By any other name

It freaks me out when people call me ‘Paul’ online and, equally, it’s a little odd to hear people call me ‘PJ’ in real life. 

My full name is Paul Jason Holden, and I started using my middle name nearly 20 years ago when I worked in a shop selling computers with an idiot called ‘Paul Holmes’. Holmes couldn’t really distinguish between his name and mine (or at least, never thought to try and distinguish between them when talking to people, so he’d often end up finishing conversations I’d started – not normally a problem, but he once did this to a girl I went out with. He was an idiot).

So, Paul Holden become Jason Holden. But, only in work. So I signed things PJ Holden – and people around me called me Jason.

Then, when I went online I used ‘paulj’ or ‘pj’. And, as I started to get back into drawing I’d sign my work ‘PJ Holden’.

Eventually I stopped working with people who knew me as ‘Jason’ and became, once again, plain old ‘Paul’. (Occasionally I’d bump into someone who only knew me as ‘Jason’ and they’ll call my name and it’ll confuse both of us for a minute).

By that time though, I would still sign everything as PJ Holden (or Paul J Holden) so lots of people (especially people who knew me online) would call me ‘PJ’ or ‘PEEJ’ – which is cool, I like that. Close friends would call me Paul.

Twitter and facebook saw me register with my full name – or, simply ‘PaulJHolden’ – causing lots of people to start calling me Paul online – a new and slightly odd experience for me…

All of this is just a load of who cares, except for the fact, that as a comic professional, my name has some value (not much, I’ll grant you, but what little there is needs to be nurtured like a spark). So, you know… it’s something I need to tidy up a little …

– PJ Holden (or Paul to his mates, his family and er… almost anyone who knows him from facebook or twitter)


I <3 science

I think, for comics (or science fiction in general), you need to know enough about science to spark an idea, but not so much that it subsumes that spark.

Here’s some things rattling round my brain right now:

1) The theory that the Biggs-Hosun particle is attempting to cover up its own existence by preventing the Large Hadron Collider from starting up.
2) The theory that the Large Hadron Collider will create a black hole and end the universe.

3) The Tegmark ‘Quantum Suicide’ experiment –

Maybe the large Hadron collider is, in effect, a giant ‘quantum gun’ that, everytime it starts IS destroying the universe, or at least one of the many universes – but for us it appears that it isn’t working. Seriously, a baguette stopped it? That’s insane.

Happy Valley #2

(Solicit pulled from Comixology)

Garth Ennis’ Battlefields: Happy Valley #2 (of 9) (MR)


By: Garth Ennis, Pj Holden, Garry Leach
Between the flak, the searchlights, the night fighters and the freezing, airless cold at twenty-thousand feet, bombing Germany in midwinter is no joke at all- but with some of the friends he’s got, pilot Ken Harding might not even need any enemies. Ken gets to know his crew a little better, as they edge towards the last operation that will complete their tour of duty. One more nightmare flight, and then they can all go home…

Price: $3.50
UPC: 725130135148

New Blog

Here we go again.

I suppose in some ways this is a massive step back. I started with a blog in blogger around 2000 (and aborted and restarted a number of times) and eventually moved my blogger to my own website, then, eventually, I moved to wordpress giving me much greater control over everything. But… I want away from all of that. WordPress management is kinda neat – but only when it works, constantly updating was a pain, constantly trying to tweak my own personal look for the site was a pain, and, eventually, it broke (as the wordpress admin always eventually broke). Now I COULD restart it and fix it again, but really, I want away from being an IT person. It’s been a year since I’ve done any proper paid computer work – this year has been just drawing (well, drawing and dealing with various family disasters) but I want away from all of that IT rubbish.
So we come to posterous. Why posterous? Mainly the emailling blog updates. And, a lot of it is the very nice way it handles multiple images. I like it. And this is where the blog will sit for now.



Twitter Tips on living the life of an artist

Archived from the original Blog)

A few nights ago, on twitter, “inspired” by the number of people offering hints and tips on breaking into the industry, I decided to add to the discordant cacophany with a set of ‘unwritten’ hints and tips. Thanks to Mark Kardwell (who had the foresight to cut and paste most of them) here they are for you non-twitterers.

(As an aside, I’m interested in doing a presentation of these tips along with a running commentary, wherein I describe them as ‘true’/’false’ or ‘maybe’…)

Artists Tips
To understand these fully, you have to remember I started posting them at 2:30AM. and if you read no other, read this one: Marry someone rich.

