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FROM FAMINE TO FEAST

The life of a freelancer is a strange one. You can go from scrabbling around for the odd crumb of work to having to really plan your time within a week. January was a terrible month for me: there was little work around and I was without my car for its entirety. Now into the second week of February, I have just landed a few days a week regular subbing/ production work that will see me into late May/ early June. On top of that, it looks like a TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary book looks like a real possibility for sometime around August. I also need to finish my spooky London photo book plus my comic creator portraits book, which ties in with the Gosh exhibition that kicks off on March 10th. I have also landed some more Judge Dredd Megazine and Big Issue in The North work and I am doing more for Comic Heroes, which means that I am off to Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle at the end of March. We have also booked tables at Bristol (as ever) but also at Kapow! in May. There’s also some other things bubbling under but if they happen, they would be amazing. So I am insanely busy from now until the beginning of the summer. But a week ago, I was still wondering how I was going to get by the next few months. I’ll be including ordering information on the two books (Faces and Spooked) as it gets closer but here’s a few images including covers to whet your appetite. I’ll be posting a blog entry on the Gosh exhibition nearer the time…

LOOKING BACK (AND LOOKING FORWARD)
As is customary this time of year, I thought I would talk about what I’ve managed to do this year and what I hope to achieve in 2011. It’s been a very interesting year:

•We published another issue of TRIPWIRE, packed full of diverse features and content. With each edition, the aim is to improve on the previous and hopefully we succeeded. I am very proud of this issue. We didn’t get it out more frequently but the fact that we brought it out at all in the current climate was something.

•I brought out a number of photo books through Blurb (London Eye, Stone Gardens and Black & White). I took tons of photos in 2010 and at last I am seeing that I am developing (pardon the pun) as a photographer. I am now trying to consider what I am taking and things like composition and framing. I even did a photography weekend with a friend of my brother’s, which I found very enjoyable. Two of my photos ended up in the monster 75 Years of DC that Taschen published at the end of the year, so that was very cool.

• On the freelance front, I had a very good year. Despite beginning it with what I thought was a year’s contract at a consumer ‘champion’ magazine (I won’t tell you Which), one that ended after only five weeks but on both the subbing and feature writing front, 2010 was a very good year. I got work into Future’s new comics-focused magazine Comic Heroes, continued to write for The Judge Dredd Megazine and got some material into Sci-Fi Now as well as another piece for The Word. I also subbed and did production work at a lot of new places (new for me) including Digital Arts, Apollo and The Week.

• There were a couple of book projects including a followup to Studio Space and a number of photographic books that seemed as if they were going to happen but they fell through because of a number of different factors. It’s an occupational hazard so there’s no point getting stressed about it.

•Following on from writing a detective short story for The Sunday Times Culture competition in 2009, I begun work on a novel featuring the same protagonist. While prose is hard, I am pretty chuffed with the results and intend to carry on with it.

So 2010 was a good year but what would I like to happen next year?

• I would still like to take TRIPWIRE more frequently and we are in discussions with a couple of people to try to make this a reality. Nothing may come of it but I live in hope. We do intend to try and do something electronic on a semi-regular basis.

•I would like to find a publisher for the detective novel. I have been chatting to an editor and a agent so it could happen. It wouldn’t see the light of day until 2012 at the earliest even if it did but that would be fine.

Studio Space 2 would find a home. I am talking to someone to see if we can get this off the ground. We have a fantastic provisional list of artists (Sergio Aragones, Frank Quitely, Frank Cho, Dave Dorman, Glenn Fabry, Bryan Hitch, Frazer Irving, Dave Johnson, Mike Kaluta, Roger Langridge, P Craig Russell, John Paul Leon, Ben Templesmith, John Romita Jr, Mark Schultz, Charles Vess, Matt Wagner, Chris Weston and JH Williams III) so I would like to get that closer to being a reality.

•I shall continue to take more photos, do more books through Blurb and I would like to set up an exhibition of my photos and also do things like sell prints and calendars of my work. I would also like to get at least one photographic book off the ground published by a regular publisher.

•I’ll keep on subbing and doing the freelance writing because it’s a good way to keep my hand in with the field of film, TV and genre in-between doing TRIPWIRE.

• I shall still be writing here at this blog as I have done since 2006 as it’s still a great place for me to talk crap about whatever I want to talk crap about.

•In 2011, we’ll be preparing for the 20th anniversary of TRIPWIRE. It’s scary to think that we started publishing it in 1992 but we intend to do something very special for 2012. The current plan (and it is in the very early stages) is to produce a 200 page book that will include the cream of our content so far plus lots of brand new, exclusive material.

So to everyone who reads this blog: Have a great New Year and I’ll see you all in 2011

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FAMINE TO FEAST
I realise that I haven’t posted here in a few weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to be working back at Guinness World Records after the lovely people at Which? terminated my contract early. Although, after what happened, I feel I may have had a lucky escape. I’ve always said that freelancing is famine or feast and it’s currently in its feast phase. Apart from working at GWR, I have been doing more features for Sci Fi Now (Hellblazer 25th anniversary and Futurama), more for the Judge Dredd Megazine (Predators) and diving into a new TRIPWIRE. This new issue will hopefully be the best one we’ve pulished. I’ve also been doing lots more photography with Stone Gardens, my London Cemeteries book now up at Blurb, which looks fantastic and I’ve also put together a photo portfolio book of my best shots to show to potential clients and employers. So the blog has taken a back seat. I’ll be posting a Robin Hood review later this week but here’s the cover to my photo portfolio book and three interior spreads…

IT’S BEEN A WHILE
The new job has kept me busier than I thought it would, so I haven’t posted here in a bit. Assuming my regulars haven’t died of boredom, I’ll be putting some photo-related posts up between now and Sunday night. Might have good news on another book project which would see me and Gary revisit similar ground to Studio Space next year. This month also sees another Megazine feature out (American Vampire), a piece on Turf for The Word and two things in Sci Fi Now (Miyazaki Q&A and Turf news item). It’s gone from famine to feast…