Folklore Thursday: Kālī

You’ll have to apologise for my brevity on this one. I wish I had more time to draw it again. Some individual bits I like but then I feel like it’s less than the sum of its parts. Oh well. 

Initially I thought “this will be amazing”. But I just didn’t have the time, and there was a deadline. That’s the reality of comics, sometimes the job is compromised by the need to get the thing out on time. AND I needed to get it out on time. So I think it’s ok, just not what I wanted to do (and I mean, it’s rarely exactly what I wanted, but sometimes you surprise yourself or it gets close enough that it doesn’t matter.)

(I do feel like I might attack this image again)

Original version of the art had “KALI” which, thanks to twitter user @halfacanuck who said:

You mean “Kālī” (long vowels). “Kali” (short vowels) is the name of the demon-lord of the Kali Yuga.

2020 Week 9 Review and February Round up

Ok, let’s start with last week‘s plan:

Draw up some pencils for a project, get started into a war thing.

And that’s pretty much happened. I also had to respond to some emails and… it turns out I’m bad at responding to emails. Follow ups and stuff, I’m just bad at it. This is me shaming myself.

Next week, I’ll get on top of those things. Monday.

Had another IBS attack on Friday, it’s become very regular. Dunno what to do about it at all. It feels like once the doc has gone “Yeah. you’ve got ibs” there’s literally nothing else to be done just suffer the consequences of that.

Will make doc appointment on Monday too. Also gonna try and reign in my eating a bit, nothing after six (I’ve cut out gluten a few years ago when the IBS attacks where less frequent but much more painful and that seemed to work, now the attacks are frequent, but a third of the level of pain)

Here’s how an attack works: usually in the evening I’ll get a sense that it’s gonna be a bad night, my stomach starts telling me it’s not happy. Then around 1 it’s sore, to the point where I know I’ll not be able to sleep, around 3 it’s very painful (I’ve tried buscopan, pain killers, andrew’s liver salts, and the only thing that seems to have a modicum of effect is a hot water bottle)

Around 5-6 the pain starts to lesson, at this point I’ve been awake all night, but now I can hit the bed and be reasonably confident it’ll ease off enough that I can sleep.

And, if I’m lucky, I’ll be left alone to sleep until 11. Sometimes that can’t happen, and I’m up at 8:30. That day though, is often just a write-off for me.

I’m lucky in that I work from home, so I can take a day and just crawl into bed and sleep it off. Many can’t. And god knows what it would be like if I was still working.

Anyway, that’s where we are with that. On to other matters.

Boy this month flew by, didn’t it?

Let’s take stock:

I drew some folklore thursdays (technically I drew 3, and had one in reserve)

There’s a couple of my absolute favs in this last month, so that’s good.

Other things I drew: finished off Chimpsky ep5 (6 pages), pencilled and inked Destroyer (8 pages) pencilled a thing can’t talk about (7 pages) and started on a War Story thing for a charity, pencilled and inked 2 pages.

So, that brings my monthly count to:

ProjectPencilsInksColoursLetters
Chimpsky 566
Destroyer88
Folklore Thursday3333
Pencil Project7
War Story22
Channel Hex2
TOTALS281933

OK, that’s not too bad an amount of work. I managed to get started on Channel Hex, and I’ll talk more about that next month when, hopefully I can tell you much more about it.

Next month I’ve got a war story to finish (time restricted, unfortunately) it’s 14 pages in total, but I’ve two finished on it, so 12 pages. PLUS a new thing for 2000ad, an entirely new strip created by me and Rory McConville. Which should be enormous fun. After that, I’ve got more Chimpsky to do!

If you sign up to my newsletter you’ll see some sneak peaks on the work I’ve done this month…

https://www.tinyletter.com/pjholden

Folklore Thursday: Dragoni

When I get one of John’s tweets, I try and let them perculate around my head a little.. What does this conjure up? Is there a story in this, can i make it a story, and, sometimes… does this make me laugh?

This one I think I hit, very quickly on the idea that the Island of Dragons could be a wonderful little Richard Scarry city where everything is a dragon. I don’t know if it worked (initially I was going to trace a Scarry piece and just change all the characters to Dragons, I think the joke would’ve worked better, but it was a little too close to death by copyright infringement, so I went my own way). And I’m proud of the little “Scarry Movie 2” film showing in the Dragoplex (2 seemed funnier than just a plain old Scarry Movie)

On panel 3 I hunted and hunted for the exact outline of the Island of Dragons and just couldn’t find it on the map, defeated, and time running low, I traced around a couple of interesting shapes to give me my island (and the sea here was created by making a ‘rake’ brush in clip studio, which let me stroke a couple of lines to get those many many lines)

Hope you like it! (If nothing else, enjoy the little dragon lady feeding the little dragons scraps from her sandwich)

Addendum: As a kid, visiting the library was my first exposure to illustrated books – Asterix the Gaul, Lucky Luke, Tintin, and the books of Richard Scarry (which I loved even as I grew well out of their age range). I will always find those works charming, and I think my one regret as a parent is that we don’t visit the library enough (now, in my defence, that’s largely because we now have a massive kids book library in our home – our kids room had a small walk in wardrobe built into the room and we ended up gutting it and putting shelves in there so they’ve got an extensive library of books, but you don’t get exposure to things that will surprise you when you own your own library). Anyway, Librarys are good, and if you’re in the UK you should join one and then sign up for their digital stuff so you can access audio books, ebooks and magazines.

