Saturday, September 27, 2008


Webcomics Nation

I have edited my comics slightly so they fit over at the Webcomics Nation site. Have been doing this as I will change server soon and in the gap my comics will still be viewable over there, and, actually, I do quite like the format/site layout at Webcomics Nation. Also, It allows me to see what my ‘side scrolling’ comics look like on a flat ‘normal’ page layout (landscape, one above the other, on a vertically scrolling page). It might even be an improvement maybe, I think, surprisingly. I am still in the process of uploading pages but have managed to put a fair amount of the following comics up:

Refuge (serial comic, four chapters so far),
Sand-Pit (Word Comic),
JoJo (Word Comic),
The Knife (Part of Refuge),
The Stranger (old word comic) and
Train Journey (part of refuge separated form new comic narrative),
already uploaded to my little area of the site. More stuff to come!

The Webcomics Nation site is soon to merge with Comics Space. When this happens, in a few months time, people will be automatically redirected to the new site, so I’m told. Not sure what this new place will look like. If it is a problem I will be looking for a decent site to house my comics. At the moment I cringe at a lot of content on Webcomics Nation, that’s when I dare to look. I suppose I can’t speak really. There are some good things I have read there. For me Webcomics Nation good as the design there seems to accommodate my comics well and it may get more people who enjoy comics to look at them. Saves being stuck out in the blogosphere I suppose. I will have to look around a bit more to see what other hosting sites there out there now. Who knows what this new ‘Comics Space’ is going to be like. I am happy currently but in two months time that may change. Be easy to upload somewhere else.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, September 06, 2008


A long time ago...

...I lived in a cramped room with hardly any space on the table to draw. Hunched up against the bed I drew a comic. I had been trying a few drawings, then some writing. Why not put the two together? It was the winter of 1992. Below is the first result. Working with a fine point marker pen. It seemed to come together sort of. It was my first attempt at a word thing.

The Stranger


Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Knife

page 1 of The Knife

New short sequence in two pages (page one above). Click on image for the full story, Posted at Webcomics Nation. This is the second story in a series. First one here. Crosshatching or no crosshatching, that is the question? I decide what the hell, whatever fits with the story. Sometimes crosshatching is a good way of creating textured blacks. This enforced fixation with the toy train, the theatrical forest and the plastic Indians is only temporary. Like a dream I think these things fit into some logic somewhere. Inside that train carriage it must be so uncomfortable. Why don't they escape to the forest? I don't know.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Some Changes

I have taken Chapter 4 and included it into a new comic narrative that just contains a series of dream sections. I felt that this chapter 4 was needlessly over complicating the 'Refuge' story and could be included in a separate narrative on it's own. I have a series of dream sequences sketched out and they will be inked up as and when, to add to this one. So currently there are four chapters of 'Refuge', Chapter 5 now being Chapter 4. The old Chapter four is now the first chapter/Number of 'Train Journey' (provisional title). I hope that all this makes some sort of sense.

Thursday, July 24, 2008



JoJo word comic.  Click to see enlarged version.

A word comic that I have been working on for too long now and that I have to finally put up online or throw it in the bin. Not complete, not even finished, but it is at least some physical evidence of work, that I have been doing something for the past weeks. I could show you several different versions and they could all be put up. In fact putting this up gives me the chance to bring it to some sort of conclusion. It is a relief, yet I am still fighting back urges to re-do panels and adjust the narrative.

To do something short. To confine a passage to the minimum number of panels. To use words and abstract imagery/signs to suggest space and things happening, just like in a normal narrative only in this the text comes to the fore and the imagery is more integrated into the words rather than the other way around.

Click on image for larger version.


Thursday, March 13, 2008


Finishing Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of Refuge graphic novel finished!, well kind of...

Chapter five of Refuge Online Comic is now all uploaded.

I may well of course go back and change details or the angle of something. Things always look different once you go back and look at them again when uploaded. I am constantly seeing things from a fresh perspective. I am starting to work on another comic to be uploaded later in the year. Also looking forward to putting up chapter 6, Starting next week. My scanner is bust so when I get an new, cheaper, one plugged in and working I will put up some more preparation sketches.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Comics site change of address

Just a note to say that my Comics site "Refuge" is still there only the site link has now changed to:

Until further notice.

