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Archive for the 'skip week' Category

20th Aug 2014

No page today

Completely failed to get any work done on the comic yesterday. Other things to do. As consolation, how about me singing the old Big Star song “Thirteen”?

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01st Jan 2014

It’s 2014!

And as it turns out, this Wednesday is New Year’s Day. Whose idea was that? If Julius Caesar or Pope Gregory the whateverth who made the calendar had thought it through, they would have realised that meant me missing two weeks in a row of The Cattle Raid of Cooley. So, normal service will be resumed next week when I’m back at my day job and can remember what day of the week it is.

So, 2013, eh? What was all that about?

An interesting year in a number of ways. My house needed extensive renovation – one of those annoying things where you get someone in to deal with a minor problem, and they find a bigger problem underlying it, so you get someone in to deal with that and they find an even bigger problem underlying that, and so on until you practically have to rebuild the house from the foundations up. So that was a bit stressful, and it meant I spent probably half the year at my mum’s. Which explains why my posting schedule was a bit erratic, but I couldn’t tell you that at the time, because what kind of idiot advertises the fact that their house is unoccupied on the internet?

But I still managed to do some interesting things. For example:

  • In April I was invited to the Dundalk Book Festival, to appear on a panel about Irish comics with Tommie Kelly, Rob Curley, Hilary Lawler and Alan Nolan, and that was fun.
  • At the end of May/beginning of June I was a guest at the 2D Comics Festival in its new venue, the Millennium Dome Falcon Forum in Derry, which was superb as usual.
  • At the end of June the singing class I go to (Singing for Adults with Róisín Magee at the Crescent Arts Centre) held a cabaret concert which raised over £1000 for the MS Society, in which I sang the Temptations’ “My Girl”, duetted with Gary Fullerton on “Me and My Shadow”, and did backing vocals on other people’s solos. It was brilliant. We were stars.
  • In October, as part of the Belly Laughs Comedy Festival, I organised Comic Capers with Davy Francis and Chums, a retrospective of Davy’s 40 years as a cartoonist. Davy was brilliant, a natural raconteur, and we also had fantastic contributions from Ian Knox, political cartoonist of the Irish News, Alan Ryan of Faraday the Blob and The Beano, Ann Harrison of Bunsen Bunnies, Brian John Spencer, cartoonist from Northern Ireland political website Slugger O’Toole, live caricaturist Colm Campbell and documentary cartoonist Patrick Sanders. Not a huge turnout, and there were some organisational hitches, but everyone who came seemed to enjoy it.

Plans for 2014 include ploughing on with the Cattle Raid, which has started its penultimate chapter; keeping up the singing, and hopefully doing a few open mic nights; and getting the new Belfast Drawers’ Club, or whatever it turns out being called, to include political cartoonists, caricaturists, illustrators and storyboard artists as well as comics artists, up and running. No doubt there will be a few surprises along the way. Hopefully they’ll be nice ones.

So, in conclusion, a very happy new year to all my readers. See yez next Wednesday for the conclusion of Medb’s flashback.

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02nd Oct 2013

Why there’s no new comic this week

Comic Capers with Davy Francis and Chums

It’s still just about Wednesday, but I’m not going to make my deadline. I know my rate of production has slowed dramatically this year, but I don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. This week, though, there’s a good reason.

On Sunday, as part of Belfast’s Belly Laughs Comedy Festival, I’m involved in organising Comic Capers with Davy Francis and Chums, a celebration of comics and cartooning featuring one of Belfast’s not-sung-enough heroes, who sold his first cartoon 40 years ago this year (he was eleven, it was to the East Antrim Times, and he was paid 50p). Since then his loopy dip-pen line has graced titles as varied as the Belfast People’s Comic, “Screw the Bap and Head the Ball” in the Shankill Bulletin, Ximoc, Cicerman, Monster Fun, Oink!, Holy Cross, Seven Deadly Sins, Jim the Elephant, Sancho and Thunderbags. Last week he and I drew caricatures at a charity event, and it’s always a pleasure to watch him draw.

So, to get back to the point, a retrospective of Davy’s career will be the centrepiece of an afternoon event on Sunday 6 October, in the Black Box on Hill Street, from 2pm to 6pm. We’ll also be creating a giant improvised comic strip and holding a workshop for kids, and I’ll be speaking about some early comic strips from the Belfast Telegraph in the 1920s, and introducing you to a forgotten Belfast cartoonist. Other illustrious guests include cartoonists Ian Knox (Whizzer and Chips, Irish News, BBC NI’s Hearts and Minds), Alan Ryan (Faraday the Blob, The Beano), Ann Harrison (Bunsen Bunnies), Brian John Spencer (Slugger O’Toole, Huffington Post) and Patrick Sanders (SCEPTrE, Replay Theatre Company), and standup comics Peter E Davidson and Lorcan McGrane.

