Eleri Harris at The Nib asked if I’d like to write a short reaction piece to the Brexit result. After taking a week to finish my tennis comic and get some perspective, I produced a short 12 panel piece which you can read here. Huge thanks to Eleri for her help on this. Short preview below:
Needless to say, it’s been a tough fortnight here.
If you didn’t see my piece about the EU Referendum before the results, it can be read here.
I grew up watching Wimbledon and it would always coincide with the start of my summer holidays. I think, largely because of that, I’ve always had a soft spot for the sport. It’s only been the past few years that I’ve really tried to follow the tour throughout the year, but my love for the sport has grown the more I learn about it.
I was recently talking with my friend, and fantastic writer/journalist, Alex Macpherson – who is much more knowledgable than I am about tennis – and we tried to devise a way for us to collaborate on something tennis related.
This piece for Vox is the result. A 29 panel look at tennis in 2016. Vox don’t cover sport so the we tried to reign ourselves in from the more obscure stories and keep the summary as news-focused as possible.
I really hope we get more opportunities to work together on tennis comics as I had so much fun drawing this. I want to draw an entire comic about Serena Williams. And one about all the up and comers. I also hope I can do some tennis illustrations in the future too. Basically, more drawing about tennis!
Here’s a sneak peek at the piece – the whole thing can be read here. Huge thanks to AD Javier Zarracina for all his help on the piece.
Other tennis related things I’ve been enjoying: The collection of David Foster Wallace essays about tennis – String Theory – is a delight, Alex invited me along to the Roehampton Wimbledon Qualifiers a couple of weeks ago – which I didn’t realise was free to attend – and it was brilliant – loads of new faces and exciting stories, I’m currently reading Love Game: A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon which is very interesting, I subscribed to this lovely looking tennis magazine – Racquet, and the Serena documentary on the BBC was great. I’ve also ordered a couple of ESPN 30 For 30 docs – one about Navratilova and Evert’s rivalry, and one about Jimmy Connors. Speaking of 30 For 30 – have you been watching the OJ: Made In America doc? It’s great right? Seek it out if you haven’t!
I was asked by Titan if I’d like to illustrate the September Doctor Who cover. I couldn’t say no to that. It was such a fun commission and I hope I get to try my hand at more in the future.
The solicitations for Titan’s September comics are listed here. I think the order code for this is STL015068.
This is for the finale issue of year two of the Eleventh Doctor – written by Si Spurrier and Rob Williams with art by Simon Fraser.
This comic went live a few days ago on The Nib. I’ve been working on it for a while – trying my hardest to make the forthcoming EU Referendum as accessible and entertaining as possible. It was a huge help working with my editor Eleri Harris who guided me through the process of editing down a potentially sprawling 70-80 panel comic into this relatively succinct 40 panel piece.
You can read the full comic here.
The comic had to to do several things: it needed to communicate the situation to international readers who were not as exposed to the more complex inner workings of UK politics, but it also needed to be useful to those in the UK who were unsure how to vote. I wanted to be as fair and as balanced as possible, presenting the facts and opposing sides clearly – while not being afraid to state my own opinions and disingenuously pretend I didn’t have a bias. I wanted to make sure the comic was honest.
There are all sorts of issues I didn’t cover, and some that I couldn’t spend as much real-estate on as I wanted, but I’m proud of how this came out and hope it’s helpful to people. I hope it provokes deeper dives into some of the issues and concerns it raises and I hope it, at the very least, encourages some more voters to get registered now we have a slightly extended deadline.
If you’re annoyed the comic didn’t discuss a particular issue or skimmed something you think deserved more interrogation, I hope you’ll appreciate that I probably spent days agonising over whether to include it or not, but in the end had to create the EU comic I wanted to see.
Thanks for reading and sharing it if you have already done so.
There are still a few hours left to register to vote if you haven’t yet – the website is here.
And if you want to stay in the EU and want to help out, but don’t know where to start, you could do worse than check out The In Crowd – it has a handy function that helps you find the best way to get involved.
I was honoured to be asked to provide the artwork for the cover and here’s a look at the front:
Find out more about Chrissy and the book here.
Another poem comic that Chrissy Williams and I collaborated on recently.
It’s called When I Write I Use Every Part Of Myself.
If you liked this, Chrissy and I co-edited a book about poetry comics called Over The Line: An Introduction to Poetry Comics – available here.
You can see the rest of our collaborative poetry comics by clicking on the Poem Comics category in the sidebar.
Chrissy also runs the Poetry & Comics Tumblr which is worth a follow.
Here’s a new poem comic that Chrissy Williams and I have been working on recently.
It’s called Wake.
Click to enlarge.
Last year, Chrissy and I co-edited a book about poetry comics (Over The Line: An Introduction to Poetry Comics – available here!) but had, before that, collaborated on a few of our own. It was nice to return to creating poetry comics together and hopefully we’ll be doing lots more in the future!
You can see the rest of our work by clicking on the Poem Comics category in the sidebar.
