Category: journal

the black rook will be published, plus the putrid hand launches

I have two massive updates. Firstly, my debut novel The Black Rook has been snapped up by a publisher and will be published in the near future. I’m so happy that the hard work that I poured into the project has paid off. I can barely put into words how much that means to me (not a great sign that I can’t word something, considering I’m a writer).

Secondly, I have launched my own collection blind clothing store, called Putrid Hand Apparel, which can be found at http://www.theputridhand.com. This will be a creative playground for my illustration work, and gives any fans of my art or creative writing to own a little piece of my visual work and represent my new brand.

“Heartless”

Heartless is my latest t-shirt design (also available as a crewneck sweatshirt). The drawing itself took me about 4/5 hours to complete, making it one of my most detailed illustrations to date.

Above, you can see the drawing before the colouring began. It was very rewarding to see the image come to life, and I feel as if my drawing skills have improved a lot in recent years. I am very thankful to myself that I decided to give my creative pursuits a real go when the UK entered its first lockdown last year.

I’m starting to see the possibilities of where my art and creative writing can take me. Even in just a year, I’ve achieved quite a bit. And I’m only getting started!

experiments and managing time

The other day, I decided to experiment by drawing directly onto a paperback book page. I’m really happy with the result, and it got me thinking that I might create a series of such drawings in the near future.

It also felt good to be working on a new kind of paper. The paper is heavier, more robust than what I’m used to working on. It was a different drawing experience.

I’ve also started to think that I should experiment with my creative work more generally. I would like to get back into painting again soon. (I haven’t painted in well over a year, perhaps two!)

Unfortunately, at the moment it’s all a question of finding the time. I know there’s the old adage that if you love something enough you’ll find the time. But I really believe that that’s an outdated idea. There are so many people who would love to be doing things but they can’t fit them into their daily or weekly schedules. Life can be hectic and chaotic, and fitting things in can often be impossible. Quite apart from finding the physical time to slot an activity in, you need to find the mental time, the headspace, to allow yourself to get lost in the activity.

I for one can’t simply dip into painting. The paintings I used to do didn’t take very much physical time, but the mental and emotional effort that they took was quite draining. It’s a similar state of affairs with my creative writing. Sure, I can write a few notes or edit a manuscript for half an hour here and there, but to truly create art, to lose myself in the process and allow myself to be immersed, I need an entire morning or afternoon. It isn’t something I can simply do for an hour after work.

I don’t mean to sound as if I feel entitled to have the spare time to do what I love. It would simply be preferable.

If you’re struggling to feel motivated with any sort of creative pursuit, I would recommend giving yourself an entire afternoon or evening to focus on that and only that. Don’t give yourself any particular goals or necessary outcomes, just give yourself the space and time to work. If finding such time isn’t possible (and, as I say, I realise it often isn’t at all possible) then just do what you can. Some time is better than no time at all. Make notes, make sketches, and when the time arises that you can dedicated many hours to being creative, those notes and sketches will come in handy!

update

I’m currently working on two fiction pieces right now: Like Pigs, which comments on several ethical and societal issues, such as animal meat consumption, over-population, and what (if anything) makes us better or worse, as a species, than the rest of nature. I realise this is going to be a massive piece of work, and a lot to work through in theory. I’m primarily writing this story for my Creative Writing MA, but I plan to publish this after my course has finished as well.

The other piece I’m working on is called Fed to the Lyons, which is an exploration of childhood, escapism and mental health. This is also for my MA, and like Like Pigs, I do plan to publish this later down the road as well.

Finding the time to work on my creative pursuits has proven difficult in recent weeks, and my mental health has certainly suffered as a result. Juggling a full time job and personal creative work is much more difficult than I ever remember it being in the past. Perhaps this is because I take my creative writing a lot more seriously nowadays.

In other news, I have created some new clothing designs, which you can find in my store!

Stay safe

still here

It’s been a while since my last post, in no small part because I have now started working in my job full time again. I do really like my job, but it can be a bit disheartening not being able to spend the time on my writing and illustrating. But the disappointment of not being able to work on my creative passions is alleviated by the fact that I published Putridity not that long ago. The achievement of publishing something has made me feel better about a lot of things. It’s a weight off my shoulders to know that I have a published work to my name. Still, I can’t become complacent. Putridity is the first of many stories that I published. I think that sometimes I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

time well spent

It’s crazy to think that I spent almost all of 2020 editing my novel, The Black Rook. Besides the regular drawings that I did exclusively for my Instagram account, all of my creative energy was poured into that novel. And once the editing was finalised, my time was occupied with university work and trying (and failing) to find an agent, then a publisher, for The Black Rook.

There were times when the dozens and dozens and dozens of rejection emails almost caused me to pack the writing in entirely. Fortunately, I never caved to that insidious voice instructing me to give up, and instead listened to the even stronger voice that was commanding me to never give up, no matter what.

Of course, it hasn’t only been sheer determination that has kept me going. My girlfriend has been a constant cheerleader for my work, encouraging me to keep going, there for me every step of the way. Without her, I doubt I would have got as far as to self-publish my first novelette, Putridity. (For the link to buy, head to my home page). For that, and for a thousand other reasons, I decided to dedicate Putridity to her.

Okay, I’ll stop being sappy now. The point of this blog post is to say that although I didn’t really get much done, besides a LOT of editing, over the course of 2020, I learnt a lot. I became sturdier, able to take a lot more criticism and bask in rejection. (I still see them as a victory, as they infer somebody actually read some of my work).

