Comics, Drawing, Zines

What is The Green Bean?

What is The Green Bean?

I’ve been publishing The Green Bean for four years now, and I still get just as excited about bringing out a new issue as I did the first time around. It’s become such an integral part of my life, my work, everything! And I love it.

If you’d like to give The Green Bean a try, or you’re a long-time collector with some gaps in your collection now is the perfect time. I’ve made all the back issues available individually at a special price of just Β£4, for this weekend only. Complete volumes and year-long subscriptions are also available, all here in my shop.

I’m just putting the final touches to a new issue, about my recent birthday and challenging the ’30 before 30′ lists you see. It will be out and on its way to subscribers next week.

Zines

A New Green Bean

Green Bean 4-4

It’s always a happy moment when a new Green Bean is ready to send out into the world. Even after twenty four (twenty four!!) issues, I haven’t tired of the feeling I get cropping those corners and colouring those beans.

This newest issue is all about my recent relocation from Bristol to Devon, adjusting to new surroundings and a different pace of life. There are comics, book reviews, a recipe for delicious pistachio and white chocolate macarons, deer, Dartmoor ponies, maps and lots more, all rendered in fine micron pen and delivered to you on lovely recycled paper. You can find the new Green Bean here, or subscribe to forthcoming issues here.

Work In Progress, Zines

Zine Chaos

Green Bean pages

I love the feeling of finishing a new zine for print. My desk is left strewn with papers: not blank ones, or pages of barely decipherable notes as usual, but of finished drawings. It’s very satisfying, especially if it’s been more than six months since I last finished one! Sometimes the theme of a Green Bean is all set before I make the first mark. Sometimes I just have a vague idea and the rest unfolds as I draw. This issue was definitely one of the latter.

Almost six months ago I moved from Bristol, my home for the preceding eleven years, to Devon. I knew I wanted to make a zine about that transition, and one of the reasons the zine took so long is because I don’t feel that transition happened fully until the last month or so. I was so caught up with travelling and promoting Lighter Than My Shadow and The Crystal Mirror, there was hardly any time for drawing, and even less for settling in to my new home.

But as I started to settle, drawings started to happen. Drawings of what I love about my new place, of what I miss about the old one. This new Green Bean has maps, comics and stories, as well as books reviews, a craft project and a recipe for macarons (oh yes). It’s at the printers now, and should be ready in the next week or so…

Work In Progress, Zines

How A Green Bean Comes To Life IV

Untrimmed Green Beans

When I pick up Green Beans from the printers, they look a bit drab: my work isn’t quite done. Part of what I think people like about the Green Bean is its handmade feel, and a lot of that is down to the touches I add after the printers, when many people would consider it finished.

Trimming Green Beans

I am a pathological perfectionist. The first change I make to the freshly pressed Green Beans is to sharpen the crease with a (vegetarian) bone folder, then trim the three edges to make them flush. I do this by hand with a scalpel, and have a fine callus on my index finger from the 2000+ Green Beans that I’ve finished this way. One day, I will invest in a guillotine.

Green Bean Corners

After the trimming, I punch the corners. My Zutter heavy-duty lifetime-guaranteed corner-rounder has indeed lived up to its claim, and continues to plough through whole Green Beans in one clunk.

Colouring Green Beans

Next, the best bit! I pick from my generous supply of Neon Green Lyra Colour Giant pencils and colour the beans on the front by hand.

Signing Green Bean

Finally I sign and number the issue and send it on its merry way out into the world…

Work In Progress, Zines

How A Green Bean Comes To Life II

I’m always juggling work on the Green Bean with a hundred other things. This means I have to be super-organised in order to put out issues as regularly as I do (which truly isn’t very regularly at all!)

Green Bean Pencils

Every page starts with a rough pencil sketch, which varies from being very loose and open to precise and organised. Usually if there’s going to be writing I leave the space blank – I rarely plan what I’m going to write, just go for it spontaneously, which is why the sentences in The Green Bean are sometimes a little strange and full of typos. I try to do the pencil sketches in batches, say, of 5 double pages at a time. With the thinking part done, I can then dip in and out of inking those pages in between other the work over the course of a week or so.

Green Bean Inks 1

When drawing the Green Bean, I work with 01 and 005 Micron pens, which I’ve found produce a very consistent line that scans well. I draws, perhaps ill-advisedly, on the same paper upon which Green Beans are printed. It’s 100% recycled photocopy paper that I buy in great reams, ploughing through several a month. I like how the surface takes the ink of the Micron pens, and I also like that it’s cheap and cheerful. I get horribly intimidated by expensive paper, and afraid I might never draw anything. The downside of my beloved copy paper is that it’s not made to last: after a year or two, especially if kept in the light, it suffers very serious yellowing. I happen to like the effect, but it means that my original drawings will never be worth very much as they’re not likely to be around in 50 years. Oh well.

These pages-in-progress are from the forthcoming Green Bean: Volume 4, Issue 3.

Green Bean Inks 2