All posts by PJ

PJ is your host. Small but perfectly formed.


Hey, how are you? Me, oh I’m grand, got a busy month coming up.

It’s Inktober, I’ve never taken part before but I’m gonna give it a go . And today is #DayOfDredd – a cunning plot by 2000AD to get people to buy more dredd comics under the pretext of drumming up interest in a sequel to the Dredd movie. Hey I’m all for both, so I drew a Dredd on day 1.

My plan is to draw superheroes though, I need the practice.

This weekend (4th of October) is 24 Hour Comics day. There’s no way I can find the time/energy needed to do this, but I’ll be popping in to the Belfast branch at Farset labs with my son, for an hour or two just to see what we can do. (I’m not sure if the event is suitable for kids, I’m just taking a punt – though it’s exactly the sort of event kids should be involved in…)

Later in the Month (25-26th October) it’s the Belfast Film and Comic Con at The Odyssey. I’ll be there, along with my surprisingly popular Klimt inspired print and something new – AND copies of Dept of Monsterology, which I’ll have for signing (I’ll be sketching on the day too)

All the while I’ll be finishing Chapter 2 of Dept of Monsterology book 2 – we’re getting through it! Pretty excited about it, it’s a fun book and I’m lucky to be doing more.

If you’re one of the people that saw me in Dublin and are interested in a Belfast Comic Coffee Club then you should sign up for the Belfast Comics Creators facebook group and I’ll post dates on there.

That’s it, have a good month! (Oh, stay tuned I’ll be posting the inktober sketches as I go…)

Post DICE 2014

Let me be straight and to the point: Dice was amazing this year. If you missed it I feel sorry for you.

I missed a lot of it, because there was just so much of it – I didn’t attend a single panel (er… not even the one I was supposed to) because I was at my table saying hello to people and signing things – which was awesome, and thank you to everyone who came up and said “I follow you on twitter” – there was a LOT of you guys and gals!

People were extraordinarily complimentary about the Klimt inspired Deadpool & Harley Quinn piece I’d done, enough to break through the edifice of my normally awkward inability to gracefully accept a compliment, so in the end I kind of gave in and figured you’re all right: it IS awesome.

(Hey, Declan Shalvey’s mum wanted a print of it, so you know – it was THAT nice…)

I’ve done a few shows now where I stay at a table all day and have to explain to most people who I am (that’s the nature of “Comic Cons”) but this felt like the first show where I spent all day with people who know me and my work, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy. So thank you all for that.

I managed to get in front of some editors to show the Hulk samples, and they said some hard things to hear – but generally prefaced with a “well, the only reason we’re telling you THIS is because you’re obviously good” and I’ve a couple of email addresses to send work on to, we’ll see how that plays out in the weeks / months / years ahead (comics, it’s a long game :)

It’s taken me a couple of days and I’m still not fully decompressed.

Should thank everyone who I saw and everyone involved in making Dice happen : Declan, John, Bruno and JP and their army of volunteers and madmen and woman.

(And I remind you: if you want to break in to comics and didn’t attend DICE you really really should get to the next one…)

I’ve a mad busy couple of months coming up with, seemingly, four excursions beyond these shores in the next three months (and one is a trip to China!)

If you missed the chance to get me to sign something, or would like to pick up a print (including a new one I’m launching at the show) I’ll be at the Belfast Film and Comic-Con on the 25-26th October, I’ll maybe see you there.



Hulk Portfolio Piece

I’m now in danger of overdrawing/overthinking this, but here’s an 8 page portfolio piece. It’s from the same script, part one (pages 1-5) are Banner gets abducted sequence and meets the Monster. The remaining three pages are pure Hulk action!

I figure a good portfolio piece should show range, and I hope this does, but you know… it’s also got to show you can draw the thing you want to draw (in this case the Hulk) and I hope it does that to.

Taking this with me to Dice, wish me luck!Hulk_001











Manga Studio + Cintiq

I spent a little time today finally refining/resetting some of the buttons on my cintiq. Most wacom graphic tablets have a set of buttons on them that you can use for various defaults, the Cintiq 12XW has two sets – one on the left and the other on the right. I’ll talk you through what I’ve set up, you may find it useful (and it might suggest some ideas for how to tweak your own setup)

Settings for Manga Studio / Cintiq buttons

1: Rotate – this is the left hand side slide strip. I had to program keyboard shortcuts in for rotate left 15deg and rotate right 15deg, then I set up the cintiq to use those keyboard shortcuts. Manga Studio has a “Shortcut Settings” that allows you to add keyboard shortcuts to pretty much most (if not all) the commands available in manga studio, combining that with the keystroke settings on the wacom cintiq lets you set up the cintiq in a way that should allow you to hide the menu and just get on with drawing.

2: Toggle Screen (this actually is for toggling whether the cintiq pen can be used for the all of your screens or just the cintiq screen – useful for selecting things you may have on another monitor, but not much use beyond that) this was a default setting which I left alone.

3: SELECT – keyboard modifier, this is a default value so I left it (holding this and using the pen turns the drawing tool into the select tool allowing you to modify rulers and other editable objects)

3: SHIFT – this was a default, holding shift constrains various drawing tools (and with pens allows you to draw straight lines quickly).

