Monthly Archives: May 2015

‘A Marriage Ended’ The Graphic Narrative Process Part 3

It’s the other Matt again, writing again so soon. As I’ve mentioned in the last post I had been absent for a while because I was drawing and I thought to myself, “Should I upload the individual pages one at a time, or all in one go?” I decided on the latter and here it is ‘A Marriage Ended’, the draft version.

I must say overall it’s been a good experience; traditionally I would do the thumbnails of the pages and move straight onto what would be more or less the finished version. However, I wanted to be a lot more analytical and a lot more pragmatic about my area of practice this time around. I must say many hours have been put into this and it’s payed off. Plus, I’ve had plenty of positive feedback from people who have seen the pages, both face-to-face and online, and I had Matt cheering me on from the sidelines, which always helps.

To be honest, when I started it really was going to be a quick draft, but as time went on I just kept adding more and more, one of my flaws is that I can’t stop and could spend hours drawing a small car in the background but I have the rest of the page to do, that is why you may notice a slight increase in quality of the work when you compare the first page to the rest of the book. I drew these pages at A4, and just used pencils, pigment liners and some permanent markers. For some reason I felt the compulsion to add crosshatching, which is something I haven’t done since GCSE Art, I always felt it was tedious and not something that came naturally to me, yet I did it, I guess it’s one of those moments where I felt it was appropriate based on the tone of the story, whether it will continue, who knows. After they’re done, I scan them and digitally add a little colour, just to highlight some things, the final version will be coloured of course.

I had been adding the pages online via social media, but when I was finished I turned it into a PDF and uploaded it to ‘issuu’ it’s a great resource to utilise, it’s free and it digitally converts your work into a digital book, it can make you’re work look professional and can help give you a sense of what your book may look like if it was physically printed. Check it out and see what you think of what I’ve done so far, now onto the next step.– Matthew Parker,


‘A Marriage Ended’ The Graphic Narrative Process Part 2

Matthew Parker ThumbnailsMatthew Tucker Thumbnails

It’s me again, the other Matt, the artist. It’s been a while since I’ve personally updated the blog with progress with the short story, mostly because I’ve been drawing, but I need to retrace my steps and continue with my narration of my creative process.

After the script has been annotated and thought through it’s time draw thumbnails, I’ve used thumbnails before in the past but this time I am quickly imagining what the pages will look like for the draft (It’s a draft, of a draft, of a draft…) There are two images above, one is mine and the other are storyboards created by the writer, you’ll notice that my drawings are small and perhaps hard to make out, like in the past these are for my own benefit and the original images are no larger than the size of a matchbox each. It shows how quick this step is, but it still requires thought.

At the time I had already drawn my thumbnails and was going to show the other Matt, but I had a fun little idea I wanted to try; I’ve mentioned before how synchronised our minds are, and I know Matt doesn’t draw for himself, but I asked if he would have a go at drawing the script and he very happily obliged, I wanted to compare our notes afterwards and I was very happy with the results; we discussed our drawings and I found that we pretty much hit the same beats and in our minds saw the same imagery.

I’ve sort of talked quite a lot for something that is very quick in the process, but it became an interesting day and is an exercise that can be used in future and might encourage other collaboratives to use themselves. – Matthew Parker,

Scruffy little pup…..

Across the aisle from where I’m sat there’s a nice older couple off on their travels. I don’t know them, I don’t know where they are heading, or what their lives are like, but I do know that the scruffy little terrier dog curled up in the bag at the old mans feet keeps looking up at me and smiling. His eyes bright, inquisitive as the strands of fur that form his thick, bushy eyebrows half hide them from view. His ears cock each time there is a noise along the train carriage and he looks up before settling back down, relaxed and content. The way this little dog behaves, his obvious comfort with his owners, his gentle curiousity, his willingness to be petted and fussed tell me all I need to know about my travelling companions. Animals are seldom wrong, and they see straight through our human masks to the reality of our own animal within. They know us and see us for what we really are. It is always interesting to watch how animals interact with humans, how even the most well behaved and well trained dog will react badly to someone who he doesn’t trust.