It was but I have had recent server problems with lycos. As a result some of the homepage links on this blog may not work.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Refuge Flash Animation Part 6

View Refuge Flash Animation part 6

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Refuge on Youtube

In six parts so far:

Refuge - Part 1

Refuge - Part 2

Refuge - Part 3

Refuge - Part 4

Refuge - Part 5

Refuge - Part 6


Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Refuge Flash Animation Part 5

View Refuge Flash Animation part 5


Sunday, December 02, 2007


Refuge Flash Animation Part 4

View Refuge Flash Animation part 4



Refuge Flash Animation - Part 3

View Refuge Flash Animation part 3



Refuge Flash Animation - Part 2

View Refuge Flash Animation


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Refuge - Part 2 - animation/moving image

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, November 05, 2007


Refuge Animation - Flash and Youtube - Part 1

Click here to view the Flash version of Refuge animation

I have made an "animated" version of Refuge comic and have put it on the website. Click on the image above to link to the Flash version of the animation. Below is the Youtube version.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Friday, October 26, 2007


Early Sketch: chapter 4 dream sequence.

These sketches are for Chapter 3 of Refuge

A shortened version here of the beginning of the train dream sequence. I went off on a journey myself when inking this up and included a whole lot of other panels both to help it read better and also to include an idea I had about a place I wanted my characters to go to. I managed to get it all back to the house in the end. They end up being turned into a child's marble and thrown out of the cabin. This section started with meta morphing and so it finishes with metamorphosis too. I wanted to leave it open as to who was dreaming what and about whom. Essentially the dream is about both of them.

I wanted to enthuse this section with optimism, like a wish fulfilment, if only in dream form. Eventually reality slowly enters t nearer to the house the train gets. The self propelling train running along the track.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Page 7 of 12-panel Refuge Sketches

These sketches are for Chapter 3 of Refuge

Early drawing again, a following on page from the last post. Originally I had the idea of placing panels at stages with regular gaps of time in between. In some areas this turned out to be unpractical in the final inked up narrative. Also the fat character (smaller) I had to make thin in order to differentiate him from the other one in some scenes. You can see that the initial train scene is shorter. I extended it by almost a chapter (4) in the final horizontal web comic.

I had an idea for Hungarian dancing at one point as I wanted it to be a eastern European dream. However it ended up being more American western, on the prairie. I liked the idea of running through the long prairie grass. Also that landscape and culture is so set that it is interesting to put things in it that are maybe unexpected.

Experimenting with size the characters find them selves in self propelling toy train that stops when it wants to (or when I want it to). The space they are in is a convenient 3D panel with the scenery passing by them only getting out when I have decided that it is the right place. Then they go from claustrophobic interior to open expanse, then back into interiors again but separately this time and each follows his own parallel narrative in his own separate part of the dream. Joining back again having changed from their individual experiences and the dynamics of the relationship have changed (in the dream that is).

I had the idea that the characters would be at once children and grown men at the same time and life would fluctuate between so called childishness and adult behaviour.

The dream behaviour allows the narrative to travel from place to place that are variously linked by objects, words, symbols and a certain amount of repetition along the way.

Further planning pages from Refuge updated later.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, October 22, 2007


Early Sketches for Refuge

These sketches are for Chapter 3 of Refuge

This is an early drawing for what would have been page 6 in this 12 panel portrait format. Pencil on paper. Trying to create an domestic interior world. I later decided to cut the panels down to 12 and put them in landscape format for more of a left to right reading which I thought suite the narrative flow. Pencil enabled me to quickly suggest form and shape. Having scanned them in to the computer they then seemed to take on the appearance of charcoal or even pen and ink. Something that I may focus on for a finished comic in future.

Further planning pages from Refuge updated later.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Refuge update

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

More panels for Chapter five of Refuge Online Comic.

Going to post some planning sketches. Some relating to the rest of the story and others showing the planning drawings for panels already uploaded. It started out quite different to what it is now. I started out drawing 12 panel pages, portrait style.

The characters were also different. I had to do a few redrawings of the first pages in order to create a way of drawing that I was happy with.

