2020 Week 16 Review

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

William Butler Yeats “The Second Coming”

Yeesh. Missed a week of the weekly reviews. And nearly missed this weeks. It’s been chaos, and not just at Holden studios – the world is just. Yeesh.

So, to catch up week 15: pencilled a new episode of a four part Dredd. I might have done other things. I can’t remember.

Week 16: determined to get the Dredd all inked. Ok – did most, missed a page. Gonna finish that tomorrow. Also finished off a cover (suddenly remembered the deadline for it was the 20th – ie tomorrow – and while I’d coloured up the main figure I needed a background, necessity being the mother of invention I figured I’d add a pencil/greywash combo – and I think it turned out pretty good.

Next week:

  • Monday 20th gotta do this weeks folklore thursday. Finishing inking this Dredd.
  • Tuesday 21st– got an 8 page charity thing I’ve gotta pencils, so I think I’ll try and get layouts done, then layouts of the second part of this Dredd.
  • Wednesday 22nd– Dredd pencils, 1-2
  • Thursday 23rd– Dredd pencils 3-4
  • Friday 24th – Dredd pencils 5-6
  • Saturday 25th – Charity Pencils 1-2
  • Sunday 26th – Charity Pencils 3-4

Other things that happened this week:

I started inking the Dredd by hand on paper, then switched over to digital inks on the ipad. Finally figured out an optimum way for me to ink on the ipad – I’ve turned off pinch to zoom, I can still use two fingers to rotate but the only way I can now zoom in is in the fixed zoom in amounts using the on screen +/- or to keys I’ve mapped ‘0’ to ‘Print Size’ and ‘-’ and ‘+’ to zoom out and zoom in (strictlyspeaking, on my keyboard I’ve mapped ‘=’ to zoom in because the plus key is actually above it, and I’d need to press shift to do it.

Oh I cut my own hair. I’ve got a thing about my hair, I like it short – my usual setting is 1 at the back. And so, I figured I’ve got a beard trimmer I’ll give this a try.

It turns out, among my many many talents, self-hairdressing isn’t one. So, unable to figure out how to give myself a reasonable short back and sides, I ended up shaving it all off (well, giving myself a number 1 all over – or close to a one, my beard trimmer doesn’t quite have the same settings)


Look, i’d’ve left that mohawk on but for the fact my wife hated it. And I love my wife far more than I love that mohawk. So off it went. (But goddam a mohawk suits my hair).

(My wife also hates my hair entirely shaved off but I lack the skill to do much about that one)

My weekly whiteboard has been largely ignored but gonna try and get it back in to shape. Need to be able to keep track of invoicable work – I’m starting to hit the blockages in work, I’ve work on but not as much as I normally do, and – from chatting with Pals it appears I’m lucky to have that. So many have been told to down tools (or, worse, the work just simply vanished).

It’s gonna be a blood bath for the creative industries, I’m hoping we’re all smart enough to pivot to whatever the new future is but even if we manage to, who’s to say that people can afford to spend money on comics?

It’s pretty bleak out there.

(btw this is why I shouldn’t blog late at night, I get very melancholic…)

Folklore Thursday: Gandreið

Originally posted at patreon this Thursday. I’m running a bit late on the old blog updates.

Ok, I feel like this may make little sense, there’s a logic in here, I swear…

So my first step was to google “Gandreið” which took me to a google book reference, and I kind liked that, but I’m in hock to the words of the tweet, so had to cover both bases…

Google book result was “Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe” and (and I hope I’m not stepping on John’s toes for any blog posts) it covers a Gandreið – (not being as smart as John, I just lifted the paragraph I was interested in and didn’t do any outside reading)

Here’s the paragraph:

“A man in a ream before the burning took place heard a tremendous crash which shook earth and sky, and then saw a man black as pitch riding furiously on a grey horse and holding a blazing firebrand, while around him was a ring of fire. ‘It seemed to him that he hurled the brand eastwards towards the fells, and that a great fire blazed up with such a fury that the fells were blotted out. He though that the man road eastward to the fells and vanished. ‘ When he told this dream, the response was: “You have seen the Gandreið, and this always means that momentous things will happen’

So anyway, thunder lightning (it sounds like a meteor falling to earth, no?) and I wanted to get that in, and the idea of it all being a bit dreamy.

So, does it make sense now? Probably not, but then right now, does anything?

John has posted an article with more background over at patreon.


I decided to take today off.

My all-powerful white-board/schedule has it today listed as “Script Caduceus” – which is the three part creator owned thing I’ll tell you about (I will probably never do, but it’s good to keep your brain occupied, right?)

