Friday, 26 October 2012

So, I've blown this popsicle stand.

Yup. I have vamoosed, split, gone, am outtahere. I have made like a tree and leaved, made like a banana and split, made like a bakery truck and moved my buns. I am skipping on to pastures new in the blogging world.

click these romantic robots so the funtimes can continue at my new blog.

You can now find me at, or at, whichever url takes your fancy really. There you'll find news about my latest endeavours and general things I like or am interested in. Same as here to be honest.

Okay and done.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Life Icons

Been doing a spot of design work for a short film. Thought I'd mention it here because it's been kind of fun. 

So a very nice man called Dave approached me and said he's making a film that involves some 90's video-game style graphic details (like the little 'life' icons you see in the top left of these two - frankly BRILLIANT - N64 classics). 

Incidentally, I think Banjo Kazooie is among the best, or at least most amusing, computer games of all time. The pantomime slapstick humour and downright sarcastic tone of a lot of the plot when coupled with all that bright, bouncy imagery is a combination that managed to amuse me as a kid but still raises a giggle as an adult.

Anyway, back to making this icon thing. I liked the unashamedly brash and cartoony result of my painting session so much I thought I'd share it. Only a little project, but a nice break from panel layouts and a good test of the colour theory gubbins I am trying to learn about right now (Think I'll post about that next week, as that stuff is really amazing. I could get lost in colour theory forever).



Okay, I confess. I committed a bit of a sin with this and wilfully gave the boy a 'tude face, which I know is naughty and bad. But I've deployed it with purely sarcastic intentions and I promise not to use it again for ages. There are other cheeky facial expressions for people to pull and I should make an effort not to be a lazy sod.  


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Business Cards!

As a rule, I've never really been fond of business cards. Most of the cards I've received over my lifetime have been been pretty boring to look at. Even if they have a striking design or nice imagery on them they're pretty impersonal and so usually end up getting shoved in a drawer in my desk and forgotten about.

Anyway. I'm plunging back into freelance illustration again, so I thought I needed some sort of a calling card that isn't just something I churned out, but is more like a present I can give to people who I like and whose work I am interested in or whatever. Sooooo, I've decided that if you're ever going to get a business card from me, I will draw it. Just for you. It even comes with its own frame! Here's the blank card and a few of the images I am decorating the wall next to my desk with.

So, yep. If you ever want one, just ask. I'll be happy to get one to you.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Maud sketch.

London this summer

... is absolutely beautiful and brilliant. Not too much structure to this post. Basically I did a lot of exploring this weekend and here are some of the wicked things I have found:

 There is a multi-colour city beach on the South Bank this year! I'm guessing it was installed pretty recently as the sand hasn't got too churned up yet, but I can't wait to see how the colours mix over the summer.

There is a fantastic exhibition on at the London transport Museum called 'Mind the Map'. Fairly obvious, it's an exhibition about maps, and there are some absolute corkers. Loved this one ... a map of the world made from train tickets.

And this one, which is a gorgeous version of London from around the turn of the last century, I love the way this particular map is emotionally distorted and gives HUGE priority to areas like Hyde Park, whilst virtually eclipsing Charing Cross Road, a road that looms heavily in my own imagination. ALSO, South London is absolutely enormous on this map. Most modern takes on central London don't give Old Kent Road a look in.

"Covent Garden - only cooking apples really"

Spotted some synchronised window-washing taking place near Kensington Gore on the way up to take a quick look at the RCA summer show.
A mannequin just hanging out in Soho with a bike helmet and some summer shorts on. 

One of the many Childline telephone boxes dotted around the centre. There are some absolute doozies out there, including Lauren O'Farrell's Bright yellow, googly-eyed piece of genius on Trafalgar Square. This is my personal favourite though.Got a bit of a thing for giraffes.

Some cute coots who've made a mobile home out of a decent number of sticks and a stray life ring (one wonders what it's doing in the water in the first place ... did it just blow in or did it fail to save someone? Ooer). You can visit them in Kensington gardens alone with this guy:

Derpy-looking squirrel who decided it would be hilarious to jump on my leg and try to stare me out. Squirrels are great. They look permanently petrified of everything.Really know how to squawk too.

Anyway. I think the point I am trying to get across is that there is a hell of a lot happening out there at the moment which I am finding very exciting. This is such a great city and one that I sometimes take for granted or stop noticing because I am too busy being self-absorbed, feeling grouchy about something nondescript or ruining my eyes in front of a computer screen and scratching away with my graphics tablet. Sorry London, you are amazing and I shall do my best to pay attention and from now on will document your efforts to be awesome as  best I can.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Fish Soup

A naughty Cilophyte dragging a hungry man down into the depths of his soup bowl.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Ink + Paper WIP

Sneak peek WIP preview thingy of my standalone short for Ink + Paper. Putting a bit more pattern and stuff into my linework than usual on this one, as I want the colour to be fairly simple.

