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.

Folklore Thursday: Bakekujira

Originally published at Patreon.

Phew, I high time I got to do something of a nod* to Katsushika Hokusai. 

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.

May 2020

So, let’s try and do this.

What did I do in May?

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.

And just like that, Noam makes a new Robot Friend.

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.

The Mighty Tharg really liked the first panel on this page, I know cus he said so!

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?)

Roy suffering from lockdown hair.

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!)

Here’s the most recent episode – episode 3

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.

AHAHAHAHA.

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…

Folklore Thursday: Food

If you sign up to our patreon you’ll have read this post already, and you’ll be helping us create brand new comics every week.

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:

SATURDAY LIVE SKETCH SHOW 9PM ON TWITCH, YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK LIVE AND TWITTER.

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 pjholden@gmail.com.

Saturday Live Sketch Show

So, I reckon I can do about 7 sketches in an hour, and this weeks show will feature the following sketches:

  1. JPMorbius The Living Vampire
  2. RogerPops (from my graphic novel with Garth Ennis, The Stringbags)
  3. MikeDredd
  4. Declan -my choice-
  5. DerekDomino
  6. JoeDredd
  7. NeilJohnny Alpha

I could probably sneak one or two more into the show, making it run over the hour, so if you’re interested, you should email me pjholden@gmail.com subject line “Live Sketch”

If you’d rather just pop along and here me ramble while drawing these things, the please do so – this Saturday, 9pm on twitch.tv/pjholden

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 pjholden@gmail.com 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…)

Folklore Thursday: The Sphinx

Folklore Thursday posts regularly appear early for subscribers to our patreon, you can can see this post here.

Phew, can’t believe it’s taken this long for me to get around to doing a pastiche of Frank Miller’s style for Folklore Thursday. I’ve done similar b&w and one colour, but Ancient Greece story surely calls for it.

Fun fact: according to wikipedia (look, I don’t have long to research each of these, so a quick wikipedia search is it) Thebes was a fierce rival to Ancient Athens and sided with the Persians during the 480BC invasion by the Persians. So … er.. that’s why the Spartans are trying to get in (probably)

Can you believe we’re now 11 strips away from finishing our first year of this! Crikey.

Suppose, pandemic willing, we should start thinking about what’s next…