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!