It’s September apparently, and there seems to be some vague sense of normality returning to this very weird world we’re living in. The kids are in school, Zoom meetings are the norm and libraries are open. And as the seasons shift again, the evenings are getting much shorter and the nights cooler here. Autumn is in full swing! (Click here to hang onto summer that little bit longer with the spring-summer 2020 sketchbooks, now on sale)
So, what’s next? I’m glad you asked.
After a very busy month-or-so working with AccessArt on their DrawAble campaign, I’ve been diving head-first into some really exciting projects. One of which is finishing up my Weekly Comics (still yet to be named, d’oh).
I’m just about ready to start painting the extra pages, which is a pretty mammoth task in itself. But, once this is done I’ll be very near to completing the book and getting it ready for print. Woop! Above and below are some of the inks I’ve been working on pre-paints.
In other news, I’ve picked back up on working towards writing my next book. Exciting stuff! I’ve mentioned before about working on a big book, and this one I’m allowing plenty of time to get my ideas down and explore what the story could be. Part of figuring out the story is getting all of my random tangents of ideas down on paper, so this week I’ve started the process of hashing everything out with a pen and trying to build on some of the stronger ideas and see how these various bits could combine together. It’s like dumping the contents of your bag out and trying to decide whether it all needs to really be in there or not.
Part of the figuring out process has been drawing on inspiration in the unknown, and after a few really busy weeks I took some time out to wander around Bristol and recharge my creative batteries. It was so very needed!
Once I have something more substantial I’ll start sharing, but for now it’s all staying very close to my chest.
And finally, big happenings are on the horizon at the collective Good Comics HQ (not to be confused with GCHQ). I can’t reveal any full details yet, but it’s going to be really good… Keep your eyes peeled for announcements in the coming weeks.
Did you see the news? Did you? No, not the news about a babies with teeth; the news of my newest project going live on Kickstarter this month! I know, I know, I like to give myself an unreasonable amount of work to do in a short amount of time, but I have a new story underway that I can’t wait for you all to see. It’s title: Moon.
After creating a few short stories for anthologies this year that haven’t yet been released, and the second edition of Cosmos & Other Stories, I’ve been really keen to push something out in the second half of this year whilst I’m dipping in and out of on The Biggest One Yet (my next, full-length book due out in 2019/20). I’ve been lucky enough to develop a beautiful story to tell, and I just. couldn’t. wait.
What do you need to know?
Moon will be Kickstarted, with the campaign launching soon.
This brand-new 24-page story will be printed in mini-newspaper format.
So! It’s been a busy month as ever here at HQ.. First up, The Inking Woman Book Launch! On Thursday 15th March I took a half-day at my day job and hopped on the 3 hour coach up to London for The Inking Woman/Marie Duval book launches from Myriad Editions. You know me – ever the traveller. With a quick pit-stop in the V&A and The Science Museum beforehand, I bundled over to the launch party with a skip in my step and after a short while, prosecco in my hand.
The atmosphere was electric, just as much as it had been at the original Inking Woman exhibition at The Cartoon Museum almost a year ago! Thank you so much to Corinne Pearlman, Cath Tate and Nicola Streeten for all their hard work in putting such a fantastic book together. Below you can see me lurking in the back with a handful of the Inking Women featured in the exhibition/book – I’m so proud to be among them! The whole experience took a little while to sink in – travelling back the same night probably didn’t help in making it all feel rather surreal. But, low and behold I am published in a Myriad book amongst so many wonderful cartoonists.
Picture credit: Cath Tate Cards
Look mum, I’m in a real book!
In other news, I spent most of March finishing up something new for a new anthology; the Good Comics Reader! Those chaps at Good Comics decided it’d be nice to do an anthology featuring all the creators whose work they have published so far. How could I resist? My new four-page comic will be launched in the Reader on Saturday 14th April at Leamington Spa Comic Con, and copies are available to pre-order now.
The Reader is also raising money for charity, with 50% of the proceeds going to Young Minds. Here’s a little bit about them from their website;
We’re leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, whatever the challenges. We’re here to make sure they get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties.
The crisis in children and young people’s mental health is real and it is urgent. More children and young people than ever before are reaching out for help with their mental health. But for those who take that brave step, help is much too hard to find.
