Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Things I Enjoyed in 2013

I should probably start this blog post with a grovelling apology about the lack of updates… but I hate it when people do that so I’ll just gloss over all of that and assume/hope you forgive me.

It’s nearly the end of another year so I just wanted to jot down some of the things I’ve enjoyed in 2013. It isn’t a ‘Best of...’ list because I wouldn’t want to upset anyone.

So yes! Here are some ace things that have made this year good fun! Feel free to check them out if you like the sound of them…

It only came out a few weeks ago but I really enjoyed Disney’s Frozen - their reworking of The Snow Queen. I wasn’t expecting that much when the initial trailers came out… but my pals insisted I see it and I’m really glad I did as it was ace! The story is interesting, the characters are engaging and, most importantly, the songs are proper belters - the kind you find yourself singing when you’re walking down the street. Don’t believe me? Check out this one!

If you get the chance to watch it, I hope you do and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

In early August, I got the train up to Edinburgh! I've only ever been for work before - but this time I was going to check out the Festival! I got to see some great stuff - Choose Your Own Documentary, David Morgan and Knightmare Live. It was a very enjoyable few days and I loved being able to pop out of one show and straight into another. And because I was there so early, the tickets were all affordable. Bonus points to the midnight McFlurry I invested in and all the lovely fudge shops! And to John for looking after me! I hope I can attend the festival again in 2014...

Thought Bubble is a brilliant comic show in Leeds that happens in November time. As usual, I had a lovely time - it was ace to see pals and talk to people who have actually read my comic. Bonus points to the dude with the Hot Dog Princess tattoo! OMG! AND I MET FIONA STAPLES AND GAVE HER MY COMIC! Eeeeeee! If you haven't been to it before, I cannot recommend it enough! Come and say hi in 2014!


I've been a fan of The Postal Service since my time in Santa Cruz so seeing them live this year was quite a treat. I was secretly hoping that they'd play some Figurine songs but alas, no luck! BUT! They played some new songs to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their album... which made me feel happy and old in quick succession.

I've really enjoyed playing lots of table top board games in 2013 and it's been a great way to make new pals. Looking over at the pile of boxes on my wardrobe, I would recommend:
  • Love Letter
  • Coup
  • Avalon / The Resistance
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Ticket To Ride
  • Escape: Curse of the Temple
  • Small World
  • BANG!
  • London (a lovely gift form my pal Phil)
They are all easy enough to pick up. Avalon and The Resistance are ideal for groups of people too! So much fun! I have an idea for one that I need to start work on too! Maybe we can all play that in 2014?

It's a computer / board game bar space in Soho, London and they do a lovely range of smoothies (I'd recommend the mango and passion fruit) and they staff are nice and I'm glad of having somewhere to go in an evening. Especially if there's a group of you who want to play The Resistance or something!

SPX (and New York)
In September, some pals and I went to SPX in the USA! I hadn't left the UK since my trip to Toronto (in 2009?) so this was a big deal for me but I'm so glad I did it! I really need to make a big diary comic about the experience - it was amazing (although bits of it were scary). SPX as a show is really lovely and the people were ace. It all happens in one big hotel so you see the same faces around and get to know people. We also had the chance to look around Washington DC (the most official city I've ever visited) and New York. Bonus points to Phil and Lizz for looking after me, Jenny and Mike for taking the time to hang out and everyone behind SPX - especially MDT and Smarx. OMG! And the pancake place around the corner! I am drooling just thinking about that place...

Secret 7" is a brilliant idea that gets people to design covers for mystery singles that are sold to raise money for charity. I saw a lot of my popular and accomplished drawing pals tweeting about it and I never thought my entry would get selected. I remember reading the email saying that I could take part and whooping loudly at my desk. I wrote up a process post about my entry and I still smile when I see it! I'd like to enter it again but I can't help but worry that I just got lucky this time. Or maybe I'm just being a baby? Either way, you should defo keep an eye on it!

I just really like this song

My pal Mike came to visit in May and I made a comic about it! I saw him again when I visited New York and he took us to a jazz bar. I miss him just from typing this. 

I went to see  The Sound of Music at the Open Air Theatre with a pal in the Summer and it was so good that we both cried. My favourite bit was when Maria appeared from behind the audience and belted out 'THE HILLS ARE ALLIIIIIIIIVE.'

