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Peter will be chatting to Neale Blanden about how he makes the magic he makes. That’s right, the Zine master is here. BRING CASH!

TRANSCRIPTION (there may be errors in the following text)

Peter Wilson (00:13):
Hello everyone. Welcome to Sunday Spotlight with us today. Ledger award winning. Neil Blandon. How are you sir? Oh

Neale Blanden (00:22):
Good. Gee that’s a few years back. But yes, I did win a ledger.

Peter Wilson (00:27):
All I notice is it doesn’t matter when as long as you did win one.

Neale Blanden (00:31):
<laugh>.

Peter Wilson (00:33):
I plan to steal mine later off. Someone <laugh> to do research on home security. Mostly <laugh>. So explain to the good people. What do you do in comics? What’s your thing?

Neale Blanden (00:47):
<laugh>, my thing. What’s your I draw comic strips and do comic. I’m not posters, but illustrations as well. And it’s all very comicy and based in Harvey. Kurtzman, bezel, wolverton, that kind of stuff I guess. And still making heaps of zines, photocopy, zines. I do lots of that. I went to festival a photocopier last week that was fun. And it was really good. I was really surprised there. I got lots of young people coming up and grabbing my work, which I was very surprised at. I thought it was your old fellows might come, but no, it was really young kids kind of going, what’s this? That’s good. And contribute to different magazines, comic magazines and things like that when I can or when I get the opportunity.

Peter Wilson (01:53):
That’s cool. So how about we dive into some quick warmup questions. So these are just going to be quick off the cuff so we both get into the real things.

Neale Blanden (02:02):
Yes, I’ll try my best.

Peter Wilson (02:03):
Good man. You inspired this one, two B or hb, which is the better

Neale Blanden (02:11):
<laugh>. Hb No, two B is too much smudging.

Peter Wilson (02:14):
That’s right. Not two D A Shakespeare, one’s ass not two B.

Neale Blanden (02:18):
Yeah.

Peter Wilson (02:20):
What’s your favorite condiment?

Neale Blanden (02:23):
Oh wow. Oh, I’m going to say cheese. Meed cheese. There we go. I don’t know

Peter Wilson (02:30):
Who is technically the best. Beatle.

Neale Blanden (02:36):
Oh, oh, I’m going to go with Paul.

Peter Wilson (02:38):
Good answer. Good answer. What’s the funniest cartoon ever made?

Neale Blanden (02:45):
Comic strip you mean? Or

Peter Wilson (02:47):
Yeah. Okay.

Neale Blanden (02:49):
It’s a comic strip. Oh, okay. Talking in Harvey Kurtzman. Hey look. A comic he did many, many years before he did. Mad. It’s really funny.

Peter Wilson (02:57):
Okay, cool. What’s the strongest monster in Hollywood,

Neale Blanden (03:03):
Harvey? What? No. Well it could be Godzilla or you could say King Kong, couldn’t you? Cause Godzilla has gone hopped over and he is Hollywood as well, but I’ll go with King Kong. My favorite. Aye.

Peter Wilson (03:19):
Good choice. Good choice. What is the best looking car?

Neale Blanden (03:24):
Oh, I don’t care. The vault wagon.

Peter Wilson (03:28):
There you go.

Neale Blanden (03:29):
Yeah.

Peter Wilson (03:30):
Okay, good. We’re feeling limbo. We’re feeling loose. Let’s dive into the meat of this baby. Have you always been a creative type? Have you always been as a kid? Were you the little doodler in the class? Were you writing weird stories?

Neale Blanden (03:47):
I don’t know. I don’t think so. I think it happened a little bit later for me and I just became a real doodler. I think it was more kind of when I hit late primary school, early high school that I started to kind of, yeah, I was the cartoonist of the class and I was doodling all the time. But before that, as a kid maybe consumed a lot more of it than actually did it. I think. I’m not too sure I relate. I really can’t remember that much. But yeah, I became a real obsessive doodler and cartoonists. Didn’t bi borrows on full scap paper

Peter Wilson (04:27):
<laugh> still a cool aesthetic. So because it happened a bit later, can you recall when you went from drawing just for fun to really focusing in on a task and going, let’s get serious about this. Or

Neale Blanden (04:46):
Look, I would say it’s funny, I wasn’t that interested in cartooning. It was bizarre as in I kind of drew it, but I wasn’t obsessively buying comics and things like that. I think mad was the closest. I came with that as a kid from about nine to 14. So there wasn’t a lot of comic strips in it, but when it did have they used to have a thing in the Super Specials called it Nostalgic Mad, and they’d have the old fifties mad in it. And I love those, those as comics. But I think I, when I, I kind of drew stuff and then when I got to about 15, I started to get more interested in art and I went off and did a bit of art school for a couple of years at a very young age. I was 16 to 18 or something, which sounds weird, but you could do that in the eighties and back in the early eighties.

