Friday, February 26, 2010


I had a whole spare afternoon today so I decided to paint Joanie from Mad Men. Wholesome fun. Here's my sketch and then my finished Joanie! It was a rare outing with the brush, I had a lot of fun, I will do more brush and watercolour pics when I have time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A prisoner of the past

I've been thinking about my old books and reprinting them again. I worked out how to do it. My plan is to assemble books 1&2 into one volume, and 3&4 into a volume when 4 is out of print. I can't assemble 1, 2 and 3 together for fairly obvious format reasons.

It's difficult to gauge demand for reprints like this and the books would be, due to their 400+ page counts, more expensive to produce than my usual books, which means more cash up front. But I do feel like it would be responsible of me to put them into print again - I think I frequently lose sight of the fact that someone might have discovered my old work last week, to them it is engaging and new.

I can't start looking at this until the last of the Scary Go Round books has broken even, as that is where all my money is right now. Maybe I should apply for an Arts Council Grant! But I think the Arts Council frown upon rascals like me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Annotated Weekender 1st Birthday

Yesterday I attended a party for the first birthday of Joe List's Annotated Weekender, the blog that draws all over the Guardian Weekend magazine! It's one of my favourite websites and I was delighted to be able to attend this select gathering.

Here are a few of my favourite drawings I did, I've put up all 22 on my Flickr with explanations if you like these.

Young REM, meet old REM:

Syd we need you man, Meddle is boring:

Self explanatory:

Blowhards 1: Moore

Blowhards 2: Coulter

Sooner or later Bob, Columbo is going to find out:

Friday, February 19, 2010

uStream Friday!

I'm drawing live on uStream right now (Friday afternoon GMT)! Come see me scrawl, hear some eclectic jams from the sonic underground.


After I was done with the comic I took quick sketch requests and people wanted me to draw the old SGR characters as kids, so I did them! These are in the order they were requested. (Sadly the images of goblin birth and Len at Wigan Casino in his vest were accidentally saved over).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Like old times

I have been working on a new tea towel, these were something I enjoyed making and they are actually useful, which I find cheering. I think what I drew is all right, it seems innocuous enough, no one is going to take offence and call the cops. It's just some dames gassin', man, just gas-baggin'.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book 8 runs into a problem

Here is my hilarious tale. My comic files are coloured in photoshop in RGB, then placed in an RGB Illustrator file to get they balloons on, then I stick em up on the web. When I do a book, I just open the illustrator files in photoshop, convert to CMYK make some tiffs, stick em in InDesign and go away rejoicing. It's not a perfect way of doing things of course(it's not very professional). But on this occasion, the same printer who was happy for me to do this twice before has told me that the panel borders and text have to be 100% black (not the loony rich black that working in RGB gives you). I think they figure that it might not register perfectly. They managed it fine before but I imagine they were cursing me the whole time.

I can open up the RGB Illustrator files (with their placed, unlettered PSDs) in Photoshop, convert to CMYK, and convert all the blacks in the file to 100% with relative ease, but that leaves me open to trapping errors. I can't use the BPelts trapping plugin to fix this because I use a lot of rich greys that confuse it. As far as I can work out, I am going to have to individually edit every single file, probably by selecting the text in the balloons and the borderlines and painting over it with 100% black.

I don't see a way to rectify this that doesn't involve days of work. Just writing about it was complicated!

Ha ha ha! Aaaargh. This is particularly infuriating because this the the printer that did such a good job of books 6 and 7 at a pretty unbeatable price.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Decisions Decisions

I'm writing the end of the current Bad Machinery story and I have to decide what to do next. I can either plough into another one immediately or do one of my other projects for a bit while I work out another complicated 100-page arc. The only other project that is fit for purpose is "Esther Project", let me dig out the piece of scrap paper again...

Yes you see the scrap of paper is still in rude health. I think I accidentally already used Daisy Minter's hair on another character though so I will have to work out a new look for this highly developed character.

While Bad Machinery has not been to everybody's taste (and has proved thus far to have a more selective appeal than some of my earlier work), it has turned out how I wanted it to and I wanted to thank people who have written in support - here, on Twitter and via email, it has really helped me to not go too mad, especially early on when ratings were tumbling.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hourly Comic Day

Here's my hourly comic for John Campbell's Hourly Comics Day. I found making it quite exhausting! I feel glad that today is not an hourly comic day. Yesterday was quite hourly enough.

I apologise that it was rather a dull day, but Mondays are always like that, I get through the boring stuff so the rest of the week has space for thrills and spills. Whatever day of the week it is, you can plot my circadian energy curve based on this day.