The Drowned Man is a very intense theatre piece by Punchdrunk. After putting on a mask, you're let loose in a five storey warehouse to follow a variety of characters across movie sets and saloons. I'm not sure I can describe it well enough or do it justice it... but if you have the chance to see it then I hope you'll give it a go! Just make sure you wear sensible shoes.

Summer Camp - responsible for one of my favourite songs, released a new album this year and it is great. I got to see them in Leeds and in London and besides being ridiculously well-dressed, they were slick as eff. If they tour near you then make the time to check them out.

I think that's about it for now. There are probably some things I forgot but I can always edit this later! What exciting things did you enjoy from 2013?

Stay out of trouble

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


If everything works out, I should be at SPX this weekend! Come and say hello and ask me why I haven't updated this blog in a while!

Sunday, 9 June 2013



This isn't a proper blog post. You don't need to worry about me rambling along about my feelings and the like. I'm just writing down a reminder of some things I need to write about:

  • I went to see The Postal Service! They were on stage and they played some music! And getting there was a story on its own.
  • I went to MCM Expo and you might have gone to it too! There were some amazing costumes (Groot and Rocket Racoon!!!) and I've got some photos of them. Thanks if you came to visit me there.
  • I've been feeling a bit sad about a bunch of things... although I guess there's nothing new there.
  • 'A Wizard's Woes' finished! It was an old story that took place over twenty days. I hope you enjoyed it!
  • The season two finale of Revenge went out and it was pretty underwhelming
  • I went to a talk at BAFTA about games journalism which was interesting. People talked a lot about writing about stuff that interests you and I vowed that I would do that! Except, here I am, writing a list of things I'll write about when I have time. Lame.

More importantly, how are you? What have I missed? Anything exciting?

Stay out of trouble

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Process: Secret 7s

A few months ago, a bunch of my drawing pals were retweeting a shout out for people to draw stuff. It was for the charity/art project Secret 7"s where people design covers for songs by popular musicians and other people buy them for money. There are other things too like screenings and talks and all the money raised is sent to a good charity to do good things.

I wasn't planning on submitting anything for a number of reasons - mainly that anything that relies on being voted in makes me scared. but also because I thought it was just going to be for proper drawing people that use a selection of pencils or can draw hands etc.. But I also *really* wanted to give it a go and it couldn't be that scary, right? And my drawing pals were being encouraging. Thanks pals!

So, after a bit of faffing about and doing some bravery training (looking in the mirror and saying to myself 'you are a brave and sassy dude'), I got to work.

The seven acts that you could design a sleeve for were Elton John, Haim, Public Enemy, Nick Drake, NAS, Laura Marling and Jessie Ware. For me, it was a toss up between Haim and Jessie Ware but I finally opted for the former.

After sketching out a few ideas, I settled on the idea of the Haim gals flying into action. So I drew them out on paper (along with some other stuff I was working on, hence the dog) and inked them with my fancy pen.

My inking, as always, is terrible - the eyes are wonky, the cardigan is a mess... which is ridiculous since my drawings are so basic. Oh. And there was a ghost in my original idea too! SPOILERS: Poor ghost didn't make it through to the final thing.

I was planning on using my original line drawings so I tidied them up. Stray pixels *really* annoy me. I put them into position after this too, along with the ghost.

Having done all that though, I decided to redraw them again using work paths. I think I just really wanted it to look slick... so that's what I did!

I also rejigged their positions and finally decided that the ghost just did not belong there. Look how unwonky those facial features are now! And how smooth their hair is! Hooray!  I'd made the bits and bobs on multiple layers so, before colouring them in (or even flattening them), I deleted all the bits that I didn't need to show up.

I was finally happy with the layout and the lack of ghost. So it was time for my favourite thing - COLOURING IN! Thanks to the computer, staying in the lines is no longer a concern!

I wanted something really bright and cheerful for the background, to contrast with the more muted colours of the Haim gal's outfits. I spent a surprising amount of time deciding what they should be wearing. Who would wear socks and who wouldn't? Would this outfit work on stage? How practical are their shoes?

But I felt like it looked a little flat. I know my style is pretty 2D anyways, but I wanted to give it a bit more of a polish... so after a bit of playing around, I ended up with this...

And there we go! This is the final version I submitted!

I was over the moon when I got the email to say that I was in the actual 700 and it was a super hard secret to keep. I went along to the opening party and bumped into some pals and we had a great time going through all 700 sleeves, trying to work out what act they were for and whether we knew the person behind it.

