Folklore Thursday: yedua

Any resemblance  to creatures living, dead or fictional is entirely coincidental.

I wanted to do a one page short story, there’s a variety of cool muck monster things in fiction, and I love the pairing of god with streetwise magician (who is named here Jack)

The pencils on this show though, that it took a fair amount of fiddling to get something that I thought would work.

(And even now, having written the dialogue and then stripped it off just to upload it here, I think dialogue-free might be better?)

I’m sure John won’t mind me saying I’m taking full blame for the comic strip, John’s tweet (as contained in the captions) is all I had to go on.

I think the story element of this works well paired with the info captions. And I suspect this might be the direction I start pushing more of the strips in. It doesn’t feel like writing, though, of course, it is.

There’s a alternative version of this which is much more of a kids comic one, I started drawing and abandoned it fairly quickly. 

Anyway, hope you like it! 

don’t forget John writes great little essays to accompany these comics over at Patreon

I broke my system…

Yesterday I’d planned out my week, then rejigged it. It was all based on the first week I did this, where I laid out the foundations for doing six pages of pencils in a week (which is, honestly, about half my normal speed) but gave me time to relax and do other things. The following week six pages of inks (again I’m capabale of six pages pencilled and inked in a week) which left me time to do other stuff.

This week I thought, ok, let’s ramp it up – which was idiotic because the point was to avoid that feeling I get to every night where I’ve done a decent amount of work and yet, it still feels like I could do more. Where the targets are undefined and so you always fall short.

Defining nice easy to achieve targets meant I’d get stuff done and then have time to relax and play in other fields, as it were.

Today, for example, I did some layouts, did a pitch image, did a page of pencils and that’s it. My plan was to do layouts (even for six pages I find this exhausting) and pencil two pages – the last layout day I planned to do layouts and nothing else.

So now, I feel like I should either spend the rest of the night frantically drawing another page of pencils (doable, but I’ll be working til 1) and still feel like a lazy pos, or I should just not bother and feel like I missed my target.


Anyway, tomorrow I try and go back to my original first steps, got some tax to pay and will sort that out, and maybe get one page pencilled.

2020 Week 3 recap

UPDATE: Yikes. Rethought it, next week’s got too much on. Pairing it back. If I get more done, brilliant, but it’s gonna look a lot like the last couple of weeks instead.

Ok, I think this is gonna be a regular series, life inside comics, I suppose.

Plan last week was to ink 6 pages of Dredd, pay my tax, and take three days to do some other things. Project D and Channel Hex stuff.


Ok, in the plus column. Inked six pages of Dredd. And pencilled, inked, coloured and lettered a folklore thursday strip. In the negative column, put off tax til next week (honestly, I find this draining, but it’s literally just paying tax), and Project D and Channel Hex got short shift as my wife and I took ourselves away for the night. We had babysitters, and so, off we went to the Galgorm hotel and Spa. As ever, when I think I’m going to relax, I start hyperventilating and have a panic about what I could be doing instead. (When I’m working I’m wonderfully relaxed). But we haven’t had a break away with just the two of us for over a year, so off we went.

Channel Hex and Project D will still get some time, but probably next week. Inking is more time consuming than pencils (certainly the way I do it) and next week is gonna be a pencil day.

Here’s how it’s shaping up:

2020 Week 4 Schedule

Mon 20: Dredd layouts page 1-6, pencils pages 1-2
Tues 21: PAY TAX (ugh). Pencils Dredd pages 3-4
Wed 22: Pencils Dredd 4-5
Thu 23: Pencil Project D: 1-2
Fri 24: Channel Hex
Sat 25: Pencil Project D: 3-4
Sun 26: Folklore Thursday Drawing Day

Ok, so there’s a LOT more going on in this week. I’m faster pencilling, so gonna see if I can hit three pages per day pencils, Project D is 8 pages and will require some futzing in 3d software too, so these pencils will be very rough in some areas and detailed in others. But it means come

Have reconsidered, and scaled back. Far better to plan for less and get more done. Part of the point of all this is to not leave a day feeling like I could’ve done more when I’d already done plenty. Better to feel like “Yup, I did what I had to do, PLUS I DID SOME EXTRA.”