Since the beginning of 2021, I’ve written a few short stories and polished The Black Rook to perfection (at least I hope I have). I also have many, many, many ideas for novels/novellas/ short stories going forward. And self-publishing something for the first time has given me so much confidence for the future already – and it’s only been on sale for 24 hours!

Honestly, even if only a handful of people read my books, and even if all of those despise my writing, I will still be happy that I gave the author game a go.

This post ended up so much more sentimental than I’d intended. Hope everyone had a lovely Easter break.

putridity is live

That’s right. I’ve finally published my first novelette, Putridity, which is now available on Amazon. (Just search “Davey Cobb”).

Crafting it certainly wasn’t easy. I wrote most of it whilst having to endure the constant drilling and hammering of the builders working on the unit next door to our flat. There was a time when I considered that what I’d created might be nonsensical and surreal, due to my lack of concentration. But after spending one long day performing a post-mortem on the story I’d spawned, I managed to edit it into something resembling a polished novelette. At least, I hope I did.

Putridity follows First Mate of the HMS Temper, Ludlow Grante, a rather luckless young man who, like the rest of the crew, fears his captain more than death. Death, as it happens, would be a welcome alternative to the life he’s enduring… that’s to say, death would be quite nice if he wasn’t certain he would end up in Oblivion – the great vacuum of nothingness where spirits go to die.

I’ve also included at the back of the book a one-page preview of my first novel The Black Rook, which is still coming soon.

I aim for Putridity to be the catalyst for many more cool things to come, so watch this space.

putridity

I’m currently in the process of editing my first novelette, Putridity, which I’m hoping to self-publish in the coming weeks. Process has been slow with it, as I’ve got so much going on at the moment, but as soon as it’s completed and ready to purchase, I’m sure you won’t hear the end of the fact I’ve finally published something.

I’m really excited about getting it done and dusted, as I’m also going to design the cover art myself. That’s certainly going to be a challenge, but one I’m more than happy to tackle.

I’ll reveal more details about Putridity at some point, so watch this space. All I’ll say at this point is that the novelette will serve as an introduction to the world of Entros (that most of my fiction is set in). I wish I could say more, but for now I’ll keep it a mystery.

bleeding eyes

2021 had a bit of a slow start for me, in terms of my art. I’d reinvigorated my passion for drawing during the first lockdown last year (the less said about that time the better), but more than anything, the reason I did so was simply to pass the time. After all, I was furloughed from my job and I didn’t have much else to do.

2021 was a very different story. By the time the new year rolled in I had started to take my work very seriously. But even so, I’d burned myself out due to there being so much going on in my life at once.

To get back into the routine of drawing, I began with some quick doodles, and before long I was finding (or rather making) time for larger pieces.

The first of these larger works was Bleeding Eyes, which describes a lot that was going on in my mind at the time. The humanoid subject is a Bloodkin – one of the races found within the world of Entros – and as you can tell, the Bloodkin isn’t very happy. To add an additional dimension, though, blood is a sacred component in Bloodkin belief. It contains the Bloodkin’s soul, and so, many devout followers of the Faith of the Twins practice bloodletting of the self as an offering to their gods. Followers of the Faith believe that by bequeathing a portion of their blood – and therefore a portion of their soul – to the Twins, they are ensuring their connection to the gods remains intact, so that upon death they may co-exist with the deities.

Creating this piece has inspired me to blend my creative writing and illustration worlds again in the future. I might create a series of drawings that explores the Bloodkin and their faith.

I currently have for sale the original drawing of Bleeding Eyes on my Etsy account, as well as a limited run of prints. For information regarding how to purchase either, please visit my Instagram account: @daveycobbart

I hope everyone’s well. I know that this is a strange time of year where you find yourself waiting for the summer to arrive, and that feeling is amplified by the covid lockdowns and restrictions. If you require a friendly chat, no questions asked, you can either contact me via my website or by direct messaging my Instagram account.

Stay safe, Davey

inspiration

I’ve felt really inspired lately, for a number of reasons. Firstly, my Instagram account has started to grow in the last couple of weeks. I only have around 600 followers as I write this, but compare that to two weeks ago when I had around 400, I’d say that’s pretty good progress!

Not only that, I’ve had a few things going on in my life that have inspired me creatively. I have returned to work (I work in a beautiful neo-gothic library), which is a constant source of inspiration for me. Simply being surrounded by so many published works, not to mention how incredible the building is, I find to be so inspiring.

I have also come to the decision that I will self-publish my first novelette in the coming months. My first full-length novel, The Black Rook, has been ready for publication for some time now, but I will only self-publish it once I’ve exhausted all other potential avenues. It’s frustrating to have it take so long to find a publisher, especially when all I really want to do is to get started on its sequel, but these things happen I guess!

Ultimately, I do believe I will make it as a successful author one day, it’s simply a question of when. I just hope that that when isn’t 50 years from now!

visceral imagery

This is my latest drawing, Distress, which I’d describe as fine art rather than an illustration. And like many of my more emotive, swiftly-drawn pieces, the themes and subject of the portrait are undefined.

Indeed, I find that drawing without a particular subject or theme in mind is often the best way to describe a fleeting thought or feeling. I rarely know what the result is going to be, going in to one of these drawings, and so I often learn something about myself by the end of the experience.

This form of drawing is vital when more defined modes of communication – such as writing and illustrating – are too explicit, and I want to explore a sensation more subtly. I suppose, in a way, I approach these drawings like an abstract painting, allowing my subconscious to guide me.

I am eventually going to set up a visual gallery of my artwork here on the website, but until then I hope you enjoy my latest drawing Distress here on my blog.