All Systems Are Go!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Crikey, another week has flown by, and the second term university deadlines are growing ever-closer.. Though it’s not quite time to panic yet, I can still feel the familiar tension gradually reduce my back muscles to a rather lumpy brick wall – however I’m super excited to show you all what I’ve been working on the next couple of weeks! You’ll  just have to be patient for a little while longer..

Friday sees the launch of a University-based enterprise event that’s being held at the main campus in Northampton, and though it’s only open to students (who, let’s face it, only like to part with money if it involves alcohol and/or Nando’s), I’m hoping that it might drum up a little more comic business! The slight flaw in the University’s plan is that all us arty types are hidden away and locked in a different campus to all the ‘serious’ degrees, so whether a biochemistry student really wants to buy a comic.. Who knows? But if half way through nothing has sold, I may resort to bribing students with cans of Strongbow or whatever cheap beverage those youths drink these days. Any who, if any of you UoN students are reading, I shall be selling copies of my comic The Red Road, some postcards, and some nice little A5 prints! Here’s a nice banner I didn’t make to sum up the occasion;

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Although it’s a student-only event, I’m definitely using this as a trial-run for the (fingers-crossed!!) events I’ll be attending this year. One I’m waiting on a definite confirmation, the other two I’m applying for, you’ll have to wait and see.. Ooh err!

In similar news of awesome-ness and comics, this afternoon the Small Pressganged feature at Broken Frontier, written by Andy Oliver, highlighted the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 – Spotlighting the Work of Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian‘. Hey look, there I am! You can click-through to read the full article about some very talented comics folk who I’m looking forward to getting hold of their work! As for me, I am greatly honoured to be considered a ‘one to look out for’, and if anything I shall try even harder to impress this year!! So thank you, Andy, for having such faith in my abilities as always. Bring on the next self published comic *cough* before September *cough*, although I have a lot to live up to!

Now, last week I spoke a little about the project I’ve been working on as a University assignment on the theme of ‘machines’, which I turned into a sci-fi style narrative. I finished up typing my blurb for work at the tale end of last week, so I’m happy to announce the story behind it all..;

01/03/2026
Two years ago, the Kepler 2 Telescope caught sight of an exo-planet displaying similar characteristics to our own planet Earth. Following this discovery, a curiosity rover had been sent to this new planet, newly named by our NASA team as the planet ‘Spyryt’. Sent through an open wormhole, the Spyryt curiosity rover shuttle accelerated through time and recently landed on the barren wasteland. Nobody here expected what images started to be sent back…

If this sounds interesting to you, then definitely keep an eye out for my blogs in the coming weeks as I’ll be posting more images as the project takes shape for the deadline of 16th March. How exciting!

Finally, I also have an upcoming short-comic for a zine that I’m working on for Keara Stewart! I am absolutely chuffed to have been asked a couple of weeks back, and I started drawing up some thumbnails last night. She’s making a collaborative zine to be sold online and in zine fairs, with a whole load of contributors, and I really can’t wait to start drawing it all up. I also have a short-story comic for the University-based zine I’m creating, so it’s all zine ahoy at the moment, and I couldn’t think of anything better. Oh – and one LAST thing – I heard from the very lovely Steve at Gosh! Comics in London, and The Red Road has been promoted to the table! For those who haven’t been in Gosh! Comics, the table is absolutely huge and contains some of the most popular and intriguing titles, so I’m massively excited to know that my story is sitting there amongst such talent – yay! Anyway, it’s time again to get back to the drawing board, quite literally, so for now – Peace out! x

 

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Spring is in the air! Oh no, wait, that’s rain.

Good evening one and all!

So, my prayers have seemingly been answered and a milder air has positioned itself over the UK, or at least – Northampton. Unfortunately that just brings a lot of rain, but at least I’m not being deafened by the sound of my chattering teeth! This past week has been another busy one, and even included a trip to Siberia! Kinda..

First things first, on Saturday I paid a visit to my favourite Manchester-based comic shop – Travelling Man! The ever-so-kind Haroon has taken on stock of The Red Road in his fine establishment, meaning that all of you Mancunians can pop on in, collect your numbered edition of The Red Road and also part with some more of your hard-earned money to visually stimulate your brain with the wonder that is visual narratives, in all its shapes and forms. Look! See!

The Red Road - on the shelves at Travelling Man Manchester!
The Red Road – on the shelves at Travelling Man Manchester!