Folklore Thursday: Hidebehind

We ended up, somehow, out of sync with the folklore thursday account, tweeting our stories on week ahead of theme (christmas, a confusing time all round). So this is a resync strip. John sent me the tweet and I had all sorts of ideas for what Hidebehinds could look like (9 meter tall stick humanoid stick insects stuck in my head) but I wanted to do a goofy cartoony style, and so, this is what you get!

I could’ve gone gory, had toyed with the idea of the a hidebehind suddenly spotting the reader (after despatching the lumberjack) but that would’ve need a creepier art style than what I was going with.

Anyway, here we go – all synced up again!

Remember you can read the strips early and support us on

Sunday recap

Last week I thought I’d try a new way of working (nothing to do with drawing, everything to do with organising myself) and you can read about it here.

I’m going to add to that process by doing a Sunday recap, where I just look to see how it worked/what’s next.

Mon 6Dredd #3 LayoutsDONELight day, really, but that’s ok.
Tue 7Dredd #3 pencils 1 & 2DONEBit of a struggle to get second page done – family stuff tends to eat time. But that’s ok.
Wed 8Dredd #3 pencils 3 & 4DONEDitto.
Thu 9Dredd #3 pencils 5 & 6DONE
Fri 10CHANNEL HEX DAYDoneNo script yet, but began redesigning elements and thinking about artistic style for the book. Stuff that needed done anyway. I have 5 pages of this pencilled and inked, but was never happy with it. (Maybe this is always the problem with work without a deadline though)
Sat 11Research “D”DoneActually, researched it and layed it all out. 8 pages of strip.
Sun 12Layout “D”Did it yesterday, above

One of the key things to what I’m trying to do is not overburden myself with stuff, even when it seems very possible. And to give myself days where I’d consider them “light” – a full day to do layouts on 6 pages? crazy. But that’s just the target, after that, I have time to do other things. I’m trying NOT to do the other things that are on my task schedule, because what I’m trying to avoid is that feeling that “oh no, I did loads but it was not enough” – I definitely enjoy working more than not working, but, for example, if I’d done layouts on monday and raced ahead to pencil the strip the same day and got, say, a page and a half of pencils done, I’d’ve felt like I didn’t manage to get enough done. Punishing myself for getting ahead. It’s bonkers, but it happens.

As it happens, during the week, because I had room for thinking, I also came up with a kid friendly cartoony style that might be the basis for two entirely different new projects. I conferred with John Reppion on year two of our folklore friday. Which will be the same but different. Very different. I also did layouts for a friend for a strip and laid out the self-written Jericho 5 (a four page strip I’m doing for The 77 – a fanzine based on the kind of British comics that came out before US comics dominated everything).

So in all, did what I wanted and allowed me freedom to do more. (Without it, I’d’ve felt guilt that I wasn’t working and would never have had the brainspace to do more)

So, now, next week, here’s how I see it shaping up.

Mon 13Dredd inks 1 &2I’ve already started inking 1, which is me instantly negating everything I’ve just thought about above. BUT, I’m gonna put it away for Monday.
Dredd page 3
Yuck. Just gonna get my tax paid. Honestly, I’ll need a lie-down after this. (Yes, it’s early to pay, but I like to get this stuff out of the way)
Wed 15Dredd inks 4 & 5I feel like two pages of inks might be too much, but we’ll see.
Thur 16Dredd inks 5 & 6I do love the plain simplicity of those days where it’s just – draw x and y.
Fri 17CHANNEL HEX DAYIf I’m waiting on a script, it’ll be working on the cover, and the book size
Sat 18Pencils D pages 1 & 2Project D I’ll talk about it when I can.
Sun 19Pencils D pages 2 &3

And that’s my plan. I feel like it’s a little more filled than last weeks and that might be a mistake. Plus I’ve got to make room for drawing Folklore Thursday (which takes approx 3-4 hours) and I’m going to try and up the blogging schedule a bit plus I have to record a podcast next sunday, which eats up most of a night.

