Friday, May 29, 2009

The Regret Café

Today I took my Pixie and Troll notes and put them in the bin. Sometimes you can be too excited about an idea. I have a lot of good ideas which, structurally speaking, are ornate housefronts with no walls behind to support them.

There are a wonderful array of domain names I have bought over the years for projects I never made - some of them intended to replace Scary Go Round! Oh, what nautical thing might you have been? Sweet sweet, you made so much sense when I was in Canada but now I can't even remember what I was talking about. Only my closest friends have been exposed to the maladroit musings behind but there are pages and pages of notes on that one.

Today I bought another domain name.

I have been blown away by the stylings of Chip Zdarsky. Wow, he can draw.

I never get tired of this, but I don't think I noticed Jack Black playing the trumpet before. It can't be Jack Black, this is 1986.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lay it down, clown

I am not quite ready to post the details of Pixie and Troll but here are the drawings James Turner and I did for his Isembard Kingdom Brunel comic. Sadly this project was cancelled after we came to the mutual realisation that we knew nothing about Brunel, and what we thought we knew was a lie. Why not try to divine from the pictures below what on earth we we trying to do:

Top left is my early 1990s Image comics attempt to "pump up" the project. I while I was drawing this I kept saying "more crosshatching, MORE CROSSHATCHING"!

There is a point on the second page where I accidentally spat a little bit of best bitter onto the page. There's nothing worse than a conversational spitter, I prefer to think I was frothing at the mouth with excitement.

Monday, May 25, 2009

MCM Expo : enter Wozzlebot 3000 and Keysword

Thank you to all the people who came to see me at the MCM Expo. I hadn't done a manga-orientated show for about five years so I had forgotten what it was like to witness waves of cosplayers streaming towards you with their hastily constructed "free hugs" signs and wildly age-inappropriate paddles with "yaoi" written on them. It really was two days in a parallel universe where nothing makes sense and I will be watching back-to-back episodes of "Rumpole of The Bailey" all night tonight to recalibrate my mind.

Freed from the confines of my home, it wasn't long before I was creating amazing new concepts for never-to-be-published series. Later this week I will reveal all about the thirty minutes that I thought my future was a series called "Pixie And Troll". Pixie and Troll are amazing.

My host for this event was James Turner, who tried to set me up with an elderly woman's ghost, and forced me to eat a series of giant meals. Why not email him and tell him how much you want to read a comic about Isembard Kingdom Brunel and his talking hat "Stovey"?

And thank you to Anna and Emma and all the MCM organisers who made it a fine weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Scary Go Round Book 7 now on sale

Well, the boat has sailed and Scary Go Round book 7 is now on sale after months of delay (as I fought the global currency markets). The first 400 pre-orders come with a new Erin Winters mini-comic, who can say fairer than that? And there are new combo packs with it in too. Please buy it, I can't even get my old Saturday job at Woolworths back if you don't.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


One of my favourite things to do for shows is make new buttons. Most mystifying among this new batch is "I done a murder", which should be said in a west country accent. Conservative in my expectations, I only made six of them.

The innocent pig is of course my searing comment on Swine Flu.


I have been invited to be a guest at the MCM Expo in London's Docklands! They put Shelley and Amy on the front page of their website for a whole week, do they know what they are doing? YES THEY DO I AM THE GREATEST.

Since I did a show in London about a month and a half ago, I won't be wheeling out the giant guns of commerce, but it will be very nice to see you, it is lonely behind a table. There will be books to be had, and posters, and badges, and I can probably be relied upon to draw a thing or two. Plus I will be on a panel, holding forth and jabbing my thumb into my chest to emphasise my point. WOF WOF YES YES FLEETWOOD MAC'S TUSK &ETC.

This is all I have to say on the matter. GOOD DAY.

Oh wait here is my banner, there is a good 5 minutes of hard graft in this, can you tell I am woefully underprepared?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Take good care of yourself

I have returned from All Tomorrow's Parties in Minehead a fragile man. I did not destroy my body like last year, when (as you may remember) I was forced to spend a week in bed being ministered to by a kindly nun. I would not mind such consequences if I was a furious drug monster but the closest I ever get to a hallucinatory experience is standing up too fast after kneeling.

I submit the following diagram of my current situation. The good news is that I have days off this week to allow me to recover and bring equilibrium to my mind.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rhombus news

I am still unsure about Monday night's stringed rhombus. However, I saw another one in the new Micachu and The Shapes video so maybe you can help me with a name.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Dø + Moriarty

Last night I had the great pleasure of seeing The Dø and Moriarty at the Deaf Institute. I went to this one on the off chance, not really knowing anything about the bands in question other than having a vague (and largely wrong) idea about what they sounded like. It turned out to be a rare opportunity to see two bands who are obviously much more successful in their country of origin playing in a very intimate venue.

