A comic I drew for the anthology Tiny Pencil. The hook is that everything in it is drawn in pencil and I was actually really pleased to have the excuse to do this. I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I also did the drawing below which was printed over a double-page.
This year I took part in Memory Palace, an exhibition at the V&A based on a piece of fiction by Hari Kunzru which was interpreted and adapted by 20 designers and illustrators to make a multidimensional walk-in story type thing. I was given a passage in which the imprisoned narrator is interrogated. Please click the image below to see the whole piece. Warning, it’s really big.
I had a lot of space to play with so I decided to do a large scale comic that breaks down and depicts the passage in a ridiculously literal way. I wanted to try and describe everything the character sees and experiences as the scene progresses. To be honest I would have liked to have gone even further with the amount of panels and different trains of thought branching off from the main narrative, but for various reasons it is as it is. It probably doesn’t make loads of sense out of context (you can buy a book that has the full story in it plus information about the exhibition) but you should be able to follow it. Below are some bits I cut out for easier viewing and some more info.
From the website:
Hari Kunzru’s story is set in a future London, hundreds of years after the world’s information infrastructure was wiped out by an immense magnetic storm. Technology and knowledge have been lost, and a dark age prevails. Nature has taken over the ruins of the old city and power has been seized by a group who enforce a life of extreme simplicity on all citizens. Recording, writing, collecting and art are outlawed.
The narrator of the story is in prison. He is accused of being a member of a banned sect, who has revived the ancient ‘art of memory’. They try to remember as much of the past as they can in a future where forgetting has been official policy for generations. The narrator uses his prison cell as his ‘memory palace’, the location for the things he has remembered: corrupted fragments and misunderstood details of things we may recognise from our time. He clings to his belief that without memory, civilisation is doomed.
Here’s my piece in situ. I was going to draw it directly on the wall but I babied out and decided to hand draw it all separately, arrange it digitally and then get it stuck on the wall as a series of giant print offs.
These are some covers I’ve done over the course of the last couple of years and for whatever reason haven’t put them on my site yet. This first one is for a young adult book called Mothership, which is about a school for pregnant teenagers in space. You can read about it here. Note: The colour was shifted to purple by the publisher at the last minute. You can see my original version here.
This one is for my Granddad’s book about Erik Bloodaxe. You can read about it and order a copy here. I was really excited and proud to get to work with him on this. He basically designed the cover for me (see his rough drawing below, alongside the final for comparison).
This is the cover for an educational science comic about Malaria, the way the parasite works and what scientists are trying to do about it. The comic itself is drawn by Edward Ross, creator of the film theory comic series Filmish and now Grow, a great autobio series about becoming a parent for the first time. The interiors were coloured by Tom Humberstone, editor of Solipsistic Pop and currently cartoonist for New Statesman.
A bunch of sketch pages (I wouldn’t call them sketchbook pages because my actual sketchbooks are endlessly boring) that were all a part of The Sketchbook Show. Click on them to make them needlessly massive. That last one is actually two pages smooshed together and it was drawn while watching Ridley Scott’s miserable Robin Hood film, so there are some embarrassing attempts at trying to draw Russell Crowe’s potatoey face in there. The second one down was drawn while I was watching War Horse. The little rabbit guy is Benedict Cumberbatch.
These were fun to do. It took me back to doing thesekind of things, which looking back on them, look way more exciting to me than anything I’ve done in a long time.
Also it reads right to left, manga style. Click the image to read all four pages.
This comic appears in Secret Prison 7, published by Retrofit Comics. It was conceived as a tribute to the alternative manga anthology Garo, featuring contemporary western alt-ish cartoonists working in the ‘traditional right-to-left/newsprint/pulp-manga format’. It’s satisfyingly large at 10 x 13″, 150 pages and is full of cool people. It’s one of my favourite comics of last year for sure, even if I wasn’t it. There are some other full comics from it online from Angie Wang, James Harvey and Katie Skelly, that are all distinctly better than mine. Below is the front cover and back cover of the anthology, by Ryan Cecil Smith and Angie Wang.
I have mixed feelings about my own comic. There are a few panels in there that I feel are some of the best little bits of a comic I’ve ever done, but there are also some awful drawings, particularly of the main character whose design slips all over the place and exposes some of my drawing weaknesses. Also I’m not convinced that the comic isn’t altogether a bit icky and embarrassing.
Two years earlier I was in Secret Prison 2 with this comic.