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Tim McEwen

Time to talk all things Greener Pastures, all things Trevor and why no one seems to notice the talking bull. Well Tim McEwen is here to chat with Sheydin and Siz about just that.


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Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:12):
Welcome to, and I forgot to take Tim off the screen. So Tim is here, so we’re doing this totally different. I was unprepared. I am tired everyone, so I just saw, throw that in there. Let’s just start straight with Tim then.

Sheydin Dew (00:29):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:31):
Rather than taking off the screen and putting you back on. Yeah. Sha

Sheydin Dew (00:36):
Oh, let’s just roll straight into it.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (00:40):
Let’s just roll with it. Sorry about that.

Sheydin Dew (00:41):
Good evening everyone. We’re back with another ACOM X show. Tonight’s guest is Tim Ewen. We are talking all things greener pastures. Tim, thank you so much for being on tonight. It’s such a pleasure to speak with you and I’m really excited to delve into your masterpiece of all things Green.

Tim McEwen (01:03):
Thanks for the invitation. Really appreciate you having me on. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it’s all worked towards that. Hey,

Sheydin Dew (01:13):
Absolutely. Well, it’s obviously quite a long journey that you’ve had with this project, so I’m really excited to delve into the origins of the story. But first, let’s get a little bit more information about yourself. Can you give us a little bit of an elevator pitch of what greener pastures is all about?

Tim McEwen (01:32):
Sure. It’s funny because I’ve had to ride out a few of these recently to try to encapsulate the idea and I’ve written them out, but I keep on forgetting them to say them off the top of my head. But what’s the elevator pitch? Greener pastures, especially there’s, there’s two parts to greener pastures and what people are seeing now is the 1990s version, even though it’s now 30 years later, and that greener pastures is about a bull, a stud bull who decided that life on the farm had gotten so boring that there must be something else he could do with his life. So he goes to the big smoke to live with the humans and to try to work out where his place in the world might be. I guess that’s really the gist of the beginning of it. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (02:24):
Amazing. I think when I first laid my eyes on, I read the recent one, your Issue eight, which is very exciting and I fell in love with it because I have a Sey cow on my farm and soon as, yeah, his name is Rupert. So as soon as I started reading this story, I was like, I love it. I love it. I can relate so much with it and I kind my own cow in the story,

Tim McEwen (02:52):
To be honest. Where are the photos that need to have a look? So it’s a cow, not a bull.

Sheydin Dew (02:56):
Yes, he is a steer. He actually used to have an Instagram account. I know the show is about you, but quick plug. He used to have an Instagram account while I was at uni as well, and his Instagram account was Rupert in hats. And what I would do is I would go to shops and I would cut little holes in bucket hats, beanies, berets, you name it. And then I’d put him on Rupert and he would model hats on the Instagram account. And he was a hit. Was a hit. So when I read your story I was like, heck yeah, I love this. I really vibe with it. So yeah, kudos. Also, when I was reading the comic, you have got such a striking art style. I was wondering maybe if you had a few words of how you would describe your writing style slash art style maybe for those who probably aren’t familiar with your work.

Tim McEwen (03:58):
Yeah, okay. So number one, I’m part of a team. Michael Michels and I co-create and he mostly writes and I mostly draw and obviously there’s some overlap there, but as far as my drawing style is concerned, I very much come from the black and white tradition. So I don’t draw anything with an eye to how is this going to be colored. Everything I draw when I’m at the penciling stage, my thoughts are always how am I going to ink this and where am I going to put hatching and where am I going to put crosshatching and where am I going to put the solid blacks? Really all I’ve got to work with. A few of the earlier issues, I actually use that zipper tone that stick down lone. A lot of mango still does that. The little dots. I kind of moved away from that and almost all the tone work is now just me doing lots of lines, lots of hatching.

And the issue that you read of number eight, that’s the preview version. And I actually just spent the last two days cleaning up a quarter page three to four pages more work. And I ended up, I think working on more eight of them, eight or 10 of them. And for most of them it was adding more hatching and more crosshatching in the background so that there was more depth. I’m trying to find a page that shows that that doesn’t give away the ending. A lot of that was actually happening on the last few pages. So actually this is a really good example. I don’t know sizzle if you’ve got page 23. 23. So this is the original art. This is how I draw. So this is partly answering your question as well because everything’s traditional rather draw on thick paper, Bristol paper, but it’s pretty thick.

I draw with a brush and a dipped in Chinese actual, normally it’s India ink, I’m using Chinese ink or a dip pen. Sometimes I use is like coic markers and that kind of thing as well, but it’s mostly white brush and stuff. But this page by Campbell White, and we’ll talk about why it’s not my drawing, it’s Campbell’s drawing, but this drawing by Campbell White, he basically left out all the backgrounds. At one point he said, oh Tim, it occurred to me maybe you need some more direction as to where to put some solid blacks or some background elements or whatever. And then we just never got around to it. So the other day I just kind of freestyled in the background and decided to put in, so you can see some hatching and some black and cutting in with some white pen as well.

So the version that’s in the addition that you’ve just read is actually quite different. It’s all very white and it doesn’t fit the story at all. It’s taking place in a nightclub and then normally dark with just lights and strokes and stuff. So I had to emulate that. So actually it’s a weird thing, but actually it’s a meditative thing to sit there and just do hatching and crosshatching and very time consuming, but it’s just that idea of the work is done by hand and I don’t do any computer work at all. I’ve actually thought to myself, I should probably just get a three page and just hatch the whole thing and then scan that in and then I could just drop that in and it still looks like it’s hand drawn, but I could just repeat it, but I don’t know too much of a bunch to do that.