I did predict prior to going that at some point The Dø would produce a mysterious triangular stringed instrument, and I was almost right - it tuned out to be a rhombus.

After many dull months I am suddenly faced with a glut of exciting releases! I am very taken with Laura Groves' Blue Roses, so here is a video straight outta Shipley.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Apparently the post below was the wrong "huge news". I was meant to post the picture below of the copies of my new book that I just got from the factory. They look wicked, I am the best. It will take a month on the slow boat from China for them to get to the shop but I will open up pre-orders once I have big boat details.

This entire misbegotten process has taken so long that I have almost finished book eight.

Huge news

I knew that putting the commissions page back up would lead to a bit of work, but no one could have imagined that I would have been asked to direct, 20 years on, the follow-up to Pretty Woman! I've been working on some concept art and I will be popping in to 20th Century Fox in Royton later today with my preliminary sketch. Readers, you get a "sneak preview" - I know you're gonna love it!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Scary Go Round drawing stream

If you want you can watch me draw! Today is a test of this "technology". You may learn a thing or two about incompetence.

Here is the link so you can watch. I am starting... NOW.

Auction auction

I found a nice piece that had for some reason lingered unsold so I've put it on eBay. Bidding starts at £1 yes £1 ladies and gentlemen. You may just have found yourself a bargain.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I worked up the drawing I did yesterday as a poster. I'm not sure whether I will make it but it was a good exercise. Here it is anyway!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Shelley and a duck

A drawing! Good enough for the blog, then to be placed in a drawer. I like drawing geometric shoes!

I wonder why no one asks for commissions any more? When I drew Bobbins, people asked all the time! Draw my wife, they'd say, draw my wife. Draw a cover for this periodical! Draw "Rich Tweedy" in a hat. I guess my art has deteriorated a lot since 2000. But it is so versatile! Look! My compositional boo-boos are an open goal for opportunity!

Stylists became rich and strong

The first part of this year was pretty bad for new records, so I went through my old CDs for things I had bought in "3 for £20" deals in 1997 (to get my money's worth, you understand) or remainder bins and filed away without really listening to. I was excited to see that I had not only "Different Light" by the Bangles (with Manic Monday on it) but also their 1984 debut!

Different Light is full of mushy 80s production which I quite like but only because it is the sound of my youth, but All Over The Place still has a bit of their Paisley Underground background left in it and holds up well as a post-New Wave trifle. Maybe their only essential release is the 1983 indie "Bangles EP" but god knows where you'd get that. It has a great kitchen-sink psych-pop sound.

One thing I forgot was that Susannah Hoffs doesn't sing lead on more than half the songs. She was, however, kept busy by being very pretty all time. Now it is time for my Bangles chronological music video parade in which you can chart the 5 years in which "stylists" became rich and strong. Watch it with your seeing eyes.

"Hero Takes A Fall" (1984)

"Going Down To Liverpool" (1985) with Leonard Nimoy woah

Susannah Hoffs is so pretty in this one with Leonard Nimoy that I stapled my hand to the desk and didn't notice!

If She Knew What She Wants (1986)

Hazy Shade Of WInter (1988)

In Your Room (1988)

I'm not sure about the lyrical content of this song, I think it might be mildly suggestive of home invasion.

I have completely forgotten what I was posting about when I started this, maybe I should press 'publish' and we'll not talk about the Bangles again.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Tablet PC tips 1

One of the things I found frustrating about Tablet PCs was that I could never replicate the pen feel of my Cintiq 15X exactly. The input on tablet PCs often seemed a bit binary - there were 256 levels of pressure, but the gap between 1 and 256 is not enormous if you're using the Wacom driver! I like to lean in a little and even on the high settings it was a case of thin line thin line FAT LINE!

However, in trying to solve an unrelated issue, I found the Pen Tablet diagnostics panel! You press CTRL and "About" on the Pen Tablet Properties control panel and you get a whole new screen. Bottom right is a dropdown called "pressure offset" and if you experiment with cranking that up slowly in conjunction with adjusting the pressure sensitivity, you can get a nice pressure curve. It even gives you a numerical readout of your current pressure so you can tailor it, and it's realtime so you can doodle in the TIP, switch it up a bit, doodle again.

To get a feel like my Cintiq (and my old Intuos2) on its middle pressure setting, I set the pressure sensitivity to the second highest setting (on the right of the slider, that is) and set the pressure offset to 8.

I have a feeling the best setting varies from tablet to tablet but this made drawing varied, subtle lines a lot easier. Please let me know if this helps!