IDW Submission by request

Recently I attended 1 of the 3 major annual Comic Cons in London. At the event I met Chris Ryall, the Chief Creative Officer/Editor-In-Chief at IDW. I showed him my portfolio and he liked it very much. He then gave me his card and asked me to email him! He wanted to give me a ‘test assignment’ to see what kind of pencils I could produce.

Recently I attended 1 of the 3 major annual Comic Cons in London. At the event I met Chris Ryall, the Chief Creative Officer/Editor-In-Chief at IDW.

I showed him my portfolio and he liked it very much.  He then gave me his card and asked me to email him!  He wanted to give me a ‘test assignment’ to see what kind of pencils I could produce.

The assignment he gave me was a 6 page segment from Judge Dredd #13 French for Black, pages 1 through 6. The script was very descriptive in terms of panel layout, so this isn’t what I would’ve done… if I was given Carte Blanche.

Below are the pages that actually made print Vs the pages that I put together.  I just thought it would be interesting to share this whole scenario.


Nelson Daniel & Brendon McCarthy Judge Dredd #13 Page 1


My Version


Nelson Daniel & Brendon McCarthy Judge Dredd #13 Page 2

My Version


Nelson Daniel & Brendon McCarthy Judge Dredd #13 Page 3

My Version


Nelson Daniel & Brendon McCarthy Judge Dredd #13 Page 4


My Version


Nelson Daniel & Brendon McCarthy Judge Dredd #13 Page 5


My Version


Nelson Daniel & Brendon McCarthy Judge Dredd #13 Page 6


My Version



Chris Ryall rejected my services but, I’d love to know what other people think?

Danny Champion
Danny Champion

Danny Champion is a freelance writer and artist. Follow CandyAppleFox on Twitter.

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9 years ago

Hi Danny, did you have a chance to see the printed version first before you started your pages? If I may be honest here, I see lots of potential in your work but I also think your work could benefit from studying real life so that you don’t end up like many current artists who grew up imitating comic art. Thanks for sharing. Very insightful.

Ed Campbell
9 years ago

I think your work is better than what they went with. I really like the angles of perspective you used, it felt like I am in the scene and I am a part of the story, not just a casual observer.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics
Reply to  Charlie

Thanks Charlie. I assure you, my reference-points exist in real life. There’s nothing to learn from *copying* other art, only other experiences. There is however, plenty to learn from simply *looking* at other art.

I did see the existing pages before starting mine, yes. The Script however, was extremely descriptive in terms of panel layout and content.

Some writers (in a fight-scene for example) will describe every single impact and noise, panel-for-panel.

Other writers will simply write “and then they fight”, allowing the artist to create the scene themselves.

Sometimes a bad writer describes a poor panel in great detail in the script! and the artist (sadly) obliges.

I’ll still be learning long, long after my career actually begins.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics

Thanks Ed.

I could make a pretty good case for my work too (given the script).

The negative space on their page 3 (of the actual product-book) is so poorly utilised that the editor had to add solid colour panels in the corners to fill the page?!… and that’s a massive waste of story-space.

I can see my mistakes now. But this was a massive learning exercise for me in any case.

Dennis De Pues
9 years ago

Nice work Danny!I really preferred your page 3 , 4 and 5 panel layout.You made a great contact there, and one that you can surely revisit again.Congrats on a great effort and for getting yourself out there.Again, good job!

Charlie Kim
9 years ago

I actually believe there is educational value in “copying” but purely as practice. You wouldn’t want to peddle your copying exercises. By “real life” I was suggesting examining things like proportion, lighting and the effects of gravity on fabric… etc. I’m sure you’re aware of all this stuff so I think it’s just a matter practice…

Illustrators I like:

Neal Adams
John Byrne
Bill Sienkiewicz
Frank Miller (early stuff)

The boys of Studio:
Barry Windsor Smith
Jeffery Jones
Bernie Wrightson
Michael Kaluta

With the exception of Miller, these guys studied art and fell into comics. Guys like Liefeld, McFarlane and Jim Lee studied comic art, i.e.: cartooning. They are my age so we have similar comic influences. If you combine Byrne and Miller… you get Jim Lee. Jim Lee being the most serious out of the bunch has really improved over the years but I’m convinced that McFarlane and Liefeld can’t draw.

