are trickling in at a rate that keeps me busy anyway.

And I probably won’t make it into the Black this year anyway. But that’s okay.

I’ve spent this year investing in myself and my work and even though I’m behind schedule I have still come a long way. So instead of racing toward those black figures I will spend the rest of the year preparing myself and my business for a slow and steady move toward my goals – a fade into black.

But what about you – did you fall for the temptation, Dear Reader? 

And if you did, was it deals on things you needed or stuff you would not have bought otherwise?

Ink

Inktober is here and this year I’m participating for the first time.
Of course, one could day In creating as I am busy inking Lady Phantom anyway – but hopefully I will manage to share some other things as well!

Ink is a medium I have fairly limited experience in.

I’ve always preferred pencils and various colour mediums and when I  accepted the Lady Phantom project I had to think long and hard about whether or not I wanted to do traditional inks or take another approach. As you can see I chose ink. I figured my first proper comics project should include as much as possible of the craft.

And inking is a valuable skill to have as an illustrator.

As with everything, I’m trying to approach inking from a very personal angle – learning from but trying not to copy what others do, and still adapting my technique to the requirements of whatever I am working on.

You can follow my progress for inktober on instagram: @rallwin

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

Oh, hey there – nice of you to stop by.

Things are a bit hectic here, but I’m glad you dropped in. As you may or may not know In taking this little sideshow of mine and making it the main attraction; I’m going pro, grabbing life by the dangly bits and holding on like my life depended on it – which isn’t that far from the truth, perhaps.

So what does this mean for you, Dear Reader?

Well, for starters it means you will see me update as  bit more frequently again. You’ll see more art, more ramblings and more insight into my professional life. You see, drawing and writing is now my profession – albeit part time – and this page is now turning from a private side project to the face of my business:

So if by chance you have the need for some art to brighten your day, your life, your project – or why not your workspace – feel free to get in touch and we can discuss it. Otherwise, just hang around and I hope I’ll keep you at least mildly entertained.

Oh, and in the near future you’ll see some further additions to this page.

There’s a lot to do yet. I’m preparing for a little ‘ launch party’ of sorts – or maybe a wake for the passing of the last vestiges of my free time.

Ah well, I’ll get plenty of rest when I’m dead.