Thursday, 17 December 2015

Blog Moving

Well, one year after moving the blog it suddenly struck me that I should say some sort of emotional goodbye to Blogger... or at least leave a forwarding address of some sort. So you can now find me at...

See you on the other side!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Down The Tubes Review Oeuvre

Lovely review of Oeuvre: Blind Detective Blake #1 by Antony Esmond over on

Oeuvre: Blind Detective Blake #1

Well another year, another comic, just in time for Thought Bubble. This one is a bit of a departure from sci fi/mutant shenanigans of the past, but really, does anyone not want to do a murder mystery story? I mean, if I tally up hours of television watched growing up, Columbo and Murder She Wrote probably count for 50%.

My wife, Miho is also somewhat responsible for the birth of Gabe Blake. I had always blabbed on about creating a detective character but it was probably Tezuka's Black Jack and Gosho Aoyama's Case Closed that showed a comic format suited to the self contained crime mystery tale. Both of which were her recommendations - especially Black Jack!

Ah and the bird is a Hill Myna - We've had a crow and a raven as major players in comics, so I thought it was time to downscale. The bird was Miho's other big contribution - feathered sidekicks... bit of a gamble but hopefully in-keeping with the general tone!

Expect to see more sleuthing next year.

Here is the official intro blurb...

Expecting to sample the delights of contemporary sculpture’s boldest and brightest, the international art glitterati descend upon London’s V&A museum. However, when the centre piece of the exhibition turns out to be the corpse of a missing artist, the private view becomes a hunt for a killer with the hands of a craftsman.

Introducing Gabriel Blake, the 'Blind Detective.'

Please drop by for purchase info or to read for free online/download a pdf

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Presenting... Gabriel Blake: Blind Detective

Well, having spent the last couple of months planning, plotting, typing and deleting, I've finally put pencil to paper once more to start drawing the first instalment of a new crime series. A little different in flavour to some of my previous work, this series takes place in present day London, a setting I have wanted to use as I bleedin' well live here don't I; not that that's stopped me using google image search for pictures of buildings on my doorstep. Hmmm.

I'll be posting more details as things take shape, but expect murder most artistic (and horrid), Jewish mysticism, psychosis, talking Mynah birds, jaunts around the capital and luxury menswear (I've never drawn 'smart' present day clothes before). 

Don't be surprised to also hear a stack of vision related platitudes such as,  Blake: See no Evil, Blake: Justice is Blind etc... Glad I got those out of my system.

I should point out that work on Metal Between Two Faces is ongoing. Having spent a couple of months writing scenarios, there are many areas I am eager to explore with the title and very excited about drawing various scenes! However, releasing 30 page instalments once a year is I'm convinced, not the way to go with this particular story. I'm considering formats - something a little more animated/interactive is not out of the question.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Japanese Woodcut Workshop

Japanese woodblock workshop today with Hiroko Imada - getting my geese on. Were they worth the large blister now festering from carving plywood for an hour? I say yes, my middle finger disagrees.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Not much in the way of artwork over the New Year period as it's writing time!

While I love filling pages of cheap notepads with incoherent ramblings as much as the next sensitive soul, there comes a time when these dog eared carriers of semi-abstract scrawl have to be translated into something relatable.

There is a programme available to demo for free and to purchase for about £30 out there called Scrivener. Now I'm no expert; having dabbled with Word during the agency admin years of darkness, I  now tend to open everything in wordpad/textedit whenever possible. However, I'm having a real good time with Scrivener.

This programme apparently replicates a lot of features from Final Draft for a fraction of the price. I have always feared that the introduction of a computer to my scripting workflow may rob me of my trad-mojo, but while writing a one shot 8-16 page story poses few issues of plot/character destination and continuity, when writing ongoing story instalments, I was all over the shop! Moments of inspiration are all well and good, but having no way to clearly order these nuggets meant that good ideas got overlooked and not so good ideas took up far too many pages to trawl through, having no visual checkpoints to keep one disciplined.

Anyway, a good writer will no doubt have their own methods of dealing with these concerns, Scrivener seems handy as you can...

Create flashcards with plot outlines
Import reference material to view within the programme
Split windows to have easy access to earlier points in your story/your plot outlines and goals for each section
Save character names as autofill option
Add pages at any point
Autoformat your document for comic scripting

Hmm, it all sounds a bit dry on a list and there's many other features to discuss, but with a short intro written with comics in mind, I started to enjoy the process of breaking down story ideas into something approaching cohesiveness. No doubt, all these processes can be replicated using pen and paper, but such is the age that most research happens online and to have a programme for musings, goals, gathered facts and final output seems handy. I'd definitely recommend it for anyone writing comics who may be searching for a way to weave all those disparate threads into a pleasing form.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


'SEMPER ARDENS' is a four page short story penned for the 2013 Observer/Jonathan Cape short story competition.

Left to my own devices, I tend to draw things out and can sometimes look back over four pages and wonder 'what exactly has changed from point A to point B here?' Honing a story to a strict four pages is challenging, but perhaps handy for understanding story punctuation and reader engagement.

This story is based at least a little on real life experience and my conservative panel layout reflects the slice of life subject matter. The desire to explode panels all over the page is still there, but there's a decent point in structuring panels in an easy to follow manner in order to pack them full of crazy detail if that's your schtick. I guess it's a quiet/loud thing.

I broke out a Wacom tablet to colour this bad boy digitally, thinking that with only 4 pages to do, it couldn't be too bad. While I still feel a nasty disconnect 'drawing' on a horizontal surface but seeing the result on a vertical screen, the resulting colour job seemed to work out, so perhaps a technique to be revisited.

Didn't win this time round, but hey, third year lucky, 2014, you're mine!