Christmas Shoppe

Compliments of the season to youse all. Here’s a reminder of the things you can buy from me which are all GOOD PRESENT IDEAS*:

1 – I, YETI PRINTS

Luxury 2-print set of Graphic Short Story Prize nearly-winner:

yetiprint1

2 – COMIC & POSTER MEGABUNDLES

Super cheap comic dealz:

posterbundle1

3 – POSTER PRINTS

Nice drawings to look at, discounts for multiple purchases:

vampview

4- A DRAWING COMMISSION OF YOUR CHOICE

Anything you want (decency laws apply) for £25:

falcornew

Please get your orders in by 17th Dec to ensure Christmas Delivery. Ta!

P.S. MANLY BOYS AND COMELY GIRLS

From Avery Hill:

photo 1

 

 

 

*sorry for yet more advertising.

 

 

 

Stevo’s Bigg Review of 2012

At the end of 2011, I was considering my position as a comic artist and maker after a poor showing at Thought Bubble 2011 and a general creative rut that can happen when things are a bit shit, plus the fact the fact that after all the hard work I was putting in, I was barely breaking even. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

I’m going to take a step back from everything for a bit, not worry about the scene and what other people are doing, and try and recharge my appetite for this lovely genre which still hasn’t seen its potential realised. i’m probably gonna do a bit more drawing for drawing’s sake, maybe a bit of painting (the recent posters are possibly evidence of me cheating on comics a bit) and soak up a bit of proper culture, not just off tweets and blogs”.

Not long after this, I decided to pack in my rubbish office job and see what would happen if I tried to be a full time creative, and with the support of my partner we said we’d give it three months and see what happened.

The break from comics and the freedom to follow my creative whims meant that I was raring to go in January, and luckily I got a couple of jobs doing copywriting which provided some actual money as I tried to work out how to turn my comics and art into a living (I’m still working on it, let me know if you know how it’s done pals!- ed) and I came up with a few ways of trying to monetise my skills, setting up an animal portraits business and advertising a one-hour drawing service for £20, both of which had a bit of uptake without ever coming anywhere near paying the bills.

My other intention was to try and get some illustration work, and to this end I spiced up my illustration site, and also paid a large amount of money to join the AOI, but to this day, I’ve not had any genuine interest from potential commissioners, so that’s a bit shit, but I don’t really know what I could have done any different.

So three months into the experiment, and I was doing alright. I was still in the honeymoon period of having a list of things to try, and the copywriting was more or less paying the bills, leaving me enough time to draw things in the afternoon. LACF4 took place at the end of April, and I wanted to make a new comic (I hadn’t done one since Chris Sandwich in May 2011) but with my new business head on as a freelancer I wanted to make something that was cheap to produce but had a bit of substance to it.
cwhorribleflatlg

This necessity was the mother of Christopher Wren- In Search of Excitement, a comic created from one piece of A3 printed both sides, that I could fold myself without staples. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and how the unfolding of the paper has its role in the telling of the narrative, and the format meant it was possible to have two different endings, another possibility suggested by the unusual format. This went down pretty well, and LACF4 was the best attended and most lucrative of the five Leeds Alternative Comics Fairs that me and Hugh Raine have hosted.

The free time I had allowed me to explore a lot of new ideas, and during these glory days I worked on a number of projects including Banal Pig 5, aka the Banal Pig Apocalypse, where a nuclear explosion throws our pals from the BP universe into chaos, with hilarious consequences (I’m about 12 pages into it currently), The Space Wars Colouring and Activity Book (19 pages complete) Monsters Of the Schwarzwald (just the 2 pages). I also actually finished some things, including this Star Wars painting (which I also turned into a print), stuff for Comical Animal and this animation, which i’m pretty happy with:
eyeghost

So, three months became six months and the honeymoon period was over, slowly but surely the copywriting jobs started to decrease, but I thought I’d use my free time to put together an entry for The Observer/ Jonathan Cape/ Comica Short Story Prize. I’d entered a few half-arsed efforts before, but I basically spent the majority of September to make my entry ‘I Yeti’ as whole-arsed as possible, and I felt I had a decent chance. Pig lovers will know what happened next, a creditable 2nd place, a lot of exposure and by the time it came around a very welcome prize of £250. More than the money though, this piece of recognition has given my freelance year a point, and it’s satisfying to have something to show for my efforts- I was seriously considering jacking the whole fucking thing in if I didn’t get anywhere, as I was getting pretty disillusioned with all my efforts coming to nothing.

The exposure from the competition provided a welcome boost to my coffers, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep me in bread and water, and in December I had to return to exactly the kind of irrelevant and uninspiring office job I had left at the beginning of the year. We also did another LACF, and i printed a very small run of Banal Pig’s Royal Assortment, a collection of recent stuff and although the fair wasn’t the worst, it was pretty disappointing in terms of sales and attendance.

So what have I learned in my year out? Firstly, it’s really fucking hard to get people to pay you to do something that you like, even if you’re (>ahem<) good at it. I’ve also decided to stop making small press comics for the foreseeable future- my experience over the last seven years has been that the small runs of comics I’ve made have taken a long time to sell, and there is such a small profit on each comic that it really doesn’t make sense for me to do it anymore. I was happy to do it for the love in the first few years, but I can’t see a viable business ever evolving from this.

