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Karl Dixon p2

Karl Dixon talks about drawing comics for the classic UK kids comic Dandy, and about writing his short stories...

READERSVOICE.COM: Do you carry around a book for ideas or keep a diary of any kind?

KARL DIXON: I would love to be organised enough to carry around a sketch book, but mainly my ideas are scribbled on pieces of paper, envelopes and once, the back of a til receipt I got when I was forced to make a purchase, just so I could write the gag on the back…the purchase was a pen, because I don’t carry those around with me either.

RV: You’ve worked on a large variety of projects over the years and I was wondering what sorts of things you’ve worked on this year.

KD: This year has mainly been taken up on NoodlePates, but I have two graphic novel ideas which are still in development, a new Sleepy Hamlet Novel, and my second children’s book, which is written and about to be illustrated.

RV: It must have been a big honour drawing comics like Beryl the Peril and creating Ollie Fliptrik for Dandy. Did you read Dandy as a kid and was it intimidating drawing for Dandy?

KD: It was a huge honour to draw for the Dandy and was, in my opinion, far too short lived. I did read the comics as a very young child—before moving onto superhero comics— but to be honest with you I don’t feel awe when it comes to taking on an iconic character like Beryl the Peril. All I’m thinking is: How can I make this character mine? What can I do, within the parameters of the character, to make it unique to me and my style?

RV: Can you give some tips on short story writing? Do you just have in mind a big finish and work toward it, like with Agent Provocateur, or just have a good memory like with Reigny Day, and make it up as you go?

KD: Some of my short stories are from memory and based around a situation from my past, as with Agent Provocateur. Some are written while they are still fresh in my mind.
The writing process is as boring as a beginning middle and end, the rest is filled up with as many silly observations and dialogue as I can think of. But in all honesty, my stories do come from a true situation or happening but then career off the road of memory and smash through the safety barriers of normality and disappear into the twilight zone of my imaginings…and I love writing them with a passion.

RV: You started your cartooning doing spot cartoons for various publications. What are spot cartoons exactly?

KD: Spot cartoons are like NoodlePates but without any reoccurring themes. They are one off gags with no set characters or settings and are ideal for the newbie to work on to hone their gag writing skills. Sadly the market for single panel cartoons or spot gags, just isn’t what it was. I think it’s bigger in the states, but is virtually dead here in the UK.

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– copyright Simon Sandall