Find Chaffy cartoons!


Hello! It has been a long time. I still haven't found anything which felt as nice to post to/chat on than livejournal. Like other so-called 'artists' i got into the harder stuff like Twitters and Tumblings, and recently I've started to feel i dunno like it's all missing something. So I think I'd like to try doing a bit more on livejournal again, if you'd have me. It'll be like 2005 again, only we've all lost our optimism about the future and our baggy clothes are retro now.

Incidentally, if you haven't followed me on any of those 'other' things, you might not know that I have been super crazy busy and I'll happily fill you in on it all if you're interested. There has been Looshkin news, and other things, which may be relevant to your interests. In the meantime however, could I point you towards these Find Chaffy animations I've been working on with the amazing Birdbox and Mind Candy. There are two out so far, with one more to release next week.



I'm so, so chuffed with these, and here's the thing: I really want to get people seeing them because the more people who look, the more chance we might have to make some more. So if you have any suggestions for how I can get them out there, I'd really really appreciate it (and give you a coquettish glance, if that works as currency).

Otherwise yes, how have you been?

LOOSHKIN in The Phoenix!

TODAY! It's today! Looshkin makes his grand entrance in a 4-page spectacular, only in The Phoenix Please grab a copy (or download it), i've already completed ANOTHER strip for a few weeks time, but if we can get a boost in sales for today then maybe Looshkin can be kinda regular!

I'm talking at the Cartoon Museum + other events!


It has been a long time since I last blogged hasn't it? Sorry. There's been a proper bumload of things to get done, and we moved house in the middle of it all. I now have a lovely studio of my own, where I can eat pudding and drop it on my work all by myself. I'll show you pictures of it sometime, the room, not the pudding.

I'll try and blog more, there really is a load of things to say, pics to show you, and ill-informed opinions to share, i'm just struggling to find the time to put them down. HOWEVER, I am doing some public events over the next few weeks, and if you'd like to come and say hello, that would be really cool I think.

Sunday 21st October - Cartoon Museum, London

Firstly I was beyond honoured to be asked to give a talk at the Cartoon Museum in London on Sunday 21st October. My own talk. Flipping heck. I'll be honest, I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to say, it may just be 5 minutes of spinning around quickly and then 55 minutes of me crashing into chairs. But hopefully it won't be like that. Instead I'll be talking about my work, going through the characters I've drawn and explaining some of the thinking behind them. The details are on the Cartoon Museum website (click 'Events', top-right) but if you can't be bothered to look, this is what it says.

So do come along! It's an all-ages event, so bring your kids, or just act like one. I'm hoping I'll be drawing and y'know all that stuff, but yet to work the details out yet. I WILL, however, be proper nervous. So, y'know.

It's tied into a great exhibition the Cartoon Museum are putting on about The Dandy, showcasing a load of original art from its 75 year history. It sounds really brilliant, and I should have a few pieces in there too, so even if you can't make my talk then do pop along to the exhibition the week after.

Tuesday November 13th - Society Of Authors, London

ALSO, my good friend Sarah McIntyre invited me to be part of a panel for the Society Of Authors, where myself and a handful of great souls will be discussing the future of publishing, particularly comics and cartoons. It's on Tuesday November 13th, in London. You may have noticed I'm a bit opinionated about this, so it should be a great discussion, and what a prestigious place to do it! Sarah has detailed the event far better than I could HERE, and also provided this beautiful little ad for it.

And that's me lot for now. I'm not big on going out in public generally, let alone parading around on a stage trying to impress people, so next year I'm probably not going to leave the house. It's safer for everyone that way.

A New Comic.

Losing the print version of The Dandy, which was announced this week, presents a real hole in the market, and one which may well get wider. What The Dandy did, and did very well, was be silly. Gloriously, ridiculously, silly, a real mixed bag of the absurd. And while we still have The Beano, it always felt like The Dandy was its ever-so-slightly childish younger sibling (despite being older), bounding around, stomping on what few rules The Beano had. Especially since the relaunch, it was making an art out of anarchy.

The support for The Dandy, since we're losing it, has been quite overwhelming. I've lost count of the number of people who've told me they're going to buy one (or more) copies, that it's a tragedy, that they kind of forgot it existed. National media coverage stirred not only a nostalgia, but a real need for that childish surrealism we all took for granted when we were kids, but lose sight of a little bit when we grow up. There was a palpable need to reconnect with it again, and a very real fear of losing it.


Every cartoonist has their own ideas what a comic should be. I think when something this culturally important happens though, it's important we step to one side and take a look at what went wrong, and where we can go from here. Since this is comics we're talking about, there's a great swell of enthusiasm from creators and readers alike to push the art forward, to do SOMETHING to support comics. And while we'd all love to start up our own comics, the very real and very large problems of money, printing, distribution, all stomp those dreams into the ground.