I was thinking even of keeping the pencil drawing look or even using charcoal but settled on pen and ink (or a simulation of) for the final version. I may however use pencil or charcoal again in the future.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Refuge Chapter 5 Updated

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

New panels for Chapter five of Refuge Online Comic.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, June 18, 2007


A fine Cabaret

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

Line of images tacked on the end. Uploaded for your perusal. A fine Cabaret. Trying to find those lines of reality, from pin ball machine to fairground harlequin, try to develop an abstract feel for light and dark. The characters travel into the hidden layers of the comic, but deeper into nothing I would suppose? Fifty five layers so far and counting. Perhaps at some point I may get back onto the rails. Head for that distant exit and for the next chapter; are characters gestures, lines only, or are the as important as the interiors? Is it because of narrative flow that the protagonists allude to reality or have I lost that already? Sometimes I wonder what kind of space is being created, what kind of meaning the whole thing could have, sometimes its better that you don't know these things, follow your intuition along the track and come out where you come out. I have to start reading back; it can't go on for ever. Can you dip into it, I don’t think so.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Refuge Panels

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

Some new images uploaded for the comic. Is the end of this chapter in sight? Not quite yet, some more panels before that Chapter Five end panel. I find myself working at night lately. Cups of tea and toast, wandering too and from the kitchen, staring at panels, more tea, the birds twittering outside marking the beginning of late morning. Under siege, barricaded in to my flat, I turn on my screen and shield it in case all the light attracts attention. Relief comes with the rain thudding against my windows, providing a veil, separating me off, giving me time get on with work. Any excuse will do.

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, April 13, 2007


Back to Refuge

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

Been away for some time but now I am back. I have had to do something compulsory, useless and very tiresome. Now I am slowly conditioning myself back to the old habits of daily comic’s creativity, institutionalising myself again in my work room. Got some new ideas for further comics but these I put aside now to push on to chapter 6 of Refuge. I have a basic plan drawn out in pencil from which I am gaining most of my narrative but the urge occasionally is to fantasize, much like the central character, to dream and follow that dream where ever that may go, even if that might mean traipsing off the path slightly and having to go back and edit. Such is the strangeness of drawing comics.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


The Queue

The Queue - by Neil McTaggart

"The queue" 6ft x 2.5ft. Oil on linen.

Old painting here that I did in 1987; that seems so long ago now. As a background to this I had spent a few years drawing at Leeds train station waiting room.

I have done more paintings and drawings of Leeds train station, of the fleeting images of people caught mid-journey or sitting and waiting on a old red circular seats. I shall be uploading them to the Refuge site in the Drawings section together with my archive of drawings and artworks from the past.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Stumbling into Comics

I have been interested in comics for some time now but I did not “grow up" with comics, apart from the children’s weeklies an annuals of the seventies i.e; Beano, etc. I mean by growing up all of the super hero comics and Judge Dredd stuff. I was introduced to comics by a friend and was first struck most by the artists that focus on an outward display of drawing skills in the traditional sense. I was also one of those that were drawn towards a comic more by its surface look or style. Many of the comics that I scoffed at at first later became my favourites. Once I had gotten over any prejudices that I may have had these comics seemed more original and personal in their approach than others that I had read previously (I began to cultivate more patience for different or new things, a continuation of my personal development in fine art, having once walked around galleries completely discrediting artworks that late came to have a big influences in my own work). I have come to realise that it is very much the combination of narrative flow and use of written language, it’s compatibility with the drawing style, that is the judge of whether a comic works or not and that these aspects of narrative require plenty of time and effort to appreciate fully.

Being involved in Fine art at the time of my first attempts with comic art I also liked the fact that it was a very easy area to get involved in, the practitioner needing only a paper and pen to get started. The medium also has a similarity to film and some of the structures of writing. Being interested in film and writing I found it interesting to combine these interests with drawing which has formed the basis of all of my artwork thus far.

I did not or do not feel that the bridge over to comics from painting is necessarily a difficult one but is subject to the personal prejudice and habits developed by the individual artist: Painters (Fine artists) tend to be perfectionists in a different way to comics artists. They tend to focus on refining the look of something and are much more concerned with keeping the art open to interpretation so as not to block off a viewers imaginative response. In comics the artist is much more involved in directing the viewer through a series of avenues and up to a point dictating their response. While working of my initial experiments with comics I tended not to be bothered so much with clarity or definite meaning in terms of signs or symbols. I steered away from conventions, wanting to create something “individual”. I followed my own intuition and did not have a thought for other comic styles (although these did seep in as I progressed). Seeing where something went seemed like a more exciting way to go at that time. Sometimes a narrative can have a more organic feel, more true to a thought process, each segment being drawn one after the other, building like a pile of bricks only anylising later what you had done and then editing.

