Review: “Doctor Who – Smile” (TV Show Episode)

Well, it’s time to review the second episode in the new series of “Doctor Who”. Again, although I’m not sure how many of the new episodes I’ll end up reviewing or how long it will take me to review them, I hope to review as many episodes as possible.

So, that said, let’s take a look at “Smile”. Needless to say, this review will contain SPOILERS.

So, let’s take a look at “Smile”:

The episode begins in the TARDIS with Bill asking The Doctor lots of questions. In the traditional fashion, he offers to take her anywhere in time and space, much to Nardole’s chagrin.

Whilst all of this is going on, a woman called Nadia is standing in a field of wheat on another planet in the future, watching a group of robots (called Vardies) tend the crops. However, she receives a radio message from her sister telling her to return to the buildings nearby. When she meets her sister, she smiles at Nadia before telling her that their parents have been killed by the robots.

As well as being incredibly chilling, this scene also stars Mina Anwar from “The Thin Blue Line” (who plays Nadia’s sister).

Needless to say, Nadia doesn’t smile. This upsets the robots….

So, naturally, they resolved the misunderstanding over a cup of tea and some scones.

Of course, after all of this, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out where the TARDIS ends up taking Bill and The Doctor….

Hey, it’s a friendly robot! This is going to be a fun adventure!

One of the first things that I will say about this episode is that it is an absolutely brilliant sci-fi/horror episode.

The idea of robots (both traditional robots and micro-bots) who kill anyone who doesn’t pretend to be happy is genuinely chilling and the episode gets a lot of suspenseful drama out of this. Although, since this is “Doctor Who”, there’s also a lot of comedy too and – unlike in the previous episode – this episode actually gets the balance between comedy and horror right!

Like how the robots still look hilariously adorable when they are in “killer robot” mode.

One of the reasons why this episode works so well is because, unlike some episodes of the show, it’s actually traditional science fiction! In other words, there’s a logical and scientific explanation for everything that happens in the episode. This helps to keep the story coherent, as well as making the horror-based parts of the episode even more chilling too (eg: the idea that the city is built out of micro-bots etc..). There is nothing mystical or supernatural in this episode, just good old fashioned malfunctioning technology.

Of course, this also gives the episode a bit of a thriller-like storyline, since The Doctor and Bill have to work out why everything has gone catastrophically wrong. Likewise, they also have to find a way to stop the robots before more human colonists begin to arrive on the planet. So, yes, this episode is a good mixture of science fiction, horror, comedy, suspense and (mostly) intelligent problem-solving. In other words, this episode is “Doctor Who” at it’s best!

There are so many interesting things in this episode, such as the fact that the robots communicate via emoticons/ emojis (which is both hilarious and chilling at the same time). Likewise, they insist that all humans wear badges that display their mood – this allows for a lot of suspenseful dramatic moments where we see that a character’s true emotional state is different from the one that they are expressing.

Although the idea of a “flawed utopia” is an incredibly old trope in science fiction, this episode actually manages to do something new and interesting by turning the idea of a utopia itself into a source of horror. The idea that the utopia is only a utopia to people who act like they’re living in a utopia is a brilliantly intelligent and chilling one. Likewise, the whole idea of well-intentioned robots going horribly wrong (because they lack an understanding of humanity) is also genuinely chilling too.

One of the cool things about this episode is the set design. The utopian city is the kind of shiny, modern-looking thing that looks very trendy and very “new” – and, yet, the only safe place in the city is a grimy, old 1980s-style spaceship that looks like something from “Blade Runner” or “Red Dwarf“. This clever visual contrast between safe and dangerous places is an absolutely brilliant subversion of typical visual storytelling in the science fiction genre.

In this episode, this shiny, trendy, clean and new modern building is incredibly dangerous…

And this cool-looking “Blade Runner”/”Red Dwarf”-style area is reassuringly safe. YES! Finally, sci-fi set design that makes sense!

