Monday, 18 November 2013

Hands on London's Campaign: Wrap Up London

I had a great time volunteering with Hands on London this year for their Wrap-Up London campaign.
Every year they collect coats and distribute them to homeless shelters all across London.
I did 7-9am for two mornings then spend Sunday afternoon helping to sort the coats, excellent exercise and we sorted them in record time, great team :)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Windy Worries

True story, in the recent storm I found this in the garden, I was joking with my mum about it.
So this morning I sketched it out, dashed it through photoshop and flung it online.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Cooking With My Brother

I'm not a great cook, AT ALL.
Mainly it's a confidence issue.
Recently I have been lucky enough to be fed by and had the company of foodie superstars,
People who make cooking an art form, my friends and inspiration
Chan and Sally

Another person in my life who is a big foodie, is my big brother. He makes his own sausages, grows his own veg, cure his own meat, makes his own cheese. He's incredibly creative with DIY and cookery.
So I suggested if he would be up for teaching me a thing or two about cookery.
Why not he said, and we both took to it like geese on a pond.
I had a wonderful 4 days which was jam packed with projects and foods and inspiration.

I promised to blog it up for my foodie friends to see.
I have still many more posts to write but this is day one so far.

Cooking with My Bruv

On more Photocopy for the Road- MiniComic/Arty Zine

Oh Yea! Oh Yea! zine! new zine!

On sale now in my Etsy Shop.
(I seriously need to do a new banner for my Etsy, give it some love...)

So this new little zine is a combination of drawings of photocopiers and text.
It's more arty than story but quite a fun little thing.

It's not superbly perfect, but neither am I.
In honesty, it's intentionally imperfect, much like me.

It's intentionally not expensive, so that if you like it you can have it, no sweat.

I shall post up more pictures from it soon.
I just wanted to start the ball rolling.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Dementia Dad: The Printing Lesson

Who knew with making a comic that the printing would be just as challenging as the creating!
Funnily enough lots of people, except me.

So I am going to share with you guys my experiences as a noob of the printing world.

Discovery no.1
Trying to print double-sided on a domestic printer, don't work, well they just won't line up. You get this huge white gap at the bottom. If I had my own printer I would seriously mess about with the settings. This would only be good for a short run or good for doing a double-sided template to take to the printers.

Discovery no.2
Most photocopy machines will put a big fat white border round your image and chop into it, boooo I say boooo! 
Apparently they can't turn it off, darn it, I bet I could get it working if I had one.
If it weren't so damned mahoosive I would steal it.
So this is what a bleed is all about, and every copy shop will tell you they need a different sized bleed and/crop marks.
The nice chap at Copy Express in Holborn said it's because every machine has it's own personality.

Ok I'm gonna stop this Discovery listing thing cause it has not been that simple.
My first print was with my Chondalamalcia Patalae knee comic that I did. I had a lovely chap at the local print shop work really hard to get it to print right, lining up etc. I tried not to gripe too much when it chopped my image *wince*
I wasn't too precious about this project as it was an experiment.

But my next one was more important to me.
Dementia Dad

So I tried a different copyshop, who chopped into it, barely batting an eyelid *inside tears*
I decided I better try a proffesional printing shop.

Shop 1- "oh we need it digital, yes you always get a white border" - oh they're rubbish
Shop 2- "oh we need a PDF or Indesign file" *huh?*

Stumpted again
I start emailing peoples, one company proper talks me through what they need via their website, ExWhyZed
And I discovered the beginnings of a magical formula, which is:

CMYK, 300dpi, 3-5mm bleed, crop marks (sometimes) PDF

I got myself a trial version of Indesign, taught myself the basics, pumped out PDF
As every copy shop has different specs they like. I have, to date, pumped out 12 different versions, with crop marks, without crop marks, bleed 3,4 and 5 mm, with cover, without cover.

Not all copy shops have everything you want.
I really want a grey cover in matt, but a lot of people don't stock it, but one copy shop said I could supply the paper and they'd print on it (one place outright won't do other's peoples paper)
It is important to stay true to what you imagine as otherwise you'll get lost in their can's and can-not dos

I have spoken to at least 10 different copy shops now and have whittled it down to two I am working with, a small business Copy Express and a big chain, ProntaPrint.
Both mainly because they were helpful, informative, friendly and accommodating.

