Friday, 9 December 2011

What's the What, World Wide Web?

Here's an uber-fast rundown of everything I've been up to since the last post:

1) A Christmas Special for Scream magazine with collaborator PM Buchan, of course
2) A meal and sip of scotch whisky with Anders Nilsen, don'tchuknow
3) A new issue of the Big Bang (available here)
4) A nice weekend at Thought Bubble comic con
5) A new print in the Etsy Store
6) A talk and stall lined up for tomorrow's Canny Comic Con

And here's a little bit of an expansion on these news items:

A Christmas Special for Scream Magazine

The third and, alas, final for now, submission to Scream Magazine that PM Buchan and I will be submitting, but what a corker. It's about the legend of Krampus in the modern age and is a gloriously blood-soaked festive treat. We're selling the three strips we've submitted as a limited numbered set, so if you run into either me or Bucky out and about in the comic world (or if you check my Etsy shop after this weekend) you'll be able to score yourself a copy for a mere £2 English. Here's a sneaky peak:

A Meal and a Sip of Scotch Whisky with Anders Nilsen

Due to being at a wedding, I wasn't able to make it to the recent Anders Nilsen signing for Big Questions at Travelling Man. But although I don't work there anymore, I still invivte myself to all of their social events. So naturally, when I found out they were wining and dining him the night before, I gatecrashed. I also brought with me an arsenal of comics that I knew he'd want to see by Angus McKie in a vain attempt to get a mention on his blog. And guess what, you guys? I (sort of) did! Here's some grainy photos of Anders looking uncomfortable and me looking happier than I've ever been in my sad little life, plus the awesome sketch he did for me:

The Big Bang Issue Three - A Comic for Dennis Brown (+ New Print)

Please welcome to the fold Issue Three of The Big Bang series. This issue is a mini comic, featuring 12 pages of delicious greyscale story all about the life of Dennis Brown, the bus driver who makes his first appearance at the beginning of The Big Bang Issue Two. The subheading is a reference to the song “A Song for Dennis Brown” by The Mountain Goats.

While this issue doesn't carry on from the previous one, it offers extra depth to the character and should enhance your reading of the issues yet to come. On the other hand, it can also work as a standalone story without any need to have read issues one and two. The story is broken up into three parts – Dennis’ childhood, his early adulthood and his midlife career choice to drive buses.

Go buy it! And while you're there, buy this too:

A Nice Weekend at Thought Bubble

It was a nice weekend, and too nice to possibly go into all of the details with the limited time I have. Great catching up with folks I don't get to catch up with otherwise, nice being at the mercy of Joe Public during my (now customary) "Draw Anything You Want For £5" social experiment and I also had the chance to make my peace for not bowing down in servitude to the wonderously talented Kristyna Baczynski the last couple of times I unwittingly spoke to her at the con.

Talk and Stall at Canny Comic Con

It's probably a bit late in the day to be informing you of this now, but my co-conspiritor on The Big Bang has organised an incredible schedule of talks, workshops, panels and seminars to take place in a hall full of comic stalls at Newcastle City Library tomorrow (10th December!) - in other words, he's finally filled the gap between Leeds and Inverness that the comic-convention-going people of the North needed! I'll be doing a 30minute talk starting at 10am called "What Comics Aren't" and I'll also be selling my wares all the live long day. Go to the CCC website and brace yourself to be punched in the face with awesome.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Hey You Guys

I'm not going to give my usual apology for irregular updates or any empty promises to stay on top of things like usual. This is for two reasons: 1) I always say those things and never follow through, and 2) I'm going to have even less opportunity than before to do regular updates between now and June 2012 because I've just started a Primary PGCE and Hoo-Boy, is it going to be intense.

Instead, here's a massive information dump to read at your leisure. If anyone out there still follows my work, they may have noticed a big change to my main website. You might notice it isn't as fancy pants, but has been streamlined into a sleek little set of pages that a HTML dunce like me can manage without help from computer geniuses. That means more regular updates, more frequent page errors and generally more STUFF. What's more, you can view this blog as part of the site, so why not bookmark it? Why not, huh?

You may also remember me talking about some collaboration with the heathen known as Phillip M Buchan. Well, aside from the four page strip mentioned before, I've also done two one-pagers with Bucky that have landed in the sweet UK horror magazine Scream. One is about the grim reaper and being a drunk, and the other is about a teenage werewolf and being drunk. Thematic stuff, previews of which can be seen below.

