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9076. Only An Idiot Would Start a T-shirt Line. How to Tell if You’re An Idiot.

These days it seems like everyone and their mother has the perfect idea for a t-shirt. If you browse Zazzle or another on-demand t-shirt site, you’ll see that some people actually do. And a lot more don’t.

In fact, most people who find out we have our own t-shirt line eventually tell us, “Hey, you know what you should do for a t-shirt? You should…” Sometimes they even come up with some good ideas. Plus, it sounds easy. Hey, just put that on a shirt and sell a million!

If you’ve tried to start your own apparel or t-shirt line and hit a big wall of this is way too expensive, I’m not surprised. It’s not as easy as it looks from the outside.

But wait! Here’s a sweet and tasty easysicle fresh out of the freezer for you.

Selling T-shirts the Easy Way

Sites like the aforementioned Zazzle do make it look easy, don’t they? You design it, they print and ship. That really is as easy as it gets. In fact, we recommend them all the time to people who just want to do a one-off shirt as a gag, or sell a few shirts for beer money. But hold on to your keg, because it’s not a good business model for your apparel line. It’s a great business model for Zazzle. We’ve had designs on Zazzle for years and we make a few bucks every month, without even trying very hard. It has its advantages, namely:

  • Zero overhead – you don’t have to carry an inventory of shirts you may not sell
  • Customers choose their own shirt and size from hundreds of options (see also no inventory)
  • Complete order fulfillment - you don’t have to take orders or interact in any way
  • Built-in SEO – you share the power of a larger website and its category, searching, and featured listings

Sounds amazing. So why shouldn’t anyone start an apparel line using Zazzle? It’s a dreamy hot fudge sundae with a million dollars on top! Before you get chocolate all over your chin, think about these disadvantages:

  • If you price competitively (to make sales), you will bring in about $1.50 per shirt
  • You can’t brand shirts with your private label
  • You can’t control quality
  • Stores won’t carry your line at those prices – you need to offer wholesale pricing

We think Zazzle and sites like it are great when you want to test designs and see if there’s a market. When you’re ready to get serious about starting a t-shirt line, you need to dig deeper into your ice cream truck and scoop your own cones.

Selling T-shirts the Hard Way

We get a few inquiries every month for our custom screen printing from people who want to start their own t-shirt line. They range from complete noobs testing the waters to seasoned entrepreneurs who regularly sell their shirts online and in local markets. The ratio of inquiries to printed orders for this category of customer is almost zero. The numero uno reason? Affordability.

We are usually not the cheapest screen printer around, but the issue has never been one of our prices being too high. The problem is one of sticker shock. Until they contact us, most people don’t have an idea how much they’re going to have to invest to get a viable inventory of t-shirts. I sympathize. This is a tough business. To successfully sell t-shirts, you have to order them in bulk (wholesale) so you can get them into the market at a competitive price and still profit enough to do it all over again. Here’s some simple t-shirt math for you.

Say you place an order for 20 t-shirts. For a screen printer, that’s a small order. Depending on the design, you could spend between $12-$18 per shirt. That means to sell them at a profit, you’ll have to sell them for anywhere between $18-$27. Now, if your shirts are super special, that might work in a local market or online. It doesn’t account for overhead on a booth or your web site (that counts), but you’ll make back your money on the shirts at least.

If you take your shirts to a local store, they’re not going to want to pay those prices. They’re going to get you down as low as possible so they can mark that up and sell the shirts for $15-$18. That is, if they’re super special and it’s a high end boutique, not a souvenir shop in Little Tokyo selling shirts at 3 for $10. So let’s back that price up to what you need to buy them at. If you can get those shirts at $6-$7 each, you might be able to get an order in at a local shop.

How do you get your custom shirt prices that low? You probably guessed already, but I’ll tell you anyway. You order a lot of them. Think in the hundreds, at least. Sounds like a big outlay, right? You betcha. That’s what makes the business tough.

