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.
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!
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 🙂
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.
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.
My initial thoughts was, I’d obviously get The Wave in there, that was a dead cert (it was only a few years ago watching a documentary it was pointed out the boats and crew bowing before the wave as it was about to hit them…) Then I started trying to figure out ways to join the wave with a panel before it that would be a reverse of it somehow – giving me a neat ying yang symbol built in to the page, googling Hokusai I stumbled across another of his pics (I was looking for how he’d drawn a whale – terribly, as it turns out) called Whaling Off Gotō which suited the bill. Some quick research on whale skeletons and boom! we have all the ingredients for a page of comics.
I just had to trace them then!
Maybe the BBC will make the documentary about Hokusai available again, it was fascinating, incredibly prolific artist generally considered the father of Manga.
*Ok, it’s much more than a nod.
NEW: I’ve set up a redbubble store where you can now buy all sorts of cool things with this on it! The original image is 600dpi, A4 in size, so even enlarged up to be a blanket(!) it should still look super sharp. The redbubble store for this strip is here.
Well, let’s start with the good stuff – man this was a cool month for things I’ve got in print!
Judge Dredd Chimpsky’s law drew to a close in 2000AD. Five episodes of old fashioned Dredd adventures, with everyone’s favourite hyper intelligent bonobo, Noam Chimpsky.
Lookit his little face.
Chimpsky WILL return!
Over in the Judge Dredd Megazine, the latest issue had a cover by me, so that’s cool as the three part Dredd serial (Bad Sector written by Arthur Wyatt) also finished. A very different Dredd to the chimpsky story. I hope you liked it too.
Also this month, in the Times, I had a one page Roy of the Rovers story appear in print! (Yes, that is weird! me, football?)
I started a live sketch show, roughly an hour of me chatting and sketching on facebook. The most recent episode went well, but scheduling conflicted with the launch of Nasa’s first new manned spacecraft in decades, so that was annoying (bah! NASAAAAA!)
I’m hoping I can keep it up, if you’d like to buy a sketch from me, that’s the way to go!
And, I managed to make enough selling some sketches and tings to buy myself the new iPad Pro 2020 – and it’s LOVELY! Same size screen, smaller/lighter and generally a bit nippier. Love it.
Ok, so what did I actually draw, and more importantly, what did I invoice for?
1 Episode (6 pages of a Dredd) part 2 of a new Chimpsky strip.
1 new Dredd Cover
1 Cover for The 77 (a kickstarter comic created to reflect the kind of British comics that came out in ’70s)
3 page strip with Al Ewing (you’ll see – also, these were pencils, inks, colours and letters)
and .. uhm… that might be it. Crap. That’s not been a good month. Though I did also finish a 7 page WWI story that’s taken ages (waiting on notes and approval) so that I can finally invoice that.
Also, would like it, your honour, if you took in to account four pages of Folklore Thursday (pencils, inks, colours, lettering)
So a total of: 14 pages complete and 7 pages of inks (making 21 pages completed this month)
Oh – just remembered, four pages of an oddball little comic job that isn’t for comics, but is comics (of a total of 20 pages).
So let’s add that in – 26 pages complete.
Well, it’s not as terrible as I first feared, but it’s literally unsustainable (given the percentage of invoicable/time taken to draw or finish some of it). I need to start upping my output. (or, you know, find a wealthy fan who wants to buy all my originally artwork that is super reasonably priced)
So, what’s ahead:
I’ve two more episodes of Dredd to do (12 pages). So that’s my big plan. Concurrent to that, four more episodes of Folklore Thursday (which is taking us closer and closer to the end of year one). A four page strip for the 77, and I’d like to do another 10 pages of the oddball comic thing. Bringing the months work to 32.
Ahahaha. Nope, that’s unlikely. Let’s say I’ll be happy to hit 25 again though.
Anyway, hope your month wasn’t terrible and let’s see how it goes in June…
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)
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.
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!