Anyway, spent the morning at Tescos – my wife and I went (I realise we should probably have gone either me or her, but she can’t drive, and she’s been desperate to get to the shops – next time I’m gonna drop her off).

The queue was snaking around the entrance at the car park, then there were queues to get in to each aisle, so that ate all morning. In the afternoon I sat and realised I don’t function well without a task to do, so spotted a thing on boing boing about making zines, I thought “oh sod it” I’d make one for Thomas to laugh at.

So here it is, Dad-A-Zine #1

I’ll pop the comic here for you to read, and you can download the larger image if you want to print it out to keep (why???) (To print it, just print, the follow the instructions for folding a zine and boom, you’ll have a hardcopy!)

Folklore Thursday: Eggs

Bit of an Easter treat, here’s the greywashed version and a b&w version you can print out and colour in (or print out and give to your kids!)

Originally from Patreon.

Hey, it’s an Easter Special!

This one was a bit of a struggle, I admit my motivation is starting to feel a little battered by everything going on, and then I decided to draw animals (I’m not a nature artist). Still, found this one fascinating. Sometimes folklore can be educational! ( nearly included Bugs Bunny in this strip, then thought better of the copyright law…)

Hope you’re all keeping ok. 

Leverets, I had to look up : baby hares.

2020 Week 14 Review

Ok, things (well, me) are starting to slow down. There’s a walking-through-treacle effect starting to happen now as the pile of projects to-do moves to the pile of projects completed, and nothing new is filling that to-do pile up (it’s ok, still have enough to keep me going – and it’s probably a more healthy amount of work)

Last week finished the pencils for the WWI story I’m drawing, finished that around Thursday. Friday I did some layouts on the new Dredd, and the weekend has been a washout. I did watch Pirates of Caribbean with my youngest son, Thomas (age 11), so it wasn’t completely wasted.

I’ve enough invoices out now, if they all come in I’ll be ok for a couple of months, but still need to keep forward momentum while it’s there.

So, next week: pencilling Dredd all week, and then the next probably, inking the WWI story, then inking the Dredd. And getting some invoices out.

I can pencil and ink 7 pages in one week, but that’s a pretty hectic pace to work, and I’ve tried to slow things down to 2 pages of pencils then 2 pages of inks, but done over two weeks (which is the set deadline anyway). That was giving me time to think about other projects, and start looking at creator owned stuff. But in the beginning of the current pandemic chaos I felt like creator owned stuff might be a luxury I can ill afford to think about just yet. But, I think, as the year progresses, I suspect short creator owned gigs might be worth looking at again. If only for a sanity check, and, lets be honest, if the government are gonna pay me 80% of my normal income for a month or two, it’s actually a good time to do a creator owned book!

Folklore Thursday: Henbane

Originally available on Patreon. Which remains free to read, but if you help support us you can see the strips early!

The henbane here is a trace of the henbane image available on wikipedia, and is in the public domain. (Still, I think this is quite a pretty rendition of it)

First step was googling the flower and when I saw that big long stem I thought Oh! I could use that for guttering (literally I make this stuff up as I go along)

Witches flying first was the pointy nose cliched witch that was losely based on my memory of Mog and Meg, then the naked witch after I remembered the painting Witches going to the Sabbath

I don’t mind admitting the Necromancer was loosely based on Alan Moore, but that’s how I feel about all big bearded Necromancers – he’s pretty much the archetype for me. And the demon is, of course, based on me.(not really)

I think I drew the witch holding the flower and I hadn’t thought about the necromancer holding a flower but just sort of drew his arm up and then realised he could be doing the same thing.

It always looks like there’s a grand plan, but, honestly, it’s all made up.

(It did occur to me this would make a nice print)

March Madness

Trying to count up the work I did in march, but, as you know, it’s been a crazy month.

So let’s start with stuff I know I did:

10 pages pencils and inks for a new 2000ad series. Hurrah.

Four folklore Thursday (pencils, inks, colours and letters)

Sundry drawings for a TV show thing (which I’ll be unlikely to talk about for a couple of years, given how TV works)

Completed a 14 page thing for a charity comic, (Though I came into the month with 2 pages done already) so let’s call it 12 pages.

Pencilled a WWI story, it’s 8 pages, but have only done 6 so far (getting the last two done today, but that’s gonna be an April finish)

So, my total for March is… 26 pages finished, and 32 pencilled. Actually that’s not bad.

So, here’s how April stands:

Gonna finish this WWI story, pencils have to be finished (two pages), then approved (probably next week) for inking next month.