Here’s what Barry Windsor Smith has to say about Rob Liefeld and he is bang on:

“Rob Liefeld has nothing to offer. It’s as plain as bacon on your plate. He has nothing to offer. He cannot draw. He can’t write. He is a young boy almost, I would expect, whose culture is bubble gum wrappers, Saturday morning cartoons, Marvel comics; that’s his culture. Somebody was at his house and came back with a report: There is not a single book in his house — only comic books. I see nothing in his work that allows me to even guess that there’s any depth involved in that person that might come to the fore given time. I look at Jim Lee’s work, and the guy’s learning how to draw. He has some craft to what he does.”

Many years ago I was at Ken Lashley’s studio and he said he works the whole page, not frame by frame. This way he’s able to direct how the reader views the page.

You’ll always have parameters or people over you… whether it’s the writer, editor or an art director. It’s something you’ll have to get used to.

Hope you don’t mind my comments… I’ve always appreciated honesty more than “sunshine” for the simple sake of being nice. How else do you learn… right? Not sure how old you are… but in the mean time, you can also try and pursue corporate work, magazines, books, story boarding for commercials. There’s tons of work out there for people who can draw. I used to see commercial work from Neal Adams and Bill Sienkiewicz every once in a while in the illustrator annuals… I wish I had clipped them. Comic artists like Ward Schumaker, Barry Blit, Doug Fraser and many others do quite well as illustrators. If you’re lucky, maybe you can be like Michael Cho and do both!

I think for you, it’s a not a question of “if” but rather “when” you’ll break in.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics

I think so too Charlie. I’ll be doing this until it is done.

Some of your comments are quite definitive in tone however, and seem to come from a place of… ignorance more than ‘education’.

By that I simply mean… you seem to feel as though
A) You know better than I do??
and B) I’ve put no thought into the learning process?!

Let me tell you I’ve been drawing my whole life and I’m now 32. I studied Architecture at Westminster Uni and also Fine art and Photography at West Hearts after a stint at the Royal College of Art. I also studied Art and Graphic Design in School and made my living as a photographer and paparazzi for some time. In 2003 I decided that illustration was my thing and began down that road in terms of learning. In 2007 I sold everything I owned and moved to New York to ‘learn the craft’ (which will continue on forever). Since then I’ve had tutorials and conversations with Dave Gibbons and also Bryan Hitch and the learning continues in every way you mention in addition too 500 ways you did not.

So while I see great… GREAT value in “I like this, I don’t like this”, your suggestions on ‘how’ to do it have no value here.

Thanks for taking the time to comment though, I see that you were trying to help 🙂

Charlie Kim
9 years ago

When you invite criticism, you can expect both good and bad. It’s natural to feel defensive about your turf but you’ll be able to absorb comments better if you can get past that “hot” feeling. There are many people who don’t play the game but who may know it better then the players… Siskel & Ebert never made any movies but they know the business well. I’m not saying I’m one of those people but I guess you’ll never know. I felt my comments went deeper than “I like this, I don’t like this” but since you feel they have no value, I’ll lay off. Besides, if you’re 32 and have been drawing all your life and sold all you’re stuff to live in New York… well, I guess you’ve got a good handle on things.

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

Peter Chin
9 years ago

Thank you for sharing your journey Danny. The entire portfolio and submission process is very interesting and I wish you all the best in breaking into the industry.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics

Again Charlie, the tone in your language is suggesting that you think I’ve never experienced criticism?!