As for the writing, it’s really good. There’s lots of classic “Doctor Who” style clever rapid-fire dialogue, lots of intelligent ideas and lots of hilarious questions from Bill too. Likewise, the pacing of this episode is considerably better than in the previous episode. Since the episode starts out with something horrific, the slower-paced scenes when Bill and The Doctor arrive on the planet actually work because they help to build suspense.

The only criticism I have of the episode’s storyline is possibly the ending where the Doctor pretty much lets the robots get away with mass murder (and actually insists that the humans pay them rent for living in the city). Likewise, a major part of the episode’s storyline is that the robots/micro-bots have become sentient and that the Doctor thinks that they should be considered to be life forms. Yet, he has absolutely no problem with “turning it off and on again” and wiping their memories near the end of the episode. Although this is a logical course of action, it kind of goes against everything else that The Doctor has said about the robots.

Likewise, the Doctor is predictably horrified when the human colonists take up arms against the robots. Yet, he has no real problem with killing one of the robots in self-defence earlier in the episode (by throwing it off of a bridge). So, yes, the whole “The Doctor is a pacifist” thing is handled in a wildly inconsistent and incoherent way in this episode.

Needless to say, the Doctor doesn’t approve of this.

Likewise, the acting in this episode is fairly good too. Although some of the episode’s horror comes from the actual storyline, a large part of what makes this episode so chilling is the acting, and the main cast manage to pull off the whole “pretending to be happy, whilst obviously not happy” thing surprisingly well. Plus, as mentioned earlier, this episode also guest-stars Mina Anwar from “The Thin Blue Line“, which was a really cool surprise.

All in all, this is an absolutely brilliant episode. It contains a really good mixture of genuinely chilling horror, (mostly) logical science fiction and a fair amount of humour. The set design in this episode is brilliantly creative, the acting is really good and there’s lots of brilliant dialogue too.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get at least four and a half.

Four Things I’ve Learnt From Running A Blog For Four Years

2017 Artwork Blog fourth anniversary article

Wow! This blog is four today 🙂 I’m still amazed that it just started with a random “Hmm… Why don’t I make a blog?” idea all that time ago.

So, like I’ve done in 2014 (part one, part two), in 2015 and in 2016, I thought that I’d share some of the things that I’ve learnt from making a blog for this length of time, in case they’re useful to you too 🙂 Hopefully, I won’t repeat anything that I’ve already mentioned, but it might happen.

1) You’ll find shortcuts (without even planning to): If you make a blog and update it regularly, you’re probably going to start finding shortcuts for some of the more labour-intensive parts of everything. These will probably suddenly appear to you when you least expect them and they will seem ridiculously obvious in retrospect.

For example, when I used to prepare the earlier versions of my “top ten articles” articles that I post at the end of each month, I used to schedule each draft article, preview it, copy the hyperlink and then return it to draft status. Then I’d type out the article’s title and turn it into a hyperlink. I’d do this 10-15 times in every monthly article. Pretty convoluted, right?

Well, after I’d spent a couple of years getting familiar with this site, I noticed that the “new post” page (on the old editor at least, the new one seems a bit too complicated) had an area below the title box that would give you the address of the article when it was published. All I had to do was copy & paste this, and do the same with the article title. Suddenly, my monthly “top ten articles” posts took between a third and half of the time that they used to make.

So, if you keep blogging regularly on the same site, you’ll probably end up either working out lots of time-saving shortcuts (without consciously trying to) and/or spotting all sorts of useful features that you didn’t even know existed.

2) Keep everything in one place (as much as possible): There’s a good reason why the interactive fiction project I made for Halloween 2015 is on a separate site, but the short story collection I wrote for Halloween 2016 is on this site.

If you’ve been blogging for a while, it can be tempting to put your spin-off projects on separate sites rather than on different parts of your main site. The thing to remember here is that it probably took you a couple of years to build up the audience for your main site. The instant you start another site, even if you link to it a few times on your main site, the whole process begins all over again.

