I begin with a courtly bow and a small, excited jig towards Laura Cameron, who, while distracted by Christmas lights and a particularly good day on the advent calendar, agreed to be my wife. She is a fine woman of many exemplary qualities, and an excellent jeweller, so go and buy her stuff, because she has a neurotic bum to support now.
In the spirit of New Year, New Seriousness, I actually sat down and read some advice on how to use your blog - sorry, online presence - more effectively. Give it some direction. The gist of it seemed to be to decide what you want, what the audience want and deliver it - straight line. And don't, I inferred, faff about leaping between photography, anecdote, a comic, three weeks of music videos and then a cartoon cat.
I'm entering a comic strip competition - the Eagle Initiative - (and from what I can gather from the internet, who bloody isn't) which has to be submitted at the end of January, and I've written the story, redrafted the script five times and sketched out each page but only just begun drawing the proper finished artwork. Yeek. I wanted two pages done before January began. So I'll be cracking on with it from now on.
It's the first outing of a character I've had rattling around in my head for about two years now, and who I've become very fond of, so it's been a rush and unexpected but fun, too. I was working on something just for my own amusement, a story inspired by a song and the work of Mike Mignola. I thought I can either sit around waiting for that invitation to draw a Hellboy story, or - you know, just in case it doesn't happen - draw one of my own. It's called Downbound Train and once I get this competition entry complete I'll get back to drawing the final page and adding the dialogue. There's a panel of Mignolaesque creatures shovelling bones into a steam train boiler that I particularly like.
This isn't it - I'm saving that...
I found out about the competition through Matt Craig, who was writing a story but was taken rather unwell just before Christmas. All the best to you, Matt, and wishing you a speedy recovery.
So: a competition to be swamped with entries, some seriously intimidating judges and a deadline like an oncoming train. Better try to start the car and get off the crossing...