Sheydin Dew (07:51):
Yeah, I think you’ve definitely nailed it as well. Some of those panels that I read, especially in your early work, in one of the first ones, I think it was some of the panels and some of the angles that you draw at are very, very cinematic. There was one particular panel that kind of grabbed my eye and it was a top down view of the front door just as the wife is about to open the door. And I stopped and looked at that and I thought actually really, really well done.

Tim McEwen (08:25):
That was before I even really knew how to do perspective as well. I fudged so much stuff for so long and I’m an educator as well. I teach tertiary animation students how to draw including perspective. And I sometimes think to myself, it would be really better for everybody if they just drew without any knowledge for a few more years before they get all of this information rammed into their head and say, this is the way it’s got to be. These are the rules you have to learn so that you know what rules to break. There’s that whole thing that we’ve heard number of times, but especially with comics, I often just tell people they should just make comics for a couple of hundred pages before they even look at any textbooks on how to make comics, but also on things like perspective, because you’re just drawing whatever you feel like is going to be a really exciting thing to draw. Exactly, yeah. And you’re not worried about how hard it is going to be. That’s the really great thing about most comic book artists early work is that there’s so much more experimentation and they just go for broke and they just have as much fun as they can before they start getting into a bit of a run or finding what the rules are that they don’t want to go.

Sheydin Dew (09:53):
I thought it might be. Yeah,

Tim McEwen (09:56):
He’s also in the book. Oh, oh, cool. Yeah, yeah. So that eighth issue, have I got a copy of the jam here somewhere. So that eighth issue, the one that you read, Shaden is a jam. I’ll put it in my bag to take the word. It’s a jam issue. So your reading work, when you’re saying the earlier issues you’re reading work from like 1994? Yes, 19 95, 96. And the last issue that we did was 1997 and that was issue seven. And now issue eight has come out nearly 30 years later. And I thought a really good bridge between what we were doing in the old times and what we’re about to start doing now with new work because it’s an ongoing series and we’ve already got all the other stories. We’ve got three more issues at least set in the 1990s that are written and ready to draw.

I thought a good bridge would be to take a story that we wrote for number eight in 1997, but never got around the drawing and draw that in 2023. So that that’s the bridge, the old story with the new art. But I also thought it’d be really great if we could have a bit of a party and a bit of a welcome home party for Trevor. We’re back at this now and invite a whole bunch of other artists to jam on it. So I took the script and I thumbnailed it like I normally do. So I did thumbnails of every page to figure out how the story should work and which pages have how much story and which ones the splash pages, et cetera, et cetera. And then I drew those thumbnails up a lot larger than I normally would, so about a four size.

And then I asked a bunch of people if they wanted to take part and I said, which page you want? So every artist, there’s in all this 30 creators, including me and the writer. So 28 guest artists and they all picked a page, chose a page each, and used my thumbnail to make sure that they got the right amount of storytelling coming out, but they didn’t have to follow the thumbnail exactly at all. So we made sure that it would make sense, but it would also be quite unique to each artist as they go through.

Sheydin Dew (12:25):
Yeah, wow, that sounds like quite the process. That’s actually something that I did want to delve into. Obviously this project has kind of stemmed quite a while, but I want to step back a little bit and just ask, how long have you been drawing for?

Tim McEwen (12:46):
That’s asking how old I am. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. So 50 years I’ve been drawing. My mom found some drawings recently that she said, oh, I thought you better have these. So I dunno how old I am. I feel like I was probably preschool, but maybe it was kindergarten or first grade or something. So it’s like everybody though, everybody draws when they’re that age. It’s that whole story of why do people stop drawing? So I’m one of those people who just never stop drawing. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (13:18):
Amazing. So I guess when you’ve come into the comics world, what really inspired you to start comics?

Tim McEwen (13:30):
I think just the love of drawing was the thing that was the main thing. So I bought and read comics and I love doing that and I love to draw, so it was like how do you put these two things together where you make your own comics? So I guess that’s the very simple answer to that question. What inspired me to draw comics? Just I loved them and I loved drawing. So that was that. And I drew as a young person, I didn’t really draw too many comics. I drew a lot of comic related sort of images, but didn’t draw a lot of actual comics until I was actually quite a bit older. I haven’t really thought about that for maybe ever. The point at which I started to actually draw comics was the point at which I started to meet other comic book kind of people. I did some strips, I did strips for newspapers, like the local rags, none of which ever got paid for.

So I was doing that. So yeah, I was making my own comics. I think when I really started to particular artists, I guess that’s when you really start to say to yourself, I could be like that person as a person doing that. And now I know that there is because I know their name and I follow them from comic to comic because they’re my favorite artist or whatever. I think it was probably at that stage when my reading of comics matured to the point where I started to understand that the creation process behind it, I started to make strips and I found a couple of newspapers that were willing to take strips from a 17 or 18-year-old. But then in Sydney when I started to make friends with other comic book people who were also making comics, that’s when you really start to go, okay, so we’ve got to make comical pages and you’re actually going to publish it as a mini comic or whatever. That really starts to fire you up.

Sheydin Dew (15:38):
Yeah, amazing. That’s really interesting to see your perspective and how you’ve come into it, but also what would you say your strengths are when it comes to creating as a whole?

Tim McEwen (15:56):
I guess it’s just the visual storytelling people ask. So a different way to look at this question is what’s your favorite part of the process, right? Yes. And the problem with me is that the part that I’m on today is my favorite part because I’m having such a good time today. So when I get a script or if I write a script, but when I’ve got a script and I’m doing the thumbnails, that problem solving aspect of how do I take the story that we want to tell and convert that into pictures, I really love that part of it. So to try to figure out what the best

Sheydin Dew (16:40):
You would say problem solving is quite a strength of yours.