Comic Artist tips (everyone else is doing it, why not me?) Want to know what it’s like to be a pro comic artist with kids? Punch yourself in the balls 4 times a day, sleep 4 hours per night, eat dinner standing up and… that’s it!

Comic Artist Tips:why not make sure you eek out every last minute of your deadline,filling the time with self loathing and fear of rejection

Comic Artist Tips: remember, when asked how fast you are, the answer is ALWAYS “1 page per day”

Comic Artist Tips: that writer you can’t stand? him? yeah? you’ll end up working with him eventually. Bite your lip.

Comic Artist Tips: the ‘zone’ happens at exactly 10 minutes before you hit the sack. Why not fool yourself by working a full 24 hrs…

Pro Artist Tips: A silhouette looks cool AND is quick to draw.

Pro Artist Tips: Make sure you sneak wolverine into every page – that’ll give you a good secondary income when you sell the pages…

Pro Artist Tips: Writers will buy you drinks. Writers will buy anyone but other writers drinks. Remember this. It will save you a FORTUNE.

#ArtistTips if you find yourself attacking the table at awkward angles-like a snooker player on a trick shot-it may be time to lose weight

@simonfraser find a writer you like DRINKING with. A pro can work with ANYONE…

#ArtistTips find a new, unpublished writer, offer to do a three page strip for them, from that day on – you OWN THEM.

#ArtistsTips do work that excites you or you die a little with every compromise. Do work that pays you or you die of starvation.

#ArtistsTips There IS a magic pen that can make you draw just like Adam Hughes/Mignola/[other] – you just have to find it – now get looking!

#ArtistsTips to misquote Kirby: every time you erase a line you lose money! Remember this!

#ArtistsTips Don’t want to draw that panel? why not photocopy an earlier panel and ENLARGE it. Almost no-one will notice.

#ArtistsTips your mother and your girlfriend are NOT good judges of your talent. But your dad probably is. And he hates you.

#ArtistsTips if you’re too embarrassed to draw nekkid girls in case people think you’re a perve – why not make ‘em superheroes!

#ArtistsTips when an editor tells you what’s wrong with your portfolio – why not disagree with them! They can’t tell you how to draw. Idiots.

#ArtistsTips your portfolio case can handle more than 12 pages! Why not pack it full of stuff, an editor is BOUND to like something in there

#ArtistsTips buy some books on anatomy and drawing and leave them on your drawing table. Osmosis isn’t just for plants.

#ArtistsTips instead of drawing, go to twitter and keep hitting refresh – eventually an editor will spontaneously commission you via a DM.

#ArtistsTips when your wife asks what were you doing til 2:30am – tell her you were drawing.

#artiststips you’re right: it IS about WHO you know, unfortunately, though editors know a LOT people who can draw better than you.

#ArtistsTips the only person you can rely on is yourself. And even then you can only be 50% sure of that.

#artiststips spend at least five minutes a day wistfully remembering what sleeping was like.

#artiststips – just as you’ve suspected, once YOU’VE connected to an editor via a social network everyone abandons it, including the editor.

#artiststips – forget the naysayers, Comic Sans is a GREAT font to letter your samples with. Also: DON’T letter your samples.

#artiststips while you spend your weekend drawing that two page spread of 100s of clones vs x-men, just remember-it took 5 minutes to write.

#artiststips thinking of a career in comics? look at your local newsagents. See that? more magazines about Koi Carp than comics. Think FISH.

#artiststips don’t forget – ‘Leave Behind’ is not only a bunch of photocopies to give an editor, but also the odor peculiar to man sweat

#ArtistsTips – if you’re smart you’ll NEVER have to draw feet.

#artiststips Marry someone rich.

Writers Tips
Goaded into doing the equivalent for writers, here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

#writerstips Your first PAID work is actually a gruelling test of stamina that editors call The Gauntlet-run by interns for amusement

#writerstips that first pitch will resemble the final paid work only in so far as the credits will be the same.You will not tell people this

#writerstips remember, BEFORE you break in QUALITY is important, once you get your first gig QUANTITY is important. Don’t mix them up!

#writerstips remember, the more you write, the less you have to edit. And editing is DULL – ask any editor.

#writerstips if the first thing you wanted to get published WASN’T a 100 page opus, stop now: you’re not a writer.

#writerstips start saving now, remember the first rule of write club is that no-one will work with you unless you buy them drinks.
#writerstips get your artist while they’re young and hungry. Literally hungry; don’t feed ‘em unless they’re drawing.