Friday, December 16, 2011

Sorry, been ill

May be a repeat of the 2009 stuff. Yucky, but back soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Of Death and Music

So I'll be posting some drawings soon. I'm writing a story about a DJ in Edinburgh, in the 1970s, which has some actual people in it and some fictional ones, and lots of real places- and its skeleton is the legend of Orpheus.

The legend of Orpheus is well-known. In Greek mythology, Orpheus was a troubadour from Thrace. He charmed even the animals. His songs diverted his attention from his wife Eurydice. Death took her away from him. He descended to the netherworld, and used his charm to win permission to return with Eurydice to the world of the living on the condition that he never look at her. But he looked at her-

- Do you know who I am?
- I do. - Say it.
- My death.
From now on you will serve me.
I will serve you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Up to Speed - stoopid Rod

Lummy; it never occurred to me (until now) to post something. Here's what's happening; I've drawn some of a story set in the 1970s disco scene in Edinburgh. I've drawn Flash Harry and Roxy Callaghan, and the beginning of the story, which features some pubs and many of the clubs; but I can't post any drawings because I've packed them away for safe-keeping...I know; dumb!

I'll fix this as son as I can, because I'm away for anther 5 weeks and I can't go that long without doing the work. I've kind of decided to start work on another section of the story, and I'd really like to post the work in progress; not least because it lets me see if it's working out; but I have no tools with me at all. Not even the wacom. I honestly deserve a good slap.

The only thing that is making it all worthwhile is watching my minging wife slob around complaining about me leaving her clothes behind. If I didn't have her to look at, with birds in her hair and her baggy tramp clothing I wouldn't be having any fun at all.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Be Very Careful What you Publish Online

That's a given; right? I mean we all looked over the twitpic copyright announcement where they seemed to be claiming the rights to the "photos" (including artwork), posted onto their site.

And we are all aware that despite insisting that their own online material is copyright protected, newspapers and magazines have published drawings they "found" online claiming they thought the work was "in the public domain".

But there is another area you have to be wary off, that's the area of creative license. Be sure about what rights you are giving away, and be clear in your own mind what rights you are keeping. The reason I bring this up is because publications like the "United Kingdom Comics Creator Introduction..." exist, without you knowing anything about them:

The "Publisher's" Synopsis

Editorial Reviews - United Kingdom Comics Creator Introduction From the Publisher
Purchase includes free access to book updates online and a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Chapters: Colin Macneil, Leah Moore, Arthur Wyatt, Eric Bradbury, Emma Vieceli, Dave Follows, Chris Bunting, Steven Appleby, Charles Peattie, Robin Smith, Mick Anglo, Joe Berger, Robert Nixon, David Law, Lee O'connor, Michael Molcher, Larry, Davy Francis, Scott Goodall, Richard Piers Rayner, Graham Higgins, Rod Mckie, Pete Loveday, Tom Kerr, Tom Frame, Gina Hart, Scott Gray, Hunt Emerson, Daniel Vallely, Tom Gauld, Mike Pearse, Reg Parlett, Simone Lia, Bob Lynch, Phil Hall, Ken H. Harrison, Reg Bunn, Timothy Birdsall, Russell Taylor, Henry Matthew Talintyre, Lawrence Goldsmith, Pete Nash, David Austin, John Dallas, Eric Stephens, Henry Seabright, Kenneth Norman Lilly. Excerpt: Colin MacNeil is a British comics artist, best known for his work on 2000 AD and in particular on Judge Dredd and other stories within his world like Shimura and Devlin Waugh. ... More:

This print-on-demand publication, by US company Books LLC, gathers information from the internet, from sources like Wikipedia, and makes that information available to subscribers:

The Metro actually did a piece on this practise earlier in the year, but it kind of slipped under the wire:

Now there will be some people who think this is okay because it's "exposure". It's not okay. If you didn't intend your information to be harvested in a list, or a book, it shouldn't be. Also, if you post illustrations and these people publish them, particularly in the US, you will technically be in breach of contract if you subsequently sell the "First North American Rights" after that happens.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contradictory Advice

When the advice seems to be contradictory, such as "finish what you start" and "don't get married to an idea", you have every right to wonder if there isn't some other rule-of-thumb that needs to be applied to tiebreak the situation. What I think these seemingly conflicting pieces of advice, both of which you'll find on this blog, mean is "finish working on whatever you are working on at the moment". In other words if you feel you are running out of steam after half a page of a comic idea, try to stretch it to one full page, that's finishing what you started, and it can always go in your portfolio. It is never a waste of time, at the very least the simple exercise of drawing always improves your drawing skills. And if you have sketched up a character and written a little note beside it, try to work it up to a synopsis; I mean who knows, it may be that after that exercise it develops legs again.