(05:50):
So we’re talking about 81 to 80, sorry, 82, about 82 teachers comics. They just thought they were horrible things and they weren’t really interested in you doing them. So I could do animation because I did filmmaking in this art course. So I really got into animation, but they weren’t interested in comics per se. But that’s like a lot of people complain about that. But I liked it and I didn’t like it, but I mean it was good because I got to learn a whole bunch of other mediums and that’s cool. Do things like life drawing, life drawing, really any cartoonist, I recommend that it just opens you up, it makes you figure out what the figure is. So even if you’re doing something cartoony, you still know how to make a head in the right position and the arm in the right position and stuff like that. It’s a really good thing to do if that answers the question, which I’ve completely forgot. Yeah,

Peter Wilson (06:49):
It absolutely does. That was a good answer, thank you. So we kind of touched on it. Do you have any formal training in the arts or writing?

Neale Blanden (07:00):
Yeah, yeah, look, I did what was called V O P and T O P, which was the best art training I’ve ever had. And best I loved it. I loved that course. And that’s, like I said, I was really young, it was like my year 11 and 12 and I wanted to go on further, but I just had a bad, it’s funny, I enjoyed it, but I had a really bad year in my last year and when I was choosing courses, I kind of went, oh, but I could do teaching. I just didn’t have the folio. It would’ve been, I could have spent another year organizing a folio, but I didn’t. And I ended up going to Teachers college, but they had an art component in that. Unfortunately it was a minor, not a major, I don’t understand why. But again, that was the process of doing art and doing assignments, excuse me, with art. So I love all that training kind of thing. I don’t know if I, it’s in my comics, but I loved it all. So you know, learn about how to put line on a page. I mean, I was going to say composition, but I think my composition’s really bad as far as having backgrounds in there and having characters. It’s kind of very flat my stuff. I understand that. But that I learned all that kind of stuff.

(08:29):
Yeah, so that’s probably the sum of what I’ve done and also as a teacher, and you learn a lot when you teach, you learn so much because you have to keep studying things, teach people. And the kind of way that I’ve gone with teaching anyway is, it was media at first, but it’s kind of drifted more into art and a thing called viscom, which is kind of graphics that this now. And a lot of that’s all about drawing and even using a computer.

Peter Wilson (09:04):
Well that’s cool. So it’s a lot of training and you came to Arts late, so how did you come across comics? Why did you pick that to

Neale Blanden (09:12):
Oh look, I think I always drew and I think it was always there. I just repressed it. Maybe I was always interested in it and I always picked up stuff. I, I worked in animation for a couple of years before going back to school and doing teachers college and I mean all I did my income, I started to buy comics and picked up on all the undergrounds. I wasn’t really interested in superheroes, I never was, I dunno why I am now. I’ve brought a whole bunch of stuff from the, well they’re books with spines, but there’s stuff about the sixties and seventies, the Marvel and DC stuff because I’m interested in it now. But I wasn’t interested at the time or the time that in the mid seventies I guess, which I would’ve been ripe for that kind of stuff.

(10:07):
But I picked up on the underground, I really found out about Crumb when I was about 14, but waited until I was 18, until I actually brought some of that stuff. And around that time, the early eighties to mid eighties is when, excuse me love and Rockets Peter Bag, Dan Clouds were all kind of bringing out stuff. And Raw was coming out an Art Spiegelman magazine widow, the Crumb magazine was coming out and I picked up on all of that kind of stuff. So for me, really it was a lot of studying to figure out how to do comics and it took me a while and I got to about 25 and said I’ve got to start doing stuff and that’s when I started to draw stories and try and print up magazines.

Peter Wilson (10:53):
You started with a very cool sounding collection man.

Neale Blanden (10:58):
Well other than Bland Ramma got one called Bland Topia on Instagram and that’s my collection, but I haven’t updated it for a while. But yeah, that’s what I do. I kind of pull out magazines and

Peter Wilson (11:10):
Wicker. I’ll have to check

Neale Blanden (11:11):
That out. Take photos of them and magazines.

