Ten years later . . . the publisher that had commissioned How to Draw and Sell Comic Strips for Newspapers and Comic Books in 1986 approached me in 1997 to update and revise the text in the light of the way technology had changed the face of comics publishing. Coincidentally, I was working as an IT manager at a recruitment company at the time and had been working extensively with computers for several years already.
I consulted several old friends from my 2000AD days to better understand how working professionals were using PhotoShop to colour up comic strips and how Fontographer was used to create computer fonts out of comic-style hand-lettering. Key advisers on these subjects were John Higgins and Rian Hughes, who provided invaluable information. Writing the additional material took just a few weeks in the Autumn of 1997. I think the aim was to have the new edition in the shops for Christmas.
The ironic thing was that while I was labouring away on that update of an old print project, I was also hard at work learning the ins and outs of Web technology. The company I was working for asked me to look into setting up a Web site for them. So I started off hand coding HTML and grappling with the complexities of Unix Web servers, which was a bit of a shock the system as I came from a strong Apple Macintosh background.
When I finished the Web site, which was pretty dire - but we all have to start somewhere - I was asked to build a site for Graduate Fashion Week, an educational charity. I ended up taking care of the GFW site until 2002, a six year run, during which I had to be pretty ingenious to make the site look better than the small budget actually allowed for.
But all this Web experience would come into its own on my next job, when I began working on a computer partwork for the direct sales market, At Home With Your PC.