You Can Still Start an Apparel Line

I know. It’s like your scoop of pickle pear pistachio just fell off your cone into the dirt. That’s how I feel every time I talk to someone who wants us to quote them on printing their t-shirt line. I feel your pain. But there is hope for all of us! You can still start your t-shirt line, you just need to think through a few things before you press the big phat go button. Figure out this stuff first:

  • Where and to whom are you selling your t-shirts? This will help you figure your pricing, which determines your initial budget.
  • Cull your designs down to the very, very best. Eliminate that iffy one your Facebook friend promised they would buy if you would do it.
  • Choose a good quality shirt, but don’t get crazy. You want midrange. Not Michael’s on clearance and not Calvin Klein. Do your homework.
  • Oh, yeah. Do your homework.
  • Will you tag them? How? Is it even necessary? Can you do it yourself and still make it look professional? Get feedback on this.
  • What do you need to spend initially to sell them? Think “easy” stuff like tables, banners, web site, payment methods. This stuff costs money and affects your profitability. It’s business 101 stuff, but you need to account for it.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Don’t listen to the critics (external and internal) who tell you it’s an impossible business to make any money in. It is possible. It takes time and persistence, for sure. If you plan well and start out early accounting for your costs and potential profits, you’ll make it work.

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9077. /Sponsor/ Wallpapered

Looking for a unique design to decorate your room with? Maybe a bespoke map wallpaper is the right choice for you. Wallpapered is a London-based company who specializes in custom wallpaper printing. A popular product is their Custom Zip code Map Wallpaper, which is made upon request based on your choice of Zip code! The map can be customized to your favorite colour or made to match your interior decor, with pins and labels marking any areas of interest. With a guaranteed light fastness of 20 years you can enjoy your bespoke map wallpaper for years to come!




Interested in sponsoring the Grain Edit Feed? Visit our sponsorship page for more info.


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9078. Big and Small // Fast and Slow

by Britta Teckentrup

{published 2013, by Barefoot Books}

I just lost myself on Britta Teckentrup’s portfolio. Entirely charmed and swept away by every single piece. She’s new to me, and I’m happy to have flailed around in her brain for a bit. And it looks like I have a lot to catch up on!

I have an unusual affinity or board books. Proof: here and here and here. And that’s just a select smattering! But everything that is perfect about a picture book is even more so in a board book.

Smushier, sweeter, chewier.

And these are especially delicious.Fast and Slow shows those opposites side by side. Directly in contrast, varying by speed. The comparison is limited to that spread only, which is a detail that I love. One of the later spreads shows a train and a bus, which of course is double decker and European and fancy. But isn’t a bus faster than even that motorbike up above? Sure, but one spread isn’t competing with others. Little brains noodling that out? Smart.

And speaking of the motorbike page – total favorite. That scarf!The colors are saturated and leap into your eyes.

The type! It’s that perfect teacher-handwritten-style.

But it’s the texture that I love the most. Clean shapes, easy lines, and the slightest bit of grit. Smooth, flat color might have been an easy choice to match those shapes and lines. But in a book about contrast, splashing in some texture is smart.

And it looks awesome.Big and Small’s pairs are tightly knitted. Inside a giant apple is an itty-bitty seed. On top of a vast mountain are individual snowflakes. Those connections are beautiful, and the cat-lion standoff might be my very favorite spread.A perfect addition to your baby-shower rotation, your art class, your tiny one’s library, or just the ever-growing stack surrounding you.


Review copy provided by Barefoot Books.

Tagged: barefoot books, britta teckentrup, color, comparison, contrast, texture

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9079. Free Owl Calendar

Hello friends! I'm so excited and honored to be a part of the Owl Lover 2014 Calendar this year, hosted by My Owl Barn. Thank you Shivani! I submitted this little guy. It's a custom calender, so you get to select your favorite owl art for all of the months you want to print and download your personalized version, all for FREE! Go here to get started. Have fun!

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9080. Silver Laced Polish

Seriously. Seriously.  I so wish i could have one of these adorable girls in my flock. I would get nothing done. I would just watch it walking around, bumping into things, being adorable…. I would live a blissful, stress-free life….ahhhh. However. I have some serious meanies in my flock, who would take great joy in plucking her bald. So, she’s not for me, but…. i can dream.polish

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9081. Some new handmade Christmas cards...

It's less than a month away to this year's Cambridge Christmas event so I have started to make some new cards.  Here are dogs in hats!

