Thursday, 1 October 2015

Back To The Drawing Board - from The Dandy to the Bible

The month of September has been an interesting change for me, as I've spent most of it doing what I used to do exclusively about 20 years ago, namely writing and drawing comics.

Long before I'd dreamed of entertaining people with sock puppets (the Scottish Falsetto Socks having, very quietly, celebrated the tenth anniversary of their invention some time this summer) and before I'd started filling my diary with Comic Art Masterclasses (the very first of which took place sometime in 2003), and even before I'd started doing stand up or created The Sitcom Trials' predecessor Situations Vacant (circa 1993 and 95), I was a full time comics writer and artist. And what do you know, I'm back at the drawing board.

Above you can see one of a batch of illustrations I've done for Bible Society, depicting common misconceptions about details of Bible stories (in this instance, the idea that the Shepherds and the Wise Men turned up at the same time, apparently they visited at very different times). And next on my to-do list is a follow-up to last year's Samson story, where this time I'll be looking at a Biblical heroine. More news when I've started writing it. Meantime I've been busy writing and drawing for some old friends.

You might just recognise Bully Beef and Chips, and a barely identifiable Beryl The Peril in this tiny portion of script for Bake Off, a four page strip that I've been asked to write and draw for - for the very first time - The Dandy.

Out of the blue I got the call to write and draw a couple of 4 page strips for the 2017 annual, the first of which has got the go ahead and I'm in the middle of colouring, the second of which, Strictly, awaits the thumbs up. And not only am I making my Dandy debut, I've been asked to write a range of scripts for other artists to draw in the 2017 Beano annual, and so far rattled off the Gnashers and most of the Bananamans, with Bash Street Kids and more Banana action still to be thought up. Good and productive times.

Meanwhile, in the world beyond my desk, I've been paying regular visits to the dentists and had some big old fillings replaced. Which should mean that next time I pose cheesily in front of a flipchart I should be flashing a slightly more perfect smile than has previously been the case. And those flipcharts will be in some interesting places, with a two day trip to Switzerland lined up for next week (courtesy of Artists Abroad), and plans to take me as far afield as Jordan and Jakarta. Let us see.

I've also been back to Scotland this month, as part of the ongoing series of Sitcom Trials shows. Because they have their own blog, I've not recorded their progress on these pages, but it's been a busy summer, with shows in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow. The next show is a Halloween Special in Manchester on October 24th, I wonder if I'll get round to entering a script myself this time? I am a writer after all.

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

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