Wednesday, 30 September 2009

THE ZONE

With its (mostly) single panel pages, you can hardly call BLIP a complex comic project, but when you're juggling your creation around your endeavours at Toonhound, a busy home life and three nights of exhausting shift work a week to ensure the mortgage gets paid - well - that's when you find out just what a labour-intensive process this comic making mularky can be.

It doesn't help that I'm not that good at drawing. Sure, I can knock off a quick cartoon, but my technical skills and my ability to draw properly, they can be a bit lacking. And I'm hindered somewhat by having a slightly squiffy left eye that can drag my creations a little askew, at times. That's not to say I'm some dribbling one-eyed pirate. It's just a slight astigmatism that I have to work around. And if you add that to the above, you can see why, more and more, I find I have to be in THE ZONE before I can begin drawing. But finding THE ZONE can be a nightmare, at times, and it can be sent scurrying in to the shadows by the slightest of things: an ill-timed phone call, the dogs wanting out, my turn to cook, etc. Take young Stan here (below). Who can resist a face like his?


If you throw in my near-constant tiredness from all that shift work, you can begin to understand there are weeks when THE ZONE has fled the house altogether and vanished up the street. And it all means that my simple little project designed to get me focused on my cartooning is in danger of becoming a mammoth undertaking. And yet... in a strange way... I'm finding that the frustration of being out of THE ZONE has actually been a good thing. It's been a wake-up call. If I really want to do this cartooning thing full time - which I do, I know with the most absoloute certainty now - then I have to learn to keep on, no matter what. I can't go running after the security of my ZONE when there's a deadline to meet. THE ZONE won't put bread on the table. It won't feed the dogs and it won't pay for our little Georgian house to be properly renovated...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

What a dummy!

No. Really. What a dummy. See, I've just put together my very first BLIP proof. A dummy comic, if you please. And I'm almost beside myself with giddy glee. It's a greyscale A5 edition, with a colour cover. Nothing fancy. Just the first 23 pages, printed up for my own amusement on Tesco Finest Copy Paper via my ip6700d, and saddle stitched using my old WH Smiths stapler. The cover design needs tweaking, and there's a bit of creep in the page alignment, but I love it, I love it, I love it - curling corners and all, darn it!


I'm quite taken back by the quality of thing. I had no idea that I could produce something like this from the confines of my attic. It's a real jolt in the arm, and it's made me even more determined to get back to my Bristol Board and complete the rest of this spacey tale, and - oh - so much more besides. And funnily enough, despite all the effort I've poured into Photoshop, layering and colouring every page, I think BLIP looks just as good in greyscale. It's certainly a cheaper way to go, initially, when I finally crank up my Small Press... So you can colour me very excited indeed!