Tim McEwen (16:44):
Yeah, it’s definitely a problem solving aspect at that point. So I love that part of it, the Thumbnailing process, the figuring out how to tell the story best, and like you said, what angles should you be using and why, and how does that create subtext as well as telling the obvious part of the story and all of that. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (17:06):
Yeah. So it’s kind of like a jigsaw and making all the pieces kind of fit together. I understand what you’re saying and I kind of really enjoy that part of the process too. And to go off of, you’ve actually just answered one of my other questions, so I’m going to hit you with the opposite. What would you find the most challenging in that process?

Tim McEwen (17:27):
Look, I really think the hardest part of it is making comics take so long. So I printed an introductory comic, which I printed 20 copies of it. It has a few introductory pages from early greener pastures, and then some more pages from later greener pastures. So if somebody that I’m trying to talk to in a professional sense says, well, what’s it about? What does it look like? I can just go here, have a look at this, and I give them this. It’s about a 30 page comic, and I gave it to somebody at work the other day and I said, this is it here, just hang on a second. I’ve got to do some photocopying. And I went off to do the photocopying. By the time I came back, he’d read two months worth of work in the time it took for me to print 20 pages of something that I had to give to my class, all that work.

And you just read it like that. It’s so hard to come to grips with that every time, but that’s what this kind of comic making is like. Anyway, other people like to make comics where they just are churning out pages in a really simple cartoony style, really direct kind of style. And I’ve tried that a couple of times and it’s just I’d need to practice it a lot more. I’m not very good at that at the moment. So a page of mine, if I’m on fire, if it’s lots of talking heads, I can do two to three pages of pencils, but any page that’s actually got a bit of a background to it and some difficult, and now that me to draw, I can pencil a page or two a day, and then the inking is probably one page a day. I can probably only ink a page a day. So my rate of output when it’s all I’ve got to do is draw. We very rarely have to do nothing, but when all I have to do is draw, I’m usually pumping out a page every day to three days. So somewhere within that so it’s slow and somebody reads that page in 10 seconds, you go, two days of my life. I’m glad you enjoyed that. 10 seconds, seconds. That’s why you need to put into as many hands as you can. So the 10 seconds is all add up to You can add it all up.

Sheydin Dew (19:48):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That’s really interesting. Yeah, I always love to pick everyone’s brains and see what part of the process they really enjoy and what parts they find really challenging because it’s always different. But I guess I also wanted to backtrack a little bit. I know that you said that one of the main things that inspired you to start comics was reading them. Obviously. I wanted to ask, what were some favorites of yours that you used to read?

Tim McEwen (20:16):
If you go back to the first comics I had, they were black and white reprints of Marvel comics. So it was Stanley and Jack Kirby’s, Avengers Stanley and Steve KO’s, Spiderman. That stuff was really, that was what I started with. And from that point on, I was always superheroes. I’ve actually rarely read any kind of goofy, funny animal stuff or any Disney stuff. It basically doesn’t interest me at all. Even now I hard to read that kind of stuff. So I spent many years and many dollars on superhero comics. So if you want some names, there’s the same names that a lot of people have, which is like John Byrne, George Perez, those kind of people. But I think even early on I started to shift towards the art that was a little bit left of center. So someone like Barry Winsor Smith, who first became famous doing Conan, he was the guy who grew the first Conan comics and he was a bit of a Jack Kirby clone to begin with.

That was what Marvel was all about. At the time, you have to draw like Jack Kirby, but within no time at all, he turned into something of really astounding, even back then in the seventies in that short period. And he’s still one of my absolute favorite artists. And someone like Jim Starco who only drew a couple, was it even a couple of dozen real comics for Marvel, again, back in the sixties, captain America, and before that, Nick Fury and Agent of Shield and his stuff is incredible. So even now, I was kind of tending towards somebody who was really good storyteller and a little bit left a field of what superhero comics would be like. But then George Perez, that’s like, he’s the quintessential superhero artist, so was John Byrne. But around that time, I also discovered Marshall Rogers who did Detective Comics, Batman for a little while, Marshall Rogers, if you’ve ever watched the Batman Animated series, that episode, the Laughing Fish with the Joker, with the Fish, with the Joker face on the front of the fish. He was the person who drew that story in Batman, and his art is incredible. He did some Batman for a while and some Dr. Strange for a while. And this really goofy, weird science fiction fantasy thing called Captain Quick and the Boole, it’s like amazing work. So in influences. But then outside of that, I say this every time Dave Sim who did CBU is absolutely probably the biggest influence for me and still is a lot of what you see in those greener pastures

Sheydin Dew (23:19):

Tim McEwen (23:20):
Me learning how he was telling stories and trying to figure out the best way to implement that for the story we’re telling, which is different to the story.

Sheydin Dew (23:29):
Yeah, absolutely. That’s really, yeah, really insightful. I’m really, really interesting. Have a question from the audience there. Yes. We’ve got a few questions actually that have come rolling in. Yeah, yeah,

Tim McEwen (23:39):
A few have come through. Oh, right.

Sheydin Dew (23:41):
Yeah. So you’ve met an awful lot of international comic guests over the years. Who was your favorite apart from Dave Sim and any after con stories to tell?

