Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Pirates of Pangaea Checklist

I've had quite a few people lately asking about when the next Pirates of Pangaea book might be out and, while I don't exactly know (although I could point you to some excellent books you might enjoy in the meantime), it's worth pointing out that for anyone eager to follow Sophie and Kelsey's further adventures, there are several which are uncollected as yet but can be tracked down in back issues of the Phoenix. To aid in this, and to help you satisfy all your Pirates Riding Dinosaurs needs, I thought I'd put together a little, in-reading-order...


Volume 1: The Golden Skull 
20 episodes
Collected as Pirates of Pangaea: Book One. 
ISBN: 978-1910200087
Available in good bookshops everywhere!

The Ghosts of Mathrak Chu
4 episodes
Available in The Phoenix, issues 33-36

Volume 2: Escape From Razorbeak Mountain
20 episodes
Available in The Phoenix, issues 53-72

Racers of Riverbed Run
4 episodes
Available in The Phoenix, issues 79-82

The Treasure of La Sirena
1 episode
Available in The Phoenix, issue 100

The Blue Devil
4 episodes
Available in The Phoenix, issues 110-113

I believe, at time of writing, that all issues are in stock, please address all enquiries to!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Tamsin and the DEALS DEALS DEALS

The second volume of Kate Brown and I's Tamsin series, Tamsin and the Dark begins soon in The Phoenix, and they are running a couple of pretty great offers to mark the occasion!

Firstly, they've got a special Tamsin Subscription Deal! If you take out a 6-month subscription now, you'll be on board in time for first episode, and you'll then get to enjoy every single installment as the story plays out over the following 21 weeks. I think this is great, because a huge part of what we try to do with Tamsin is that kind of immersive, cliffhanger-fueled, what-on-Earth-is-going-to-happen-next storytelling that I think is one of the most exciting and unique possibilities offered by the weekly comics format, and particularly for young readers. So jump on now, don't miss a single episode, and to sweeten the deal they'll even throw in a copy of Book 1, Tamsin and the Deep - signed by Kate and me, and everything - to make sure you're fully up to speed on Tamsin and her world.

(Oh, and you also get six months of AMAZING COMICS in the entire rest of the Phoenix, too?) 

Note, this offer only runs THIS WEEK, so that people will be subscribed in time for the story's beginning. Sign up now and get on (magical flying boogie) board!

If you're already a subscriber, they're ALSO offering 20% OFF the Tamsin and the Deep book, all this month! Which is also a pretty great deal.

All in all, that should be just about all the creepy exciting all-ages Cornish folklore spookiness your mind can handle.

Until Book Three, anyway.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Tamsin and the Deep

My new book with Kate Brown, Tamsin and the Deep, came out a couple of weeks ago from David Fickling Books. It's a collection of the strip of the same name which appeared in The Phoenix, a 96-page graphic novel in four chapters in which we meet the 10-year-old Tamsin Thomas and see the quite extraordinarily strange direction her life takes after one ill-fated trip to the beach.

It's a story that grew over several years of spending time down in Cornwall, visiting family, and becoming slowly more and more obsessed by the fantastically strange folklore that abounds in the place. I was beyond delighted that Kate was up for drawing it, and she's done such an amazing job with it, bringing so much character and life and wonder and, fine, I'll say it, magic to the story.

People always ask about the target audience / age range for these things - in this case I'd say it's principally aimed at kids about 7-12. I'd be wary of going much younger because there some scary and upsetting things that happen. But on the other hand one reviewer said that their 4-year-old loved it and got to the end and immediately wanted to read it again, so what do I know? Your mileage may vary, and (hopefully) you know your own child best.

Anyway, I hope you'll check it out; it's my best attempt, basically, at making the kind of comic I'm always saying we need more of. Available from all good bookshops, or get it direct form the Phoenix store! 

Kate's already nearing completion on the sequel, Tamsin and the Dark, and that one... man. That one's just nuts. Starting in the Phoenix soon!

