Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anxiety 6

You never know what works for people. And then you don't quite know if it will work again... it's good to have a number of ideas to hand. Write a list. Rewrite it now and then with the things that work best on top. It's like a letter to yourself from someone who cares.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Anxiety 5: Irrational Fears

Here's something to help you understand the completely irrational fears that anxious people develop now and then. - Panic attacks can hit at any time, for many reasons that are sometimes hard to spot.
A panic attack feels like intense fear of actual death, and it's a natural reaction to mentally connect whatever situation you are in at the time of the attack with the fear from then on... even if that thing has nothing at all to do with the actual cause of the panic.
I managed to acquire an absolute horror of small pieces of paper, sellotape and the dancing penguins in the Mary Poppins movie and profiterioles that way. I got over those. Except for profiteroles. They freak me right out.

It takes effort and time to unpick these fears, and it's not a good idea to just force someone to face them. Be gentle with this stuff. It can be solved, but not by other people. It's easy to make it worse by mistake.

Anxiety 4

Hey everybody!
Thank you so much for the comments on this webcomic, I'm glad you're getting it.
I hope you are all toasty, happy, well fed and watching a bunch of movies. I know I am ^_^

Don't watch "Love Actually", it's a terrible movie. Unless it makes you very happy. Then whatever.
Love you all! Merry festivities!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Anxiety 3

Anxiety - Q&A

Questions have started coming in about the Anxiety comic, and I don't really feel like dealing with the same stuff several times over, so here are my answers.

Q: Is this autobiographical? You poor thing!
A: It is. Incidentally, I am a sturdy, reasonably happy person and I live life exactly as I want to. Everyone has troubles at times.

Q: Um, will you write anything about, you know - will I be in this?
A: You might appear in this as a friendly animal. If you upset me, it will not feature because this isn't about settling scores or purging sadness, it's about kicking anxiety in the snout - anxiety, and nobody else.

Q: I have some advice how to beat your anxiety for good...
A: I've got this, thanks. - Also... the attitude of anxiety being something that must be cured, eradicated, beaten "for good" is incredibly hurtful to the people experiencing it. It makes us feel like our life is on hold, like we fail every time we get anxious, and frankly - like you don't respect us very much. - If you want to help, maybe actually learn something about anxiety, what it feels like and how to manage it.
What have you been reading anyway? Was it a self help book for executive managers by any chance? Do I look like an executive manager? Do you think I want to be one?
Ok, you can go now. We're cool.

Q: I don't get it, what is this about?
A: Hey, congratulations, you probably don't have anxiety disorder! You probably got something else you would like support for. Keep reading comics. It's all in there.

Q: Hang on, you still get anxiety attacks? I thought you were better?
A: I'm good. I have anxiety attacks sometimes, I get sad sometimes. Do you mind? I hope you don't.

Q: Is this a call for help?
A: If I ever call you for help, you will know it by the way I am calling you saying "help".

Q:So why are you actually drawing this?
A: Because I wish I'd known all this years ago. And because it makes me happy drawing it.

Q: Why are you drawing such sad things?
A: If you think this is sad, you are projecting.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Tomorrow will be my last day of teaching at Plymouth University.
I've been associate lecturer on the illustration BA for a few years now, and I am wrapping the gig up with three days of solid assessment. My hair is all at random angles, and I'm in bed at half past six. It's tiring, looking at other people's work all day. Some of it is brilliant, as always.
I will miss seeing the brilliant work, and I will miss seeing the less than brilliant work improve week by week. There have been many moments of joy, seeing a student work something out, or nerding out about inking, Star Wars or the shape of a kangaroo's nose.
What I won't be missing is the commute, regularly getting stuck on trains for hours, travelling through floods, on rail replacement coaches, once in the luggage rack. I won't miss catching all the colds on the way.
I've got a lot of work to do now, many books I want to make, and I need to be at home, in London, to make them. I'm quite sorry - this was a wonderful job. I've made good friends, and learned a lot. I think it's a good time to leave.
I'm a bit sad that I won't see the second years turn into third years now. That's always exciting, the point when they work out what they are actually doing. But that's ok.
I would like to apologise to anyone I freaked out by eating whole sugar packs from the tea kitchen when I missed my lunch break. Sorry.
It's been good.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


There's an exhibition at Foyles Charing Cross, London, and I have some nice opictures in it.
It's still on until Saturday.
There are MANY pictures by all sorts of famous illustrators, it's free to go, and you can buy the pictures, so go have a look!
More Info Here

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

VOLUME in Birmingham - panel talk!

I'll be taking part in a panel talk! In Birmingham, first week of December, as part of the Art, Book and Print Fair VOLUME.

