Friday, February 21, 2014


Another in a series of mini-interviews with the guest artists who are featured in Dump #2. Next up is Neil Paterson...

DR: Have you always been interested in comics?
NP: I didn't know that you could be interested in comics until I came to work at this verdamnt library! Before then I simply read the darn things.
Reading comics begins with the Beano and the Beezer which were delivered on a weekly basis to the house. These would have been sent for my elder brothers so I guess they were there from my very early infancy. On a similar basis, Tintin books - and a little later, Asterix.
My favourites were Dennis the Menace (before he replaced Biffo the Bear on the front page and thus lost his anarchic status) Minnie the Minx, Colonel Blink (I could never figure out whether his career as a gink had been enhanced or destroyed by his myopia) , the Numbskulls and the Bash Street Kids. Certain illustrators turned me right off. I never liked 'Tom Dick and Sally' for instance for that reason.
Favourite Tintin books would be The Castafiore Emerald - hilarious! - and The Calculus Affair. I model myself on Captain Haddock who puts his hand to his heart and gasps 'that's better' whenever he imbibes alcohol. I've gone right off Asterix.
Mum continued to get the Beano delivered and post it on to me (as the baby of the family) well into my first marriage. Thus I was able to watch the slow and sad deterioration of both the art and the storylines of the Beano as the number of frames diminished and the writers of the scripts appeared to lose interest in their characters. I have always believed that the Viz is the true inheritor of the quality of storywriting and illustration, albeit puerile.
I was aware of Superhero comics but have never paid much attention to them.
Gran Paterson would bring the comic pages from the Sunday Post when she visited from Bellshill. Not just Oor Wullie and The Broons, but Merry Mac's fun Parade with King Gussie and Keyhole Kate. The puzzles featured people whose faces were composed of numbers and you had to thus figure out how old they were. A favourite memory is sitting on my gran's lap while we read 'Oor Wullie' together. She would read so far and stop and I would read out the dialogue from where she left off in delight.