2020 Week 8 Review

Hey! Welcome back (unless you’ve just been lurking since the last post… in which case, nice to see you’re still here!)

Ok, last week I’d intended to ink up the Battle strip and … uhm… hunt for some work, so here’s how that went:

Battle story – all inked up. Pretty happy with it. Pretty much took as long as I expected, even though I went a bit hell for leather on the detail. Was intended to be in colour, but I’m sort of hoping it ends up in b&w.

Had another super exciting IBS attack (I have a ‘wheat’ trigger, but sometimes it just happens – largely once a fortnight nowdays) which threw me off for a day.

So the other big goal was to find some work, and heck that worked out ok. Lined up three (shortish) gigs: a pencilled gig (7 pages – henceforce JMcC) will I’ll do next week . A charity comic war gig, which is 14 pages (the following two weeks, henceforth AD) and a 10 pager which I’m really looking forward to (DK). It’ll be that next week.

So that’s next month taken care of. After that I have to hunt more work. I hope you’re enjoying this insight into the freelancer creative process!

(I’ve a couple of possible jobs that will represent more significant page counts – hoping to get a graphic novel off the ground, that would be around 100 pages, and represent a solid five months worth of work)

So next week is shaping up like this:

Mon 24th: Pencils JMcC Pg 3 (I’m pencilling page 2 of this today, and I pencilled page 1 of this yesterday) only one page pencilled, because I gots to do some email admin as well.
Tues 25th: Pencils JMcC Pg4 & 5
Wed 26th: Pencils JMcC Pg6 & 7
Thur 27th: Layouts AD
Fri 28th: CHANNEL HEX (I have start of a script, I’ve drawn a few pages already but I’m redrawing it)
Sat 29th: AD Pencils 1
Sun 1st: AD Pencils 2

I’ll not jinx it, but I can largely work out what I’m doing for the next four weeks.

Hey please let me know in the comments if you’re reading this stuff, and especially if you want more (or less) of it.

Folklore Thursday: Portals

I wanted to tell a story, and specifically a love story. Linking readers through time to each other. Initially, because I’m the definition of vanilla straight man, it was a man and a woman but that just felt very dull – too much like the basis of a mid 90s rom com.

So I thought I’d make it a lesbian couple. Two women separated by decades, linked by a single book, and that became more interesting – one living a life in secret, the other much more open.

The book, The Well of Loneliness was suggested by John, I wanted a book that would’ve been old enough to have been around in the 20s (why the 20s? I wanted to dress the reader in something recognisably from an older time frame, this felt right).

The large selection of books in panel 4 is based somewhat on the book shop in Belfast Keats and Chapman – which my kids call “The Maze”

Anyway, the idea is the book opens a portal from present to past. Or maybe past to future. And maybe those people meet and kiss or maybe it’s symbolic. I haven’t decided.

There it is. Hope you like it.

2020 Week 7 Review

Monday 10th: pencilled 3 pages of Chimpksy ep 5 (the final part)
Tuesday 11th : pencilled remaining 3 pages of Chimpsky ep5
Wednesday 12th: Inked Chimpsky ep5 pages 1 & 2
Thursday 13th: Inked Chimpsky ep5 pages 3 & 4
Friday 14th: Inked Chimpsky ep5 pages 5 & 6
Saturday 15 / Sunday 16: did some channel hex stuff.

At some point last week (I think Tuesday?) I pencilled, inked, coloured and lettered this weeks Folklore Thursday story.

So that’s Chimpsky’s Law finished. I have it on good authority, the Niemand droid has another series in their scopes.

Next week is shaping up like this, I’ve an 8 page strip called Destroyer for the new Battle comic (written by Rob Williams) I’ve pencilled it all (did it the week before last) and inked up the first page, and so, this week I’ll be finishing the inks of that off. The plan is to get the inks finished by Friday when I can free up for Channel Hex.

How’s Channel Hex going? Well, I’m still tweaking things, still waiting on a new draft of a script (but that’s ok, no rush) I’m more convinced than ever that there’s a proportion of my future career that may lie in kickstarter based projects. The audience is smaller, the income potentially greater and the creative control is unlimited. But it may take me some time to find my way to that. (And it may not turn out to be the land of milk and honey)

After next week, frankly, I’ve no idea. I’m hoping sometime midweek I may land another gig, but you can’t really count on anything as a freelancer. That’s the life.

