Folklore Thursday: Food

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Originally posted here.

Hey ho! 

Started with a bunch of different kids and ended up being one based on me experiencing all of this, because, you know, I did…

Green Crisps, even to this day I’m still a little wary over green crisps, I’ll eat them, but I’ll be suspicious.

Pips – oh man, one of my best mates in primary school (age about 7?) was a fella called Paul Brolly who would eat an apple whole, core, pips, the bit of twig if it was there. A feat that would leave me wide eyed. It was fairly plausible a tree would grow from your stomach straight up your throat and out your mouth. This seemed entirely consistent with all the facts, and yet, Paul Brolly defied all of them. He was a medical marvel.

Blue Smarties. I was pretty hyper as a kid, so I’m not sure if I ever remember this one, but I’m certainly aware of it now. (Fun fact: red colouring E120 is made from insects, I’m pretty sure that would’ve blown my mind as a kid)

And finally…

I can actually remember where I was the first time I was told swallowing gum would stay in your gut. I was about 6 or so, and my mum told me. And I remember thinking “but I’ve been doing this for ages, is all the bubble gum gonna stay in there??” 

To this day, I’ve no idea what happened to all the bubble gum in my gut.

John Reppion wrote a fun little essay to go with this week’s tweet here.

The Sunday Blog about the Saturday Live Show…

So, had the second of the Saturday Live Sketch Shows last night, some early teething issues aside it was pretty fun (the video was very stuttery to begin with, eventually dropped the resolution which was pretty high res, to something more manageable but STILL pretty high quality) you can watch the video or just look at the sketches from that page.

And I’ve even secured the iphone camera a little better so that should result in a much better, less drifty video.

I’ve got a stacked dance card for next week, but the following week I’ve nothing booked! And If you’d like me to sketch something for you, you can get in on that! (for details see the faq)

Should note, next week I move the show to 8pm from 9pm, that’s purely because I’ve discovered kids are watching and it suits them (and, tbh, me) a little better to move it up one hour. Plus if it spills over, there’s a little legroom for me.

The following week though the show moves – for that week – to Sunday at 8pm. It’s my son, Thomas’s 12th birthday that Saturday so we’ll be busy.

Just want to say thanks to everyone who watched the show, sticking with the jumpy video at the beginning, I found it hugely fun, and as long as I can continue to get a little bit of paid commissions for the show then I’ll keep on broadcasting. Hopefully getting the technical aspects of it better and better as we go along!

Folklore Thursday: Fire

Originally posted at my Patreon.

This is one of those strips you feel smug about how you’ve turned it into to something. John’s tweets can sometimes be so evocative they paint a picture right in my brain and I’ve just got Toppi’s The Enchanted World so the combination provoked a reaction. I’ll not pretend I got any where near Toppi (I am but a bit of smouldering moss to his bright white hot sun) but sometimes it’s about trying something. 

It’s all digital, think this could have benifited from being a traditionally drawn thing. Mark making in digital is so restrictive compared to the same thing in analogue. By which I mean you can get a variety of cool marks from the digital tools but you’re rarely surprised by them. Ink splatter, rough lines, etc. All possible, but all identically repeatable.

Even lifting a stick and dipping it in ink will produce more variety, more surprises, so I am slightly cross with myself for not giving that ago. But who knows, we’ve 10 more strips to do! (TEN??? That’ can’t be right.. but no… looks like that is.. crickey!) so maybe I’ll get to do try this again. 

On the other hand, two very monochrome strips one after the other, time for something radically different (a photostrip?? that would be … weird… doable… but weird…? I dunno, sod it, the idea is in my head now…)

Anyway, hope you like it!

Don’t forget, at the end of all this I’m giving away some art, to the top 5 patron contributors, Patron informs me I can’t RANDOMLY give away sketches to patrons (as it’s considered a raffle), so instead of giving two sketches to random patrons, I’ll give sketches to the TOP *7* patreons (so if you’re on a $1 pledge you could guarantee a sketch by moving to the a $10 pledge fairly easily 🙂

And now a word from our sponsors:


I’ve figured out how to multistream and how to get all the comments in one place too, so this Saturday I’ll be sketching. I’ve a full list of commissions to get through, so for one hour, you’ll watch me sketch about 7-8 drawings. Tune in, and if you’d love a sketch for yourself, you can commission for the following weeks show by emailing me

This week in Comics…

It’s the last episode of Chimpsky! I hope you won’t be disappointed. Under a great cover by Neil Googe.

And in this week’s Judge Dredd Megazine, under a cover by ME. The final part of Bad Sector by me and Arthur Wyatt.

And soon (I think a couple of days, actually…) if you’ve been starved of my work…

PJ Holden’s LIVE Sketch Show…

I did a live sketch thing yesterday that was a lot of fun. Did a bunch of sketches for people (A5 on card, drawn in pencil, £30 each) and ended up having a few more to do that I kept going and did another live sketch show. The first was via facebook, the second via twitter.