The scruffy little pup raises his head from his snooze as the old lady rummages in her bag. He looks up expectantly, eager for the treats he is sure will soon be offered. His stubby little tail wags urgently, indicating his readiness for attention and, more importantly a tasty snack. She smiles back at him as she lowers her hand, opening her finger and offering her palm. The pup eagerly nuzzles and snuffles at the small pile of shredded chicken she offers him, licking her fingers clean, a thorough job, before circling three times, finding his comfortable spot and settling down once more, licking his lips as he lowers his head, content ansd satisfied, happy to be with his pack, no matter where they end up……

Torn apart….

The heavy drops of rain plastered her hair to her head as she stood, motionless, her clothes already soaked. Her face impassive as the water poured down her face washing the tears with it. Tears of bitter rage and frustration. Tears that she should have cried a long time ago but never thought she had the strength to, She knew better now. Time, and hard experience had taught her that she had reserves of strength that went far beyond anything she could possibly imagined. She breathed, deep, shuddering, the warm, wet May air heavily scented with the pollen from the trees surrounding her. The rain washing the pollen from the flowers and raising clouds of the pungent odours as the drops splashed on the already saturated ground. She barely noticed as she slowly closed her eyes, the rain flowing over her eyelids, splattering from her eyelashes, her makeup already washed away, her skin cleansed. A pause….

….She slowly peeled of each soaked layer of clothing as the hot water poured into the deep rolltop bath tub. Discrading each item on the floor she shivered as the cold garments peeled away from her naked skin, raising goosebumps. The steam from the bathwater filled her nostrils as she inhaled deeply. She stepped into the bath, gasping as the heat of the water scalded her skin, mindless of the discomfort she lowered herself down the water covering her body, reddening the skin instantly. She arched her back dipping her head, her face below the steaming surface of the bath, opening her eyes submerged, the hot water painful against the delicate orbs. Exhaling. A pause….

….The micron thin blade of the surgical scapel drew easily through the flesh on her wrists, softened by the hot water. She barely felt the sting of the blade as the bath water bloomed rich red, her vital life-force pouring from her as she draws in her last breath, submerging her head once more, knowing she will never rise again…..

The visit

She took a deep breath as she saw him walking down the stairs into the bar area of the club, his presence filling the room, overwhelming her senses, her pupils dilating at the though of what she was about to do. She had been watching him since the first time she saw him three months ago, her first visit to the event. He had made a point of speaking to her, openly flirting with her despite being at the club with someone else. She had spoken to other people attending the events she had begun going to and she knew that he and his partner were polyamorous, and that he regularly took over as event Dominant, providing submissives with a taste of his command and power. She had watched him at work, his strong arms easily overpowering whatever submissive he was working with, pulling them across his lap to be spanked, tying them to a cross to be flogged and whipped, his control harsh and absolute but at the same time deeply compassionate and loving no matter who was taking a session with him. She had watched with interest the previous month as he had taken a pretty blond to the leather spanking bench, positioning her on her hands and knees over it and administering a hard and prolongued bare hand spanking, pausing to caress the reddening flesh of her buttocks. She had seen his hand on the blonds shoulders as he held her in position easily, seen her body shudder as the spanking alone triggered deep and intense orgasms, shocking the blond with their suddeness and ferocity.

Now she sat, waiting, knowing he would come and talk to her, knowing that she wanted, needed him, that tonight it would be her turn to feel his strength, to give herself completely, to be guided by him to through a maelstrom of passions. She watched, smilng, as he approached, his eyes bright. Lifting her face to look up at him she took another deep breathand whispered “Please Sir, may I be considered for submission to you…..”

Grey skies….