4: COLOUR SELECT – default, turns the pen into an eyedropper to pick up a colour. Useful for colouring, but I rarely use it for drawing.

5: Reset Rotate – programmed a keystroke for reset rotate and then set this button to that keystroke, so once I’ve rotate the drawing I can quickly reset it.

7: Button on the pen, set the SPACE bar – when I hold this button down the pen becomes a hand tool and I can quickly move the page around on the screen.

8: UNDO – a mark of how good I am at digital drawing I have undo built in to the pen… :|

9: Flip Horizontal. Again, set up a keystroke to flip the page (so I can check if things are going skewwif) and set it up on the cintiq.

10: Zoom in. Set this to the keystroke for zooming in.

11: Zoom out. Set this to the keystroke for zooming out.

12: Toggle Black/Transparent – set this to keystroke C which is toggles this values (dead handy!)

13: Tab – quickly hides/shows the full controls for Manga Studio.

14: The right hand strip, I’ve set up to use Manga Studio’s default tools for Enlarge/Shrink the drawing tool (which are ] and [)

That’s it!


Hey, are you going to DICE this year? What’s DICE? ONLY THE BEST  PROPER COMIC EXPO THAT HAPPENS IN IRELAND (and possibly the UK) happening on the 27th and 28th of September in Dublin.

Actually, hyperbole aside, it’s a pretty damn great comic event, and, if you’re interested in the industry in any capacity, this is the convention you should be going to, it’s got a seriously great international guest list (not a duff one in the lot!) as well as a who’s who of Irish & UK talent, and, unusually for a comic event it in the UK or Ireland there are also US editors at the show, who can and will look at portfolios. This years portfolio review is a little more considered (not to say formal) than last years, but there’s still lots of pros happy to look at and pick apart your portfolio.

I’ve banged this drum endlessly, but it still bears repeating if you’re interested in working in comics this is easily the best convention in Ireland, UK, Europe or, possibly, the World to go to. (Why? it’s still a small convention, it’s a relaxed event – many of the pros are there as much on holiday as they are at a convention, it’s a proper comics focused event, rather than the seemingly never ending mushrooming of “Comic-Cons” where comics are often lip service to the  main job of selling you a signature of that guy who used to be in that spin-off of that sci-fi series, you know the guy, he played the alien [don't get me wrong, I think those conventions are great too, just in a very different way] and there’s a definite atmosphere of encouragement)

When I was a young pup I’d travel to the UK to meet a single editor, here you have a Marvel talent scout, a DC Editor (of the Batman group titles) and a couple of senior people from 2000AD. I couldn’t dream of an event as great as DICE practically on my doorstep, and I’d’ve kicked myself if I missed it.

Don’t end up kicking yourself.

If you’re in Ireland and in to comics (and especially if you want to make it your job) and you don’t turn up at Dice? Then I don’t even…

If you’re on the UK mainland? There’s lots of ways to get to Dublin, and it’s a small enough place, drive over, hop on the ferry, fly, whatever.

Oh, if you’re in Belfast around Thursday Sept 18th I’ll be meeting people at the Lyric Theatre Cafe at 10:00am for the Belfast Comic Book and Coffee Club where we’ll be talking strategy and portfolio reviews for DICE. If you can get to that, that’d be awesome!

Hot Desk

Those following along my know that earlier in the year I was lucky enough to be offered some space in video game company – just a simple desk, away from home, and it was incredibly useful having that walk in to town and the clean desk – without family, or things around. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you are) those guys got bigger and bigger and no there’s no room.

Today though, I discovered that, in Belfast City Centre, there’s a business hub offering free “hot desks” – amusingly the hub (funded by local government) has converted what used to be a clothing shop and the hot desks are actually in the stalls of a converted changing cubicles. I laughed like a drain when I saw them – they’re like an office version of those coffin hotels. BUT! I grabbed a chair, pulled out my A5 notebook and started working – there’s no room to do the full A3 work that I did in the other free space – but I can get a fair amount done, and I did. Plus it’s a fair aul walk into Belfast city centre, so good exercise (aside from …er.. it being beside the KFC so uhm.. any exercise may be ruined).

Anyhue, that’s it. Oh, and I’m doing a cover for 2000AD. There you go! Some news!

Belfast Comic Book Creator Coffee Club

So we had our first meeting yesterday and I’m calling it a success. it was a small group BUT that the venue was great (big, bright, airy, quiet, roomy), everyone had something to show, and I hope everyone got something positive out of it.

I was hoping to organise another meetup further down the line, make it every two months BUT… DICE is next month, and we’d be silly not to sit and try and do some portfolio prep before hand, so we’re meeting on…

THURSDAY 18th SEPTEMBER 2014 At the Lyric Theatre Cafe at 9:30AM

Mark it in your diary folks. This gives us a week and bit before DICE and so the agenda here will be getting portolios prepped for dice, and giving advice on how to approach the editors at the show. Obviously my focus is squarely on helping artists, but if you’re a writer, small press publisher or want to break into comics in any way, then you’re more than welcome to come down.

As ever, I’ll be there – giving what veteran advice I can give, and if you’re into comics and especially if you want to MAKE comics this will be a good toe in the water before you get along to DICE which is, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say this,  the best opportunity any comic artist will ever get to have their work appraised by Marvel, DC and 2000AD any where in the world.

I’m not kidding.