Tuesday, 5 September 2023

Richard The Third Grabs

As I progress, I take grabs of the panels I've been drawing that day, to help keep people aware of what I'm doing. He flatters himself that anyone is remotely interested. Here are some.

Monday, 4 September 2023

Combined book sales at live events 2023

These results are for my books sold at live events (comic cons, classes, book festivals etc) taken by card payment through my iZettle, which itemises sales. Cash sales are fewer, and probably add a couple of sales to each column.

2023 TOTAL (up to and including Kettering)

All 3 books - 48
Findlay Macbeth - 47
Prince Of Denmark Street - 37
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 36
Colouring books (various) - 19
Scottish Falsetto Socks Superheroes - 16
Richard The Third ashcan - 5
Tales From The Bible - 4
Tales Of Nambygate - 2

Kettering Lit Fest (Sept 16)

Findlay Macbeth - 5
Richard Third ashcan (new) - 5
All 3 books - 3
Midsummer Nights - 3
Prince of Denmark St - 2

St Ives Library (Sept 9)

All 3 books - 4
Prince of Denmark St - 4
Findlay Macbeth - 2
Midsummer Nights - 1

NICE (Sept 2 & 3)

All 3 books - 9
Findlay Macbeth - 8
Colouring books (various) - 7
Prince Of Denmark Street - 6
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 5
Tales From The Bible - 1
Scottish Falsetto Socks Superheroes - 2
Tales Of Nambygate - 1

Derby Libraries (Aug 21, 22)

All 3 books - 10
Findlay Macbeth - 1
Prince Of Denmark Street - 4
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 5

Northern Ireland art centres (Aug 7 - 11)

All 3 books - 4
Findlay Macbeth - 9
Prince Of Denmark Street - 5
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 4

Beverley, Cockerton, Peterborough (Aug 2 - 4)

All 3 books - 3
Findlay Macbeth - 10
Prince Of Denmark Street - 4
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 3
Tales From The Bible - 1

Henley school (July 18)

All 3 books - 2

LFCC (July 7 - 9)

All 3 books - 7
Findlay Macbeth - 3
Colouring books (various) - 3
Prince Of Denmark Street - 7
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 9
Tales From The Bible - 2
Scottish Falsetto Socks Superheroes - 11
Tales Of Nambygate - 1

Macc Pow (July 1)

Findlay Macbeth - 4
Colouring books (various) - 3
Prince Of Denmark Street - 2
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 1
Scottish Falsetto Socks Superheroes - 3

Braintree Essex Book Fest (June 25)

All 3 books - 3
Findlay Macbeth - 1

Ludlow Fringe (June 18)

Findlay Macbeth - 1
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 3

Clevedon Lit Fest (June 10)

All 3 books - 3
Findlay Macbeth - 2
Colouring books (various) - 6
Prince Of Denmark Street - 3
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 1

April/May sales 

Findlay Macbeth - 1
Midsummer Night's Dream Team - 1

Saturday, 2 September 2023

Book sales September, starting with Bedford

(Me at NICE con Bedford, having prepared so diligently that I ended up forgetting the point-of-sale stands for my three main books. Turns out maybe those don't make so much difference as I thought.)

September's live book sales got off to a very good start with my debut appearance at the NICE comic con in Bedford. On the first day I took a remarkable £545.

Part of this was, like with July's LFCC, selling artwork. Two pages of Dr Strange went for a combined and bartered price of £260, plus a Gary Frank pencilled page went for £300, but the buyer has so far only paid a £50 deposit (I know, unnecessarily complicated). 

This still means that, art sales aside, I sold £235 worth of books. (A one-day total that compares very favourably to July's total live book sales of £460, the biggest single day of which was £176 at LFCC, and June's total of £304, the biggest single day of which was £145 at Clevedon.)

Sunday continued the trend, with me taking £403, of which £118 was book sales (plus a page of Dr Who Comic Assassins for £75, a page of Red Dwarf Androids for £60, and a page of Dr Strange for £150)

The success of these book sales was down to me grabbing passers by, especially families with kids, and caricaturing them, thus attracting them to my table to look at my books which then, of course, sell themselves. Credit has to go to Jeff Chahal, the organiser of NICE (which stands for Northampton International Comics Expo, by the way), for attracting the right sort of punters, including browsing families and kids for me as well as art buyers who'd actually put their hands in their pockets.

