Hey I drew a comic about the great new book you’re reading!
Hey I drew a comic about the great new book you’re reading!
To end 2013, I’ve decided to stop drawing silly pictures and get a proper job like a grown up. Nah not really, but one day it might happen, and i might be the guy who phones you about your PPI claim. Just think about that when you’re blowing a whistle down the phone line.
I hope you have had a wonderful year filled with y’know the stuff and the other stuff. I’ve had a pretty cool one I will confess. We got a dog, called Rocky, who is the coolest dude in the world and you will be sick of if you follow my instagram account. I went to Hong Kong, got shortlisted for a rather nifty children’s book award, saw the release of my labour of love book ‘Kochi Wanaba’ (available from all good book places), as well as my more child-friendly Fish-Head Steve. In amongst it all, I drew comics pretty much constantly for both The Beano, Doctor Who Adventures and The Phoenix (who just celebrated their 100th issue!), as well as my own ridiculous little projects like Corporate Skull, my beloved novel, and y’know everything else. I even got to contribute to the children’s horror compilation ‘Boo!’, and the new Bravest Warriors book coming out next year. AND OTHER STUFF. I can’t think straight at the moment, my brain is full of chocolate santas.
I was really hoping to take some time off in january, to plough through some of my own projects. I worked my buns off in december to get ahead of schedule so i could do this, but i dunno, somehow i’m still not far enough ahead! It’s super frustrating. But hopefully I can find a week here and there in the beginning of 2014. I need to do the final round of edits on my first novel (and do a first draft of the NEXT one), design a new range of T-shirts, not to mention write the next issue of Corporate Skull!
And then there’s Moose Kid. Moose Kid is one of the things I’m most excited about for next year. It’ll be our statement to children’s comics, a loud and proud declaration of the talent and enthusiasm in this generation of artists, and an attempt to show what CAN be done. We have some genuinely incredible work in already, if we can just haul it all together and show you all, i think you’re going to flipping love it. You, being the internet. Sorry, i don’t have everyone’s names to hand.
So, in the true spirit of having too much to do, here is the Christmas card i drew last year, because i haven’t had time to do a new one. HOORAY! BODGING IT RIGHT UP TO THE END!
Have a great yule, y’all. And humble thank yous for sticking with me, as ever.
I’ve been so remiss in blogging about this, and for that i apologise, but i am delighted to announce that my new book Kochi Wanaba is available to buy! Either direct from the publisher Blank Slate, your usual online retailer, or i am hearing reports of it appearing in comic stores and book shops up and down the land too.
Those who have known me for a while will know Kochi is the longest of all my projects, about eight years in the making. It is a pencil-drawn graphic novel about a group of kids who hang out, being rude to each other, swearing and bitching about things. Of all the kids, quietest is Kochi, who is very introverted and prefers to spend his time with his head in a sketchbook. His unofficial girlfriend, Lhys, is quite the opposite. Loud, excitable, and willing to take all the boys on in a fight.
Their group simmers with tension and resentments until one day, the Bee Festival comes to their village. What should be a happy day causes brutal fractures in the children’s friendships, and events spiral horrifically out of control.
To say any more would spoil it, but its been a real labour of love, and i’m incredibly grateful to Kenny, Woodrow, and all at Blank Slate for helping this book become a reality. It’s not intended for children (swearing and violence), but it is hopefully funny, disturbing, provoking, and sweet, all at once.
Kochi was actually serialised online, and you can read it here www.kochiwanaba.com. Here are a few of my favourite comments from it:
"I’ll be honest … I loved this from page one to the… end. The art style is flawless as well as beautiful. Perhaps one of the best web comics I’ve read in quite sometime! Maybe you’ll decide to further this masterpiece or leave it as it is, either way I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, thank you!" - Osozaki
"If that was truly the ending (which i hope it weren’t) you have just kicked something beautiful full on in the nuts and left it in a gutter to die." - Jim
"This is one of the best blends of bleakness, beauty, humor, nostalgia, panic (both social and mortal), and super-squeezable nightmarishly-proficient artwork. Everything about it was unexpected. I love it, dude." - Jimmy G
I really love and appreciate that people got so invested in the characters. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed it and commented! And if you have read it online, I’d urge you to check out the book too. Not only is it beautifully printed (the colours feel a lot more subtle), there’s also a small essay about Kochi and its creation, and a bundle of sketchbook pages and never before seen artwork. Like this, the very first sketch i did for the book.
So there you go. Maybe a very last minute Christmas present, either for someone else or just for you because HEY you’ve worked HARD this year, and you DESERVE IT.
Man. I am so chuffed this book exists for realsies now.
(image nicked from the Etheringtons blog, apologies!)
This is pretty amazing, it’s fair to say. The Phoenix, the UK’s newest independent children’s comic, reaches its 100th issue today! For a weekly comic, that’s pretty astounding, especially these days when there are so few original content weekly comics for kids around. A MASSIVE congratulations to everyone involved, all the hard-working editorial team as well as the incredible roster of artists and writers. Here’s the to next 100 issues!
You can get The Phoenix in some stores, online, or digitally, so please do check it out www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk. Issue 100 is a BUMPER issue.
For my part, i’ve been lucky enough to draw my strip, Bunny Vs Monkey, for every single one of those issues. And that’s an honour I don’t take lightly! Over the last 100 issues, BvM has featured ridiculous machines, endless minor injuries, and (hopefully) a few story arcs threaded through it all keeping everything nice and mysterious. In this issue 100, for example, we finally find out not only where Bunny came from, but all the other animals too!
Funny thing about Bunny Vs Monkey, I started work on it around 2003, so it’s nearly ten years old. Back then I was developing it for television (that *cough* didn’t work out), so I thought you might be interested to see a bit of painting I did for it back then, to get a feel for it all.
It looks incredibly clunky to me now, and as you can see, both Bunny and Monkey have changed colour. But when I had the chance to pitch an idea to The Phoenix, Bunny Vs Monkey was my first choice. And I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to draw it, it’s given me so much room to explore the idea, the world and the characters, and really build everything up nicely.
Below are some more concept pieces i did before I started the comic, just trying to get a feel for the environments.
I’m currently drawing both Bunny Vs Monkey AND Looshkin, who appears every few weeks or so in his own special 4-page exclusives. It’s a crazy amount of fun, and I can safely say this is the best job in the world.
Thank you, The Phoenix, and everyone who buys it! We will make children’s comics huge again!