Creating a Comic – 06 – It’s f**king finished

I can’t explain how over the moon I am.  I’ve actually finished the first issue of Love in London.  I’ve been struggling with this damn thing for about six months now and thought I was never going to finish it when I had a happy accident which got the whole thing running at a remarkable speed which should hopefully have the next issue out in not so long a wait of time.  The long and short of it is, I went to Rob Deb’s birthday celebrations and forgot to charge my tablet before I left, so I brought my sketch book and a biro to work on some ideas.  I was also hoping to see Captain America 2 The Winter Soldier in the cinema but got the times wrong so I had two hours to kill in the West End of London.  So I went to an art shop, which like a DFS Sofa shop has a permanent sale on all year round.  I was immediately asked if I needed any help by the shop assistant which always strikes me as someone challenging you as a shop lifter and to her surprised I said yes and explained that I wanted some proper pens to draw a graphic novel I’m playing about with.  She was very helpful in parting me of £7.50 of my idly earned cash and I toddled off to The Chandos, my old watering hole.  The upstairs section is still beautiful and has leather seats and little alcoves where the lone drinker can hide themselves in the heart of theatre land.  Which is what I did and sketched away till it dawned on me by using the old fashioned method of pen and paper the process will speed up considerably.  I had a pencil in my bag and worked on an idea I’ve had in head for issue two.  I inked over the drawings and rubbed the pencil and within an hour I had made good progress on the opening speech I had only in my head.  So I decided to do the rest of the comic by physically drawing it.

Rob’s get together was a ton of fun.  It started off a bit awkward as the venue he chose was definitely not my kind of place.  It was full of thin well dressed beautiful young people ordering cocktails.  I could tell it was putting everyone ill at ease because I was looking forward to seeing Richard Sandling and at first I was struggling to have a conversation with him.  As the evening progressed, I noticed that the clientele were incredibly friendly.  People chatted to you on the way to the bar/toilet and no one was a prick.  Apart from the incredibly long wait at the bar (which I’m not used as I tend to go to the bar in empty pubs or at my own gigs when the audience at watching the show) it was a lovely place to hang out.  In fact the wait at the bar was so long I went with Andrew Roper just so we could keep each other company and when we finally got served he asked for the most complicated cocktail on the menu which was a n Island Ice Tea just to piss off everyone behind us.  I just wanted a bottle of beer, which took half an hour to get.

Once we all calmed down, me, Andrew Roper and Richard Sandling were practically shouting at each other at one point about the Star Trek movies, which meant we were all back on form.  Once happy hour was over, like all the other tight arses we vacated the premises.  We headed off to the 12 Bar where after more alcohol I shook hands with Rob Deb and said he could have the rights to publish Meanwhile Comic issue 01.  I said he wouldn’t make a penny and he said he will if Love in London is a hit.  If Rob Deb makes a million quid from it he’s welcome.  Unlikely, but he’s welcome.  He’s a mate.  Fuck it, I’ll even sign a few.

Up yours Nik Coppin.  Who need Australia when we've got seedy bars in Soho.

Up yours Nik Coppin. Who need Australia when we’ve got seedy bars in Soho.

But I’m getting ahead of myself now.  With my new vigour I managed to get the last few pages finished pretty rapidly.  I still did the shading and colouring on my tablet and laptop, but the process was much much quicker.  So I emailed the 200 plus people who have requested a copy and sat back waited for the response.  At that moment I didn’t care if everyone hated it, I was just relieved it was done.  Although looking through it there is one frame I’m unhappy with as I think I was desperate to get it finished it looks incredibly slap dash compared to the rest of it.

My problem is, I’m not a natural artists.  I’ve met artists with natural talent and I’m shocked at their lack of motivation and ambition.  Fuck me they’ll sit and bore you for hours in a pub about the great projects they’ve never done.  But I suppose that was part of the charm of borderline illegal drinking establishments in Soho.  I’m pretty sure they’re the ones that stole all the handbags.

You can download a free copy of issue one from

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About Mike Belgrave

I am Mike Belgrave, stand up comedian. animator, outsider music musicologist, shambolic ukulele player and music video director extraordinaire.
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