Welcome to the archive of the John Barleycorn blog, produced by Howard Gayton and Rex Van Ryn during the process of creating their graphic novel John Barleycorn Must Die. As part of that process, you'll find discussions of magic, of creativity, and 'Around the Table' discussions with a range of internationally known artists, writers and film makers. The graphic novel was printed in a limited edition, so if you managed to get one, good for you! Although this project is over now, we're leaving this blog online as an archive and as a snap shot in time.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Two steps forward. One step back!

H - So, there I was, Rex, in rehearsals with Nosey Crows, the band I’m in with David Wyatt
R - Yes?
H - ...tuning my guitar, as you do…
R - Yes?
H - ...when I took the opportunity to ask ask his advice about formating issues regarding the digital version of our comic.
R - Right.
H - As you know, I'm keen to make the comic available as an ebook as well as a printed book....
R - That’s all I ever hear from you these days: iPad this, iPad that, iPad the other. 
H - ...so I says to Dave, I says, “You know, since the book is being printed in black and white, Rex and I will have to remove all the greys in the art. (Not the aliens, the colour.) So do we have to change it for the ebooks too? And if we do, what's the best way to do it?” And then David said, “You’d change it into bitmap.” 
R - Ah ha!

H - “But of course,” he continued, “you’re going to have a problem with your word balloons, because they are all in grey, aren’t they?” “Oh Dear, I hadn't  realised that,” I said. “Is it going to cause a problem?” David replied: “It will indeed, because as soon as you 'greyscale' them, all the greys (again, not the aliens) will disappear.” 
R - Ah! So we'd simply have words floating around the panels, without any balloons!
H - Yes! And worse yet, this will occur in the printed books as well! So although we thought we were within striking distance of completing this book and sending it off, we now have to spend a couple of days changing all the word balloons, and also redesigning some of the titles....hence the title of this post!

No Greys....

R - I look at it as a blessing, my friend.
H - Really, Rex? How so?
R - Well thank goodness David mentioned it, otherwise we would have sent the art off to the printers and our book would have been ruined!
H - Hmm. I see what you mean. It was a lucky, lucky chance that I asked David about it when I did. This is one of the perils of self-publishing: we've taken a professional approach to the process by ensuring that the comic has been edited, proof-read, and produced to a professional standard, but when you are doing everything yourself, it's all too easy for mistakes to creep in.  
R - True, true….
H - And the work doesn’t stop when we send the book off to the printer, Kablam, or finish preparing the digital version.
R - Does it not?
H - No, because then we'll have to become our own Publicity and Marketing Departments. But don't worry, Rex, that’s a whole other story and needn’t concern us for another fortnight....
R - Wait until we make John Barleycorn: The Movie, Howard! Then you’ll see what hard work really is!!!


  1. Still all about getting your name on the big screen... and we thought it was about art.
    Good luck in the technological labyrinth. My advice is to tune your guitar regularly, Howard, in case David has other devious insights.

  2. So does this mean there will be no aliens (greys) in JBMD? Well this is a fine moment to tell us!

    Still - loving these tantalising glimpses of the artwork each week - GREAT artwork! Awaiting final & complete compilation with immense anticipation.

    Best of luck gents ..

    Signed: The Real Anonymous