Sunday, 2 December 2012

Things are Moving

I'm currently in the process of moving back onto my own domain name:

I'm setting up a new design and possibly even a web shop. A kind of early new years resolution. It's not finished yet, but I have started putting on some information about three things that i'm involved with.

Maybe you could be involved with them too - or show up for a chat.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Hollow Earth at the Make and Mend

I'll be selling prints and comics at Make and Mend on Saturday 1st September in the Grainger Market in Newcastle. I might also want to talk about the card game i'm making called 'Kick Punch Stomp'.

The first three issues of Tales of the Hollow Earth are £3 each, but you can get all three for £7.50.

“ Edgar Allan Poe and Kafka discussing Doctor Who in a teak lift” Ian Mayor

The prints are from my Cosmology series - they are signed limited edition giclee prints, 16 inch square in a 20 inch black square mount and i'll be selling these for £42 each.

More information on the Make and Mend market can be found at the website and on twitter: @makemend

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

This is Where it's Art

I'm very pleased to be taking part in the This is Where it's Art festival in Spennymoor this weekend, where i'll be sharing a stall with Brittany Coxon, who designed their website and whose new website design has just been launched.

Issue 1 - Boltzmann's Eye

I'll be there selling comics and art on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and this festival should (printers willing) be the first outing of the fourth printing of Issue 1 : Boltzmann's Eye - which is the first to be printed in full colour and feature a backup story and artwork to bring it up to the same page count as issues 2 and 3.


Sunday is going to be a very comics themed day: Daniel Clifford and Lee Robinson will be running a programme of comic themed events all day as Art Heroes - details of their workshop can be found on the Art Heroes Blog.

12 - 1pm - "Comics: words + pictures where time = space"

From 12 - 1pm the same day, I'll be doing a talk on the topic of comics and sequential art storytelling.

Aimed at artists and writers looking to make comics, or jest folk who want to spend an hour thinking more about their comics, I'll be talking about some of the comics storytelling techniques i've learned as I've been making comics.

Note that this is aimed at an audience from teenagers upwards.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Boltzmann's Eye - Fourth Printing!

I'm pleased to announce the fourth printing of Tales of the Hollow Earth Issue 1 with a brand new colour cover.

This new printing, to the infuriation of everyone who has purchased previous editions and for whome a deal can be made, features re-toned interiors to match issues 2 and 3, a colour cover and five extra interior pages.

The new colour pages include Lure - a Gudrun Black tale which first appeared in A4 Comics Presents, edited by Daniel Clifford, and a new single pager.

Here's the cover:

This new edition will be launched at the This is Where it's Art festival in Spennymoor, which really is the place to be in the North East of England on the weekend 8th-10th of June.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Some keys to Plato's cave (and the goths who live there)

I've been writing and drawing comics over the last few years, sometimes I think a bit about that.

...and one of the things I think is that there is sometimes a tendancy, when deciding what a prop or background character looks like to go for the platonic archetypal ideal typical proverbial object.

...but this is also the generic and boring prop, no matter what flourish and decoration you add to it. No-one is surprised, for example, when the Key to Hell in Neil Gaiman's classic - Sandman - looks like this:

Which is grand: after all, Sandman is a world whose central aesthetic is pretty goth, and one of its themes IS symbols, archetypes and platonic forms.

...but if you're not writing a fantasy novel set in all of history's subconscious, you might want to think a bit more about what the archetypal version of your prop might be, and weigh the pro's and cons of the familiarity of the 'symbol' version of the object against the benefits you'll get from using something more specific.

Because, despite the fact that I think if you asked most adults to draw a Key they would draw something similar in form to the 'symbol' form above, most people's day to day experience of an actual key has more in common with the Key to the Fortress of Solitude in Grant Morrison's All Star Superman:

Which is brilliant: it replaces the symbolic version with the every day and this is unexpected.

Once you're away from the platonic form, and using a form that is either more real world or completely alien, you have a much wider range of attributes to consider. The objects form, size, wight, material all have semiotic considerations that can be used to deduce a lot about its owner and the culture and story in which it exists.
  • Plastic, Wood and Metal? 
  • Over or Undersized?
  • Embellished or Minimal?

So, if you look at your props and in all honestly it looks like something a Goth might like, you maybe need to think on it a bit further. Your haunted house will possibly be more effective and surprising if it's a suburban semi detatched than the house on the hill, for example. It will also offer up different and interesting storytelling opportunities.

As an aside, I'm quite interested in Tim Burton's films: he's as goth a filmmaker as you can get, but I'm quite looking forward to seeing his Dark Shadows clash of goth and 70's aesthetics.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Newcastle Mini Comics Making 2012

Blimey this year is running on a bit fast? A few plans in the pipeline and a few starting to pop out the other end.

First up: I'll be doing a talk on comics at Newcastle City Library next weekend (21st April) as part of the Newcastle Mini Comics event organised by the inestimable Cuttlefish Comics.

My talk is called 'Comics: Words + Pictures where Space = Time' It's all about what I know about storytelling on a comic book page and how the composition of the panels is used to control the passing of time. It's also about the accessibility of the medium because of the way in which the participates in the telling in a way that differs from film and prose.

Dispensing a powerful dose of comics wisdom will be Ingi Jensson, whose tale of how he burned-up, then rose out of the ashes, found his mojo and personal style will get people's heads properly screwed on for the dangers that await them as they embrace their own creativity.

And embrace it they will, for after the talks will be the Mini-Comics day proper, when we will all be getting down and making comics from scratch.

Mini comics

The event is free but you'll need to book and places are limited: Book your place by phoning 0191 2774100 or by emailing

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Twenty Three : Number None : Lure

The Twenty Three is a website i'm setting up to contain extras, extended scenes, b-sides, outtakes and brand new stories from the Tales of the Hollow Earth universe. It will all be material that adds to the story, but some of which i'm discarding from the printed comic in order to concentrate on the main plotline.

The Twenty Three : Number None : Lure

Lure, for example, introduces elements of Gudrun Black's character that would be useful to a reader of issue 3, so it's getting reprinted here, as well as in a coloured version in the next edition of issue 1.

It originally appeared in Daniel Clifford's A4 Adventure Arena. Daniel provided input on pacing and storytelling and made this a much tighter story, and I'm greatful for this and his permission to reprint.