So, if you want people to look at your spin-off projects, then keep them all on the same site. People who are reading the other stuff on your main site are more likely to notice them and people who discover them serendipitously might also end up looking at other parts of your main site too.

3) Your old articles will always be more popular (and that’s ok): Whenever I look at the viewership figures from this site, something always surprises me. My really ancient articles from 2013 and 2014 often seem to have more views (and more regular views) than any of my new stuff. If I didn’t understand why this happens, I’d probably feel discouraged.

In short, the older something is, the more time it has to accumulate views. The more time it has for people to discover it via online searches. As such, your older articles are always going to be more popular than your new ones for the simple reason that they’ve had more time to become popular.

But, don’t feel discouraged, this will eventually happen to your new articles too – you’ve just got to give it a bit of time.

4) Keep some last-minute filler material handy: Although you should always try to have a large “buffer” of pre-made articles so that you don’t have to post and publish your articles on the same day (I mean, I wrote this article quite a few months ago – hello from the past 🙂 ), it doesn’t hurt to keep some last-minute filler material on standby too.

Why? Well, if you’re anything like me, one easy source of inspiration when you’re uninspired are your own opinions. This has led to a few opinionated articles that I’ve pulled at the last minute (due to worrying that they’re too political, too introspective etc..) and had to replace with something else, like this.

So, if you keep some filler material on standby, then you can quickly replace any article that you aren’t really satisfied with at the last minute.

——-

Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂 Here to the next year 🙂

Review: “People Watching” (Season 1) (Animated Youtube Series)

Well, I don’t usually review things on Youtube but I thought that I’d make an exception in this extra article. This is mostly because, over the past ten weeks, the creator of my favourite webcomic (Subnormality” By Winston Rowntree) has been releasing a weekly animated Youtube series called “People Watching” which was co-produced by a humour/journalism site called “Cracked”.

So, since the individual episodes are a bit too short to review on their own, I thought that I’d wait until the first season of the show had finished and review it as a whole.

Needless to say, this review may contain some SPOILERS. Likewise, this is a show that is firmly aimed at audiences in their 20s-30s. So, if you don’t fit into this age group, then you may or may not enjoy it as much.

So, let’s take a look at season one of “People Watching”:

This is most of the series’ cast, although one character is standing behind the camera in this scene.

Although “People Watching” contains several recurring characters, the episodes are self-contained and can be watched in pretty much any order (it’s best to watch episode 10 last though).

Like in Rowntree’s “Subnormality” comics, the episodes often tend to focus on observations about society, introspective topics and cultural commentary. The series also contains a mixture of comedy and serious moments. Sorry if this description sounds a bit bland, but it’s a really difficult series to describe in a single paragraph.

Let me start by saying that the art in this series is actually as good as the astonishingly detailed art in “Subnormality”. I’d initially expected the level of artistic detail to drop somewhat due to the practicalities of the animation process. But, Rowntree’s art is as spectacular as ever.

Plus, the Sphynx also makes a cameo appearance in the background here.

As for the animation quality, it’s surprisingly good considering that this is a low-budget series on Youtube. Although there are occasional examples of clunky animation (such as someone running in the early parts of episode four), limited animation and/or re-used backgrounds – the animation is, on the whole, fairly good. Since this is a series where the main emphasis is on the dialogue and the storytelling, the limitations of the animation don’t really get in the way of the show.

Likewise, the voice acting in this series is fairly good too. Since the series mostly focuses on a group of new characters, there isn’t the “this character shouldn’t sound like that” problem that you can sometimes get when comics and/or novels are adapted to the screen. The main characters sound like fairly ordinary American or Canadian twentysomethings and the voice acting just comes across as “acting” rather than “voice-acting”.

But, in terms of story quality, the series is something of a mixed bag though. For every good episode, there’s usually one.. less-good… episode.

But, when this series is good, it is good! So, I’ll start with the best moments. As a side note, the episode titles displayed in the episodes are different from the video titles (“Cracked” is notorious for random, inexplicable title changes).