Our uncle who worked for IBM in America used to cut out and send comic strips from the States. Uhhhh... Sad Sack and Archie come dimly to mind. More than anything else about these I remember me and my brother used to cut the characters out of the comic and swap about their heads and bodies. We kept the bits in an old tobacco tin.
I was at primary school when I started making my own comic - 'Scotbloc' - which was named after the (in retrospect) vile cooking chocolate that we would pester our mum for squares of.
The characters in the comic included 'The Potty Blacks' who were a snooker obsessed family with very long noses which they used as snooker cues. I think this was the sole gag in the whole strip. 'Jamie the Schoolboy Detective' was on the front cover. He wore a duffle coat and had a tammie hat and walked with a crutch which seemed like a very cool and sophisticated appendage. I cannot remember anything much about him except that - Tintin like - he succumbed to chloroform in the last panel of the strip. And he had a pet cat. I cannot imagine that it ran to any more than two editions, shared with some friends.
In secondary school myself and two others in my art class created two editions of 'Gloverhouse' whose name derived from 'Penthouse' (a popular pornographic magazine at the time) and Colin Glover, a stocky redhaired classmate who played rugby. Immensely popular, it featured various adventures of Colin Glover including fronting his own versions of Motorhead (Gloverhead) and the Plasmatics (the Glovermatics) with Colin dressed as Wendy O. Williams including breasts with black tape over the nipples. The rest was insulting cartoons of art and PE teachers, classmates who provoked our ire and lots of cocks as I recall. Including the unimaginative adventures of The Cock Family. One edition was confiscated by a PE teacher, the other disappeared when left in the glove compartment of a friend's car which got scrapped along with a copious back catalogue of paper based jazz mags.
Asides from Gloverhouse, secondary school was an inspirational time for offensive cartoons decorating jotters, textbooks, posters, desks and walls etc.
I had to sandpaper all the desks in my German class for drawing a cartoon about a product called '28 days Pure Menstrual Juice' on one of the desks. My good friend Digby Sym was asked in front of the whole English class by his teacher why he thought the size of her breasts was a reflection of her teaching abilities. Poor Digby was unaware that his homework had been illustrated with a figure at the bottom of the page sporting a massive erection saying 'Just because you've got big tits Miss Hill doesn't mean you can mess with me.'
I have been delighted that Viz Comic runs a defacement competition which recalls those happy days where marks are awarded for speech bubbles too small to contain all the text (generally saying things like 'yum - I love spunk'), huge cocks, V shaped tits with stick nipples and steaming piles of shite. I am also proud to observe that my 15 year old son and his friends enjoy the same innocent pleasures on their jotters although his draughtsmanship is not as good as mine.
But I digress. Next question?
DR: What has been your experience in making comics between 28 days Pure Menstrual Juice and your contribution to Dump?
NP: I drew cartoons for some student magazines when studying Art History at St Andrews University and was always astonished at how little attention and praise they drew. The notion that JBS Haldane had a younger brother – ‘Chippy’ - who was a Flyweight Boxer and won the Driesh Boxing Championships was apparently not very funny.
From that negative experience on, I drew few cartoons, never mind making comics. This was until my wife and I began making designing, dyeing and printing T-Shirts in the middle of nowhere and I drew a promotional flyer featuring an artist cat who wore a beret and sunglasses and the title of the ‘business’: ‘The T-Shirt Shack’. For unknown reasons the cat became a dog named Artie and with his companion Troon the cat began to make pronouncements about art and philosophy in 12 – 16 frame cartoon strips.
An unfortunate and heavy drinking acquaintanceship with the editor of Green Scotland Magazine led to the ‘T-Shirt Shack’ appearing in their august pages along with my designs for the front covers and a Nature Diary. The ‘T-Shirt Shack’ also appeared in the pages of the late and much lamented Neil Mathers’ ‘Epoch’ magazine. ‘Green Scotland’ had a modest distribution, whilst Epoch was generally handed out freely by Neil Mathers to whoever wanted to read articles about Proudhon and the like photocopied out of library books. He was always upset when even his free copies were left lying unread in the pub. Oh well.
The Green Scotland editor persuaded me to write more TSS adventures and they were printed up in their own magazine ‘The Revolutionary Almanach’ which generated as much interest and financial reward as ‘Epoch’. I trailed several hundred copies of that bloody comic from house to house following various flits and evictions until they were humanely destroyed in a conflagration of furniture and oversized oil paintings outside Forfar producing a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of flame by night by which I led my family to Kirriemuir and a smaller house. A few copies must surely exist, although the only two I am aware of are mine and one kept to this day – for reasons which are difficult to understand – by my ex-wife.
From then on cartoons and certainly comic books did not feature in my oeuvre, although my ‘style’ is broadly ‘cartooney’ until last year when a review of my creative output led me to the conclusion that indeed, cartoons and cartoon strips were the direction I should be going in.
Unfortunately a re-awakening of interest in drawing cartoons coincided with beginning working at Arbroath Library where there is an enviable collection of ‘graphic novels’ covering a range of themes, styles and genres I had never conceived of. It’s given me a lot to think about. Too much. Now, if I were to pick up an 0.8 drawing pen it would make the front page of the Courier. Contributing to ‘Dump’ briefly interrupted this blissful nadir.
DR: Glad to hear it. What else have you been up to, artistically speaking?
NP: Artistically the concentration has been on amateur dramatics and Burns Night recitations of late. The local Panto is an enormous favourite and last year I was lucky enough to finally fill the shoes of the Dame in Kirriemuir! (The director gave me his sage advice: ‘Dinna dae it too poofy’ which alerted me to the deep aesthetic consideration the previous incumbent had given to the role.)
However, my companion in performance crime, Mark Thomson – to whom I affectionately refer as Sweary Poet (SP for short) – has often stressed to me how much time and energy I give to these pursuits and how little in consequence I give to my own writing and performance. This is very true, especially considering that I am obliged to work a minimum of three nights a week and cannot help but view writing or drawing in my spare time as ‘more work’.

