Tuesday 28 January 2020

Everyone Will Go Bald Eventually - comics by kids

This new year's Comic Art Masterclasses have been characterised by a spate of brand new schools, new to me that is. I sent out a big email at the start of the school year back in September, and my chickens have very much come home to roost. All six school visits this month have been to schools I'd never visited before, and I believe I've left some happy customers in my wake. These examples are for Clase Primary School in Swansea, my second Welsh speaking school on the year.

Hythe Primary in Southampton came up with a couple of crackers. And, though I'm very busy drawing Findlay Macbeth right now, they were worth taking the time to colour properly.

Final school of the month was Abbey Juniors, where a very witty and erudite pair of groups, all year 6 girls - sorry Lower Third ladies - came up with a ridiculously high standard of work. Lunch was a very high standard too. Frankly, you gets what you pays for with a private school, and I'm pleased that I get to work with schools of all sorts.

The six celebrities these groups chose to appear in my demonstration strip were Michael McIntyre, James Charles, Cleopatra (yes, the Queen Of The Nile), Kanye West, Marti Pellow (a pupil had just been in panto with him) and Boris Johnson.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Monday 27 January 2020

Findlay Macbeth Grabs

I've been grabbing a few frames from Findlay Macbeth as I go along, and posting them to the Twitters. Here, for the record, are some.

I've posted them to #shakespearesunday on Twitter, but haven't really begun a concerted effort to engage with the public. To be honest, it's quite an intensive process drawing the comic, and I'm wasting less time on social media than I have for ages.

And here's something that was topical for about five minutes...

At time of writing, 63 pages drawn, that means 60 to go. I'm past the halfway mark! (Or, alternatively, help I'm only halfway done!)

Monday 20 January 2020

Announcing Findlay Macbeth

Is this a graphic novel that I see before me, its spine towards my hand? It soon will be. By the pricking of my thumbs, something comic this way comes, and it’s called Findlay Macbeth.

Hi I’m Kev F the Comic Artist. You probably know me from my work in The Beano (Bash St Kids, Bananaman, Billy The Cat et al) or on less famous work like Captain Clevedon, Hot Rod Cow, & the comic versions of The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre; or my humorous adaptations of Bible stories like The Book of Esther, Ruth, Joseph and Jael Wife Of Heber (coming out soon). If you’re old enough you’ll remember me from Oink!, Doctor Who, and Marvel comics, or you might have seen me on TV, on The Apprentice and The One Show.

And lots of you will know me from my Comic Art Masterclasses which I’ve been taking into schools for a few years now, teaching kids age 7 & up how easy it is to write and draw comics.

Well now I’m producing the thing you’ve all been waiting for, a brand new full length graphic novel - Findlay Macbeth.

It’s my comic strip adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy like you’ve never seen it before. I’ve brought my comedy storytelling approach to bear on the bard, in a comedy thriller giving the familiar take a unique spin.

Findlay Macbeth is a mild mannered unassuming salesman working for a small company in Scotland in 1977, and his wife Linda is an aspirational social climber. But a life of Ford Cortinas, shagpile carpets and fondue based dinner parties is turned on its heavily-hairsprayed head when the chance of becoming the new Managing Director passes him by, and Mr and Mrs Macbeth embark on a plan for success which turns out like no-one could have wanted.

This 120 page graphic novel is written and drawn by me, and aims to be suitable for readers of all ages - well, let’s just say, if you’re old enough to watch Macbeth you’re old enough to read this. Blending 1970s sitcom and crime dramas with the classic tale of ambition, it’s Abigail’s Party meets The Scottish Play meets Asterix, Naruto, Watchmen and The Beano and I hope you’re going to like it.

Come you spirits who tend on mortal thoughts and help me bring Findlay Macbeth to fruition via my Kickstarter (to come), where you can simply pre-order a copy, or - if you’re feeling full of the milk of human kindness - you can get special extra bonuses and even appear in the book by supporting the project a little bit more.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this petty pace from day to day, but trust me, I’ll get this tale told by an idiot finished and published, with your help. Watch this damned spot, it’ll be out out soon enough.


Kev F

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Friday 17 January 2020

Findlay Macbeth, drawing continues

This week, apart from one visit to a school on Wednesday, I have been drawing Findlay Macbeth. It's a hard slog, and the longest I've worked on a 'spec' comic since Captain Clevedon back in 2011 (and even then I only drew half a dozen pages, getting other artists to draw the rest of the book). This time I'm aiming to get 120 pages drawn. It's not unrealistic but, blimey, it's not going to happen in a hurry.

