Monday, June 20, 2016

No. 70 Len O'Grady

First Prog: 1203
Latest Prog: 1977

First Meg: 240
Latest Meg: 337 (says Barney, but he may have appeared since then…)*

Total appearances: 132 and counting
-mostly as a colourist, but he has drawn bit, too. And, more than likely, I’ve short-changed him quite a bit. (I’ve counted up colouring credits listed on Barney, but last I checked, that runs out at Prog 1913.)

O'Grady on Dave Gibbons
Art credits:
Judge Dredd
Tales from the Black Museum

Colouring credits:
Judge Dredd
Banzai Battalion
Sinister Dexter
Tyranny Rex
Anderson, Psi Division
Hondo City Justice
Strange & Darke
The Zaucer of Zilk

Notable characteristics:
Bright and clear, but also moody when he wants to be. Has facility with the full range of genres and styles, from straight-up action to moody war to bizarre comedy.

O'Grady on Cliff Robinson

On Len:
Being a colourist appears to be a pretty steady job. I’ve no idea how it compares to being a penciller / inker / all-in-one artist in other ways, but that aspect of it at least has to be desirable. O’Grady got his first work for Tharg in Prog 1203, and has worked on a least one series a year since then, as good a hit rate as anyone. And it is good.

I won’t pretend I know anything about the arcane world of colouring; all I can give are my impressions. As I see it, O’Grady is the master of colouring things the colour they actually are. Sure, he uses mood lighting when appropriate, but he doesn’t go overboard with it – sometimes the mood is simply ‘let’s convey the story’.

The man has blue skin. And no mucking about.
O'Grady on Simon Coleby; words by Gordon Rennie
He’s part of a rare pantheon of colourists who’s had a crack at a straight art job as well. Not enough work for even as foolish a commentator as me to suggest any general patterns, but it is, I think fair to say that he’s more on the cartoony end.

O'Grady on O'Grady
Words by Gordon Rennie
Back to the colouring, and it’s very much worth noting that O’Grady has been paired with a pretty wide range of art droids. Most recently he’s been coupled with Simon Coleby on the super-gritty war series Jaegir.

Using colours to set to tone of war: brown, grey and scary. With explosions.
O'Grady on Coleby; words by Gordon Rennie

But shortly before that he was coupled with no less a vibrant coloursmith than Brendan McCarthy, on Zaucer of Zilk. According to O’Grady’s blog, he did the first round of colouring, then McCarthy did the final presentation. An honour indeed!

Bright and cheery meets dank and dreary.
O'Grady on McCarthy; words by Al Ewing

 And, then, going back through time, you get sinister countryside goings on with Strange & Darke:

Green lands are not necessarily pleasant
O'Grady on Colin MacNeil; words by John Smith

some crazed hijinks on Dredd:

Cartoony noir
O'Grady on Mike Avon Oeming; words by Robbie Morrison

And 80s action thriller time with various people on Sinister Dexter

Clothes coloured as they appear in real life.
O'Grady on Adrian Bamforth; words by Dan Abnett
An orange glow for the seedy side of Downlode
O'Grady on Andy Clarke; words by Dan Abnett

And back to Dredd

Blue, black and blue again
O'Grady on Phil Winslade; words by John Wagner

Rain, comedy, alien superfiends - it's all going on here
O'Grady on Henry Flint; words by John Wagner

More on Len O’Grady:
Here’s his website
the man's been a busy boy, and not just for Tharg!

Foregrounding the foreground
O'Grady on Cliff Robinson
*Barney updating team, we sorely miss you!