Friday, 22 October 2010

North East Geek Feast

Our 24 Hour Comic Event provides the main course of Episode Six of North East Geek Feast, newly minted for the Geek Syndicate network.

Experience Daniel's downward spiral into sleep deprived madness, and our miscellany of despair alongside reviews of season premiers of True Blood and Merlin with Lily, Daniel and special guests Lee Grice (Small Press Big Mouth) and Graham Pearce (Sgt Mike Battle).

Friday, 15 October 2010

24 pages from Helsinki

Today I unpacked my travelling bags and here are some of the pages I found from my time in Helsinki, doing my 24 hour comic.

Tomorrow I shall take them to Mailboxes to be copied, times 24, making 24 copies of a poor diary-esque and rambling comic.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Magic Beans and Son

That's me with my son, Dylan helping me on 24 Hour Comics Day. He's the main reason I wasn't at the glorious event with you all, but I literally couldn't help myself getting involved, so I decided to work from home...

This was my third attempt at 24 Hour Comics Day. The first one was a disaster best not mentioned, but also a valuable lesson in how not to do it! The second attempt was in 2008, which produced a comic amidst the desolation of spending a whole day in the house on my own, drawing comics.

I really fancied trying the group effort this time, but my family comes first, even *GASP!* before comics :)

But you know, it worked out rather well in the end. I wasn't alone all day for a start, just in the bleak hours of night, but Paul and the gang were just a text or phonecall away, which gave me a great boost. Jo and the boys were there for me and supported me all the way, and I couldn't have done it without them. I even did a special 2 page story for six year old Alex to help with, he inked it and lettered it himself and it's brilliant! I'll be including it in the printed version, so I guess I kind of managed a 26 page comic...

As for my comic itself, I did cheat slightly by deciding beforehand to use an established character, crime fighting local news TV presenter Mike Neville, but beyond that I went completely unprepared and made it all up on the day. Unlike last time though I spent a lot of time working on the story early on, and this really helped later on in the day when I was drawing on autopilot, having lost the ability to think in any useful way :)

Dylan does have a habit of getting up at 5AM and thinking it's playtime, which no doubt contributed to me falling asleep after midnight, and waking up at about 7AM with a bit of a mountain to climb. So the last quarter of my comic existed in a pretty sketchy form when the deadline loomed, but exist it did. So I'm calling it a modest success!

Keep watching the pies,


Cheaters Sometimes Prosper

So... It's been just over a week since I started my 24 hour comic. What did I learn in those 24 hours? I already knew I was batshit crazy, so that doesn't count. I think I learned that it doesn't matter if you don't reach the 24 pages but more that you get something out of it, I got 16 pages, the story finished on page 16 and I was happy with it. I also learned that while bringing fruit is healthy you also need savoury foods to survive a full 24 hours.

I also learned that all video footage of the event is for some reason... corrupted. I took a few clips and was going to put them together into a montage of comic greatness (or madness) but technology has failed me. :|
Not impressed.

In compensation for the lack of video please enjoy this photo of Daniel telling us what he's thinking.

And a preview of my comic from the event. I plan to clean up and shade this and make it available for mass insanity by Thought Bubble!

I blame the low level anti-technology forcefield and the possible corrupting influences of us for the lack of video in this post. It's a shame, there are about 10 files and all of them are just strange beeping noises.

Friday, 8 October 2010

One more thing...

I decided to print up some copies of my 24 hour comic under the title 'Things'. They are now on sale at Travelling Man, Newcastle should anyone want one. It contains a tale of paranoia, some decidedly odd gag strips, and a steam of philosophical musings.

Thanks for the Support!

Well, nearly everyone has posted their stories and some pictures of the event and I believe that there are a few still to come.

On behalf of everyone who took part, I'd like to thank Martin for organising this. It was a great event, and everyone had a great time and the stressful parts are just another part of the story in the end.

Notice on the Door

Thanks to Judith and Sophie (author of Teddy Bear Holiday, co-author of Alan the Confused Tortoise from the Space Monkey anthology) for the provision of the finest cakes and surprisingly accurate and predictive signage, and moral support.

24 Hour Comics

Thanks to Ian Mayor who provided a most excellent selection of fizzy drinks, story ideas and cheerleading during the day.

Also, thanks to everyone that called or texted or tweeted us during the 24 hours. Let's do this again :-)

But not too soon, y'know? ;-)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

My name is Ingi and I survived the 24HCD.

So - I went to this wedding on Friday the 1st of October, stayed up late and got up early morning Saturday to drive up to Newcastle from the Boro - I looked something like this at the time.

A great way to start, what would become 27 hours of no sleep - when I desperately needed one to begin with. - Anyhooo...

