Thursday, 19 January 2017

Esther coloured

Hallelujah, let everyone rejoice. On Thursday night (Jan 19th) I finally got all of The Book Of Esther coloured. Well, look more cheerful about it you two.

It really has been a mammoth task, taking nearly as long to colour each page as it took to pencil or ink them. I started by trying to keep the colours simple, but as I progressed it was clear that I was only happy when I was adding a layer of shadows and a layer of glows. And I couldn't fill any character with just flat colour, as one might with The Simpsons or most Beano strips, I had to give them all a white edge to sculpt the colour of their faces. And the outlines of the backgrounds, I couldn't just leave those in black, I had to go over and colourise all those lines to knock them back further. And before I knew where I was, I was doing a maximum of two pages a day. I think I managed three pages one day, but for many others I was only getting one page done, through the knock on effect of other work.

But hooray, now it's done. And, though I haven't quoted on it as part of the original job, of course I'm now going to have to design a front cover. But that notwithstanding, I have a completed job I can deliver to my editors.

Oh yes, talking of distractions, in the meantime (ie last Sunday afternoon) I was inspired to turn the Book Of Esther into a musical. I wrote not one, not two, but ten songs - lyrics and a rough demo recording with vocal only - for the musical, taking us chronologically through the first half of the story.

The songs so far are: Title Song, Party Like It's 460BC, Xerxes & Vashti, Bride Wanted, I Could Be Queen, Not Everyone's Good, I'll Wait, Pampering Song, Wedding Song and Teresh & Bigthana. We definitely have the new Jesus Christ Superstar on our hands here. (Hev got me a book for Christmas about how to write a musical. I've not started reading it yet.)

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Comic Art Masterclasses - booking through 2017

Hi there,

I'm Kev F Sutherland, comic writer & artist for the Beano (& Dandy, & Marvel & Doctor Who). I present my Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres across the country, teaching kids how to write and draw comics, and would love to deliver workshops to your schoolkid audience, if you'd care to take me.

My workshop (which you can see in action here: ) is for pupils aged 7 and older, usually attracting 8 to 12 year olds, with no upper age limit. By the end of two & a half hours, a class of up to 30 at a time has produced a comic to take away, containing a strip by each of them, plus an individual caricature by me, and learned all there is to know about comics and manga. 

All we need is a classroom-like set up and I can teach up to 30 kids at a time, doing two sessions in a day. You are welcome to set the ticket price for the event (in the past year prices have ranged from free to a fiver to £30 each), and I am happy to work for a fixed price.

For any further details, please feel free to ring or email. I look forward to being able to pay you a visit at some time soon.

All the very best

Kev F Sutherland
07931 810858

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Colouring Esther

You know when you say to the client you'll get a job finished by Christmas, and you get back to your desk on January 3rd and you're not much further on than when you said "I'll get it finished by Christmas"? That's me and The Book of Esther, largely because I'm trying not to skimp on the colouring, as a result of which it's taking as long as the drawing itself.

Also not having a tight deadline means that any other job, or indeed distraction, has been allowed to come in its way. On the plus side, it's good to be busy on the first day of the year, and to be doing work you enjoy. Other tasks on my first day at work included get the Christmas tree out of the office window, returning those two pairs of glasses to Manchester Academy, and replying to waiting emails.

On which subject, a much more pressing task is getting my email back, which has been broken and inaccessible since October and, despite a number of phone calls to Virgin Media which all end with a promise of being phoned back in 10 days time, I remain without that email. Will I get it tackled this week? Let's see. You can bet that, whatever time I devote to it, will be time robbed from the Book Of Esther which I am dying to see finished so I can write the follow up.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Wrong Specs

No, it's not a low budget homage to The Two Ronnies*. It's two pairs of specs, neither of which is mine.

Not that remarkable you might think. But, in the last working week of December, both pairs were mistaken for mine. And now I'm in possession of two strangers' glasses, while they're walking around Manchester bumping into things.

You see I did my final day of Comic Art Masterclasses at Manchester Academy on December 22nd, then we stayed overnight with Hev's parents in Bodelwyddan. As part of my classes I had to carry the kids artwork the length of the school and up two flights of stairs to get to the photocopier and back, right in the closing moments of the working day. And it was only on getting to my car ready to leave that I realised my specs were no longer in my breast pocket.

I went back and retraced my steps, knowing I'd used them to put finishing touches to the artwork seconds before making that final journey to the copier and back. And it was most likely around the photocopier, in the corner of the staff room, that I'd lost them, because I'd been obliged to put art on the floor as I went along, and the bending-over to do that would almost inevitably be the opportunity for my glasses to slide from my breast pocket unseen.

So, after scouring the corridors and staircases Sherlock-like, I got to the staff room and asked if anyone had found a pair of specs. "What, like these?" said a kind teacher, handing me a pair that were lying unattended on a table. They're the ones you see at the top of the picture. Yes! They're mine, I thought. They have the rectangular rimless frames and the burgundy stems, they're my glasses.