Last week I felt like I got everything done I need too. This coming week i feel like it might be a struggle. But we’ll see.

Folklore Thursday: Cray

Seymour Roger Cray was an American supercomputer engineer. Beneath his suburban home he constructed a series of tunnels. When Cray reached a creative impasse he would retire below. “While I’m digging, the elves will often come to me with solutions to my problem”

John Reppion on Twitter

“Whether we’re supposed to take it that Cray’s elves were literal Other Folk, or a kind of metaphorical muse I cannot be sure.  “

John Reppion on Patreon

I’m fairly sure: Cray was messing around. And I think we’re only just getting by with this as a folklore tale by the skin of our teeth. THAT said, having slept, ate, and breathed computers from an early age and always ALWAYS been fascinated by Cray super computers, I’m not gonna argue the point. If Elves are what he said, Elves is what I’m drawing.

Reading John’s tweets usually fairly quickly pops an idea into my head, and this idea appeared fully formed. Initially though, I drew the supercomputer in Cray’s head with a whole bunch of Elves working away at it, but then it felt wrong – we don’t hear mention of the elves until later in the tweet and so I didn’t want to spoil that fun surprise too early. If anything I regret not making the direction of Cray’s walk follow the reading direction, if I had time I’d redo it (and if a publisher comes along and wants to print the entire run of these things, I’ll certainly look at them all again…)

I can’t remember when I first heard or say a Cray supercomputer, but it was fairly formative. Look at that weird part alien, part Henge computer design (it’s actually more of a C shape, with a gap, but I stuck that in the rear view on this drawing). She’s a beaut. And, as time wears on and Moore’s law keeps progressing, she’s now only about a fraction of the power of whatever device you’re currently reading this on. Ain’t technology grand?

(Now If I can just convince John that Turing got his ideas from pixies, Ada Lovelace from Gnomes, and Steve Jobs consulted with swamp monsters then we could have a full set of technological folklorist…)


Part of a regular cut-out-and-keep collection of Blogposts about well… process.

(I mean I say regular, the thing that really distinguishes my processes are they’re constantly in flux so it’s less a bunch of steps you should take as a bunch of things I’ve tried that have sometimes worked, sometimes not, but might spark a notion…)

I have a weekly whiteboard and I’ve been using a bullet journal the past three months. The bullet journal got a lot of use in its first two months, largely as I started writing thoughts down in it. But now my week is getting back in to a semi regular shape, so I thought I’d share it with you (and I write it all on my white board)

I’m trying to have reasonable targets for a day – nothing major, but enough to get stuff down and progress, and leave me spare time to do other things.

This week, for example:

Monday: read and layout a dredd script. – This is pretty light, layouts are exhausting, but this is the start of the new school term so the days still a little chaotic. (And, as it happened, I had time to pitch a short – four page – strip to a small press magazine and then write it up, at some point I’ll be drawing it [For the sake of talking about it, let’s call it “J”)

Tuesday – pencil two pages of the Dredd strip. My pencils are pretty loose, so in theory this is doable, but equally wife back at work, kids will be out of school, so there’s some big family to-dos in between times.

Wednesday – pencil two pages of Dredd. Tuesday and Wednesdays have similair structures. The biggest obstacle is usually me. Inertia and other things. Trying to keep other things to a minimum. (But sometimes they impose, like they’re already doing this week, but it’s ok! SLACK BUILT IN!)

Thursday – Pencils two pages of Dredd. No obligations on Thursday, and this should see Dredd pencilled. And I can start prepping for Friday.

Friday Channel Hex day! Getting back to channel hex. Waiting on script revisions, so if they’re not here I’ll probably go back and redesign some characters and rethink the look of it.

Saturday / Sunday – I’ve another strip (waiting script) and I’ve set aside Saturday and Sunday as research days for it (that’s a light load, but family stuff may end up wiping me out at the weekend)

And that’s this week! Next week I’ll move on to the dredd inks, and try and up the ante.

