Friday, October 30, 2009

Destroy History Pilot 2

This is the second of the two pilots I made, I don't know when I'll make another but hopefully soon, they were a lot of fun. Is it giro day?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

SGR eBay Rarities Week 1

Over the next three weeks I will be auctioning three copies each of the first three Scary Go Round collections. Auctions end at around 6pm GMT on Sunday. Bid on:

Looks, Brains & Everything 1st Ed
Blame The Sky

Destroy History Pilot number 1

The Best

Yesterday there was a huge fight on the internet about who is the best at comics. I won, naturally. Here is the evidence below.

Following yesterday's not-unjustified panic, there will be an announcement later today about how I will bring sexy fun back into your lives on a provisional, emergency basis.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mild terror at 5pm

I have spent today in a state of elevated panic. I think I might be making the best comics I have ever made, and the worst webcomics I could possibly have chosen to make. Apparently I have excised every detail of my work that appealed to the floating voter. By which I mean "sexy fun". That is what I have left out. Sexy fun.

I don't expect the kind of high-minded individuals who take an interest in my blog to abandon ship, but reading back over what I've been putting on my website over the last month, I'm not sure how I will stop losing hundreds of readers a week. It is a breath-holding competition; after all, Scary Go Round took a long time to recover to where my original comic Bobbins had been beforehand. Projects take time to find their feet! But back then I had the luxury of a day job, I could fiddle while Rome burned, so to speak.

I'm not sure what purpose a blog post like this serves. I feel privileged to be able to make comics every day and it is scary when it looks even a little like that could come to an end. I start running round in circles, waving my arms in a crazy fashion.

I ought to calm down eventually.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ultra news

I can't get into my website at the moment so I am unleashing my news on the blog. It feels different, like shouting at a mountain. I feel the hand of history upon my shoulder.


I have designed three new shirts and they are available for pre-order. You can get them from the Diesel Sweeties Store, where payment is in US dollars, a weak currency there for the savaging.


Scary Go Round Book 8 (as yet untitled) is now underway. I don't know what to call it. I have decided to make it a shorter run than the last few books as it will be born into a world where Scary Go Round (the comic) is fast receding into the past. More news when I have finished re-placing 216 psds in 216 Illustrator files. Don't worry, newer versions of Illustrator are super fast oh wait no they aren't.

Look forward to at least five covers that I decide not to use and up to twenty bad titles.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Turning off pen feedback cursor in Windows 7

A few days ago I was trying to find out how to turn off the "splash" cursor ring you get when you use a Wacom pen in Windows 7. Well, I found out, so you don't have to.

1. Open Local Group Policy Editor. Press windows key+R and type gpedit.msc at the command prompt.

2. Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components - Tablet PC > Cursor.

3. Enable "turn off pen feedback" setting.

4. For goodness' sake, be careful.

You can thank me buy buying something from my shop! Or just by typing "thank you".

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ancient relics: old SGR books found

When I was in Massachusetts I found a few copies (five each, pictured below) of Skellington and Blame The Sky that were left over in old boxes of convention stock. There were also about ten of the first edition of Looks Brains and Everything (the larger, blue-grey version). I'm not sure whether to sell these or keep them, or put them on eBay. Is eBay totally fair, or totally un-fair? You decide.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

But I love Enviro-Cat

I designed the image above for the eco-minded youngsters of Solebury School. I was not sure if it would go over well but they seemed to like it. And I like Enviro-Cat! I kind of want to make an Enviro-Cat shirt for general consumption or at least a tote bag for Thought Bubble in November. How do you feel about this? Is he too gross for you? I personally think he is just gross enough.

I hate my new blog template

What have I done to my life.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wasps slash intellectuals

I can tell that my brain has has enough for the day when something like the image below comes out. My "anatomy of a wasp" idea was too hard to render in such a way that I wouldn't be embarrassed to send it to the printer but somehow I came up with the 2010 Man-Wasp Peace Accord. I think this is the sort of plan a man ought to sleep on.

Perhaps more saleable is my "sensitive intellectual" shirt, it features an owl, my favourite beast.

Thanks Sketchbook Pro for being a program on my computer that I can draw in.

McGinty and Hughes

Someone asked me for a McGinty and Hughes shirt and here is the resultant drawing, it's a nice drawing but as a graphical piece it doesn't work. I fear McGinty and Hughes would not survive what I need to do to them to make them into a shirt.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Garment corner

I haven't made many tshirts this year. I have drawn a lot of rough designs (probably near to 100) but never really been able to work any of them up to my satisfaction. It's partly an issue of time - I have been busier this year than ever before but not in any kind of profitable way! Mostly I was making up fake comics... oh, and the new one! Yes that is what I was doing (I couldn't remember why I was so busy)

It's important that I make a few new shirts, a hoodie and a print for Christmas though and you fellows have to stay on my back or I will face yuletide ruin. Feel free to make demands of designs I have proffered through the year and not followed through on.

Here's one I found among the wreckage of my unchecked creativity. It is very rough but I can sort of see what I was going for...

...sales in the low tens, presumably. I like it though!

Hey all music magazines in the world

Your end of the decade lists are meaningless nonsense.

This decade is best summed up by a song, a single song, the song that says "oughties" even though that word is a terrible word.

Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The number shaped like a gun (a review)

Because I use dual monitors all the time, Mac OS is my main operating system and this is how it must remain. The big grey box that Windows apps have makes it hard to have a couple of pictures open in one program while you work on a drawing in another. I remember how alien I found the transparent programs when I first used a Mac at work, but how useful it turned out to be.

All that said, I think Windows 7 is great! The new taskbar works in a way that acknowledges that perhaps people run a few more programs at once these days than they did in 1995. And it is decently fast on middling machines, Bill Gates has been busy writing it in his bedroom and he has mostly got it right.

But here is a question. Is there any way to turn off the infernal "water ripple" left click cursor effect you get when you use a tablet? This was under one of the tablet pc control panel settings on Vista but the option has vanished. It's really distracting!

Do you work at Microsoft? Do you have access to Bill Gates' bedroom where he writes the programs on an Acorn Electron? Please ask Bill about his mad tablet PC cursor.

Otherwise, well done, Windows 7 9/10.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Christmas is cancelled

This morning I received the begging letter from my alma mater, requesting funds from alumni. That is all right, it is the university way. As my eyes played across the colourful leaflet, I suddenly took offence. Someone on the leaflet had ruined the delightful graduation day depicted FOR EVERYONE.

Can you see them? Can you see them? No it is not "man covering face with paper because he is a spy" or "man who looks like he is doing a wee in the bushes" or "callow youth in baggy tshirt gazing at mobular phone device". Below is the fellow who I believe has ruined the day for all those lovely middle class mummies and daddies.

It is a big day for your family member, so why not commemorate it with a black vest, camo shorts and black trainies/socks combo. After all, it would be terrible if anyone missed the "gun show". You took the time to shave your veiny skull this morning, you could have taken the time to get dressed properly.

Sir, you have cost Sheffield University £25.

(I think it is interesting to imagine who this muscular oaf might be. My guess: Sheffield United footballer dating student girl depicted.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

More like "Grotoshop" am I right?

Are you familiar with Adobe Photoshop? It is the most popular of Adobe's out-of-control bloated products. Now I know that the programmers at Adobe work hard, they are good eggs. Ten years ago, Photoshop 4 was about as good as we ever needed a piece of software to be.

Let me posit a theory: had Photoshop 4 had the "save for web" feature, no one would be sitting in their studio crying right now. They would be laughing and throwing all the money they had saved in the intervening decade up in the air. But of course each new version of Photoshop breaks like a butterfly on a wheel following an OS upgrade and it is time to pony up some cash once more. I've no reason not to be using Photoshop CS1 but for the fact that it bombs out without warning on Intel Macs.

So I have a question for savvy readers. Here are the only tools I ever use on Photoshop:

Lasso and marquee
Magic wand
Paint bucket
Raster shape tool (to draw rectangles and the occasional line or circle)
Pencil tool
CMYK sliders on colour picker

Can anyone suggest a light application that has all these features (maybe except CMYK sliders) for the Mac? I've tried Acorn, Pixelmator and Gimp for Mac but they all came up short - Gimp in particular is a usability basket case, although there is something Herculean about its efforts to be all things to all people.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The return trip from America was a nightmarish hell-voyage. The plane got halfway to England, the navigation computer broke... so the pilot flew back! I am sure that this is because of regulations but my goodness, the extra ten hours that I had to sit on the plane seem to have done for me. I am a broken man too tough to cry, feverish, hocking up grey goo (grey!) and weeping over my lot. I wouldn't mind but I'm up before one of our beloved NHS death panels on Thursday and I fear they may pull the plug.

With the exception of my aerial grief, my trip to the USA was a 100% copper-bottomed success! I took in the fried delights of the Big E agricultural show, traveled to the Center For Cartoon Studies in Vermont (my first time in this beautiful state) and met some admirable young strivers. "Our" Stevens and Dr Meggles took good care of me and kept me out of mischief.

And what a fiesta SPX was! Many old allies were there, like Kate Beaton and Jeph Jacques marshalling long lines of fans with hearts a-flutter. And for the first time I got to meet the likes of:

Danielle Corsetto: the intensely personable Girls With Slingshots artist travels everywhere with a giant cactus that is her friend, she is the best at drawing without exception

Dustin Harbin: Dustin is a southern gentleman with deeply skilled comic stylings that you should definitely get into, he is the best at drawing without exception

Scott Campbell: Scott has been a firm favourite of mine for a considerable time with his fine watercolours and comics, he is the best at drawing without exception

Aaron Diaz: Shelley's favourite comic is Dresden Codak with good reason! Also Aaron is an expert at scripture. He is the best at drawing without exception

Anthony Clark: the Nedroid-creating auteur and bon viveur held everyone rapt with his gifts, he is the best at drawing without exception

Evan Dahm: Riceboy was new to me but I am lapping it up, reading it all with my seeing eyes, he is the best at drawing without exception

John Campbell: I wish I had been able to speak with John for longer, he is the iron horse of minimalist comicking and, I must say, he is the best at drawing without exception

and Jess Fink: with her time travel deal and of course Chester the sexual robot fellow, Jess is an expert at design and the best at drawing... without exception

I met many other talented characters so I will endeavour to list them at a later date. I wish I could do more comics shows in the US, curse my fragile constitution! Goodbye America until next time.