Tuesday, 20 December 2011

mike mignola's hellboy

I decided on a quiet night in last night, and had a stab at drawing Mike Mignola's Hellboy. I came to the character late; seeing the film before ever reading the comics (sorry, fanboys) - which may explain why I've drawn too many fingers on his 'big hand'. Apparently it's meant to have three fingers, not four. Like a Disney glove.

Anyway. This was fun. The most fun I've had drawing in a while, in fact (and with a touch of serendipity, James Howard - on twitter - was about to suggest that people 'draw hellboy', so I submitted mine. You can see the rest of the submissions here).

Initial sketch.

Finished line art.

Colour final.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Friday, 9 December 2011

'ow do

Leeds to London train. 6pm ish. 8th December, 2011.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

odd couple

London Bridge. 9am. 1st December, 2011.


A short piece I wrote about the new Jean Jacques Sempé exhibition, at Paris' Hôtel de Ville, for Vingt Paris magazine.

Monday, 21 November 2011


Farringdon. 2pm. 18th November.

Friday, 18 November 2011

swept back

North Dulwich. Around 6.30pm, 17th November.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

seaside fun

A friend was telling me how, next week, she's off to see Rihanna, at the O2 in Greenwich.

She last went along to see Beyonce, and the time before that, she'd also been to see Beyonce. But the time before that was eleven years ago, and she was visiting the O2 in its previous incarnation: The Millennium Dome.

What was it like? I asked. Rubbish, she said, all of the stuff inside was just dreadful.

Oh, I said. I did some of that stuff.

At the time, I was working for a set building company in South London and, as a break from the work we were doing with Disneyland Paris (more here) a few of us began work on something for the Dome called (dreadfully) 'The Living Island Zone'.

The idea was that we would replicate a kind of candy-striped, end of pier, seaside look. And then we'd contractually plaster it with incongruous messages about the environment. A quick google turned up a couple of things I'd made with my friend Greer, in a warehouse in Woolwich.

It all looks pretty ropey and amateur now, twelve years later. To be honest, it didn't look that amazing back then. The mermaid's right hand is on backwards, for God's sake. But it's still funny to think that someone has a family photo of their daughter, beaming away under a sign that says '24,000 deaths are linked to air pollution each year' (I've no idea who the kid is).

Monday, 31 October 2011

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

disapproving look

Hassocks. About 6.45pm. 25th October.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

opera fan

The magazine she was reading was called Opera, you see.
Crystal Palace. Wednesday 31st August, 2011. About 8am.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Brockley and London Bridge. 16th August. Between 5.30 and 6pm-ish.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

mini menagerie

A couple of animals for Kino Creative.

Thursday, 4 August 2011


A few days ago, the brilliant I.N.J Culbard posed an online challenge - to draw Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker. As is always the way, I'm late with my attempt. It was fun taking part, though.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


I wrote about Italian comic book legend Hugo Pratt (well, Corto Maltese) for Vingt Paris Magazine.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Blimey, it's been a bit quiet on here. Sorry about that. There are two reasons, really: I've been busy with other things, but most importantly, I've been unable to draw anything I really like. What's the cartoon equivalent of writer's block again? I've got a bit of that, I think.

Perhaps I'm just rusty; so I've resolved to try and get something down on paper every night. Even if it's awful, and I don't like it, I'll at least try to turn in a 'completed' drawing. The pictures above are from the last couple of nights; done for a friend who's pitching an idea for an online game. They took far too long, but at least I finished 'em.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

finger tapping

London Bridge, around 6.30pm, 27th June.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

peppermint patty

Dalston Junction (well, of course). 1st June. 7.45pm, ish.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

pink lady

On the train from Gipsy Hill to London Bridge. About 8.20am. 10th May.

Friday, 8 April 2011

german, I think

Circle Line towards Kings Cross. 8th April. About 10.15am.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Thursday, 31 March 2011

you can serge that again

A big thank you to Jonathan Edwards for putting my second attempt at Serge Gainsbourg on his wonderful 'Draw Serge' blog.


