Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Finally, the website for Uncle Silas is up and running!
I may tweek the content a little over the coming weeks, and the animated trailer is finished(!) but I'm just waiting on the soundtrack to complete it- it's being created presently; VERY exciting- so it should be uploaded sometime in the next several weeks, too.
Also yet to get around to creating the Teacher's Notes, but they're in the pipeline.
I'll also be adding little extras here and there over the year, like wallpapers and other downloads.
Be sure to check on it again at the end of the month for the trailer!!


Here's a nice little interview done last year with Cath Kenneally's 'Writer's Radio' on her Arts Breakfast Show on Radio Adelaide.
Nice little chat, slightly edited, but it's mostly there :)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


There'll be news, info, reviews, character descriptions, synopsis, downloads and the 
ANIMATED TRAILER for Uncle Silas: Genetis!

Monday, 14 November 2011


All those years of hard work slaving away on Uncle Silas: Genetis in my lonely artist's garret (ok, so maybe not, I was slaving away in the Watermark studio in Sydney) won me a Stanley Award for Comic Book Artist on Saturday night at the 27th annual Australian Cartoonists Association awards dinner in Sydney.
And what a night! Well, what a weekend, really...

The ACA run a conference the whole weekend with guest speakers and events and I was lucky enough to be invited to chat on a talking panel with Tim McEwen and Jozef Szekeres about Australian comics and graphic novels and the industry. Tim gave a great introduction showcasing Australian creators and artists that gave those uninitiated some idea of the talent out there, Jozef talked about his fantastic work and what a labour of love it is, and I babbled about my own gear for newspapers and my graphic novel.

This was followed up by questions from MC Jules and the audience and we gave our thoughts and impressions on the amazing talent pool in Oz and how damn hard it is to keep up with the volume of work being produced. The issue of being able to hunt them all down considering the disparity of the DIY minicomic movement and the lack of an Australian based distributor of comics was touched on, as was the accessibility of so many comics and graphic novels thanks to the internet.

Australian publishers such as Black House Comics, Gestalt and Allen & Unwin were discussed as were their agendas. I recommended to the ACA that they get these people in next year to have their own panel forum discussion- that would be terrific to listen to.

Ron Cobb was the headlining guest speaker over the 2 days and he gave wonderful anecdotes on his experiences both in cartooning for newspapers as well as his production design work for movies such as Conan, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Alien and more.

Nat Karmichael gave a very unique talk on Jon Dixon's incredibly popular newspaper strip Airhawk; Reg Mombassa was another guest speaker and Jordan Verzar gave an illuminating talk on his work with GRAPHIC, the comic book festival/event held every year at the Sydney Opera House. Jordan told of the whole Robert Crumb vs Jesse Phillips case and the incredibly devious libelous lengths the News Ltd hack went to for the sake of selling some newspapers that led to Crumb cancelling his trip to Australia where he was to be interviewed by Gary Groth on stage. Not helped by news people repeatedly harassing Crumb and his family over the phone for the sake of comment. No surprises he didn't come to Australia. There were plenty of other guest speakers and talks but I wasn't able to make them all unfortunately (sorry Anton and Eric!)

The Awards dinner was a fun affair and it was great catching up with buddies. Good mate Anton Emdin won 2 stanleys on the night, not surprisingly one of them was the gold Stanley for Cartoonist of the Year. He'd also picked up a Reuben Award in America earlier in the year (the first Australian to do so) and it was a safe bet he'd get some Stanley lovin' back home.

The Comic Book Art category is in its second year in the ACA and being able to submit Uncle Silas into it was a treat. Australia's got some killer talent in the comic creating field and I feel pretty lucky to get a gong this year. Once the rest of Australia's comics crowd catches up with this particular Stanley award the competition is just going to keep getting tougher and tougher, so I feel pretty bloody fortunate to get this one while I could!

A huge thank you to all the ACA peoples who made the weekend happen. Next years Stanley Awards promises to have Gerald Scarfe as a headlining guest speaker, so that should be worth going to.
Unless Jesse Phillips gets wind of it and manages to get him to cancel as well...

