Monday, 30 August 2010

The Doctor and Amy Pond

I've finished the inks for the Xmas Doctor Who Magazine strip and handed over to Geri for colours. I tend to be very hands on about colour work and I must be a nightmare to work with. Fortunately, Geri and I have been friends for 26 years and he puts up with me as well as anyone. I don't want to give away too much about Jonny Morris's wonderful story, so here's a brief glimpse. Above is the first panel.

This a screen shot of something from the middle of the story. Can see what it is yet?

And this is from the last page. I finished the inks for this late last night, I have the whiskers and red eyes to prove as much, and I just need to check I haven't missed anything. After a bit of a tidy up I can start work writing the script for Don Quixote Volume One...

Friday, 20 August 2010


I'm very happy to announce that, as of September 1st, I will be adapting Don Quixote for SelfMadeHero. I'll be writing and illustrating the books. This was key for me as I want to bring a complete vision to Don Quixote.

I'll be fascinated to know what people's opinions are of Don Quixote, most people I've spoken to know the book, know that it is regarded as a cornerstone of western literature, but haven't actually read it. I have heard it described as 'the greatest book ever written, that no one reads'. That's a bit of a tragedy really. Even if you don't accept it's the 'greatest book ever written' it's hard to argue that it isn't the father of all novels (and I include Graphic ones!). I realise that it's a daunting book to tackle - a thousand page book written in the late 16th/early 17th century, most of us swallow hard at that kind of challenge, but it is worth it!

If I'm going to remain faithful to Cervantes' genius text I will need to make a graphic novel that is laugh-out-loud funny, painfully tragic, profound, surreal, constantly reinventing itself and featuring some of the most well-rounded characters in literature... no big ask then!

I can't wait to get started and I will post developments on this blog as I go.

Above is a sample from some of the pages I did as a pitch. I'm really glad Emma at SelfMadeHero has bought into my vision for this project and I look forward to working with the SelfMade team over the next 18 months.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Drawing Matt Smith

With my Solipsistic Pop story done I am back on the inks for the Xmas Doctor Who Magazine strip. Having fun/nightmares doing the new Doctor, Matt Smith. Likenesses are always a bit tricky and the more information you put down on paper the more lines there are to get wrong and the less chance you have of a likeness. Unless you want a tracing a photo of course, but that has it's own inherent problems - the characters tend to look like mime artists or wax dummies rather than real people.

I've scratched about a bit with Smith. Any successes I had with the last Doctor came from finding a 'silhouette', a shape that I could use to make him a cartoon character. I'm still searching for that with Smith, although I can see him clearer now than when I started - his hair's a puzzle that takes some thought. And for someone with a long face he has a very short face. If you know what I mean (!?).

We'll, I've given him a long face now even if he doesn't have one. One of the reasons I needed to find that cartoon shape for him is so as I can have him doing extreme faces like the one below. I'd never find a photo of him doing that.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Solipsistic Pop strip

I've just finished my strip for Solipsistic Pop 3. The book is due out in November, the official launch will be at Leeds Thought Bubble festival. I don't want to give away anything about the strip or about the book for now. I can't wait to see everyone else's strips, there's a lot of very talented folk working on this book.

Monday, 2 August 2010

When we were six

My eldest son James is my step son, he's thirteen and I've brought him up since the age of 3. Nowadays we are just father and son, no need for the step thing, but it's been a long road we've travelled together. 7 years ago when I was on the dole and he was approaching his sixth birthday life was pretty tough and I was still insecure about our relationship, so one day when he and I were dragging bits of wood out of a skip to recycle as shelves I had the idea to recycle some of his toys along with the wood and make a 'thing' that included lots of stuff we'd enjoyed together. There's no way I could compensate for absent genes, but if it was possible for an out of work cartoonist suffering a breakdown to build a gene replacement step fathering device then this was probably it.

I built it for his sixth birthday and it's lived on his bedroom wall most of the time since. Currently it's in my studio awaiting repairs. The Fiffer Feffer Fef* (2nd in from top left) has long gone and it needs a bit of work.

It ended up looking very Peter Blake. Many parts of it function - there's a lever for Jerry to pop in and out of his hole, the tiny Earth spins, the football is on a spring, the racing driver helmet visor lifts to reveal my son's face, the target is two opening doors, the guitar (that I made from cardboard, match wood, fusewire and fishing tackle) does actual strum etc..

Hope it's of some interest to you folks.

*He had trouble reading and this was the first thing he learned to read, thank you Dr Seuss.

(and if it looks a bit odd and wonky it's because I pasted together two old photos of it a photoshopped them a bit to try and show what it actually looked like.)
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