The reason why I posted this was to encourage criticism… which is an integral piece of the learning puzzle and please be assured, I’m open to it.

My ‘defence’ is as a result of your continued assumptions that you know better than I… and whatever that is, it’s not critique.

I value any thoughts and opinions on the work… just don’t claim authority on how (specifically HOW) to do it.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics
Reply to  Dennis De Pues

Thanks Dennis 🙂

Danny Champion - CAFcomics
Reply to  Peter Chin

Thanks Peter

Charlie Kim
9 years ago

You make me laugh, bro. Clearly you went to the same contradictory school of logic as Falcone. So basically you can make assumptions about me, but I can’t make assumptions about you. Way to be encouraging. I will concede one thing: You’re right about comment’s having NO VALUE here. Congratulations on “knowing better than I do”. Good luck with that.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics
Reply to  Charlie Kim

I don’t presume to know better than anyone, ever… and that’s my point. I haven’t made any ‘assumptions’ about you here, Charlie.

I simply read your comments and reacted to what you said, which (in most cases) was blind and ignorant.

In order to engage in a meaningful conversation with a stranger online, you must assume they know everything you do as a starting point. Until you understand the contents of their brain (because they told you), there’s no value in explaining new ways for them to think, feel or work.

I have no interest in encouraging you… bro.

Charlie Kim
9 years ago

<< The reason why I posted this was to encourage criticism >>
<< I have no interest in encouraging you >>

Man, you continue to make NO sense. How the heck are you supposed to “understand the contents of a person brain” if they are a stranger?

It sounds like what you are saying is, unless someone is “at your level”, they are incapable of having a meaningful discussion with you. Well, you’ve got me there… but please understand that being ignorant I sometimes think I can have a discussion when I read “I’d love to know what other people think?” Perhaps you can make an adjustment for us stupid people so that it reads: “I’d love to know what other people think… but only if you are as good as I am and understand the contents of my brain” or just simply… “please stroke my ego”.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics
Reply to  Charlie Kim

It all makes perfect sense to me since (in this case) ‘you’ and ‘criticism’ don’t mix and are not the same thing, I’m able to exclusively encourage one or the other by choice.

You begin to understand the contents of a persons brain through the process of conversation. So before you start to offer me insightful things to study or a way of working, you must assume that I’m in control of those things already, unless I tell you otherwise.

Once you’ve established my understanding of a process or system (and if yours is still valid)… then at that point, share it.

“I’d love to know what people think” – (to me) offers an opportunity for critique. Examples of constructive critique as follows:

There’s no room for dialog or soundFX.
I think the panel-size range could be more diverse.
I think the textures could be more pronounced.
I think the whole thing should feel more Noir.
Etc etc.

When you start saying things like: “You should study real life as opposed to other comics.” and “You could try and get some corporate work.” and “I hope you don’t mind me commenting, how else will you learn.”

I start to wonder what qualifies your self-assigned authority.

Consider this thread closed, Charlie. We said it all.

If anyone else has anything to say, I’d love to hear it.

Charlie Kim
9 years ago

So despite your cattle call for peoples opinions, despite claiming that you are a big boy and can handle comments, now you are openly admitting that you are being selective about the types of comments you want to hear? You are even providing us with a LIST?!? And apparently you don’t seem embarrassed about this? Danny, don’t you know what this makes you…?

I don’t have to assume anything regarding your work. The evidence of your artistic strengths and weaknesses were posted by you… with a FREAKING invitation! In response you hurl insults? The only real assumption I made was thinking you were mature enough to handle my comments but obviously you can’t. It’s clear that all you’re doing is fishing for compliments to rebuild your fragile ego which was recently bruised. You’re in the boot camp of life and that’s just the way it goes so butch it up and stop acting like such a weeny.

You’ll never know what my qualifications are because you never bother to ask. By your own admission, you can’t close a post that was never open to begin with so stop deluding yourself.

