Looking Forward

Good afternoon homies,

So, the turkey has run out and the mince pies are slowly vanishing, and Christmas is well and truly over. Next stop, New Year! This strange void between Christmas and New Year seems to be a time of self reflection, and particularly for myself, looking back at the last couple of years brings me to a rather scary cross-roads. 2012 was the year I succeeded in getting accepted into University, 2013 I had my first exhibition in Northampton and spent 6-months working on HOAX: Psychosis Blues, and in 2014 HOAX: Psychosis Blues was launched alongside the theatre show and signings in both Manchester and London. As I sit here looking back, I can’t help but feel a little anxious as to what 2015 will bring. Will I continue to charge ahead and find a way to successfully launch my own comic? Or will I fall at the first hurdle? An analytical and creative career such as illustration has the ability to make you feel constantly on edge. Whilst having a yearly catch up with my dear friend Katie earlier, we discussed the cross-roads of being in our mid-twenties and where to head next. Really, this is a crucial time. Crucial, exciting, and terrifying. Ahhhh!

Anyway, on a lighter note, a promised post with more of an update than my last. This festive season I offered to design my parents Christmas cards based around their passion for the dog breed, English Bull Terriers. They’ve rescued two from unhappy homes in the past, most recently Jack the Dog who seems to be oddly comfortable in almost any sleeping position possible. So, I decided to use a clean line drawing with limited colour, mainly to save on printing costs as I added colour by hand afterwards. They seemed very happy with the cards and I’ve had a few compliments since, so I figure it was a success! And from that, and making my own Christmas cards year sent out to family and friends, I will be looking at selling cards online in the foreseeable future, by summer at the latest and going forward. Yippee! The card designs are pictured below;

Bull Terrier Christmas Cards
Bull Terrier Christmas cards for my parents…
…and my own quick Christmas card design for this year, last-minute thrown out towards unsuspecting friends and family.

 

I think one thing I’m definitely aiming for in the coming 12 months is a larger online presence, point and example being an online shop. In Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier‘s eternal wisdom (in this article – How *Do* I Get Coverage for My Self-Published Comic?), to have reviews you need a website, and a place for people to BUY your work from. So whether I’ll build something through this website or whether I use Etsy, I have some important logistical decisions to make when I return back to Rozi HQ. Another thing I’m considering is how to publish my comic, whether to sit at the uni laser printers for hours on end to keep costs down, or to go to a printers and have my work professionally printed. Though, with that costing an arm and a leg, something like Kickstarter may be my only choice. In other words, I have a lot of thinking to do. Maybe I should have another slice of Christmas cake first, though..

In the past month or so I’ve also been making personalised Christmas gifts for friends, which has included painting on mugs which is something new! Looking at Isabel Greenberg’s ceramics, this is definitely something I could get on board with, as they really do make nice gifts. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the mugs, or the mini-comic pages I made, but I have plenty of ideas for upcoming items to sell. Anywho, I believe that’s it for now. The fire is crackling away and the dog is snoring, how peaceful! To all my marvellous readers, I hope you all had a wonderful festive time and a marvellous New Year! Here’s to 2015! x

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Season’s Greetings

Good evening folks!

Well, well, well. It’s that time of year again. The university deadlines are down from a long list to just one more presentation, and I’ve been gradually wrapping the stockpile of gifts I’d been hiding in my wardrobe for months. Having a Christmas with no immediate project work to attend to means I’ll be happily filling myself with mulled wine and turkey for about three weeks, before it all starts up again of course. Time flies when you’re having fun! Or stressed.

So, I have been a busy bee working on several things at once, but last week saw the completion of my graphic short story that I submitted for the V&A’s Illustration Awards 2015 in the student submission category. Although, I won’t lie, the V&A was just a formality and university requirement for this brief. I couldn’t wait to write and draw my own story with so much time allocated! The story itself is hard to summarise, though my best attempt would be this; Influenced by the text ‘To Walk The Red Road’, a Native American poem by an unknown author, I developed a story based on a young woman and her spirit animals – Bear, Coyote and Lark. The story is about a physically and mentally arduous journey, ascending up the Rocky Mountains; exploring themes of violence and sexual abuse, alongside companionship, bravery and areas of Native American beliefs. Here is an obligatory snapshot:

The Red Road cover
The Red Road cover
Oooh.. shiny.
“What’s going on there?” – I hear you cry!

 

This project was my baby from start to finish, I absolutely loved it. Never before have I had the chance to really cultivate my own story for such a length of time, and with all the practise I made myself do over the summer with Lost and Found, and then the Christmas Tale, I finally had a chance within university to put it all to good use. I started with the poem, and then came up with some ideas that I wanted to include in the story, and then slowly but surely put the story together. From there I wrote it out into a graphic novel script, and after some sketchbook work and a mock-up book with my thumb-nailing I went straight to paper. The story is a total of 24-pages, not including the covers and somehow I managed to write and create the whole thing in 8 weeks. Nifty, eh? There are some logistical kinks that need working out, and I need some willing un-biased readers to give me their opinion on the content, but all going well after editing I’m looking into getting this story printed to sell. How exciting! It’s a new kind of nervous for me – I’m used to having my drawings thrown in peoples faces for judgement.. But writing? Well, apart from waffling on here and there, crafting stories is only something I’ve been practising in the last year or so. Let’s hope people like it!

Aside from this project I’d been working on a few other things but nothing I really felt as passionate for as this. Most of my university assessments are well under way and I’ll be looking forward to some nice, positive (hopefully) feedback from tutors over the winter break. Going into term two of second year, I believe the evil ‘D’ work is going to start being thrown around.. Dissertation. Eurgh. But on the positive, hopefully there will be lots more projects I can sink my teeth into and really make into something I love. Anyway, I will be around and updating things a bit more over the holidays so keep an eye out for more updates! Over and out x

 

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