More about this when the anthology's out!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Leg Hair. I've got it.

Hello. Against my better judgement, I'm about to overshare quite a lot here. But there seems to be a lot of chatter about female body hair right now. 

I am a girl, as well as the artist and co-creator on what is essentially a feminist comic about an all-girl super group, and as such I often (among other things) think about the way girls look, how they are "supposed" to look, how they actually look, and how they might look if they didn't feel like anyone was watching or judging them.

Anyway. Little known fact: I haven't shaved my legs in well over a year. My pits are pretty fuzzy too, but we'll leave them out of this for now.

To be honest, my relationship with razor blades has always been distant at best. Being fair-skinned means my dermal layers are kind of sensitive, and shaving usually just leaves me itchy, razor burned and cursing myself for being female and therefore apparently obliged to shave large areas of my body. Still, up until recently I've always done a token shave if I've ever had to get my legs out in public (very rarely and always avoided if at all possible), or if there is some prospect of, um, sex on the horizon (rare, but it has been known to occur).

Here's a couple of pictures of my hairy legs so you can see what I am on about: 
Click for extreme hairy detail. You know you want to. 

So how did it come to this? Nutshell: I broke up with my long-term boyfriend about fourteen months ago. Fell out of the habit of shaving because, frankly, the prospect of canoodling with anyone seemed alien and unwelcome. As I was settling in for some heavy singledom I didn't really see the point in that sort of limb maintenance. I was also far too busy with work and drinking with my mates to be bothered about silly things like body hair. I mean, come on. Seriously. What would you rather be doing? Drawing, making up stories and partying with fun people or taking an evening off to shave your body hair off? Dour.

Of course that eventually wore off and I started wanting to get naked with people again, but I'd sort of come to the conclusion after a few months of solitude that I'd rather meet someone who liked me for me, rather than making myself cookie-cutter "sexy" and worrying about how I looked and so on. So the leg hair stayed. Yeah, so it got some raised eyebrows. Not as many as you would think though, and the rather wonderful man I am now shacked-up with took it to be something of a positive (not so much on the aesthetic side of things ... he tells me he's fairly neutral on that ... more how it reflects on me as a person or something ... personally I'm just pleased he doesn't care).

Thing is, being hairy around someone else who loves you isn't really such a big deal. I think most girls have had times where they just can't be arsed with shaving and (big surprise) it turns out their boyfriend couldn't care less. No. The big test, in my opinion, is getting those furry muthas out in public. At least for me. In fact, it turns out I am more scared of the judgement of other women than I am of any bloke. Obviously it was time to sort that out, so here is a picture of my pale, hairy leg sitting on a wall in Venice last week, where I spent the entire holiday in shorts; a garment I have avoided wearing like the freaking PLAGUE since I was about 14.

A picture of my hairy leg in Venice. Land of bronzed, toned Italians and bare skin.
So yeah. That happened. Turns out no one really cared. It really wasn't as scary as I thought it was going to be and since then I've been wandering around London quite happily in varying lengths of skirt, shorts and whatnot. I think I have officially broken the giving-a-shit barrier.

Is it some kind of hardcore feminist statement I am trying to make here? Well, no. Not exactly. I don't have a problem with other girls shaving their legs, each to their own and all that. My argument for being fuzzy - and I've kind of shot myself in the foot here for writing about it at all (sort of defeats the point) - is twofold:

1. Being comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself as yourself rather than bending to how other people think you ought to be is very important. For me that involves not having painful, itchy legs (among other things, of course).

2. Not thinking about this sort of stuff leaves me more room to do and think other things. My spare time is precious, and this way I've freed up an extra hour or so a month (possibly more) to learn how to play chess, learn (some) Mandarin and read books about the possibility of intelligent alien life. Okay, so it's not a huge amount of time, but if you also take into account all the time I used to waste worrying about how other people see me that I've managed to regain ... well, I guess I'm just able to focus a lot more on what I want to do rather than what I feel I should be doing. 

Agh. Basically, who really cares? I don't anymore. Job done.

Invalids and Such

So my story for The Peckham Invalids is out! Very pleased with this one, so I thought I'd share some pictures with you:

Julia's lovely cover so you can recognise the thing if you ever see it lurking somewhere suspicious.

Here's a sneak peek at the insides of this one. As you can see, this episode involves both 'spooky things' and 'fighty things'. Not necessarily in that order.