Together, we are changing this. We’re fighting for young people’s mental health. Join our fight.
In other Good Comics related news, this Friday is the launch party of their newest release The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes at Gosh! Comics in London. PAR-TAY! As an honorary member of Good Comics I’ll be at the launch with a glass in hand celebrating this really excellent book – if you’re a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan like I am, you’re in for a treat – so if you’re local to London then come on down as it’s going to be amazing!
It’s me, your friendly neighbourhood Houdini. I know, I know, I said I was back properly last time, and then didn’t reappear again until now, nearly six weeks later. About five weeks ago, I had some news which made me weigh up my options and reflect a little on my working practices, including writing about what I do. This blog doesn’t get the views it used to, and my daily structure has changed a hell of a lot in the past six months. That, and teamed with some changes going on at my day job, has left me with the decision to pare down my blogging on here and start posting shorter and more regular updates on a subscription website called Patreon. It’s not been an easy decision to make, and I’m certainly not disappearing off here any time soon, but hopefully that explains why I keep vanishing from my ‘weekly’ blog. More on Patreon a little later on, as I’m sure you’re all eager to hear what I’ve been up to…
Last time I caught up with you all I was getting ready to gallop over to Brighton for January’s Cartoon County meet-up; and what a blast it was! Alex Fitch was an excellent interviewer, with interesting and carefully considered questioning – I’ve been interviewed a handful of times, and I must say it’s one of the greatest compliments to be interviewed by someone who has either a keen interest or has taken the time to learn about my work. Thanks so much, Alex! I had a chance to catch up with a few faces I don’t see all that often, and I also managed to put names to faces for a few creators which is always really nice. Thanks so much for having me, Brighton. Plus, your burgers are really really good.
This one has been a really fun comic to do, even if it took me way longer than I ever intended it to. But, it was fun to flex my short story skills once more, and it meant I got to delve into the depths of ancient Aztec history, with reference books such as The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec by Mary Ellen Miller, and more serious titles such as Horrible Histories Angry Aztecs by Terry Deary and Martin Brown. I’m really pleased with how Cosmos looks in it’s new reprinted format, and really grateful that Good Comics have helped me reissue this comic again exactly how I wanted it. Thank you to everyone who picked up an original copy, and those who also buy a new one!
Cosmos Additional Story Work in Progress
Cosmos Additional Story Work in Progress
The Art of Mesoamerica: That face when you can’t find any gnarly Olmec grinds for your skateboard…
Next up, as you may remember I had been creating a short autobio comic for Dirty Rotten Comics submission! Sadly, I didn’t make the cut this time. But, it’s been great practice to work on something a little more based in reality than my usual tales of magical arctic foxes and fallen stars. Have a look at this sneak peek!
Preview from Bear – unsuccessful comic submission.
Preview from Bear – unsuccessful comic submission.
Even though this comic, Bear, won’t be in the latest Dirty Rotten Comics, I have a few other ideas for it yet.. so watch this space! (Maybe not on a full-time basis, as you might be watching for six weeks at a time with how busy everything is right now… I wouldn’t want to give anyone eye-strain!)
So, that’s what I’ve been doing! So to round-up, here’s a little more about my decision making process is moving over to blogging on Patreon rather than here..
The Patreon Story
Now, as I mentioned above, this blog doesn’t seem to get the reach it once did. Writing a large post like this takes at least a couple of hours, and if I was doing weekly posts like I used to it’d be around an hour a week of writing an editing, and extra time documenting everything I do and preparing preview images. Which, was fine and wonderful when I was a full-time student or when I graduated and worked in a creative job that allowed me time to write. However, now things are a little different with my personal circumstances. Prior to six months ago I was in a very lonely and isolated position of not really having much else to do apart from work (as I’m sure Self-Care & Vegetables readers are aware). Now, I’m happy. I understand it’s important to have time off to look after myself, read and enjoy life. I have a wonderful partner who I love spending time with, and I also have his two kids in my life who are funny, gnarly and sweet. So as you can tell, my time has to be spread a little more evenly, which is nicer and healthier. But that meant something had to give.
