Archives of Blah

Personal or off-topic rantings and ravings.

Hello! I think it’s time to pick up my blog again, especially after the last entry, which I read back to myself just now and smiled at… it really has been one hell of a year.

Since the last entry, Kate and I bought a house together, moved in and refurbished the room we’d chosen as a studio. I’ve managed to finished volume 1 of The Firelight Isle, Kickstart it, get it sent out to everyone who backed the campaign, all alongside continuing my job at The Phoenix (now working from home, as I’ve moved away from Oxford). Kate’s managed to resume her work on Faith Says You, book she’s been working on for longer than I’ve been writing The Firelight Isle, she’s also Kickstarted and distributed volume 1 of that, too!

In my last entry, I’d hoped that something like this would have been possible, and being honest whit myself, I’d worried that my inability to turn out steady work on The Firelight Isle was due to some deficiency in myself, rather than my situation. I’m extremely pleased to say that it was totally the situation, and having more time and money to invest in the project has really turned things around!
As I write this, I’m over 20% of the way through volume 2, and hoping to finish it by late next year. I’m using the money we’re saving from living in a cheaper area to hire Kate for two days a week, and she’s doing the colouring and now also provisional thumbnail layouts for every page.
I’ve just returned from Thought Bubble, which was a wonderful experience, and my first convention in several years, and I’m looking forward to settling down and getting some great work done between now and Christmas.

It’s unlikely that I’ll start using this blog more regularly unless I have something very specific to publish in writing, so I plan on touching base two or three times a year to do a quick round up, or post when there’s particularly big news to share! The main action on this website will continue to be in The Firelight Isle section, so stay posted for new episodes (hopefully there’ll be one either next week or the following week) :D

Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted here – life has been a bit of a roller-coaster over the last two years for various reasons, and the vast majority of my work has been for my job at The Phoenix Comic, doing things like designing the interiors of the comic, maintaining and expanding their website, drawing covers and other illustrations, and the odd piece of writing for the comic.

This has basically been because of rising living costs and the need to afford my rent, along with the desire to help The Phoenix flourish – despite the coverage and quality, it’s still basically an indie publication with very few full-time staff.

This means personal projects have taken a back seat, and my life has felt very different for a long while.

HOWEVER, I’m currently in the process of moving out of my flat and buying my first house with Kate Brown. We’ve rented in Oxford for 10 years now, and the ludicrous prices have just been stopping us from pursuing our personal projects, always putting the onus on earning enough to afford the basics.

I’m excited for the move – it’ll take us out of Oxford to Kettering, which is a great little market town where our mortgage will be about half our current rent and will still afford us a two-bed terrace with a garden.

I’m hoping it’ll be the start of a new era for my work :)

And since I’ve posted bugger-all for so long, here’s a quick self-portrait that SelfMadeHero asked me to do for their creator page.

This year, e3 leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps even a little dirty.

We’ve seen the young Lara Croft get tied up, bludgeoned, stabbed, molested and shot at whilst we stare at her lovingly blood-stained skin and listen to pants and groans that would sound just at home in the moment of orgasmic climax as they do in moments of terror.

We’ve seen Sam Fisher embark on a mission that seems to have been designed during the collective wet dream of the US army’s propaganda department. We’re asked to delight as he takes on the role of what might as well be an Obama sanctioned one-man-kill-squad, making the “hard choice” and brutally murdering lots and lots of Arabs in order to save America and the whole world.

We’ve seen Quantic Dream (a studio that since Heavy Rain I’ve been counting on as a breath of fresh air amongst the sewage smell of extreme-violence-for-fun) take a loving step back towards the absurdities of Indigo Prophecy instead. For the sin of my hope, they’ve given us a (wait for it) young girl with psychic powers on the run from the police. From gameplay footage, “Beyond” consists of the ability to knock over coffee with your mind, along with what promises to be an endless chain of “dramatic” chase sequences that have become the aspiration of every major studio under the sun since Naughty Dog wrote “you’ve got to be kidding me”. Helicopters crash from the sky, buildings collapse around us, everything explodes, we jump over chasms, and all the while we could be playing Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Beyond, Call of Duty, or watching 2012 for all it matters.