Sept 9th St Ives - Sales after my two classes = £101.93

Sept 16th Kettering - Sales after two classes = £119.91

And what sells best out of my books? See my itemised list, and the totals for the year here.

September book sales at live events (up to Kettering) = £626.77
August's book sales at live events (classes) = £565.49
July's book sales at live events (excluding original art) = £460 
June's book sales at live events = £304.50

My Books and where to get them:

Findlay Macbeth - Amazon  - Etsy 
Prince Of Denmark Street - Amazon - Etsy 
Midsummer Nights Dream Team  - Amazon Etsy 
Shakespeare Omnibus Collection (all 3 books) - Amazon

Richard The Third Kickstarter 

Tales From The Bible - Amazon -  Etsy 
The Book Of Esther - Lulu  - Amazon 
Captain Clevedon - Amazon
Tales Of Nambygate - Amazon

Friday, 1 September 2023

Drawing Richard The Third - worksheet

Today I have mostly been drawing Richard The Third chatting up Lady Anne Neville over the corpse of her late husband. And so began the first day of finally getting round to drawing the new graphic novel in earnest, after a month of schools and other stuff keeping me way too busy to get on with it. Work in progress looks like this:

July 2nd - had the idea at Macc-Pow.
By July 12th - by the time of LFCC I'd scripted the first ten pages and drawn the cover.
By July 17th - Pages 1 - 13 drawn, and announcement of book made.
July 18th - Pages 14 - 16 drawn, then a long wait before any more gets done.

August 18th - Rest of book scripted in two days.
August 23rd - Pages 17 & 18 drawn, in AirBnB flat in Derby

Aug 29 - Pages 19 - 27 (9 pages) drawn.
Aug 30 - Pages 28  - 32 (5 pages)
Aug 31 - Pages 33 - 41 (9 pages)
Sept 1 - Pages 42 - 47 (6 pages)
Sept 3 - Pages 48 - 50 (2.5 pages, one to ink - done in my hotel room in Bedford)
Sept 4 - Pages 51 - 60 (10.5 pages)
Sept 5 - Pages 61 - 69 (9 pages)
Sept 6 - Pages 70 - 76 (7 pages)
Sept 7 - Pages 77 - 87 (11 pages)
Sept 11 - Pages 88 - 97 (10 pages)
Sept 12 - Pages 98, 99 + 10 Chapter headings (12 pages)
Sept 13 - New page 36, pages 110 - 119 (11 pages + drastic renumbering)
Sept 14 - Pages 120 - 125 (6 pages)
Sept 15 - Pages 126 - 130 (5 pages) - BOOK FINISHED (almost)

I still have the sponsors faces to draw and insert in the Battle pages, and then there's the colouring/grey pages to make. But, by golly, getting the whole story drawn in principle is a very satisfying feeling from the end of a Friday afternoon.

Mon Sept 18 - Sponsors inserted into Battle scenes. Colouring begins.

Sept 18 - 20 - Colouring all 130 pages, then converting back to greyscale. So we end up with part-coloured pages with the main characters in line. So we can print a black and white book now, and possibly a colour version in the future.

My Books and where to get them:

Findlay Macbeth - Amazon  - Etsy 
Prince Of Denmark Street - Amazon - Etsy 
Midsummer Nights Dream Team  - Amazon Etsy 
Shakespeare Omnibus Collection (all 3 books) - Amazon

Richard The Third Kickstarter 

Tales From The Bible - Amazon -  Etsy 
The Book Of Esther (new pocketbook sized) - Lulu £8.50 - Amazon £9.96
Captain Clevedon - Amazon
Tales Of Nambygate - Amazon

Book sales August - classes win, everything else meh

Here's me looking good on the screen outside Strule Arts in Omagh, during my 6 day run at arts centres in Northern Ireland this August. This, and my other summer art classes, were by far the best way I found of selling comics this month, probably even this year. There were parents in the back of the classes watching. Something which, previously, I've found a bit of a distraction. Now, armed with books and a point of sale display, they are punters. 

