Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 20 of the year day 5

Final thanks to the graphics department of the ITV chart show. If you enjoyed this feature, please let me know and I'll do it again!


"The Wolves (Act I & 2)"

3 SEA FROM SHORE - School Of Language / THE WEEK THAT WAS - The Week That Was

"Rockist" (School Of Language)

"Scratch The Surface" (The Week That Was)

2 49:00 - Paul Westerberg

"With Or Without Her"

"Devil Raised A Good Boy"


"Id Engager"

"An Eludian Instance (live)"

Top 20 of the year day 4

A thousand thanks to the graphics department of the ITV chart show.


"My Year In Lists"

"We Are All Accelerated Readers (Maps) (live)"

7 LADYHAWKE - Ladyhawke

"Dusk Till Dawn"


"Crooked Legs"

5 NOUNS - No Age

"Ripped Knees"


Top 20 of the year day 3

Thanks as always to the graphics department of the ITV chart show. Let me know in the comments if this is the sort of feature you enjoy, I am happy to round up my twenty favourite singles of the year this way too.

12 REAL EMOTIONAL TRASH - Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks


11 VAMPIRE WEEKEND - Vampire Weekend


10 ALPINISMS - School Of Seven Bells

"Half Asleep"

"Face To Face On High Places (live)"


"White Winter Hymnal"

"Ragged Wood"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top 20 of the year day 2

Courtesy of the graphics department of the ITV chart show.

16 DISTRICT LINE - Bob Mould

"The Silence Between Us (live)"


14 DISTORTION - The Magnetic Fields

"California Girls"

13 WE BRAVE BEE STINGS AND ALL - Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

"Swimming Pools"

"Bag Of Hammers"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Top 20 of the year day 1

From the graphics department of the ITV chart show. Updated every day! I couldn't find any contemporary videos for #17 and #18.

20 DO YOU LIKE ROCK MUSIC - British Sea Power
"No Lucifer"

19 RIP IT OFF - Times New Viking
"Teen Drama (live)"


17 WELCOME TO - The Welcome Wagon

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Well, Christmas is over for another year, Baby Jesus rides his unicorn into the distance and Krampus sleeps in the mountains. I am sure 12 months from now we will reunite and talk about what we did in the crazy, crazy month of December 2008. I hope all your Christmas dreams came true (provided they were within reasonable parameters).

Monday, December 22, 2008


I tried to draw a comic in 5 minutes today. In actuality it was more like ten minutes but I think you can really smell the difference.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Lest I forget, I have added Lizz Lunney to the links list on the right. Lizz has about 12 blogs, she doesn't mess around when it comes to getting information out there. I have said why I think her art is so good before and will not say so again without a considerable stipend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Sometimes I don't get to see my shirts until months or even years after I design them (I only own a very few of them myself - I prefer a shirt with buttons). But occasionally people send me a photo. And as George Harrison might have said, my sweet lord:

Thank you Andrew Kozma, a man who is plainly some kind of self-styled lord of the moths.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winning the battle, losing the war

I don't think we are going to solve my specialized problem (passim). If I keep on trying I am going to end up breaking the computer. Here's a picture which is a consolation prize for the triers.

As the year draws to its inexorable end, i thought I would apologise to everyone I was short, terse or brief with in 2008. I never mean it. If I cut you short shrift at a con, wrote you an email precisely three words long (and none of them good) or just gave you the bad eye (Vivian Girl style), I was probably very tired.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bizarre and specialised problem that perhaps no-one will be able to solve

There is a prize for a reader who can answer this question successfully. A really great prize. I have spent hours on google and forums looking for the answer to no avail.

I have a Lenovo X61 tablet and it is great, the finest thing. You draw on the fancy old SXGA screen, you put it in your bag, glorious. Home and away, the art stylings.

But two pieces of software (Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Manga Studio 4 - both EX and Debut versions) share the same problem. One time in maybe 100 pen strokes pressure sensitivity is lost and the pen produces what I can only describe as an ink blot!

