Then I helped Susan at Kirkyard Consulting put together a school activity pack for the Burntisland Primary School, which was fun, and the latest was a flyer for Kirkton Old Churchyard, which is being printed as I type.
Now that things are calming down, I’ve had time to look at my own things again, which inevitably leads me back to this. I’ve been looking at a lot of other people’s comics recently, which made me think I should do something with it, even if it makes me cringe.
So here’s my present for you: I’ll be putting it up over the next few weeks for you to read, here: Hala and the Bogle. Happy Solstice!
Alright, people. I guess I need to tell you about this. I wrote a book! Like, not a real book. A comic. It’s got a story in it. With a beginning and an end, and stuff in the middle. And a couple of goodies and a couple of baddies, and all those sort of things.
This is the main character, Hala. She goes on a sort of adventure. It is impossible to put into words how weird I’m being about actually talking about this.
Several years ago I decided I would never be a comic artist, because I’m no good at coming up with stories. Back during my apprenticeship, a few friends and I did a comic about two rabbits, Zwill + Inge.
(This is one of the later attempts, the beginnings looked much less impressive. I found this recently trying to throw out some of the old crap I have lying around). At the time I liked the idea of keeping this going and making it into something, but the plots were a real struggle.
So eventually, I did other stuff instead. Then last year I surprised myself by spending one morning in bed frantically texting myself the story I had just thought of. At the moment, it looks like this:
I’ve not got a title design yet, partly because I’ve let my crazy ideas run away with me, and partly because other stuff is trying to take over. But eventually, there will be a finished thing and you’ll be able to look at it in all it’s weird-ass glory. I hope you’re excited.
I was going to say, Happy New Year, but I get the feeling that’s how I start all my posts (what with only blogging about once a year…). So I’m shaking it up! Look after yer lums, people, and make sure they reek, for a lang time.
I’m sorta kinda just back from holiday. Not really, it’s been at least two weeks, but that’s what it feels like. I gave this TFF-X anthology away for Christmas. It’s got me in it, an interview of sorts. The pics don’t really work in the paperback, sadly, I’m assuming the kindle version is better. Or just revisit their original home, and take the opportunity to read a lovely story whilst you’re at it.
Some more games have appeared since I last posted, and some have even gone to new homes. Yay!
Approximately 380 years ago, a friend stupidly decided to lend me a copy of this book. Initially I carefully avoided reminding him of that fact, because I didn’t want him to ask for it back. Then I carefully avoided reminding him of that fact because I temporarily misplaced it. Eventually, though, it reappeared and it turned out he was fine with me keeping it for the time being.
I love this book an awful lot. And over the years, I’ve hatched (and dismissed) many plans of recreating some of the games in it. This summer I spent some time thinking about it properly, and folks, hold onto your pants, coz this thing is happening fo’realz.
For quite a while, what held me back was the board. Well, and the playing pieces, but mostly the board. I liked the idea of a nice wooden thing, but frankly, woodworking isn’t my thing. Much as I’d like it to be. Now that I’ve arrived at my grand idea, I can’t work out why felt hadn’t occurred to me earlier.
The first game I completed is a bengali game called Baghbandi. In this two tigers try to kill twenty goats, whilst the goats try to block the tigers from being able to move. I made it as a combined test run and housewarming present, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.
The felt I used is actual real natural coloured wool felt, rather than the synthetic crap I usually use, and the lines are stitched-on embroidery floss. Also, I discovered fairly recently that you can sand and varnish cured fimo (who knew? More importantly, who can be arsed?) (Me, these days, actually), so my goats and tigers are not very goat- or tiger-shaped, but shiny.
I’ve got loads more games earmarked for production. The one I’m currently working on is Hneftafl, a Viking strategy game. It’s quite large and I’ve got superfancy embroidery planned for the edges, so watch this space.
I’m having a lot of fun just arsing about with stuff for this project at the moment. One game requires horses, so I made a somewhat kack-handed attempt at whittling. Also, nettle string! A couple of years ago I already played about with making nettle thread, but kinda failed. But nettle string is easy! It’s quite tough, so it may not work the way I want it to, but it may well make an appearance in the embroidery.
As a proper German, I of course grew up with fairy tales, and I have to say I’m quite taken with all the ‘new’ incarnations they’re appearing in these days.
A few years back now, I was blown away by Neil Gaiman’s Snow Glass Apples (which appears in Smoke and Mirrors). I totally love the Fables series, and, most recently, I’ve started watching Once Upon A Time, which is also quite fun, although I get the impression that whoever came up with this has never seen a spinning wheel (or a bean plant, for that matter) in real life.
Of course I like to pretend that I’m better than other people because I don’t have a TV, but well. Netflix. So as to not completely waste away those hours of my life, I’ve taken to doodling whilst watching crap, at least. (This has in the past led to a teeny tiny portrait of Spike on a note pad which I was quite pleased with, but which is now too smudged to scan, so I try to make sure I keep my actual sketch book nearby these days.)
Fun Fact: That red pencil, incidentally, is a funny shade of red, is pretty old and – *I think* – is supposed to be one of those that don’t show up in photocopies (or whatever happened before photocopying was a thing). But I’m not sure. It was made by Hardtmuth Koh-I-Noor (now Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth), the first company to patent a pencil lead (in 1802. This particular pencil is a wee bit younger than that.) That is all.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the modern propaganda-type arty stuff (technical term) that was used in the former GDR (and other communist countries, no doubt), for general decoration. Might be ‘Ostalgia’, but I just like how positive they mostly are. (Brainwashed? Me?)
So recently I came across a stained glass window I must have seen before but had forgotten about. Unfortunately all the photos I took of it with my phone are crap, so I’m showing you the wee pidgeon it inspired, above, instead.
If you’re wondering what I’m doing all day (as surely you must), I’m working on some maps of the Canongate – something for you to look out for at Doors Open Day this year! Here’s a sneak preview of the Parliament for ya.