Saturday, 30 July 2011


Arts SA are a lovely, generous bunch. They've given me a grant to produce the first draft of the sequel graphic novel Uncle Silas: Earth. I'll be working on that over the next several months, collating my research, writing and storyboarding simultaneously approximately 160 pages of action, drama and sci-fi fun.

I won't be hindered by the Sunday Newspaper format for this one, so I'm going to let rip with the page layouts and design. Scenes will breathe on the page and fill out as their needs require, which is something I'm very much looking forward to doing. I can't wait to finish this book!!

As for what's going to happen in this story? You'll just have to wait and see, but I can tell you this much: The only constant in this universe is change. Oh, and there'll be more monsters than in book 1, you can be sure of that!

Friday, 29 April 2011


I couldn't have finished Uncle Silas: Genetis before the deadline without the huge help from Tony Giles and Tom Brown. They were my work for hire friends who flatted all the colours in the book.
For those who don't speak the parlance, 'flatting' is the preparation process of taking a black and white image, and in Photoshop adding flat blobs of colour underneath, matching up with the shapes of the characters, speech balloons etc to then make the second stage of colouring that much easier to do.
By selecting these blobs the fancy part of colouring with all the tones, shadows, highlights and special effects etc, is incredibly faster. Flatting is really a monotonous 'paint by numbers' process that nevertheless requires good Photoshop skills and an artistic eye. Two things these boys have in spades.

Tom's a web designer who's previous experience with Anifex behind the scenes in the computer dept. meant he was in control of a lot of complex cinematography involving stop motion animation, video editing and more.

Tony's just outright talented, and proves it with an intensely prolific output of his stylised oil paintings. Check out his portfolio, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Uncle Silas: Genetis is finally available to buy as a downloadable graphic novel from Dark Horse Digital!
Simply click the link and create an account, or download the Dark Horse Comics app from iTunes and then buy the book. For Australian readers it's $3.99.

I haven't seen it yet on an iPad, but considering how good it looks on my iPhone I'm sure it looks even better. I found the best way to read the pages were up close and rotating the iPhone to a landscape format. The navigation controls are super simple to use which is a huge bonus.
A welcome surprise was discovering the various 'reveals' as the panels popped up. Some of the panels read so well in this medium.
DH are also offering a HUGE range of free comics to tempt the curious so what are you waiting for? Check it out already!

Monday, 11 April 2011


WIRED's GeekDad gives a reasonable review of my book here.
It sounds like I confused GeekDad by not making it clear just who is the good guy or bad guy in the story, but it was always my intention not to. What interests me is that despite the high levels of interconnectivity in the forest, communication between species doesn't make it easier to translate. Especially when usually passive plants start being proactive and sentient at different rates. I also didn't want to make a book where every new species speaks english fluently. This leaves Uncle Silas and the kids reacting to events more than preempting them and this reflects life more honestly- adapting to change. Besides- I like making things difficult for them.

A lot of the other points that reviewers are bringing up is in part due to the size of the artwork in the book and the hangover of making it originally for newspapers.
Originally the book was meant to be A5 landscape, with a single weekly installment on each page, so the flow of the Sunday newspaper strip would be intact, and more importantly the artwork would be reproduced much larger.
As it was, halfway through me working on it DH went with a portrait dimension and stacked 2 installments per page (which makes a double page spread a whole month's worth!) which is fine and would have been great if the book was then A4 or thereabouts, but as it stands readers are missing the details I put in. There are some pages with 15 panels of action which at A5 is ridiculously busy.
Should the book go into a second printing (touch wood) I'll also add some splash page panels to really take advantage of the space, and to make clear some of the action sequences and to let some scenes breath and relax. I'll even add some extra talky panels to help readers catch up ;)

I'm taking all this experience on board for the sequel Uncle Silas: Earth, where I'll not be restricted by the Sunday newspaper format at all. I'll be able to really sink my teeth into the page layout and design and let the action really sing and fill out.

Friday, 1 April 2011


Here's my submission for Tides of Hope, an anthology produced by Supanova to help raise money for the Queensland flood victims. Tim McEwen's one of the driving forces behind this worthwhile comic, and Supanova's donating ALL publishing costs, and ALL MONEY RAISED from the sale of the comic at the Supanova events in Brisbane will go straight to the Premier's Relief Fund.