A lot of my pals went along to look at the sleeves too and didn't seem to have any trouble pointing mine out to me. I was quite pleased because it means I have a 'style' that people can recognise and being selected for the project in the first place has given me a much needed confidence boost. There were loads of amazing sleeves on display and mine was there, right next to them. And it's not everyday you get the chance to say you designed a sleeve for a sassy band like Haim.

And if that wasn't enough good news enough for one blog post, I was sent a tweet by the person that bought it when they all went on sale. HOORAY!

So, in conclusion... if you ever have the chance to submit something but are worried, stop being a baby and give it a go! You might not be as accomplished or as popular as other people, but that's not always the most important thing.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Long Story Alert!

Don't freak out... but I'm updating this blog.

If you're freaking out now then STOP IT - I told you not to! Why don't you listen? Jeez!

So, it's been ages since my last post. Sorry about that. In a nutshell, I've been working really, really hard at my non-drawing job. It's been a very interesting experience - I think I've learnt a lot and I've done all sorts of new things. But it also means that I'm exhausted and a little strung out.

But whatever. You didn't come here to read about my actual life. You just want funny/cute comics. Don't pretend it isn't.

So, as you have been reading, I was ill for a bit and now I'm not. I've started on making new comics but I sort of fancy doing something different. I went through my files and I found a 26 page story I had printed off as issue twelve of People I Know.

Here is the original front cover!

People I Know #12 was made two years ago - in early 2011, and featured two wizards trying to navigate the perils of the heart. I've been thinking about uploading it onto the website for a while so now seems like a pretty good time.

However, there are a few things that I wanted to flag up before it goes online...

For starters - it was made two years ago and, believe it or not, my drawings look different. Maybe not HUGELY different, but different enough.

I mean, you can still tell that they are the same characters... they just look a little more polished.

Another difference is the characters themselves. In the two years since I drew this story, the wizards have evolved as characters - which is only right. They've got names now for a start! Jones is bossy and desperate to assert himself. Curly is easily led and upset, both a symptom of his sad backstory. Both wizards in the current webcomic are students, whilst in the longer story they have jobs. Maybe it's just a Summer job. Yeah - let's go with that.

The tone of the story itself is markedly different from my regular pun-filled comics. This whole story was made to me read in one sitting, rather than across a month. I've tried splitting it up into sections that make it work as a daily strip, but it isn't big on the laugh front.

This probably all sounds like I don't want you to read it, but that's certainly not the case. It's a good story and I'm proud of it. I just don't want any regular readers (or new readers!) to be weirded out by the sudden change in tone and look.If you really can't cope with it then come back in a month and it'll be business as usual. Or don't come back. I'm not the boss of you.

Enough about me, what about you? Have I missed anything exciting? Will I see you at MCM Expo in London?

Stay out of trouble

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Hourly Comic Day - 2013

I'm super behind on Hourly Comic Day but here is the first page so far!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012: Songs I Liked

It's 2013! This is a post about songs I enjoyed over the last year.

You're probably thinking 'what do you care about music, you just draw silly comics,' but listening to music is probably my number one thing to do whilst making those comics. And don't worry!  I know that a lot of end-of-year lists often involve the writer just trying to score cool points... but I don't think I'll get cool points for this list. Mostly just because I'm a mess that has been wearing the same jumper for the last two weeks and I can't remember the last time anyone even suggested I might be hip and happening. Instead, this is just a nice list of nice songs that I've listened to a lot of this year. That means that might not have come out this year! But they're still on this list because I like them and probably spent a lot of time singing them whilst drawing... or at work... or in the shower.

So then, in no particular order...

Taylor Swift - We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together

Tay Tay has been on my radar since the brilliant 'You Belong With Me,' but unlike in the USA, anything before that wasn't a big deal over here. And if I'm speaking as an individual, anything after that wasn't a big deal either. 'Love Story' popped up in talent shows but the video was lame compared to YBWM. So when 'We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together' appeared with its catchy chorus, charming video and the best telephone interlude since Britney's 'Oops I Did It Again,' it was a great reminder for me to check out Ms. Swift's other songs. Songs I hadn't given much of a chance before... I'm really glad I did because she's got some cracking tunes! And some brilliant videos. Don't believe me? Check out the video for 'Mine.' It's a corker, full of the Swift-staples - a dreamboat, painful flashbacks, meaningful glances. PLUS! She followed this single up with 'I Knew You Were Trouble' - which featured the best 'does this count as dubstep?' moment in any pop song of 2012.

The Magnetic Fields - Quick!

