Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Busy, busy! 

Apart from the fact that I'm rushing around a work there's a lot else happening.

Xuan Xuan is featured today on the front page at Comics Australia, including this page of mine, from Children of the Moon, Part 2:

Also, I've stocked copies of the last two issues of Xuan Xuan at some fine book and comic stores:
COMICS `R' US, Ringwood 112 Maroondah Hwy 3134 (03) 9870 3841
MINOTAUR 121 Elizabeth St Melbourne 3000 (03) 9670 5414
READINGS Book & Music Hawthorn 701 Glenferrie Rd 3122 (03) 9819 1917

I'm overjoyed that bookshops with this sort of profile are taking it! Really, it's a tribute to how good the book is, though I think it could be marketed a bit better.

On the weekend, we had two rats, who are pets at the School, to stay with us. The children were playing with them, but let them wander a bit. I heard loud sqwawking and looked down from my drawing board to see that the larger rat had grabbed our young cockatiel by the neck! I got hold of the two of them, one in each hand, but separating rat from bird wasn't easy! Rats are perfectly nice pets, but I'm astounded this one was so vicious with our cockatiel. He doesn't seem any the worse, fortunately, despite a bit of shock and some loss of feathers. A good thing I wasn't far away!

We're making an American indian costume for L. for the last day of term, and an Indian costume for J., just to confuse the issue :). J. was very sick all night on Sunday, and I think it was the seafood sticks from the Fish and Chip shop, as L. was similarly ill recently (and I had a bad stomach upset).

Today we heard that the little girl who had been having the problems with L. at School is leaving. I don't think it's the right thing, or the best thing for her. Overall, I feel we have been scapegoated to some extent, for a decision that her parents were already going to make (given their criticisms of the School even last year). A pity, and L. is bewildered by what happened.

Friday, March 19, 2004


I sent off my first submission to Oztaku yesterday! It's a five pager that I'm pretty proud of, featuring entirely new characters. I was fairly disappointed with the first issue of Oztaku, as the artwork was generally fairly poor (apart from the always excellent David Kerr), but I expect this to improve, and would like to help out. It is a well-produced, slick-looking anthology, so better content is what it needs. As with, Xuan Xuan I expect the artists will improve in time.

I've picked up quite a few Australian comics lately (thanks to a friend who picked them up at Supernova). A story in Killeroo #2 kind of amazed and unsettled me: it was about Killeroo dealing with the recent fox problem in Tasmania, including a humanised fox. I had thought of doing this exact same story. I checked with Darren and he didn't think I'd mentioned it to him. Maybe I said it on the boards, though it seems it is probably just a case of a good idea whose time had come, occurring in parallel to two people. Very strange!

I managed to reach Michal Dutkiewicz! He returned my call yesterday and is happy to be interviewed for OzComics Magazine.

Heard Duncan Browne's "Country Song" on 3PBS on Monday. Maybe I should listen to them more often.

Tonight I'm going to session run by L.'s teacher. These are always interesting. It is an unusual school, but I like the philosophies behind it.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Some productivity! 

Yesterday turned out to be fairly productive. i roughed out the first page for Riffin' to Oblivion, Part 3, did some more research and took extensive notes for a possible children's comic serial I'm thinking about, designed a logo for my Oztaku story and scripted a possible one pager for Ozcomics Magazine.

I'm not sure whether OzComics Magazine will use the one pager I did for #3, called "How to Draw Comics." I have a load of other work to complete for them, including short interviews with Chris Wahl, Alex Major and possibly Angelica (Andricongirl) about their professional lives working in drawing comics and animation. While I'm not sure I'm the right guy for this, my extensive interview with Dillon Naylor (Batrisha, "Da 'N' Dill," "Rock 'N' Roll Fairies") went well. I also have a bunch of comics to review for OCM as usual.

Yesterday I had a call from out of the blue from "Colin." When he said he was from "SwanSwan," I started running through "Swan Hill, Swansea, etc." in my mind, but of course he meant the fine Western Australian manga comic, Xuan Xuan, for which I'm currently doing the serial "Children of the Moon." He'd rung to see how many copies I wanted of the current issue. They sound like nice people and I like what I've seen of Colin Sharpe's work, both in Xuan Xuan and online.

Today I didn't do much more, though I did struggle with a background for my possible Oztaku piece. I find drawing tall city buildings really difficult (probably one reason I don't usually draw superhero stuff)!

It's been an interesting day in other ways. I tried to catch the rabbit before it ran behind the television this morning, but it ducked under the wires just as I got my hand on it. There was a flash and a cloud of black smoke as the electrical cords it had previously chewed shorted out, but the circuit breaker tripped and probably saved us both! So no television, video or DVD for a while.

This evening I started teaching Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain Kings" to L. on the piano. Her piano lessons are coming along well and she is keen and also enjoys experimenting. Teaching her this piece was a bit like teaching Percy, the cockatiel, to whistle Billy Joel's "The Stranger" in perfect pitch. I don't mean to belittle the learning process of children, or anybody, but there really are similarities. As with Percy, L. would learn up to a certain point, then struggle and become defeated by it, give up for a while, then return to it and get me to teach her a little bit more and add it onto what she knew.

Learning is an interesting process. L. used to ask, before she first learnt to read, "If someone teaches, do you learn?" An interesting notion, and probably relevant to my view of some of the training I have to perform in my professional life. Maybe I'll write an essay about it sometime :).

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

New cockatiel 

Probably time I mentioned that we have a new cockatiel. He's really young and has been handraised from hatching by the daughter of a colleague, along with a sibling (she wanted to sell them as a pair, but we only wanted one cockatiel).

He appears to have a lot of character and is certainly the yellowist cockatiel I've ever seen, being yellow all over, though much of his body may turn white as he gets older (he's a lutino cockatiel). We're currently trying to think of a name that suits him.

I've been thinking about another major comics project that could be serialised in one of the local children's magazines. However, as it's historically based, it needs intensive research.

Lately the ideas are coming thick and fast, so there's no way I can draw them all. I still have that unfinished picture book, am working on some reviews and interviews for OzComics Magazine #4, have begun work on Riffin' to Oblivion, Part 3, and would still like to do the piece for Oztaku, as well as another episode of Children of the Moon for Xuan Xuan (fortunately now only coming out twice a year. Lots of work to do!

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