I hear you ask.. “but why are you moving over to somewhere where I have to pay to see the same things I’ve seen for free all this time?” – well! I will still aim to update here every four-six weeks. It’ll be more of a round-up than an in-depth analysis of every stage, kind of like this blog as been today! You’ll still see pencils to inks and sketchbook stages, right the way through to final previews. My tiers of subscription on Patreon give you more than you could ever have here. Let me show you:
$2 or more per month – you can access exclusive blog posts about what I’m up to, work-in-progress photos and previews only available to patrons. i.e. you will get more regular updates and photos.
$5 or more per month – you get the above, plus 10% off in my Etsy store and access to my digital comics archive to read and download, and see full colour pages of new comics before they’re published! If you like digital comics, you will be getting a massive bargain compared to buying my work individually or in it’s anthologies.
$10 or more per month – everything listed above, plus a hand-drawn and painted postcard in the post every month (UK postage only)
$12 or more per month – everything listed above, plus a hand-drawn and painted postcard in the post every month (Worldwide postage)
$40 or more per month – everything listed above (excluding postcard), plus an A5 drawn, inked and painted commission of your choice every month – or you can just bump up to this for one month if you’d like to commission artwork from me, and then bump back down to a different tier. (Worldwide postage)
Check out my Patreon site here to witness it all for yourself, and sign up for some sweet deals to arrive through your door. After all, who doesn’t love receiving post that isn’t bills or junk mail? Hopefully that clarifies everything a bit. Don’t miss out, even for just $2 (£1.45ish) a month you get to see comics as they happen, and before anyone else.
And on that note, that sums it up for now! I have a busy few weeks ahead preparing some top secret things, a comic for an anthology, creating more things and travelling all over the place. Life is meant to be busy, right? Right?
Thanks for being patient and reading all of my ramblings, and here’s to a new, exciting chapter!
So, it’s November! I now look forward to losing the feeling in my toes between getting out of bed in the morning and returning to it that night, that crisp autumn/winter smell that infuses the air, and wrapping myself in several layers to keep toasty whilst I sit down to draw. It’s true, I’m not much of a winter/cold weather person (unless I’m on a snowboard on a mountain), but there are certain positive things that come with the long nights and snuggling up to keep warm.. for one, it seems more than respectable to get into comfy clothes as soon as I fall in through the door.
So, aside from noticing the chill in the air, this past week I’ve been plugging away at #inktober! I did fall behind a little during the month-long challenge, and have to complete two in one day a couple of times, but I still stuck with it and managed to come out with a complete narrative. Check it out!
It’s been a lot of fun to work on something with no pressure, and also fun to do more work created with Kuretake Zig brush pens rather than a solid black lines and painted with gouache. The full tools I used for each day are:
Prismacolor Premier coloured pencils (colours: Cream, Sunburst Yellow, Peacock Blue)
LAMY Safari (colour: Petrol)
The Kuretake pens are the same brand and type that I used to create Self-Care & Vegetables, and have a really nice relaxed feel to them. If you use them nervously it can all go a bit wrong, but to make sweeping and confident lines they are an absolute delight. Yes I could talk about pens for hours. Yes I’m more than comfortable with my ability to do so.
In other news, I’ve been continuing work on the comic I spoke of last week. It’s been slow progress as I’ve been juggling several other things, but I’ve started being able to plot in where some of the story text is going to go, and cutting and pasting parts around to make it look as strong as possible before I start drafting up the final artwork. Have a look:
Cosmos Additional Story Work in Progress
As I mentioned last week, part of this new story involves trying out some other ways of storytelling. It’s a little more fiddly and means that my streamlined process of working on comics that I spent years perfecting can’t be applied , so it’s probably going to take me a little longer than I’d originally envisioned. But, the good news is that stooping over a desk and paper is a particular loved past-time of mine, so no fear in getting it done!
Finally, in some scarily good news, there are only a few copies left of Cosmos & Other Storiesavailable from Good Comics! I totally sold out of my stock about a month ago, and those gents are down to the final handful of copies – and it’s only been out since late March! The good news is that there will be a reprint in the new year, but for now if you’ve been holding off and want to make sure someone get’s their Christmas copy of Cosmos then act now: http://goodshop.bigcartel.com/
And that just about wraps it up for now! Keep an eye out for what I get up to with my inktober pieces now they’re all done, and I will endeavour to be back soon with more comics news. Until next time, have a good week/weekend everyone! Peace out.