Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Art of War


I've recently completed a piece for To End All Wars, a timely anthology to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the so-called Great War. It's to be released in July 2014 by ascendant small press Soaring Penguin, and proceeds will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). My strip, The Angel & the Hound, was penned by Eagle Award-winning writer Lex Wilson.

The release of the second issue of Killjoy at the Bristol Comic & Zine Fair last October was very agreeable, as was the subsequent Comica Comiket in November. (I didn't really formally announce its release here; hop over to my Shop and pick up a copy if you haven't already. I'm planning to make digital editions available in the coming months.)

My next endeavour will be finally making headway on planning a book-length work (a "graphic novel") and drawing a postscript to my strip for Solipsistic Pop 5 - which is set to go to print later this year, all being well.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Second Glance

Lost in comix
Almost two years since the publication of the previous issue, I've finally sent Killjoy #2 off to the printers in my former home county of Gloucestershire. (It's been a busy week returning to last year's unfinished pages and adding a new story - resulting in wiry chin coverage and an accumulated sleep debt - but not quite the usual mad-dash stress that I inflict upon myself.)

As reported previously (before its intended debut at Exeter 2012), it's a small collection of short strips continuing the Catch a Fairy project. It is now available to preorder (see the Shop page) and will be officially released at the Bristol Comic & Zine Fair this coming Saturday (5 October 2013), which promises to be an excellent event.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Fleet Street Rag

I've completed my strip, Quadlock: Same-Sex Marriage & Places of Worship, for Solipsistic Pop Five. This issue is somewhat different to earlier editions - all the strips are reportage pieces about the UK in 2012, with a small group of artists (including sterling creators such as Darryl Cunningham and editor Tom Humberstone) producing longer works than previously. Mine is eight pages long - this is an image from the foot of the first page: 
I've produced some non-fiction comics before - autobiographical, anecdotal and historical - but journalism in this form was a new challenge for me: my working process changed appropriately, and my area of focus narrowed on a specific sub-topic. It was interesting to ponder the jurisprudential niceties of the proposed legislation (in light of developments abroad), and I learnt far more about marriage law than I ever wanted to know in the research process.

I plan to elaborate upon the experience of creating this strip closer to the time of the book's release later this year. Before then, I recommend having look over at the website of the anthology/publisher. Edward Ross also posted a blog entry about his contribution, at which you may like to have a gander.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Parchment is Hairy

I'm currently lettering my contribution to the fifth issue of Solipsistic Pop. At more than two thousand hand-lettered words across eight pages, it's probably hitherto my most textually dense strip.

Jon Chandler pointed me in the direction of an entry at Brain Pickings about monastic scribes' marginal lamentations. I love illuminated manuscripts and have been fascinated by the history of monastic book production for years - and one is brought very close to the life & sorrows of the monks by their quotidian complains.

One of them perfectly sums up my feelings this weekend: Writing is excessive drudgery. It crooks your back, it dims your sight, it twists your stomach and your sides.

A text box from 'Quadlock: Same Sex Marriage & Places of Worship'
Although the lettering in this my SP5 strip represents my most clean & consistent effort so far (I think), I'm still dissatisfied with its somewhat whimsical 'cartoon' style. I'm considering taking a calligraphy class in the hope that I'll be instructed in a hand with more gravity. (I'm also hoping to find a nib with which I'm comfortable, as there is little character in the even lines of Isograph pens.)

The last quotation from the Brain Pickings article speaks of the inevitable fate (& likely oblivion) of the artist & copyist: This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, 'The hand that wrote it is no more.' It's similar to the thoughts I have when watching early cinema footage: "All of the people in this frame are surely dead."

Monday, 13 August 2012

Music to Watch Pigs Fly

Since 2007, I've been a member of the band Decadence in Berlin, playing bass (and occasionally guitar), shouting & songwriting alongside my pal Graham & sister Lucy. Since Lucy & I moved to Manchester, the act's settled into a largely dormant state, getting together only for one performance up here, and another in Telford to 'promote' the release of our retrospective tape cassette album, Setbacks (released by Graham's record label, Distorted Tapes).


I designed a simple black-on-yellow sleeve intended to be reminiscent of cheap punk gig flyers. We've only produced fifty of them, so if you're interested, pick one up while they're available. Each unit comes with a unique download code for those of you without the obsolete technology necessary to use the tape itself. (Of course, I'm opposed to absolute exclusivity of content, so it'll also be available in a non-physical digital version soon.)

(The title of the blog post is my fanciful title for the album, at which Graham baulked.)

EDIT [21:11]: Apparently the digital version is already available.

EDIT [05/01/2013]: You can now purchase the tape from the Shop page.