Tag Archives: Paul Kercal

New projects new challenges.

Another screenshot from the new project I’m working on. Dr Sylver 3 is dated for the week commencing October 10th this year so it’s exciting to have a release date to hang on it and now, teacher training portfolio aside (which I REALLY must get onto although the irony of that statement is subject to a confidential document I can’t share with anyone) I’m now full time on this project and one other. Roll on July 3rd when I can start giving attention to them with less guilty feelings alongside.


This week has also been defined by uber athletes foot (which erupted in blood and other disgustingness on my big toe) and then a night of ‘both ends fighting the middle’ as one of my colleagues charmingly put it. Whether it was a bug caught from the doctor’s waiting room or an allergic reaction to the foot cream I don’t know but Tues – Thurs were not comfortable days. At all. Today is the first day I’ve been up to much so, like a twit, I walked son boy to the shop to buy a Slush Puppy (which came out with a completely different name on my phone when I tried to text wifey) and came back feeling like a poached slug. Still, it’s been a very positive day too so that’s a good ‘un.

Also: did this y-day using Brushes on the iPod touch. It’s surprising in a way – I’m so used to tools and layers and modes and styles and warps and filters – but Brushes is a joy to play with and watch the results. When I see the movie file play away I see areas that I would have changed had I not seen them from the outside in so it’s a fascinating process. I noticed @skottieyoung did a similar thing using (I think) Artrage Pro and Ustream in an interactive fashion. Not that I’m anywhere near having an audience such as his but that seems the nest step in the Brushes play – to have people chatting as I go but hey, step by step and all that.


Changing direction, grieving a little…

So change is coming, which I’ll write about soon but some aspects of my life are very much up in the air all over again. Not that I’ve not been in that position before and it was a time of uncertainty and blessing in that order so I’m sure faith and hope’ll get me through again. Still, as I reach the ripe old age of very nearly forty it gets less and less fun to juggle on a tightrope.

Diff subject:

one of the things I miss most was a personal and group project combined. The Guildford Big Book Draw was always a load of fun and, for the first three years, we (by which I mean wifey and I as well as some lovely helpful teens from the youth group) would get out loads of art materials and just have fun with whoever wanted to join us. Then, on the third year of doing that I did my back in carrying it, because we had so many people joining in. So last year we went small and did mini-books which was lovely as well. This year is up in the air and I truly hope we do it but we’ll see. Here are some of the paintings from two years ago and they’re all sorts of ace. One day I hope circumstances put me in a book draw place again…



For a variety of reasons yesterday was not the best. When things are tricksome like that I do find myself hiding into drawing and this is what came out of my computer, twice. The first time the package crashed near completion losing all my work (the former being the softwares fault the latter mine), the second time it did crash again but I’d saved it close enough to the end to catch up and complete to a point where I was happy to go to sleep.

Anyhow, today? Dunno, will see. Do feel that my life’s just taken a 180 turn by being hit in the face but I’ve said that before and that’s when I got into teaching, maybe the next turn will be equally interesting.

The golden tree and the gate to nowhere.


The tree is back and it’s time for a little backstory ūüôā

So there’s a competition going on in America for comic artists or writers to create a spin on a fairy tale. I’m doing something… hopefully unexpected, although I am riffing on something quite obvious in ways. We’ll see.¬†

What I AM trying to do, while doodling ideas out, is create a number of ideas which could have been fairy tales and are accepted as real life to the inhabitants of a particular world and this picture led to a story and that whole idea coming to be: in the story of the pic greedy elves trick people into giving gold at the base of a tree that they have lined the bark with golden thread. Should the person give the right amount of gold the gate will open and the tree will turn to solid gold and follow the traveller home. Someone outsmarts them and explains a counter tale he has heard that if gold is buried at the roots of a tree like the one the elves have then the leaves will all turn into a variety of precious metals and make them all rich. The greedy elves all dig as fast as they can and, when the hole is deep enough they climb out to find that the traveller has taken all of the gold they tricked people out of and gone far, far away.

So at least someone was happy at the end of the story, maybe he even gave the money to the poor, who knows? 

All of which bounced into my mind a: as soon as I saw the gold lines in the picture, b: when I really should be doing other things and c: very therapeutically.

Righto, off to teach x 2 and meeting x 2. Should be fun I’m sure……….

Sunday was Merritt meet day…

Long term reader may remember that I’ve become a total podcast devotee over the past few years. Rarely am I found not listening to one podcast or another and some; Joystiq, One Life Left, Fighting Talk, This American Life and many others have become firm weekly favourites. They’re pretty much taken over from music listening and tv watching for me… Podcasts are where it’s at and, in ways, where the market is heading – for good and occasionally bad.