The best episodes in the series are probably episode four and episode nine. And here’s why…

Episode four (“Death Is Bullshit”) revolves around a character having a near-death experience and then trying to find some way to rationalise the concept of death. Although this sounds like a super-depressing episode, it is one of the most psychologically nuanced and emotionally profound things that I’ve ever seen on Youtube. Surprisingly though, it seems to be one of the least popular episodes in the series – if the Youtube comments when it was originally realeased were anything to go by.

Yes, it might look like science fiction. Parts of the episode might even sound like science fiction. But, it isn’t an episode about science fiction!

However, if you remember that it’s supposed to be an episode about psychology and not about science fiction or new age philosophy, then it will probably make you cry with it’s sheer emotional profundity.

Even though the episode itself points out that it’s about the fear of death and it’s effects (eg: in a spine-tingling moment, one of the characters quite literally points out that “death f**king makes you crazy”) a lot of people assumed that the episode was some kind of new age tract and criticised it. But, you’d be hard-pressed to find something as profound or well-written on Youtube. Seriously, watch it!

Episode 9 (“In Defence Of Talking During The Movie”) isn’t as weighty or philosophical as episode four is, but it’s certainly the most fun episode in the series.

The episode revolves around two characters called Ted and Martha who are having a hilarious conversation about a movie that they’re watching on TV. After the movie finishes, they decide to go to a nearby cinema to watch (a parody of) one of the “Taken” films.

Seriously, the dialogue in this episode is hilarious. This screenshot really doesn’t do the episode justice.

Throughout the film, both them and various audience members think and comment about how terrible the movie is whilst other characters are horrified that people are talking in the cinema. There’s a bit of random philosophy, some cultural commentary and so much brilliant sarcasm (eg: Martha’s line about how people are expected to sit in “reverent silence” during terrible movies still makes me laugh when I think about it). It’s a fun, funny and heartwarmingly nice episode.

Episode 10 (“Nostalgia”) sits somewhere between these great episodes and the good episodes I’ll describe in the next paragraph. It mostly consists of an optimistic motivational speech (with a few sci-fi elements) that packs a surprising emotional punch, especially if you’ve seen more of the series. I might not agree with literally all of the sentiments in the episode, but it’s still an incredibly dramatic episode and a fitting conclusion to the season.

Plus, episode 10 has the best-looking title card in the whole series.

Anyway, onto the “just good” episodes. The most notable of these is probably episode two, which is an animated remake of Rowntree’s “Non-religious confessional” comic from “Subnormality”. Given that this episode compresses a dialogue-heavy (but short by “Subnormality” standards) comic strip into a single six-minute video, whilst also adding a lot of extra improvements, it’s certainly a good episode.

One of the most astonishing things about episode two is that the backgrounds are sometimes MORE detailed than in the original comic!

Likewise, episode seven focuses on a self-help group for people who look popular but are secretly losers. This episode is fairly close to the tone of the original comics, with lots of introspective dialogue and dark humour.

It also contains a bit more characterisation for some of the main characters too.

Then there are the mediocre and/or terrible episodes. Some episodes, like episode eight or episode three, seem like they could be something interesting – but end up going in a fairly predictable direction instead. Likewise, some episodes can – for want of a better term- become insufferably hipsterish. Episodes five and six, I’m looking at you!

The art and set design in episode six looks really cool, but the whole episode revolves around looking at smartphones and having awkward conversations. Yes, it’s meant to be an episode about how creativity can sometimes be the only form of self-expression some people are comfortable with, but the episode gets this point across in a slightly obtuse, confusing and hipsterish way.

Episode five introduces Ted and Martha and is a critique of the TV show “Friends”. But, well, the dialogue (and the politics etc..) in this episode is probably about as hipster as you can get.