Peter Wilson (11:16):
So if you had to, how do you define a creative person? Would you say there’s requirements to being a creative person or what’s the main factor? The X factor someone needs? No,

Neale Blanden (11:30):
I don’t think it is. It’s just doing, I know it sounds really dumb, but it’s just doing it. Just having a go. There’s plenty of people who’ve had no kind of formal art training or no kind of formal writing training or whatever or don’t know, have never went to film school and something like that. And they still make stuff. The only time I get annoyed about that kind of stuff is when people are bitter or I never went to art school but I made this kind of thing. Well good on ya because that’s what you do anyway. I think the training part of it’s just only part of it. It helped me, I must admit. I didn’t mind the training part of it, but really at the end of the day, it’s up to you to do stuff. And that’s what I see in, I used to teach TAFE and that’s what I’d see in students is you can sit around and wait for us to tell you what to do or you could just do and pat you on the head because you’ve done a job or you could just do it yourself. And if you just do it yourself, they don’t understand the satisfaction about doing it themselves sometimes. Yeah. But I think, I think anyone can be creative. They just, they’ve just got to do it.

Peter Wilson (12:42):
Absolutely. Yeah, it’s definitely need some diligence I think. So when you are absentmindedly, scribbling or on the phone and you just got the pencil going, what’s the main thing you seem to draw over and over?

Neale Blanden (12:56):
Circles. Circles, yeah. Something in the circle. Usually a face, but let’s say faces. But it’s always round circles and doing that kind of thing. And they’re always really ugly. I’m putting bags under the eyes and stuff like that.

Peter Wilson (13:11):
Hey Dave. So who, we’ve talked about your comic influences and what you are collecting. What about non-Com artists? Is there or mediums?

Neale Blanden (13:23):
Yeah, look, I like a lot of painters. I mean you’re not supposed to Picasso, but I like Picasso, <laugh> <laugh> because you’s seen as a bit of a geek. Philip Gunton, I really like, that’s the guy, he did all this kind of bigfoot stuff in the, I don’t know. And it’s always has one eye that film Glass Onion that had a big Philip Oh right painting on the side of the wall on one of the sides kind of thing. I had a few, my friends and I were talking about that later. <laugh> in social media, you’re going, did you see the big Philip Gunston

(14:03):
That Chicago group the Harry Harry are great too. These are all painters. Anyone who’s kind of vaguely cartoony, I seem to some of the pop artists too, and Jasper Johns kind of those guys. I’m not too big on Warhol or Lichtenstein or anything like that. Music was actually a really big one because I grew up the time when punk was happening and it was that whole attitude that was a big influence. Do it yourself. Just get out there and do it. Don’t wait for somebody else to help you. Just do it yourself. And it doesn’t matter how bad or good it is, at least you’ve tried and you’ve done it. And it was a really big one. And I used to think, okay, these guys who I thought were making money but obviously weren’t, and they’re from Melbourne and they’ve released this little vinyl single, if they can do it, I can put out a comic or whatever for sure on the fat of the land. But yeah, you never live on Antifa of the land. But yeah, that was a huge influence. Music, I must admit. And particularly to when, I don’t know, they say that anyway when you’re a kid from about eight or something up until your early twenties or late teens or whatever that musical period, whenever that is a really influential musical period. And you’ll listen to that kind of music a lot of the times or your life. Yeah, certainly that’s happened to me too.

Peter Wilson (15:36):
That seems to be a common thread. Whether the indie creators we talk to here, it’s the ones who can sort of say it doesn’t matter if it’s bad, just get it out there as that first step is the most Capital one for sure.

Neale Blanden (15:51):
Yeah, my first stuff, someone regret it, I got really impressed.

Peter Wilson (15:56):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, you are right actually it’s the step you need to take.

Neale Blanden (16:01):
Yeah, yeah. You need that baptism of fire. It was awful.

Peter Wilson (16:05):
Oh absolutely. I still don’t want to look at my first comic, but I am glad it went out there.

Neale Blanden (16:10):
Some of my first comics were in Fano graphics books. I can’t believe it. I just got to go. Well I’ve ate it now. I <laugh>. Yeah, well actually they were a little bit better than my very first stuff, but yeah,

Peter Wilson (16:27):
<laugh> still impressive though. So how do you go about creating comics? Do you write first or draw first? Is it a mesh of both? Does it vary for each strip or?

Neale Blanden (16:41):
It does and it’s very over the years kind of thing. Yeah,

Peter Wilson (16:45):
I

Neale Blanden (16:46):
Used to just keep a when I first started off, I kept just a false cat book and a bio and I would just write down stuff or go, oh I’ve got a strip to do for whatever. And I would just write, it’s just all writing. And then I’d draw on a page and really you’re not doing much drawing practice. But over the years, finally, I can’t believe it took me so long considering my did art school stuff. I started to keep sketchbooks probably, I would say slowly, probably about 20 odd years ago. Around about 2000 I started to do it. So I was, let me think, I’m an old man. I was probably in my late thirties, 20, hang on, 2000, be about 37. And I started to do it from there. And now it’s just regur. I just keep a sketchbook. And sketchbook is a huge thing for ideas.

