Tag Archive: Thought Bubble

Thought Bubble 2011 round-up

I’ll be honest, I would have been happier if Thought Bubble had been Saturday-only; Sunday’s emptiness put a downer on a good weekend. However, we sold a fair few copies of our new comic, The Moon of Endine (now available in our online shop, as well as in Leeds at Travelling Man and Forbidden Planet), and some of our year-old graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry.

If we hadn’t been there on Sunday we wouldn’t have met Brian Gorman (and he wouldn’t have bought a copy of The Moon of Endine). Sadly I rolled in rather late to the conversation, having had a bit of a break in the Royal Armouries to look at the fencing swords, but Mark reliably informs me that I missed an enjoyable chat with a purveyor of fine anecdotes. Who also happens to be doing a graphic novel about Joy Division – what’s not to like?

I also indulged my geekier side and in a quiet moment asked a bemused Dr Geof to sign one of his physics cartoons from long ago. Yes, I did cut a cartoon out of Physics World and keep it for several years. Yes, I did used to read Physics World.

I saw some amazing art by Kev Crossley, and met a few people who’d bought and enjoyed Boys Don’t Cry either at or since the last Thought Bubble, which was reassuring, to say the least. One of those was Lani Irving who does rather snazzy embroidery and unique artistic books; I’ve also just noticed she said some lovely things about us on her blog <blush>.

The Librarian, who was in attendance on Sunday, found and purchased a publication called The Green Bean that mentioned libraries, and was very, very happy. I got lots of random ideas for stories and comics that may never see the light of day.

See some photos from the day at Flickr. I’m off to drink more tea.



Available in Leeds…so far

Our new comic The Moon of Endine arrived from the printers (and rather good it looks too – thanks, Inky Little Fingers) and is already available at the Leeds branches of both Forbidden Planet and Travelling Man. As I write, it isn’t in our website shop, but just as soon as OneMonkey has some spare time (in between putting together our other new comic, which is a cartoon – quite a departure for us) it will be there, so do check back soon if you’d like a copy and don’t happen to live within shopping distance of Leeds.

And don’t forget we will be at Thought Bubble next weekend, in the Royal Armouries hall. Hope to see you there.

Earlier this week, amid tea and chocolate digestives, the Ostragoth trio (that’s us) finalised our new comic, The Moon of Endine. All we need is OneMonkey to finish lettering it, and it’s ready for printing; when it is, it’ll be available to buy from our online shop and of course at Thought Bubble in Leeds in November.

It runs to about 40 pages, and is all in black and white (I know Boys Don’t Cry was almost entirely black and white, but it did have occasional hints of purple). Mark’s gone for a more traditional approach this time, hand-inking the pages before scanning them in, instead of sketching, scanning, then inking on computer. Much fun was had making black splats with brushes, apparently.

The story is set on a frontier planet: tight-knit communities, subsistence farming, and werewolves. Not that surprising perhaps when the moon’s on a decaying orbit and slowly dominating the sky.

As a bit of a taster of the stark monochrome of this Western-style tale, here are a couple of panels:

It’s that time of year again, we’ve just booked our table for the Thought Bubble convention in Leeds in November. It’s running over 2 days this time, and we’ll be in the Royal Armouries Hall. I’ve been having a quick look at who else is going to be in there with us, and I love the style of Jade Sarson’s Cafe Suada.

We went, we sold, we survived

Who knew Thought Bubble would have been so tiring? Nervous excitement I guess. Photos from our trip to Thought Bubble can be seen on Flickr if you’re interested. We had a good day, we met some nice people, we bought some comics and a surprising number of people bought our stuff (yay!). The Ostragoth website now has a fully functioning shop, where you can get hold of Boys Don’t Cry or some of Mark’s prints.

More about Thought Bubble later, but for now – to the teapot!

And instead of being at the ‘pre-con drinks reception’ I’m at home writing a blog post. Doesn’t that just tell you everything you need to know? Still, the launch of Boys Don’t Cry has finally arrived, the long-awaited (and at times, seemingly mythical) day is upon us (or will be in a few hours), I think everything’s ready and it’s all most exciting.

Should any of you happen to be there at Thought Bubble tomorrow, do drop by and say hello. I’m aiming to take lots of photos and put them on Flickr, so even if you don’t go, you can enjoy the experience second-hand.

Two and a half days left

Less than two and a half days really – today’s almost over, which leaves Thursday and Friday, then on Saturday morning we’ll be on an early train to Leeds for Thought Bubble. At last. And after a couple of nail-biting weeks our debut graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry arrived from the printers this morning.

Graphic novel and postcards

Graphic novel and postcards

Prints and postcards

Prints and postcards











We have a tablecloth, business cards, some change, and A4 envelopes to put prints in. We know which train we need, we’ve arranged a time to meet, and I have a list of things we need to remember to take with us on the day (I do like lists).