All in all, this series is extremely good though. Or, rather, half of it is. Even so, it’s one of the most thought-provoking, artistically beautiful and well-written pieces of original content that you can find on Youtube. In a sensible and logical world, this wouldn’t be an obscure collection of 5-10 minute shorts, it would be an actual animated TV series! Seriously, if you want to watch something with a bit more depth than the average animated TV show, then check out “People Watching”. Or, parts of it at least (eg: episodes 2,4,7,9 and 10) .

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would average out at about four. But, at it’s best, it’s a six and – at it’s worst – it’s a two or a three.

Review: “Doctor Who – The Pilot” (TV Show Episode)

Well, the new series of “Doctor Who” started yesterday- so, it’s time for a review.

Although I’m not sure how many of the new episodes I’ll end up reviewing or how long it will take me to review them (eg: the review probably won’t appear for a day or so at least), it has been way too long since I last reviewed an episode of “Doctor Who” (and, yes, I know that I reviewed the Christmas episode a few months ago, but still…).

So, that said, let’s take a look at “The Pilot”. Needless to say, this review might contain some SPOILERS.

The episode begins at a university, where the Doctor is teaching. He’s asked somone called Bill to his office because she has a habit of attending his lectures, even though she isn’t a student at the university (she works in the cafeteria).

Yet, instead of complaning or ordering her not to attend lectures, The Doctor is intrigued by the fact that she apparently smiles whenever she doesn’t understand something. So, he wants her to become one of his students and offers to become her tutor.

Needless to say, it isn’t long before Bill realises that The Doctor is slightly… strange.

After a strange series of events involving another character called Heather – Bill, The Doctor and his friend Nardole find themselves fleeing through time and space in the TARDIS in order to escape a mysterious watery ghost who seems to be chasing them across the universe….

The first thing that I will say about this episode is that, as the title suggests, it’s an episode that can be enjoyed if you’ve never watched “Doctor Who” before. It spends a while reintroducing and re-explaining various elements from the series, which slows down the pacing of the episode slightly. Still, as introductory episodes go, it manages to cram a lot of characterisation and storytelling into just fifty minutes.

Plus, unlike the previous series, it’s a proper stand-alone episode. It tells a single story that is concluded by the end of the episode. After the relentless over-use of two-part episodes in 2015, it’s great to see the series returning to what it does best!

Still, despite all of the cool stuff in this episode, the pacing isn’t quite right. The beginning of the episode is surprisingly slow-paced for a “Doctor Who” episode and, whenever something thrilling, suspenseful or creepy happens later in the episode, it is often broken up by a subsequent scene with a different emotional tone.

This is especially disappointing since this episode really, really tries to be a horror episode. There are even a few scenes that are reminscent of late 1990s/early 2000s horror films too. But, many of the creepy parts of the episode aren’t really allowed to develop to their full potential since the suspenseful atmosphere is often broken by something random and/or silly.

For example, this had the potential to be a really suspenseful scene. But, Bill and the Doctor get into the TARDIS and flee to Australia long before the ghost even gets close to them.

But, although this episode fails slightly as a horror episode, there is still loads of really cool stuff here. In addition to lots of hilarious dialogue and subtle references to earlier parts of the show, there are all sorts of interesting locations and we also even get to hear the Doctor delivering a lecture about time too. Plus, there’s a vaguely “Blade Runner”-like scene that involves a mirror in an old photograph.

One other cool moment in this episode is where The Doctor uses the “monster infighting” tactic from the original “Doom” in order to try to defeat the ghost. In other words, he tricks a Dalek into fighting the ghost by standing in front of the ghost and diving out of the way just before the Dalek fires it’s lasers. Seriously, it’s great to see classic 1990s FPS gaming tactics in TV shows.

Well, the corridor was too narrow for circle-strafing, I guess.

As for Bill, it’ll be interesting to see how her character develops as the series progresses. The scenes involving her include a good mixture of both comedy and serious drama. She comes across as a fairly realistic character, even though she has a habit of asking hilarious questions almost constantly. A lot of the drama and comedy in this episode comes from the fact that Bill has only just been introduced to the TARDIS, time travel, other planets etc.. So, it’ll be interesting to see how her character changes when she gets more used to going on adventures with the Doctor.