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9082. Tesla Book complete!

...although now it's time for the countdown for color proofing, book dummy approval, printing & shipping from South Korea.  Small hurdle, by comparison. Here's the jacket design & double title page....more news on the countdown soon!

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I am not fat, just light like the wind

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9084. Studio progress - drywall

A little panoramic shot

We're ready for paint now!  This should start moving along quicker.  I'm thinking I'll have it finished before Christmas if all goes well.

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9085. IF ~ Creature ~ The Pale Man

Pale Man_RobertaBaird
You will see a banquet, don’t eat anything!
Your life depends on it!

~Pan’s Labryinth

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9086. Green Eyes

    Here's a quick digital sketch I did the other day.  I've been told over the last couple weeks that I draw "dippy, doe-eyed" girls, and in less harsh words have had it confirmed by others.  Whoa!  I always thought they just looked spirited!

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9087. Hoodie

by Gracie

Not sure what the story is here, but clearly there is one... Read the rest of this post

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9088. Jedi

Kit Fisto
by Elijah

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9089. Fun with GIFs

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9090. The Business of the Business

It seems like the last month has been filled with the business end of what writers and illustrators have to spend a good chunk of their time doing. Running a business. Yes, I'd rather be in the studio drawing or sitting at my desk researching and writing. But a gal's got to do what a gal's got to do.

Design a new look and logo- check!
Design new business cards and stationary- check!

Postcard design and printing- check!
Mailing list of publishers and who is where- check!
Print mailing labels, stamp, and mail postcards- check!
Create a new portfolio- check!
Decide on portfolio images- check!
Print images- check!
Assemble portfolio- check!

Register for the local SCBWI-AZ Conference- check!
Prepare and mail portfolio- check! (Yes, a second one!)
Mail PB manuscript and dummy book for conference critique- check!
Proofread, print, and mail first 10 pages of MG novel- check!

Redesign website- check!
Photo shoot  for website- check!
Select and size images for website- check!
Launch new website- check!

Phew! Now back to some writing and illustrating. Right after I write a synopsis and cover letter for that MG novel...

Be sure to visit my new website.

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9091. Lakes International Comic Art Festival

A review of the inaugural Cumbrian event

Hi Folks,

Well, last week was the culmination of a busy period as far as my time spent on working on the painted cover and pencils for the strip pages to Worlds End – Volume 2 – A Hard Reign’s Gonna Fall and getting the second ashcan finished and ready for print along with new banners, business stationery, and a whole plethora of other printed and manufactured goods, in time for the impending convention season.

So it was just like normal then, I hear you cry and you would not be far wrong. Last week saw me creating and arranging for the production of a new range of mugs, which I sorted with a new supplier that had made contact with the company last year and gave them an insane turnaround time to produce them. They came up trumps, so by the time my other print jobs were ready I only had to finish off the artwork for the cover and some more strip pages to take along to the show with me.

I was originally asked to go along as a guest way back in the latter part of 2012 when I was approached via email by Julie Tait, the main organiser and curator of the festival. Bryan Talbot had suggested she get in touch with me pretty from much the outset. It sounded like it could be something special - I hope this Blog goes someway to trying to say just how special it was.

Wednesday evening, after teaching my Fantasy Art Unlimited class, I ate a late dinner and then set about completing the remaining artwork. This went straight through the night, aside from about a ten minute nap and continued throughout Thursday in much the same vein whereby I suddenly found myself facing Friday morning and having to pack everything I needed to take along, crossing them off in order from my list as I loaded them into the car.

Showered, fuelled up, tyres, oil, and windscreen washer levels checked I set off northwards to the Lakes. The journey is not a long one by any stretch and takes around an hour or so to reach Kendal. Although cloudy for the most part the weather remained clear.

Having checked out the venue and the guesthouse in which I was staying a week earlier when fellow comic creator, Dave Windett one of my FAU students, Roland and I had a trip to Kendal to see it for ourselves meant this second trip was an easy one to navigate and in no time at all I found myself parked up in the loading bay and ready to start the process of unloading the banners, other POS and all the different merchandise I had brought along.