Yesterday (Thursday) I managed a whole 7 pages of pencils and inks (A4 art to be shrunk to an A5 book), meaning I've finished the first chapter of the story. I'm enjoying drawing by the way, it's hardly a chore, yet. But when I get busy with schools in a few weeks time, then we'll see how well I get on. Right now, I'm enjoying drawing, and my clocking-in sheet continues below.

Friday Jan 3rd: 4 pages (62 - 65) pencilled, 62 & 63 inked.
Sat Jan 4: 2 pages (64 & 65) inked.
Fri Jan 10: 2 pages (2 & 3) 
Sat Jan 11: 1 page (1) 
Sun Jan 12 / Mon Jan 13: 6 pages (4 - 11) 
Tues Jan 14: 4 pages (12 - 15) 
Thurs Jan 16: 7 pages (16 - 22) 
Fri Jan 17: 5 pages (23 - 27)  + Alba adverts inserted in backgrounds. 
Sat Jan 18: 2 pages (28, 29) 
Mon Jan 20: 4 pages (30-33)
Weds Jan 22: 4 pages (34-37) + scripting and rearranging new pages (38 & 39) and renumbering all subsequent pages (yawn). The story is now 123 pages long.
Thurs Jan 23: 8 pages! (38 - 45)
Fri Jan 24: 6 pages (46 - 51)
Mon Jan 27: 6 pages (52 - 57)
Weds Jan 29: 8 pages! (58 - 61 and 68 - 71) (Including the fun of getting pages 58 & 59 wet and smudging the borders).
Thurs Jan 30: 6 pages (72-77). 46 pages to go. 
Fri Jan 31: 10 pages!! (2 of those being newly-inserted pages, 57 & 59, so 8 new pages were 80 - 87). 38 to go.
Mon Feb 3: 6 pages (quality over quantity, 88 - 93), 32 to go.
Tues Feb 4: 8 pages (94 - 101), 24 to go.
Weds Feb 5: 6 pages (102 - 107), 18 to go.
Thurs Feb 6: 6 pages (108 - 113), 12 to go.
Fri Feb 7: 6 pages (114 - 119), 6 to go.
Sat Feb 8: 2 pages pencilled, half a page inked.
Mon Feb 9: FINISHED! Final 6 pages completed, it's a wrap!!!

Continued in later blog.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Friday 10 January 2020

LeBron James - first kids comics of the year

My Comic Art Masterclasses for 2020 began up the Welsh valleys in Ysgol Y Lawnt, the most Welsh school I've taught in yet. All the kids and teachers speak Welsh to each other most of the time, meaning I had no idea what anyone was talking about it the classroom, and all the signs and notices are in Welsh too. Luckily everyone also speaks English so the classes went swimmingly. A perfect start to my school year, followed by a drive from Rhymney to Kettering.

St Andrews Primary in Kettering had me in for two days and, starting the year with a jump in the deep end, featured two Mega Groups. Mega Groups are a thing I do, not too often if I can help it, so that schools can include as many pupils as possible. You see usually my workshops work with one class at a time, with up to 30 in a class, at the end of which everyone goes away with a comic containing a strip by every one of them and a caricature by me. With a Mega Group I bring two classes together, so that's 60 pupils, and we go between the hall and their respective classrooms, doing the demonstration bits together, then the drawing in their individual groups. So one class gets to name the comic, and the other class gets their caricatures drawn. It's not ideal, as I'm not able to spend so much time with each class, and half the pupils do their drawings without any help from me (resulting in lots of falling into "The Tiny Trap" and other problems I can normally spot). But they seemed happy enough and, impressing even myself, I managed to get two lots of caricatures drawn. Meaning, along with the afternoon's 'normal' class, I taught and drew 90 pupils in a day.

Day 2 in Kettering saw another Mega Group of Year 3/4s. Sadly, because there was an extra long assembly in the middle of the morning I only got one class's caricatures drawn. To be fair, I'm probably the only person who knew or cared, but all the same, chiz chiz which is a swizz as any fule kno.