Chrissy also runs the Poetry & Comics Tumblr which is worth a follow!
I was extremely honoured to be asked to illustrate one of the b-sides to the new volume of Phonogram. It’s a six pager and will technically be the very last Phonogram comic seeing as it’s in the final issue of The Immaterial Girl.
I drove myself a little crazy drawing this as I was nervous about letting the team down and making sure I stepped up to the challenge. Hopefully it goes down well and people enjoy it.
Oddly, the comic is called ‘Modern Love’ and is partly about the (brilliant) Bowie song. This was a comic I drew last summer. I received comp copies of the comic last Monday – the day Bowie died. I feel if I tried to articulate my feelings about Bowie here I could end up doing so for the rest of the day (and still not manage to say anything much that hasn’t already been said better elsewhere), but suffice it to say – I felt more emotional about it than I was prepared for.
Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Clowes, and Chrissy Williams (plus all the other excellent b-side contributors) have been doing exceptional work on Phonogram and I’m sad to see it go – make sure you get the whole 6 issues of The Immaterial Girl.
You should be able to pick up a copy in your local comic store tomorrow (Wednesday 20th Jan). I’m excited about being in a comic which is on the This Week’s Comics shelves.
This year, I’ve been working with Chrissy Williams on editing and designing a book about Poetry Comics with Sidekick Books. It’s called Over The Line and features around 70 pages of all-new Poetry Comics as well as a detailed introduction about the history of the medium. It’s been a really fun and exciting project and we’re extremely proud of the final book.
We were particularly honoured to have Alan Moore give us this quote for the book:
This is that spine-tingling moment when two attractive and sophisticated forms, both admired for their rhythm and sense of timing, eye each other across the cultural dance floor. In Over The Line, at once an insightful introduction and a comprehensive showcase for the emerging phenomenon of Poetry Comics, Chrissy Williams and Tom Humberstone provide the best possible venue for what looks like being a breathtaking tango. I really can’t recommend this venture highly enough, and I’d advise you mark your card immediately.
Here are some photos of the book – with a fancy belly band and lovely cover artwork by one of the interior artists Ioan Morris.
The book launched at Gosh! Comics and the Poetry Cafe in September. The Poetry Cafe currently has an exhibition of the work in the book running until the end of October. Do pop in if you’re nearby – it’s free and is a lovely space to spend time in.
The book is available from Gosh! Comics, Orbital Comics, The Poetry Cafe, and online at Sidekick Books. It should hopefully be getting a wider distribution in more poetry and bookstores soon. Keep an eye on the Sidekicks Books website for more details.
After two and a half years of writing and drawing a weekly (except for holidays and double issues) political cartoon, I’m hanging up my Windsor & Newton and moving on to other projects. There are around 120 cartoons (including things like a Christmas special written by Robin Ince) to go back through and read here if you only caught them now and again.
With the Observations section (In The Frame‘s home) going through a bit of a rejig in the coming months, and with a new editor there, In The Frame had sort of reached a natural end. I’m really thankful to everyone at the NS who helped get the comic started and gave me the opportunity in the first place, and obviously everyone who offered invaluable assistance over the past couple of years. There’s a part of me that would have liked to have lasted five years and hit that 200 mark, but this has been a perfectly respectable run. And my god, I don’t have to wake up to the Today programme out of professional obligation anymore!
I’m excited to move on to other things but I’ll also miss this job a lot. There were weeks when I could have been braver, or smarter, or funnier. And there were other weeks when I felt proud to be working on this weird little thing. It was a tough routine to stick to every week, but I got a huge amount out of the process and I think that’s clear when you compare the first comic to the last.
I won’t be moving away from political comics. My plan is to still produce an In The Frame every now and then – when there’s the right story and I can’t help myself – and host it here on the blog. But I mainly want to use this time to produce some long-form pieces. One of which I’m researching right now with journalist Valeria Costa-Kostritsky. This is a comic I really want to read so I hope we get it off the ground.
In the meantime, I produced a comic about the benefits of the EU at some point last year and I think that should be going online very soon now the referendum is getting close. I’ll also be producing an extra four pages to that comic with some additional context – expect to see that over the next few months.
Beyond comics reportage, I’m trying to scratch my itch for poem comics as well. I’m working on a new comic with Chrissy Williams which is currently just a bit of an experiment – something we’re just doing for fun – but if it ever gets anywhere, I hope to share it here. Chrissy and I are also co-editing a book about poem comics which will be released in September.
And I’ve also been keeping busy with lots of illustration/design/storyboard work which I’ve finally added to my website and on this blog so click on the illustration link to the right if you’re curious about what else I’ve been up to.
Thanks for reading. In gratitude, here’s a never-seen-before In The Frame that was produced earlier in the year…
And if you haven’t already, you can order a collection of In The Frame from my online store here.
Use the offer code FINALE to get 10% off. To celebrate, there’s also an option that allows you to order the original artwork for your favourite ITF (just specify the title – if it’s already sold I can hopefully find a suitable back-up!).