So this year is the ‘Big Push’ with ‘The Hardest Chip Shop in Scotland’. Following my acclaimed appearance as Holy Wullie at this year’s Aberlemno Hall Burns’ Night I have notified amateur directors and producers that I will NOT be available for shows as I shall be concentrating on developing and producing the HCSIS performance. To this end I have written a LIST of things I need to do to achieve this outcome.
Let me tell you in some detail about this show.
I first met SP when I was doing my Community Education college placement in Whitfield and the Hilltoon – he was a poet who had got involved as a participant in a project based at the now disappeared Highwayman Pub turned Community Centre. I had not long got the band the ‘Duke of Portland’ going and invited him and two other poets in a similar vein – Gary Robertson and Kevin McCabe (collectively Tribal Tongues) – to be our support. The mix worked wonderfully well.
Following the demise of DOP, it took an invitation from SP to continue to work together to rekindle my will to perform my songs. Quite simply he would do one of his poems then I would do one of my songs, then mebbe a couple of poems then me – de dah de dah de dah… Well received if a little unimaginative in presentation. It was during a gig in New Deer (of all places) that we walked into one of the hardest chip shops in Scotland, and some new songs and poems were born.
The Hardest Chip Shop in Scotland as a title is, I feel, an excellent brand for the performances – but suffers from not living up to the expectations that the title (and poster) build in the imaginations of the audience. Asides from wearing chip shop style white coats and writing MOCK CHOP on our knuckles there has been little to bind the poems and songs as a ‘show’. What I (am trying to) work on now is a collapsible set that I can fold up and transport to gigs in the back of my car; characters (with costumes and monologues) that can enter the chip shop as customers and then sing my songs; a dedicated Facebook page with short sample videos and a storyline that will give everything coherence. I want it to roll out like a sketch/song/poetry show, seamless and without blemish.
However, saying stupid things that make people laugh in company is easy. Sitting on your own at a desk trying to wrestle funny things out of the unprovoked imagination is shit.
DR: How did you find the process of drawing “Cycling Through Freedom”?

NP: Piece of piss.
Interpreting and developing somebody else's ideas is no bother. Trying to crack ideas out of the pumice stone of my own mind is the problem.
DR: Can we expect to see more comics from you in the future?
NP: As I go through a period of rampant ideas (sadly not matched by any tangible signs of creativity) I have realised that a good bit of merchandising to accompany The Hardest Chip Shop in Scotland’ would be ‘the Chip’ – the official organ (comic) of THCSIS, featuring the adventures of the various characters and for sale at gigs. Done naff all about it as you can imagine. If anybody wants to write the scripts I’ll happily draw the damn thing. 

Neil is available for commissions for illustrations and songwriting. Contact him at

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Another in a series of mini-interviews with the guest artists who are featured in Dump #2. Next up is Damon Herd…

DR: Have you always been interested in comics?
DH: Yes, I've always been interested in comics. i remember buying the NUTTY when I was a kid and had a drawing published in issue 26. 

I had a few Marvel UK Hulk comics as I loved the TV show (also Wonder Woman but never got any comics). I never really read much superhero stuff after that, I do remember spending days in the local library reading Asterix and Tintin books. My Dad had fabric pens for drawing on T-shirts and I made my own Asterix T-shirt!
I recently remembered reading TOPS magazine, which was a rival to Look-in and had TV and pop music strips. I was a big fan of Adam Ant and they ran a bio strip about him as well as fantasy adventures, that was probably my first experience of autobio type comics.
As a teenager I read 2000AD and then Deadline and started getting into American indie comics when I discovered Peter Bagge's Neat Stuff and Daniel Clowes Lloyd Llewellyn. Then Love & Rockets and Dennis Eichorn's Real Stuff. Autobio became my big thing especially Eddie Camppbell's Alec, David B's Epileptic, and Julie Doucet's Dirty Plotte. Most recently I've been impressed by the work of Geneviève Castrée and Ulli Lust.
I did a short strip for Graphixia last year about my life in comics (
DR: What had been your experience in making comics yourself before your contribution to Dump?
DH: I drew the occasional comic as a kid. I remember making a Danger Mouse one as a kid with a pal and I used to copy the characters in Asterix. If I drew a superhero he would have the physique of a muscly legionnaire.
The Weetabix skinheads were an influence too. I didn't draw much in my teens which I regret but slowly picked it up again in my 20s with a very occasional one pager.
I didn't really get going again until my 30s when I went to art school. I studied Book Arts and they were very happy for me to make comics as my projects. I started to do my own minis, such as You're So Vain which looked at scalp replacement surgery. On my illustration MA I produced my autobio comic The Adventures of Ticking Boy.