I put them straight in their glasses case, safely in my inside pocket, and head home. It was only that evening in Bodelwyddan when I tried to read the computer screen that I discovered my glasses weren't working properly. To whit, they didn't focus my eyesight so I could read. If anything they made things more blurry. They were, of course, someone else's specs.

Mortified and covered with shame I emailed and tweeted the school the next day, trying to find the person who'd lost these specs so I could send them back directly. Meanwhile, I was delighted to hear, they've found mine and were going to post them off straight away.

Given that we were now into Christmas Eve and the extended mail-less holiday period, I thought nothing more of it for a week, until a package arrived. Hooray, my glasses.

Only, as I think you're also ahead of me on, they weren't my glasses. These are black-rimmed larger-lensed glasses, with a prescription made up for short sight. Someone needs these buggers to see where they're going, quite possibly to drive with. And I've been and gone and got the teachers in a staff room in Manchester to steal this unwitting soul's bins, when they're put them down for a moment, and mail them to me, leaving them virtually blind throughout the Christmas period.

As soon as the Post Offices are back open after New Year, both pairs of glasses will be returning to Manchester Academy with my most profound apologies. In the meantime, I'll be back up the road to Vision Express to get myself a third pair.

And now, for some reason, I'm hearing the theme from Charley Farley & Piggy Malone and I can't think why. 

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.

*That's the Socks you're thinking of

Friday, 30 December 2016

My Comic Strip Review Of 2016

My traditional comic strip review of the year had to be drawn. And, though I seem to be a bit busier at this end of the year than usual (I'm dashing off for the final Socks gig of the year tonight in Reigate, and we're just back from our second visit to Kibworth in a week, inbetween which was a visit to Bodelwyddan, and Christmas itself), I've managed to get it done.

Other notable high and or low points of 2016 include a cancelled flight and an entertainingly delayed and diverted flight (you had to be there), and Mum's 80th birthday. Brexit and Trump occupied a lot of thought but how does it impact my life? Maybe we have to wait till 2017 to see. The biggest thing I've omitted is that Hev was rushed to hospital with an infection that had come dangerously close to blood poisoning. Luckily that was got through, and a few things have changed since, but I didn't put it in my rather vain review of the year, maybe I should have.

I travelled a lot, but I've done this so much now, that it hardly even seems remarkable at the time, let alone at the end of the year.

The Peoples History Of Pop stuff was fun, even if only a minute of me made the BBC 4 screen. I did a long interview in front of the Conan mural in my old bedroom for BBC East Midlands Inside Out which seems to have been binned, but I got mentioned in the Telegraph. So there's that.

I redesigned most of my website, using Wix, and got my adsense account back (since which I've earned an average of 1p a day, whoopee).

The creative explosion that ended up with Socks Do Shakespeare was something I'm very proud of. This year The Now Show dropped Mitch Benn - Earth's best parody songwriter - from its roster and replaced him with a different person each week, almost every one of which made me realise how bloody good I am at this. The Shakespeare parody songs I wrote, mostly in April, only a couple of which ended up in the show, the rest of which comprised the audience-in music and some slightly-watched Youtube videos, are all bloody good. Watch them and tell me if I'm wrong.

Here's the table of stats that give all the more insight into a fascinating year I'm sure you'll all agree. (In short, I did the same as I do every year, and lots of it).

School days   
Flights (return)   
Socks shows   
Caric gigs       
Nights away   
Socks vids       
56 (40+ Trials)

Here's to an equally unpredictable 2017. Here, should you be interested, are the previous comic strip Reviews Of The Year I've drawn...


Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.

Socks Do Shakespeare 2017 TOUR
Feb 15 - Buxton Pavilion Arts Centre Studio 
Feb 17 & 18 6.50pm - Kayal, Leicester Comedy Fest
March 9 - Aberystwyth Arts Centre
March 15 & 16 - Dram! Glasgow Com Fest
March 23 - The Bill Murray, London
Apr 6 - Victoria Theatre Halifax
Apr 8 - Rondo Bath 
Apr 13 - Hexham Queen's Hall 
Apr 22 - Swindon Arts 
Apr 27 - Stroud Subscription Rooms 
Apr 28 - Merlin Theatre Frome 
Apr 29 - Perth Concert Hall 
May 1 - Chiddingstone Castle Kent 
May 5 - Artrix Bromsgrove
May 6 - Stafford Gatehouse
May 13 (4.30pm) & May 14 (5.30pm) Komedia Brighton
May 19 - Carriageworks Leeds
May 26 - Aberdeen May Fest
June 2 - Eden Ct Inverness
June 15 - Crescent Arts, Belfast
June 17 - Dalkey Festival, Dublin
June 24 - Ludlow Fringe
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