(17:47):
Yeah. And things are already drawn what the character’s going to look like. Sure. But I also keep a notebook too, because it’s this quick, you know, can just write down stuff really quickly. And when I’m doing that process of making stuff maybe one or two pages might not be a big deal and I can just whack it up in a rough book kind of thing and go, okay, page one will be these four panels and okay cool, let’s put a one there and let’s do kind of stick figures. And then when I do the page I, I’m very excited because I really don’t know what things are going to look like. But if it’s a bit longer, let’s say, I don’t know, six pages beyond or something like that I’ll write up scripts on a computer and figure stuff out that way and do it in, I mean I suppose everyone has their own method, but kind of do it like a film script, but just going panel one, blah blah blah.

(18:45):
Character one. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Character two, yay. Yeah. And just break it up into panels and break it up into pages. But then I might go back in a book and just go, well how am I going to lay out those pages kind of thing if it’s really big because I just get too confused if I was just oh actually I, I mean I do a quick write down cause that’s the best way for me to work. I typing takes me a long time, but if I write it as a script, I can kind of figure out, okay, that’s not working, this is working. I can cut that there and put that there because you’re just using a computer and it’s flexible and tangible. But again too, like I said, I’ve got to lay, lay it out on a page kind of thing. And recently two with that, that’s further on. I’m talking about artwork now. I don’t want to talk about that. That’s alright. Until I’m

Peter Wilson (19:35):
All happy to hear the whole spectrum of things. It’s great. Yeah.

Neale Blanden (19:40):
Oh I can go on then. Please do. Alright. That’s what this

Peter Wilson (19:44):
Is all about. This is what we want to hear.

Neale Blanden (19:45):
Yeah, I know. I was just going to say with artwork, my big thing at the moment, cause I’m missed a tangible and I like doing traditional stuff, is I lashed out and brought from Officeworks brought one of those a three light boxes, but they’re the L e D ones, so they’re quite thin. I’ve always had the light box. It’s that thick and now, yeah, yeah, exactly. So I’ll do roughs on crappy paper, a three paper, and then overlay it with a nice piece of paper and I’ve got all the kind of composition worked out then rather than trying to work it out on a nice page and rubbing it out and then trying again. Cool. And that kind of stuff. And all the layouts worked out in the voice bubbles and all those kind of things straight away, which I mean should have been doing it years ago I think with light boxees, but I’ve just gone straight to paper. So yeah, that was the only bit I was going to say about that at the moment.

Peter Wilson (20:42):
That’s cool. That was really, we like all those little details here. Yeah,

Neale Blanden (20:47):
I know. Well,

Peter Wilson (20:52):
So tell us about your workspace. Are we seeing it now? Do you have a office or,

Neale Blanden (20:57):
No, this is my living room and that’s just where my computer’s set up now, really computer-wise, coloring and maybe some touchups kind of thing because I do a three work. I scan it sorry, I don’t scan it. I go and photocopy it down and office works and put it into a four because I’ve tried to do, joined up scanning with a four scanner and a three paper and it just doesn’t work. No. It’s just easy to go and take that big trip down to the Officeworks, get ’em reduced and then scan them then. And if there’s any mistakes and if I remember they’re there I fix ’em up there. My actual work station unfortunately is in my bedroom because I’ve got no other space and it’s a picnic table, which must be, oh man old’s that picnic table probably about 60 years old now. And my dad made it I think.

(21:57):
And I’ve got one of those architect portable adjustable tables that you stick on top with the metal do hickey. Yep. Okay. I was working at a school they were using, this one had a cracked, they had, it’s not a tea bar, but they have a bar across them, like a plastic bar that you can adjust up and down and it was broken and the kids were using that drafting board. Drafting board, that’s the word I was looking for, drafting board as a cutting board. And so there was all these kind of Stanley blade marks through it. And I just turned to another teacher and said, I’m taking that home. And I took it home and just put illustration board on the top of it and it saved my back rather than I’ve been working flat on all my life. And this was probably around 92 or something. And now I’ve got an adjustable board. It makes life so much easier. There you go. And yeah, it’s all set up in the bedroom. It’s very exciting.

Peter Wilson (23:01):
A nearby church was selling the priest or the pastor had the lectern and he had a little thing he used to flap up so he could just scan the pages and I bought that off him for 20 bucks to save my back so I can.

