Friday, 2 February 2018

Hourly comic day 2018

Well, it's now my fifth year of hourly comicsing. Here are the four previous years.

And actually the first year where I haven't reached the end of the day and been like 'ugh, these are terrible', rather 'Well, these are a tangible improvement from past years (although still far from where I'd like to be)', so that's nice.

The lessons I've learnt from previous years doing this are:
1) Don't try and do too much (i.e. colour, many many panels)
2) Keep it simple (stylistically I mean, try not to scribble, go for clean lines)
3) Draw neat boxes, stop trying to do it by eye, use a ruler, it just makes everything look tidier in this context

The lessons I've learnt from other hourly comicsers and just generally looking at comics throughout the year are:
1) Vary framing. In previous years I've been guilty of framing everything the same (mostly full body shots)
2) You don't have to document EVERYTHING that happens that hour. Just pick a thing or maybe two things max.
3) Facial expressions are everything. Try and get those right.

I'm ot saying I've succeeded at all of the above, but that's what I was trying for.

So, without further ado... My February 1st 2018. (Which actually turned out to be a very typical day for me with little excitement or adventure, and lots of me sitting at my desk working, ho hum!)


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January 2018

January really is the worst, isn't it. Sorry January fans.

I started the year with big aspirations...

Maybe 2018 will be the year I actually learn to draw hands!

Or maybe I’ll learn to tie some fancy knots?

Or maybe I'll BUY A HOUSE

Except no, I won't buy a house. Because what millenial can buy a house? Even up north? Thing is though right, parents. And only child. And priviledge. So I can't buy a house. But my parents can. And because they're lovely, they'd let me rent it from them. So that might be happening. I'm not buying a house. But I sort of am buying a house. Hello.

Oh for a walk with no mud and no overgrown foliage just clear brisk striding, such dreams

In December I started kidding myself that maybe I was dealing okay with winter. Maybe I’d be fine. But you know what, the reality is, first full winter in this valley is HARD (and from what everyone local says, it doesn’t even get any easier in subsequent years). The dark, cold, near constant rain/snow/sleet/hail drag you down and situations that would normally barely cause a stir leave you feeling drained and washed out and sad and tired. Next year, SAD lamp and vitamin D. Just must. Ugh.

This isn’t so good because I used the wrong pens, but one of the big things around here is that (especially in winter) there are parts of the valley that barely ever receive direct sunlight. Luckily our house sits above that line, but still, it’s a mood. 

I escaped to Brighton for a little while. Oh Brighton, I can’t believe I ever complained about your winters! What I wouldn’t give for that 2 or 3 degrees extra warmth and approximately half the amount of rain now. Got to see some cuties, and eat some tasty stuff. 

I was in Brighton for work but lucky enough to get to see lovely people every single day I was there. Treats! On Monday I went for pizza with Hannah and Tristan. On Tuesday, Jonny, Kris and Harriet came over for Pho takeout.

On Wednesday Claire and Matthew made lovely chilli tofu and rice for me at their new place!

On Thursday I succumbed to my THIRD COLD OF THE WINTER WHAT ON EARTH HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS (oh, and I went for lovely Planet India with Zoƫ)

On Friday, crippled by lurg, I travelled up to London to stay at George and Wes’s, and got in bonus dinner with them, at Nat and Paul’s place with Steph and Lauren too. Everyone was lovely and I tried to keep my grossness to a minimum and have a fun time.

Then on Saturday I tumbled my way home, just about.

I appreciate this month seems like nothing but moaning. I am sorry. This is very tedious. We’re nearly out the other side. Aren't we?!

Despite seeming like a grumble every time I look back at this (somewhat terribly drawn) comic about my expensive condiment habits, I feel an irrational amount of affection for my long suffering housemates who put up with all my bullshit (and eat my expensive condiments).

Just coming out the other end of my cold, I started getting really terrible stomach cramps in the evening. I always get the fear when this happens as I have a phobia of vomiting, but it's usually nothing (I haven't actually vomited in nearly 20 years)

But this time. It was not nothing.

Alex got a terrible stomach bug (which we initially thought was food poisoning) earlier in the week, and despite my best efforts and intense avoidance tactics, I too succumbed. The next visual diary is a drawing of me sitting on the toilet pooping and NEARLY BUT NOT QUITE vomiting at the same time, so I'll spare you that one, but rest assured it was NO FUN

I came through the worst symptoms somewhat quicker than Alex though, with under 24 hours of actual bad stomach stuff (and no actual vomit), but then quite a few days of just intense, brutal, totally washed out tiredness (I still don’t feel like I’m back to my usual self but I’m not sure if it’s residual illness or just winter sads)

Despite being deprived of some of his usual walks (a neighbour helped us out when we were at our worst), Charlie was a lovely patient nurse, spending hours gently cuddled up with me in bed. (Although still occasionally getting over-excited and pawing at my painful stomach, I did appreciate how chill he managed to keep himself in the face of my distress for the most part)

As someone who leaves the house, usually for at least a couple of hours every day (and always has done), got cabin fever after a couple of days trapped indoors. Finally made it out.

Nat came to visit and lift my miserable mood with all the hot goss from that London town.

Trying to use these coloured pencils a bit more, for variety. Went into Halifax to get some bits, drew this lovely arcade I saw later on.

Fellow vegans, I wholeheartedly endorse these for all your intensely chocolatey cereal needs.