You can tell that I had spent a long time with Abstract expressionism and had digested all of the rhetoric. It is a handy way of starting something off as 1. You produce a lot of work and 2. Initially at least it does not require any fore-knowledge. As a consequence of this process I began thinking of comics as being a good medium for expressing psychological realities, a way of expressing a minds eye view of the world. Areas of Fine art that cover this area tend towards the precious and the obscure, whereas in comics it takes on the mantle of documentary making, story telling, to tell a story that develops from somewhere in your psyche and is an expression of your inner reality. To have it directed and not hinted at or hidden inside unfathomable complexity to me was the opening of a new avenue of interest, one that I wanted to explore further.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Road Kill

Road Kill - a new comic by Neil McTaggart

A new comic here that I have done, having drawn a version of this some years ago and now I thought it was time to give it a re-draw, experimenting with this kind of nineteen fifties style tonal drawing. I tried to keep it sketchy and may add some dialogue to the final page if that works. Also I plan a longer story in mind to include this scene and perhaps put it out as a book. I am going to get on with Refuge for now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Vernons Arcade

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

More panels for Vernons Arcade

Chapter 5: REFUGE Webcomic

Monday, October 09, 2006


Chapter 5 Updated

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

Chapter 5 updated.

REFUGE Webcomic

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Refuge - Update

New panels for Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5

Chapter 5 updated.

REFUGE Webcomic

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Live Discussion

The following (below images) is a short exchange of comments responding to an update that I posted on the Refuge mirror Livejournal in the altcomix comics community. I thought the content was interesting and instead of letting it get lost amongst the continuous flow of posts there I have posted it here for blog readers as well:

Chapter 4 finished:

Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 4 finished!

Chapter 5 started:

Refuge graphic novel - Chapter 5 started!


This is very interesting. Forgive the long post, but I have to bring in some quotes to make sense of what I want to say.

Anyway, a side scrolling internet comic like yours does not fundamentally change the way comics are read, but it does change the dynamic in an interesting way. What is lacking is the sense that each sequential panel is part of an already present holistic structure since the reader only has one or two panels to start with and no sense of what is going to happen next. According to Charles Hatfield, comics are composed of several kinds of tension, one of them being Sequence vs. Surface. He explains:

“In most cases, the cussessive images in a comic are laid out contiguously on a larger surface or surfaces (that is page pr pages) . . . . From a reader’s point of view, then, there is always the potential to choose: beween seeing the single image as a moment in sequence and seeing it in a more holistic fashion, as a design element that contributes to the overall balance (or in some cases meaningful imblance) of the layout” [Charles Hatfield, Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005) 48-52.]

In the case of Refuge, getting a sense of the wider design as/before you read, the choice of seeing the sequence or the overall design, is much more difficult. As a result, although every comics sequence is to some extent uncertain, your comic has a strong sense of unpredictability. I’ve only read the first two of your stories, but the oddness of the situations add to a sense that anything could happen. In addition, having the comic on the surface of a webpage adds movement to the static image sequence. My scrolling, the panels appear to move past you, something that can’t be achieved to the same effect in comics that are static and inert except in our minds.

Very cool.


Hi, first of all thanks for the in-depth analysis. I agree that the page layout in comics does give it an extra dimension and allows the reader not just to look at individual panels but also across the surface and at the interaction of that panel with the page/pages as a whole, this in turn adding to the object nature of the printed comic.

The online comic can not compete, I suppose, with this object reality but instead has to use its own quite separate context to advantage. The comic has to work in some way with its inherent make up. Because of the interactive nature of online art it is almost impossible not to have to scroll down or across, or click onto the next page etc, to view it. Some comics, like mine, have tried to make this activity an integral part of the comic, trying to create an extra illusion of time and space through the illusion of an endless narrative, let to right (or right to left) and up and down.

