Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I'm very much at work colouring a picture book that I'm really enjoying... it's very difficult, but despite the fact that I'm re-doing the same spread for the fourth time today and that the file sizes are getting mind-boggling (to me, and probably my mac mini, too) I am really, really pleased about how it's going.
Yesterday I spent some time just zooming around in the pictures looking at all the lovely line and texture... here's a detail close up. I've never done a book that's so nice to look at close up!

It is challenging... I'm trying to do some clever things involving limited palette and changing light conditions... Well, once I've got it worked out it should all be quite straight-forward.

And then I can get properly started on the graphic novel! Hurrah!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Back home.

So, yeah. I'm back in London, only took me 12 hours, flight delayed and re-routed, then no trains, two coaches, a night bus, got back at four in the morning, yawn.
I enjoyed how the crew was as tired as everyone else, they kept muddling up the security messages, at some point one of them (I was hoping not the pilot) cut in and said "It's been a long day. You don't know where we've been." Then it was silent until we were in the air and they apologised that they didn't have enough food on the plane to redeem the vouchers we'd been given to make us feel better.
The nicest moment was when I asked a young couple (I thought) where they had to go once they got to London, because they seemed a bit worried about it. The guy replied: "Well we didn't actually know each other earlier today, but it's looking more and more like we're going to end up in the same place." - Bless, I hope they are having a nice time.
The worst moment was finally getting into Luton airport and the passport control queue being, well, very long. It filled every bit of the building it could go, in fact.

So anyway, I just tried out my new graphics tablet. It's absolutely awesome.
See doodle above. One doodle is enough for now.
That's my thought of the day. Possibly the week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Plum Jam

My backpack is packed- there isn't an inch of space, it's all full of mum's old elegant clothes she's been fixing up for me all week. I shall look glamorous and German from now on.
All the computers appear to be fixed, including the PC From Hell which has all the latest technologies fighting one another.
And my mum and I are making plum jam.

See, I do other things too here, not just computer fixing. The plums are from my sister's plum tree, she gave us a whole bucket to use after feeding us some lovely plum cake. The neighbours visited and refused to eat any because they have a plum tree too. I think when they first moved in they met each other halfway between the houses both carrying a bucket of plums each as a welcome present... well, it's an unusual delicacy for me, so I figured taking a preserve would be rather brilliant and clever.

Tonight I'll fly back to London, I hope I can fit a small jar of jam into the luggage... I hope I won't see another windows pc for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I just got a book of my favourite poetry, with lots of space to draw in the margins. The e-reader got me into the idea, it was such fun doodling all around texts that now every book that I open looks like a sketchbook to me.

I wish I could have the whole series, this is book 6 of a complete collection, all with lovely cloth covers like this.

I'll post some pages when I've drawn some things in it.

Am looking a bit bedraggled here because I spent all of yesterday, morning to midnight, setting up three family computers. I now have new and unexpected knowledge about kernel panics and setting up networks of diverse operating systems. The main thing I learned is that Windows can always get more confusing and irritating, no matter how much I've been swearing at its last incarnation already...
I'm most pleased with my mum's work Mac which was creeping along on Tiger with damaged drives and conflicting backup discs. It's now snow-leoparded and so nice that I want to take it home, hah.
The worst bit was accidentally messing up the PC just before midnight with some casual tired button-pressing. But all is well now. Phew.

I shall attempt to empty my mind from things computer related now...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ah. Germany.

What I'm eating:
german lunch
A mural my parents made:
A bit of their garden:
dad's garden
Sensible shirt I bought (ahemm):
new garment

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Hullo! I'm in Germany, in a cold basement, on the floor, because I found one spot that gets a WiFi signal. All is well.

I shall be fixing the family computers tomorrow, and then I'll spend a week doing mostly German things, like eating bread and saying "Ja, genau!"

Up up and away...

Off to Germany I go!

For a whole week. My suitcase is half empty, and I'm still packing, but only files... a whole memory stick full of stuff to colour in on my mum's computer at home, turns out I didn't actually quite have time to take a whole week off.
Ah well.
Strange how I spent more time packing files and passwords than clothes to wear, that's a first. But I didn't need to take much more than a bunch of pants and t-shirts anyway because as soon as I turn up at my parents' place in my ragged city wear they take me out to re-clothe me completely so I may mingle with polite society again :)
Otherwise I shall be wandering amongst the trees. I'll let you know if I see any particularly noteworthy ones.

Tra la!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My lovely e-reader, at last. Yay.

I have my e-reader!
sony e-reader
I really, really will make good use of it - I've been wanting one for a while now because reading e-books and proofing manuscripts on the computer is just plain evil. I'm already spending too much time at my desk staring at a computer screen as it is. I want e-paper.

Well, I am happy. It does what I wanted it to do - I can read and annotate my own scripts, even the graphic novel script which I formatted into a table (dialogue one side, panel description the other). It's pretty and lovely and I can't wait to start reading my way through the Gutenberg Project. I'm going to feed it some home-made picture books and mini-comics, too. I'm going to highlight some things neatly and I'm going to scrawl insults over other parts with the dinky little silver stylus. I love it.

Tell you what though. I HATE THE SOFTWARE. It's a joke. I am actually insulted by the claim on the box that this gadget is mac-compatible as it is. The software this comes with works badly even when it's not broken for a minute, and it doesn't even have the decency to include a de-installer. (The only thing nearly as insulting is the not-included optional charger which was so expensive that I just laughed at it in the shop for a while.)
Luckily, there's a free alternative called "calibre" which totally wipes the floor with it - even though it also still feels very clunky in comparison to what's available to deal with music and image files. Isn't it strange that one of the oldest file formats - text files, like we all produced routinely before digital photos and sound files - is looking so confused at being put into a neat little box...