Neale Blanden (23:15):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard of people finding those. I’ve never seen one, but finding those drafting boards in hub rubbish and going, oh great, I’ve got one of those. So

Peter Wilson (23:28):
No, it’s a good find if you can get one in a garbage. Yeah,

Neale Blanden (23:30):
I know.

Peter Wilson (23:33):
Well that leads us nicely to the next question. What other must haveve tools, do you have a brand or a specific thing you like to stick with for each creation? Or do you like

Neale Blanden (23:44):
To really, because I just think it’s that thing and it is an adage to just, if you find something that works for you, if you can buy it in bulk, buy it in bulk, just get it now because they’re going to change the formula. They’re going to change what it is soon enough. So I used to use tech pen pads, but it was really thick paper. It’s like, oh, what’s the name of the comic brand paper that everyone uses? And I can’t think of it. It’s not going to come to my the one and it’s actually got it marked out as well as comic size and I can’t give the name of it now. Come on group, type it in. Yeah, yeah, true. So Bristol board, Bristol Board, Bri, that’s what it’s called.

(24:38):
It was like that anyway, looks like this. And it was probably that thick, see the marks there And it used to be like, yeah, it used to bite it up, riot and they don’t make those pads anymore. But I brought a bulk of, I brought something, I don’t know, they were 20 bucks each. I brought about over a really short period, brought about 10 pads of it. <laugh> lasted me for about 10 years and then that ran out and then it was the time to find a new paper. And well two things happened eight years ago I started using a brush. I was always using a hump 1 0 2 or three I think it’s called, which is the cartoonist choice at that time. Anyway.

(25:25):
But I just find number one, they make them out of tin foil these days and they just don’t work. And I needed something that would work and I thought, oh, can I use a brush? Am I confident enough to use a brush now? And yeah, I could do it straight away. And again, it was one of those things where I went, why wasn’t I doing this before? And just good quality cartridge paper I’ve found look and if I can find it cheap, that’s even more of a bargain, which a lot of my stuff comes from Officeworks at the moment. They’ve got a brand name. Yeah, they’ve got a brand name cartridge paper, which is a really nice one. They’re just their home brand one. And I use a brush quarter, a long liner. The bristles are a little bit longer, they’re about twice or three times the length of a normal little brush.

(26:17):
Diso ink, like ink, drawing ink from Diso. It’s like $2 a bottle or something, $3 a bottle and it’s the best ink you can put. Fill it up with your tech pens. It’s the best. And yeah, just that. And I look hard pencils and you can always find hard pencils somewhere for cheap it. It’s very cheap what I use. It’s nothing fancy, but I got to be, when I say quality, it’s got to be a quality that I can work out that’s going to be pretty good. And if it’s cheap, that’s great, but if it’s not, I mean I’ve brought pads before that are well they’re not that expensive. They’re probably average price like 50, $40 just to have good cartridge. But I don’t seem to necessarily have to do that now. And I’m very traditional and don’t mind being traditional and the being tactile and having a piece of work after it rather than the thing with digital for me more than anything.

(27:26):
It’s funny to hear someone like Nick may say, I do it for my eyesight. That’s why he likes to use it because he can zoom in to the work and do detail and stuff and it works for him. His stuff’s really unique for doing digital stuff. It’s really nice. It’s nicks when you see it but I just find can’t stand looking at the screen that long. My eyes just dry up and feel awful and I get really blurry and I can’t deal with looking at the screen that long. I don’t like the way you’ve kind of got to zoom in and there’s bits there. I like being able to look at the whole page at once and being able to do that. And as I said, I just having product at the end of it. Not that I’m selling anything but one day

Peter Wilson (28:17):
More tangible

Neale Blanden (28:18):
Guys. I don’t know if bag does it, but I know I was really surprised to find out that Dan Klauss when he did his last graphic novel, which was called Patience. That’s it. I think he was saying he made more money off selling the art than he does making the book

Peter Wilson (28:36):
Not surprised. Yeah.

Neale Blanden (28:39):
And he just does mean he’s got agents and stuff obviously. But yeah, he very much is a traditionalist and just uses mean tools are tools. I don’t know, sometimes I can’t think of a tool that I use that I go, this is really super expensive and lucky I’ve got this thing. I use $6 brushes that work really well and last me for years until they kind of curve and bend and you can’t use them anymore. Yeah, I’m using pads at the moment that I think are $20. I think the biggest outlay that I’ve done recently is the light box like I was saying and that was 80, but it’s a pretty cheap medium to muck around with. It’s really about you drawing and getting the time to draw and using your imagination.

Peter Wilson (29:28):
That’s cool. Your brain is your best tool. And when do most of your ideas come to you?