I've also been chipping away at the third issue of The Big Bang and make a solemn promise to have printed versions at this year's Thought Bubble. Finally, I just finished designing a poster/flyer design for the forthcoming Jeffrey Lewis gig here in Newcastle. I was a little pushed for time, but skimped on no details when it came to drawing the guitar composed 90% of stickers, for which Jeff is so famously known (to creeps like me). Behold!

In other news, my good ol' buddy bud Andy Waugh has just launched a website, and I know for a fact that our two websites bookmarked side by side on your browser will be an incredible and beautiful sight to behold.

Friday, 17 June 2011


Paul Regan, writer and co-creator of the immensely popular small press comic book series Trenchfoot and vice chairman of OG Comics Enterprises has written a novel. Although it has a few stages left before it's unleashed on the general public, Mr. Regan asked me to produce a cover for this bold leap into the non-panel-based literary arts. And here, according to his original doodle, is the finished piece:

Friday, 10 June 2011

What's Up?

Whatever small percentage of this blog's readership that still remains may be wondering why I haven't posted recently (or regularly) on here in a while and in explaining that reason, I'm also going to be producing one big post of updates to make up for it!

Make Do & Mend Fair
My last post was giving people the heads up about the recent craft fair at Heaton Perk and, as anticipated, it was jolly good fun. I met lots of nice people, including Katie Chappell, who as well as working in Newcastle's (and indeed the world's!) finest cosmetics shop Lush, is also apparently a really good artist! Sally was dishing out plenty of Tunnocks goodies to stall owners and visitors alike, and even snapped this silly and rather horrendous picture of me endorsing the procedure.

A Bit Crack and Chris Bostock's Starlight
The infinitely talented traditional storytellers of A Bit Crack, a group who perform on the first Friday of every month at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle, hired me to re-vamp their promotional material. This was a long collaboration but we all came out of it happy with the results I think! Following that I was then hired by the group's own Chris Bostock to put together some promotional material for his younger years performance "Starlight"

Below are some of the mock-ups I designed:

This design made use of one of the main props from the show but we agreed the colours weren't quite right for a younger years show and decided to incorporate the characters from the story into the design.

This is one of a series of very small (10cm x 15cm, I think) ink drawings of various compositions that I scanned into Photoshop to play around with more pastel-ly colours. Once I found a colour scheme I was happy with, I tried to stick with the same pallette.

It was a conscious decision on Chris' part not to show too much of the faces of the characters as the show is geared by the young people's imagination and he didn't want to ascribe too much detail. Chris was happiest with the original sky-gazing mock-up so I worked on a bigger, tidier version with clearer text and ended up with this:

This acts as the cover to an A5 booklet with show details and contact information and I referred back to some of these original mock-ups when designing the interior pages too.

Workshops Galore!
Jack & Daniel's Comic Book Workshops had their busiest month to date in May and in addition to all of the projects we lead during that time, we've also been working on getting an anthology of work together by a group we spent 12 lunchtime sessions with at Holystone Primary School near Northumberland Park. There's a touch of scanning left to do and I'm going to design a cover similar to our Seven Stories anthology, which will feature my renderings of the kids' characters - I can't wait! I'll post the finished piece when it's done.

Window Murals
This is a slight aside, but a strange creative endeavour I've recently undertaken so it might be of interest! Travelling Man, the aforementioned comic shop where I work, have actually encouraged its more creative hoodlums to paint stuff onto the shop window to promote our events! My first attempt was a straight-up robot to promote Free Comic Book Day:

Following that we had a signing with Richard Starkings and Doug Braithwaite to promote their forthcoming collaboration on Richard's series Elephantmen. First off, I set about getting the information on the window before it started to rain one day. This was supposed to read as "Elephantmen signing 21st May with Richard Starkings and Doug Braithwaite"

I took a photo of it, pondered it for a couple of days until I was back at work and decided that it didn't read right and probably needed a "This Saturday" because your average Joe doesn't conjure up the day based on "21st". I took quite a bit of care with the lettering knowing what a connoseur Mr Starking's is, and once I was happy with the tweaks I got to work painting a big scary elephant head.