I went to my first proper music festival this year - ATP! I've never fancied going to one before because I don't want to sleep in a tent surrounded by strangers - but that's not an issue at ATP because you get to sleep in chalets! Our one even had a dishwasher (that we didn't use)! I got to hang out with some of my lovely pals and see some lovely bands. Highlights for me were Joanna Newsom (twice!), Feathers and The Magnetic Fields. The latter had a new album out around that time so there were lots of new songs to familiarise myself with and this one - 'Quick' was the one that stood out the most. I went to see them play a full-length gig a few months afterwards and they were even better a second time round. Well done them!

Summer Camp - Better Off Without You

This wasn't released in 2012 but this song is so sassy that it's got enough sass to propel it into this blog post and into my heart. Seriously! So sassy! Unless I've just misunderstood the whole song and it's actually not sassy? Hmmmm. It's a possibility. Well, I'll go with my original sassy reading. A good portion of this year was spent feeling sorry for myself, only for this song to shuffle into my ears and then I'd be sassing it up as I told myself to stop being such a baby. Because I'm not a baby! I'm a sassy, independent dude, wearing a nice knitted jumper, listening to a sassy song with a great bassline. In your face everyone that was a dick to me!

Marina and the Diamonds - Lies

I'm using the acoustic version of this, even though the album version is the one I obsessed over. Why? Because I got pretty sad over the Summer after being stupidly optimistic (that'll teach me) and when everything didn't work out the way I was hoping it would, I fell headlong into whatever sad songs I could get my hands on. Ears on? And this version sounds extra sad. Hot off her then-new album, 'Lies' is the perfect song to have a good old wail to. Well, I didn't actually wail out loud but I did a lot of wailing in my mind whilst dramatically typing/drawing/walking. I'd like to say I'm over it all now but...yeah. Moving (dramatically) swiftly on...

Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe

I apologise to everyone and anyone that has been within a five metre radius of me during one of my 'Call Me Maybe' moments - which is just me singing random lines from one of the catchiest songs ever made, ever. Not even in order! A scrap of chorus will just blurb out of my mouth whilst I'm writing a script or on the bus or trying to find a bargain at the supermarket. It's the sort of song that I would have spent ages trying to record off the radio. But thankfully, I don't need to do that any more thanks to MP3s and the like! Ah! And the video! So good! Good work Carly Rae Jepsen! I hope you don't just fade away into pop obscurity! You deserve many more hits!

Loreen - Euphoria

This won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. I don't need to say any more than that.

Willy Moon - Yeah Yeah

The Olympics were a pretty big deal in London and, surprisingly, I really enjoyed the whole thing (except for the closing ceremony). There was a lot of television coverage of everything and I'm pretty sure this song was used a fair few times in adverts and playbacks and the like. Even if it wasn't, for some reason it is tied to those crazy two weeks when everyone in London was being nice to each other and the trains ran on time and we all had something to talk about that wasn't the weather. I was lucky enough to get to see two Olympic events in the park! I think that was my first time at an actual sporting event and I can't believe I had so much fun. Good work Olympics! I miss you already (except for the closing ceremony)!

Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend

This isn't a 2012 song but I finally got to see Robyn perform live this year! That's a pretty big deal since she released 'Show Me Love' when I was still buying Smash Hits and I was a big fan of that song. Then, next thing I know, she's putting out 'Konichiwa Bitches' and I'm going to nightclubs to dance to it! Time flies, eh? Robyn's live show was incredible. I didn't know what to expect but it still managed to blow my brains out of my head and then everyone danced around them like a creepy rave. I have no idea where she gets the energy from let alone some of those dance moves. Needless to say, I've added quite a few to my dance move lexicon. I bet you can't wait to see me do 'the Drunken Sailor,' 'the Saucy Granny,' or 'the Rise and Shine!' What's that? You *can* wait? We'll see about that!

Off the top of my head, those are my main songs. There are already contenders for the next batch! I've been listening to them all a lot, but not as much as the songs listed above. Still, I guess I can at least just put some videos down without adding a comment. Plus, it'll give you something to look forward to if I write another one of these...

Haim - Forever

They get bonus points for the dance routine

CHVRCHES - The Mother We Share

They get bonus points for being from Scotland

Bastille - Of The Night

They get bonus points for the dramatic man-wail

So yeah. I think that's it. I hope you found some nice songs to enjoy. Plus you might have a better idea of what sort of songs I enjoy now so feel free to suggest stuff for me to listen to!

Stay out of trouble