Neale Blanden (29:41):
At the moment, I am so busy. I have no ideas, I can tell you that. So you need a time when your brain’s loose. Seriously. I mean, I’m doing a job for the next six weeks where I just feel like I’m starting over to work again. So I’ve just got to think about work all the time. I can’t not think about work. But it depends. I think I used to have that thing late at night, it’s late at night and you get that idea and go, I’ve got to write it down now. If I don’t write it down now I’m going to forget it. Don’t, the most common answer we get here. Yeah, I don’t think that happens for me much now, but a lot of stuff is say if somebody wants something, that’s a good way of putting it. Other than when I’m trying to think up stuff for myself, I can’t think I’m, I do these little books now that are a secular little books.

(30:39):
They’re, that’s what it is. It’s not like a group of stories that I’m sticking together. It’s kind of at the moment I’m working on a comic, which is a romance comic. And I knew I wanted to do a romance comic. And I’m trying to think, I had the characters because I just had them in the sketchbook and I went, oh, I’ll use that and I’ll use that kind of thing. But I don’t know where I got the idea from, which is a boy goes on a date with the dog basically because the dog’s his best friend. So that’s trucking along and I’m doing it. But another thing I thought of doing, and I think I got this from seeing this Gary Panto comic that he recently did where he did an underground comic and I think he’s doing another one of those and I’m doing an underground comic.

(31:21):
I thought, oh yeah, I’ll do a sixties underground comic. So that’s all in my notebook. And I think that’s a lot of that is just take, because my usual job is a casual relief teacher. And so you go, kids, you’ve got to do these math sums, okay, don’t play on your computer and play games. Your teacher has left the work. Okay, let’s get it done kind of thing. And every once in a while I walk up and go, can you stop playing snake or can you stop playing whatever they do and get back on and get this work done? But a lot of times if it’s older classes too and they’re going, yeah, we know the thing and we know what we’re going to do, that’s when I’m doodling and kind of going, okay, well I can do this. And yeah, a lot of it’s waking hours now.

(32:11):
It’s not so much sleeping hours kind of thing and it’s just writing down stuff. It might not be relative, but I just think, oh, that’s a really cool idea. And I’ve got two books at home, which is notebook and sketchbook and sometimes notebook is just, yeah, it’s just an idea and you just write it down and hopefully you can remember it’s there when you need it. But that’s how I work those kind of things out. So if somebody wants something on a theme or something, I’m trying to think. I did one recently about evolution. There you go. Wonder

Peter Wilson (32:50):
What that about <laugh>,

Neale Blanden (32:54):
That kind of, well actually that was a funny one because that started off as I had a four panel strip and I thought, oh, I want to use that in it. But then I had to think of the start of it and it’s about a caveman, but I had to think of the start of it and I thought, ah I’ll just do him eing into this caveman. And that was just kind of making it up as I went along and just kind of went, okay, he’ll start off as a fish and then it’ll turn into a fish with legs and then it’ll turn into a monkey and then it’ll turn into this man, the caveman kind of thing. And that was really done at the drawing board, most of it, like the first couple of pages just of him eing into this caveman. There you go.

Peter Wilson (33:35):
Cool. Cool. So you’ve mentioned, I think we’ve all been that situation where your day job hinders your creativity. Is there anything else that sort of gets you in a creative block? Is something you experience often?

Neale Blanden (33:53):
Not so much. Now I’ve got more time just because I, my daughter’s been quite old for a long time, but when she was little, and I was a single kind of single dad, part-time, single dad. But when she was that age, I was at a tafe. So that meant, and that was a full-time, well, not a full-time job, but it was permanent job that I had to did. A lot of my brain concentration went into that job, like coming home and then figuring out stuff for classes and stuff like that. When you’ve got little kids at that stage, it’s all about getting kids showered and in bed and stuff like that. So there’s a lot of household things to do, but I’m a single guy kind of thing. And I now, I can spend time thinking of that kind of stuff with comics. It’s nice to be able to do that. But I think if you want to have an enjoyable job too, where you’re not kind of grunting it out kind of thing, sometimes it’s an effort and it’s hard. And work goes into that as well. I was sitting next to someone during the Festival of the Photocopier and they were a younger person and I was just going I work so if the fridge breaks down, I can just go and buy a new one.

Peter Wilson (35:23):
And that’s

Neale Blanden (35:23):
What it’s like. I can just get that white good now. I don’t have to wait, I don’t have to go, oh shit, I better save up all this money and maybe in two months I can afford one or whatever. I don’t want to be in in that position and been in that position really from cartooning because it was going to work. I was going to be the one <laugh> that didn’t happen. I wasn’t the one. And I just get tired of, yeah, you just get tired of not having money. And I would rather have money and do this as a sidewalk. But I seem now to spend more time and be more productive, and particularly in the last couple of years than I have been before. But I think the last couple of years before that time, I was just thinking up ideas and doing stuff and then it all kind of blurted out.