So fellow noobs of print!
1st scan your image, make sure it is 300dpi and to the size you want it finally (A4-A5)
Make sure it is CMYK with a bleed of between 3-5mm.

As your order gets larger the costing decreases. So an order of 100 will individually cost less than an order of 30... of course you need the collateral up front and some way to sell it.

I settled for a costly order of 20 at Pronta Print
and a run of 10 at Copy Express in Holborn.
Pronta print let me use my own coloured paper for the cover, which unfortunately didn't suit a black and white print and smudged in the trial so I had to do the cover on a colour print which cost more....lesson learnt.
1. Source suitable printable paper
2. or if your gonna pay colour, make it colour!

So far I have sold 12 to friends and family- woot!

The real dream come true though is GOSH, my all-time long-time favourite comic shop in the world, took three of my comics to sell, wooo!
I didn't get much back (mainly because my errors pushed the cost up of the make) BUT I am selling in GOSH that is one wish box ticked.

I have showed this book to mum and dad as I wored on it to make sure they were ok with it. They both thought it was very funny and emotional and I have their approval which is important to me.
My mum told my Dad about selling in GOSH and even he was impressed, he took me there in the first place, back when I was an early teen, hey it only took me 20 years Dad ;)

I have put a few on Etsy:
Dementia Dad selling at £5 inc p&p, you can either go through Etsy or me at

This has been such a fantastic learning curve and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have now got the task of putting it out there. If all goes well I shall print a larger run hopefully at a cheaper cost.

I now have a taste for print and am working on about 4 other projects which include murals, space porn, buses and photocopiers. I am also writing the follow ups to Dementia Dad and as you can see on other posts I am doing the occasion one pager for my own amusement.

I have a real taste for print now, wish me luck!

I also, as an additional touch, hand-printed the back with a self portrait in linocut and my hand print letter set. I love stamps and hand printing.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Friday, 10 May 2013

Dementia Dad

I shall be getting this printed and stapled together to be distributed soon.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Chondromalacia Patella- The Comic

If you would like a paper version drop me a line and I'll post you one.
This is a true story, I have crap knees.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Redmayne House Obituary

A gap cleared in the sky today.
After 35 years a light shone in the basement.

My family home in Brixton is surrounded by 60s built council estates. 
That's just what I know and that's just what I grew up with.

In the last 10 years gentrification has been creeping like a rash across the south london landscape.

Most of my childhood was surrounded by violence and trouble, 
Of course I wanted that to change.

Of course it did change, the area got attention, the area improved and we were all pleased to see issues get tackled and challenged.

But there is a tipping point...
Big corporate companies move in, property developers move in, local businesses can't afford it any more, local residents can't afford it any more, council estates get knocked down and luxury flats go up...

Memoirs of Redmayne House.

From the French windows of my victorian council house and rubbled filled garden,
I can see the entrance to Redmayne House.

Unlike the main estate this one stands alone.
A unit, down half a road with shops below.

I would go and buy my Beano and my sweets and my crisps
with my 50p pocket money every week.

There were three shops there when I was small,
There was a, long-gone, middle shop.
I'd forgot
but I think I dream about it sometimes and the eighties sunlight streams through the door on a hot summers day.

The bear is what my dad called the big black guy who owned the first shop
but he was also known as Buddy and his shop was known as Buddies,
he who owned the first shop.
It was always smoky and always had a gaggle of older black guys in it.
Everything in the shop was out of date but he was always nice to me
which was rare in my neighbourhood.

The far shop was Grumpies,
I brought my first fags from there,
he was not happy about it but I was 16 and brought 2000AD from there.
Grumpy got grumpier and I stopped going there.
He didn't like anyone, always miserable,
but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have to put up with a lot being there,
next to the second roughest estate in London.

The stretch of grass along Redmayne House,
if you looked close was full of weeds, dog shit and needles,
my dad pointed it out to me.

One time, I looked out the front window and saw a big man beating a women holding a baby,
he was beating her with a wooden chair leg.
He had chased her round to Redmayne, house entrance.

