Charlie Adlard is one of the most successful British comic creators of all time. He spent his formative years working for several major publishers including 2000AD, Marvel and DC; and then took over from Tony Moore on what would become a cultural phenomenon in The Walking Dead where he drew just shy of 200 issues and cemented himself as one of the biggest names in modern comics. His success and reputation as a comics ambassador led to a stint as the UK Comics Laureate which wrapped up last year. With this new artbook from BHP Comics, fans can now take an in-depth look at Adlard’s creative process and his thoughts on a selection of his work put together by veteran comics editor Tim Pilcher.
As they did with Frank Quitely in their previous Drawings + Sketches book, BHP have put together a fantastic selection of Adlard’s work that ranges from mainstream titles, lesser-known projects and some non-published commissions. Most of the opening half of the book focuses on The Walking Dead including sample pages and covers from the main series, promo pieces for conventions and video games, and even skate decks. Many of the pieces include rough stages, layouts and thumbnails which give an invaluable look into Adlard’s creative process. Better yet, each piece contains commentary where he provides insight on The Walking Dead’s impact on his career, his working relationship with series writer Robert Kirkman and the pros and cons of a long association with zombies.
The rest of the book is made up of various examples of his independent work from publishers such as Dynamite and Delacourt, along with a selection of miscellaneous pieces from personal projects, cover pieces for 2000 AD etc, various character studies and designs, and some pieces from Adlard and Kirkman’s unpublished graphic novel Passenger. As the title suggests, many of these pieces are in black and white which has been Adlard’s main medium for a large chunk of his career. With all that time working on The Walking Dead, he has become one of the masters in comics when it comes to working with negative space and it is amazing to see the level of detail and impact he is able to get across in his art.
Perhaps most appealing though is the look into Adlard’s studio life and techniques when it comes to producing his art. Not only will readers get a first-hand look at the tools that bring his work together but will also get an insight into his approach to drawing, along with his pros and cons when it comes to working digitally.
This is an invaluable look into one of the best comic artists to come out of the UK and a worthy showcase of his talents. Fans of Adlard and The Walking Dead need this on their shelves and anyone looking to study approaches to comic art should definitely take a look.
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