Here's what I think comics can do. These are just my opinions, but I believe them very firmly, and would invite any discussions/ideas on the subject.

I'd like comics to claim back the sense of anarchy. The very deranged ethic of Oink! comic, swerving dangerously all over the place, linking stories in with each other, mashing ideas together, creating whatever seems to work at the time without any fear or caution. At the same time, I'd like us to learn a lot from American models. The Adventure Time comic is a great example, it looks beautiful, it's fun and crazy, and the style is something kids really attach to. Even looking at the world of Marvel, with their range of superheroes, each with their own stories to tell.

And this, I think, is key. Stories. Really strong, well rounded stories, led by really strong characters. Silly, daft, ridiculous characters, but strong in their design. A roster, or a family, a line-up even of instantly identifiable characters, to follow every week and get completely lost in their worlds. If you ever come up with an idea for a cartoon show on TV, do you know how long it takes? Years and years (trust me on this), even just to get through development. And in that time, characters and motivations are really thought about, worked through, tried and dropped. At the end, if you have a TV show that works, it's because of all the love and effort that's gone into it. So how do you get that same love and effort for a comic?

Simple. Creator owned content. 99% of the time, comics and magazines don't allow creator owned content. At all. As a result, if you pitch your idea and it's taken on, you either give away the rights and earn a living, or you don't. And while we in the comics industry all work hard, and love the work we produce, there must be something to be said for working on a character you have very real personal investment in. The work would be better. Even if only in tiny, subtle ways, your character would come through that little bit stronger. In allowing this, a publication would have a happier, more productive workforce, creating better ideas, looking around for other ways to exploit these ideas (perhaps TV), and bringing a share of any potential revenue back to the publication, as a thanks for being the first to host these delirious ideas. That, to me, sounds like a very mutually beneficial arrangement.

Because it's a mistake to think viewing characters as 'properties' is a bad thing, is a sell-out. 'Properties', to me, are the ideas which sparked off because they were good, and found a variety of mediums to explore. New ways to play with the characters. In no way could that be a bad thing, just the same as exposing your idea to as many people as possible can not be viewed as a bad thing. It's like raising a weird, boggly-eyed creature from birth, then setting it free in the woods. You don't know what's going to happen, but hopefully it'll make some people laugh and others shriek and cry.

The emphasis of all this, as I said, would be silly. Gloriously, wonderfully, silly. The kind of stories children would make up themselves. And lets involve them in it, teach them how to draw the characters, put cartooning tutorials online, show their work off in the comic. Make ourselves a community, to reward the readers.

Doing this all online would be the cheapest and easiest way. But if you'll humour me for a second, I'm going to explore print instead.

I love printed comics. I love online comics too, but i tend to flick through them without really paying attention, and they can easily get lost in amongst the competition. With a printed comic, it requires a certain type of concentration, and a certain affection on the part of the reader. A US comicbook size comic. With a beautiful cover every issue, a different character to showcase. It would sell at supermarket checkouts for a cheap price, the perfect impulse buy, there for adults and children alike to flick through, laugh at, and add to the foodshop. We would print sampler issues and include them with newspapers, give them away at underground tube stations just like they do with free papers, something to read on the way home. Give samplers away every month in schools. We would flyer, oh the flyering, and internet campaign our little socks off.

Oh the internet, we would use that too. We could use crowdfunding to raise the money for issue one, the more we make, the more the artists get paid. Every funder above a certain level gets the comic, a goody bag (man i don't care how old you are, 'goody' and 'bag' are still two of the most exciting words in the universe), and a page of original artwork from the comic! A piece of history. Something really special. The website itself, with integrated apps and whatever else you need, featuring extra exclusive content, constantly changing reasons to come back to. A support act for the main event, the comic book.

Is this feasible? It's far from easy. We would need a publisher to take us on, or a sponsor, or a rich benefactor who just wants to see people laughing again. Someone to take charge would be good (hey I'm passionate about this, but time spent organising is time not spent drawing, and i know from experience that can be frustrating). Someone who knows their marketing would be great too. The problem we've heard about existing comics is not the content, people love the content when they get to see it. The problem is getting it under their noses in the first place. One of the reasons the big licensed comics like Simpsons, Moshi Monsters etc sell so many is because they have the almighty weight of hugely successful TV shows/toys behind them. That is something ordinary comics don't have, and they suffer massively for it.

So that's the dream. Character-led comics. Creator owned properties. A mutual love of comics. And above all, the silliest, most gloriously stupid thing you've ever read.


The Dandy to close?

