First moment of peace since arriving in the UK some 2 weeks ago if you can believe it. For reasons I'd rather not really get into, the place we were meant to stay at upon arrival could no longer be stayed at, and we had to scramble to find a new place to crash. Not an ideal scenario in general but especially not ideal if you're also expected to quarantine for 10 days.
We found ourselves holed up in a tiny hotel room in High Wycombe, while trying to coordinate all kinds of NHS and test things over the phone. I gotta say, I'm thoroughly impressed by the NHS. They're so meticulous they had an NHS agent show up at our hotel and interrogate the front desk about our quarantine practices!
Also, I now realize that whatever “lockdown” we might've experienced in the U.S. at any point was so not lockdown at all!
Anyway, did our day 5 Test-To-Release thing (which is so worth it), tested negative, and moved to an excellent AirBnB in Acton (West London). Which, whenever I mention to anyone, the response is always “Why Acton?!”.
I don't get it, it's a great neighborhood, and it's on the Piccadilly line!!
In all seriousness, it's just a strategic enough location to be within reach of central London and easy to get to for family members living in High Wycombe. It is a little funny because as it turns out there's a big Arabic-speaking community in Acton, complete with a mosque and all the scrumptious food.
Truth be told though, wherever I go in London I always hear at least one person speaking in some form of Arabic. Not to mention other languages in general. I really like how multicultural the city is, a true cosmopolitan hub. And although it sometimes feels like I've made the trek across the ocean just to get tested a bajillion times (still one more test to do before boarding plane back to America), I'm really enjoying walking down its streets, and sheltering from the recurring rain in pubs and bookshops. This despite the jam-packed schedule that leaves little room for a care-free snooze.
Pencils down on the last page of THE SOLAR GRID, CH. 6 (issue #7) with just one day to spare for travel prep.
Couldda swore I wrote and posted this already but I may have just forgotten to hit the “publish” button. Anyway, chapter has clocked in at 34 pages, not including backmatter. Further work on the thing (inking, lettering, etc.) will have to be put on hold until I return (downside of doing everything yourself), with my time abroad better put towards things that can better be done on the move. Namely:
- Thumbnailing next chapter.
- Scripting a short comix thing (let's codename this one PROJECT ELLISON).
- Sketching out ideas for a poster project (codenamed PROJECT MORROW).
- Accounting, eugh.
As per the UK's requirements, had to get tested today and booked London-based tests for day 2 and 8 from arrival. I think I'm supposed to do another one before my return flight to the states. It feels like the entire trip will revolve around a bunch of lab tests.
Not complaining though! It's not like I've been anywhere in, oh I dunno, 12,000 years.
Question is: Do I bring my camera? Do I bring a book? Too ambitious? Clearly very rusty when it comes to this whole travel thing. First time with child too.
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Cover reveal!! Issue #2 of my epic science fiction exploration, THE SOLAR GRID, drops in just a week!
First person to tell me what classic sci-fi cover inspired this one wins a free copy delivered right to their doorstep (U.S. only though, international postal fees don't come cheap). Feel free to hit me up on either Twitter or Instagram.
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The more time I spend in the world of THE SOLAR GRID, the more I want to explore it even further!
Constantly haunted by ill-advised notions of doing graphic novellas all set within the world of THE SOLAR GRID after the central graphic novel is complete. A fully formed “history” seems to have developed over the course of its creation, so layered and textured that I can imagine zooming in on any character or point in time and doing a complete stand alone story not at all connected to THE SOLAR GRID proper. Not only graphic novellas, but even short comix and one-shots.
Like, if I ever wanna do music-themed comix? Well, it can be about the band Sharia Slaw cum The Uurthlings (featured briefly in chapters 1 and 2). A detective story? It can center around the Saftey First duo featured in chapter 2. Corporate espionage? Sqyquench, SLR BLK, and Aegaeon. A journalistic thriller? Either Buster Bethlehem circa 474 AF will do, or Holly Badchapel in 949 AF. If I ever want to do my own unique take on WATERWORLD, I can set it in the early years after the Flood. And I haven't even gotten into all the possibilities for Mars or Moon-based stories. The possibilities are endless!
Three pages left to pencil on the current chapter. Four days till travel. Not bad.
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Just arrived. My first order from directly from Fantagraphics who produce some of the finest made books in existence. They've certainly come a long way since publishing their very first comic in 1982: LOVE AND ROCKETS #1 by the Hernandez brothers. Certainly the best and—dare I say it—least likely success story in comix and independent book publishing in general.
I'm a great admirer of Barry Windsor-Smith's artistry and storytelling and have forever been saddened that his STORYTELLER magazine was so short lived. I have all those issues except two (#4 and #7).
Excited to sink my teeth in this beautiful tome, although... I won't really get a chance to do so until June when I return from my travels.
Just about finished penciling a page of THE SOLAR GRID, but will have to end there because today I am half dead and delirious.
Managed to pencil 2 pages today (rough-like as pictured), and spend time with wife and kid, including indulging in a little picnic concert thing (well, a small small part of it, had to get back home and put kid to bed).
Rough pencils are fine, I'm getting quite proficient at doing a lot of drawing in the inks phase. Part of why it's a bit difficult for me to imagine being inked by someone else. But I guess that's a scenario where I would intentionally want to pencil tighter in more detail.
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Great article in the Houston Chronicle today by Dominic Boyer, on the importance of creating “new memories of the future”.
Humbled to see THE SOLAR GRID featured alongside the work of architect Albert Pope and design Ilse Harrison.
Sketching out a page today while looking over notes for the next chapter of THE SOLAR GRID and realizing I've got my England circa 1818 scene coming up. A period of which I in fact know very little and will require ample visual reference to pull off, which I have no idea where to begin sourcing from.
Is it a cosmic coincidence that I'm off to the UK next week?
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Eight days before I travel to London, and 8 pages of THE SOLAR GRID #7 (or what used to be Ch.6) left to pencil. Will try my best to do a page or more a day (including the weekend) to make sure I'm through with pencils before the trip, and I can dive right into inking upon return.
And maybe while I'm out there I can mess around with thumbnail layouts for the next chapter.
#work #comix #TheSolarGrid