​​​​​​​Drizzleditch was launched in Devon Life Magazine in April 2020. 
To have fulfilled a lifelong dream to have my very own cartoon strip in print was amazing. To have this happen when we were in the first Covid Lockdown gave me a real boost and a sense of achievement that helped get me through those dark times. 
It thrills me to have an outlet for my gags and stories that I have been writing for many years for various strip ideas. There is nothing more fulfilling than submitting the latest strip to the editor of Devon Life every month and then receiving my copy through the letterbox, and seeing my characters there at the bottom of the editorial page. I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity.
To see more Drizzleditch why not visit my Facebook page.
Below is a character sheet I sent to Andy Cooper, Group Editor for Archant magazines and Editor for Devon Life, back in January of 2020, with about twenty strips I had created to show the consistency of ideas.
I was stunned when I received an email from Andy which asked if we could meet at the Devon Life offices in Exeter to discuss the inclusion of Drizzleditch in the magazine.
I rushed up to Exeter the very next day and we had a great chat about Drizzleditch and the character design. He told me he constantly receives strip ideas, but mine was the first he had really liked and thought would fit the magazines ethos. I was amazed that he gave me full carte blanche on the themes and topics for the strip. He was happy for any of the samples to be the first one in the magazine, he thought the ideas were consistently strong. I was grateful that he didn't want to be involved in the development of ideas and trusted me to deliver a quality strip.
The only advice Andy did give was to add a strapline to the strip. Something that would give an idea what it was all about. I came up with the line, 'A tale of two trees in a big wide wood'. I loved leading the reader to the ending, with 'big wide wood' replacing 'big wide world'. It gives a sense of grandeur and shows that, to the trees, this is their whole world.
Here are some of the latest strips from 2021.
I spend many hours walking my two Jack Russel dogs, Pixie and Pippin, through our local parks, woodland and on beautiful Dartmoor from my home town of Plymouth, Devon.
On these walks, my mind can wander and give voice to the trees and the funny chats and the problems or experiences they may have. Sometimes I get absolute rants, those trees really know how to get things off their chests. Usually When I get home I can't write the ideas down quick enough, getting them into the sketch book I have for the strip.
This can also happen in the early hours of the morning if I find I can't get to sleep. I try and imagine the characters talking to themselves, sometimes about things that have happened to me during the day, random subjects or I think of a particular word seeing if an idea may come from it. It's a fun way to get to sleep. By the way, I don't have insomnia, I just find myself awake sometimes in the early hours. I've heard that the last thing you should think when you can't go to sleep is, 'I must go to sleep'. So, I just let my mind wander. It does seem to help.
The 'bubblegum incident' strip (below) came to fruition on one sleepless night. I was listening to the two trees chatting, yes really, and suddenly the sapling said, 'What, like the bubblegum incident?' to the older tree, and I woke my partner Jo with my giggling,    (I know, she is a long sufferer to my craft). So for that particular strip I worked back from the punchline, I thought that maybe a piece of bubblegum could be mistaken for a moth. I then thought, what else could be mistaken for something else.
I remembered, one evening, walking into our kitchen for a glass of water, and thought I saw a dog poo on the kitchen floor. I was fuming. Why hadn't Pippin or Pixie (my two Jack Russell pooches) gone outside? We have a cat flap, (they are that small). I found some toilet paper, cursing the little furry darlings and, when picking said poo up, realised it was a slug after all. So there was the rest of the strip. All from a half asleep conversation. In my head.

The strip itself is based in a country park similar to many Natural Trust properties in the UK. Saltram House is such a place local to me and is probably the place I imagine the trees living. Focussing mainly on two characters, a young Birch tree sapling who has been planted too close to an old grumpy chestnut. The traditional set up which goes back to Laurel and Hardy, Abott and Costello, Jen and Stimpy, Calvin and Hobbes, etc..
It is this relationship that most fascinates me. The naivety and optimism of the youthful sapling against the jaded pessimism of the old gnarled tree.
I often ask myself questions like:
What is it like living in dense wood stuck in one spot all day and every day?
What are trees stance on climate change and woodland conservation?
Are sycamores too clever by half?                                                                                            Is root tangle really that much of a faux pas?                                                                       What is HS2?
Oh, and the name, Drizzleditch? It's part of a lyric from a song from one of my favourite bands, The Cardiacs. I used the word for my personal email address for years, and it naturally became the name of the strip. It seems to fit somehow. ​​​​​​​
As the old proverb says, 'The one who plants the tree, is not the one who benefits from its shade'.  ... or, come to think of it, have to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of that tree, or sweep up its fallen leaves and branches. Or deal with the root damage to a house if it has been planted too close, which, apparently, may affect the value of the property when trying to sell it. I mean, what do structural engineers really know anyway, right?     Proverbs, who needs them?
Online merchandise store opening soon! Watch this space.
You'll be able to buy Devon Life endorsed reusable coffee cups with lids, tea mugs and more. These are six ideas available soon...
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