(36:12):
I just kind of got it together to do something like four books. I had some of that I had as backup. Some of that stuff that I did was sketchbook stuff. And so I just kind of took it straight from the sketchbook and put it into books. But I did a book called the u, new Norka, hard to say. And it was one panel strips of oh God, new Yorker kind of strips, but they’re way better, the modern ones are way better. I didn’t realize they were so good. And I just put it on the internet. It was just going to be an internet thing. I think I had about 25 of them. I stuck ’em all into a book. It’s not thick or big or anything like that, but it was just to put it together in Photoshop. It didn’t take long it, putting the book together, not the strips.

(37:07):
The strips were just done with the LaMi, one of those fountain pens. Yeah, that’s cool. It just the fountain pen anyway. And I just drew it in the fountain pen and then scanned it. And you how one panel kind of comics, particularly fifties ones or whatever, they’ll have a gray wash or whatever. And I just did a gray wash with Photoshop just to make my life easier. Just I’ve got a bamboo tablet that I’ve had for more than 10 years now. Still use it because really I use it for coloring. I don’t use it for drawing, I just use it for coloring. And so I just whacked it together like that. And really there’s the book, it was done, it was done. I just had to color a cover and that was it.

Peter Wilson (37:51):
Awesome, man. So when you’re in for a creative session, do you have any weird little rituals or superstitions you, some people like to have a certain book by them, some people need to have a coffee. Do you have anything similar like that? Any quirks?

Neale Blanden (38:05):
No. I don’t know. Look, I was talking before that I’ve still got a CD collection. I’m one of the people who like to listen to music when they’re drawing. I certainly do that every time I have the radio on or something like that. I’m not one of these people, I dunno how people do it, but they’ll have their laptop above them <laugh> on their drawing. Oh no. So they’re watching something and they’re drawing. I couldn’t do that. But I’ve heard of people who can’t listen to music and draw. They can’t do it. They’ve got to have silence know, oh no thanks. I’d rather have something like on. And the only other thing that I can think of, and it’s just a health thing, is I can’t sit for super long. I used to be able to sit for hours at a desk when it was flat and I’d draw away.

(38:53):
And I think I’m exaggerating and saying I only sit for half an hour, but I think I probably do about three quarts of an hour, an hour. And then I’ll get up and I’ll go, those cups need to be washed or something and I’ll just go and wash the cups and then come back to it. I just need to get up for 10 or 15 minutes and walk around and you know, might as well do something and get something done, make the bed or whatever rather than, yeah, because I just can’t sit there for eight hours and just draw.

Peter Wilson (39:25):
I’m the same. I break down my chores the same way too. Once an hour get up because feed cats it definitely. Yeah,

Neale Blanden (39:33):
That’s what I mean. That’s part of the ritual basically. That’s cool.

Peter Wilson (39:40):
Alright, so we are nearing the end. Last question.

Neale Blanden (39:44):
Oh, cool.

Peter Wilson (39:46):
Best criticism or bit of encouragement you’ve ever gotten?

Neale Blanden (39:49):
Oh wow.

(39:55):
Gee, I don’t know if there’s one thing. I think it’s more I’m just trying to think of people working and people who have really influenced me kind of thing. And I think it was more of a younger excuse person thing when I was younger and just either teachers who worked outside and did exhibitions and stuff like that and going, oh wow, if they can do it, I can do it too. Or one of the things, and it’s not really advice, but one of the things that really influenced me was I, I’d heard about mini comics and photo photocopying comics and stuff like that. And so this is at a time when printing was there was a lot more obstacles to do printing and really it was a lot more crappier back in the day. And I was in a comic shop in Melbourne and they had ties to an English you wouldn’t call it company, but group.

(40:57):
There you go, called Fast Fictions and Fast Fictions put out mini comics. I like photocopied mini comics. And I went into this comic shop and I’m looking at the comics. I’m going, hang on, what are they? And I go and look at them kind of thing. And I’m going, oh, these are these kind of comics that I’ve heard about so long. And I picked them up, I brought a bunch of ’em, took ’em home, and I went, hang on, these are photocopied. I can do this. I can get myself printed by printing myself. I can do a whole comic myself and it can be me. And it’s not really advice, but it just sparked off by seeing something like that to do something like that. But I can’t think of any specific advice other than watching people do it. They’re doing it. They’re doing it right now. They’re not waiting. They’re just doing it. And if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t look. They’re just trying. And I was thinking, well, that’s what I’ve got to do. I mean, as I said before, I didn’t think about the disappointment when you kind of go, well, I’ve finally finished. Oh, no one likes it because it is really bad. But yeah, it’s just do it.