Tim McEwen (23:52):
Yeah, so I’ve been to a lot of conventions for various reasons, and I’ve been very lucky to meet a lot of comic book artists. A lot of people think I know them a lot better than I do, and I’ve met a lot more than I have, and I don’t actually, I know people who know them a lot better than I do, but look, one of my favorite stories is having dinner with about a dozen people or more with Dave Gibbons, right? So Dave Gibbons the artist for the Watchmen. You don’t get much bigger than Watchmen, right? And Dave Gibbons is an incredible artist. I actually invited Dave Gibbons to take part in number eight, and we had a little exchange in emails, and unfortunately he couldn’t take part. But after a convention, we were sitting at a Chinese restaurant. I’m pretty sure it was on the Gold Coast, so it was beautiful evening.

We were outside big table with lots of people, and Dave Gibbons had come to Supernova like maybe three times at this stage. And I have a little sketchbook, I’m just going to grab it here. So I’ve got 40 of these little a five sketchbooks, and I get people I meet to draw in them. So I’ve got 40 of these with all sorts of different artists doing sketches. Cool. Oh wow. Really is. And I’m really lucky people just draw in them for me. I ask, if you don’t mind, draw me a picture. And they do. So I asked Dave Gibbs, will you draw in this? And of course he draws for people. He’s very happy to do that. So he is got this drawing of R Sharp, right? The character with the face that changes and the hat, which he draws for everybody, and he can do it really quickly with his eyes closed.

And that’s not because he doesn’t care, it’s because he’s an amazing artist and he’s drawn it a million times. That is the sketch you get. So the second time I met him, I said, actually, you already did a royal shark. Would you mind doing someone else? And he goes, because he doesn’t actually want to do something else. So he did, I think the second time he did Dr. Manhattan, because it’s a striking face as well. So the third time I met him, I said, done your shark at Dr. Manhattan, would you do another one? And he went, okay. And he did a comedian, which is a bit more detailed. There’s a lot of detail on that face. So at dinner, I’m just talking about that. I think the beginning of the conversation was thanking him for drawing a third picture and drawing a different one each time. But I don’t drink, so it wasn’t like I was drunk. I was just being cheeky and I was being cheeky and saying, because you draw the same thing for everybody, and then it takes you 10 seconds, you can do it with your eyes closed. And he’s going, really? You think it’s easy? Do you? I’m going, well, I know it’s not easy. You’re very practicing.

And he’s going, well, this is true. I do it because it’s quick. So the conversation changes and other people are drawing, and I’m sitting there with a napkin and a Sharpie, and I start to draw it. I start to draw that raw shark that he draws for everybody to see how I would do it and how long it takes me. And he looks across the table and he goes, oh, Tim, you are not trying to draw my raw shark, are you? I’m going, no, I’m not trying to hide it away. And somebody grabbed me, gave, of course, it was terrible. He goes, see, this is don’t go making fun of me in the way that I draw ro shark because you can’t do it, can you? Yeah, it was all in fun, but it was like, what an idiotic thing to do in front of one of the most famous, best comic book artists in the world.

Sheydin Dew (27:37):
I love that sentiment of having a journal that you get everyone to draw it. Yeah, it’s awesome. I think that is such a good idea. I love that. We’ve also got another question from Ricco for the artists who one day want to achieve a full comic series. How does your day play out when you are working and how do you schedule time for breaks? It’s amazing what you’re doing.

Tim McEwen (27:59):
Thanks, Gio. Thanks for the compliment. That’s great. How does my day play out? I just like to draw. So it’s actually, this is some advice I just gave to some of my students yesterday. I drink lots of water to keep hydrated. If you’re hydrated, you can think better and it’s good for you. But the other really great benefit of being hydrated, there you go. The other good thing about being hydrated is it makes you stand up and go to the toilet. So that’s good for your back. It forces you to have a break. Otherwise, if you’re in the zone, you may not take a break. So part of the problem is I’m using a brush right? That way you can see it. So I’m using a brush and you dip it.

It’s not very sharp. This one, I’d let it try badly. So using a brush and you’re dipping it. Once you’re in the zone and the brush is working and your ink is wet, you don’t want to stop and interrupt it and then go and have lunch and come back and go, oh, now the brush isn’t right anymore. The bristles have dried and they have to go clean the whole thing and start from scratch. And the jar of ink needs a little bit more water now it’s too much water. If it’s all working, you want to just keep going.

My advice would be to just keep going when it’s working for you. But yeah, and it’s just treat it like a workday. Get up and sit at the board and start drawing. But the other funny thing is, I’ve heard other artists say this as well, you’re in the zone where you forget to breathe and there’s a point where you’re working away. And it’s not just because holding your breath for one line, you just kind of stop everything and everything’s happening for you and you go, oh, I forgot to breathe. And then you keep going again. So yeah, you got to kind look for those things. And if you are, what’s the term? Self, not self-conscious, self-aware enough, if you’re self-aware enough, you can start to learn how to make those feelings happen for you so that it doesn’t just happen by accident. You can actually start to be aware of how to get yourself in the groove. I’m not that self-aware to make it happen, but yeah, I’ve heard that that’s a good thing to do as well.

Sheydin Dew (30:22):
Yeah, I think there’s some really, really good advice there, especially getting up and making sure you’re taking breaks that’s super important. Otherwise, I don’t know about you, but I always get in a slump. And if I’m looking at the same environment for X amount of hours or whatnot, if I just go out, I mean, I’ve got the luxury of the farm with the cow, so someone walks out there. But yeah, I think it’s really underrated how important that is. Get away from the space sometimes get out, stretched back, whatever. But to pig back on that question from Richo, I do apologize if I mispronounced your name. Is one question that I love asking artists that come onto the show, and it is, do you have any funny quirks or rituals when you are creating? For example, I always give the example that I cannot create unless I’m listening to music. It can’t be a podcast, it can’t be a TV show, it’s only music. And last fortnight, we had Sarah Firth, the lovely Sarah Firth on, and she had the funniest quirk. She likes to get up and dance or she walks and she writes. So I thought that was really funny, but I love asking this question. I don’t know, do you have any funny quirks?

