Blogging, Slogging and Scarlett Hart

Without in any way meaning too, I have just taken a six month break from blogging. Except, of course, I haven’t really, because I’ve been active all that time on Facebook, Twitter (a bit), and latterly Instagram. Micro-blogging, I think they call this (well, they would, wouldn’t they?). Anyway, whilst trying to blog every day seems terribly 2004 these days, I don’t want to let it go entirely. Maybe once a fortnight is the more twentyteenage thing to do. Or once a month…

SH_sketch_007c The last half-a-year has been a time of ups and downs for me. I won’t bother with an exhaustive list, so I’ll just note that I have a new agent in Kirsty McLachlan at (David Godwin Associates); I have a novel out on submission (though no news yet); the third Dan book is complete and Illustrated (except for the cover), and I am now very much engaged with the art for my joint venture with Marcus Sedgwick – a comic book called Scarlett Hart and the Tentacles of Terror.

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Scarlett Hart is a demanding project for me. Not only is it a mountain of sketching, it also involves elements of graphic design I’m not used to. Designing the layout of each page, distributing the action and dialogue evenly across the spread, and keeping the characterisation consistent is just the start of it. Then it has to be inked before being scanned into Photoshop for colouring.

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I thought I knew how to use Photoshop. I didn’t. There are functions within functions, and a whole level of cogs and sprockets beyond that. With a project of this scale, even the simplest shortcut can save hours overall. I’ve had help with this, not least from illustrator John Kelly (thanks again, John!).

SH_sketch_011cScarlett hunts monsters in a steampunkish1920s world that’s somewhere between the New England of Lovecraft and the folklore of East Anglia. A third point on the compass is the drawing board of Hergé, but mostly as a guide for tone. All those hours of furtive pencilling also need to be fuelled by a constant stream of suitable mood music, but fortunately the internet is full of weird and wonderful stuff.

So there you are, I’ve written a blog post! Now I just need to keep it up. Except, I have drawing to do…

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