Guardian: UK's Oldest Comic The Dandy faces Closure

Well this doesn’t look so good, no. The Dandy, Britain’s oldest comic clocking in at 75 years, is on the verge of closing.

I’m not going to write about The Dandy’s incredible history or remarkable roster of artists, I’m sure other artists/bloggers will detail that far more succinctly than I could. Instead I’m going to talk about my experience with The Dandy, if you’re interested, and then end with a request of you.

I started working for them back in about 2003/2004, when they were doing a kind of relaunch, and wanted to use My Own Genie, which I’d sent in as a pitch perhaps a year or two earlier. From then on I was drawing My Own Genie every week for a good few years. I then drew a short spell of Space Raoul, did a try out on a strip called Thingummyblob, and then in 2007 did a ‘how-to-draw’ for Desperate Dan. I was pretty nervous, I wondered if it was some sort of trial to see how I drew him, and for such an iconic figure I wanted to get him right. I tried real hard to draw him in the style of those who’d come before me but eventually realised it would work better if I relaxed, and drew him how I wanted him to look. I did, I got the job, and ended up drawing Dan every week for the next five years. Free reign to write and draw what I wanted, which was a great responsibility, and I hope I stepped up to it.

When The Dandy relaunched a couple of years ago, what it did was phenomenal. It had previously tried to go a bit more ‘magaziney’, but now it was turning full circle and defiantly stating no, we are a comic, and we are proud of it. The last two years of The Dandy have been an absolute triumph for British comics, a confident love of sillyness, slapstick and mess. A great wave of ridiculous characters and stories, an unashamed love of all things absurd.

It also ushered in a host of new artists, fresh talent, being given their first break in the industry. It wanted to try new ideas, new things, giving us free reign to be as silly as we wanted. It was a playground.

For my part, I was very keen to be involved in the relaunch. I drew a style bible of sorts, including the header fonts, page borders, and an enormous pile of random pigs, blobs and half-eaten sandwiches to litter around the pages. I drew The Dandy logo on the front of every issue (THAT was an honour, let me tell you), and inside contributed a fair handful of comics. Alongside Desperate Dan, I did Arena Of Awesome, Mega-Lomaniacs, Pre-Skool Prime Minister, My Dad’s A Doofus, a pile of puzzle pages and oh well I forget, I think there were more but I can’t think of them right now.

So, to see this news emerging, it’s pretty crushing. It’s no exaggeration to say The Dandy is a British institution, and a pillar for British comics. It has been essential to our culture. As the artists involved towards what may be its final days, we are INCREDIBLY proud and honoured to work on such a comic, to be given the opportunity to entertain children. We believe we have delivered real quality comics, and that The Dandy has been a shining light in what is a shrinking industry.

So here’s what you can do. Go and buy The Dandy. Go and buy The Dandy every week. Every week until the end they’re forecasting. Grab a copy for your kids, grab a copy for yourself, or hey just grab a copy as a possible collector’s editions if you want. Just buy The Dandy. Chances are many people haven’t seen it since they were kids, so have a look and see what we’ve been doing. See how much heart we’ve been putting in.

Go and buy The Dandy, read it and enjoy it. A little bit of silliness in an otherwise somewhat overwhelming world. A custard-pie-in-the-face back to childhood, away from whatever being an adult is supposed to be. A smile and a laugh. A comic. A great comic.

And maybe, just maybe, we can show everyone involved how important comics still are to, and how much we want The Dandy to stay.

Please go and buy The Dandy.

Whubble returns!

WHUBBLE returns today, and every Wednesday, at least for the next five weeks. That's how many I have in store, although if it goes well maybe I can find a way to keep him going regularly. I always love drawing Whubbles, its just finding the time that's proved difficult lately. But the positive response he gets keeps on bringing me back, it means a lot to know people are enjoying him, thank you!

Fun fact: Whubble's been taken on by two different syndication companies over the years, in following that dream of seeing him in print. Neither came to anything, obvs. It would be lovely to see him in a daily newspaper one day, if you happen to have any contacts, do send them this way. No, I'm not too proud to ask, clearly.

Live Comics Festival!

Hey! So! If you have kids who like drawing comics and want to come hang out with us, come to the Pop Up Festival in London (nearest station Kings Cross) next saturday (30th June). Pop Up is a free festival celebrating stories for children, teenagers and families.

A handful of top UK comics creators (and me) will be hiding in the 'Comics Big Top Of Awesome', where we'll be doing live drawing tutorials, reviewing portfolios, having great big comic battles on stage and playing cartoon consequences. By the end of the day, some of us will be crying, and at least one of us will be in space.

This is all actually happening! I'd write out more details here but to be honest Sarah McIntyre, one of the amazing artists who has hauled this all together, says it all far better than I ever could, so please check out her blog post HERE and then come along! Bring your family!