Tim McEwen (31:33):
No, I’m boring. I don’t need to make sure that change my socks to the other feet and then everything will be fine. Or wear my lucky pants, whatever. No, I just kind of sit and draw. I think just get through it mean. I do like to make sure that all my tools are kind of ready so I don’t get interrupted. Or if I’m going to need an eraser or a white pen or some more water that it’s all there for me. So other than that, I just try to make sure I’m organized and ready before

Sheydin Dew (32:07):
I start. Yeah, I was going to say, your funny quirk is being organized, and

Tim McEwen (32:12):
That’s right. It doesn’t look organized, right? It looks a mess, but it’s all the stuff I need organized to

Sheydin Dew (32:19):
You. It’s an organized mess, and that’s all that matters.

Tim McEwen (32:23):

Sheydin Dew (32:25):
I guess when I was reading the, I think it was one of the older ones of greener pastures, I did notice that the origin story, or I guess in the very first page of that comic is that it began from your uni student newspaper. Is that correct? From 19? Yeah. So like I said,

Tim McEwen (32:48):
That was 1990.

Sheydin Dew (32:50):
Yeah, yeah. Can you give us a little bit more backstory on that and how it all began and came to?

Tim McEwen (32:57):
So like I said, I was doing strips for local rags, local newspapers, but I met Michael Mico, he’s the co-creator of BR Pastures at a convention in Sydney. And it was at a time when conventions never happened in Australia. So this was the first time I’ve ever heard of a comic convention. And I sat next to Michael in one of the panels and we made friends, and it’s mostly, we mostly made friends because he had a camera and I did not. And he was taking photos and I worked in a place that developed photos. So I said, if you bring me the film, I’ll get a developer free as long as I can have a set of photos as well. So this is how we made friends. But long story short, we stayed in contact and when he was at the uni of New South Wales, he got offered a space in their paper, called to do a comic strip, and I think I was probably the only person he knew that Drew comics and he just contacted me and said, do you want to do a comic with me?

So I said, yeah, of course. So this would be great fun. But we were trying to figure out a story that would be relevant for university students, but also would tick the right boxes for what we want to make, which is not superheroes, probably something that’s got a bit of satire, a little bit of social commentary. This is what we were trying to do there. And really everything we came up with was pretty cliched and alien comes from outer space and goes Human, tell me how your society works. It’s like, oh man, that’s too cliched and too straightforward. And I was on a farm stay holiday in Rindi in New South Wales, and the farmer took me and a whole bunch of my mates, my then girlfriend, now wife, we got into a four wheel drive and went for a drive around the farm and it was a dairy farm or a cattle farm.

And those first four pages that you see in issue one Shaden, they came to me in a flash while I was on that all wheel drive, really the whole idea that all of those cows look, sure, it looks idyllic, but it also looks really boring and what do they do all day? And I asked the farmer and he said, see what they’re doing now over at that tree? That’s what they were doing this morning, but over at that tree and that was it. And so that idea that the bull would be bored and would want to see what else there was to life came to me. So when we got back from the holiday, I said to Michael, is this an idea? And Michael must have thought it was a good idea because the next time I spoke to him, he actually had a short synopsis of Trevor’s entire life story saying this is what we should do.

And I said, yes, that’s what we should do. So I keep on threatening this to people all the time, but I’m sure I’ve got that printout of that. I think it was like three paragraphs. I’m sure I’ve got that somewhere in the garage and we’re cleaning up here at the moment. So I hope I find that because there’s always been an ending in sight, right? There was always the subtitle that we gave it way back when was The Tale of a Bull as in the TALE of a bull. And we’ve got the whole story his whole life as a story that we want to tell. So that’s why we’re back on it. We want to tell that story and it’s a great story. So yeah,

Sheydin Dew (36:33):
Absolutely. I think it’s a great concept. I mean, you’ve got one of the biggest fans here, especially with someone who’s got a gers cow out in Paddock. So it’s nice to see the farm being

Tim McEwen (36:46):
Represented. Michael and I, Michael and I went to the Easter show once, which is the Royal Agricultural Show, right here in Sydney to take some promo photos with the bulls. And we took a comic and we were, oh, maybe we’re wearing a T-shirt with a drawing on it, and we said something to one of the farmers and he said, that’s not like any bull I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m going, okay, I know it’s a comic book, but yeah, I don’t pretend I’m drawing an anatomically correct or even any way, correct bull. But it’s the same

Sheydin Dew (37:27):
To go on that I think the way that you have done the character design is so great. I love the character so much. Thanks. He’s amazing.

Tim McEwen (37:39):
Good fun.

Sheydin Dew (37:39):
Yeah, he is. I just love him so much. As soon as I set eyes on it, I’m just like, I think I got to like this story a lot. Yes, there he is. There he is, and all his glory.

Tim McEwen (37:50):
That’s an old one we fought over who

Sheydin Dew (37:52):
Boosted mom. We both clicked it. Well, actually, I think we’ve also got another question actually come in from Peter Lane. He asks, how far away is greener pastures? Nine once the issue eight campaign is done and dusted. Oh my

Tim McEwen (38:11):
God. Lane, will you shut up? Come on. Got number eight out of the Kickstarter. Down. That’s wonderful, Peter. I’m glad you can’t wait. I can’t wait either. So yeah, number eight is Kickstarting right now, and my plan is this year to do four releases. So Kickstarter eight, nine, and 10. And I dunno how many people I’ve told this to, but is that the right link? Thanks Sizzle. Yeah, the fourth release this year will be a trade paperback collecting the early stuff. So cool. Yeah, so haven’t really told too many people that, but that’s the idea for this year. Four releases, 8, 9, 10, and the trade paperback next year I actually want to do six releases, so I want to get as many out as I can because what I want to do, and not a lot of people in Australia, especially doing indie comics, make a living from their comics.

