Rocks, rain and a refreshed website

Good afternoon happy campers!

Welcome to the shiny new-look for my site! I realised a month-or-so ago that I’d had my existing website theme for nearly 5 years (ways to feel old list, number 6) so it’d been long overdue for a refresher.

It took a while, but here it is! What do you think? Have a browse around and let me know how easy it is to use. Send your answers on a self-addressed envelope to the comments section below.


So, on with the blog! Firstly, let me talk to you about what’s been going on in my head. Aside from this.

I’ve been in a period of reflection recently, in which I’ve looked at how I want to move forward professionally. For one, I’ve been super busy on Good Comics projects – it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience and is changing the way I want to approach my own work. The community spirit and engaging with people is what makes the comics community so great to be a part of, and for me personally, that shouldn’t be hampered by charging for content.

This led me to the decision to end my Patreon creator page and go back to posting work freely on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and here. For some people, it may work really well, but Patreon never quite worked for me. And, the idea of sheltering my work from people unless they paid left me in a morally weird area for a while.

Patreon cancelled and website refreshed, I feel revitalised and ready for future challenges, projects and experiences. Bring it on!


Onto more physical creations, I’ve been carefully editing the large layout sheets I drew and painted my rocks comic onto, and have been setting them up to print. Check these panels out:

Now I’ve cut out each individual panel it’s made it easier to smooth out some of the paper buckling/ridges that occurred from putting watercolour on paper not suited for wet media. It’s still definitely more of a rough-and-ready comic, which is why I’m thinking of printing it DIY style at home instead of through a professional printer. Whatever the method, I’m going to bring it out in time for Swindon Zine Fest at the end of July. Rock on!


In other news, Sam and I had a really fun commission recently from comics scholar Dr Harriet Earle who is writing a book for Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series on comics. She got in touch for a couple of diagrams to go alongside specific areas of the book, and we got to draw up some fun pieces for it! Check out my umbrella of comics:

It may not be the most water-resistant piece of kit, but I’m happy with how it turned out!


And that’s about it for now! I’ve been testing the waters on some digital drawing tools so keep an eye on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) for some previews, and check back here again soon for some progress shots.

Until next time!

x

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New Chapter

Good afternoon everyone!

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.

Cartoon County - 29th January 2018
Cartoon County – 29th January 2018 (Picture credit: Samuel C. Williams)

In other news, I not only finished up the additional pages for the reprint of Cosmos & Other Stories, but it’s now here and available to buy online! Woo! It’s still priced £6, but now with an extra 12 pages of comic goodness – including a brand new seven pages story and two pages of sketchbook images. You can pick up a copy of Cosmos from my Etsy store here, from Good Comics’ online shop and from Dave’s Comics in Brighton. And here’s a sneak peek of the new comic! (And the whole comic is available online via Patreon for $5 a month!)

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!

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!

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!

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