East London Line. 30th March. 6pm ish.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

everyone should wear hats like this

St Pancras station. 9am, ish. 16th March, 2011.
(Don't usually say this - but maybe better if you click for 'larger').

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

baby and bags

Norwood Junction. 3.45pm (ish), 14th March, 2011.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Friday, 25 February 2011

Monday, 14 February 2011

unfinished street scene

I found some pictures (from the tail end of 2007) that I hadn't seen in a while, the other day; pictures that I'd zipped into folders and then burned to CDs. That's one of the things about working electronically, I suppose; there's no physical piece, and it's all too easy to mislay what you've done. Anyway...

This was one of them. It was an exercise really, and wasn't really heading anywhere; rather, it was an excuse for me to try out a simple colour scheme and to mess about with 'layers' option on Photoshop. I quite like it, though.

It's nice to have a bit of a break from a drawing sometimes; and to be able to come back to it with fresh eyes and a bit of perspective. Only when what I've done isn't complete bloody rubbish, of course.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Thursday, 3 February 2011


Peckham Rye. Just after nine in the morning.
3rd February.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Mike McMahon

In the early nineties, Jim Boswell and me walked into a Macclesfield pub with photocopied, stapled issues of 'Weird City', our first self-produced comic, and amazingly - they sold.

If I ever get around to it, I'll scan a few copies and put them up here.

My contributions dwindled to nothing almost immediately - leaving Jim as editor for the rest of the five (or was it six?) issue run. And as I buggered off to University, he started attending 'graphic narrative' courses (or whatever they were called) in Manchester. Soon, a whole bunch of brilliant new people were contributing.

Weird City ended up being called 'a potential jewel in the small press crown' in some review or other, and, by the time the thing folded, Jim had even managed to convince Glenn Fabry to draw a cover, gratis, after interviewing him about his work.

I'll transcribe that interview another time, but for now, here's an interview that was printed with the fantastic Mike McMahon - a huge influence on many of the cartoonists I've spoken to who, like me, had religiously bought 2000AD as a kid.

(The interview was by Peter Walker, by the way. Some time in '93).

Weird City: How did you first get into comics?

Mike McMahon: I sent some samples to the War Picture library editor, and he thought they were alright, but he didn't want to use them. So he sent me round to an agent, who was a nice middle class guy who assumed my name was Mike. Everyone really calls me Mick. I didn't want to upset him so I said 'yeah, that's right. My name's Mike.' I've been stuck with that ever since! But he did get me into 2000AD.

WC: What was your favourite 2000AD character to work on?

Mike: Slaine. It was the first one I did where I thought I knew what I was doing. Looking back I don't think I did, but I thought I did so I enjoyed it a lot more than the other things. Usually when I draw things I worry all the time. For every line I make, I've rubbed out a dozen.
WC: the artwork you did on Slaine seemed to be more 'your style'. Did you have to adopt a cleaner style for Judge Dredd? Did they make you do that?

Mike: No. No-one's ever made me do anything. That's why I like working for Fleetway or IPC. I can really do what I like. Whereas when I've been working for America, the people who are managing the companies have all got their own opinion. They get a lot of 'house-styles' in America.

Well, they used to. I don't really look at any comics now, but I imagine they do with a lot of these 'X Comics' they bring out. These 'Image Comics' or whatever.

WC: With Slaine, your technique seemed to go more and more towards an almost 'pencil' style. Was that planned, or did it just happen?

Mike: No. I was drawing that and I totally lost confidence - and I could only draw on tracing paper! I'd do a drawing and trace it onto tracing paper and then mount it down. And I noticed all these little white gaps, so I thought I'd better carry on doing it like that.

Eventually I got to the point where so much of my stuff was being reprinted in colour that I thought 'I know, I can play this up' and make it impossible for it to be reprinted in colour. Which it was!

WC: How do you feel when characters like Slaine change with other artists. For example, your Slaine and Simon Bisley's look like two different people!

