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1st-Dec-2011 05:03 pm - My Nelson pages!
I went down to London for the launch of NELSON, last friday. I might post pictures of the event soon. Thanks to everyone who came out! I was blown away to have met cool, not-insane people who not only know who I am but are really looking forward to Zygote. This chick I'm seeing says: 'get used to it, you are going to be famous'

I thought I'd show you some of the art from my section of the book. I was far outside of my comfort zone with this, and I feel like I've learned a lot about making comics in the 6 months since then- but all the same, I'm pleased with how parts of it came out.

Here's the first page. My chapter is set in 1989, and I wanted to show that this was a time when people held onto their old things more than they do now- the ancient transistor radio, the Gnasher badge. I remember my sister's 20-something friends still had all their old Beano annuals.

Nel also has a badge that says 'A Good Mate Of Ted' - this is a badge that Ted Chippington, a local comedian my eldest sister dated, would give out. Ted is sort of a cult figure. You can see a short BBC documentary on him here.

I wanted my chapter to be a breather from the previous few, so I took Nel out into the countryside and had her meet a whole bunch of new people. I tried to give every new character I added to the book a backstory. Force, Kerry and Robbie all have a history and a reason to be hanging out. I imagined them to be friends who grew up next to each other, and that Robbie, the youngest, never quite caught up to everyone else mentally or emotionally. They take him along on their adventures right now, but there's the sense that they'll inevitably drift apart.

I have no idea how much of that bled onto the page. I'm gonna suspect that like the farmer's white power t-shirt and missing finger, which I think are covered by a speech balloon on the final page, these will be nuances that got lost in the mix.

I truly wonder how much of what I tried in this thing I managed to pull off. The character dynamics were so clear to me- Kerry's motherly instinct to Nel and Robbie, her platonic relationship to Force, Force's tentative sexual attraction to Nel, Robbie's asexual relationship to everyone- but I guess I just wasn't confident enough of my abilities as a writer for it to truly shine through. I think that day by day, I'm getting better at this stuff.

Finally, here's the cover of the 'zine that Nel hands to The Force at the campfire on the last page. It's based on the 'zine I made when I was 19, the age Nel is in the strip. I didn't want to fall into the trap of turning Nel into an autobiographical stand-in, but since a lot had been made about her liking and making comics in the previous chapters I decided it'd be silly not to run with that.

Yeah, the book is making a lot of waves! I can't deny it feels good to be a part of the thing everyone seems to be talking about right now. We were graphic novel of the month in The Observer, and a few other places. I'm hoping it'll help put Blank Slate on the map, and I'm very proud that the logo I designed is on the spine. If you want to buy it, go here. All proceeds go to Shelter.

Zygote's coming on good, by the way. As far as I know, Walk Don't Run is good to go for January. I'm gonna be starting a web-only series on here shortly, too. I'm liking what I've got for it so far. Stay tuned- I'm @harveyjamestm on twitter, as always.
All right, the producer of NPR's Morning Edition got in touch with me on twitter and asked me to draw their hosts in the vein of my previous drawings. Cue my standard introduction:

As a comic book artist, I listen to a lot of podcasts while I draw. I can’t help but build a mental picture of the radio personalities I listen to, so I’m going to illustrate and examine this process- what did they look like in my head, and how did my perception of them change once I knew what they looked like?

I listened to the show once, and drew five of the hosts. I'd never heard of the show or any of the hosts before, so I sketched them as I was listening. Then, I looked up their photographs on the internet and sketched quick portraits of the real people, as a point of comparison. So: very fast work, based on snap judgements! Let's see what happened.

I'm trying to place the actress the imagined woman on the left looks like. A very distorted Joan Cusack, maybe? Whoever she is, she's far more severe and unapproachable-looking than the real Linda Wertheimer. Linda's voice exudes a professionalism and confidence. I wonder why I made her look like such a bad person?

Self-realisation: I'm probably a secret misogynist.

Steve Inskeep, in reality, is far more... DYNAMIC-looking than the guy I imagined. I'm from Britain. It's a pretty different world! Over here we don't usually get dudes who look like Wall Street traders or car salesmen reading the news, so I guess it's natural that I imagined this guy who looks like a kindly uncle, as comfortable a presence as an old pair of slippers.

Self-realisation: I'm British.

It seems strange, too, that I imagined Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, this beautiful and professional-looking woman to look like a slightly batty community librarian. Where do these character types from? What caused me to socially debase this woman so thoroughly- why did my imagination take away the status and respect she's worked so hard for all her life?

Self-realisation: I'm also a secret racist.

Jeff Brady, then. Something in this man's voice made me imagine him to be a lot younger than he is. That... is perhaps flattering, to a gentleman of advanced years! My mental image of the guy is possibly not so flattering. I'd have to listen to the show again to figure out exactly what it was in Jeff's voice that made me imagine this albino ghoul of man, who one can only imagine holed up in his mother's attic, stalking around at odd hours eating slimy yoghurt from a brass receptacle.

Self-realisation: I need to move out of my mother's attic.

Finally, what happened here? On the right, there's venerable and golden-voiced broadcaster Corey Flintoff- but on the left, what a hunk. But no surprise, this time. Corey Flintoff's voice is masculine.

This man gets laid. This is fact. You could stick a tank of lab rats on top of the speaker and after Corey Flintoff had finished speaking, they'd all be pregnant.

Self-realisation: I wish I was Corey Flintoff.

Hey, if you liked this, I'm @harveyjamestm on twitter. If I drew you, please feel totally free to use my image for whatever you like. Later on!
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