Thursday, March 25, 2004
Ought to be working. Doodled this in Photoshop. Back to work now.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Went along to the inaugural UK Web and Mini Comix Thing on Saturday as organised by Mr Patrick Findlay. Hadn't really known what to expect as Patrick comes across as, um, a little eccentric on the Comics Journal message board (my only source of information on the fellow) so I had wondered that his organisational skills might not be of the best. But I knew Roger Langridge and Gary Northfield would be there, which is a good start, and I'd agreed to a brief spell looking after each of their tables while they had other matters to attend to. And in the event it turned out to be a very respectable new addition to the UK comics calendar. Kind of quiet, but not disastrously so by any means and, importantly, the atmosphere was good - all very friendly if suffering a little from the usual small press incestuousness.
A fair few of the usual suspects in attendance: Tom Gauld, Matt Abbiss, Bugpowder guru and all-round comics hub Pete Ashton (down from Brum for it), Anna Thingummy (Jelinek? whom I last saw in Washington as it happens where she kindly rescued me from a rather sad Billy No Mates moment in the bar at the Small Press Expo), Mark "the most criminally under-employed cartoonist in Britain" Stafford. Kev F Sutherland of the annual festival in Bristol was also knocking about as was comics ninja (and Man At The Crossroads) Paul Gravett though sadly I failed to grab him for a chat on this occasion.
From the Thing a bunch of us headed to a pub, which was as agreeable and wholly unexpected a turn of events as you might imagine. I also managed to see the Weather Project at Tate Modern before I caught a train home. More interesting from a sociological point of view than it was visually, but maybe that was the artist's intention. I don't know much about art but... I do know that lying on the floor with a bunch of people under a big mirror in an orange haze is a pleasant enough experience after 3 pints of Guinness.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Well, I may have gone the slightest bit mad over the weekend struggling to meet my deadline (for the Wars of the Roses comic strip) on Monday. Worked till stupid o' clock Saturday and Sunday night and up early Monday to tweak it a bit and then took the disk with the artwork on it into smelly London to deliver by hand and found that in the event my editor was off sick that day anyway. Still, comic buddies Nick Abadzis and Gary Northfield both work at the place that publishes the Horrible Histories mag so I got to see them briefly. And I had a very pleasant day in our malodorous capital in a half asleep kind of way, buying unnecessary art materials at the London Graphics Centre and meeting up with my mate Faz Choudhury and later the bright young ink monkey genius that is Tom Gauld at his studio on Mount Pleasant (which is just a road, not an actual mountain, I was disappointed to discover - though it did make getting to the studio easier I suppose. Next time I'll know not to bother taking crampons). I'd been hoping to have a good nose round at the studio but Tom very sensibly immediately whisked us away to a nearby pub, no doubt realising that if I'd been allowed to stay in the studio any longer I would inevitably have tried to steal every piece of paper upon which he had made a mark. Luckily two pints of Guinness, fine erudite conversation (except on my part) and the quality of the company went some distance in compensating for the foiling of my planned art theft. All a welcome antidote to the befuddling stress of working too much and sleeping too little for a spell. A situation which has now, of course, reversed.
In the run up to the deadline I had a bit of an I can't draw day again (I think it was last Thursday) in which progress was painful and slow and this might have brought on dark musings and grumpiness had I not, in the early hours, abandoned the job in hand and doodled freely in a sketchbook for about 15 minutes. One of the drawings I did was this one...
...with which I was inordinately pleased. It didn't matter that the job was behind schedule and I'd stayed up till about 3am and still made little progress on it: I had drawn something, for myself, that I was entirely pleased with and therefore it was a good day's work.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Of the various googly-eyed history jobs due to be finished by next Monday all are now complete save for the (rather large) task of inking and colouring in a three page comic strip containing more than the usual amount of detail (which slows down the colouring process no end). So I'm most likely working long hours at least up until Saturday night and quite possibly through Sunday too. I'm very glad, then, that in amongst the convoluted and time-consuming battle scenes there is one panel that is pure black. If I knew who had written the script I would commend him personally and encourage more of this kind of minimalism. (An aside: I seem to remember that Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes's reworking of Dan Dare - late '80s/early '90s? in some short-lived British comic - included a wholly blank page in one of its later chapters. I always wondered if Hughes actually submitted artwork for this and was paid accordingly. I hope so. Maybe he got to complain that they'd printed it upside-down too).
Anyway, I'm disappearing back into the dim recesses of my studio for a few more days. I shall try to be more interesting upon my return next week. Hopefully there will be pictures too.
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Up to my neck in googly eyes and therefore not finding time to say anything much here. Sorry. Have a drawing instead.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
While the wonder that is daveshelton.com is still far from complete I've already started messing about adding secret content to it. There's now a big sketchbook spread to be seen if you can find the secret link. I must stress, though, that I'm in no way suggesting that it's worth the effort.