At today’s final Ostragoth meeting before Thought Bubble, we were discussing Mark’s different styles, and the conversation got round to the caricature of me that he did not long after we met (the caricature which stayed on my office door for about 2 years, just so people knew who was in there), so I’ll leave you with that…

The artist's impression of the writer

Here’s my card

More printed advertising matter for Thought Bubble: we now have business cards (calling cards?), how ridiculous, but it’s a useful way of having handy contact details for people to take. They look and feel pretty good and substantial (thanks, Optimalprint)

Cards designed by Thousand and One Monkeys; art by Mark Pexton

Thought Bubble is three weeks today – time to start getting seriously nervous.

Did we draw it big enough?

So, our banner for Thought Bubble arrived.

Our new banner for Thought Bubble

OneMonkey dwarfed by the banner

A good selection of Mark’s art (and the colours came out well), but it’s huge! Thankfully it rolls up into a case, currently tucked out of the way (so I hope we don’t forget it on the day). I guess the idea was to be noticed, and I think this is going to be hard to miss.

OneMonkey has been working away steadily on the ostragoth.co.uk website, which now at least has some links (to this blog, to my writing blog, and to Mark’s art portfolio). Once we’ve officially launched our graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry at Thought Bubble in Leeds on November 20th, we should be adding the facility to buy copies online. And of course as we produce more comics, graphic novellas or other similar collaborations they’ll be available there too.

Since we’ve had interviews with the artist, and I often air my views in these posts in lieu of interviews with the writer, I thought it was about time OneMonkey (letterer, editor, model, web designer, manager) spoke. Though he claims there’s not much to say.

Recently I’ve been fiddling around with registering a website and finding a webhost, sort of thing. At the minute we just have a very simple holding page up, but one that should be fully html5 and css3 compliant. Actually I should check that.

Then I asked for less technical stuff (once a sys admin, always a… geek, I guess):

I’m using @font-face for the fonts to try and make the website look similar to the graphic novel, but interestingly it doesn’t seem to work in Internet Explorer even though I thought it had downloadable font support in Internet Explorer 5. So far the website looks OK in firefox, chrome and safari but I guess I’ll have to poke at it a bit to make it render properly in IE.

Which is still quite technical…

For people using webkit browsers (safari and chrome) the holding page should have a gentle wind-strewn petal animation as a little extra (purple petals feature in the book). Firefox users might get css animations available in firefox 4. I haven’t made this css3 animation live yet because I was thinking it might just look out of context for people who haven’t read the graphic novel.

So if we skip the programming jargon, what OneMonkey seems to be saying is that he was going for the visual style and feel of Boys Don’t Cry reflected in the Ostragoth website. Coherence, if you will. Which (possibly) brings us nicely to the lettering style. I asked how he decided on the fonts, layout etc:

I had a reasonably clear idea of how I wanted the lettering to look – and no, lettering doesn’t mean I’m a tracer, because Mark did the inking of his sketches himself (everyone will get that, won’t they?).

Chasing Amy, if you didn’t spot the reference.

The text was essentially broken up into speech and prose. The prose was going to be like broken up blocks of distressed typewriter-ish text (which is the font you see on the website). The speech had to be visually different, and I essentially chose what I thought was a nice suitable font.

I asked if the dream sequence fonts were different again, as they fit with the more grainy unreal style of the art there:

Ah no, that’s the clever thing. The speech font is actually a little distressed also, and that shows up more at larger sizes. There’s very little speech in the dream sequences.

This page is a good example:


A page from a dream sequence in Boys Don't Cry
A page from a dream sequence in Boys Don’t Cry


For anyone interested, I did the lettering in OpenOffice Writer, with the art as a page background. The 80 pages were then exported to pdf to go to the printers. OpenOffice did have problems with this to start with but the art was at a greater resolution than necessary for printing so I resized it for printing. Is that incredibly boring?

Naturally I’m too polite to comment.

My current concern is getting the proof back from the printers in time for us to make any necessary changes to the print order in time for the deadline for the Thought Bubble print run. In the meantime I’ve been organising poster prints and postcard prints (for any fans of Mark’s art). These should be available with us at Thought Bubble, or perhaps even from the website when I get that bit sorted out.

I feature quite heavily in Boys Don’t Cry, being Mark’s photo-reference model for Hunter. I’ve had my hair cut since then though. It didn’t seem weird working with all those pictures of me. Mainly I was looking at the pictures in terms of dpi, aspect ratio and layout. I keep thinking I haven’t contributed much to this…

As OneMonkey walks away humming I’m Too Sexy again, I realise his ‘not much to say’ has expanded into a fairly long post.