It also also involves a ghost with a pipe at one point. Like any self-respecting comic ought to. Mind you, there's more to it than that. This issue introduces a bit of Emily Downing's backstory and family life, but also reveals a bit more about two of the arch bad guys, Myrtle Morrison (a formidable medium) and Carl Foxleigh (a hypnotist of many talents).
We've only had a run of 100 of this issue printed, with a plan to possibly print more at some point in the future. You can grab a copy of it over at Howard's shop - Cute But Sad. As I think I've mentioned many times before the rest of his work is also well worth checking out if you haven't already.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Invalids Update

Couple of weeks to go before (all going well) the next issue of The Peckham Invalids is out. Set before the pilot episode, this story takes a look at the family life of Emily Downings, our deaf heroine with an alarmingly strong grip and super fast speed. It also explains how she came to life at The House on the Rye (something we didn't really touch on with the last taster).

Here's a couple of images to whet your appetite:

Um. So, as you might have noticed, it's "all me own work", so to speak. This is largely because Julia is super-busy with other things right now (more work from her coming in the future), but she's currently putting the finishing touches on the comic cover, which should be a treat to see!

I've also sort of co-written this one with Howard (his idea and scenario, my practical nuts and bolts and fleshings-out, with utterances from both of us throughout and tweaking by him), so am really, really hoping that everyone likes it. It's my first serious attempt at scripting and drawing something so large for print (32 pages, cover to cover). It's been a learning curve and a half. Not least because of all the sign language I'm picking up along the way (both of Emily's parents are also profoundly deaf).

Again, all going well, this will be first of a series of stories properly introducing everyone to the Good Guys, the Bad Guys, and the world that has been infesting the imaginations of Howard, Julia and myself for a good eighteen months now. It's such ridiculously good fun in there. I hope you're all going to like it too!

More on this soon. Right now, more work!

- S

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Flower Girl Print

Hallo all!

Very busy at this end. Lots of comic-making going on (more on that in another post).

Anyway. Took a break from page layouts and fight scenes the other day to finish off this bad girl:

Here's the initital sketch:

She's rather pretty, I think. If a little unsavoury looking. But then flower nymphs have always struck me as being rather dark creatures. All soft loveliness, but with poisoned thorns for teeth and fingernails. Not exactly 'cuddly'.

Was sort of toying with the idea of a limited run of tasty giclee prints ... perhaps in time for MCM and Kapow this May. Details to follow on that, I think.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Things that are happening

So, many things have been happening lately.

Well, many things are always happening but I am largely talking about interesting things that are happening that I have been involved with in some capacity, because I am a hopeless attention-seeker. Now we've got that confession out of the way I will make a list of these things:

1. An absolutely lovely lady named Chrissy Williams has a book of poetry out today called 'The Jam Trap' that features artwork from comic book artists alongside words that she has put together. You can grab a copy from many places, including the mighty Amazon. My small contribution to this rather wonderful collection of poetry and illustration is just below. I'm a secret poetry nut, so being asked to pick a poem and come up with a drawn response was probably one of the nicest things I've been asked to do in a long time. Thanks, Chrissy!

2. Perhaps unwisely, I tried my hand at music journalism the other day. You can read my first attempt at this particular discipline over at Clickmusic. Have decided this journalism malarkey is potentially a lot of fun, so I think I will be scribbling down more of my opinions on Cultural Phenomena and Musical Ting in the not too distant future. 

3. Finally, The Peckham Invalids is getting featured on the BBC! Howard, Julia and I were interviewed by their flagship Deaf culture program 'See Hear' a couple of weeks ago. The results of that chat will be on air on BBC2, on Wednesday 7th January 2012 at 1pm (so that's tomorrow). You can see a little preview of Howard chatting about the project over on their website.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Made you guys a card.


But, seriously. Fuck Valentine's Day. Not to be crude for crude's sake, but sodomise it with a rusty piece of drainpipe and throw it off a cliff as a sacrificial offering to the gods of I Don't Give A Shit.

Okay, that probably seems a bit much. But it's the most namby-pamby, rubbish celebration we acknowledge in Western Society, and it really needs to be killed with fire.

For the record, I am not bitter and twisted about love and romance and relationships and all that jazz. That's all fine. It's just all this public schmaltz sort of  makes me want to throw up. I mean, look:

I'm not entirely sure what that has to do with anything I have ever felt for anyone in my life ... ever. In fact, I think, personally, giving someone a bear blurting out Bieber lyrics is the height of insulting. Is that really it? Is your special someone really so generic that you can sum up your love for them with a mass-produced stuffed toy and some cheap chocolate?


Saturday, 21 January 2012

When is a drawing of Myrtle Morrison not a drawing of Myrtle Morrison?

When it's the basis for a lot of angsting about archetypes.

Playing about with character concepts last night. Should have been drawing invisible friends (bit ironic, that) ... but ended up reading over the future scripts for The Peckham Invalids again and started thinking about this gal, Myrtle. I'm just her colourist ... but I thought I'd give my tablet a spin and see what my take on her would be. Preemptive fan art if you will.

