June 2020 Catchup (I KNOW I KNOW!)

Eight days into July and I’ve only just realised I didn’t log my page count for June. So let’s try that now.

Ok, Chimpsky Captain Cookies ep 3 finished (I can mention the title as it’s been announced in the letter’s page of 2000ad, you wont get to see this until the new year!) That’s Six pages. Pencils and inks.

Finished the entirety of the thing I’ve been doing for The Finish Institute (their annual report in comic form!) I think I did pages 5 to 18, that’s 13 pages. Pencils and inks.

And did four folklore thursdays, pencils inks and colours.

Did a silly little one pager with Umar Ditta, and working on a thing with him.

And finally – FINALLY – finished the strip Jericho – 5 for the 77. Rescued, to be honest, by Dan Whitehead, who stepped into to dialogue and script my story that was just out of my grasp. Dan did a great job, really elevated it, so it’s like a proper story now. That’s four pages. No wait, I finished that last week. SO DOESN’T COUNT FOR JUNE. DAMMIT.

So, total in June (and ignoring some other tv story boarding stuff) that brings me to 20 pages. Couple of invoices out, and that’s it. Not a bad total, not a great total.

And I suppose, since we’re halfway through the year, that means, roughly speaking, I’ve finished 100 pages so far.

Back in my pre-pro days (let’s call that the dark time) I’d’ve been amazed to get anywhere near a hundred pages in a year (I’m pretty sure some years I managed 20)

Now, sadly, it’s a pretty slow average for me.

This month I’ve already put four pages to bed, and started the final episode of this Chimpsky Strip. And, unless something else happens, that’s it! Four more pages of the folklore thursday to do too, but as we all know, no payday for that!

Things usually turn up and I’ve been saving little a little squirrel for the inevitable draw down of work, with the plan of turning my attention back to a kickstarter project (one I’m drawing all of) and so, worst case scenario I start that sooner than anticipated.

Anyway, onward!

Folklore Thursday: Stone

In a slightly unusual move, I’ve done two versions of this, the first didn’t sit well with me so I recoloured it. So I present the recoloured version first:

If you’ve come all this way down to read my thinking on here, I’m afraid I’ve got nothing. This is the 51st page of comics I’ve drawn for folklore thursday and I think four more strips and boom! a whole year done!

2020 Week 25


How’s your week. It’s been a complex, difficult week for everyone I think (and for many it’s doubtless been painful too).

I’ve been slowly slowly working my way through part three of a four part Dredd. Got it finished, eventually, three weeks it’s taken – for six pages. Crazy. (Granted I was planning on taking two weeks and I don’t have a deadline so it’s not late, but it is a rubbish way to earn an income)

That done, I’ve been doing corrections for a WWI story (never much fun, but necessary for this because it’s based on a true story). Drew a one page strip written by Umar Ditta, for an anthology thing and I’ve been thinking about the Channel Hex thing again.

To recap: last year I started working around the idea of a kickstarter format, one that would be both sustainable for me to do, and sustainable for a book for people to buy.

(And sustainability was important, because if I could make one book work then I could turn it into recurring format)

Ultimately I figured drawing a 64 page book in the “Commando” or “Starlord” format (roughly A5 size, typically 1 or 2 panels per page) would be the best. It would be quick to do, cheap to make and feel substantial – 64 pages would feel like something, even if, based on the page size it’s close to being about 16-20 pages of normal sized comics.

Anyway, instead of just barrelling ahead I did a lot of thinking on it. Roped a friend in for a script, and just started chipping away at it.

But, of course, feature creep meant it slipped to being bigger than commando size (a calculation I thought wouldn’t make any difference, but OF COURSE IT DID) it sort of upended everything. The Covid-19 hit and all plans went out the window.

Now, I’ve seen others take a similair approach to kickstarter and do well out of it, so it’s time to think about this again. (Notably the guys doing Hell in Stalingrad, who I did a cover for)

Going back to square one, the original format idea, it’s time to start building out spreadsheets and seeing how I can make it work. And, as soon as I get a script in hand, I’m gonna take an unpaid month and just draw the hell out of it. And move to kickstart with it as soon as I can.

So, next week, I’ll be thinking about that, waiting on a Dredd script and doing a four pager for the 77 kickstarter comic. Oh, and doing some work on this thing for the Finnish Insititute, which is a bunch of interviews I’m adding some goofy humour too (all done as comics).

That’s a lot of stuff for next week, but I just need to find my groove. Tomorrow I’ll fire the Dredd off to the editor. Look at what needs done on the 77. (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday) and get that out of the way.

Closing off stuff to allow new stuff in.

Anyway, here’s to a calmer week ahead (as if)

OH and as soon as movement starts again on Channel Hex – you’ll see it behind the scenes on my newsletter SIGN UP NOW channelhex.com

Folklore Thursday: Egg

Available to buy as a print on redbubble

Originally published over at patreon.