It occurs more frequently in MS 4 - usually when drawing something like an eye, with a little circle inside a larger one. Once it happens in one place on the screen, if I undo it will happen again and again in that same spot. It happens with far less frequency in Sketchbook Pro.

I cannot recreate the effect in Manga Studio 3, or Photoshop CS1 - which both work fine. I originally tested MS4 on another machine running XP service pack 2 (this one has XP SP3) and what I'm describing never happened there.

I suppose it could be a driver problem but I've tried a few variants of the Wacom penabled driver to no good effect. It could be a hardware problem, but it's a very strange one if it is.

Has anyone ever seen this before? Can you help? Or is it time simply to give up on computers and live under a tarpaulin on Saddleworth Moor?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stanshall Aloud

Last night I went to see the Vivian Girls. Their album is ramshackle fun (kind of a shambling C86 sound) so there was no guarantee they would be any good. Sometimes a record like that is the sound of a weak band doing their very best. But in person they were better than on record, a fierce, confident and concise outfit! When I got home I felt I had to draw them immediately (after going to bed and spending several hours doing other things).

Prior to the show, the red-headed one gave me the skunk eye something rotten for daring to look past her. They had some ferocious tattoos (including, I believe, an ice-cream sundae) but I have drawn them the wrong way round to illustrate the fine and sailor-like artwork on show. I am sure Mojo or Spin will write to me to draw them again after this showing so I will draw the tattoos next time.

Vivian Girls on Myspace

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

RIP Oliver Postgate

I was sad to hear today that Oliver Postgate has died. But at 83 he had a good innings, and he packed more into his life that most people will manage. I strongly recommend his autobiography 'Seeing Things' - he invented many animation techniques for TV on the fly and his life is a fascinating story. A true maverick.

I never tire of the mice's song

Moon-based japes

Welsh wintering

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fancy Burns Faster

Here is the cover for the next book if it ever does emerge (it probably will).

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Scary Go Round book 7 update

A few people have asked about progress on book 7, which I was close to finishing up months ago. Unfortunately due to a combination of paying for printing in US dollars and the pound being worth a lot less than it was against the dollar, I've not had the necessary funds to print it to the standard that I would like. I had the money put away for it but suddenly I need half as much again.

Every book I've done has been beset with one problem or another; producing nice glossy colour books in fairly short runs (under 2000) requires a certain amount of cunning. To make a living from webcomics, you have to drag the absolute maximum profit from each of your burnt offerings. I can't tell you how green with envy I am when 'Dragon Face Comics' or 'Gamey Times' boasts of paying for a book with preorders - it takes me months to hit that mark. I did manage to pep things up last time by drawng a postcard to go in each of the first 400 books (the breakeven point on that occasion). Let me tell you what drawing 400 quite nice drawings in a couple of months is like. It makes you want to not ever draw 400 postcards ever again. And it certainly makes you not want to draw 600 of them.

In response to this annual complaint, someone will ask me "why don't you do pre-orders until you have enough money, then print?" The answer is that turnaround is slow on a book and I don't like to take orders until I have a due date.

I am not just here to gripe, after all I choose to do these things (in order to eat and live in a house). I am very proud that I run a business with no debts. The fact that it will kill me with stress at 47 stops me having to worry about saving for a pension. I will be on an exercise bike shouting into a huge mobile phone (about "perfect binding" no doubt) when something will pop and I will fall into a crumpled heap to be discovered by my model wife.

I think that what I need is a patron. A patron is a fat man in a waistcoat and buckled shoes with a pocketwatch who gives me a vast quantity of money and lets me get on with it. I am not going to piss it up the wall, no sir, anyone who knows me will tell you I am a cheap date. So I suppose the question is, is this you:

If it is, I have a figure in mind and while you will not get it back in material terms, your place in heaven is assured.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Feeling rough

Today's comic was a hard translation from rough to finished drawing, I leave you to draw your own conclusions from the evidence below.

The last panel took ten tries to get right.