Twitter and tumblr are both good ways to discover and connect with other cartoonists, and for the last 2 years I have taken part in 30 Days of Comics. Each day in November you have to create a short strip. I've produced a minicomic of my results each year.
The creating of strips has been sidelined slightly by my current PhD studies but I have produced some autobio strips as part of my research.
DR: What other artistic pursuits do you follow? I've seen you implement guitar playing into your comics talks.
DH: Ha, yeah, I did play an electric guitar soundtrack to a strip at a DeeCAP performance evening. DeeCAP stands for Dundee Comics/Art/Performance and we host comics readings which can be as straightforward or highly performed as the artists like. You've done a few great turns there yourself! Interestingly I started off by just reading prepublished strips but for the performance you mentioned I created the strip knowing I wanted some sort of musical accompaniment. The strip doesn't really work without the music. We are planning the next DeeCAP in April as part of Dundee Comics Expo. I am not an accomplished musician by any means but I like to have a go and I know a few chords.
I am also a practising fine artist and have been part of several exhibitions across Scotland. I work across several media including murals, video, installations and print making, I'm especially partial to screenprinting. Much of my work is influenced by comics though, either by including comics language such as panels and balloons, or by actually being comics such as my piece on Sandford Fleming, the inventor of standard time, which was a 4 panel comic strip in which each panel was 1m x 1m.

DR: How did you find the process of drawing "Why I Vote"?
DH: I enjoyed it. It was a pleasant change to work from someone else's script - difficult to do if most of your work is autobio! And it was an an insight into another person's way of working. If it's not cheating to do this, you can see my more detailed thoughts on collaborating with you in my post at Graphixia

One thing I didn't mention there though was the trying out of a new working method for me. Usually I pencil the page on Bristol board then ink it and then, once dry, I rub out the pencils. I recently got a lightbox and so this time I did the pencils on paper and used the lightbox to then trace the inks on board. No pencils to rub out on the finished art!
Can we expect to see more comics from you in the future?
Good question! I've put together my strips from 30 Days of Comics in November and should be printing that shortly. It will also be featured in Graphixia's 30 Days... epublication which should hopefully be available soon.
I've done a few strips for my studies which I will collect at some point but not until I have finished my PhD! It would be good to have another issue of Ticking Boy out by the end of the year but I might get lost in finishing my PhD, we'll see.

Have a look at for more information.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Saturday, February 08, 2014


Beginning today is a series of mini-interviews with the guest  artists who are featured in Dump #2. First up is Stephen Boyd…

DR: Have you always been interested in comics?
SB: Yes.....and no. I grew up with Oor Wullie, The Broons (in Scotland it's kind of mandatory to read these as a kid and it's ok not to grow out of them), The Beano all those DC Thomson staples. Then I discovered Starblazer comics and would pick them up if the cover grabbed me, which was often because I love sci-fi.

I used to occasionally pick up The Eagle and I bought 2000AD religiously. In my teens I really enjoyed stuff like Crisis, Strip and Toxic (while they lasted). I read The Sandman, Alan Moore and Akira as a student and then I got bored of comics. I'd look at what was made available to me in deepest darkest Dundee, but it all seemed a bit silly. Except for Maus, which blew me away, but as far as I was aware that was a one of a kind blip, so my interest in comics dried up for a few years. And then someone introduced me to Jaques Tardi's 'It was the war of the trenches' when it was released by Fantagraphics and that opened up a whole new world of comics that I'd been missing for all these years. I’ve been pretty much catching up since.
DR: You’re welcome. What had been your experience in making comics yourself before your contribution to Dump?