Sitting on the train, the station around me dilapidated, the renovations yet to progress this far along the platforms. A 1960’s relic, concrete and steel, smoked glass and fifty years of grime and dirt at the centre of the busy, industrious city. A landmark, an iconic structure once, now being reclad in mirrored silver sheets, reflecting the city and its occupants to themselves, one side reflecting the new shopping mall, a monument to conspicuous consumption, the other side revealing the rotting corpse of a city in decline, its industrial heritage lost so long ago now that very few remember it. Above all, overwhelming the polished mirror finish, the dull, flat grey of the overcast sky, the suns warming rays barely penetrating the gloomy pall, the new clothes dressing the fading building mirroring the dark mood at the heart of am area where the divide between the have and have nots is so sharply brought into focus. The high streets of the city centre once homes to the better class of department store now alternating between betting shops, second hand stores, loan companies and the ubiquitous cheap and very definitely nasty food retailers. The denizens shell suited and permed, fake tanned and dripping with fake bling. The contrast to the clean floors and sweeping curves of the redeveloped end of town. The denizens there no better in their attitude or compassion, no better in their hearts or minds, but disguising their ugliness as the buildings they move between mask their true nature with a veneer of respectability. The shiny suit, the polished shoes, the expensive watches and jewellery and in the multi-storey carparks, the flash cars.

It doesn’t have to be like this, a straight choice between have and have not, a World defined and categorised by greed and wealth, humanities nature subsumed by an all consuming hatred each man for all others. There is a better way, and as I sit on the train, feeling the movement as my journey begins a tear forms in the corner of my eye as I think how easy it would be to step back from it all, to withdraw, to retreat to the safety of work, of mundane conversation about what was on TV last night, to stop thinking about all that is wrong with the World and the people in it. To stop caring….

….But that isn’t the way. That isn’t how this game is played. There is no rest, no cease from this battle that we should fight every day, with every ounce of strength we have, no mercy, no compassion, no relent from the fight against the forces that have brought humanity to this point, because every time another pair of eyes shuts, every time another voice is silenced, every time another of us turns their back and walks away the World moves one step closer to the edge….. and that will never do, because it’s a long war we’re fighting against ourselves….

The little bay colt….

Once, not so very long ago there was a beautiful pasture, full of the most glorious flowers, and sweet summer grass. The pasture belonged to farmer John and every day he and his daughter Lucy would walk out to the pasture to go and see the the old mare, Ruby and her rapidly growing young foal Spanner. Spanner wasn’t the foals real name. His real name was Spanish Blue, named after his father, the famous stallion True Blue, but the shortening of Spanish and the shape of the blaze on his face meant that the only name he ever heard was Spanner. He didn’t mind at all, happy running around his pasture, playing with his mother, chasing butterflies through the flowers. Farmer John had already promised Lucy that Spanner would be her first horse when he was old enough to be ridden and that together father and daughter would train him to be the finest horse there had ever been. Each day farmer John and Lucy would walk up the track to the pasture and lean on the gate together as Ruby slowly wandered over to greet them, Spanner running around her, excited by everything around him. He seemed to grow stronger and bolder with each visit, moving further and further from his mothers side, his long legs gaining better proportion as his body grew to match them. He was a strong colt, clean limbed and graceful when he moved, soft eyed and content, his placid temperament taken from his mother.

As time went on Spanner grew into a fine young colt, full of life and always pleased to see farmer John and Lucy each day as they came to the gate. It wasn’t so very long before the day arrived when farmer John decided that he was ready to begin his training and on that day, instead of walking straight up the track to the pasture he led Lucy to the barn behind the farmouse, and reaching up to the hook on the wall, took down a headcollar and rope, and without another word, handed them to her. Lucy smiled, knowing what was to come as together they walked up to the gate, but instead of leaning on it, farmer John pulled back the catch and opened it, leading Lucy into the pasture, just as Ruby began to wander over with Spanner running around her as he always did. Farmer John and Lucy stood together as the mare and colt approached, the old mare nickering softly to the colt reassuring him that all was well. She led him over to the farmer and his daughter, and as she approached farmer John held out his hand, palm up, fingers extended and Ruby gently placed her muzzle on his hand in greeting. Watching her father carefully Lucy slowly extended her own hand in the same way, and as she did so Spanner tentatively leaned his head and neck forward and, copying his mother, rested his own muzzle in her hand. Lucy smiled, her eyes shining with joy as she turned her head to look into her fathers kindly eyes. Farmer John nodded and Lucy slowly reached out her other hand slipping the headcollar over Spanners head, fastening it in place as the youngster accepted her as his owner……