As I had driven along the main street into Kendal I saw all the many festival banners that adorned and lined the streets in proclamation of the impending comics invasion. The organisers really had gone to town with their take over of the town centre. The week before it had poured down and so I hadn’t noticed quite as many of the banners. That said we had noticed that alongside Bryan Talbot’smarvellous “Brainstorm” exhibition, at the Wildman Studios on Wildman Street, all manner of exhibits both from professionals and children adorned the shops. Even establishments like estate agents were getting into the act. A pub changed its name for the weekend to the Fnaar bar – straight out of the adult humour comic, Viz. A ladies clothes shop had a batman costume in the middle of its front window display.

It was an absolutely amazing sight and testament to the hard work of the organisers and their many volunteers with this massive undertaking.

Inside the WestmorlandShopping Centre, in which our section of the festival was being held it was a similar scene with other folks also setting up their displays. I had checked with security, as I had the week previous that I was fine to unload in the bays below us and once given the all clear began to unload the goods.

Dave was already there and had begun to unpack his gear. I made my first drop and never for one second thought anything about it. Upon my return to the shop, in which we were situated next to Mhairi Stewart’s Perfect Spiral, I found that the curse had returned…

Yes, you know the one, The Windett Curse!!!

Dave was all of a panic, as I entered the area, he was busy tearing the brown packaging from the graphic novels I had dropped off in my first trip from the car. The table had collapsed and Dave had seen one of them had been damaged and so was checking out the rest. I reassured him not to worry and we both mentioned and laughed about the curse.

Another four or maybe five trips using the sack truck (kindly donated for the event by one of the security men – cheers, buddy) and I was ready to actually set up.

By six o’clock or so the signage, banners and merchandise was all in place across from Dave’s stall. We looked the business and we were now ready for something to eat.

So we made our way the short distance across town to the Brewery Arts Centre where we were to pick up our guest badges/ and various tickets and vouchers, which enabled us to get inside the events, bars and restaurant.

Inside we were directed to the restaurant, where we met up with John Freeman, who was already dining. We exchanged greetings and then arranging once more to go along to the event he was due to host in a short while we sat down. So, it was that with a table unoccupied we ordered from the special menu from the event and what beautiful food it turned out to be – well it did when it arrived. You have to remember that I was sharing the table with the aforementioned Mr Windett, yes, the cursed one. Not only did the meal take a while to arrive, but upon arrival, Dave pronounced that his order was wrong – he had ordered the vegetarian platter, which then entailed a further delay before the food arrived. When it did, however, despite the curse it was beautiful. There were two platters; a meat one and a vegetarian option and this was followed by a desert platter - Glorious.

There are few things better than good food and conversation.

By the time we had eaten we attempted to make our way to the Friday evening event, being hosted by John Freeman, but it was too late – it had almost finished – and feeling absolutely shattered after my two previous all-nighters we decided to make our way back to the car, still parked in the loading bay of the shopping centre, which the security had allowed me to do and then drive to the guest house. By 9:00pm I could be seen, sitting on the edge of the bed, sending a text message to Margaret in my PJs with a cup of tea on the bedside drawer in the B&B and moments later I was asleep. Oh, the Rock N Roll lifestyle of the graphic novelist!!!

I was awake the next day, long before my mobile phone’s alarm went off, around five in the morning. So fully refreshed from my slumber I had a shower, got myself ready for the day ahead and then sat looking through the festival guide with another cup of tea. The Sundial guesthouse was lovely and very indicative of a countryside home. It was warm and inviting and the bed was so comfy I could quite easily have stayed in its thrall.

I checked out a copy of the newly printed, second volume, Ashcan and watched a little early morning TV and then eventually found myself looking at my watch, which at last said 8:00am. It was time to join Dave in the dining room for breakfast, which like all the other aspects of the festival the organisers had ensured we were well looked after. The hosts were lovely as was the breakfast they provided and it set us in good stead for the coming day and the first official day of the festival.

The weather although grey and overcast, was dry, but I still rang for a taxi. We soon found ourselves being chauferred along the high street to the shopping centre passing a myriad festival banners, which must have taken someone an age to erect. We stopped off in a little pound shop and I bought some supplies for the coming day. Well, after all, one can’t get very far without copious amounts of Pepsi and Liquorice All Sorts now, can one?