Notwithstanding the fact that I could only take a limited number of books to NI and had sold out by halfway through the week, lets have a look at what a part they played in August's book sales. (Through iZettle, cash sales were occasional but few).

2 Aug, Beverley Library - £47.92
3 Aug, Cockerton Library - £124.85
4 Aug, Cresset Theatre, Peterborough - £32.97
7 Aug, Ards Arts, Newtonards - £56.98
8 Aug, Strule Arts, Omagh - £62.92
9 Aug, Ardhowen, Enniskillen - £11.98 (running out of stock by now)
10 Aug, MAC Belfast - £11.98 (stock very nearly gone)
11 Aug, Roe Valley, Limavady - £5.99 (final book sold)
(for 12 Aug in Larne, and for the previous few days, I've been encouraging parents to scan the QR code and go to the website for the books. Whether anyone did we shall see below from Lulu sales).
21 Aug, Clifton & Dales libraries, Notts - £83.96
22 Aug, Wollaton library, Notts - £125.94

Total book sales after classes in August = £565.49

July's book sales at live events (excluding original art sold at LFCC) came to £460. 
June's total was £304.50.

Which books sell best? See the itemised list and breakdown of 2023 here.

Etsy sales have been low in August. £13.98. My lowest sales since Feb 2022.
(July £48.93, June £55.92, May £58.05, Apr £171.05, Mar £80.86, Feb £44.50, Jan £82.86)

Lulu/Amazon sales - £33.34 (not revealed till Sept 16th)
Aug £27.60, July £29.94, June £48.33, May £52.26, April £8.56, March £38.57, Feb £35.25, & Jan £26.84

MNDT - 2 (US - one registers £0) 4 (UK - two register £0) *
Dr Who Col - 1 (CA) 4 (UK)
Tales From Bible - 1 (US) 4 (UK)
Shakespeare Omnibus - 1 (US) 2 (UK)
80s Superstars Colouring - 2 (US) 1 (UK)
Eurovision Best Of - 3 (UK)
Eurovision Vol 2 - 2 (UK)
60s Pop - 2 (US)
PODS - 1 (US) 1 (UK)
Captain Clevedon - 1 (UK)
Bowie Col - 1 (UK)
Tales Of Nambygate - 1 (UK)

* I have noticed, and tweeted about, my books appearing at far-too-low prices on Amazon. MNDT appeared for £4.30 rather than the usual advertised £10, so I assume these are the copies that generate me no income.

Blurb sales - £0
(July £1.17, June £0, May £0.74, Apr £9.12, Mar £3.13, Feb £3.21, Jan 12p)

D2D sales - $4.23
(July $7.39, June $6.03, May $1.86, April $1.52, March $2.46, Feb $0, Jan $4.10)

My Books and where to get them:

Findlay Macbeth - Amazon  - Etsy 
Prince Of Denmark Street - Amazon - Etsy 
Midsummer Nights Dream Team  - Amazon Etsy 
Shakespeare Omnibus Collection (all 3 books) - Amazon

Richard The Third Kickstarter 

Tales From The Bible - Amazon -  Etsy 
The Book Of Esther (new pocketbook sized) - Lulu £8.50 - Amazon £9.96
Captain Clevedon - Amazon
Tales Of Nambygate - Amazon

Saturday, 26 August 2023

Oh, and I bought a car - August notes


Something I didn't post about on Facebook was that we bought a car last week. For a couple of months now, I've been worried about the state of the car (which, my diary recalls, I bought back in 2017). It's been needing topped up with oil on a far too regular basis, and the brakes were shuddering whenever I slowed down. Oh, and it had over 150,000 miles on the clock. Given that, in 2020, we managed a year without driving anywhere at all, that's a pretty impressive 25,000 miles a year. As I took it in for its service on Wednesday I feared the worst.

Ironically, the car's last journey of any note was the previous day's trip to Coleford taking me to a Driver Awareness Course, which I was doing following a "56 in a 50" speeding fine. One ticket in 150,000 miles isn't bad, wouldn't you say? Sadly I just acquired a second one when I was going to a school in Beverley a week earlier.