The celebrities these first 6 groups of the year chose to appear in my demonstration strip were Kevin Hart, Amanda Holden, Ariana Grande (twice), Kim Kardashian, and Billie Eilish.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Thursday 2 January 2020

Findlay Macbeth artwork begins

Today I drew the first pages of Findlay Macbeth (pages 60 and 61). Though I'm still doing some rewriting, and still getting feedback in from the people who've read it (Hev and Steve gave me the most helpful notes so far) I wanted to get an idea of how long each page would take and how my art style looks. Turns out it look exactly like it does every time, and that's good enough for me. I'm drawing the pages at A4 not, as I thought I might, A3. If I'm printing the book at A5, then this size works for me.

I traced the layout through from the pencil roughs I'd done in December, re-pencilled them all, and inked with Fudenosake pens. Start to finish, these two pages took from 1.30 to 5pm. Meaning I should be able to do 4 pages a day. That could be (optimistically) 120 pages drawn in 30 days (though my rewriting looks like it might bump the page count up a little).

So, next stop (apart from rewrites and more of this drawing lark) is a Kickstarter. Where to begin?

UPDATE: Friday Jan 3rd, page 4 - 7 rewritten and laid out. 4 pages (62 - 65) pencilled, 62 & 63 inked.
Sat Jan 4th, page 64 & 65 inked.
Fri Jan 10: 2 pages (2 & 3) pencilled & inked.
Sat Jan 11: 1 page (1) pencilled & inked.
Sun Jan 12 / Mon Jan 13: 4 pages (4 - 9) pencilled & inked.
Mon Jan 13: 2 pages (10 & 11) pencilled & inked.
Tues Jan 14: 4 pages (12 - 15) pencilled & inked.
Thurs Jan 16: 7 pages (16 - 22) pencilled & inked.
(Jobsheet continues here)

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Predictions for 2020 (and how'd I do last year?)

Predictions for 2020 (and how badly I did last year)

I do it every year, and every time I’m wide of the mark. Let’s have a look at last year’s wild guesses, and then make some new ones.

Jan 2019 I predicted…
Eurovision winner - Portugal - WRONG, it was the Netherlands
Trump's wall gets built, Mexico pays for it - WRONG obviously
House prices soar - WRONG. They’ve fallen on average by 1%
Petrol prices plummet - WRONG, they’ve stayed about the same.
Second Scottish referendum happens - WRONG
Frontrunner in 2020 Presidential election is Will Smith - WRONG, I’m on a roll here
The drones in airports story has a surprise revelation about who's behind it - WRONG, who even remembers that story?
Surprise Doctor Who spin-off goes straight to Netflix - WRONG
I pitch a TV show to Netflix, it doesn't get made - WRONG
The Beano start publishing a series of graphic novels, including my Desperate Dan book - WRONG
Brexit goes ahead and the country doesn't suffer in the slightest - WRONG, but Jury still out on this
Marvel superhero movies prove unpopular and they stop making them - WRONG
Surprise revolution in European country - WRONG
New Labour leader by Christmas - WRONG, but only by a few months

So, 100% wrong, which is I think a record for me. And so to my Predictions for 2020:

New Labour Leader will be Rebecca Long-Bailey

Trump wins 2020 election

Democrat candidate is Joe Biden

Eurovision winner - The UK

Economy tanks because of Brexit (this one is bound to come true, now that I can monitor my pension and see it going up or down on a daily basis)

House prices - up by 2%
Petrol prices - up by 2%

Marvel superhero movies are unpopular and they stop making them

Cats, however, turns out to be a sleeper hit and makes 100s of millions by the end of the year

Doctor Who movie version is announced and, if not released this year, does get made

TV shows that get revived: The Avengers (Steed & Mrs Peel), The Jetsons (live action), Adam Adamant, Catweazle (but female), Whodunnit (as a Saturday night live show), Drop The Dead Donkey, Top Of The Pops, 

Britbox gets major revamp and starts commissioning new shows, then goes out of business by Christmas

Netflix launches its first year-round soap opera

Eastenders features no deaths.

Surprise technological advice - brain-operated eco-skeleton, and downloadable memories.

National newspaper to go out of business - Daily Express

White Christmas? Yes.

There you go, let's check back in in twelve months time and see how ridiculous that was. Happy New Year everybody.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries & art centres. email for details. Facebook, Twitter. Promo video here

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre will be touring near you sometime. Catch up with them on Facebook for the latest. 

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