Back at the shop Dave opened up and with a little last minute setting up we awaited the coming crowds. We sketched outside the shop to entice folks towards us, but the crowds were intermittent and for some reason we saw the public were very rarely venturing in our direction. The weather was awful, though, and may have been a contributor to that. By all accounts, however the Comics Clock Tower, in reality the Town Hall, had been seeing a steady influx of people. So it could very well be that the weather was preventing them from venturing far. That said when the public did find us we managed to engage them and during the day we did sell too, albeit slowly. Early on in the morning I had decided that sketching for the children had to replace the expected queues of children that we had hoped to be directed to us and that gave us a chance to engage them and was a lot of fun – it always is.

One of the main organisers, Justin arrived and asked if we could give him the lunch vouchers and he would go and get them, enabling us to stay where we were. This was a great help and stopped us having to lock up and disappear for a short while, perhaps making it even harder for the public to find us. It was a good move.

By just after lunchtime it had picked up a little but then so had the inclement weather. An hour or two later, as the torrential rain began to subside, we began to see more of the public, although still in no great numbers, at least not until later in the afternoon when the footfall really seemed to pick up. Maybe it was also something to do with most families actually using the Saturday inside the shopping centre to actually shop.

I did an impromptu sketching session for Mhairi next door for one of her little groups and was asked to draw a super-villain with the powers of super smell, super speed, the ability to turn into water, turn water into ice and the ability to fly. This was fun, and everyone enjoyed seeing me cope with the brief they had given to me, as I sketched away on the flip chart, speaking to the group all the while, as I always do, to add some entertainment value.  

The day passed very quickly and Dave and I soon found ourselves heading once more to the Brewery Arts Centre’s restaurant for our evening meal.

Once more delicious platters were the order of the day and they were absolutely delicious. John Freeman joined us and the evening pursued a series of conversations about the state of the UK comics industry, if we can still call it that. We seemed to spend an age talking and then decided to leave to go to the bar next door.

It was packed, but we soon found ourselves with a table, as a group of us press ganged one when we were joined by Al Davison who, as he had previously mentioned on FaceBook, had planned to have as many of the guests as possible provide a sketch of one of the universal monsters on a piece of art board. This was to be auctioned off in aid of US writer, Steve Niles, whose house had been flooded with a total loss of possessions some days before. So with three sketches already done Kev Sutherland, Dave and I added ours.

We could hear folks around the bar describing all the many events they had each attended – far too many to attend them all, which is testament to the organisation of it all. It felt like an event that had been running for a while, rather than the inaugural one.

The time spent here enabled me to look at Al’s newest work, which was beautiful. Now regular readers of my Blog may remember that Al was the first person I met way back in 1979 at the very first comic convention I attended, when we were both “wannabe” comic creators. This latest work is fully painted and looks amazing and in my honest opinion probably the best stuff I have ever seen from Al – you should check it out, it really is gorgeous stuff.  

It also gave me a chance to show Al the first Worlds End graphic novel as well as the latest Worlds End pages from Volume 2 and the new Ashcan. I received one of the nicest compliments about a piece from book two, as yet unseen by the public. He said it reminded him so much of Moebius’ work. Now to find oneself being compared to probably the best known and perhaps the greatest French comic artist ever was indeed a great compliment. I have maybe three pictures of his work out of all my many books in my collection of comics and books and have seen only a few other pieces of his work in reality, but maybe the impact of this great artist has indeed had some effect my own work – Al certainly seemed to think so. I need to get hold of more of Moebius’ work.

Al left to get more sketches from folks to add to the auction piece, but we were soon joined by firstly John Freeman and a comic fan, Jim that had visited our little shopping space earlier and then Emma Vieceli. Dave and Emma, having the same agents representing them and working for the same publisher began to discuss their mutual thoughts on the work they were currently producing. MaltaComicCon was mentioned and folks were keen to show their wanting to attend, which is now the case for the convention. Over subscription has become the name of the game. The conversations then lent themselves to a comics based nature and by this time the air was full of laughter and on the spot joke making.