The garage (Stellantis at Cribbs Causeway, formerly Robins & Day) took one look under the bonnet, charged me a few hundred quid for it, and explained how much work needed doing. It was, as has happened so many times before, new car time. So I looked round the used car lot, made a few phone calls to Hev, then began the process of buying the new car. Unfortunately, because of taking out the mortgage on the new house last year, I can't pay for the car on financing, so had to find the £11,063 (after measly trade-in on the old wreck) from savings and credit cards. Better keep myself busy to get it paid off, then, hadn't I? It's a lovely 2019 car, with a sunroof and a few more mod cons than the last, inc reversing camera, and the sensation of being able to brake without shuddering is still taking some getting used to.


July 31: Sad to lose Paul (Pee Wee Herman) Reubens.

My abiding memory: we went to the USA for the first time in 1991, with high hopes of seeing Pee Wee’s TV show, about which we’d read so much.
The day we arrived, the headline was his arrest. The show got cancelled that very day!
A news vendor on Times Square was calling out “Pee Wee plays with his pee pee!” as he sold the papers.


Hotel owners (or whoever enforced the safety regulations on them): What is the point of this light?
I’ve been kept awake by a green security light in my hotel room. No way of blocking it or turning it off.
I can see the reasons for it in some places, eg the corridor. But this is a ten foot square single room, on the ground floor. In case of emergency, if I stick my foot out one side of the bed I can almost touch the door, and if I stick my arm out the other side I can reach the window, which opens wide enough to jump out.
Just who is this light helping? And how?
Yes, you can look forward to this review appearing on Booking.com later.

Aug 5: Georgie Grier cries in Tik Tok and sells out her Edinburgh show.

A heartwarming story, which every Fringe performer gets. I mean, a bit galling for the hundred other acts who are going “er, we only had two people in, too. I was in tears, too. I was just too upset to pick up my damn phone.” But a nice happy ending
Thinks: Will an old man crying to camera make the Kickstarter campaign for my new book go viral? NB: would have to pretend it’s not going well.

Am I the only person whose Facebook today is full of the gnashing of teeth from acts who had less than two in their audience this week, but didn't manage to go viral with it?
A friend just bemoaned that he's not a "hot, crying actress", which to be fair he isn't. (Though it seems a fault in the new app is to blame for his, and others, poor turnouts).


Guardians Of The Galaxy 3

At last, a good Marvel film!
We greatly enjoyed Guardians 3 last night. The first Marvel movie I’ve completed this year, having bailed on a Thor, a Wakanda, and an Ant Man, all of which fell short of my expectations. Guardians was just quality throughout.
Almost a textbook Disney tearjerker, with touches of Bambi and Dumbo, as well as doing what Marvel used to do well. Very good comedy, well constructed drama, great design, not relying too much on CGI, just using it well.
It had the best qualities of sitcom, and the best quality of unpretentious fun comic books. A testament to the fact that some of the best movies are made from the least good source material. (I confess I’ve never read a modern Guardians comic, I only remember them from the days when the title was a byword for “comic most likely to keep getting cancelled”.)


Aug 8: Fellow hack artists: seeing this random ad for a random product (I can’t even work out what it does) begged the question; How often have you been asked to draw a superhero for an advert?
It is the most basic generic fallback and I’ve been asked over the years to draw superheroes (usually Captain Name Of Product) for an email protection programme, for some sort of sales campaign that even I can’t remember the product, for a disability charity, and for dozens of company Christmas cards.
Second to this has been “doing a Roy Lichtenstein” which I’ve done for a phone company and someone else, lost in the mists.
What similar derivative hack ads have you been paid for? Fess up.


Aug 8: News story says that George Bernard Shaw threatened legal action against Superman, in the 1940s.

Yeah, George Bernard Shaw was like this when I launched my superhero who was half Pig and half Melon.
He was called Pig- well, you can see where that was going.