And here's the finished thing in all of its temporary, wash-off glory:

As mentioned before, Travelling Man is going to be having a slew of awesome celebratory events for its 20th birthday soon, and I just found a chunky Posca pen in my collection so I'm very excited to get busy with that for the next mural. If you scroll back a bit you'll see the robot design I created for posters/t-shirts/flyers for the celebration, and when the flyers landed in the shop I was very excited to see that on the reverse side was Becky Cloonan's awwwesome design for this year's Thought Bubble comic convention. Which brings me nicely to the next point of business!

Thought Bubble S.O.S.
I will be stalling it out at both days of this years new and improved mega convention in Leeds, selling wares, meeting the good people of pen and ink and running a workshop on the Sunday. I'd like to make a call-out for anyone who might be so kind as to hop on my stall every now and then so I can eat, use the bathroom and more crucially, run a workshop on Sunday.

Here's Becky's design. I know, awwwesome.

My table is a well-oiled machine now and you won't be expected to drive the hard bargain or to know anything about my work so long as you are willing to smite those who aim to steal things from me with your mighty fists! If you think you can help out please get in touch:

If you've got a comic you wanna sell but no stall I'll probably have room for one or two titles so I'd be happy to sell it for you in exchange for your help.

Big Bang Issue Three
It exists in corporeal form now! After much set-back, deliberation and redrafting of scripts, it has four pages to call its own and a final script as well as thumbnails for every page. What's even more exciting is that I'm working on 1/4 of the size I usually would so I'm going to blaze through it. Why 1/4 size? Well, The Big Bang Issue Three is going to be a stand-alone A6 mini comic, which will delve into the biography of one of the story's characters. The aim is that it can be sold out of sequence with the main storyline, but that it will enrich the reading of the main storyline for those completists among you. This was the scene a couple of nights ago:

Commander and Chief Lua the cat observes my progress.

More updates to follow soon... possibly!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Emerging from my Hovel

Sally & Katia of Make Do & Mend Arts, two of the finest jewellery makers and friendliest/most-awesome hosts for a craft fair I've ever had the pleasure to meet are BACK, with the third in what I'm sure will be a slew of excellent bazaars hosting the exciting and eclectic work of the region's most talented makers (and me).

As a seller at the two previous events, I can give you my personal guarantee that you will not regret either setting up your own table of wares OR blowing all of your hard earned cash as a punter. Also, TUNNOCKS TEACAKES! For FREE!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Travelling Into The Future

Travelling Man, the comic shop where I work part-time, is celebrating its 20th birthday very shortly and I designed this illustration to go on posters and flyers for all the cool stuff we'll be doing for the occasion:

This baby scored me some sweet in-store credit which I put towards a copy of Mansions of Madness, a new board game that is part Arkham Horror, part Cluedo, part classic narrative-driven RPG and all parts awesome. The gaming system, set-up and miniatures are all sweet and I know you came here to look at pictures, but check out this video and then go and buy your copy. If nothing else then for the facial hair on Corey Konieczka.

Who needs a weekend in the sun when you could be trying to stop Cultists from summoning a Chthonian in the Chapel, or fighting back zombies in an attempt to find your long lost, possibly dead relative? Nobody, that's who!

O The Horror!

Phillip Buchan, an entirely morally reprehensible filth spewer of the lowest order who has been a friend and close associate of mine for some years now, is putting together an incredible anthology of horror comics, the majority of which he has either written or had some large hand in.

As well as blood-drenched, dragged-up, Lucky-Strike-smoking, mutant orgy punk bands like Zombina & The Skeletones and Harley Poe, he's also roped old wooly-vest-wearing Fallows into the project, dragging me out of the self-loathing introspective emo vogue I currently call my comfort zone and forcing me to make comics like a real man.

Below is the first page of our collaborative effort, the other three you'll have to read when the thing comes out (more on that later):

Friday, 11 February 2011

Drawing Request Number One

A couple of posts ago I asked the good people of the internet to post their ideas for something they'd like me to draw for the Crumpet Time Comics Personal Commission post that I've now created on my Etsy store. This was a suggestion [female superhero drinking a cup of tea] made by my good buddy and all round mega talent Paul Thompson, and features Sugar Glider, the heroine of Daniel Clifford and Gary Bainbridge's new and exciting title.

More drawings to follow!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ghost Citing

Matthew Murray of the awesome blog 365 Zines a Year just wrote up a cool review of my comic The Gentleman Ghost. Check out the unfathomably huge backlog of reviews he's posted up there and wonder why you're not so productive yourself, mister!