Webcomic Weekly: PJ Holden’s Been On His Hollybobs & Has Something Short & Curious For You
by Richard Bruton
Webcomic Weekly, back on its weekly schedule… don’t worry, it won’t stick to it. This week, the great PJ Holden has been on holiday and has new comics to show you.
I do love PJ Holden. He’s a great, great artist, responsible for a whole host of great work – whether that’s for 2000 AD and The Treasury of British Comics over the years, Numbercruncher with Si Spurrier, or his incredible work with Garth Ennis, The Stringbags and The Lion and the Eagle and (as they say) so many more besides.
But this is Webcomic Weekly, so it’s all about PJ’s online comics, rougher and rawer than his printed work, but just as damn good – case in point, PJ Holden Goes On His Holibobs…
We’ve already featured his work here at Webcomic Weekly with Folklore Thursday by PJ and John Reppion but he’s just done these Holiday comics, wherein the artist gets taken on holiday by his family – a series of great great comics, one’s he’s fretted about how rough and raw they all are – which is just like him.
He’s also collected together 11 of these rough and raw style strips, including some the PJ goes on holiday strips I’m going to show you in a pay what you like format for PJ Holden’s Short and Curious – which PJ describes as ’11 little stories, some silly, some personal. All drawn in a loose sketchy b&w stylee.’ Included with the holiday tales, there’s a 3-pager on PJ’s mum, a couple of twist in the tale, future shock style 1-pagers, and a goofy anecdote about Sylvester McCoy. All for you, all for whatever you want to pay to download it – so, head to PJ’s website to see some examples and then use THIS gumroad link to go and buy PJ Holden’s Short and Curious.
Anyway, whether it’s the holiday comics or the PJ Holden’s Short and Curious, it’s all fabulous.
But we’ll focus on the PJ on his holibobs strips here – holibobs being UK slang for holidays that both mine and PJ’s parents used to use). You can see them on Twitter or on his website – but his website is better because you get PJ’s always entertaining commentary.
Here’s part 1 from the website…
“So I’m on hols, one week in Rathmullan – this is our regular escape from it all. We book a little holiday house and the kids get their own room, we get a dish washer and a tumble dryer and day trips with me, typically, squeezing work in between it all.
Here’s the first three, with some notes!”
“Day 1 – an actual conversation I had with my wife, in the car. When she told me we’d be in france for a week I felt sick. Three days in Disney land, three days in Paris. Then I thought – jesus what’s wrong with me. The truth is I love drawing comics, but I’ve spent most of during covid trying to squeeze as much work in as I can. And I’m not sure how to reset that.
Ok, the little one page comic is also work, but it feels like a different thing. An act of defiance. I had fun doing it. I could only lay my hand on one pen and I thought, let’s just use that.”
“It’s early to start getting into toilet stuff, but here we are, eh. Again, another actual thing that happened – I should’ve gone to the loo when I left, and I found walking on dry sand (collapsing, as it did under my feet) was destablising to my tummy and it was a source of constant danger (next time, I bring immodium). We went out of pizza after this (gluten free for me, because cramps and loo visits are the GOOD options …) and it was pretty much the same thing. Basically if I eat, I need the loo 15 minutes later. Regular as clockwork.”
“Anyway, this has been a fun exercise. I might even keep it up. Day 3 was a pain for the art though, days 1 and 2 I had no really good tools so used the big thick pen I had, day 3 I found a smaller pen and decided to up the quality but that leads to more thinking and more work that needs rescued, so a stupid idea. Stick with simple.
They’re all drawn in an A4 SAKURA sketchbook, pencilled in HB .5 inked with a Winsor and Newton pigment pen 1.0 (except day 3 which was inked with a 0.5) photographed on my phone using a scan app “Scanner Pro” which ups the contrast, and straightens the image up (even if the camera is at a funny angle). Then pumped over to Procreate on the iPad pro where I use the levels to clean it up and export as a decent sized PNG.
I suspect I’ll keep it up for the hols at least, even if I am now super tempted to keep going and then collect 30 days worth in a small press comic… that’d be stupid though…”
Well, no signs of more following on from the holibobs (yet) but he did keep it going – seven days of holibobs comics all complete. Damn fine stuff – thank you PJ!
Now, do yourself a favour and go visit both PJ’s website and then go buy PJ Holden’s Short and Curious from Gumroad here – it’s pay what you want but remember that the artist needs to eat!