We called the police.
The police couldn't see what was happening
so we relayed what we could see to the police car sitting outside.
I was never told what came of that, whether she was rescued or killed.
So it goes.

The entrance to the garages claimed at least 3 of our cats lives,
RIP Elvis, Pigsy and others I have forgotten.

Sometimes we would walk along the back wall overlooking 12 foot drop garage entrance
with it's anti climbing paint and glass inbedded in wall.
Occasionally we'd sit on the garage roofs.

When the building was to be demolished a few years back
it was clear a few families in there refused to leave.
You could see life in window ledges full of plants or laundry. 
Buddy and Grumpy left, the shops went first.

Over the last year, squatters tried to claim it
I'd see these guys sneak through the fencing
then later gathered on a street corner drinking Special Brew.
Course that's illegal now so they didn't stick.

Word came round a year or so ago telling us the new plans.

The money men decided to make the new luxury building 8 stories high and closer to our back wall.

Goodbye blue sky.
The new rich neighbours don't like the garage road that goes behind their wall..
Which means the taller building is closer, thanks for asking us new rich neighbours.
Bye-bye sun, bye-bye sky.

My mother keeps saying, well if we get global warming we might be glad of the shade, but the truth is their home will be darker and gloomier.

No one listens to a council tenant, even if they are the locked-in elderly who have been protecting and improving this area for the last 30 years fyi my parents have taken in and supported hundreds of people in their lifetime on this corner next to the 2nd roughest estate in London and who will be more trapped at home more than those who approved this decision, thanks for asking.

But that is how it goes with the talks not listens.

So Redmayne has come down, and we, in our home, look out in awe and wonder at the empty space, soo much sky, so much light.

In time the noise levels will be up as they build the luxury monolith and slowly the window to the sky will be bricked up.

The in-between is now the gap of sky the peace.

The birds who sat on the building, the magpies and crows, now hop about in the space remaining, bemused.

And so it goes, so do we.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

DECO ART: Ink Effect Paints

So I had my paints from the lovely people at Deco Art and their blogger scheme and I had a mission to complete.
My chosen subject was Finches.
I set myself up with picture reference and sketched out on paper my drawing.
This is a Chaffinch
I had already decided I wanted to try and mix the colours, and so I splodge some out on a lid.
As I began I remembered, from the tutorial, that the colour reference to look at is not the paint but the colour spot on the lid, hmmm I thought, but that doesn't work with mixing.
So in my usual experimental way, I was painting 'blind' with the colours and taking an element of risk and surprise in the outcome. I set them down to dry for at least half an hour.

I had been flummoxed on what fabric to use. On the instructions it says you need to use mainly synthetic fabric with a maximum of 40% cotton.
I dug around in my fabric-suitcase-stash and realised all of my fabric was cotton.
The tiny scrap I had found to experiment with had failed miserably barely picking up the colour.
So I decided to trek to the charity shop.
The charity shop also lacked the ideal fabric, but I managed to find a polyester net curtain and a pink duvet cover.
I do like the challenge of making something out of what you can find.
I think if I was doing a piece of work to make multiples of for bags or clothing, I would go to a fabric shop and be more specific. But with this round I was experimenting and having fun.

So I returned armed with my strange fabrics, an iron, some tunes and a cup of tea.
And this is when the magic really happened.

I have to be honest after the first two trip ups, I had lost heart...I had also forgot to follow the instructions properly (iron should be on full heat with NO STEAM)

As I ironed down on the back of my paper as hard as I could, I hoped it would work.
I peeled back the drawing and it was a miracle.
My brown blodgy painting was this gorgeous colourful ink effected painting on fabric. I was super chuffed.

I printed a load of copies, though there was a certain amount of hit and miss of the quality (I will wash fabric before printing when I do it again)

It continues to be transferable especially if your original was painted on thickly. (protect ironing board covers with an  old teatowel otherwise you may get a bit of colour on there)

In the next part of this project I am going to cut them out and put them on other fabric and embroider into them.

I do like a good crafty experiment.

I was thoroughly pleased with the soft ink effect these paints produce, they would inspire me to use in a way one would use watercolour. I think my next piece with them will be a garden scene with flowers, the colours would blend beautifully.

I did one extra self portrait for fun.