One other outstanding feature of this episode is the set design. This episode contains a ridiculous number of locations and they all look suitably interesting, realistic and/or futuristic. In addition to the cool blue/orange colour scheme used in the locations where the Daleks appear, there’s also a scene set on another planet that includes almost Hollywood-level effects:

Seriously, the CGI in this series has really improved over the past decade.

All in all, it’s great to see “Doctor Who” back on TV again. Although this episode doesn’t really “work” as a horror episode and the pacing isn’t quite right, it’s an absolutely great introduction to the series for people who have never watched “Doctor Who” before. It’s kind of like a “greatest hits” compilation of everything that makes “Doctor Who” what it is – even if it ends up being slightly less than the sum of it’s parts sometimes.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would maybe just about get a four.

Top Ten Articles – March 2017

2017 Artwork Top Ten Articles March

Well, it’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to collect the usual list of links to my ten favourite articles about making art, making webcomics etc… that I’ve posted here over the past month (with a few honourable mentions too).

Although there were far more reviews than usual this month, I quite like how at least a few of the “proper” articles turned out.

Anyway, here are the lists 🙂 Enjoy 🙂

Top Ten Articles – March 2017

– “Four Freaky Tips For Addding 1980s/90s-Style Comedy Horror To Comics
– “Three Tips For Making Art That Looks Like It Was Made In The ’90s
– “Three More Tips For Remaking Your Old Art (Plus Two Art Previews)
– “How To Recognise And Use Cool-Looking Colour Palettes In Your Art
– “Three Easy Sources Of Artistic Inspiration
– “Five Tips For Creating Realistic Dream Scenes In Comics, Stories etc..
– “Three Simple Ways To Chart Your Artistic Progress – Past And Future.
– “Three Simple Ways To Improve A Comic/ Webcomic Plan
– “Three Ways To Deal With Production Troubles In Webcomics
– “Three Instant Sources Of Webcomic Story Arcs (Plus, Comic Previews)

Honourable mentions:

– “Five Basic Things To Remember Before You Use Watercolour Pencils For The First Time
– “One Sneaky Way To Include Plot Twists In Your Comic Or Webcomic (Using Verticality)

Editorial: London Attack – Why You Shouldn’t Let It Scare You

[Note: [3:53pm GMT] Sorry about even more updates/amendments to this post but I thought that I should update it after seeing more news coverage.]
——

I don’t usually write about current events on here but, earlier this morning, I read about the horrific attack in London. My first reaction was, of course, shock and fear. This sort of thing doesn’t happen here in Britain! I know people from London, and people who have visited the city recently! And that sort of thing. My mind flashed back to the news coverage of the 7/7 attacks from 11-12 years ago.

But, the more I read about the attack, the more I realised that – as tragic and unforgivably outrageous as it was – Britain is still one of the safest countries on the planet when it comes to this sort of thing. It’s natural to be shocked and disgusted by what happened. But, you shouldn’t let the actions of one evil man scare you. This is why.

For starters, this was the first major attack to take place (in Britain) in 11-12 years. There has been more than a decade where no major attacks of this type have happened here. As horrific as it is, it is very much the exception rather than the rule. Attacks like this one are shocking because they are incredibly rare. There are many, many more days when something like this doesn’t happen than there are when something like this does.

Secondly, from what I read, the criminal was prevented from using a bomb for the simple reason that our security services are some of the best in the world when it comes to detecting and stopping bomb plots. Although this evil bastard still caused a lot of harm, he was thankfully prevented from causing much more harm due to the fact that we have highly-experienced security services who are really, really good at stopping things like this (again, no major attacks in 11-12 years!).

Thirdly, the police did their job perfectly. One brave policeman gave his life to protect others and, thanks to lots of preventative planning, there were also armed officers stationed outside parliament who prevented the killer from entering the building. There were well-equipped (and, more importantly, properly trained) police officers ready and waiting to stop something like this turning into something far worse.