I enjoyed doing them so much (I’ll be honest, I like drawing and talk at the same time, it’s one of my favourite things to do at comic cons) that I’ve decided to make it a weekly thing.

With the caveat that I’d like to get paid to sketch!

So, every Saturday at 9pm I will attempt to sketch up to 10 drawings in one hour. (I seem to be able to do about 7 mind you).

You can watch the watch the pilot episode, I did earlier this evening at my twitch channel here.

Which means, before Saturday I’d like to build a list of sketch requests up so I HAVE sketches to do for Saturday and, you know, if you’re not doing conventions and you fancy getting a nice pencil sketch of something 2000ad related (or other thing related) then you can!

Just email me with the subject line “Live Sketch” and the thing you’d like sketched.

A5 sketches are half A4, the more ambitious your idea the less likely is it’ll be very big. It’s a great size for a portrait shot, or maybe a bust shot (not that kind of bust) I could probably do a full figure, but it wouldn’t be very big at all (and frankly, I’m likely to just say no!)

Anyway, I’ll do this for a while, my plan is to fund myself buying a brand spanking new ipad Pro, 12.9″ with apple care and an apple pencil (approx £1069 for the 256Mb model, applecare £129 and the pencil is £119 – so a total of £1317 or … uhm… 44 sketches… this could take a while…)

Midweek update

Hello sports fan, it’s time for the midweek update.

So, what can I tell you so far: I’ve lost track of the days, I’m unsure what work I’ve done, and I’ve had my second cornovirus haircut and now my hair is a clumpy mess of shaved and unshaved bits.

Ok, on to work:

Last week I finished inking a WWI story that I’ve been doing for a little while (it needs approval)

Here’s a sneak peak:

Spiky Mallet. Timmy Mallet’s more angry cousin.

My original plan with this was to do traditional inking, but time got away from me, so it ended up being all digital. Annoyingly I think the all digital looks better, but it feels less satisfying to do.

Also, on the cards: started ep 2 of an entirely new Chimpsky! Bad news for those Chimpsky haters out there (I know you exist) no idea when we’ll see this but it’s fun to let loose in mega city one again. Also, did a cover for it.

Been tasked with doing a cut out and keep Judge Dredd, so that should be fun!

Couple of days ago the Times ran a Roy of the Rovers story written by Rob Williams, and drawn by me (colours by John Charles)

Photo from the 2000ad/Roy of the Rovers twitter stream…
The actual strip, coloured so the colourist could see the white logos I dropped on there. (c) Rebellion Developments Ltd, probably.

It’s been a strange month, this. With Judge Dredd: Chimpsky’s Law running in 2000ad, and Judge Dredd: Bad Sector running in the Megazine and then the Roy of the Rovers and, unbelievably, NEXT week finally the graphic novel “The Stringbags” by Garth Ennis and me comes out (ably assisted by Rob Steen lettering, and Kelly Fitzpatrick colouring) and shepared with love and care by Gary Thompson at Dead Reckoning.

Book Cover: The Stringbags
pew pew pew / cover by Me with colours by Kelly Fitzpatrick

Since there’s an 11 page preview of this here, I think I’d be ok to show you a few of those pages unlettered in b&w, right?

If you’re not sick of hearing me talk you can listen to the 2000ad podcast I did last week here:

Oh, if you’re in the mood for WAR stories by me, Rob Williams and I have a destroyer strip in the Battle special coming out on the 19th of September.

pew pew pew too

I really shouldn’t, but here’s a bit of this too… (which you might have already seen on twitter)

Crikey, that’s been exhausting. I hope you don’t get sick of my art!

I came out of last year a bit worried that I didn’t have much in print to show for the work I did – I think I’d a few little bits from 2000AD (actually about a year ago first Chimpsky strip was printed) and I think the Image Comics Savage Dragon and maybe a few other bits and pieces, and after finishing the graphic novel I wanted to get stuff in print. Anyway, for reasons I don’t quit understand it’s all arriving at once. That’s the way, though, innit.

And I haven’t even mentioned Dept K yet…

Folklore Thursday: Jack-in-The-Green

This strip appeared on our patreon first here. John Reppion has written an accompanying essay here.

Hello! Back! And we’re opening up with a big full colour piece!

Lots of fun drawing this, trying to get a bit of John in the the Jack here (more spirit than actual lookie-likie) 

Panel 1 was gonna be the green-man style face, turn on symmetry and just go to town. 

The Floral garland King, riding a shire horse is a very peculiar thing. Nabbed some photo reference for the King and then went off to google maps to find a good bit of street to use, I’d already inked the foreground man-on-horse. Was pottering around the google street view of Castleton, Derbyshire when I stumbled across “Ye Olde Nag’s Head Hotel” and by crickey it was perfect for what I wanted. So here it is.

