New inputs, new outputs

Over the last month I have made some great progress with Heads! issue 5 and I’m proud to let you all know a third of the art is now complete. Oddly, I find that I’m drawing less under lockdown. I used to pick up  pencil several times a day, even if I was only managing a quick sketch of a fiddle with a panel here and there. At the moment I now tend to have about three evenings when I get round to doing anything, but I have been trying to dedicate solid time to art when I can.

The result is 11 pages of sci-fi mystery madness which will be concluding the current Heads! series. I’ve taken the opportunity (as usual) to try new things with this issue. The most noticeable is that I’m sticking in a ton of cameos from friends in it. As fans will know, Vortex Face associate Parsh is actually based on my brother-in-law, but I have slid a load of mates into this one. Largely, these are people who have helped me create the comic or have been particularly supportive of my work. I don’t do photo-realistic portrait work so these characters are drawn in my style based on real people, but its helped me stretch a little as it makes me follow a specific look that I have not designed, much like a pro artist may have to do when joining a new comic. It’s a challenge to stay within the lines while keeping my personal flare, but its certainly been fun so far.

I’ve managed to read a bit more than usual, so have picked up new books and comics lately. Some of these have been influential, such as The Devils’s Beat by Robert Edric, and others are inspirational, such as seeing new comics from my mates Tony Esmond and Adam Falp (Atomic Hercules) and finally having my mind blown by Fraser Campbell and Iain Laurie’s House of Sweets. If any of these are new to you, I advise you to rectify this!

Taking in new things is definitely encouraging me to try new art and writing styles, and to explore different ways of telling a story. Samuel George London (of Milford Green fame) made me aware of the Studio Binder Story Circle when we both chipped into a Twitter thread on comics writing. This was great for me to see, and is the sort of thing I miss out on usually, as I tend to consider myself more of an illustrator than a writer. It’s something I probably wouldn’t have known to look for, so I was really pleased to have discovered it.

As I move on with the next development on issue 5 of Heads! its going to be really important for me to refer to new things. I have my first big fight scene to draw and a complex reveal to deploy which will tie up many loose ends but cut others looser, so these are writing and drawing challenges I haven’t faced before. If I want to keep people like you as fans of Heads! I’ll need to be at the top of my game – I will endeavour not to let you down!

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