Likewise, the murderer actually had to leave his car before his attempted attack on parliament due to the fact that parliament was already well-protected against vehicle attacks, thanks to it’s fences and barriers. All of this shows that our police and security services are some of the best in the world when it comes to mitigating or, much more commonly, completely preventing atrocities like this. So, don’t be afraid. We’re well-protected.

Fourthly, and I know that this is probably a touchy subject for some of my American readers, it’s reassuring to note that the killer didn’t have a gun. Thanks to our strict firearms laws, a man intent on mass murder was only able to get his hands on knives and a car. Yes, he unfortunately still murdered several people (and injured many others). But, he would have probably murdered many more if he had been carrying a gun. Thankfully, the only people with guns there were highly-trained police officers with years of regular firearms practice. So, Britain is safer than many other places because mass murderers can’t get hold of guns easily.

Finally, violent religious radicals (which, from everything in the news since my last update to this article, the attacker seems to be) are very much the exception rather than the rule.

For every violent religious fanatic, there are hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of perfectly ordinary non-violent, non-fanatical people who follow that particular religion. Statistically, violent religious extremists are thankfully very rare.

So, whilst it’s perfectly ok to hate the individual person who committed this crime, don’t make the stupid mistake of hating or fearing whole groups of people – almost all of whom are perfectly ordinary and innocent, just like anyone else ( and who probably hate him as much as everyone else does).

Terrorists thrive on creating fear and panic. This is one reason why I was reluctant to use the (scary) word “terrorism” earlier in this editorial. But, historically speaking, there isn’t too much to be scared by these days. Compared to the frequent IRA terrorist attacks during Britain’s relatively recent past, compared to the atrocious Admiral Duncan bombing in 1999, compared to the horror of the 7/7 attacks in 2005 etc.. we are living in one of the safest times in modern British history. This recent attack was horrific, but it’s far from the worst that Britain has ever endured. We are safer now than we were then.

We are living in an age where these things are shocking because they don’t usually happen. Even twenty or thirty years ago (or even 11-12 years ago), this wouldn’t quite have been the case. Don’t let the disgusting actions of one evil man trick you into being scared. Yes, something terrible has happened – but Britain is safe.

Don’t let the terrorists scare you, don’t let them win. In the words of that famous poster, keep calm and carry on.

Top Ten Articles – February 2017

2017 Artwork Top Ten Articles February

Well, it’s the end of the month, so that means that it’s time for my usual list of links to what I consider to be the ten best articles about making webcomics, making art and/or writing that I’ve posted here over the past month (and possibly a couple of honourable mentions too).

Unfortunately, due to being busy with a couple of upcoming webcomic mini series and due to the hot weather at the time of writing some of this month’s articles (I write them quite a few months in advance), the best articles posted here this month mostly seem to come from the beginning of the month. Still, here’s hoping that March’s articles will be better.

Anyway, here are the lists:

Top Ten Articles – February 2017:

– “Four Awesome Ways To Fail Properly At A Creative Project
– “Three Inspiring Things To Remember When You’re Having A Totally Uninspired Day
– “Four Very Basic Tips For Making Heavy Metal Art
– “Four Reasons Why Tenebrism Is One Of The Coolest Types Of Art ( Both To Make And To Look At)
– “Three Ways To Use The Backgrounds Of Your Webcomic To Stay Motivated
– “Three Tips For Fine Tuning A Comic Idea
– “Three Possible Reasons For Emotional Tone Shifts In Comics (Plus, A Comic Preview)
– “The Five Stages of Making A Webcomic Update (Plus, A Comic Preview)
– “Four Reasons Why The Noir Genre Is So Interesting For Artists
– “Three Tips For Dealing With Moments Of Low Enthusiasm When Making Webcomics

Honourable mentions:

– “Three Very Basic Tips For Compact Storytelling In Comics
– “Three Reasons Why Webcomics, TV shows etc.. Can Go From Self-Contained “Episodes” To Longer Stories