The drive up was extremely uneventful and not really worthy of mention, but I just did, so here’s a picture to go with it:
- I then met up with Martin at the Church for some prayers and then we sacrificed a pigeon for good luck and being a no good Icelander I then commenced to steal his money - because, that’s what we do - it’s an old Viking trade, you know.

In-spite of gospel singing, verbal diarrhea and breezy flatulence the 24 hours flew by, thanks to barrels of NestlĂ©’s finest and delicious home-made cookies/muffins supplied by Martin and Brittany.

So! - to the actual comic making.

This being my first ever 24HCD, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself in to.
During the days leading up to the event I had had many ideas and my mind seamed to be overly active in coming up with stories ....however - when push came to shove, I went absolutely BLANK!

When I came back to reality, I went with one of the first images that came to my mind in the days before the event: - A 'picture' of when I saw my future wife to-be for the first time, back in 1997 in Arnhem (Holland) as we both started our ballet teachers education...

My idea was to bring in glimpses of my life while I was sitting at the bottom of those stairs, both past and future to 1997.

I don’t know if it was due to the fact that I was listening to melancholic Suede on iTunes or what, but I decided to pick out ‘sad-moment’ from my life and illustrate them accordingly.

How I’ve ordered the comic is not the chronological order in which it was made - and that was something I set out to do - Since I was fixing myself to one moment (the stairs) and wanting to bring memories to that moment.

The surprise was the appearance of King Flea - like something out of Naked Lunch - so I decided to see where that would take me. This happened at around 23:00 and I went on a roll and almost managed to make a page per hour, but due to my lack of direction before I was never going to make 24 in 24.

I came to Newcastle to have fun and spend quality time with fellow comic makers - and in that sense the 24hours were a great success - as to my 11pages, I can only say that NEXT TIME I’ll manage better :-)

I’ll finish with the words of Walt Disney, who said:

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Hi from a distant participant.

Hi, I was absent from Newcastle but chose to take part anyway, while walking around Helsinki, mainly because I miss the Newcastle comics crew so much. So I have done a very poor something. Comic may be too grand a word.

It took place over 24 hours, it is true, but I started almost a day late, and most of those 24 hours were spent doing the aforesaid walking around, with the only drawing happening during pizza and coffee stops, and a rather nice self portrait at night.

So I managed 23 pages, of drivel with illustrative accompaniment, to which I'll add some 'found art' (map of Helsinki? Whatever fluff I find in my trouser pocket) and print a few off when I'm back in the finest city between Tyne and Coquet.

If ever I find a usb slot I will add a couple of images from it.
Well done for your collective insanity everyone.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Awesome? yes Martin, but how much Awesome?

This much:



Well I had a great time and got the comic finished. Started well, struggled a bit for a few hours around the evening but finished strongly. Did a few pages I'm overjoyed with.

Many thanks to everyone who attended and kept the faith 'til morning.


Why so #fail?

Well, 24 hour comic day is over, and I failed. I got to page seven in reasonably good spirits, then by ten I realised that I'd lost the plot and had to discard a page. By the time I got to page sixteen I knew that the tone of the thing wasn't working - was it meant to be funny, or dark? It didn't have enough character to drive the thing either: I wasn't in the mood to attempt funny, and dark would have lead to Paul By Numbers pretty much identical to my last 24 hour comic outing.

The idea I came up with might have worked if i'd considered a few things more before starting.

The premise was as follows:

A chap who lives in a caravan on the edge of a village (he's working on doing up an old church in a 'grand designs' kind of way), on a rainy day, while trying to get his TV to work, he decides that he's bored with his lot and will set up a cult in order to get the women and the money in a manner which he sees on the telly.

He encounters a man who looks suspiciously like a famous comic book writer / magician, who runs a mail order cult business from the basement of the local post office. In theory hilarity and/or darkness ensues as they attempt to find costumes, venue, followers, a belief system and come into contact with pre-existing cults in the village.

Possibly they encounter a real deity hiding out in a pub somewhere and are either allied with or in conflict with that too. There was also an idea in there for an occult Mr Ben style thing going on, but maybe Mr Ben is already that.

So what went wrong?

I've thought of a few things, but I think the main thing would be story basics for driving the character...

Boredom is not an interesting motivating force.

I should have done something like shown the character in his grand design situation splitting up with his wife in order to inspire his lack of interest in the building project.

This opening would have given me an engine for the story:
  1. Open with action and allow me to show not tell.
  2. Established his character, his flaws, and his goal (which is no longer boredom, but relationship and personal improvement issues that he's using the cult idea to mask in some way).
  3. Given me another character who could interact with him (and with his mostly female followers...) at later points when the story needed a kick. 
I should point out that I was happy with the art style, and wish that I could have figured out a way to make the pages work... Maybe I still can. The magazine rack was fun, contained a good CLiNT joke or two.