There are a few really amazingly talented people who make a living from doing mainstream or close to mainstream comics, but not many people make a living from doing indie. And I don’t know that I’m going to make much of a living, but I want to try to make a living from this comic. And part of the issue is you’ve got to, the numbers have to come out one after the other, after the other. If you’re releasing one or two a year, how are you ever going to make a living from that? So to answer your question, Peter, number nine should follow about four months after. Oh, cool. Three months after. Yeah, should follow three months after and then the next one, three months after that, and the next one, three months after that. So this year I’m going to be quarterly and next year we’re going to be releasing again. You want to scoop? It’s not much of a scoop. I have talked to other people about it off and on for the last couple of years, but my son next year, probably three issues of greener pastures, a trade paperback, collecting earlier stuff as well, and two issues of thing called greener pastures team up, which is like Marvel team up, but less Spider the Man, more Trevor. So I want to team Trevor up with other comic book characters.

Sheydin Dew (40:35):
Amazing. Oh, I forward to that. That sounds exciting. We’ve got

Tim McEwen (40:40):
Stories already under way. We’ve got fully penciled, killer ru crossover and a couple of scripts for a couple of other things. Actually, the second story is already probably nearly completely pencil. It was nearly penciled months ago. So yeah, lots of stuff happening to try to make this a going concern.

Sheydin Dew (41:01):
Absolutely. I mean, thanks for Peter Lane, thanks for asking that question because that was actually one of my next questions of what projects are on the horizon, and it sounds like your horizon is quite busy, so yeah, very. That’s really exciting. That’s super exciting. I guess I kind of wanted to maybe backtrack, this is quite a fun question. Maybe it’s a bit like picking your favorite child, but what would you say today is your favorite issue that you’ve done so far?

Tim McEwen (41:31):
Yeah, that is really hard, to be honest. If you ask me that question two years from now, it’ll be the same answer, and that is the latest one that I did. I’m pretty sure it’s always going to be the latest one because I’ll be that much better every time. But considering that number eight is a jam issue is definitely my favorite because it’s got so much incredible art. I inked everything. That was the other aspect of it. Everybody did pencils and then I did the inking. So I had a ball working over the top of all of this amazing pencils from all these different people. Nicholas Scott, John Summer River, I think

Sheydin Dew (42:14):
I started,

Tim McEwen (42:15):
Or my wife, I think it’s my daughter asking that. So my son and my daughter are both in number eight. They both pencil a page each. Oh, cool. So I ink their work and Michael Michel the writer or the co-creator, his daughter is in it as well. Unfortunately Michael didn’t write number eight. The favorite child is the Cat, where all good. So yeah, it’s probably going to be the latest issue every time. I just hope it’s that much better. And I love working with Michael. He’s written issues nine, 10 and 11 already. Back to your question, Peter 1911 are already written. I haven’t read 11, but I’ve read nine and 10 and they’re so good. I can’t wait to be drawing them.

Sheydin Dew (43:09):
Oh, cool. Yeah, absolutely. I like that answer. I think your recent work is something always you’re really proud of because you’ve worked so long to get to that point of skill I guess. So yeah, I like that answer. That’s awesome.

Tim McEwen (43:22):
I think there’s that whole dichotomy as well. Maybe it’s just me, I dunno. But you know how as an artist, you hate your work. I hate my work as well, but I love it as well. If you’re not loving it, then how are you going to stare at it all day every day, five to seven days a week? I actually, I like my work, but I also can see everything about it that’s wrong and bad. And so I hate it as well, but every time I finish one I’m like, oh, I think this is pretty good this time. And then two issues later, I’ll be looking at that one, two issues and going, oh, that wasn’t so good, was it? Now we’re getting somewhere. So yeah,

Sheydin Dew (44:01):
Absolutely. Yeah, I think it’s also, although saying that it’s always nice to see how far you’ve progressed as well. Absolutely. And it’s something tangible that you can hold and you can say, wow, I’ve come from A to B, and you can actually see it and you can feel it with your, it’s right in your little full hand.

Tim McEwen (44:18):

Sheydin Dew (44:19):
I love that. I think we’ve kind of reached the point of some wrap up questions. I think personally, this is one of my favorite times of the show. So these are some really good questions for perhaps people who are starting out with comics. So you can throw a little bit of advice out to some of the audience that are watching tonight. So I guess to start us off with, what do you wish someone had told you when you first started your comic journey?

Tim McEwen (44:51):
Somebody did tell me, there’s a quote. I think there’s a bit of debate whether or not he actually said it, but there’s a quote from Jack Kirby, which is, comics will Break Your Heart. Somebody should tell you that so that you know what the hell you’re in for if you’re going to really kind of commit to it as an art form such so laborious. But I dunno advice, I actually, I wish I wasn’t Ask the question again. I think that’s a really hard one. I don’t know that I actually needed anyone to tell me anything that I needed to know other than just draw. And I think I was just doing that anyway, as far as a young person, I didn’t have any comic book mentors. There was no one to talk to about comic books to talk to about comics and what was the latest issue of the Avengers. It didn’t even have that let alone talking to somebody about how they make comics or whatever. It was just like I didn’t know they existed. So yeah, so I was just making them anyway. I think that’s the best idea. Just make them anyway, just keep on making them

Sheydin Dew (46:10):
Just despite any hardships. Just keep going essentially.

