Why Not?!

Thomas(10) has been writing up and drawing up a storm. He’s written and pencilled a 24 page comic called Why Not?! – which is largely inspired by the Beano and the Phoenix.

One of the struggles of being a professional comic artist dad is knowing just how much help is too much help. When Nathan (now 14) was younger he used to stop drawing and just say “You do it, you’re better than me” – now I’m not sure if he’d say they same about any adult, but I can’t help feeling I was to blame on this one.

With Tom as much as possible I’ve tried to encourage but not overwhelm, but I think we’ve made a happy compromise. Essentially, I’m inking and lettering his comic. (Actually, I think I’ve got a raw deal).

Now, in his defence, he did offer to pay me. 50p. I refused, and he upped it to £2. (I didn’t take it, but there was no back end deal, so again, I’m feeling like I’ve been taken advantage of)

The line up of issue 1 (he has plans, we’ll see how far they go, but I’ve been slightly taken aback at how steadily he’s worked at this, chipping away a page or two a day) includes:

  • Monkey Arms (the boy with the long arms)
  • Spacedogs
  • Galaxy FC (two pager adventure strip!)
  • Electric Kid
  • Time Thief
  • Head Bump Hero
  • Mean Dean
  • Tim Teleport
  • Broken Reality
  • Element Man
  • and a page of Dad’s Jokes (which Tom included under protest)

So we’re gonna get this thing printed up and try and price it at £2.50 and I’ll probably point a limited run of about 10 (unless, you know… people ask for copies…) One thing I’ll say, it’s been fun doing it, Thomas is very very funny.

Mac and Me

New computer New computer!!

The last computer I bought was purchased from an online store where I got to pick and choose every single component. Now, I used to work in IT (though I preferred software to hardware) so I was fairly comfortable with this, but it was a windows computer and a bit of a brute.

I went for something with a decent graphics card – because I wanted to do 3d stuff, but also something that could handle, down the road, VR.

It was noisy as all get out though, and bloody massive. And after a years and years on a Mac going back to windows felt … not good.

BUT I mostly use Clip Studio Paint which looks identical on windows or Mac (and now iPad Pro) so I didn’t think there’d be much problem, just a decent email client, a simple word processor (not MS Word, no thanks) and I’d be set.

But man oh man, I’d forgotten about windows and how easy it was to find crappy software and how hard it was to find decent software.

I would’ve gotten a Mac – I have a Cintiq 27, and didn’t need a monitor, but the Mac mini model at the time hadn’t been updated in 5-6 years and I’d be damned if I was gonna drop a grand on a machine that was out of date by that much. So windows it was.

Since then, stuff happened. Mac minis finally updated, I smashed my Cintiq 27 screen and bought a 16 Cintiq pro, a 4k screen that, amazingly, was almost impossible to get 4k out of – needing, as it did, a USB-C output. And the super neat all singing all dancing windows pc with the super up graphics card … no usb-c video output. So pretty damn frustrating.

Eventually I fixed the 27″ screen and I’ve been sitting with the 16 Pro in a box.

Anyway, got some stuff on and I thought – you know what… it’s time to go back to the Mac.

So I did. Mac mini, not the top end one, but a decent one.

Instantly, the 16 Cintiq pro works and I’m getting 4k and gosh that screen is gorgeous.

Mind you, I couldn’t recommend the 16 Cintiq – it has a weird visual distortion when you put the pen near the screen (like an analogue interference) and even though the Mac is pretty silent, the fan noise on the 16 pro is pretty damn annoying.

BUT those 4k graphics. Gah, hard to go back to a normal display.

Another pleasant surprise, Mac mini has built in speakers. Wasn’t expecting that. I’m not an audiophile, something that can play some music while I work is about all I need. But I never bought speakers, so relied on a bluetooth connection between my old PC and an amazon echo (which required me buying a bluetooth adaptor for the PC)

Here’s the thing: with apple your options are so much more limited, BUT when they offer a thing the thing works.

Anyway, the Mac mini is lovely. The Cintiq pro 16 is also gorgeous. It can’t do anything in 3d worst a damn though, so I reserve the use of the old PC for when I inevitably need to do some 3d modelling.

Out this week: 2000ad Prog 2131

I drew the cover and the strip “The world according to Chimpsky” about a hyper intelligent ape who lives in mega city 1, written by Kenneth Niemand. New droid, good dredd writer.

It looks like this

Publishing is a weird art, so this issue was drawn after the art in the prog that appeared before. And both were drawn over some time ago.

Matt wanted a cover for Chimpsky, and in an unusual note of convergence he suggested an idea I had already thought of – Chimpsky and Dredd facing off in the spider-man kiss pose (I imagine we both had exactly the same inspiration). Pretty pleased with how the cover turned out. It was pencilled, inked and coloured all within Clip Studio Paint.