While I'm here, I thought I'd share some (more) amazing pictures. As I mentioned, the basic idea for Tamsin and the Deep was inspired directly by reading up on lots of Cornish folk tales, but the form the story took was really crystallised in my head after going to see an exhibition called Aquatopia (if I recall correctly) at the Tate in St Ives a few years back - a collection of all kinds of pieces from all over the world, with the general theme of 'the Imaginary Underwater'. It was full of diverse and amazing wonders, from Kuneyoshi to Gustav Dore to Turner, and was honestly one of the most inspiring and exciting things I've ever seen in a gallery. Anyway, I tried to find as many of the works as I could online, and some other stuff along similar lines and put them together in a kind of 'mood / inspiration board' on Pinterest to share with Kate.

I've now set it to public, so please feel free to go and have a look and see all the weird spooky mind-blowing masterpieces your mind can handle. (Please note, a couple of the images might be considered NSFW / not for kids. I'm thinking mainly here of Hokusai's Octopus. Go check it out, you'll see what I mean.)  

Thank you for your attention! I hope you enjoy meeting Tamsin.

Friday, 26 February 2016

How To Make (Basically Legible) Comics

As I occasionally bang on about here on the blog, I firmly believe that kids are great at making comics that other children will enjoy reading. However, when you're working with young creators there are occasionally some Basic Legibility Issues that can get in the way. So I put together the following Top Tips for Basic Legibility: 

Those are the biggies! Here are a few supplemental ones to do with words and balloons and such:

(I think this one makes the point it's making too well, in that it is confusing.)

And finally:

Please feel free to share with any young cartoonists of your acquaintance! And also please feel free to totally ignore and/or break all these rules because RULES ARE TOTALLY BORING, RIGHT?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Merry Mega Robo Christmas

Merry Christmas, all! I've been a bit too beleaguered with things to do any of my usual festive shenanigans this year, but to attempt to atone for it, those nice people at the Phoenix posted last year's Mega Robo Bros Christmas Special for your reading pleasure. Enjoy, and have a marvellous holiday season, and I'll see you in the new year for SO MUCH AWESOME NEW MEGA ROBO BROS YOU CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE IT.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Mega Robo Return

Look who's back in this week's Phoenix Comic! It's only Alex and Freddy, those Mega Robo Bros themselves, back from their summer holidays. We've got a short run of 2-pagers (which, for what it's worth, includes several of my favourite episodes of anything I've ever drawn) and then a big new Epic Action Saga is kicking off soon! 
The Phoenix is available by subscription, or from any of these fine vendors.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Dinosaurs, Vampires and Robots at Oxford Central Library

Hands up if you want to make awesome comics.

Regular readers of this blog will know I do a lot of comics workshops at schools, libraries, literary festivals and such, all over the place really. However, I almost never manage to get any pictures from such events, due to the fact that I always have my hands full of Sharpies and anyway am generally a bit busy drawing giant mutant Cornish pasties, or whatever it may be that day. Anyway, I recently did a session at Oxford Central Library, to help launch the Summer Reading Challenge there, and to celebrate The Pirates of Pangaea's inclusion in said scheme. A great fun time was had, and some of the library's marvellous staff managed to snap a few pics, so I thought I'd share them here!

Who wants to learn to draw T-Rexes?

That is me demonstrating Tyrannosaur's underdeveloped arms? I think?
Teaching important lessons to the youth.

Dinosaurs were drawn, records broken, and a good time had by all. (I hope?) Many thanks to Joanna Morris and all at the library for having me, and for passing on these photos!

Lots more events upcoming! Next weekend I'll be at Camp Bestival for three solid days of comics workshops with Gary Northfield and the Phoenix comic gang. And tomorrow I'll be spending the day in the Illustrator Zoo at the Story Museum, drawing comics while members of the public come along and watch the process and ask questions and possibly join in? Come along, it should be fun! And keep an eye on my Upcoming Events page for more!