Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Another one for the Asylum

Firstly: I suppose the following contains SPOILERS if you haven't seen the "Asylum of the Daleks" episode of Doctor Who yet...



Okay, so the Daleks can't remember the Doctor now, right? Which is all well and good and exciting, but it got me worrying about something, and... look, just read the comic I made about it.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How To Make (Awesome) Comics: LIVE!

Hello! After a long stint of being chained to the drawing board I've managed to loose my bonds a little and am planning to escape and take my whole 'teaching kids how to make awesome comics' schtick on the road again at a couple of upcoming events. They are...

22 Sept, Old Marston Library, Oxford - I'll be doing a quick comics workshop as part of a full day of family fun and events, celebrating the library's 50th anniversary and raising funds to help it continue. I'm on at 11am, it should be lots of fun, and I gather there will be cake, so any local Oxfordians with young comics fans in the family - do pop along!

30th October - Luton library - How To Make (Awesome) Comics workshops at 11am and 2pm. Had lots of fun at Luton last year, looking forward to a return engagement. Full details and booking information here!

31st October - extra-spooky MONSTERIFIC Halloween comics workshops at Leatherhead Library (10:30am) and Dorking library (2pm). Full details and booking information here! 

Come along for... oh, you know, this sort of thing.

 And then in November... it's Thought Bubble! for which all manner of fun and exciting Phoenixy good times are currently being concocted. Of which more anon...

On the subject of The Phoenix, and events - you can now listen to a recording of the Phoenix panel discussion from August's Caption comics convention in Oxford, available as a podcast from the excellent Panel Borders. I really enjoyed the panel; it's in large part where a lot of the ideas got rolling that led to my recent posts about Girls' / YA comics, and that prompted a lot of discussion, and that may end up... well, who knows where. Anyway, there's lots of erudite and thought-provoking discussion on the art and craft of making comics for children, with Phoenix creators Adam Murphy, Patrice Aggs, Robin Etherington and Daniel Hartwell, chaired by the brilliant David O'Connell. there is also me, mumbling in the opposite direction from the microphone. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

OFF LIFE Comic: It is NEW! And FREE! And a COMIC!

The above is the cover to OFF LIFE issue 1 - it's a new street press comic that's launching soon, and is going to be distributed FREE - in London and Bristol to start, I think - and which features a rather fantastic line-up of contributors. They've got Tom Gauld, and Sean Azzopardi, and Rob Davis, and Lizz Lunney, and... seriously, just a whole bunch of amazing others. Go check out their site or follow them on twitter for more details, it really does sound like its shaping up to be something cool. And also: me! Yeah, I'm gonna be in there.

I think it's a really interesting idea, putting together a bunch of exciting contemporary indy comics voices and then just plain giving it away. M'colleague Jamie Smart wrote a blog post recently on the idea of giving comics away free and - I dunno, I think it's a really interesting area, and there's all kinds of pros and cons to be considered, certainly. But in this particular case I think what OFF LIFE are proposing to do is really exciting, and a great kind of Comics Outreach Programme of the sort I'll always want to support - taking the medium to people who would maybe never have gone into a comics shop, and showing them the kind of work they might never have expected.

Anyway, I'm delighted to be involved. The strip I'm contributing is one that may be familiar to long-term super-attentive excellent-memoried readers of this blog, but seeing as that's only about 4 people I'm hoping it will be resonably exciting for everyone else. It was something I was really pleased with, anyway, so I'm really happy it will be getting a bit wider of an audience. Which is to say, an audience.

OFF LIFE are currently running an Indiegogo campaign to help with the print costs of the first issue, and I'd really encourage you to consider throwing a couple of quid at it. My thinking is: they're making what sounds like a really cool comic, and they're going to be giving it to you free. If it sounds like the kind of comic you'd consider spending, say £2 on, then why not go and donate that £2? Out of the goodness of your heart, and for the good of comics, and all that. And help take comics TO THE MASSES!

Monday, 10 September 2012

How To Build a Ghost Pirate Dinosaur Ship

This week's issue of The Phoenix features the rip-roaring conclusion (and that's not just hyperbole: THINGS GET RIPPED AND THERE IS A LOT OF ROARING) of our recent Pirates of Pangaea mini-epic, Ghosts of Mathrak Chu! And so it seemed a good time to (a) remind you of this fact, so you can all run out and buy a copy, and (b) share a little peek at some of the art and how it was put together.

This story, of course, featured GHOSTS PIRATES riding on GHOST DINOSAURS, because I guess Dan had not quite sufficiently found ways to blow my mind with things that were awesome / painfully difficult to draw. Anyway, it took a bit of figuring out but I was really happy with how it turned out. "Spooky Dio De Los Muertos Dinos" was the general effect I was going for, and it involved adding a couple of extra stages in the inking and colouring. First I'd draw the regular dinosaur:

...and then do the skeleton as a separate layer. I've added a grey underlayer to these pics so that the skeleton was visible and, basically, so my writer and editor could get some idea what I was going for...

And then it was just adding the colours and a bit of glowy misty effects. Almost like making Mo-Bot Dinosaurs, really (and there's a whole other story waiting to happen...).

Here's a couple more pages!

Aaaand one more, this time with Sophie and Cornflower JUST PLAIN BEING AWESOME:

There were some pages in this thing that weren't splash pages, I swear.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who's said lovely things about our little return to Pangeaea, it's wonderful to hear people are enjoying it. I'm currently hard at work on our NEXT instalment, which is going to be another giant whopping epic adventure, full of - guess what - insanely awesome and exciting new ideas from Dan that are horribly hard to draw. COMING SOON TO THE PHOENIX!