The live panel will happen in the fabulous Central Library, on 3pm Saturday 7th December. The speakers are:

Dan Berry – an illustrator, designer, cartoonist and lecturer will talk to other makers about the tools and techniques of comic artists and how emerging artists can promote and distribute what they do.
Also includes
Philippa Rice – creator of the webcomic My Cardboard Life, Recyclost, Looking Out and many other titles.
Vivane Schwarz – creator of a number of books for children including There Are Cats In This Book, There Are No Cats In This Book and Welcome To Your Awesome Robot.
Lisa Wood – director of the Thought Bubble festival in Leeds
Martin Steenton – Blank Slate Books.
Presented by Birmingham Zine Festival

Book tickets HERE

I might also borrow a sliver of space from the table of Lizz Lunney to sell some more Rabbit Stew zines... It'll be great!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fan Mail ^_^

Thought Bubble.

THOUGHT BUBBLE WAS AMAZING. I can't quite believe what a tornado of niceness it was. It's all a blur of drawing, laughing, dancing, people going "VIV!!! OVER HERE!!!" and an all-through fuzzy feeling of love for comics and the awesome people who make them.

So here are a few pictures that happened:

Some of the wonderful things I bought and swapped. The books I set out to get were "Carry Me" by Dan Berry and "Kochi Wanaba" by Jamie Smart, and I got them, and MANY MORE. Still am reading.

 My mini-comic which I made for the occasion and sold/swapped. I lazily nabbed this photo from Sarah's Festival Report which is of course a lot more detailed than mine. I'll make some more copies to shift at events. If you are really keen to get a copy, email me and I can post one for a fiver when I've made some more (soon).

I shared a hotel room with Sarah McIntyre, and we hid away for the first evening to draw silly comics. Here is an improvised tale about THE NORTH, from the perspective of a German and an American, so v. accurate.

 There was much more fun... awards, friends old and new, and DANCING. Here is the dancing:
Crikey. I shall do my best to get a table at Thought Bubble next year. COMICS ARE AWESOME.
Lots of love to all involved ^_^ and some extra to the world because, dunno, I am happy.

Photos from The House Of Illustration Fundraiser

I nabbed them from their website.

So that was fun.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Do you like:
If you do, check out the STREET GAME ASSEMBLY KIT from Fire Hazard Games.

It's awesome.
It's also FREE if you just download the, because we want you to make games and have fun :) Or you can order a shiny printed copy. Your call.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The secret to happiness

I just found this in my notes. Seems like something I wrote quite late at night.
The secret to happiness is thinking things through.
You know, when you wax your legs and it really hurts, and then the hair grows back worse? Like you tore your follicles right open and now they are all WAAAAH! And they make weird new damaged curly emergency replacement hairs, and you tear them back out and it just gets worse.
Then you think that maybe you’re like a hedge and when you cut off a bit it sprouts two new ones. Maybe you’re fractal, like a tree. And you’ll have loads of tiny fractal legs growing out of your main legs. Then when you sit around you could suddenly shuffle away sideways, on your thousands of tiny legs, like ants carrying a gazelle. Then you get all excited about that because it would be awesome. And then when it doesn’t happen, you say to yourself: well actually, thinking about it, that’s probably a good thing. Thank goodness.
And then you are happy.
Think about that.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Making a zine

I'm colouring the RABBIT STEW comic in to make a zine... I'll take them along to Thought Bubble in Leeds next week to see if anyone wants to swap. Yay excitement! ^_^

Friday, November 8, 2013

24 hour comic: RABBIT STEW

I spent the last couple of days in Plymouth, taking part in a drawing event for their book festival.
The challenge was to draw a 24 page comic in 24 hours - twice 12, to be precise, drawing from nine to nine. The starting point was an object from any of the collections of Plymouth Museum.

This is my story.
WARNING: it is not a children's story.
It contains scenes you might find disturbing.
It contains the sort of drawing you get if you have no reference and draw for 12 hours straight anyway.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Life of Finches - process

Ah whoops, forgot at least one line... there's a LOT more to this illustration anyway, I expect to be drawing until late...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cut your own drawing nibs

You know you want to.
Assemble materials (ignore the already-cut nib in that photo)
Cut this with hole punch and scissors
Roll the end around something thin and fit it into your nib holder
Fold in half and score the inside
Cut in a curve. This one will be short... you can make any size. Try huge, it's fun.
Heat, then cool in water

Try it out!
Maybe it's a writing nib?
You can slice the tip for extra messiness and flexibility..
...or sand it for smoothness.
(If you want to make a sketchbook holder, look here)

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I've caught a cold on a train, and been coughing and burbling and watching things and doodling along. here are some doodles while watching Miss Marple, and Arrested Development. One really shou;ld draw whole bodies, not just heads, but I am ill and can't be bothered.


Blind drawing

Arrested Development

Arrested Development