BP Bigg Review of 2013

So, here’s another BP tradition that i feel compelled to do for some reason, the annual stock take of everything comic related i’ve been up to (perhaps i should actually do a stock take? nah.). 2013 was quite a year, I got married, twerked with Robin Thicke at the VMAs, killed Margaret Thatcher, won Wimbledon etc etc but you know about all that dear reader, and i sense that you are far more interested in the intricacies of my comic-making biz. Well here goes…

As I started off the year back working for the man, my extra-curricular time was going to be restricted so I had to manage my time and try pick stuff that was actually going to be worthwhile. I also had a wedding to plan (my own) which took up bear time, so for the first few months of the year I concentrated on getting the story for Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure sorted. At this point in time it’s all written and planned and ready to go, I just need a year to draw and colour it, and while i’m happy that it is going to be pretty, pretty good when it’s finished, it’s not exactly the most commercial thing i could be doing with my time at the moment. To those couple of people who like UAEA, don’t worry, it’s not dead and buried, just on the back burner for now and I’ll still be plugging away behind the scenes when i get the chance (ha ha!). Anyway, here’s a sketch from near the end that i’ve not published before…


Around this time where i wasn’t really creating much to show off, i put a few things on Issuu; my super limited edition Banal Pig’s Royal Assortment, the part complete Space Wars Colouring Book, and some old jokes and stories, so why not have a look at them?

I’ve had a steady flow of one-hour commissions throughout the year too, like these: draculacommissionsm
disclaimer- this one (above) took a couple of hours.
I always enjoy doing these, so please feel free to get in touch if you have a particular drawing you’d like to commish.

So my next thing, after getting married in May was a big strip/ poster which i utilised twice, firstly as a strip in OFFLife #5 and then expanded and colour-tweaked for a poster for ELCAF (still available to buy -Ed).
ELCAF was one of only two conventions I did this year, as I vowed to do less small press stuff and thus haven’t had that much to flog, but I enjoyed it and did pretty well- it’s definitely the right size and type of con that i like, and i think it definitely benefits from choosing the exhibitors to make sure the quality is high. It’s also good to have an excuse to go down south and visit my bro Gareth Van Brookes, who had a pretty good year himself with the publication of his first full-length book, The Black Project. I would say it was great even if it wasn’t, but it definitely is, and is a unique and compelling masterwork. Read it today!

Back to the narrative, the next thing on the horizon was a comic for my sister’s wedding, which I was pretty pleased with despite the pretty tight timescale, and it went down a treat (so I say so myself). scollcomicfull

When I got back from that wedding I had a couple of exciting emails waiting for me. The first was from the editor of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, asking if i want to have a go at writing a script for them, so I said yes, and the second one was from Jamie Smart, asking if i wanted to do something for his upcoming Moose Kid Comics project, and i said yes to that too.

So that was the next couple of months sorted, it was interesting to just write a script for someone else to draw, and i’ve enjoyed watching the Turtles cartoon for “research”, it’s got some good gags in there. My first story is going to be in issue 10 apparently, but there’s not much info online that i can find- i think it should be out in February. The Moose Kid Comics thing should be coming out soon, so I won’t say too much about that, but here’s a couple of panels i previewed before:


This is getting a bit long, so I’ll wrap it up. I also did Thought Bubble, my second and last con of the year, taking over from Andy Waugh on the Sunday only, and did better than i did over the whole weekend a couple of years ago. I still don’t really like doing cons over 2 days, and i think there are far too many exhibitors which could be cut down with a bit of curatorial input to make it a bit tighter and less sprawling. Otherwise, all good though, nice to have this as a big event on the calendar.

Into 2014, Ethel Sparrowhawk 3 is on the cards, more of which soon…

Thanks again to all my patrons and to everyone who has visited here, liked me on twitter or tumblr or said something nice. Have a good one yourself.

Illustration and that

Good morning/ afternoon/ evening pig lovers!

I’m pretty busy at the moment working on my secretive current project, which i’m keeping under wraps for now (apart from a few tantalising glimpses via twitter). This is why I’ve not been posting much recently, but rest assured I’ll give you the full rundown when the time is right.

In the meantime, why not take this chance to have a butchers at my illustration site? there’s a big selection of work on there from the last 12 years or summet, including recent and ongoing projects (like Christmas Socks Fox from The A-Z of Rhyming Animals, above). If you like what you see, you can always commission me to create something wonderful, from as little as £20, so feel free to drop me an e-bomb at banalpig@gmail.com if you’d like to use my services.

Johnny Loveheart Sez…

“Why not buy a 1-hour drawing for your loved one in time for Valentine’s Day?”

Good Idea Johnny! Click here, tell me what you want in the next week or so and make the most romantic gesture since Pierre Curie gave Marie Curie a glow-in-the-dark uranium loveheart…


Hello Friends, just a quick update for youse.

After nearly two weeks of messing about with it, I have now completely refurbished the banal pig illustration website, previously the poor relation of the banal pig franchise, now user friendly and attractive with new work added that you may not have seen before…

Secondly, untold congratulations to my partner in crime Gareth Brookes for winning the Myriad Editions First Graphic Novel competition for The Black Project , details here. Gareth is currently in Australia or New Zealand or sutin for the next 6 months so you’re probably better going to gosh or orbital in london if you want one.

Thirdly, don’t forget about my animal portrait business for all your pictures of animal needs.

Fourthly, i’m doing a bit of experimenting with drawing and that, results to follow, but above is something i did recently with gouache and ink. i’m regretting doing it on really thin blue-tinged paper, but never mind… Still not really making anything that looks like a comic at the moment, but when i do, you’d better watch out!