Work in progress – artist collaboration update


The first draft of the graphic retelling of one of my little stories is complete, and I have to say that I’m delighted and amazed by the way in which it has come together. Working with Matthew Parker, a very talented young graphic artist is eye opening to say the least.

We’ve spend this morning going over the first draft and making suggestions for changes and amendments, a panel here, a layout there, and his I s tincture grasp of what my words are trying to say is wonderful. I’m seeing things in my writing through another pair of eyes and I’m liking what I see!

Watch this space folks…

The process

I watch them, sitting together, huddled, bent over the round table, a collection of notepads, sketchbooks and laptops as they work together, snatches of conversation, differences of opinion, debate, discussion as the work progresses. The flow of ideas, the merging of different thought processes into a cohesive whole, drawing together disparate skills, different thoughts and ideas as they move towards a shared goal, the project. The brief is poured over, dissected with newly discovered tools, fertile young minds exploring a dynamic new way of working, having to learn each others strengths and weaknesses, establishing roles for themselves and for each other, finding ways to distribute tasks and workload to produce the required standard. The interactions rise and fall in intensity as personalities clash and rebound off each other, the hard edges being rubbed smoother as the group begins to knit together. The body language of the members of the group shifting as roles are established.

What seemed a complex task begins to resolve into discrete components, broken down step by step, allocated and timelined as the lectures on project management serve their purpose. The voices, the body language softens as each member of the group finds their natural place in the whole and begins to work. Individuals come and go from the table as the afternoon progresses, tasks drawing them away to scour the library for reference material, or to make phone calls, or conduct research, a flow of bodies and information, as the individual who has become their leader orchestrates and controls the flows, drawing everything together, pulling the work into the required format, drafting and redrafting the written elements and guiding and encouraging the others. Time dilates as they work, from the outside looking in I can see the concentration and focus increasing as the completion draws near, the intensity rising again as the last steps are carried out.

The collective sigh of relief and the moment of relaxation as the job is finally done….

The hospital bedside….

Sitting beside the hospital bed, mouth dry, forcing each breath past my lips, her pale hand limp and cold in mine as I try to summon up the words, try to find the right way to tell her what she needs to hear. The signs above the head of the bed a constant reminder, as if one were needed of the inevitability of the outcome. White cardboard signs hand lettered in a black marker pen, “Nil by mouth” to the left of the bed “DNR” to the right. Those three letters a damning indictment of my inability to do anything, to help, to save her as she slips from my grasp, unable to cling to my hand any more. I remember it so clearly, the conversation with her doctor, being taken from her bedside, out of the private room where she lay sleeping, the harsh strip lights of the corridor, the sounds and smells of a busy hospital around me, the look in the Doctors eyes….

“There is nothing more we can do, the cancer is too far advanced. It’s just a matter of time now, and we need you to make a decision as to whether you want us to bring her back when she goes….. or not….”

I could see the distress clearly on the Doctors face. I don’t think he was comfortable putting a 14 year old child in the position of having to decide whether his mother would be resuscitated or not, essentially deciding whether his mother lived or died. I made it as easy as I could for him, answering clearly and quickly and turning away, saving him from further empty words of condolence. I didn’t need that, I didn’t need anything, I did what had to be done. I went back to her side, brushed a stray strand of her thin hair from her forehead, and leaned down to kiss her gently, before taking her hand and sitting at her side once more.

The words came, a simple phrase remembered from childhood, her words to me each night as she tucked me in, her eyelids fluttered as I spoke them, then she was gone…..

“Goodnight and God bless…..”