Return to school

( Skull sketch – brush and ink on paper. Previously blogged from a rubbish photo )

It’s been a bit of a break on this blog, I’m sure my exciting and interesting posts have been missed.I have recently had a trip to Chicago, then attended Comiket followed by a trip to Toronto. So it’s taken me a while to catch up with myself. I was going to write a long post about these events but it was so exciting I decided to just live it rather than blog it. I did write a report about TCAF for the Forbidden Planet blog, but I’m not sure I did the event justice as I spent most of the event behind my table. I have to give a nod and a thank you to Crystal For being a wonderful table buddy during the weekend. TCAF has had a massive impact on my festival/convention going experience. In the UK we have Thought Bubble which I’d say is the best event now, it has many many, plus points. Comiket is getting there, but the last one had serious venue space issues, that made it uncomfortable for exhibitors and punters. But is there too many now? Too many or just idiocy in trying clash against a ‘rival’ event. Having now entered the (Well) Seasoned festival exhibitor stage, I’ll be selective about events to attend and use the time saved elsewhere. I guess it’s a positive to have that choice. Waffle, waffle.
The important stuff is the work, and making the work though. I did plan to take a complete year away from all the festival stuff,to make masses of comics. Due to random events it hasn’t quite worked out that way. But so far this year i have been involved in an anthology, a book and making a sketchbook. There is a new issue of a diary comic that has been lettered and roughed out, similarly for Black Leather (I know, I keep saying this). Both these comics will be ready for Leeds. The diary comics will be collected into a book called ‘Three years gone’, it will be about 150 pages.
the main news for me is that the Chicago trip gave me and Daniel some time to talk about projects. We decided that maybe it was time to make another volume of Necessary Monsters.

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Sketchbook – 1983 plus full cover image

This is another page from the sketchbook collection. It’s called 1983  ( Surprise, huh !).  That is the year that Black leather takes place in. Well the main part of it anyway. Below is the full image of the cover for the sketchbook. I realise that these images are not sequential and are probably of little interest to anyone expecting comics from me. But sometimes it’s important to step outside and get some fresh air.

The 1983 image was made by tearing up several ‘failed’ watercolours and joining them together again and painting over them with gesso and ink.

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Insomnia brainworm

Another night of brain running ideas round and round, mixing up the medicine with dreams.
Anyway, I’m trying to push forward my next project Black Leather, and try something new.
Plotting and structure.
I have always worked in an organic way, or developed sketchbook entries, scribbled notes, try and improvise, try to keep things loose. Reading my work after a number of months, years, I feel irritation that I hadn’t taken more care with the material. In the early years there was an urgent ‘Get the work out there’ approach. A happy seat of the pants dash to copiers a day before a convention.
I now have three complete books, and yet I feel very dissatisfied.
I want to offer so much more with my work, there is so much brilliance, both past and present, and my offerings seem so grey and lumpen.
So, I am trying to take more care, to be more thoughtful, to try and gives my ideas at least a chance of shining.
Plotting, something totally new to me.
Writing a pitch, witchcraft I say.
I always thought I was an open minded creative when it came to being given advice and suggestions. It’s only now, that I have realised that I perhaps only half listened. The past week two friends have offered some thoughts and it’s really helped. I think that I may have become very one track in my comic approach.
So Black Leather will be a fiction, rathe than more autobio, and not having the story voiced through the one character is, for me, a new creative freedom.
For the first time I am actually tackling a self imposed restriction, deciding my writing was crap, and always leaving it last when making comics.
Entering year eight of making comics, there is the realisation that I am getting nowhere, despite the increased demand for comic and graphics material. I must be getting it wrong.
So, try again.
This has involved a return to colour, and to try and expand my range of subject matter.
Apart from my website and a few small projects, I think that there will be no more self published comics for a while.
Thank you for wading through the grey lumpy droppings of the insomnia brainworm.

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