My strategy therefore is to focus my efforts onto a big project, namely a book version of Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure, which I will be working on this year and will hopefully be taken on by a publisher. I will also be looking to put other stuff online for free, as if I’m not making a profit anyway I may as well cut out the middle man. Hopefully, at some point I can go back to freelancing, but I’ll have to do a bit of earning actually money first, and hopefully I’ll find something where the remuneration actually reflects my skills and the effort I put in. Ha ha ha, i wish!  Happy New Year Pig Lovers! xxx

NEWZROUND: Laydeez and LACF5!

Hi Pals
Firstly, I want to say thanks for the great response I’ve had to the ‘I Yeti’ strip, I put a lot of work into it so it’s nice to be recognised, even if my moment in the spotlight is now over. I’ll be selling prints of the I, Yeti strip on here very shortly (UPDATE- now available here), and it will also feature in a new comic, more of which to follow…

So, on with the NEWZ:
This coming Monday the 26th November, I will be one of the speakers at the inaugural meeting of the Leeds branch of Laydeez Do Comics (details here), doing a short talk about my comics and co-organising the Leeds Alternative Comics Fair. So if you’re a comics laydee, please come along.

Speaking of LACF it appears I have been remiss in not posting my poster here, so here it is:

All being well, I will be selling a special, very limited edition comic called ‘Banal Pig’s Royal Assortment’ a full-colour collection of new and recent comics including ‘I, Yeti’, a few one-pagers and the all-new strip ‘Vampire Weekend’:

Well, you get the idea of that, I’ll have to get my cheeks in gear to get it finished though, still got to do a cover and that.
Also, if i’ve got time, I’m gonna attempt some linocut christmas cards for your pleasure.

The last thing in my newsfest is that i’m working on the possibilities of a print version of Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure. I’ve pretty much worked out the main story now, which will be six chapters, but there will be a difference between the webcomic and the book as I’m gonna expand the character’s stories and have a few more sub plots weaving their way into the main plot. Here’s a sketch of some of the characters you can expect to see in coming chapters:

This is as much as you’re getting for now, but I’ll keep you posted as things develop, and keep an eye on the webcomic as I’ll still be posting new pages…

Very lastly, please have a look at Banal Pig vice president Gareth Brookes’ blog which he has updated with much gusto in the last few months, and is packed with tasty nuggets of art, comics and books.

I, Yeti- The Observer/ Jonathan Cape/ Comica Short Story Prize Runner Up

Here’s it is, in full and in high resolution for your viewing pleasure. I’m extremely pleased to have come second, and had a good time at the prize giving ceremony the other night. There’s an interview with the winner Corban Wilkin, and more importantly me in the Guardian here.
Please note that this hasn’t changed me forever, I am still as poor as a church mouse, so if you want to show me some love by buying a comic or print I’d very much appreciate it, and I’m open to commissions of all sorts, please email me at banalpig@gmail.com to discuss your requirements.

p.s. if you enjoyed this, you may like my web comic, Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure which starts here.

Leeds Alternative Comics Fair 5, Christmas Special


It’s been a bit longer than the usual 6 months since the last fair as me and fellow organiser Hugh ‘Shug’ Raine have been a bit distracted with amateur dramatics and pulling out of buying houses amongst other things, but LACF5 is going to take place on the 8th December at the usual venue, A Nation of Shopkeepers. We thought it be a bit different having the fair in the run up to Christmas, and maybe our attendees will be more interested in buying stuff as gifts as well as for themselves, we’ll see, but if it has a similar attendance to last time we’ll be well happy.
I should have some new stuff for it, I will probably make a short comic out of my strip for the Jonathan Cape/Observer Graphic Short Story Prize which I’ve just sent off and I’m very happy with, and I’ve got my vampire story nearly finished which I could easily knock up into a minicomic. I’ll probably also make a print of my ‘Don’t Confront Me‘ picture, and there’s maybe some other things i’ve done recently that would make good poster/prints.
Anyway, It promises to be a goodun so please come down, the facebook group is here, and LACF related tweets are here

NEWZROUND- Olympic Special

I’ve had a bit of a break over the last week from most of my endeavours, but just so everyone’s aware of what’s going on:

Space Wars is about a quarter of the way in, here’s a page with MechaGoliath vs Laser Skeleton. I’m still working out some of the finer points of the presentation though.
Banal Pig 5 is also in progress, with 1 completed page and about 12 in progress, and i’ve got a strong idea of what the finished product will be with this one, the question is whether i’ll ever be able to afford to print it…
I’m also planning on entering the Observer/ Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Competition this time around, so I’m working on something for that but i’m keeping the details of that under wraps to prevent any industrial espionage.
Don’t forget to check out my original comic art for sale, along with star wars and other poster prints and I can draw you a one hour pic for £20.

Lastly, i’ve put my copy of the mega-anthology Kramers Ergot Volume 7 on ebay, it’s now out of print and hard to find- why not have a bid?

(untitled) cat and failure

here’s the first panels from untitled cat meets john duende and the spider bear, originally my entry for the ojcgssc, but (unsurprisingly) as i didnt win, i’m going to use it in the upcoming landscape anthology, hence the reason why you’re getting just a small teaser.