Mike: Yeah, well, Bisley's a much better artist than me, so it's bound to be different! He's a painter isn't he? An illustrator. I quite like seeing things done differently by other artists. It usually gives me new ideas as well - not that I copy them.

WC: What are you working on at the moment?

Mike: Well, I was doing a thing called 'Tattered Banners' for Vertigo, written by Keith Giffen, but the script apparently fell down the back of a bureau! And after a lot of excuses for three or four weeks, nothing arrived, so I've started doing Judge Dredd again. I've had the script since October. When I've done that, I'll go back to Tattered Banners.

WC: Who wrote the Dredd story?

Mike: John Wagner. It's very good; very funny. I think that's what's missing a lot of the time with new material these days. The trouble with many new people is that the do a script and they think that makes them a writer.
I mean, I never try to write because I could never reach the standards that should be achieved. But that doesn't seem to bother a lot of people.

WC: So what, to you, is a good standard of writing?

Mike: Well, it's hard to put your finger on it. But to me, it's someone who would never think of drawing a comic. Someone like John Wagner, who isn't really interested in the 'comics scene'. The standards he achieves are very personal - obviously they don't come across like that - but they reflect his weird sense of humour.

WC: Don't you think the bad guys in Judge Dredd are often more interesting than Dredd himself?

Mike: That's always been the case. When John created the thing, Dredd quickly became a dull, boring character - just shooting and killing people. John was interested in the people that lived in the city: not just the villains, but the general population - the fat people, and things like that.

They're all just eccentrics, because of where they live and the time they live in. I think the style of the script was that Dredd was a clone, a machine, or whatever you want to call him. And the emphasis was really on his victims.
That was quite a good formula, but now they've muddied the waters by trying to make Dredd an interesting character. But you can't have an interesting character if you can't see his face!

WC: Is it true that you drew the potential layouts for the Judge Dredd film?

Mike: No! I don't even know if there is a film. Is there? I suppose that whoever is going to be Dredd isn't going to want to wear a helmet all through the film are they? I mean, it could be anybody under there. He even wears it in bed!

WC: you've recently done a 'Legends of the Dark Knight' story, haven't you? Who wrote that?

Mike: Chuck Dixon.I thought I'd get on the bandwagon! For the first time in my life I'd do this just to get some money! Apparently the storyline clashed with another Batman story by Mark Badger. I've never seen it, but it's a very similar plot, which has never happened before in American comics! So mine had to be shelved.

WC: What do you think about artists who have imitated your style, or stolen some of your images?

Mike: I don't mind that. I don't like it when they trace things, though. You know, it took me a day to draw and it takes them ten minutes. They turn up in a lot of places. They fool me, I'll tell you! I can't see the point of copying things - you might as well go and work on the Stock Exchange. All they want is money, don't they? There's no fun in it.

WC: Is there anything personally that you'd like to work on?

Mike: No. My attitude tends to be that there are things I don't want to work on. I know what I can't do, like love stories. Or sports comics!

Whatever I'm doing, I want to find something that I can get out of it. I usually spend about a month wrestling with how I want to present a new story. Which means I'm not making much money a lot of the time!

But I create for myself a world I can believe in - that I can explore, more than the actual subject matter. The subject matter is important, but I need to have some sort of a 'hande' to hold on to. That I can twist as I draw it.

WC: Do you find working from home distracting?

Mike: Well, it all depends if there's cricket on. I'm very easily distracted. Any excuse not to do it! You know - the ice cream van. If it's the world cup, then that's it.

WC: Do you work in short, concentrated bursts, or does it occasionally come together well?

Mike: The deadline has a lot to do with it! When I drew the Alien Legion book, my wife helped me colour it, and I did 45 pages in seven weeks, which is something I've never done in my life! I'll never do it again, I expect.

Sometimes I spend a month doing a first episode of something, which is five or six pages. I wish I knew how to work. I don't think I ever will!

Friday, 14 January 2011

currant bun

Brockley. 9.30am(ish). 14th January.

Thursday, 13 January 2011


Whitechapel Overground, 11th January. 5.40pm