I kind of had a lovely evening on the 26th — first we went to Rachel’s 40th birthday party, and then we went to see old friends/musical geniuses AK/DK play in Todmorden. But my resounding memory of the evening was when Justin got really drunk and decided it was the time to confront me about some of my foibles — some very real, some… entirely imaginary? For example, I don’t think I have ever once smugly declared ‘Welcome to my tower of graphic design’, but I may now start doing so, every time anyone comes up into the loft home office.


(It's okay, we are still friends)

With the exception of those couple of days of tummy bug I have been REALLY HUNGRY all month. Food is just so great. Are there many higher pleasures than a steaming hot tray of fresh chippy chips and curry? I think not.

You may have been under the impression that I would one day run out of/get bored of finding ways to complain about the weather, but no, friends, I shall continue.


Sunday, 31 December 2017

December 2017

As with most Decembers, it feels like it's been a lot. The nature of this silly project means that pretty much every month I'm like 'wait, that happened THIS MONTH?' but it feels particularly so this month.

Back at the start of the month I headed back to Brighton... much of my heart still resides by the sea.

It was my boss’s 50th birthday, and because he’s lovely, everyone from work was invited to his lovely big party. I travelled back down for this especially, but also managed to cram in a lovely lunch, a visit to the Rodhus open studios and a short zine fair at the Rose Hill Tavern before his party. Got to see LOADS of lovely people I’d missed in just one day, which was intense and wonderful.

Back home with a bump though I guess.

And then an even bigger bump, in which, having been ignoring the ever increasing smell of gas for over a week after Alex and Justin both insisted they couldn’t smell anything (the smell was hitting me every time I walked into the house), finally called the hotline. They have a meter to read these leaks, and anything over ‘0’ is worthy of investigation. They evacuate at a reading of 20… The reading in our kitchen was 98. Apparently I was lucky not to have blown the place up just by sparking up the hob or turning on electrical devices (which I had obliviously been doing all week.)

After nearly a month without hot water in August (remember that?) and repeated boiler trouble before and after that, this was apparently finally enough to scare the letting agent/landlord into action, and we now have a brand new boiler, but seriously, I am so done with renting. SO DONE

Oh no

It did a big snow. Quite into it, tbh.

Had a lovely time at the Egg Factory’s Eggsmas extravaganza, I was among lots of wonderful local makers selling our wares ready for Christmas gifting (or self gifting). Rather than another picture of me tabling, I decided to draw every dog that visited the fair, because Hebden Bridge loves dogs.

And then I went back down to Brighton again. I wanted to get in a week’s work at the office (rather than my usual remote working) before the end of the year, but mainly I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the work Christmas do. Jonny and Kris very Kindly let me stay at their lovely new place, and I squeezed in a traditional post-work Wagamama with my post-work-Wagamama buddies Hannah and Gemma, to catch up on all the hot goss.

Bits and bobs of nice Brighton things. I just quite enjoyed drawing this one.

CLEARLY the inevitable sitation here is that I would come down with a horrendous cold on the day of the work Christmas party I'd been so excited about. Powered through to the best of my ability.

For the first time visiting Brighton this year, albeit probably cold induced, was really excited to come home, and by home, home means Hebden Bridge. This is probably a good thing.

Still can’t draw myself/people, but damn it I will persist

I remember when I was a kid, my mum once told me that a cold lasts 3 days. For some reason I really took this to heart despite EVERY COLD EVER proving this to be an absolute lie, and meaning I have spent every cold since then filled with resentment about how much I am suffering when in fact a week or more is entirely normal (right?)

Sprouts grow on this kind of aggressive looking mace like construction and I’m not generally a violent person but if I had to fend off an aggressor with a vegetable, I think it would be either this or a really large, firm butternut squash. Or wait maybe a sliced chilli straight to the eyes. Now I'm thinking about this too much.

Being vegan is generally great, but there are a few very specific Christmas things (that aren’t even that irreplaceable or even good) that I do miss…

I’m still running, but I had to stop for like a fortnight as I was too busy in Brighton and then ill with the cold. Climbing back up that literal and metaphorical hill. I wish vanity wasn’t such a powerful motivator, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the main things that keeps me going when I don’t want to run, I wish I could just love my body no matter what shape it was, but the fact of the matter was that I never did despite years of trying, and for the first time in my life I feel content with both the shape of my body and what it can achieve. So I will persist. Even though running is horrible. But also great. But mainly horrible.

Happy anniversarymas to us!

Christmaaaaaaassss…. Was quite nice actually. Chill, cosy, and there were ducks. Just how I like it.

Time for some Justin-based body horror! Sorry not sorry Justin.

I still miss living in the city where I can just go window shopping all the time — whenever I get the chance to go shopping now it always feels rushed and stressful because I’m trying to squeeze too much in, and this was so exception, but I had fun spending my Christmas money in Leeds on silly trsouers and a dress so summery that I absolutely MUST get to warmer climes in 2018 at some point.

This is a not very good drawing but PEOPLE CAME TO CHRISTMAS II (Northern edition). Loads of people had to drop out at the last moment because a) unexpected very heavy snow, and b) it’s winter so everyone is ill, but there were still 10 of us, and it was very lovely.

Rolling into 2018 just now. I hope your New Years are all filled with warmth and optimism for what's to come...