It was funny buying this thinking how ubiquitous and cheap these things are bound to become soon. This lovely over-priced beastie will look prehistoric... but when I walked home with it in my bag and past all those bookshops in Charing Cross Road I couldn't help looking at the tons of paper on display and thinking less about how lovely paper novels are as objects, but more about how strange it will seem to us that we lined our walls with all those paper bricks, some of which never even get read twice.

OK I'll have to live on baked beans for a month now I think.

Fleece Station Blog is up!

Here's the official Fleece Station Blog, all set up!

I stayed up until four in the morn to learn wordpress and set up all sorts of stuff on the site. It says something about my quality of sleep that today I woke up earlier than usual feeling more rested than usual...
Bloody hell, I even set up email, hidden folders for file transfer - and an events calendar. I should do this kind of thing more often rather than stare at the inside of my eyelids for hours on end every night. Anyway blah, go and see!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, it seems

Hm. Odd day. Nothing in particular needs drawing right now, except for one picture that I can't quite get right yet. So I tidied up and then contemplated going into town to buy an e-reader, I tried out my new extra fine brush-pen, and I didn't quite do any novel-writing. Instead I depressed myself looking at the Derren Brown Lottery number thing on youtube. I'm not great at guessing how things are done, but that seemed so shrugsworthily easy to do with video editing that it made me worry to think that anyone would believe it's some sort of special mind science. If I ran a cult I'd be on the internet now taking down contact details of daft people. Huff. Got my attention though, I hope he'll do something baffling next.

Now I shall go for a walk to buy vegetables, have a big salad, drink copious amounts of tea and try and write something good...
I do hope I'll get the files for the picture book I'm working on soon, even though that'll mean many hours of photoshopping, I'm itching to put that book together.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Studio Warming Party

Hello there!

I had a rather wonderful studio warming party, if you came to it I hope you did, too.
Sarah posted a lot of pictures so I don't have to.

I'm very proud of the cupcakes - Sarah woke me up in the morning to bake them, and Gary helped decorate them. They're all sheep, black and white ones, crammed into their little paper pots at odd angles. Belgian chocolate, mini marshmellows, super-nice marzipan, tons of cream cheese icing, oh, they were good. I doubt anyone managed to eat more than one, but I believe that one they really enjoyed.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves - it was fun showing everyone around the police station.
Now I'm faffing about with the setting up of a studio blog. Just when I decided to spend less time on the web. Ha.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday, still writing

Tra la...
I overslept, after spending most of the night talking to a friend and then thinking about the novel. - I worried for a while that this story was going to go the way of most of my novels - which means characters walking about and talking and eating tasty treats a lot. I think it's a case of "white what you know". - In any case, there are all sorts of exciting things happening along the way in this plot, and I think I shouldn't force any extra ones in just because I'm worried there's too much talking. Instead I'll try to work out exactly what they are talking about and why, and then try and make it good.

Hm, I wonder what food there is in the world for me today... let's try and not have pasta...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Happy Morning Solitude

I had a great morning. Man, mornings are always great when there's no one else in the house. Evenings tend to be a bit melancholy by myself, but waking up fairly early in a quiet house is just perfect. I made myself a proper coffee and sat by the washing machine reading Murakami's "What I talk about when I talk about running", and thought about how nice it will be when my foot stops hurting and I can go for long walks again.
Then I put on some clothes to go with the day - blue and stripy. I am not completely happy if I don't get to dress suitably for the day in the morning, suitably meaning suiting my own idea of what sort of a day it is. You can spoil my day very easily right in the morning by telling me to wear something else. I like looking into the mirror and looking how I feel. Naturally I always look a bit like I've just seen a ghost, because my hair is going grey and I have dark circles under my eyes. That's the one thing I sometimes adjust, because even though it is generally appropriate I understand that not everyone is comfortable with feeling like they've just seen a ghost and not really minding it. - I have nightmares pretty much every night, when I sleep at all, and that's been the way of things as long as I can remember. Even when I'm awake and walking about I feel like there's a ghostly web almost visible holding the world together, and sometimes I think I can see it stretch across someone's way like a big spider web with not even a spider in it to keep them entertained while they're stuck, and I feel sorry for them. But it's just the nature of things, and if I didn't worry I'd be someone else, which would be tragic, since being me is pretty good. Especially on a Saturday morning in autumn.
Today I'll go with the slightly spooked look.
I love the way the sunlight moves on a cloudy morning, it's like waves of light washing over everything. Maybe they'll invent an ultrasonic sun-like shower cabin like that one day that actually physically scrubs you clean. Or maybe I'll have a garden one day and just step outside in my pyjamas and yawn and it'll be pretty much the same.
The head of the patchwork bear I have partly crocheted is sitting on a wicker box by the window with a doggy expression of "what are we going to do today?" and I think: You'll be sitting on that basket making a silly face and I'll be writing two chapters of a novel about foxes. But first I'll go and have early lunch in a cafe.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Inky sheep and Ukulele visits

Ah, what a lovely day.
Alex Milway visited at the studio and brought his ukulele (which was fun) and we talked inks and pens and papers - I was inspired to finally try and draw in non-repro blue pencil on bristol board and ink over it, which felt very proper. Neither blue pencil nor bristol board I had gone near to ever, as far as I can remember.
Now I've scanned the drawing in, did my best to lose the blue line and coloured it quickly, and, well, I think it's quite nice actually. Yay.

Expect to see more of these sheep, by the way. they are from a thing what I'm working on. Yes.

Argh, hungry! Must cook dinner...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pirate Song

Today, I'm doing some digtal colouring. I had to remind myself of everything I worked out years ago and then never used again...

It's still quite messy but starting to look like I intended it to.