Next to join us was Scottish comic creator, Jim Stewart, whose first act was to give me a wee Glaswegian bear hug. Towards the end of our evening in the bar Brian Gorman joined us, fresh from his part in the enactment of the stage play version of Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta. We all had a great time. But all good things must eventually come to an end and this being no exception meant it was time to walk back to the guesthouse and some more much needed sleep.
The next day began exactly as it had the day before, with a cup of tea, an early shower, etc followed by another great breakfast. As this was the final day I drove Dave and I back to the centre in my car and, parking up in the loading bay as I had on the Friday, checked with the security guys that it was still okay, like they had said earlier to park there. Then leaving Dave I went off to the only event I had booked myself to go to – the one on Arts Funding – I wanted to see if there was anything I could learn to get funding for my students on the FAU course.

Whilst there listening to the talk it seemed to be an easier thing for someone to get funding for his or her graphic novel or comic project, however, than to do so for a course, so I stayed behind after the talk for a short time with the speaker to ask for a little more information.

I was soon back in our space; sketching for the children  - it was a little brisker than the day previous, but still quieter than I would have liked, but it was still early Sunday morning.

Dave told me that whilst I had been away at the talk he had allowed himself to be “forced onto his knees” for a photo opportunity with one of the Judge Dreddcos-players. These guys were superb and I found later that they had been staying at the same guesthouse. Outside one of them, Judge Bane and I chatted, as one does, about the amount of footfall and I suggested he should, along with the other Judge, Lemmy “bully,” as only a Judge can, the children to send them up to us.

Well Judge Bane disappeared and shortly afterwards we found a sudden influx of families appearing out of nowhere – in stark contrast to the previous day. Whether it was the work of the Judges or not, I’m not too sure, but I’d like to think it was role-playing that did the trick here.

I did another impromptu sketching session for Mhairi next door and this time I was asked to draw an alien villain who had super strength, vines, lasers and thus the ability to blow things up, along with x-ray vision. Again it was a fun session to do and once more they wondered if I could draw something with all five elements included in the drawing. Inside one of the guys dressed up in Judge Dredd gear, Judge Lemmy was sat in the session watching, when a group of children came to the door and shouted – “You’re not even the real man!” To which he arose, took out his baton and his “Lawgiver” – gun – and promptly pursued the “lawbreakers.” Not only did these guys look the part they played the part too – superb and kudos to both these guys!!!

We soon found more and more families coming along for which I would engage with them, asking who they would like to learn how to draw. I would do a step-by-step sketching mini session and of course this lead to selling books and other stuff too. It was a complete contrast to the day before.

Justin was again a star obtaining our picnic lunches for us, enabling us to carry on with the now much better subscribed, larger audiences.

Our particular area was definitely a lot better attended by families on the Sunday and Dave and I did lots of sketching sessions and I certainly sold a lot more Worlds End Graphic Novels, Ashcans and lots of other stuff too. Dave also did much better selling his Kaci Bell books too – more on this book in my next Blog – Teaser Alert!

However, time flies when you are having fun, as they say, and Sunday went even quicker than the day before and we soon found ourselves in the unenviable position of having forty minutes to dismantle it all and loading up the car.  Dave not having as much to sort out as I did, was ready much sooner and left to catch his train. Thankfully the security guys were really accommodating and with Justin’s help I managed to get all the stuff down to the car, albeit overshooting the forty minutes deadline a little. Thanks again to the security guys for their patience here.

Outside, an obviously exhausted Justin and I chatted for a short while, whilst I signed complimentary copies of the book for Him and Julie and her son, Finn. By the time it was all in and I was belted up, Sat Nav at the ready, text message having already been sent off to Margaret to say I would be setting off in a few moments, I sat for a second and thought about the past three days and it all seemed such a blur.

The trip back home, mostly on the motorway – the beauty of living close by two motorway slip roads – was thankfully uneventful with no hold ups and the weather was kind too. In just over an hour I was unpacking everything from the car and sitting with a brew in hand regaling my wife all about my exploits that weekend.

All that remained to do that evening was to send a text message to Julie and Justin, the two main organisers I dealt with and Bryan Talbot, the guy responsible for getting me involved in the first place, to tell them all just how much I appreciated being asked to the festival in the first instance, for looking after me so well, whilst there and for all the incredibly well worked out events to make their comic art take over of Kendal an unbelievable success.

