Thursday 5 May 2011


Scan of the brush and ink drawing I did for the Nelson cover.

Finally the cat's out of the bag. I'm terrible at keeping secrets and having a big secret like this to carry around for the past few months has been a real challenge.

The 'secret project' I've been working on since December last year is called Nelson, it's an anthology of UK comics done as a novel, find out more about it here. A UK comics anthology that embraced all types UK comic creators from the Beano to 2000ad, from small press to those working Marvel and DC, from Newspaper strips to Web comics seemed like a good idea, I thought it would be even better if all of those different comic creators were working together on the same story.

I had the idea last year and with the help of Woodrow Phoenix and Blank Slate books it is becoming a reality. The idea was a simple one - tell a person's life by picking one day from each year of their life and use a different comic creator for each year. I started it off in 1968 the year the character was born and passed it on to Woodrow who did 1969 and passed it on to the next creator for 1970 and so on. Because I want this to succeed as a novel I've worked as editor, with Woodrow as co-editor, to oversee, occasionally guide and always help. It's been a honour to work with so many amazing talents and be a part of their creative processes.

I could say so much about this book, but I need to hold off until nearer publication for fear of peaking too soon. All I can say is that it is exceeding my expectations already and it has a life all of it's own. At times I feel about as in control of this book as a surfer is in control of the sea.

So next time someone asks you if you know who or what is Nelson you'll be able to tell them.
A panel from my opening 1968 chapter

Monday 2 May 2011

Mark E Smith and the Ramones

I don't know whether you have the dubious pleasure of following me on Twitter, if not you probably won't have seen these scribbles. Comics' savant, Dan Berry, invited fellow twitterers to produce high speed sketches of first the Ramones then Mark E Smith without using reference, these are my results. Mark E Smith is a character so ingrained on my consciousness that it felt like cheating. Alongside Mick McMahon, Mark E Smith helped shape my world view growing up, for better or worse.

The Ramones one included some guesswork, Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee were fixed in my head but 'the other one' was guesswork. I used the remaining ink for a 'drawing without reference' idea of my own, the Samuel Beckett below. Probably has to rank as the quickest drawing I've done, took about 20 seconds I suppose.
As you can see below I did it on the inside back cover of my sketch pad because it was shiny and would resist the ink. I may do something wild and inky in the near future, these were a lot of fun to do.

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