Stevo’s Review of the year 2010

Yes, the customary and traditional review of the year by me of the things that I have done, mostly ignoring cultural and social advances in the rest of the world (apologies in advance for loads of text and no pictures). The year started off disruptedly as we upped sticks from Bristol and moved to Leeds, firstly living with my mum and dad before getting our own place. Because of this I was doing bits and pieces, but not really committing to anything resembling a coherent book. As the weeks went on I was mindful of the fact that the web and mini comix thing was looming in march, and as I always like to put out something new for the big cons, I knocked up an office chair dog minicomic, packaged along with a fridge magnet. This sold about as well as a fart in a sock, and the day itself was disappointing, and this was to be the last web & mini comix thing, which went out on a bit of dull note. I always liked doing it, but I think the setup of having quite a high entrance fee which subsidised an overly expensive anthology was a mistake, especially as there are now a lot more similar events which are free to attend (and the anthologies have always been a bit shit). Anyway, it remains to be seen what will fill the gap around easter which the web and mini occupied for quite a few years.
So where are we now? April and May, again I was doing bits and pieces, a Mr Wobbles strip for tiesplanet.com which would end up in banal pig’s showcase, plus the strip for the comix reader which I was really pleased with and not only ruined the previous untitled cat strip I was doing (because it was similar but a lot better), but it became the basis for 2 pages in bp showcase and the epic tale I will be publishing online as I do it (more of which later…).
I was also trying to dip my toe into illustration work, which hasn’t gone that well so far, (so gizza illustration job) but I was doing drawings that were a bit different to the comic work, so I created an illustration section to display this stuff.
About this time Hugh “Shug” Raine and I did the Bradford Zine Fayre, which was a small event but we did alright, as each person took time to look around each table properly, which just doesn’t happen at bigger events. This cemented this idea with us of putting on a similar comics fair in leeds (also taking onboard the model of the alternative press fair in London) but having a vaguely northern agenda.
So while Me and Hugh were planning the coarser details of the Leeds Alternative Comics Fair, I decided on the format of my next publication, which became banal pig’s showcase. The original idea was to have a bit of prose and full page images mixed with strips, but that was partly because I didn’t have enough strips to fill a comic, but in the end it was quite liberating to start something and just working on it until I had enough stuff to finish it without everything exactly planned out. It was also nice to get back to simple black and white comics with a bit of cross hatching- I did mix it up with a bit of greyscale, but nothing like the scale of Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover, it was really nice to scan something in and have it print-ready almost immediately.
So, into September and it was our big day, the first Leeds Alternative Comics Fair which was great, and ultimately really easy to organise (see the report here). We’re gonna do another one in spring all being well, so we’ll see if it was beginner’s luck or not.
October was Banal Pig Comics’ 5th anniversary, so I decided to do a few competitions to celebrate/ generate a bit of interest/ waste a bit of my money. I was finishing off bp showcase though, so the competitions waited til after Thought Bubble. It’s strange to think I have been doing this for 5 years, and although I’ve come on loads in terms of skill and presentation (so I reckons anyway), I’ve still not made much of an impact in the wide world, or made any money whatsoever. Maybe i shouldn’t think about it in these terms, after all, if I was in it for the money I’d have jacked it in ages ago, but I would like to have a nice hardback, or something tangible outside of the comics niche market to show for my efforts. I can’t believe that people buy a book by the meerkat off an advert (for £10!) but there’s no money for me. Fair play to whoever does that, but I’d like a bit of that pie. I could probably do with a business manager or something, as I still feel like I’m stabbing away randomly to see what works, but don’t know if I’m giving up too early or wasting my time completely in the first place. Who knows how this works? Give me a ring please.
Good job I’m an optimist eh?
I finished off Banal pig’s Showcase at the beginning of November, and I’m pretty pleased with it, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and its good to have something new out after a year. This was ready for Thought Bubble– really enjoyed it this year (last years was a bit ruined by the fact I was recovering from food poisoning), sold well and as usual it was well organised and I had a great time with all of my comics chums.
My 5th anniversary celebrations consisted of three competitions which weren’t as popular as I’d hoped, but it was probably worth marking the occasion (wasn’t it?). Maybe I could do a bit more on the internet, Twitter and that but I cant be arsed and my phone doesn’t do it, life’s too short to be kissing arse just to get more followers I reckon.

Anyway, that’s us about up to date, into 2011 I will be publishing my new untitled cat and untitled ape adventure online as I do it. This’ll be a new thing for me, and I think it’ll be interesting to do a linear narrative in chronological order and have a commentary about my working processes as it goes along, especially as I’m not sure of the ending yet or how many pages it will be or whether its in colour or not. We’ll soon see- I intend to start at the end of January and keep going til its done. Hopefully by the time it’s finished I’ll have a publisher and thousands of followers……………….cough…
Also something that will actually see print is the follow up to the best-selling Manly Boys Annual, Comely Girls, which will be more of the same good stuff from myself and Gareth Van Brookes.

As usual, humble thanks for your ongoing support.
kindest regards and fondest best wishes,
Steve xxx

new illustration section/ nice review

roll up roll up roll up! how’s about this then! if you click the link that says banalpig.com/illustration you will be taken to an as yet fairly barren part of my website where i will be posting drawings and art which are distinguished from the comics side of my work as one off or more arty images. this is an attempt to put together something resembling an illustration portfolio, i’ll let you know how i get on, but maybe bookmark it, why not?.

elsewhere, over on the always excellent forbidden planet blog, there’s a good review of Ethel Sparrowhawk’s Terrible Hangover (quite sick of typing that). if you needed a second opinion before purchasing said comic, consider this it. did i mention i was unemployed?