Another wonderful comic project with Mike Duckett, Checkies was commissioned by Nexus for the Tyne & Wear Metro system. Mike travelled the Metro lines, talking to those who worked on the trains and drawing some sights along the way. The final pages were collaged together from Mike’s drawings and chats, partially by himself in analogue cut and stick form and partially by me, digitally. I was also responsible for the colour, text and some digital drawings.

Font choices are always tricky, there are just so many to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with Blambot, which specialises in comic fonts. This one is Milk Mustache. We also used Calvert, a font used throughout the Metro system, so very fitting for a comic all about the Metro.

Mike’s drawing style has very strong line work so I didn’t want to overshadow that with too much colour. I chose a limited palette and kept the colouring flat, using strong mostly vibrant colours. I chose tones that would help the Metro branding (mostly yellow) stand out but also not make it look corporate, this is after all an art project with zine and comic sensibilities.

We were able to capture a lot of changing scenes. The view above from Manors Metro station will soon include newly built student accommodation. Who knows how long the old snooker hall will last? And of course, there are the Metro cars themselves which are about to be changed from the traditional box on wheels we’re familiar with to a newer, sleeker model.

The final comic was printed using Newspaper Club. Their customer service and excellent printing quality continue to make them a joy to work with. I always enjoy working with fellow creative folk, especially on print comic projects where you can get your hands on something delightfully tactile at the end of it all.

You can find the comic for free in and around the Tyne & Wear Metro system, some local libraries and arts places, or there is a limited amount available from Mike’s BigCartel shop for a small price, to cover sending it out.