The side scrolling comic does not rely so much on the surface look of a page as apposed to the individual panels, I suppose it is putting narrative, story, the thread of one image after another, above the look of a page. The notion of time passing becomes both physical and illusionary with the moving images from left to right. Once a panel is gone, it can be in the past and replaced by another so the panels accumulate in memory but also at the same time the reader is always at a certain point of the narrative, a point in time that is fluid or seems transient, about to change and not sure, as you say, what is coming next. I feel that time is a real issue with side scrolling comics, that notion that you are scrolling a strange real of film around inside one of those old children’s viewers.

As a comic artist I get involved in the narrative, sometimes to the detriment of continuity of overall look, so this inability to have the whole chapter day to look at on the few pages suites my work process. I have however not blocked the option of doing print comics, in fact I intend to reorganise this one at some point to bring it our in print volumes. There seem be two audiences for comics, one for print and one for the web.

This is a fascinating subject ‘scarfe, I could go on longer but this could turn into a lengthy essay. Have just been to your site and you appear to be studying graphic narrative as part of your MA cultural studies thesis. What sort of areas are you going to cover? That sounds interesting.

Thanks again for the comments.


My MA thesis is actually finished as of today, actually. I just have to print it and have it bound. It is called "FOREIGN BODIES: COMICS, HABITUS, AND TRANSCULTURAL INTERACTION." Essentially, I'm looking at Joe Sacco's Palestine and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and Persepolis 2 to explore how incredibly well suited comics are to represent the unspeakable or unthinkable process of what Pierre Bourdieu calls "habitus" because the comic form simultaneously presents the material and discursive bases of power and meaning making. That won't make any sense if you are unfamiliar with the concept of habitus (and even if you are, it still might not make any sense). I could go on to explain, but I don't want to bore you.

As for your comic, I like what you said about the interactive quality of online scrolling comics and how you tried to integrate that quality into your comic. You describe it as kind of like a strange reel of film, and I think that is a perfect way to describe it.

There is a scene in one of your strips (if they can be called that, which I doubt) where the two men jump of a train and the panel grid switches from a horizontal to vertical progression to create the sense of downward momentum. I really like that. This can be done in print, but because the reader/viewer of an online comic can scroll, those panels appear to move in the downward momentum they attempt to depict. One of the things I always hated about early “web comics” or comics on DVD that big superhero publishers like Marvel and DC put out was that they were basically comics turned into cartoons. The panels would slide onto screen, spin around, word bubbles would appear and disappear, static images of characters would lean forward and back when punched etc. The images themselves remained static, but they appeared to the viewer to have movement via animation. This never looked right to me. They looked lifeless because an integral part of comics is that the reader must read between the images to imagine movement in the mind’s eye. To have it done for you dulls the experience, I think. As for a web comic such as yours, it is not animation and it is not static, but kind of in between: the progression from image to image still has a sense of movement.

I don’t think it’s a matter of competition between print or online comics. They both offer unique possibilities. Online comics that are comprised of pages (like Dave Willis’ Shortpacked as a quick example) still work on that tension between reading the panels as their own discrete moments or as part of a holistic structure, but scrolling web comics offer a uniquely different way of seeing and reading. I look forward to your other chapters.


I won't attempt to try and translate 'Habitus' but to say that comics are a good medium to translate cultures to one another and therefore creating an understanding, particularly on a personal level. They can translate the psychological reality of a situation through the combination of text, image and narrative. In that way it can make the personal political. People are usually convinced of the reality of something more through images, if not an actual exact portrayal of events then a portrayal of their psychological reality seen through the eyes of an individual. 'Palestine' breaks through the barrier of communicating to those that do not spend all their time reading papers. Also, because of its documentary style it manages to convey the idea of a story happening in real time. There is a tradition growing I think of the real story being told in comic form, from 'Maus' the various autobiographical works to 'Palestine' and 'Persopolis'. Conveying hidden truths or the personal side of events seems to be comics strong point.

Anyway, I am sure you're thesis explains things more concisely than my of cuff remarks.

I was thinking of putting this short exchange of posts on my blog or journal as I am always lost for things to say in it about my work and think that there are some interesting comments here. These posts are just going to disappear together with my post in ‘altcomix’ as more things get posted. Is that Ok with you?


"They can translate the psychological reality of a situation," or as I argue, gesture to the fact that psychological realities are not fixed, but constructed.

Feel free to post our commments on your blog or journal. I added you to my friends list, and I look forward to your updates.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?