Aug 10: Anyone else ever got caught out by this JustPark parking app? (Prepare for me embarrassing myself here).
So I park in Newtownards, wanting to park for 7 hours. I park, and this wheel starts spinning round on the phone screen. I just want to type in "7 hours parking" and pay for it, but it keeps scrolling round, without explaining what it's doing. Looking closely I think I've worked it out, have you?
I work out that the screen is scrolling round by one second for every minute. So I wait until the screen shows 7:00, slide the button across, and pay for my 7 hours parking. It is a surprisingly reasonable 68p.
After my day of classes, I get to my hire car to find a parking ticket on the window. You, dear reader, have probably already spotted my error. But I, in the haste and flurry of rush hour early morning parking, certainly hadn't. This Just Park app wants you not to book your allotted time in advance, but instead it wants you to keep the app open, and running, in the phone in your pocket for the whole rest of the day. It then wants you to, when you return to your car, slide the button over. Then, and only then, telling them the length of time you wanted to park and then, and only then, paying for the parking. So instead of paying for 7 hours parking, I had paid for 7 minutes worth.
I now know.
Am I the only one?


Aug 12: Sad to hear about the death of Peter Vaughan Clarke, out of The Tomorrow People.
Fifty years ago I don't mind admitting that he was probably the first male actor that I had a bit of a thing for.
And when Blur appeared 15 years later, it was ages before I figured out that Peter (or rather Stephen out of the Tomorrow People, which was the only name we knew him by) was who Damon reminded me of.

Aug 13: Welcome to the future. I just got served breakfast by a robot. Literal not metaphorical.


Aug 14: Re Dexys Midnight Runner's Geno

“This man was my pharma, my dexys, my high”
It’s only taken me 43 to realise what that line is! I always wondered why he was singing about farmers!
This man (Geno Washington, who he’s watching in a club in 1968) was his pharmaceuticals, his Dexedrine (after which the band is named), his high.
What lyrics have you taken half a century to understand?
Update: Oh great, I now look up the lyrics and find it says “bombers” not “pharma”. Thank god I wasted half an hour and not 43 years under that delusion.

Apparently I ran a kids cartoon competition, in collaboration with the local paper, to publicise my Captain Clevedon comic in 1994.
I had no memory of this.
The things you find in envelopes in your studio.


Aug 15: Anyone outside the Edinburgh bubble might care to get up to speed on our latest cause celebre. Last week it was a woman who cried on TikTok cos she'd only sold two tickets, this week we're piling in on a kid who's done fly-posting on top of someone else's poster.
In short, if you're not in Edinburgh, you can be reassured that everything is going on exactly as it always does. And next week we'll announce the winner of the Pleasance Comedy Awards. It's what we do.


Aug 16: Mission Impossible and Indiana Jones struggle at box office.

Every story like this, about struggling movies, hammers home that we’re going through another big shift. And of course we’ve seen it before, and everyone predicted what would happen next and got it wrong.
I grew up being told how movies used to be big until TV came along in the 50s, worse through the 60s, then by the time I came along in the 70s they were all closing and becoming bingo halls. Apart from blockbusters like The Towering Inferno and Earthquake, and a Bond film every two years, movies were a legacy business, TV was the future.
Home video was going to be the final nail in the coffin. I remember that palpable feeling in the early 80s, and the news that cinema attendances hit an all time low in 1984.
Then, of course, we were proved wrong and VHS turned out to be the saviour of the movies. And, to all intents and purposes, through DVD and into the streaming era, the business stayed strong.
Now a mix of the pandemic and every broadcaster becoming a streaming service has broken the system again. Just like TV in the 50s, we’ve learned we can get for free all the stuff we used to pay for. Last time it took 30 years for the decline to end. Who knows what’ll happen this time?


August 17: Henpocalypse

Well that was rubbish. Does anyone remember a show I used to run called The Sitcom Trials? We’d showcase new sitcom writing with the audience voting for their favourites.
This script (Henpocalypse, which started on BBC2 and iPlayer this week) is typical of the poorer scripts we would get (in fact I wouldn’t be surprised to find this was one of our many rejects) replete with all their faults: Interchangeable characters with no discernible differences, doing lots of telling not showing, with inexplicable plot devices, incomprehensible passages of time , gratuitous sophomoric gross out language, and worst of all no actual comedy.
The most puzzling thing is the good reviews I keep seeing for it, including the one below. If you want to see similar subject matter done properly, I recommend Zomboat (as seen in my Top Ten favourite TV shows of 2019: http://kevfcomicart.blogspot.com/.../my-top-tv-shows-of...) Quite why both shows are set in Birmingham I don’t know, something about that town just makes you think of the end of the world I guess.
Avoid. (Henpocalypse that is. Seek out Zomboat if you can).