Here are the first nine pages:

First 9 Pages

24 Hour Comics Survival.

Here are some things I think I would like to have next time before starting any drawing. By my reckoning two or three hours could easily be put into this at the start that you would easily make up by being able to draw faster. I'm paraphrasing, but at around four in the morning Ingi said: "Once you have a story, the images will come easily". This is very true.
  1. Open with action and conflict.
  2. Have at least two characters who can talk to each other and provide exposition.
  3. Understand the characters driving force, and therefor understand that the story will end with this being resolved either for good or bad. 
  4. Have a list of the obstacles, and place them in order of difficulty.
  5. Have a single sheet, numbered from one to twenty four outlining in rough the beats of the story.
  6. A lot fourish page long chunks of act two (pages eight to eighteenish) can probably be left fairly open to imrpovisation and inspiration as it happens, and done as stand alone sketches (finding costumes, conflict with the locals), so long as you have a structure for the whole.
  7. ...but the opening and finale need to be planned well.
I'll definitely do all of this next time. Because, despite failing, I'm happy with my faster drawing black marker and sharpie style, I did enjoy myself, had a good time with friends, and did some other very worthwhile drawing and stuffs that i'll post about later.

    The Oscillating Brow 24HCD process

    The Oscillating Brow 24-hour comic 'The Device' was completed at around 8.30am on Sunday morning. I am pretty happy with it to be honest. My 24-hour comic experience was this:

    I started entirely from scratch at around 9.30am, had a ponder, came up with some fairly vague ideas, made them a bit more specific, then made some page-by page plans (for some reason insulting a dinosaur had seemed quite important but this was dropped from the final book - probably for the best).

    11.45ish: started pencilling in light blue pencil (a novelty for me which I hoped would save having to do any rubbing out before scanning/photocopying the line-work).

    4.00ish: flagging a bit but still hopeful, I started on the inking.

    Around 8.30: Having been working actual size on A6 pages, usually with my face a few inches from the paper using a 005 pen, my head was beginning to hurt quite a lot. I only had about six pages left to ink but I was beginning losing my grip on reality, my pen and the contents my stomach, so decided it was time to have a rest. With a mumbled farewell, I was off into the night like some kind of stumbling zombie, the first casualty.

    It took fresh air, curry and a reasonable amount of sleep to get me feeling half human again, and I finished the inking on Sunday morning with a little time left before the deadline (witnessed and recorded on video for proof of course).

    JOY etc!

    It had always been the plan to finish in not much more than twelve hours. Some people, recalling my previous pseudo-24-hour-comic antics may have considered this wimpy or not getting into the full spirit of the day. To them, I offer a punch on the nose.

    The idea of 24HCD is to do the best comic you can do in 24 hours. Staying up all night (either working on a more time-intensive piece or just working at a slower average pace) would almost certainly have lead to an actual decrease in the overall quality of comic, nevermind my mental and physical wellbeing.

    I take my hat off to those people made of sturdier stuff than I, but I made the best twenty four page comic I could in twenty four hours. As for details of this wondrous product, it's kind of my usual kind of nonsense: bathos, hubris, the absurdity of existence, top hats, and me pratting around with visual narrative syntax.

    I'll print a few up soon hopefully.

    Sunday, 3 October 2010


    I'm currently still pretty shattered from the event, only having managed a couple of hours of sleep since we finished. Though to be honest I was shattered from the very beginning of this years twenty four hour comic challenge, not having gotten much sleep of late.

    I ended up creating a comic made up of a number of seperate sequences, some more succesful than others. The first ten hours produced a four page story that I'm pretty happy with and intend to reconfigure into a minicomic.
    The following eleven hours produced a string of ill conceived and rapidly scribbled strips that were rushed out to try and hit the 24 page target whilst acutely feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. During the last three hours I filled the remaining pages by asking most of the artists present for some sort of pearl of wisdom, daft or serious, which I placed in speech bubbles above a portrait I sketched of them as they worked.

    Things I've decided having completed the challenge:
    • Producing twenty four pages is not the most important part of the event, creating something you're happy with is more important.
    • It's okay to bow out if you become too tired to create decent work. It's supposed to be fun, not torture.
    • Junk food seems to be a neccesity if you are to survive the ordeal.
    All that's left is for me to do is give a big thank you to Martin for putting on the Newcastle event, to Paul for sorting out this blog, and to all those who participated for making the event so enjoyable. Cheers guys!
    - James Wilkinson

    It's been emotional!

    Well, I'm awake, six hours after the ending of our 24 hour comic experience. We had some successes, some failures of which a full report and pictures will certainly be forthcoming.

    Unfortunately it wasn't possible for us to maintain the blog from on site due to lack of modern networking magic, but many photographs, video and audio were taken, so they'll be on here soon, including hopefully our early morning video exchange with the lovely 24 hour comics crowd of Amsterdam.

