Sunday, October 24, 2010

BICS...and the world's most expensive Iceberg Lettuce.

Okay friends, here's my little BICS rundown (this section has nothing to do with lettuce). As usual the Birmingham show was very busy indeed, I love the venue and I think Shane and crew do a fine job on the organisation side, this year there were talks I wanted to get to see, but as usual with sketching and everything the Saturday went like wildfire, it was great to meet all the old faces and a whole raft of new ones too---thanks guys, seeing/talking to you all make it all worthwhile.

I normally nip back home at night as I'm only 40 miles away, and it's cheaper to get a couple of trains than fork out for an hotel;) but this time was different, yes I was staying over (courtesy of my good mate Shane Oakley, who had booked his hotel, but couldn't make it) boy, this guy knows how live! It was quite possibly the swankiest hotel I've ever stayed in ---cheers Shane, thanks for that. I met up with the Accent UK chaps,Gary Crutchley, Jason Cobley and a few others, the general concensus was 'let's go a for a chinese'...once in there, it was a set menu lark, cheapest being 20 notes going upto 40! So, there we were with our 20 note was a bit shit to be honest:( I was actually still hungry (as I'd gone through the whole day with nothing, cept a bite on a sausage roll here and there) bearing in mind I'd had about 4 beers---I don't drink normally, so it was a first. Anyhow, not got to the worst bit yet, Steve, the chap next to me at the table asked for a veggie option. Which consisted of Starter: A lettuce leaf, with a bowl of brown rice. Main course was an Iceburg lettuce, taken apart, washed and then placed carefully back together, to resemble... a foo-king lettuce (actually that COULD have been the name I guess). Jeez, by the time we'd finished, we ended up putting 30 each in the bill bowl! Never again.

Anyhow, it was approaching 12 oclock and I'd got a few painted sketches to do, so I decided to retire. The rest went for more beers. I should point out that Shane Chebsey (BICS organiser/Scar publisher) had offered a free meal for guests, but I'd already made plans---bugger. I was a great night of course, except the meal. Got back to the hotel, out with the paints, started sketching away, by the time 2oclock came I'd done four nice ones, but still got more to do...then I felt a bit rum! Best have a lie down I thought, anyhow as soon as I hit the pillow the old stomach started doing a tango, then before I could get to the toilet, up came the beers and bits of rice, and me in the swankiest hotel an' all! quick clean-up and felt loads better--I think it was just the fact I'd gone the whole day without anything to eat that did it. That may have been too much info for you (apologies) but I'm trying to paint a picture here...which is what I went back to doing. Don't worry folks there's no sick anywhere near the sketches;)

Next day, bright and early at the show, I had a chat with Simon Tofield, a really nice chap who was on the table next to me, you will know him from the hilarious 'Simon's Cat' shorts on YouTube. Went to the Charles Vess talk, but couldn't get to the Jonathan Ross TURF talk, turns out it was fully booked anyhow, with a long queue to get in, that's the only problem with these shows, indeed any convention---waiting to get in certain areas, it can't be avoided. This was made more difficult by the fact that I was left on my own, to man Scar's table as well as sketching/talking---big thanks to Owen who offered to step in, then and any time in the future, what a great guy, and I might take you up on that at some point my friend. The other 'must' for me, was to see superstar Bryan Hitch, which I didn't do again, however, in the meantime I was asked for a sketch, and as I started it I noticed the chap I was doing it for had a load of Bryan Hitch's books, I said 'I'd like to see him, but can't get away---he went and got the book, signed to me and gave it me in exchange for the, thanks Yosu:)

All in all a great weekend, as they normally are, it's only at these shows where you can generally get feedback and it helps to boost creativity for weeks to come - thanks everyone. The amount of folk asking for Madam Samurai book 2 was overwhelming. Not long now till ThoughtBubble:)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Well, it's been a while since I got back from Paris Manga, can't believe where the time goes, having said that I've been a bit busy finishing off a short story submission for CLiNT, more pages for book two of Madam Samurai and a few random illos.
Anyhow, Paris, apart from meeting loads of new people, artists, writers and fans alike, the icing on the cake must have been my meal with the Aaltair gang (which consisted of publishers Patrick Chaduc and Guillaume Bresch, Charles Vess, me and Charles' wife Karen----here we are at a very swanky restaurant. Cool.
The show itself was huge, mainly featuring Jap anime/manga stuff (of course) which I think alienated us comics lot a little---Bob Layton, Clint Langley, stacks of european artists, me and Mr Vess, and other were coming and going all weekend, as usual the two days were a sea of faces and names, loads of Springheeled Jack sketches were produced. After a whistle stop tour around Paris I made my way back to the airport, arriving way too early, but better getting to the airport with time to spare I always say.