Aug 19: Who else is loving Traitors Australia? We’re on ep 10 out of 12 so no spoilers.
But after the disappointment of Traitors USA, this is a joy. I think we’re finding it even more gripping and fun than the original UK series.
The US series’ big fault, apart from using the same games as the UK series, was its casting. The US didn’t use ‘real’ people so much, filling their show instead with people who were famous from other reality shows. So they were already insincere and unloveable, and it was really hard to care. Also Alan Cumming came across as stagey and unengaging compared to the UK’s Claudia.
Australia has a cast of not only all real people but people well chosen, with backgrounds in law, journalism, ordinary jobs and even a - genius move - psychic.
If you’ve not watched it, I highly recommend.
The Traitors Australia - BBC iPlayer


Aug 20: An interesting article (really just a book review) begs the question: whose art do you still want to enjoy, despite what they’ve done? My top ten would be:
Woody Allen (the early funny stuff)
Rock & Roll part 2 by Gary Glitter
The typography on London Underground (by Eric Gill)
Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner
The Cosby Show
Phil Spector’s Christmas Album
Everything by Hitchcock
Most of Michael Jackson’s work, especially Thriller
Top of The Popses presented by DLT and Jimmy Savile
Everyone’s Gone To The Moon by Jonathan King
I can take or leave Roman Polanski and Miles Davis, and you can keep Gaugin.
Can you still enjoy the work of villains, or must they be put away forever?

My Books and where to get them:

Findlay Macbeth - Amazon  - Etsy 
Prince Of Denmark Street - Amazon - Etsy 
Midsummer Nights Dream Team  - Amazon Etsy 
Shakespeare Omnibus Collection (all 3 books) - Amazon

Richard The Third Kickstarter 

Tales From The Bible - Amazon -  Etsy 
The Book Of Esther (new pocketbook sized) - Lulu £8.50 - Amazon £9.96
Captain Clevedon - Amazon
Tales Of Nambygate - Amazon

Richard The Third - Kickstarter runs until August 31st. Join The Battle Of Bosworth!

Friday, 25 August 2023

Seibmoz and other nonsense - more comics by kids

It's been the busiest summer for Comic Art Masterclasses that I think I've ever done. Missing the Edinburgh Fringe as we are (and we are missing it!) means that I've been able to so summer school and holiday classes that I wouldn't be able to otherwise. So August has seen 13 days of classes, two groups a day, these being the last four days of the month: two days at libraries in Nottingham, and two days at a school in Derby.

Clifton library in the morning and Dales library in the afternoon were the start of my two day sojourn to Nottingham. And, as well as delivering my usual sterling sellout classes, I took advantage of the parents at the back of the room by selling them books afterwards. £84 quids worth of books sold in a day, a nice bonus.

Day 2 in Nottingham saw me doing two classes at Clifton library, with two sellout classes, two more fun comics (which I've enjoyed having time to colour in my hotel room in the evening). And, bonus upon bonus, I flogged £126 worth of books after the classes. I'm going to miss classes with parents at the back of room.

Case in point, my two days at St Benedicts school in Derby were a return to working with classrooms full of kids, no parents around so no books to be flogged. The kids were great, a bunch of the incoming Year 7s getting a taste of the school in advance. And coming up with the some of the best comic titles.

The celebrities these eight groups chose to star in my demonstration strip were Billie Eilish, Gordon Ramsey, Harry Potter, Taylor Swift (twice), LeBron James, Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson, and Jenna Ortega.  

