And Now, Something Different…


I’ve been illustrating a story for the last few issues of Scoop Magazine, a publication for children in the UK.

These short stories are told Graphic/comic strip style, something I’ve been itching to try for quite some time now. Here’s the latest, the story of John Blanke, an African in the court of Henry VIII. It’s always good to move out of your comfort zone!

It took a while to find the right way to tell this story, despite making the sketches in a short time. I couldn’t get clarity about the finished look and had to do a fair amount of research before settling on something that is reminiscent of a woodcut/tapestry/ illuminated manuscript thing…

Once that was decided it took a minute to find ‘my’ version of these things. It’s easy to say ‘I’ll do a woodcut’, but quite another thing to do a woodcut! There were time and budget constraints to think about too. And then there was the writing.

Then most exciting thing about making comic strips is actually the writing (for me, anyway) and with this story, there was a lot of leeway with the text. Not much is known about John Blanke, other than he served in the royal court as a trumpeter, he was liked by Henry VIII, and his claim to fame was that he successfully petitioned the king for a promotion and a pay rise. Oh yes, and he got married at some point.

His real name was probably not John Blanke, and there was some ‘fun’ had imagining how he came to have that name. My guess is as good as any.

The latest edition of Scoop Magazine is out now.

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