Wednesday, 26 May 2010

teaser 2

another teaser to encourage you to buy a copy of "i evade fish". this is my mock up of a cover of william cobbett's political register. cobbett is a fascinating, maddening figure - a contradicting polemicist, whose opinions and deeds seemingly change like the weather. no wonder the similarly mercurial and maddening richard ingrams wrote a recent biography on him

anyway. as part of "i evade fish", i fancied making at least one cobbett joke but wasn't sure what to do with it. the gift was that once i found a copy of "the political register" online, i noticed that this particular edition was printed by one thomas dolby. the rather one note joke then sort of wrote itself

as it happens, the image resolution on this isn't that much better than the version in the issue itself - but you can just about make out most of the text this time. plus it makes it look more beat up like an old edition of the paper. or at least that's what i tell myself

(annoyingly, as a postscript, i simply CANNOT find the copy of the register printed by dolby so am now wondering whether i simply imagined it...)

Monday, 24 May 2010

as a brief tempter to those who have yet to pick up the new issue of the common swings, and also as a help to those who have, this is the full front cover of an issue of the magazine's main rival "the pennywise" starring "fnord the smug methodist"

one of the reasons it's so small and unreadable in the issue is because i didn't think the art was really that great. it was an attempt to do something in the style of the "illustrated chips" or ally soper, but missed by a considerable margin. thought it may be useful to allow people to see it properly though

hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

inspiration #1

so i''m now gearing up slowly to the drawing of "cosmo mandinsky" and i'm finding myself trying to "set the tone" for the project. usually, when i start with some sort of half arsed novel or other, i spend ages looking for visual references or music to sort of get the tonal sense of the project right. and i think this is pretty much the best way to spend the early planning stages of what, at the moment at any rate, seems to be quite a daunting project: a proper bit of sequential bit of story telling for the first time. i've been sort of splitting the narrative up a bit and thinking of the best visual references for those: photographers like henri cartier-bresson, artists like edward bawden and... well, others that i thought i'd occasionally ramble about hereabouts

i came across the current major tonal influence when listening to music actually. i've always considered brian eno's greatest record to be "before and after science", a view which i understand is something of a minority, mainly because of the way the raucous side of the album suddenly tapers off into the gorgeous, dreamier, hazy pastoral size of "spider and i" and "by this river". as far as i'm concerned, the whole of the second side of the album is one of the most glorious sequences of music i have ever heard and that dreamlike, woozy quality is something i'm trying to articulate in "cosmo mandinsky". not that i can believe for a single second that my third bit of completed work, my first attempt at a narrative bit of sequential art is going to be anywhere near as good as eno at his best, but... you've got to have a sort of target to aim at haven't you?

anyway - and i should point out at this moment that i'm rambling primarily because i've had a smidgeon too much to drink at the moment - listening to this album at work this afternoon reminded me of how gorgeous the inner sleeve art of "before and after science" is. so a bit of pottering about online later, i've utterly and totally fallen in love with the beauties of peter schmidt's watercolours. i'll not be able to approach anything this good for, god, years... but this sort of thing really drives you, you know? drives you to try and improve and strive for a way to articulate something even slightly as beautiful as these haunting, powerful images

anyway, enough of me - here's a couple of bits of brime schmidt stuff. i urge you to scurry to the webpage and read more about this fascinating man...

Monday, 17 May 2010

lulu "i evade fish" is ready! hurrah!
on the back cover of issue one of "the common swings" i proudly advertised issue 2 - "whatever happened to cosmo mandinsky?" and, i promise, it will be what issue 2 is *properly*. however the second thing to come out under the title "the common swings" is an all together odder beast, a rummer state of affairs known only as "i evade fish"

my thinking for doing this is threefold. firstly, issue one was very much trial and error and done without realising i could access a lot of word packages through work through citrix for free. instead it was a case of printing stuff off, rescanning it, printing it off *again* and rescanning it once more every time a change needed to be made. hence the really faint reproduction of bits of it and why i had to print it all off in colour (so you can read the thing!). now i've done this one in black and white, fiddled with word and photoshop a bit and have been able to do it *so much cheaper*. so part of why i wanted a risk free issue 1.5 was to fiddle with the format a bit, quite literally

secondly, and why it was 1.5, it's a sort of clearing house of silly ideas before the meat of issue 2. it's 1.5 partly because "cosmo" will be issue 2, but partly because it's very much the companion piece to the first issue. the conceit of a magazine that has existed in a hinterland of eccentrics and oddness is run with here, and it's allowed me to indulge in what's basically a slightly stress free world of william cobbett jokes rather than pushing myself in the way "cosmo" will. it's the second thing to be produced because, well, ten years was a long time to wait for the first and i wanted something immediate and more easy for me to produce to keep up the momentum. *now* i know i can produce something in a pretty much three month turn around, i don't have to worry so much about finishing "cosmo". also, i've experimented a bit and can really push myself with the second issue. if that makes any sense (which i doubt!)

and finally... i was showing the first issue to some friends, and one of them (the wife of my old RE teacher of all things!) immediately said, "goodness, it's really like j l carr isn't it?" which - well - pretty much made my year. carr, as many of you may know, was primarily an author, most famously of "how steeple sinderberry won the FA cup", "the harpole report" and - adapted into a pretty okay, but not great film - "a month in the country". after wodehouse, he's probably my favourite author. but he also had a second, far odder career. he printed his own pamphlets and maps and other odd ephemera, selling them from the back of his house. by day he was a headmaster in kettering, and the rest of the time a really passionate producer of self published ephemera. key among these are his little directories and maps, both of which are filled with loving asides and eccentric potted biographies of strange characters and events. i have the yorkshire one - a signed and numbered edition no less! - above my desk in my study/ book dumping area and it's one of my most prized material possessions. anyway, when daphne suddenly saw the link with carr, my heart skipped a beat. truly a bit of praise! a pioneer in self publishing and an unruly genius. see byron rogers' masterly biography for more. anyway. "i evade fish" is very much my tribute to his masterpiece, "carr's dictionary of extraordinary cricketers" even if it isn't worth an ounce of that bit of true genius

"i evade fish" will be available later today from the blog and lulu. i'll keep you posted as to issue two as it progresses too!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

yowser! i actually own the spangly lulu edition now and... it's gorgeous! i can't believe for a single *second* that i was responsible for this thing... madness!

issue 1.5 should be ready by the end of this week. shall keep all posted!

Friday, 7 May 2010

the first draft is done! just need to proof read and tidy up - should be ready by next week! just in time to cheer all up from tory hell!