My Books and where to get them:

Findlay Macbeth - Amazon  - Etsy 
Prince Of Denmark Street - Amazon - Etsy 
Midsummer Nights Dream Team  - Amazon Etsy 
Shakespeare Omnibus Collection (all 3 books) - Amazon

Richard The Third Kickstarter 

Tales From The Bible - Amazon -  Etsy 
The Book Of Esther (new pocketbook sized) - Lulu £8.50 - Amazon £9.96
Captain Clevedon - Amazon
Tales Of Nambygate - Amazon

Richard The Third - Kickstarter runs until August 31st. Join The Battle Of Bosworth!

Saturday, 19 August 2023

Richard The Third work in progress

It might not look like much, but here's the first glimpse of The Battle Of Bosworth as shared with members of the mailing list and my Kickstarter supporters. Soon the ranks should be filled with the faces of various sponsors, who'll get the chance to stab or be stabbed on the field of battle. Should be fun.

Meanwhile yesterday, on Friday 18th August, I finished writing the book. Hooray. I'm not sharing this information too widely cos, frankly, you'd have expected me to finish writing it before I started the Kickstarter, but that's the way it's worked this time round. In fact I got most of the writing done over just a a two day period this week. Getting your head down and getting stuck into the task is really what it takes. Oh yes, and then drawing the damn thing, which is what takes all the time.

Looking back at my previous works-in-progress, I see that Findlay Macbeth took me nine days to write, 5 days to lay out the pages, then a month to draw all 120 pages.

Prince Of Denmark Street scripted in five days, 7 days to lay out, and approx a month to draw (not accurately recorded in the blog I'm afraid). The Midsummer Night's Dream Team was another nine days to write, 6 days to lay out, and approx a month to draw (a bit more spread out, MNDT took from June 5th's Treatment to Oct 1st book assembled).

The initial three graphic novels had an interesting production background, of course. Findlay Macbeth was begun at the end of 2019, and drawn through the quiet work months of January; PODS was at the start of lockdown, with nothing to distract me, so completed in the shortest time; and MNDT coincided with my growing schedule of Zoom classes and Socks shows, as lockdown continued.

Richard The Third was conceived as a notion during the Macc Pow comic festival on July 1st and by the following weekend I'd scripted and drawn the first 10 pages. I then wrote the first chapter and drew 16 complete pages, and rather excitedly launched the Kickstarter. For the very first time I was running a Kickstarter for a book I hadn't even finished writing. But I knew what I wanted to write. But I suddenly got a bit busy. 

July saw a busy schedule of classes and comic festivals, including a few nights away, followed by the busiest August which will see me having done 13 days of schools, including lots of nights away including a week in Northern Ireland, all of which served to delay me getting down to actual writing, but doing a lot of mulling. And video watching - I watched Ian McKellen's Richard III in my hotel room at Belfast Airport, and have gone through innumerable performances, a good few study notes, and lots of research reading.

I have to confess the hardest part of the revision for Richard The Third is working out who the hell everyone is. Did quite so many Royal people have to be called Edward and Richard? So when Richard kills Edward, then later kills another Edward, and is reminded he's earlier killed another Richard - and his brother Clarence is also called George - well, it gets a bit much. You can see why so many productions amalgamate characters or do away with them entirely. If only Shakespeare had used the "some characters have been invented for dramatic purposes" get out of jail card, he's have saved us a lot of extraneous characters.

For my part, I've played up the role of Buckingham - Jim Broadbent in the Ian McKellen version - in a way that I think gives us a nice relationship to develop through the course of the story, not leaving Richard quite so isolated as he'd otherwise be.

It's been a treat for me to get a Shakespeare play back in my head, and reminded me how pleased I was with my previous books. It was selling them at comic and book festivals that really encouraged me to get back into writing them again. If Richard The Third gets any positive response, I really hope I'll have the impetus to finally get round to finishing Twelfth Thing (which exists as rough notes and plot, written back at the end of 2020, derailed by the end of lockdown) and maybe even get started on The Merchants Of Leicester.

One thing at a time. Richard The Third artwork resumes very soon. 16 pages drawn, 100-and-a-bit (not sure of total length yet) still to go.

Update: Took pages with me on my 4 days away in Nottingham and Derby and, on the Wednesday night, got two pages drawn! Result.

Richard The Third - Kickstarter runs until August 31st. Join The Battle Of Bosworth!
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