Sunday 31 May 2009

A Tale From the World of Bog Wizards

Here's a 4 page 'Tale From the World of Bog Wizards' story I did for the Uk Web & Comix Thing Anthology. I've posted it here so I don't get lazy and reprint it in my next comic.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Drawing Drawing Drawing

Here's the first panel from my new story. At the moment it's called 'A Nice Walk, Spoiled' but I might change that if I can think of something better. I've done the first twenty pages of 'Great Deeds Against The Dead' which is enough for one comic, it'll be continued in the next one. This is the other story which will be with it. Not really sure what it's all about yet but I have some vague ideas.

Monday 25 May 2009

Allotment Cartoon Character Scarecrows

On my mum and dad's allotments they have a yearly open day and the past two years they have made cartoon character scarecrows. Here are my mums ones, the bottom one is Princess Fiona from Shrek.But it looks oddly like Maggie Thatcher...

My mum now has an art blog for her paintings and drawings, its at Blawearie Blog.

Influences - No. 5 My Three Favourite Books

Here are my three favourite books. Haruki Murakami and Philip K Dick are my two favourite authors. 'Fear and Loathing' is the book I find funniest. I must have read them all a hundred times or so.

I have tried doing comic adaptions of Murakami and Dick but they are too well written. I think I would be better adapting something badly written so I could change everything and wouldn't be precious about all the words, as I really like them. Murakami is too much about thoughts in characters heads to be a good comic I think, and Crumb has done an awesome story of Dick's life in one of the Weirdo's. 'Fear and Loathing' doesn't need a comic as it has Steadman's great and iconic illustrations already.

Saturday 23 May 2009

Friday 22 May 2009

Yoshihiro Tatsumi - A Drifting Life

Wow this is a great book. It is my favourite book of the year, so far. 800 pages of autobiographical manga about a cartoonist, it’s like it was made specially for me…

It helps if you have some knowledge of the history of manga from the 50’s and 60’s, reading Fred Schodt’s excellent manga books and a few old manga classics will do, but I would recommend it to anyone else too.

I found it very inspiring. Sometimes really great books put me off drawing as they seem so above me in talent and storytelling abilities that I can’t compete, but this one made me do lots of drawing every night after I had been reading it. He has loads of troubles with his drawing and stories all the way through the book, and struggles with the choice between doing commercial work which will pay well and be popular and doing ‘important’ work, that is changing what manga is. He gets incredibly busy with work at various times, rushing about trying to meet his deadlines and satisfy his many publishers, who are all fighting and competing with each other. There is a lot of politics between the publishers and the different artists. The artists are all competing too, sometimes in friendly competition and sometimes as more bitter rivals. One thing the book doesn’t show is what most of his manga books are about, I guess a manga book about what’s in other manga books would be weird and boring, its much more about his life. And the Japanese audience could always go and look at his older books to find out.

I really like Tatsumi’s drawing style, it’s just right. I really hope there is a sequel as this books ends a long time ago and I’d love to see what he did next….
I hope I’m doing something like this when I’m in my seventies.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Pasty Anthology

Steve Butler has sent in his excellent contribution to the Pasty Anthology. Here's the first page of it. Check out his website at hen space. The anthology is going well and should be out in July, more news soon....

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Amanda Vahamaki - The Bun Field

This is a little book, it’s not much longer than an ordinary comic. It’s got a weird dream logic to it, where stuff happens one thing after another. A young boy wakes up, finds a huge lumpy stranger in his kitchen wanting to be fed, goes for a drive in a car with a bear, knocks out one of his teeth, has some home dentistry and goes to plough a field. The drawing is lovely, its all pencil with smudges and no rubbing out of the sketches and lines behind the drawings. It’s quite sad and has a melancholy feeling to it. The boy is forced to do a lot of things he doesn’t want to do, just like in a dream. As it is so dream like it does seem a bit random at times, so only worth getting if you don’t mind that kind of experience, though it is worth it for the drawing alone. All the Scandinavian cartoonists seem to be the next big thing at the moment, there are lots of their books coming out, and lots of interesting artists to find there.

Monday 18 May 2009

Jean Regnaud & Emile Bravo - My Mommy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill

Aw, this is a very sweet little book about a young boy wondering where his mother has gone. He has been told she has gone away. The slightly older girl who lives next door starts reading him postcards from his mum telling of her adventures around the world. Its an autobiographical story too by the author, Jean. Its very sweet, sad and short too with only a few panels on each page so it doesn’t take long to read. I really like the drawing, it’s a really nice way to draw children in a very French cartooning style.