SB: It's actually been quite limited. I drew comics when I was a kid, silly little stick figures acting out jokes, but what 6-10 year old didn't? This carried on into my teens, mostly Viz knock offs and 2000AD inspired nonsense. I'd always liked drawing and did art at higher level but found the teachers at my school downright unhelpful, particularly if you wanted to follow a more graphic or comic bookish path. I left school with 2 highers, English and Art and always said I was only ever qualified to write and draw my own comics yet never got round to doing it. I still kept a hand in at the drawing, just as a hobby, while I pursued other interests, but the nearest I got to anything comics related was trying to learn to draw in the manga style. And that was it till my mid 30s. The relationship I was in at the time broke up and I found myself with a lot of spare time on my hands so I drew to stop my brain thinking. That drawing became the beginnings of a few comics that I never got round to finishing but had potential if I possessed anything amounting to an attention span. Of course, you and I worked together in the real world at this point and you saw much of the work I was doing, and did best at encouraging me to continue working on it. I intend to finish them off someday in the future or maybe start something else but I'm so busy just now with my nurse training. I still draw and my style has taken on a quicker, more sketch like immediacy, partly because I need to work in a hurry because life's so damned busy, partly so I can finish a piece before my attention span drifts off again and partly because I'm unashamedly trying to draw like Eddie Campbell.
DR: How’s the music going?
SB: Slowly, but well. I'm slowly putting another EP together but who knows when it'll be ready. Again its finding the time to record at the moment. I get a lot of false starts the way I make music. I write as I record so I never have that much of a notion of a finished piece at the beginning. I prefer it that way, much more exciting and organic. I like the chance to experiment while creating and it's hard to do that with too many pre-conceived ideas before starting. The more you prepare beforehand the less honest it gets I feel. You might have found that with your story 'Everything' I'm guessing. 


Anyhoo, I'm a big fan of the ethos of Sister Corita Kent, a nun who taught art and made posters in LA during the 1940s and all the way through to the 60s. She wrote these 10 rules for her schools art department to promote creativity  and includes gems such as 'Rule 4 - Consider everything as an experiment' and 'Rule 6 - Nothing is a mistake. There's no win and no fail. There's only make'. I like that idea. Sure it may result in creating something self-indulgent, but to a degree the very act of creating and putting it out there for others to see or hear is self-indulgent and I have no problem with that. My only problem just now is not following Rule 7 enough ‘The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things’.
DR: I suggest your next recording session should be done live with a bass player and drummer.
SB: I’m game for that. It’s one of the things you miss not being in an actual ‘band’, that spontaneity of jamming, the one time, never to be repeated performance. I listen to a band like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and think one person couldn’t possibly create that, music like that can only be made by a collective of musicians with a long enough runway but then you hear Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells knowing that it’s all the work of one bloke with a lot of time and dedication spent on his craft. There’s more than one way to do these things and I’d like to try them all out and see the end product of each of the different processes, for better or worse. As the good sister said, ‘Nothing is a mistake’.
DR: OK, let’s record our next jam then.
Unlike the other stories in Dump where I gave the artists a script, kind of, more exactly a page layout with dialogue, doodles and stage directions, I wrote Dream of Being You on top of your existing page of art. How was it seeing the finished page? Imagine I’m not me and answer truthfully.
SB: It would be an understatement to say that I was really pleased with it. It was the first time I'd ever seen anything of mine in print and I showed it to everyone I knew saying how I was technically a published comic book artist. Process wise, it was an odd way of doing the strip but I'd definitely do it again. I remember getting the e-mail to draw a page and thinking I'd love to but I just don't have the time. I had a collection of single page efforts and offered you your pick of those. Originally it was going to go in unchanged but then you asked if you could rewrite over it Marvel style (which I reckon you had planned to do all along) which I had no problem with. My story was OK but nothing special and certainly not something I was emotionally invested in. I much prefer what you did with it.

DR: I guess I have to answer your gentle accusation. When I took your page I was originally going to run it as it was. As I got closer to publication though, it did start to niggle at me that I had written everything in the comic except your page. It felt like your story was an oddity in there. It occurred to me that I could write on it, if you were OK with it. So no, I hadn’t planned it all along. 
Anyway, just to confirm: Can we expect to see more comics from you in the future?
SB: Sorry about the cheeky wee quip, I have absolutely no doubt in your intentions and to be fair I would have felt the same niggle for exactly the same reasons. I get very like that with music hence my short lifespan in most of the bands I've been a part of. And as I said, your story was far better.
Now, to answer your question. I'd like to think there would be more comics out there with my grubby paw prints on them in some way in the future but who knows. I did consider starting a blog that was just single strips or instalments of stories, like you did with Berserkotron, and perhaps that will still come to something, perhaps not. What I can say is that there will definitely be another E.P. release by The quietest page before any future comics related work.

You can have a listen to Stephen’s music at and