So she's a middle-aged lady of a certain social standing by the time we get to her in TPI ... but she would have been young once. I've been trying to decide if she was ever nice or just a bitch from the get-go. I suspect she's always been a bitch. Girlfriend knows that to succeed in this world you've got to crush a few fingers underfoot. Yikes.

This was brought about in part by an impromptu evening at Queen Elizabeth Hall watching the NoFit State Circus performing as part of the International Mime Festival that's been going on over the last couple of weeks.

I'd sort of gone along to go draw people doing stuff I don't normally get a chance to see (despite what you may have heard, my life doesn't usually involve people swinging on trapezes and dancing on tightropes). I sort of forgot about that and spent the whole time gawping at how beautiful the whole thing was. How the artists managed to convey so much without saying anything, so much character, subtle emotion and humour. Ritualised, abstracted symbols of the everyday comings and goings of the relationships we have with other people. Lovely.

Anyway. As I was sitting there, scribbling the odd note down, it sort of struck me, as it always does, how much of this use of body language, and costume to convey character traits can be echoed in illustration/written work (even amplified - you're not constrained by the laws of physics on a page). A lot of that is old knowledge ... using character archetypes is nothing new (Commedia dell'arte, anyone? What about the pantheon of Greek gods?) but if you accept that and use it knowingly I'd guess you can put it to shockingly affective use. I mean, no one expects you to invent a new alphabet every time you sit down to write a short story ... so keeping this in mind when you're using representative imagery is probably a good thing.

Of course it also means that whatever it is you're trying to say with the thing you're making runs deeper than the drawing itself and/or the words ... so I think that leads me onto the next little thing I've been thinking about recently ... which is how to go about feeding your (or, well, 'my' - this is turning into a bit of an introspective ramble after all) imagination.

You see ... from a 'craft' point of view I think it's great - if you're a wannabe story-maker like me- to go watch films, read pop-fiction, devour comics ... whatever. It's nice seeing how other people have looked at life and said stuff about it. It's going to help improve the eloquence of what you say, move it towards an established benchmark of what is acceptable or, arguably, what is more legible.

Problem with that is that it doesn't necessarily generate any new fodder for you to actually talk about or reveal any particularly unique or personal ways of talking about what you want to talk about. It's kind of learning about grammar, syntax, punctuation, or about music theory, and putting it into use is more akin to practising scales or set pieces than actual composition itself. If you're only looking at art forms for inspiration, would it be wrong of me to surmise that the best thing you can come up with would be a medley rather than your own melody?

It's troubling. Sometimes I wonder how much is left unsaid because the shared alphabets and symbols we use to make ourselves understood don't quite cover the area that you're trying to babble about. I wonder if this is why artists go round and round in circles for years over the same subject.

I don't know exactly where this ramble is going ... quick. Let's find a point. Oh, I know: I am currently wondering if the job of an artist (writer, painter, sculptor, sousaphonist, whatever) is to try and strike a balance between giving people something they already feel like they understand/read using a pre-understood medium (let's call that entertainment) and dredging that instinctive, unintelligible wordless pit of weird that makes people want to make things instead of just working in a call centre or as a cop. Or is all this navel-gazing counter-productive and should we focus our artistic shenanigans on more tangible research, like a scientist? Okay, that's not much of a point, but it's all I've got right now.

Look, I'm not the only one that gets upset by this stuff either. Charlie Kaufman is clearly more bothered about it than I am. He's such a bloody badass.

Okay. I'm just going to trail off and go back to writing about non-invisible invisible friends, otherwise I'm going to be worrying about this particular thinkhole all evening. Best way to thwart a thinkhole is to do the thing it's trying to swallow. I think.

P.S. I hope you like the drawing.

P.P.S Here's a detail view so you can see her snobby little face:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Ghosts and ghouls.

Hello. It's 19 days past 2011 and I've been busy. Mostly with adminnish things, but I've also nearly completed a little comic about satan pissing off his minions, and thought I'd pop some of the line art up here in case you lot happen to be interested:

It's short and not particularly sweet, but you should be able to pick it up from February onwards. Info on that once it's all sorted and junk.

Just for laughs I thought I'd play about with colours on it too. Here's a panel that - if I were feeling more pretentious - I would say was inspired by the artistic stylings of Hieronymus Bosch, but I don't do that sort of thing so I'll say it was influenced by Sally Cruikshank instead:

So that's likely to be the first thing in print from me this year. There's a couple of other things cooking in my brain which I'd like to start posting development work from in the near future alongside collaborative stuff like The Peckham Invalids or anthology work (more information about that sort of thing as it happens).

In general, I'd like 2012 to be a year where I stop hiding all my personal/story work in my head, notebooks and sketchbooks and get it out onto this blog/tumblr/twitter/deviantart/the internet . Being secretive and shy about this stuff is for the weak and feeble. I, on the other hand, am strong like ox.

 So yes. More activity in general. You have been warned.