As for "not getting married the an idea", that really is just a warning about the nature of the business. You are, after all, in the ideas business, and you need to keep churning out new ideas. Unless the project you are working on is a real labour of love that you will continue to produce for yourself even after picking up a paying gig; put it away in a drawer. Again, you just never know, it might be that 6 months down the line you'll open the drawer, look at that project and it'll look good to you all over again.

So, what about putting these ideas into practise? Well, hat's a wee bit more difficult, especially when you can easily imagine yourself completing everything easily and on time. Well, you have to take stock, I'm afraid, you just have to, there is no avoiding it, even if it means admitting that you are only human. It is also a very valuable exercise because, in case you haven't noticed it is happening, you will soon find out if you have become an obsessive, slightly manic, gibbering wreck; which is, by the way, what you will become if you continue to try to work on everything all at the same time.

One project I have in the drawer at the moment is Mandrake Falls, which I hope that one day Dwight McPherson and I might finish together, along with a colourist (I hope). The plot, Dwight's, is still strong, the title is great, and the thing looks good, think (see below); but it is an idea, I think, that will profit from being in the drawer for maybe 3 months - which, coincidentally, is exactly the size of my backlog; although that may even be an underestimate.

Extracted from Mandrake Falls, copyright Dwight McPherson and Rod McKie, 2011.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sam Klempke, Cartoonist and Time Traveller

I'm drawing a little something after watching Sam Klempke's time lapse movie of his life. The film is a 7 minute digest going right back to the 1970s, and it intrigued me because I don't have any film of me back then; not many of us do, but I can revisit those days through the filter of imperfect memory by drawing a comic strip. Interestingly, Sam never drew caricatures of himself as he saw himself at the end of every year, which might have been nice, but it's a captivating look at the passage of time. Anyway, I've posted Sam's movie here and I'll post the comic in the next blog post.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In the Meantime, Here is the Spite.

I think spite is often overlooked as a reason for doing things. I've decided to learn Gaelic for spite, and I'll probably speak only Gaelic at times to annoy people.

Not really, I actually fancy learning it for a couple of good reasons, and since Easter is almost upon us, and it's Sunday, and I was listening to these things anyway, I thought I'd post a couple of Gaelic Psalms. The language, when lined-out like this, or call and repeated in song, sounds ancient and rooted, and I like that. It sounds, to me, like Native American song, which is always going to seem cool to we fans of old Saturday Matinee cowboy shows who supported the alleged bad guys.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

TV Tornado

TV Tornado (City Magazines Ltd, Edited by Mick Anglo) was a fantastically exciting comic. It was really in tune with all the new and exciting things that interested young readers like me. It combined the newest most exciting TV shows, The Invaders, The Man from Uncle, movie characters, Tarzan, Saturday Morning Matinee shows, Flash Gordon, and comic strips from the newspapers and American comic books, the Phantom, The Lone Ranger, and Magnus Robot Fighter. It was what my small group of friends and I spoke about as we read the comic together on my doorstep, in the playground, and it was the first comic that we knew, just knew, lots of other people must also be reading. It was a comic for our times.

In fact, it was so current that rather than hating it, many parents, like my dad, a big fan of the old Lone Ranger radio and TV shows, and the new Lone Ranger and Tarzan TV shows, and all the brilliant new US sci-fi shows; loved it. Even my non-comic reading friends (of which there were many) liked it because it also featured their TV favourites in comic strip form, the Green Hornet, and Batman and Robin, which in turn turned their attention back to the comic books that spawned those TV shows.

To be honest my dad was such a fan of the Garth and Angus Ogg comic strips, it wasn't difficult to get him to read comics, but for other comic strip-sceptics, young and old, there were partially illustrated popular adventures in TV Tornado, such as The Man from Uncle and The Invaders, that could tease them in.

I've included this advert for a couple of reasons. One is because it's just brilliant. Another is because I had those boots, and I loved them. I never once had any practical use for them, but I thought they were great and it seemed like these were ideal footwear for Scouts.

My two absolute favourites from TV Tornado were The Phantom, and Magnus the Robot Fighter. The Phantom was ubiquitous, it still appeared as a Saturday Matinee serial, it was a regular comic strip, it sometimes had entire issues of Alan Class Comics devoted to it, and now here it was in TVTornado - and it was still hugely exciting.

I loved Magnus. I loved the way it looked. I loved the colour comics from Gold Key (Gold Key comics always had fantastic covers) and I loved the line drawings in TV Tornado. Years later I would discover who drew it, but back then I was really taken with the shapes, the way the panels were filled, and with Magnus's hair.