Tim McEwen (46:12):
Yeah, yeah,

Sheydin Dew (46:13):
Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of people need to be reminded of that, especially when the tough gets going hard. But yeah. Okay, moving on a little bit, I always like this question too. I like to know what people are kind of working on skill related. Are there any skills or anything that you’ve learned recently that you can share with us?

Tim McEwen (46:34):
Yeah, I’m constantly working on character, right? I’ve got one handy. I draw on the buses and the trains actually I do have, I draw people on the buses and trains constantly.

That’s really cool to try to make sure that I’m always looking at, you just put me to full screen so I’m going to find a good page. So I want to know what people look like. I want to investigate that and make sure that I’m practicing people. That’s Christophe Christophe, he’s a comic from across and that’s Chris Neal who’s also a comic book. Amazing. That’s so cool. So sometimes I’m caricaturing and sometimes I’m trying to draw realistically and sometimes I’m just trying to draw quickly and draw as much as I can, as quickly as I can. So that’s a skill I’m always working on. What do people look like? What does clothing look like, what do folds look like?

All of that stuff constantly. And these all look like they’re reasonably realistic, but I do a lot of these kind of drawings that aren’t so realistic. So this book must, this one’s mostly people who’ve actually looked, but a lot of that is on my Instagram as well, if you ever look on my Instagram. Yeah. So one’s a lot less realistic. Right. That’s awesome. I try to find an interesting way to cartoon real people, and part of that is you’re putting information in there constantly, which will come back out again the next time you need to draw somebody. So I’m just trying to remember what three dimensional volumes look like on a cartoon head. Lot of that. That’s like mad magazine sort of level of rubbery faces, which I kind of like as well. So it’s that to answer your question, what skills wise, what am I working on is that, and as placement of shadows, I’m always scared of putting too many deep blacks onto a page afraid of ruining it with black ink, which you can’t get rid of very easily. So that’s the two things.

Sheydin Dew (49:16):
I think the sketchbook that you showed us just before that had some really interesting shaped language in just the way you’ve drawn the faces and how you can push and you can pull the form of the face. I think that was really, really well done and something that

Tim McEwen (49:32):
It’s great fun as well. So that first book I showed you was full of stuff that’s more realistic. This book is much more full of people who are much more distorted, so much more fun to do it there as well. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (49:46):
I love that kind of stuff.

Tim McEwen (49:48):

Sheydin Dew (49:49):

Tim McEwen (49:50):
Very cool. So they look like people, but they don’t look like the people I was drawing,

Sheydin Dew (49:56):
But I think it’s really fun to play with those kinds of shapes and see how distorted you can really get

Tim McEwen (50:02):
That’s a man wearing a suit that’s probably one size too big for him. Maybe it was such great fun to draw that guy. So I do that even now, but I’ve got a stack of books. I’ve been doing it for 15 or 20 years on public transport.

Sheydin Dew (50:18):
Absolutely. I guess this next question is a little bit loaded. Tell me otherwise, but what would you say is your ultimate comic goal? Do you have a goal in mind for the long run?

Tim McEwen (50:34):
Just to make some really good ones, like ones that stand the test of time that people want to keep reading. So I can’t believe that I’m really happy that people are reading this brand new comic. I’ve made Greener pasture is number eight, but for the last two years I’ve been back at convention selling all of the old stuff and people are still reading it. It’s incredible. And people bring me the first printing of number one from 1994 and say, this is one of my favorite comics where you sign it for me and it’s like in a pristine condition. They’ve never let it yellow or anything. So the long-term plan is to finish greener pastures and make that a really good comic. I know the story is good. I hope that we can do great art and finish it right. And then after that, I’ve got either ideas for other both long and short form stories that I want to do.

So I just want to make comics and make good comics a lot my peers, a lot of my comic book making peers are quicker than me, but also do one-off stories and whether or not they’re quite thick or not, they still do this story and then that one’s done and then they’re going to write another story like being a film director or a novel writer. You just do different stories and I’m kind of in this position and it’s not a position I don’t like, but I’m in this position where this is the character and this is what we’re telling and this is going to take a few years to finish it off. So I’m just going to concentrate on that one for now and then we’ll do another one after that hopefully if we’re lucky. Another one after that. Yeah,

Sheydin Dew (52:19):

Tim McEwen (52:20):
I think it’s a great question. I’ve got this long-term life that I’d like to live making comics and hopefully making a living from it. It’s never too late. Look at this old man.

Sheydin Dew (52:34):
I think we definitely share very similar kind of goals for sure. So yeah, it’s nice to know that there’s like-minded people. I guess moving more to a broader scene. I also love asking this question as well, what do you think that Aussie indie comic scene needs more of?

Tim McEwen (52:54):
This was a great question. I watched your interview with, you said her name earlier, Sarah first?

Yeah, with Sarah. I watched your interview and listened to your interview with Sarah and you asked this question and I went, oh, that’s a good question. I went, oh, Shane’s probably going to ask me that question. I better come up with an answer because it’s not an easy one off the top of my head. But you know what we need? We just need more readers. We just need more readers. That’s all we need because the talent is here and the enthusiasm is here in the creative pool and the diversity is here in the creative pool. I mean, we can always get more voices from more diverse areas, but if you’re into superheroes, it’s there. And if you’re into slice of life, it’s there. And if you’re into funny stuff or serious stuff, it’s all there. So it’s all here for you to read. We just need more readers, if’s more readers, then there’s more money. If there’s more money, then that means we can take more time to draw it and less time to have to stack shelves that will easily.