I’ve got a new Dredd to do, it’s a four parter, though only the first script for it. Starting that next week and, hopefully rest of script will arrive (hoping the writer remains able to work in this, the not-quite-end-times-but-it-doesn’t-half-feel-like-it) and I can plough through at least two parts of it.

Then, May, finish the remainder of Dredd and… that’s it. I have a 20 page project which will pop up at some point, waiting on script (but it’s an unusual comics/not comics publisher gig)

Gotta keep on, keeping on.

2020 Week 13 Review

I suppose it’s a mark of how weird this month has turned out that I’ve lost track of updating the blog (I try and update every Sunday and just sort of forgot the day of the week)

Anyway, here was last week plan: finish pencilling a WWI strip I have on the board. It would’ve been finished a week early. The move on to inking the new 2000AD strip I’ve got on the board to finish.

How it went:

Well, minor panic when I looked at the invoices I had out for the month and realised I needed to shift some stuff around to make sure I got an invoice off for the 2000ad gig. So it got finished last week.

I can pretend comics is nothing but glamour and fun, but as someone once pointed out to me: I draw comics for fun, but I get paid to invoice.

I’ve lost a little bit of focus on slowing down, checking there’s not too much on the board to do and giving myself one day at least to do creator owned work.

This week, I’ll be finishing pencilling this WWI strip, and moving on to a Dredd, but might take a day.

I’ve been working every minute and hour to get work done. It’s not healthy, and it feels horrible in a house with my family and me just constantly working. Hoping to start pacing myself better. BUT I’ve been lucky enough to have work, and I don’t know how long it will last during this, what I think we’re all gonna start calling, the lost year. So I’m torn.

Anyway, hope you’re all coping with this ok, this, right now, though, this is probably the easy part.

Folklore Thursday: Shoe

Folklore Thursday: Shoe.

You can support John and I creating more of these comics at: patreon.com/holdenreppion

Phew, just under the wire.

Every piece of art now is an act of defiance. A defiance of the invisible enemy which is both unstoppable and imminently beatable. Patience and cleanliness. Seem to be key.

So as long as John is able to supply me with folkloric tweets, I will supply you with comics. Even if this weeks (and last weeks, I admit) are more just illustrations.

The shoe here is based a little loosely on Van Gough’s shoe (here https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436533) 

As I once said on twitter, I’m clearly better than Van Gough because he never sold any work and I can keep my glasses on. (This was, of course, entirely a joke)

How to represent malign forces though? well, I grew up on British Boys comics where a stinky old shoe would have pong lines coming from it, so I played with adding a little green odor to the shoe, but it cut across it look like a proper painting (though I admit, there’s still a tint of greeny pong on the shoe if you look). But I switched to using it to represent a malign force. Creating a layer with a claw shaped mask in clip studio, then spraying a colour on that layer give me plenty of scope to experiment and move it around. 

Hope it works, next week, I’m determined to draw a more meaty comic. But well, we’ll see – it’s been a weird month.

2020 Week 12 Review

Phew. Quite the week, right?

Ok, if you’re joining late, I decided to journal my working week – I vowed to try and approach work differently so I didn’t suffer burn out or guilt over not producing enough work (while at the same time producing enough to feel like I’ve done enough work).

We’re in the Corona Virus World now though, so that’s all out the window.

Let’s cover work first:

My scheduled plans were a fun 2000ad strip for the 2000AD regened issues. Hard to get my head into that place. I also ended up doing some TV preproduction stuff that I can’t talk about.

Kids at home last week, and my wife started working from home. It feels like a vice is starting to surround us all, mind you.

I managed to get all the stuff done I wanted to do, but it was a struggle, and really largely in the past couple of days in a frenetic burst of pencilling.

Next week I’ve a different gig, WWII short story, 8 pages. Intend to get it all pencilled in the week (8 pages of pencils is very doable, 2 pages per day though there’s a fair amount of research to do for it).

I’ve put any creator owned stuff on hold, right now there’s no telling how long paid work will last, so I’ve got to grab as much of that that comes my way as I can.

Personal stuff: Mother’s day today. I managed to get out get some chocs, a present and some flower for Annette. I generally don’t visit my mum’s grave – it’s just too sad (to be honest, it’s unusual she has ashes there, so not really a grave, but it’s also where my brother is buried and I used to drive mum up there all the time for her to care for his grave and anyway, the memory is too strong for me to face sometimes). Today I really wanted to visit the grave. And I can’t.

I don’t know how bad things are going to get here. I hope we can get through it, I hope you can get through, but the horrible thing is there’s an absolute inevitability about how awful it’s going to be.

And I hope when we’re through it we take a look at the world we’d built and its many many failings and decide to do better.