Scripting the Chryslids

The story of the Chryslids goes back something like 10 years. I know, I know. I’ve a few story ideas that never got beyond a seed – it always felt like I could lay my hand on a dozen smarter writers than I could ever hope to be, so it felt pointless trying.

Last year though, I decided it was time to script some things. So I wrote it (and a few others) up into full scripts.

I fancied this was a good shoe-in for actually being worth pitching to Matt Smith (2000AD editor / Tharg’s represenatative on planet Earth.

So I sent it to a few pals, writers/editors/etc.

But I’m always wary that, well, honestly, I’m a decent comic artist role playing being a writer. So I got some good feedback (Rob William’s, in particular was very helpful – Cheers Rob!) and then… well, this last year really got away from me, in a way I wasn’t expecting it to.

So the story sat and sat and sat.

I drew a couple of Dredds back-to-back (for the Megazine, next year – with Arthur Wyatt, and for 2000AD also next year with Kenneth Neimand) and Christmas was coming and I decided to down tools over the holiday, but it’s hard to stop that motor running, then I remembered the script…

Originally it was called Midwhich Cuckoo Block – which is too on the nose for a title, but explains the premise really well, I thought “what if midwhich cuckoo’s but in dredd’s world” and went from there. It was also an excuse (and I will make no bones about this) to draw a bunch of characters I’d never ever get the chance to draw, I’m not gonna be the go-to guy for a Judge Death strip, sadly. (Well, maybe) so I tried to figure a way to include big name bad guys in there.

In hindsight there’s some obvious plot holes, and I didn’t get the facetime with any of the bad guys I originally wanted – but, I think, the pacing of it is so fast and the ending (which I really like – though it divided the readers I sent it to) feels weighty to me. Felt like something, so I was content to ignore them (I mean, the obvious one to me is: does no-one account for how many bullets dredd fires?)

Anyway, here’s the script (below), and the art is here and you can compare them and see just how much artist-me got fed up with writer-me writing rubbish. Hopefully I’m a good enough artist that even in this sketchy unfinished form the storytelling works and I could paper over the worst bits of my kack-handed scripting.

Dredd Chrysalids page 6

And there we have it. I’m gonna blog an almost redundant post after this one, that just puts all six pages together (including corrections I’ve done along the way – mostly minor things, but they all count). In the end, I’m fairly happy with it. Esp that last panel, it feels right to me. I might be wrong, but you know, whatcha gonna do?

I’d sent the script to a number of writer friends, back when I’d harboured ideas of pitching it to Tharg, and I got two responses about that end: dredd shouldn’t lose, this feels like dredd losing and the other (from a dredd writer) I like that dredd loses.

In the end, my gut tells me the ending with Dredd forgetting is the one that works.

I’ll post the script in a few days so you can see how much I varied it after the fact.

“But, PJ, Why DIDN’T you submit it to Tharg?”

Well, reader, I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel I had the chops neccessary to get a Dredd script accepted – even if it was brilliant (which I might not be, I dunno…) it felt like I needed to write a bunch of stories – of any sort – before I could expect to waste Matt’s time with a read of my script. Esp since I’m only playing at being a writer, I may never write again (though, maybe — I’ve two other Dredd story ideas that, like this one, have sat in the back of my brain for a long time, that maybe could do with a spit and a polish and some pencils… maybe NEXT christmas… we’ll see…)

Anyway, hope you liked it, please let me know – I’m not being paid for this, so the only positive I get is feedback…!

Now, on to the pencils and greywash…

Dredd Chrysalids page 5

Ok, took a detour, but back to it (can we get this finished before xmas? who knows… maybe last page will be drawn while downing mince pies and baileys…)

Ok, this page slightly disappointed I didn’t get more Judge Death in there – the dredd/death confrontation should be a bigger moment, but really feeling the limits of the 6 page format – still, one page to wrap this all together neatly… can I do it? we’ll see…

Let me know what you think – I’ve been pleasently surprised, there’s definately stuff where I’ve been rewriting it while drawing it, and it could be my mistake in the past to try and keep writing and drawing apart, and they (for me at least) are really rather tightly intwined.

Anyhue, here’s pencils and greywash …