Promises to be a fantastic occasion and I hope to see lots of you there. But does mean I’ve had less mental energy to devote to other things, like this week’s Cattle Raid of Cooley.

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11th Sep 2013

More apologies, and TitanCon

No page again this week I’m afraid. I have a job interview today, so I’ve been preparing for that rather than drawing.

The weekend just past I was at TitanCon, a fantasy and science fiction convention in Belfast. Here I am appearing on a panel about Irish myths and history in comics (stolen from Nerdgeist’s review of the con). Left to right, Peadar Ó Guilín, science fiction novelist and panel chairman; William Simpson, comic artist and Game of Thrones storyboard artist; Richmond Clements, writer of the Brian Boru strip in Lightning Strike Presents among many other things; Paul Bolger, filmmaker and writer-artist of Hound, a forthcoming graphic novel about Cú Chulainn; a jug of water; and me.

Comics panel at TitanCon

Rich’s face is slightly obscured by the microphone stand, so here’s a pic I did a while back to show that (a) he’s an even more talented writer than I thought he was, and (b) he’s a time traveller.

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04th Sep 2013

Apologies

Tried to get the page done this evening, so at least if it was late it’d still be within deadline, but it’s just not happening. I know what I want to draw, it just won’t go down right. So it’s time to give up and say it’ll next week.

So, something else. For the last year and a bit I’ve been going to singing classes at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, and the last couple of weekends we’ve done an intensive workshop in the Accidental Theatre Company‘s rehearsal space, culminating in a recording session on Sunday at the Oh Yeah Music Centre. We all had a bit of solo and a lot of harmony, and I played a bit of guitar. Here’s some of us recuperating in the Spaniard afterwards.

Left to right: Kathleen, who we’re losing to her native Canada now she’s finished her studies at Queen’s, soprano; Julie, soprano; Róisín, our teacher, musical director and inspiration; me, tenor; Piotr, tenor; Brian, whose son is in top local band Cashier No. 9, bass; and Anne, alto. Roll on the return of the regular class!

Singing class

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05th Jun 2012

Skip week, and Colonel Gaddafi’s tent.

Just back from a five-day camping trip in Connemara with my brothers Simon and Alan, and Alan’s wife Louise and their kids Zoe and Sam. Alan and his family are experienced campers and have their own family-sized tent. Simon bought a tent on the internet, which he and I slept in, and which turned out to sleep six in three internal bedrooms, not counting the generous living area in the middle. It was quickly dubbed “Colonel Gaddafi’s tent”.

Fortunately it turned out to be robust enough for the Connemara weather, which was not as pleasant as had been hoped for. The one evening with nice weather also attracted more midges that I believed existed, with Simon, Louise and Zoe getting particularly badly eaten.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable trip despite the conditions, and worth missing 2D for. However, it has thoroughly tired me out, and it’s only just occurred to me, at nearly ten pm, that it’s Tuesday and the next instalment of the comic is due tomorrow morning. I also have to go to work. So, despite my best intentions, another skip week is on the cards. Apologies.

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15th Feb 2012

Another skip week (sorry)

Once again I have fallen short of my target of a page a week. In my defence, I have a job interview at the end of the week which I am busy preparing for. Wish me luck. I’m also doing a night class in illustration, and our text is Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, so in lieu of your regularly scheduled comic, here’s my rough for the first story, “How the Whale got his Throat”.

How the Whale got his Throat

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26th Oct 2011

Skip week, and juvenilia

I’m afraid The Cattle Raid of Cooley is having to miss another week. But to keep you amused in the meantime, I thought I’d share something that’s recently been unearthed. Back at the beginning of the nineties Alan Perry and a few other artists in Belfast produced four issues of an anthology comic called NutScrewsWashers’n’Bolts, and this week Alan has scanned and put the first three online as downloadable pdfs. I had entirely forgotten that I had a couple of strips in issue three.

And here they are. Twenty-one whole years old.

Implausible Tales page 1

Implausible Tales page 2

Implausible Tales page 3

And finally…

Super Flower

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07th Sep 2010

Influence Map

No comic this week, but instead here’s my influence map…

Influence Map

These are people whose influence I recognise in my work. I’m sure there are plenty of others I haven’t realised I’m influenced by – leave a comment if you can think of anybody.  Obviously doesn’t include writers, notably John Wagner and Neil Gaiman, who have influenced me, and also doesn’t include people I admire enormously but I can’t see any of in my work – Kevin O’Neill springs to mind.

Inspired by this post on the Forgotten Pelmet blog, linking to a bunch of other artists who’ve done it: at the last count John Allison, Aaron Diaz, Adam Cadwell, Rene Engstrom, Hugh Raine and Paul Shinn.

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