Danny Champion - CAFcomics

Charlie, you’re doing it wrong 🙂

This whole piece has nothing to do with fishing.

Anything you say now is so useless, meaningless, incorrect and irrelevant for any unlucky comics-fan whom happens to chance upon it… and to continue commenting at this stage is such a huge waste of everyone’s time and energy. Everything you just wrote is further proof that you still don’t understand what the hell I’m saying 🙂 and therefore I’ll quite happily accept victory.


Proof of my victory may be acknowledged by you if you wish, in (no doubt) another pointless, ignorant and self-absorbed bubble of insults, typed by your angry little fingertips from deep inside your mothers’ basement and pasted below in a frantic cloud of defeat.

I think you should relax. Maybe go outside for a bit, or… If you must, try consuming OTHER content within the international network.

This isn’t going anywhere for the neutral comics fan.

In other words, pipe-down and get back in your box.

PS: I have no interest in your qualifications (specifically yours), academic or otherwise. If I did, I would’ve asked.

PPS: This makes me a Lion, an Artist, a Freak and a Genius. This makes me a Hero and a Winner and a Dreamer and a Fan. This makes me something else, something beyond the scope of your limited imagination. This all makes me something you could never hope to understand or even experience.

“Stop being a weeny”… ha, you mug 🙂

Charlie Kim
9 years ago

I apologize to any one who might stumble across this post and actually read it. I do enjoy a good debate but this has degraded into utter nonsense. I am embarrassed to be a part of it and I worry that someone who knows me might Google my name and this crap pops up.

I also want to wish Danny luck with his career. Despite what’s been expressed, it takes guts to pack up and move in order to follow your dreams. This part of his being is… inspiring. I really do hope to see your work at a comic store someday. I would enjoy showing it to my friend so that I can say… “yeah, I know that guy…” Of course I wouldn’t actually buy it… but still, it would be kinda cool.

I don’t know if you pay CBD for promoting yourself here or if you’ve got some other deal worked out but either way, you seem to be making the right moves. And although you may not have liked my comments, I’m sure your fans would never challenge an artistically superior person, such as yourself, so you’ve got lots to look forward to. Until your next promotional post… have fun.

9 years ago

I think you are very talented. I certainly appreciate the dynamics of your drawing and layout when I compare it to the previously publisbed material. One aspect of the previous artist’s work that likely caught the editor’s / writer’s eye was his dramatic use of “camera angle / depth”. I wish you the best of luck… even though you obviously have a future in the business.

Argayos Deucalion
Argayos Deucalion
9 years ago

Wow, what a thread…

Not to get too existential, but why do any of us post things onto the internet – to gain recognition and praise among the sea of strangers known as the masses. Our fragile egos put out on the plank… Waiting for the crew (the internet) to decide our fate.

Lets not relegate this to name calling, and questions of someones professional worth. No matter what age, we are all learning.

All of us are at different levels of the pyramid, trying to get to a mythic summit, which is a figment, created for the purpose to spur us forward in our laziest moments. Those moments where we become pleased with our lot in life. Remember, stagnancy is death for a creative person.

I’m in no position to critique your work, however, if a big publisher said no, and that’s who you want to work for – then you have to go back to the drawing board.

With hard work, Danny, you’ll improve. Hell, with hard work, we will all improve in whatever endeavors our heart desires! That doesn’t stop you from putting out your own books now. Go the creator owned route, work comic cons, meet people, sell your wares on the indie market. It may not have the glitz of a big publisher – But, it will enable growth.

Finally, my brothers (and sisters), be safe and enjoy your week!

9 years ago

This post is very interesting Danny! I hope you find a pro job! I’m an artist looking for job from Argentina, we have no chances to meet editors down here in southamerica, is there any chances that you can tell my Chris Ryall’s e-mail address? I’m sorry for being impertinent, is tottaly ok if you can not!

8 years ago

Man, I think your work looks great.