Stay safe, hold your loved ones tight.

Papercraft Dredd

Ok, paper craft is overselling it. It’s a Judge Dredd standee.

One of my earliest memories of Dredd is building Justice-1 out of computer punch card, and making little Dredd and Hershy figures (these were, doubtless, no where near as good as I remember them being).

Still time moves on, and here I am now a professional artist working on Judge Dredd and you know… I thought it would be fun to go back and do a Judge Dredd Standee and here it is:

Having printed it myself I’d say: don’t stick it to card that’s overly tough! I should probably have added a cutting guide, too. And the little inset cuts should probably only be half the height, with whatever little bits you’re using about half that height too. (And I should probably have drawn those little inset bits too, just for completeness)

I drew this Dredd to fill an A4 page, which is a little big, I also did a youtube video – a 25 minute long, me chatting to myself (and using cues from Richard Herring’s Emergency Questions 1001 Conversation Savers for Every Occasion) to prompt thoughts while I draw. The 25 minute time is the length of a single pomodoro, and I obviously didn’t get the Dredd finished in that time, but it was enough to start, and you can watch it here:

If you enjoy it, would appreciate a like, and any comments you might want to leave – to help me figure out whether it’s worth doing more of these things.

April 2020

Woosh. Where’d it go?

Look, I could beat myself up here, but the reality is no-one could’ve been expected to get much done this month. Dealing with lock down, two kids needing educated, wife working from home and then, after a year long illness that required almost constant hospitalisation, my Father-in-Law went in to hospital, visiting a hospital an hour round trip away, for my wife donning PPE gear, while I went home and looked after the kids was tough through the month, but then, sadly, last week we were told he’d have days to live. He passed away on Monday, his funeral was on the Tuesday.

But, the harsh reality is, I only get paid to complete pages of work, and this month was particularly bad. Last month, by comparison was fairly good, so I’m hoping with a bit of care we can navigate from this month to the next without being too squeezed on income.

(If you’re unfamiliar, here’s the pattern of how it works:

DAY 1: I look for work. (If I’m lucky that won’t take a month, it’ll take a day)
DAY 2-30 : I do the work. And invoice for the work.
DAY 60: I get paid for the work.

So, that’s a two month gap between needing money and getting money, which is why you’re always trying to keep work flowing. And have enough savings tucked away you can move through any speed bumps)

Now, here’s what I actually drew…

Folklore Thursday: I drew 3 folklore Thursday strips. (I’m double checking that because, wow, I’m amazed I got any of those done). That means I missed one strip, though, for the first time. Understandable, but not ideal.

Judge Dredd: I finished inking a six page Dredd strip, I can’t honestly tell you if I pencilled it last month or this, but let’s say I finished it this month, and that’s what’s important! (because I can invoice it)

Judge Dredd: Finished a cover. Yay!

WWI Story: Finished a cover! Hurrah!

Roy of the Rovers: Drew a one page Roy of the Rovers, it’ll turn up somewhere cool, but I can’t tell you yet.

So, if you’re keeping count, I’ve drawn a total of 9 things I can invoice for, and an additional 3 things I can’t. 12. Easily the worst month I’ve had this year. And certainly, I hope, not a prelude to how this is all gonna shake out.

I’ll be honest, my big hope is I can hold things together long enough to get to the Government freelancer income that will be 80% of my average income over the last three years. That plus whatever work I can find should keep the homefires burning. But it’s a finite time period, after that, the hope is there’ll still be a comics industry, and they’ll still be looking for artists…

Folklore Thursday: Kodoma

Originally posted at

I’m trying to transition my digital drawing over to the ipad and away from the big desktop. Partly this is about space, partly display quality (ipad pro vs cintiq lo res) partly about affordability – if my current big computer system goes (a 27” cintiq and a mac mini) I couldn’t afford to replace it, but I could afford to replace my ipad. (Maybe… probably not actually)

So, my I pencilled, inked, coloured and lettered this on the iPad Pro running Clip Studio Ex.

Now, on to the art. The colours here were inspired (of all things) by a screen saver running on my apple tv (YES, I AM ENTIRELY AN APPLE HOUSEHOLD, I’M SORRY) it was a great shot of Hollywood with a weird coloured sky. It may not even have been pink, but that fused in my head with the colours of cherry blossoms, and here we are.

I googled the Kodoma – and you’ll largely get these cute looking sprites that, I think, are from a Studio Ghibli film so I ruled those out. That said, I couldn’t help myself and added little eyes to the stars of twinkly light-sprites.

Next an animal, I thought fox would be fun, and because I’d drawn two stars it seemed right to draw two foxes. Ditto with the humans.

And the final panel was gonna be black and white but the rest is pretty monochrome anyway, so I thought I’d change the background colour to orange for the fire.

Anyway, that’s it. Just the facts this time. Hope you’re keeping well!