Peter Wilson (42:11):
Make comics is definitely a slogan we throw around here at comics. Yes. It’s one of our statements, so we agree wholeheartedly with that. Thank you so much for coming on. It’s been great. Thank

Neale Blanden (42:23):
You. Thank you. Learned

Peter Wilson (42:24):
A lot. Is there anything you want to plug? Anything coming up?

Neale Blanden (42:28):
I haven’t got anything coming up at the moment and I need to get my poop together. I know. And get things. I mean, look, basically with work, I’ve been selling it myself at festivals and stuff like that. I really don’t have an internet presence when it comes to work kind of thing. But you, if you look that up on Instagram I’ve got work up there that it’s not particularly coming out very quickly right at the moment, but there’s a bunch of work there if you want to have a look. Imagery. I think I’m bland on Tumblr as well, so I’m still on Tumblr. I’m pretty sure

Peter Wilson (43:06):
That you’re on Blog Spot as well.

Neale Blanden (43:07):
Yeah, I’m on blog spot. Yeah, man, I’ve had a blog spot since 2009, occasionally put stuff on there. I don’t really, yeah, I’m not too fussed about that anymore, but I just thought, well, I’m not going to stop now. And I did a whole bunch of strips called The Cartoonist which I won the Ledger for many years ago. And they’re on a blog spot as well called cartoonist with how many? I think about four Cs at the start of it, because I couldn’t just get cartoonist of course. Or if you go to thank you. I try to be a legend. If you go to my blog spot, which is beautiful art form which was a name that I had many years ago. There’s a link, there’s links to all those kind of things. Anyway, but there’s a link to the cartoons one because it just doesn’t seem to get any traffic at all. But it’s all the strips I did for the cartoons because it was always going to be digital. I don’t know, they’re all colored. They’re there. I’ve got ’em at home. They’re all 300 dpi, maybe one. They get my book together. I, I’ll print that as a color comic. I don’t

Peter Wilson (44:19):
Know. Please do it. Ooh,

Neale Blanden (44:21):
<laugh>. It’s pretty old stuff now. That would be a good thing. That’s my dream to have a book with a big fat spine and call it something like the Book of Bland or whatever, because it’s now I was talking to someone, they said, how long have you been doing this for? This was the Festival of the Photocopier again. And I said, 35 years. I had to think about it. I thought, yeah, it’s been that long. And it’s been kind of like when I bump into people and they go, oh, you’re still making those photocopy comments? You go, yeah, yeah,

Peter Wilson (44:51):
That awesome. Big fat, new blended omnibus. I get that. Yeah.

Neale Blanden (44:56):
Well, yeah, not that thick. Not an omni <laugh>. Those omni buses.

Peter Wilson (45:02):
<laugh>. That’s awesome, man. All right, good chatting. It’s been good. Do we have anything at coms to plug sizzle?

Sizzle (45:08):
Yes probably the drink and draw coming up this Friday. This Friday coming is Sherlock Holmes for anyone drawing at home. Cool. Yeah. So that’s our topic for this Friday coming. So yeah, that’s it. And also, yeah, don’t forget this video and subscribe to the channel. That would be awesome if you could do that.

Peter Wilson (45:31):
Absolutely. You can find me on Instagram. Same handle here by Peter Wilson. Got some stuff coming up a bit earlier. Got some foes collected edition. That’ll be on Kickstarter in a month or so, I’m hoping. And you can buy Crimson and Rascal. Alright, thanks for watching. Oh, the quote, we’ve got to do the quote

Sizzle (45:49):
I was going to say, don’t forget the quote.

Peter Wilson (45:50):
Can’t forget the quote. So I hope this year, in the year to come, you make mistakes because if you’re making mistakes, you’re doing something, which I think ties in nicely with Neil, what Neil’s been saying. Just do it <laugh>. That’s a nice full circle moment for, we’ll see. And it’s another Neil, which is cool.

Neale Blanden (46:10):
Yeah,

Peter Wilson (46:11):
<laugh>. All right guys. Thanks for watching.

Neale Blanden (46:13):
Thank you,

Peter Wilson (46:13):
Mate. See you next week. It’s been great. Have a good one, guys.

Sizzle (46:17):
Yep. Thanks everyone.

Voice Over (46:29):
This show is sponsored by the comics shop.