Sheydin Dew (54:00):
That’s it. I think that’s a wonderful answer. I really like that answer. And to kind of go on the opposite of that, what do you think, oh, not on the opposite side, I’m sorry. What do you think the Aussie comic scene does well at?

Tim McEwen (54:15):
I think it’s that diversity thing, and this goes all the way back to when I first started to get involved with comics, the fact that we’re not America and we’re not England, we were making our own stories in our own voice, whatever that might be. Because again, our voices in Australia are quite diverse, but we make our own comics and they’re different to everywhere else, and that’s really, I think, a great strength. So I’m glad I’ve seen that since the eighties onwards, that that’s always the thing. We’ve never quite done that thing where they had that big British invasion into America of Alan Moore and your game, et cetera and so forth. But right now, a lot of the world is reading Australian comics because how interesting they are. We’re as good as anywhere in the world. So we just need to get the production values to the level that international publishers would be willing to republish stuff. That’s always an issue in whatever art form you’re in, but because the quality is already there, just to get it to the rest of the world is kind of a hard bit.

Sheydin Dew (55:35):
Yeah, absolutely. No, fantastic. Was that someone in the background I just saw

Tim McEwen (55:43):
That was, yeah,

Sheydin Dew (55:47):
I thought I was rounded off the show with a bit of a mystery. Tim, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you. Where can we see more of your stuff? Can you give us a little bit of a wrap up of where the viewers can find you and your work?

Tim McEwen (56:07):
What I really want you to do is just go to the Kickstarter because everything of mine that you would like to buy at this point is right there. So Kickstarter, greener pastures, so it’s kickstarting greener pastures number eight, but one to 7, 1, 2, 3, 4, 4 and a half, 5, 6, 7, 7 and a half are all there as well as the greener pastures extravaganza. And they’re all there both in physical printings and digital copies as well. So you can have it either way. So that really is the best place to get it. I’ve got an owner indie site as well, but you might as well get it at the Kickstarter. So yeah, I think you can also follow on Instagram 67 Instagram. I think it’s just Tim McKeen. I think I was lucky to get Tim McKeen on there. So T-I-M-M-C-E-W-E-N. People normally spell that incorrectly, but there’s also a green in the S account on both of those platforms as well as Facebook. So I’m in all of those places. If you just do a search, you’ll find it.

Sheydin Dew (57:26):
Amazing. Well, before we sign off and bid farewell to all of our viewers, Shane, is there anything on at the moment? Do you want to give us a little wrap up of what’s going on?

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (57:38):
Well, the first thing I want to do is actually, we’ve never had this before, so thank you, Tim. You’ve somehow brought Twitter to us, or X, sorry, as it’s called now. This is our first ever comment and it’s about cricket, unfortunately, but that’s the first time we’ve ever had a comment from Twitter. So that was quite exciting for me at least. Anyway, so yeah, apparently. Thank you, mark. So as far as things going on with the comic streaming everything, tomorrow we have, let’s make a comic book, page 14. So that’s going to be a lot of fun. I was going to say who’s on it, but we never reveal that until the night. Yeah, well actually no, we let the guests reveal it when they want to reveal it. So when they share that they’re on, next Tuesday is Chinwag again, that’s with Darren Close, so that’ll be interesting.

And then next week it’s our drink and draw Fortnight. So drink and draw is GI Joe next week, a GI Joe character of some sort. You get to choose. I’ll be posting that soon and then we’ll have the link to where you submit the art. So don’t feel you need to submit it on the night, submit it when you are ready. When you’ve made it, just submit it. It makes my life easier actually, if it’s in early. But yeah, so that’s all the things going on with the channel. The big thing that we’ve got to remember though is kickstarter, greener pastures You want to go there? Go to the Kickstarter. I’ve already supported it. I was going to buy all the old ones, but then I realized I already had them, so that was awesome.

Tim McEwen (59:24):
That’s right, you do. Yeah.

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (59:27):
So I bought them quite some time ago, actually. I’ve only read one or two of them, unfortunately. But that said, of most of my pile of 430 Aussie comics that I have that I haven’t read,

Tim McEwen (59:37):
I know exactly what it’s like. You want to know what I read the other night? Sizzle. I read Sizzle and Dug in the Multiverse. I read that through for the first time, just the other night that one took to read it. Yeah, it was also, it was good fun. What a great idea. Yeah, it

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (59:54):
Wasn’t a lot of fun making that and reading it as well. Yes. So yeah, that was really cool.

Sheydin Dew (01:00:01):

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:01):
We’ve got any comments? Yep. Okay. Thanks guys. You rule? Yep. Cool.

Sheydin Dew (01:00:08):
Thanks for tuning in. Otherwise, Tim, it has been an absolute pleasure talking all things greener, pastured. Best of luck with the Kickstarter. I’ll be watching very closely on how things go, but you’ve just gained another fan, that’s for sure. Two in fact, one in the paddock one year.

Tim McEwen (01:00:27):
I want some photos for that. Cow.

Sheydin Dew (01:00:30):
I’ll have to send you that’s for sure. I’ll send you the ones of Rupert in hats. But otherwise, thanks again for being part of the show and sharing us a little bit about some of your magnificent work. I guess we’ll be back in a fortnight with our next guest. Yep. But otherwise, thanks again for everyone for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

Tim McEwen (01:00:51):
Thanks for having me. See you guys.

Sheydin Dew (01:00:53):
Bye. Hi,

Shane ‘Sizzle’ Syddall (01:00:54):
Sorry, my screen just disappeared. There we go. Check

Voice Over (01:00:56):
Out Comex CX for all things Comex, and find out what Comex is all about. We hope you enjoyed the show.


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