I received much-appreciative replies from both of the organisers, who were so obviously totally exhausted, both physically and mentally after their momentous efforts.

All that remains is to say that the guys are running the event again next year – make sure you plan for this in your next year’s schedule and take your families along to what you will find is an absolutely awesome festival, celebrating the many diverse universes that are the worlds of comics and graphic novels – not just super-heroes – unlike most other UK comics events.

I would certainly like to offer my services again and I know you will have a great time there.

Kudos to Julie, Justin and all the other organisers, volunteers, Westmorland Shopping Centre staff and security, all the restaurateurs, the Sundial guesthouse owners, all the many café and shop owners, estate agents, hoteliers, town hall staff, gallery owners, all the other comic and graphic novel creators and everyone else that played their part in making this festival such a resounding success.

It has taken me a week to catch up and then finally get round to writing this Blog, but I really wanted to spend time telling you folks just how great this event was. The only criticism is; I wished it could have lasted longer.

I leave the final words in the form of a few photos - not many I was so wrapped up in the event I kept forgettig to take them. Check out the bottom of the menu with Desperate Dan added - everyone got into the act like this - truly marvellous. Also look at the gorgeous food, the shop set up we had, some comics fans - now Worlds End fans strut there stuff after one of my workshops.
And lastly, but not least a picture drawn by a very young, Loris. If Loris' parents just happen to see this, drop me a line with a low-res photo of you guys, so I can see you are the real McCoy and I'll send you something in the post by return.

ThoughtBubble is my next UK comics venue on November 23rd and 24th so everything is set up for that. My expectations from this event have now been raised by the Lakes festival. I’ll Blog about this one in Leeds too, upon my return to the studio, following my trip to MaltaComicCon the weekend after on November 30th and December 1st – as I doubt there will be enough time to do so before I go out there.

The one thing that is now in my mind about the trip out to Malta is quite simply that Dave, yes, he of the Curse, is also flying out to MaltaComicCon, but he is on the same flight as me, oh and we are sharing a taxi to the airport too – so please wish me luck…

I may need it… LOL.

Check out my Blog on Friday 1st of November for details on fellow comic artist, Dave Windett and writer, John Gatehouse’s newly published book – The Kaci Bell Mysteries.

Next: Well it is Halloween isn't it - I'll post a creepy, spooky sketch at just after midnight on the day of the evening in question!!! See you on the 30th October for some fright-filled fun!!!

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
October 29th 2013

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9092. i heard it in the wind last night

Recently I've been getting out and about drawing in my local area. Not just sketchcrawling or urban sketching but drawing local people doing their thing. If you love drawing there's no end of subject matter out there. No end of people filling their evenings or spare time with whatever floats their boats - whether that be knitting or skateboarding or singing. I love this kind of drawing and, I find, it's always a bonus when there's music involved.
Here's just a couple of the many sketches I made at the High Peak Orchestra rehearsals.

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9093. Bowers pitches newest book...

Knuckleball Ned cover 

This pitch won’t cross the plate until next year but my newest title, Knuckleball Ned by R.A. Dickey will be published in 2014 (Dial).

R. A. Dickey is a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2012, he became the first knuckleball pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. This was a fun book to work on, R.A. Dickey is a very decent guy (very good with a baseball and a story) so this should be a home run, early next year. I can't wait!

I’m only showing a few images, now… more to come in early 2014.

Knuckleball Ned character sketches

This is where we started. First, the main characters in the story were developed as pencil sketches. 

Then I plug them into the story.  The final artwork was created with acrylic paint (washes) and a little air-brush work on the character's heads to get that baseball roundness.

So, even though R.A. didn't make the playoffs, this year...he's got a real winner hitting the shelves, early next year! 

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9094. Red Autumn

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9095. Illustration Friday: Creature

It's been ages since I posted, so I thought I'd join in with Illustration Friday this week as I couldn't resist the prompt.


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9096. Happy Fall, y'all!