Only one week after promising to Blog every Monday morning, I’ve already failed! That didn’t take long. So here’s a Thursday afternoon blog instead, and Thursday afternoons are superior to Monday mornings. It is known.

So anyways, up there is a convention sketch that I just got round to colouring! It’s a piece drawn in the quiet moments of the convention to use as an example when people asked about what finished sketches might look like. Convention sketches touch on an uncomfortable topic that I’ve been meaning to blog about, so this is as good an opportunity as any! A lot of people (probably the majority of sketch collectors) ask artists to draw licensed characters. On some occasions I’ve accepted fan-art commissions, and on some occasions I haven’t, knowing at all times that it’s technically illegal to do so.

It’s that time again ^_^ Feels like it was only a few months ago that I was writing my last Carl Sagan Day entry! Here’s a quick picture to celebrate! I tried to capture the sense of wonder he always conveys in his public appearances.

It’s been a hectic year, and a rewarding one; as I was writing last year’s entry, I was beginning to form Signal in my mind (I really had no idea I’d been working on it that long), and now it’s finished and printed! It literally wouldn’t have happened without the influence I got from watching Cosmos and reading Sagan’s books.

So it’s about time I blogged about the October 2010 MCM Expo!
Although I knew that Freakangels was up for an Eagle Award, I knew in advance that I wouldn’t be able to make it for the Friday when the awards were being announced, and I thought I was unlikely to go at all! Next year, Kate and I will be dual-booking tables at as many conventions as we can, to promote Signal, and her self published comic Fish and Chocolate, which will be out by the time next year’s con season begins. I didn’t expect to have any copies of Signal for the Expo, and although I love going as a fan, work normally has to take priority.

So, the week for the Expo came, and two unexpected things happened! First, my copies of Signal arrived much earlier than expected, meaning that I had a stack of 200 of them to deal with and start distributing, and second, on Friday evening it turned out that Freakangels won the Eagle award that it had been nominated for! Both really exciting events which prompted me to take a day-trip to the Expo on Saturday in order to both drop off some copies of Signal to Orbital and Gosh comic shops in London, and then pop on to the Expo.

It’s been a turbulent few months for me, and poor Mr. Blog has suffered. I’m sorry blog, it’s not you, it’s me!

There are some definite reasons though, not least of which is the illness that kept me away from Freakangels for 3 weeks! I feel I owe a bit of an explanation for this, as it wasn’t a straight forward flu or cold, and for round-about reasons I wasn’t actually physically ill whilst I was taking the break.

Firstly, it wasn’t anything to do with San Deigo, I wasn’t there at all and the interlude message was just a joke about how contagious con-disease is. What really happened though? A few months ago I had a couple of random dizzy spells, the third of which was quite alarming: I felt light headed, sort of disembodied, my limbs were tingling and my heart was pounding. I phoned NHS Direct, and they thought the symptoms were serious enough to send an ambulance. After a good few hours in A&E, growing more and more anxious as various tests were done, I was eventually sent home and told that nothing was wrong. When I did get home though, I felt terrible: I could barely eat, my bowels were going crazy, I couldn’t sleep, and when I did drift off, I’d wake up suddenly at about 3.00am with the same symptoms that took me into hospital. I felt weak and miserable – sitting down to work literally gave me the shakes (not great when trying to draw). After seeing a number of local GPs it was established that I was suffering from panic attacks and the effects of extreme anxiety.

I was surprised this morning to hear some news about, and see some footage from, the upcoming Level 5 (of Professor Layton fame) and Studio Ghibli collaboration, “The Another World” (hopefully that’s a working title).

Anyway, this game was originally slated for release on the DS, and a gorgeous trailer was released a while back, showing off a game seemingly late in development. This was exciting in its own right, but it’s recently been announced that it will be coming to the PS3 (which seems a bit of a late move), which gave me mixed feelings… until I saw this trailer: