walking on custard book cover

Posted in news by Tom on March 30th, 2015

My friend Neil Hughes has been working on a book about anxiety called Walking on Custard & The Meaning of Life and he commissioned me to provide the cover artwork.

The book launches today so I thought I’d share a couple of early concepts I sent at the beginning to show the progress of the cover:

That first rough was my initial idea and Neil suggested we try and show a little more of the people struggling to walk on custard. That led to my second design which Neil preferred but asked if we could see a blue sky in there.

We both felt the sky worked with the basic colour scheme I started to work with and, after some tinkering with the composition, we settled on this image for the wraparound artwork.

And here’s the final design with the logo, text and barcode all added.

You can find out more about the book here, or buy it here.

There are also additional articles about anxiety by Neil available at www.walkingoncustard.com.


in the frame – watergate hotel

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 27th, 2015

111. The Grand Passive Agressive Watergate Hotel

I really liked the idea of doing a cartoon version of Monet’s Haystacks with time passing as the hotel ponders the overuse of the word “gate”. I had fun playing with the colours and trying to make the shadows work.

This was for the Easter double issue of the New Statesman (buy a physical copy here) so there won’t be a comic next week.


the guest

Posted in illustrations, news by Tom on March 20th, 2015

Treated myself to doing a fun illustration just for me earlier this week.

The Guest was one of my film highlights of last year. It was almost custom-built to appeal to me: Carpenter inspired goth-synth soundtrack? Check. A giddy, mischievous sense of humour that dares you to laugh at every ominous smash-cut? Check. A gloriously bonkers final act, coated in neon blues and pinks? Check. You can enjoy it as a fun genre-hopping horror/action film, but if you want to intellectualise it as a critique of how we treat our war veterans and as an exploration of the destructive consequences of PTSD, there’s plenty there for you.

I also enjoyed You’re Next, from the same writer/director team. Again, another genre deconstruction that would sit comfortably in a double bill with Cabin In The Woods. Looking forward to seeing what they follow this up with.


in the frame – unlikely

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 20th, 2015

110. Unlikely

The absurd idea that Clarkson is a frustrated liberal trapped in a bigoted world of his own making made me smile. It’s completely improbable. But I wonder if there’s an element of truth to it in that he knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to courting controversy.


in the frame – boris johnson’s guide to art

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 13th, 2015

109. Boris Johnson’s Guide to Interpreting Art

When the fourth plinth sculpture by Hans Haacke was unveiled, Johnson managed to get in a not-so-subtle dig at George Osborne while also wilfully misinterpreting the clear anti-austerity conceit of the piece – all of which you can read about here. As always, he did this using a bit of his patented verbal pomposity. It made me think about how he’d manage to completely overlook the political spirit of other works of art.

Wasn’t overly successful with Johnson’s likeness here – some panels work better than others. I struggled to consistently capture him. I think this was largely down to applying half-measures to the simplicity of the drawing – I should have committed to a much simpler design. Next time!


in the frame – old media kneels before new media

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 6th, 2015

108. Old Media Kneels Before New Media

A pretty light joke I wanted to draw after seeing the dead-eyed stare of a BBC news anchor after he had to talk about white/gold/blue/black dresses. He could barely contain his disdain. I enjoyed trying to find the space to slow the pace of the comic for added pathos.


in the frame – british values

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 3rd, 2015

107. British Values

Quite a wordy piece this one but I really like the colour scheme. All in reference to Theresa May’s proposal.


in the frame – captain social justice has a bad week

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 3rd, 2015

106. Captain Social Justice Has a Bad Week

I think this one was more visually playful and fun in my head when I first conceived it. In the end, I didn’t push my style enough and capture that superhero dynamism I was going for. But I still like the concept.


in the frame – meanwhile, a baby boomer…

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on February 13th, 2015

105. Meanwhile, a Baby Boomer Daydreams About Millennials…

Depending on where you find your definition, at 33 years old, I’m technically on the cusp of being a Gen Xer and a Millennial. Millennials are also known by a thousand different names as the generations before them attempt to define them: The Me Me Me Generation, Generation Y, The Entitled Generation, The Lost Generation, The Net Generation, The Echo Boomers, The Peter Pan Generation, The Boomerang Generation etc. etc.

As all of these titles suggest, it feels like older generations are simply looking for ways to pigeon-hole and condescend every single young person they can. Interestingly, Generation Xers or Baby Boomers faced their own version of this from the generations before them but fail to see the irony.

Every generation has had it better than the one before it. Until now. This is a generation that can expect social mobility, the environment, wages, and housing to be worse for them than it was for their parents. And yet, every think-piece, article or feature I see that talks about Millennials finds a way to blame them for something. Interestingly, they all manage to contradict each other. Fairly or unfairly, young people are going to represent whatever problem the writer has a bugbear about.

This reaches it’s apex when I see arguments about current affairs descend into very patronising “well, you’re from a different generation” comments rather than any engagement with the entirely reasonable issues or points someone has raised. It’s a new deflection technique that is becoming increasingly popular as people start to draw a questionable line between “outrage culture” and “young people”. A cheap way of pulling the escape cord in a discussion, guilt-free.


in the frame – 90s homage

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on February 9th, 2015

104. 90s Homage

Oops. Almost forgot to put this one up!

I was pleased with the 90s style background on this one. And Jar Jar Binks is remarkably fun to draw. I was a little bit too harsh on Fat Chandler there though – my bad.