My Happy Fall Owl design was licensed by Cohesion Products awhile back and is now available as a fun garden flag. Thanks, Cohesion and Pink Light Studio! It looks great! I'm pretty sure they are available at Michaels Arts and Crafts stores, but I can't verify that info at this time. (hee hee, I sound like a politician!)

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9097. Magritte-O-ween

I was playing around with a little mash-up of Magritte and halloween

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9098. Happy Halloween!

When did Halloween become almost as complicated as Christmas? I don't know about you, but we are definitely on day 10 of "on the twelfth day of Halloween my True Blood gave to me."

What did your True Blood give you?

Organ meat?

Endangered Animal pelts?

Antique Monster drawings?

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9099. SkADaMo 2013

SkADaMo 2013 post monkey

So, November is almost here! That means all the cool challenges are fixin’ to start soon. There’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), of which I am a participant of again this year.)

There are probably a bunch more, but suffice it to say, November is a busy month for some.

For the past two years, I thought, just to heap even more onto my plate, I’d make November a “sketch a day month” or SkADaMo (SkADaMo 2012, SkADaMo 2011) , for myself. Just trying to get back to the early days of my blog when I feverishly posted just about every single day. When my synapses seemed to be firing on all cylinders and ideas where presenting themselves to me faster than I could sketch or write them down.

Sigh. Those were good days.

This exercise may not have gotten me back to that place completely, but it did get the ole synapses firing again. And I figure between attempting a picture book idea a day and a sketch/blog post a day, I’ll at least have a notebook/sketchbook/blog filled with chicken scratches of some sort or another again this year.

Better than blank pages and outdated blog posts, I say.

I even made a badge for myself the past couple of years and one again this year.

I may be the only participant, but by golly I have a badge!

If anyone wants to join in, they are more than welcome to grab this badge, off to the side here and start sketching.



“What are the rules?” You may ask.

1. THERE ARE NO RULES! NO SIGN UP! NO REGISTRATION! NO GIVEAWAYS OR GUEST POSTERS!  No regulations, themes, daily words, Facebook pages or anything else resembling organization. Just lots of sketching, commenting back and forth and hopefully lots of inspiration and craft honing!
SkADaMoers are scoff-laws and Mavricks! (Really, I’m just not that organized.) The only code we live by this month is SKETCH! SKETCH! SKETCH! Sketch everyday from November 1 to November 30,or at least try to.
You may not sketch every single day, but by golly you will have tried and you’ll have more sketches in your sketchbook at the end of November than you might have otherwise.
So, there’s that!

2. If you send me a link to your blog, (or wherever you are posting your SkADaMo sketches) I will keep a running list of all the participants and their links on my blog. This way we can all keep in touch and root each other on. If there are any broken links, bad links, I forgot anyone, misspelled anyone’s name or any other heinous act was performed, please let me know and I’ll do my best to correct it.

3. Smile, this is fun!

Sketch on my fellow SkADaMoers, (should there be any!)

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9100. The Weekend Press

The weekend Press via grain edit

Our friends over at the recently launched Weekend Press have teamed up with some amazing designers to create a letterpress print set that pays tribute to Oakland. Featuring work from Brent Couchman, Anna Hurley, Carl Bender, Erik Marinovich, Eszter Clark, Javier Garcia, Jeffrey Bucholtz, Nate Leutkehans, Richard Perez and Albert + Marie, the limited edition set, aptly titled Oakland Illustrated, is currently available through their Kickstarter page.

In addition to the print set, special pledge packages have been set up for those willing to invest a little more. Perks include a private letterpress workshop and a chance to meet with one of the artists involved.


The weekend Press via grain edit

The weekend Press via grain edit


The Weekend Press via grain edit

The Weekend Press via grain edit

The Weekend Press via grain edit

The Weekend Press via grain edit

The Weekend Press via grain edit


Also available are two bonus 8×10 prints: “California”, a collaboration between Brent Couchman & Nate Luetkehans and “510 Forever”, a two-color foil print from Erik Marinovich, co-founder of Friends of Type and Title Case, featuring his first ever typeface “Hermanos”.

The weekend Press via grain edit

The weekend Press via grain edit



Also worth viewing:
Laura Cattaneo aka Half Past Twelve
Francesco Franchi / Intelligence in Lifestyle

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