Folklore Thursday: Anteros

Oh man, this was a hard one. Frankly, I found the idea of an avenging god of unrequited love absolutely appalling. And it was hard to figure out how to tell a story that wasn’t going to be… gross. I’m not sure I’ve done it. But at least it’s funnier than it might have been.

Unusually I sent this to John not fully formed, leaving the dialogue out of the bottom (when I write I usually hate every bit  of dialogue I write. It’s the hardest part of writing for me).

I knew he (ie our little incel in the strip, not John) was gonna say something – and look, I actually really liked the drawing of him (and still do, I love grotesqueries – it’s how I was made) and I didn’t know if I’d have to scrap all of it and come up with something new.

Anyway, after mulling it over, I figured I could keep the art if I lightened the dialogue. I was going to add a voice from off panel of his mom (because of course) saying “Johnny your dinner!” “NOT NOW MOM!” but that was really over egging the pudding.

Still hope you enjoy it, I quite like his gross little face…

2020 Week 6 Review

Ok, plan last week was to get a couple of things pencilled. And..er.. that’s not quite what happened.

Primarily I wanted to get Destroyer Pencilled, an 8 page strip by Rob Williams for the upcoming Battle Special (big deadlines, no need to rush) it’s pretty reference heavy, so I decided to get it all done and references all out of the way in one fell swoop. That ate up a chunk of the week. Then I wanted to get the final part of Chimpsky pencilled. But, alas, not to be. Stomach pain kicked in (a regular feature in my life, IBS – usually hits around 2-3am, then it’s a night of pain followed by a next day of really just exhaustion)

Still waiting on some channel hex scripting, so nothing done on that front either. Did some samples for a publisher, let’s see where that goes. And that’s largely it. Oh, did pencil and ink and colour another folklore thursday.

Next week:

Chimpsky, pencils and inks. Last 5 pages of the last episode, really plan to blast through it. Will probably get it finished by next weekend. 2 Pages per day, Mon 1-3 pages pencils, Tue 4-6 pages pencils, Wed 1-2 pages inks, Thu 3-4 pages inks, Fri CHANNEL HEX (reminder: nudge writer – but I might start working on the cover) Sat/Sun: inks page 5

Sat/Sun are always hard to get work done, family stuff.

Does that seem like a fast pace? It probably does if you’re used to my current laconic pacing, but that’s only 5 pages pencils and inks in 7 days – you really need to be capable of a page of pencils and inks per day.

The following week I’ll be focusing on inking the 8 pages of destoryer, it’s a more intense inkinging session so will probably require me to take the full week (on the other hand, it’s all digital which does tend to go faster)

And that’s my plans, let’s see how they stack up!

Folklore Thursday: Beowulf

Is this the shortest comic adaptation of Beowulf? someone phone the guinness book of world records.

Oh I was so excited to get this tweet early from John. 

I’ve never been into fantasy, I was hard wired for sci-fi, but as I’ve gotten older and come to understand just how much the sci-fi I enjoyed is really just fantasy with a different skin (sci-fi- it’s science – but science so advanced it’s indistinguishable from magic! so it’s just magic then? shut up brain)

But, and I dunno where the inflection point happened (certainly within the last 20 years) maybe it was Game of Thrones? maybe it was just a general boredom of sci-fi or maybe it’s the need to escape from reality into a world not permanently connected to the internet (and the news) but I’ve wanted to draw some fantasy.

(Actually, maybe it was from going to see Beowulf in the cinema in the 2007 film, which, for all its flaws, I rather enjoyed).

Anyway, hope you like it!

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2020 Week 5 Recap

Ok, last week, the plan was to ink 6 pages of Judge Dredd Chimpsky’s Law ep 5 – and yup! all done. Took longer than I wanted, and it ended up eating into time I’d set aside for other things. But, overall, good amount of work done.

I also took the time to set and pencil the self-written Jericho-5 – a scifi story set in the 70s, time travelling floaty android, 70s tough guy cop, a dinosaur. Silly, but fun. Course drawing it from my own script involved me calling writer-me all sorts of names. But it’s pencilled (deadline on this is way way in the future, but wanted it done and out of the way)

Today I did thursday’s folklore thursday comic (pencils, inks, lettering) so it was a fairly productive week.

Plan next week is to pencil 8 pages for a Battle comic, and the last part of Chimpsky (6 pages).

That’ll be Monday – Sunday, with a channel hex day on Friday.

Suspect that’s a bit ambitious, so if I can get the 8 pager pencilled, that’ll be enough. Then the week after pencils/inks of Chimpsky part 5, the following week I’ll start inking the 8 pager, then, after that… gosh… I don’t think I have anything doing then…erk…