So, while John and I aren’t exactly the same age, we both grew up in Blighty and share many of the same references, and I’m pretty sure John had some notion what I’d do with this.

Monkey was an absolutely formative experience for me. I’d never seen anything like it. It hit the UK in ’79 – and I was nine years old. I grabbed the nearest broom handle from the back yard and was twirling it around like Monkey Magic for hours on end.

Endless school fights.

If you’ve never seen Monkey (or, to give it it’s original Japanese name, “Journey in to the West”) it was an absolutely bonkers adaptation of the a Chinese novel written in the 16th century. And probably my first exposure to asian culture.

I had a couple of notions of how to handle this, the big choice was do I do my own version of The Monkey King or do I do the version played by Masaaki Sakai (who was impossibly charming as the boisterous, and naughty monkey)

And you know, the pleasure of doing your own stuff is you can do what you like. So Masaaki Sakai it was. 

Ideally, I think, I would’ve like to have done this as a four colour comic book adaptation or a cover – and I designed a “The Monkey King” logo to drop on it, but I just couldn’t make it work, so in the end I settled for moving some of the text around so I could end on “The Monkey King” trying to tease out the idea of what my monkey king might look like, so in the final panel reveal it’s a neat little nostalgia hit.

Holiday Comics 2012

A few years ago, while on holiday in Rathmullan (remember holidays?) I decided to try and do some daily comic stripping – and so I did (well, for a couple of days at least). And so here they are. They’re from 2012, when things gosh — when things were so much simpler.

No, I have no idea what I was inking with – I forgot to draw it. Probably a brush.

Watched a lot of Son’s of Anarchy.

Up to a point…

Crafted an entirely new creator owned action adventure series about librarians…

Tried a bit of Simple RPGaming with my son, by asking him to design a guy to fight me, it did not go well.

The 2012 Olympics, back then, the most dystopian thing I could imagine was the fact the Olympics wouldn’t allow not-Olympic funders to show their brand name. Oh sweet summer child.

And finally, Tabitha Devine, dark Gothic Mistress – which made me laugh if nothing else.

You know, for strips I spent half an hour or so on, they aren’t actually too bad. A bit of silly fun. Hope you like ’em!

PJ’s Live Sketch Show #5

So, yesterday was the last live sketch until august, I think – next week is Father’s Day. Then we’re into July, and that’s sort of height of summer holiday in NI.

I want to thank everyone who’s commissioned me over the 5 episodes (though really, I think I’ve done this format now about 7 times) and esp for everyone who’s been able to tune in and chat alongside. Honestly. I know I talk a lot, but if I didn’t have questions or comments to respond to it would be one hour plus of pencil scratching sounds (maybe that would be better … Nah!)

anyway. Hopefully see you all again in august for season 2 🙂

The Live Sketch Show

Now on Sundays!

Decided to make the move to Sunday Permenent, so it’s now just the PJ Holden Live Sketch show, Sundays from 8.

I’d hoped that every episode I could just do a handful of commissions, but it’s possible everyone that wants a commission has already gotten one. Boo!

BUT! If you’d like a sketch drawn for you on the show, let me know : pjholden@gmail.com subject “Live Sketch” – sketches are A5 and it’s £30 for a pencil sketch and £50 for an inked one.

The show lasts about an hour and I like to have about 6-8 sketches (depending on whether I’m inking them or not)

2020 Week 23

How was your week? Yes. Mine too.

Anyway, here’s what I did, in this, the first week of June.

Pencilled an episode of Dredd, actually quite liked some of the pages (by which I mean I sat back and thought “wow – that’s actually pretty good”) so who knows what I’ll think by the time I ink them. That happens next week.

The most recent folklore thursday seems to have been very popular.

Started up a redbubble for the folklore thursday stuff. Will be adding to it as time allows, but i think there’s some neat things up there right now…

I did an episode of the Saturday Sketch Show Live last week on Saturday (and I’m doing another episode tonight – and taking bookings for next week’s show..)

I drew a silly little three page comic with Al Ewing for “Quarantine Comix

Yes, it’s an Animal Crossing comic, sort of…

In other news, reached out to Umar Ditta whose writing a one page strip for me a quickstarter, that should be fun. (Pencilling that today in fact, possibly inking it too)

So, to next week-

Inking this episode of Dredd. Repencilling the Jericho 5 strip I’m doing for the 77 – which I’ve asked Dan Whitehead to write for me (I had planned to write this myself, but I’ve just not been able to do it to the quality I like, and Dan’s pretty damn good, which means I can concentrate on getting the drawing as good as I can…)

And that’s it.

Anyway, on to next week, and let’s all just try and get through this with our kindness and hope intact while at the same time acknowledging Black Lives Matter and systemic racism is a problem endemic both to politics and culture and we need to fix that.