Lewis Trondheim - Little Nothings 2 'The Prisoner Syndrome'

This is the second in the ‘Little Nothings’ series by Trondheim. It’s more of the same from the first book but that’s not a bad thing as I really liked the first one. Its called ‘The Prisoner Syndrome’ which is were you do nothing all day and then get lazier and lazier and have less and less energy to do anything. Until in the end you have no energy at all and can’t get anything done. Trondheim is worrying about this as he gets older, he wants to go to lots of new places and have loads of new experiences to keep himself going. He travels to a lot of places, there are some lovely drawings of South Africa and a lovely few pages were he goes snorkelling.

Sunday 10 May 2009

Great Deeds Against the Dead - half of Page 13

Half of page 13 of 'Great Deeds Against the Dead'. Once again its not cleaned up, no grey tones yet...
It's going ok this story, its going to be a long one.

Influences - No. 4 Rumiko Takahashi

When I first got back into comics I was really into the work of Rumiko Takahashi. The two I liked were Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2. Back in them days it was hard to find comics and you couldn't just buy everything you want over the internet with a click of a button. I've got all the Lum books that Viz brought out and all the Ranma's (there's no. 38 above, the final book). I like the Ranma's as i've got them in 5 different languages to finish the series, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. I don't know why I like them so much, I've never bothered following her newer series like Inu-Yasha. There's a sort of crazy madcap soap opera thing to them I find very appealing and nice. And they are just a little warped and strange so you don't get bored reading them. I also really like the Urusei Yatsura films, which are very funny and also weird. Did anyone see the two episodes of Urusei Yatsura that were on Channel 4 once a few years ago when they did a special Manga night, they were dubbed into English and most amusing. Lum's voice was done by Anna Friel.

Friday 8 May 2009

Influences - No. 3 David Shrigley

Above- details of two of my favourite drawings by David Shrigley - 'Time to Choose' and 'Artists Talk About Their Work'

An occasional series where I talk about my influences, when I think of them.

I wonder what other cartoonists think about David Shrigley? Jeffrey Brown mentioned him once as an influence on his little gag cartoons from 'I Am Going to Be Small'. He is definately an influence on my work.

I first saw Shrigley's drawings at an art show about Comics and Art that I went to when I was at University. It must be one of the reasons I got back into cartooning at Uni. It was a very good show. He was in it and also was Adam Dant aka Donald Parsnips, who is also interesting. His drawings are very funny and awesome. I have seen many of them over the years in shows and his many books. They could have been small press cartoonists, but they're not, they are artists. I was getting a little bored with them, thinking he was carrying on in the same way, but then I saw some new stuff of his in the Cult Fiction exhibition which I saw in Carlisle. He had done some really good sculptures for it (one was of a giant felt snake) and an animation which was very funny, voiced by the actor Kevin Eldon. So he is keeping on trying and doing new stuff.

His website is at David Shrigley and is well worth a look...

Thursday 7 May 2009

Influences - No. 2 Vic Reeves

An occasional series of things that have influenced me, when I think of them.

Look at the drawings of Vic Reeves, aren't they great. the first two are pictures from his brilliant art book 'Sun-Boiled Onions' (highly recommended). The third is one of the drawings from an episode of The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. I really like Vic's drawing, he always used them a lot in his shows, such as the products from the Reeves and Mortimer Factory, or the drawings on the paper bag head of 'The Man with The Stick'. He draws people with tiny far apart eyes, and funny nose nodules.

Paul B Rainey - There's No Time Like The Present Part 9

I read 'There's No Time Like the Present - Part 9' last night. It's another very good issue. I can't say much about it without giving away the plot for anyone who hasn't read it yet but there is lots of excitement and startling plot twists in this issue. I have no idea what is going to happen at the end of this story, thats a great thing.
Buy it at Paul Rainey's website.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Influences - No. 1 Viz

An occasional series of things that have influenced my comics...

Ah Viz is so great. Of course 'it's not as funny as it was'...
I liked it best when I used to buy them in town from one of the shops that would sell it to me, and take them to school to read. Who can forget 'The Bum-Faced Vibrating Goats'. It has influenced many small press cartoonists. The 'Bumper Book of Shite' above is my favourite Viz book, that or 'Roger's Prophanisaurus' with its millions of brand new and marvellous swear words.

Sunday 3 May 2009

Wedding of the Year

I was at my very good friend Shonagh's wedding yesterday. It was a great day. I had done the drawings for them for the Service Booklet thing, here's a drawing of the church from the front cover. I was pleased with it and the booklet came out well. The rest of it was drawings of birds, flowers and butterflies. Flowers are nice to draw, I've never done any before but they are a lot of fun.

Saturday 2 May 2009

Smiffy Draws the Animals

Here are all the animals.

Pub Quiz

As you can see I have decorated our answer paper for the Pub Quiz with octopi, Wizbit and Joan of Arc.
We came last in the pub quiz as we are rubbish. The other teams had turned up wearing anoraks so we knew we would lose.