    The official Newcastle 24 Hour Comic song 2010 is Rock Lobster, by the B52's.

    Saturday, 2 October 2010

    Hit the ground running...

    We've just hit hour two here. Comics are being made, fruit and juice is being consumed. We're a rather healthy lot... Except for Paul who is on cake number three.

    Also please note that Daniel is already towards the end of his tether and may in fact murder us by the 12th hour. 

    "I have just attempted to draw a cock and it looks like a dinosaur... and by cock I mean, like, the bird." -Paul

    Under Nine Hours - Provide Inspiration!

    One of the main purposes of the 24 hour comic exercise is to demonstrate to yourself exactly what you're capable of in terms of creativity, so it works best if you prepare as little as possible in advance. Turning up with a script and just drawing it - well, you get a comic done which is good, but maybe don't learn as much as you could.

    Drawing random words out of a hat and playing New Choice with yourself is definitely the way to go I think. With that in mind, please drop any ideas into the comments here or into the twitter tag #24hrcomicimprov

    Not fully formed ideas, I mean single word character traits, genres, objects, moods, happenings, that kind of thing.

    24 hour comics Tyneside Cinema Paperjam

    Thanks folks. See you tomorrow.

    Friday, 1 October 2010

    Previously : March 2010 : Martin Newman

    Unlike must normal human beings, Martin started in a fairly stoic frame of mind and gradually became more cheerful as the sleep deprivation kicked in. Instead of leaving the day with the words 'never again', he was saying things like 'we should do this again, very soon!'

    Page from Evolution and Beep

    This is not because he's mad, it's because he had actually hit on the best possible approach to a 24 hour comic... come up with a decent engine for driving short sketches featuring the same characters rather than sustaining a single story for 24 pages.

    Evolution and Beep inside Cover

    By the end of the evening, he'd constructed an ending which tied the whole thing together in a bow made of solid PATHOS, and called this tale of one robot's interactions with mankind: Evolution and Beep.

    Evolution and Beep Cover

    You can obtain this fantastic comic at Travelling Man Newcastle. Do it. Martin is currently chief of the Project Z, due to launch at Thought Bubble in November.

    Previously : March 2010 : Paul Thompson

    For my second 24 hour comic, I decided to basically make it up as I went along, and experiment with dialogue free storytelling. I think the first half probably works quite well.

    24 Hour Comic March 2010

    The girl with the eyepatch is called Gudrun, and at this time I didn't really know much about her. I'm now planning quite a few stories with her, and possibly she'll end up in something this weekend too.

    24 Hour Comic March 2010

    The comic doesn't make a great deal of sense after the middle portion, but some bits of it are nice to look at, and it helped me figure out the kinds of ideas I liked working with in comics: contrasting fantastic occult and the mundane. Themes that cropped up in my Story a Day for May project too:

    24 Hour Comic March 2010

    Breaking News : Ben Clark is IN

    Having spoken to the B.F.C. himself, I can confirm that the author of Spine Chillers, Mike Neville versus the Monkey God, Grief Bringer, The House on Murder Street, Tab Monkey, Space Dracula and other Shabby Tales, will be making a 24 Hour Comic tomorrow.

    Ben will not be on site, as he's quite frankly got more important stuff in his life to attend to (see mid left of above picture, on table), but once that fella is asleep, Ben will be on side and keeping in touch via the magic of the internet.

    Preparing for the Snackopalypse.

    Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

    Previously : March 2010 : Jack Fallows

    Back in March members of the Paper Jam Comics Collective and many others did a 24 hour comic organised by P.R.E.S.S. and Learning Revolution at the Tyneside Cinema.

    One such member was Jack Fallows, who became increasingly and entertainingly terse as the evening became morning:

    24 hour comics Tyneside Cinema Paperjam

    Jack ultimately went native within the cinema, hiding in the spaces between the walls, where, it was rumoured, beanbags could be found and potentially used to sleep on.

    Nonetheless, Jack managed to produce the fantastically beautiful John Henry Split My Heart, which can be obtained, by YOU, from the Crumpet Time Shop for four of your United States Dollars.

    It's lovely, look:

    Previously on 24 Hour Comics Day : October 2008

    My first 24 Hour Comic was in 2008 when myself and Ben Clark made comics in our respective homes, staying in touch with 24 Hour Comics community via the internet and phone.

    It was a bleak and lonely experience in many ways, as reflected in the lighting in these pictures, but I was amazed to find that by 9am on Sunday I had a small selection of characters and a really nice story, but had completely ran out of felt tips, markers and every other means of producing marks on paper.

    I'd originally intended it to end fairly badly for my cast, but the actual ending turned out to be quite romantic. Sleep deprivation I tells you. Ben has completed and published "The House on Murder Street", but my comic remains unfinished - mostly needing tidying up and lettering. I'd like to finish it some day. It was quite cute.