Very high in my affections is Buzz Out Loud which, at its best, is a whip crack of a discussion with point, counter-point, offbeat tangent and rant about space travel and exploration batted around from one corner of a microphone to another. More often than not it sings me out of the day being the last thing I listen to at night because of the time it’s uploaded.

On Sunday the chief architect of the finest of cheesy links, Mr Tom Merritt, popped over to a London pub for a meet and, despite a number of facts that would have kept me away I was up there and enjoying the company quicker than you could say ‘oops watch out for that glass’.

(Which, in writing terms, is foreshadowing. We’ll come back to the glass later).

Of course, very cynically, this next part could be claimed as a lame attempt at networking. Tom also co-hosts an excellent fantasy book exploring podcast and, ahem, I’ve been known to write one or two of those myself. Recently they’ve been delving into my favourite fantasy series – Dune – and Tom expressed a high regard for that so the shared taste should have made it easier to say hi and beg a one-line quote right?

Wrongoloid. Big time.

Don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous passing a book on, ever. I was literally shaking prior to the meet, hiding in a corner as others went and said hi. I snuck onto the table as others moved to sit and chat and he noticed me and said hi and I nodded and raised a glass, total fanboy coward that I is.¬†

Anyhow the conversation, both with Tom and Nate from Cnet UK and a bunch of geeks of all flavours was chilled and easy, the beer was ace, courtesy of Weatherspoon’s excellent real ale festival (also mentioned by the equally esteemed Mr Dave Walker) and a card that I had drawn was serepticiously passed round the table for people to sign and say hi for themselves. I was glad to do it, I like the idea of someone taking something away when they’ve taken the time to do something nice for others –¬†hopefully¬†a reminder of a good time shared all ways round. ¬†I did the same thing at Larry Normans farewell gig in the UK but no idea if he¬†received¬†the card… Hope so.

Tom did get the card because, as we moved from pub to restaurant I passed it on myself as it was returned to me not him (but ran away before he had the chance to open it, just in case…) as well as a brown paper wrapped package containing Dr Sylver 1 and Messenger which I almost wimped out on giving to him. It’s one thing to beg a quote from the LICC, Lord Ron and others and I was delighted when the NDCS came out in support of the book, but I’m a huge fan of the other TM so it felt much bigger the risk. Hope he likes anyhow. Maybe it was a pleasant read on the flight back, maybe it’s excellent bedding for their hamster, maybe I’ll not know. We’ll see…

And the glass? Well at some point someone started to collect all of the empty glasses and then a small group of people were doing it, just to see how high the tower could become. I want to make it clear that Tom was on another table at this point and is in no way implicated in such beery, bleary shenanigans… Through distance alone if not sense also. Anyhow, I went for a brief break to take in the scenery of the inside of the building, one room in particular, that sort of thing, and when I came back a few short minutes later there was a very clear table and a huge amount of broken glass on the table, floor, chairs, and one bag. Some people had scarpered off into the distance, others were helping clear up and soon enough a slightly – and can’t blame him – frowny faced manager was sweeping it up and we were keeping quiet a little.

So, lesson learnt. No more jenga using pint glasses. It is, however, something we’ll remember for a good few years that said and, fortunately, no-one was hurt bar for blushes from those concerned. Earlier a half pint had been spilt during an animated discussion, sideways and towards people at velocity. After the pint glass leaning tower disaster incident that seemed pretty small beer in comparison.

Below is the original sketch for the card, the card itself and inner image, the brown paper, decorated pleadingly on the longer than normal train ride up as the nerves set in, and a tall talented person standing next to a small one (but hey, short power and all that…)


*edit: Tom said he loved the card ūüôā time well spent then…

**edit two: just noticed that that the thing I didn’t photograph was the back of the card. As anyone who’s had a card from me knows I always sign them “Rushjob cards inc” ever since that card for Sarah E all those years ago… This one contained that plus the exclamation mark explanation:¬†
* we admit we did the tatt but the cylon spine was there before we got here…
(or words to that effect, can’t remember exactly. I drew it out anyhow and then, of course, Tom’s on the webs defending Lost to Molly Wood’s Galactica positivity. Ah well, both are ace).

Behind the trees part 2.

I think, as the story gels in my mind, that I may call it Behind The Trees… even though I only brought it up as a description of the elaboration of the images that the current batch of Pixelmator doodles has led to…

By which I mean as a very long winded intro to the next image in the series.


Which also serves to show my revolting habit of not always naming layers when I’m working quickly. Very naughty, no-one tell my students ok?


On the subject of Tapestry I’ve just done two advert backers for Highland, one containing the new cover for one of their books which I designed at short notice. The older version was deemed to need something and, as soon as I saw the title, I suggested something new and was asked to mock it up. Bit of luck it’ll be approved and I’ll post that up here if it does.

In the short term here’s the image backer for Tapestry.