Now that’s two places in the UK that stock The Red Road, and, as always, you can pick up a copy online via Etsy too. Whilst on the topic of The Red Road, yesterday marked the occasion of it being exactly one month since launch! In the past month I’ve packed up and sent out orders to many, successfully obtained my first review and managed to get stores to stock it in London at Gosh! Comics, and in Manchester at Travelling Man. As it stands, I have 42 copies left in my happy hands ready to distribute to any awaiting readers! In just under two weeks I’ll be hoping to sell some comics, postcards and other goodies to fellow students at a student market at the University Students Union, so keep your fingers and toes crossed everyone!

In other news, I’ve been making progress on a sci-fi themed narrative that is being shown via selected images and 3D objects, ready for a University exhibition on the 19th March! The exhibition is based on the theme of ‘Machines’, and us Illustration bunch plus some elective graphic design students are hosting our own exhibition on campus with our varying interpretations of the word machines. Naturally, I wanted to do a comic, but given the time constraints and exhibition end-goal, I’ve constructed a story around this theme, and a few key images will be displayed at the exhibition which may then lead onto a short story comic if I decide to take it further! For now, I’ll leave you with this sneak peek.. Can you tell what it is yet?

My biggest fan..
My biggest fan..

Ah yes, I mentioned Siberia at the beginning of this blog, didn’t I? On Saturday, aside from the Travelling Man fun, myself and my other half took a trip to the Manchester Museum to see their special exhibition on Siberia! After diving into Colin Thubron’s In Siberia a few months back I’ve found myself fascinated with this obscure place that’s one and a half times bigger than Europe (WOAH, right?!). Although I realise this is far from illustration-related, the exhibition is really interesting and definitely worth a look – it’s on until Sunday 1st March. I did spend a happy few moments trying to draw taxidermy lemmings at the exhibition too, so maybe keep an eye out for some lemmings creeping into my work at some point.. Alive ones, that is. The one saddening fact is that the Manchester Museum gift shop really lacked, so if anyone knows of any excellent books on the folklore and mythology of Siberia then let me know!

Finally, the creation of a zine amongst two of my fellow illustrator classmates (one of whom you can check out her Tumblr here) is coming along nicely! I mentioned previously that a university project led me to interview Hannah Berry, which will be super exiting to have her answers back in the coming weeks, but tonight I also sent off some questions to Northampton based comics creator and illustrator Melinda Gebbie, husband of the infamous Alan Moore! Fingers crossed these two interviews will be able to fit into our zine/journal nicely, with lots of other ideas up our sleeves. Fun times! Anyway, I think that’s it for now! And as my last piece of advice for this chilly Monday evening.. Don’t listen to what writers for The Guardian have to say, as they clearly don’t know where to look for excellent work. Thankfully, you can always rely on the comics creators picked on in such articles to have an excellent sense of humour. Over and out! x

Scott McCloud, our hero.

 

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Shelf Fame & Other Tales

Good evening ladies and gents,

Well, last week sped by a little too quickly, didn’t it! I seemingly spent most of the week glued to my desk working on a book cover design, only moving for hourly stretches and to boil the kettle – my new love for camomile and honey tea is helping me detox from my usual high caffeine intake and also, it smells like sleep and clouds. What could be better? The wild life of an illustrator is all it’s cracked up to be, and I like to think that my insights make you all realise how bad-ass of a career this is.

Anyway! On Saturday I took a trip down to our fine capital city for a happy day of exploring and absorbing! First stop was to Soho, as Steve at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street has been kind enough to take on copies of The Red Road for sale in the Small Press and Independent area of the store. I think I may have accidentally skipped for joy at one point, but hopefully no one noticed. And, even if no one did indeed notice then I’ve just ruined it for myself on here. I will defend happy-joy-skipping until the bitter end! The last and only time I’d been to Gosh! Comics previously was for the HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing in July of last year – the shop has such a lovely feel and atmosphere, with a huge table in the middle covered in all sorts of wonderful books and graphic novels. There’s even original and print artwork for sale decorating the walls, it really is a wonderful place.

I was excited beyond belief at my book being placed on the shelves, so for any London readers, you envision my excitement and skipping for yourself by picking up your numbered copy of The Red Road down at Gosh! Comics:

After Gosh! I spent the rest of the day visiting a variety of neat exhibitions, and first up was The Cartoon Museum! Somehow, I’d never actually known about the museum until I was researching my trip to Brussels Centre belge de la Bande dessinée (you can read all about my adventures here) and The London Cartoon Museum came up on Google. Oops! Anywho, it’s a small museum but the content really speaks for itself.

Next up was Anise Gallery’s new exhibition Sequential City, featuring original pieces and prints from Owen D. Pomery, Alison Sampson, Lando, Hannah Berry, John Riordan & Tim Bird, looking at the psychology of architecture in contemporary graphic novels. The Anise Gallery is tucked well out the way, just around the corner from the Design Museum past London Bridge. The space is small and homely, and the exhibition is like a hidden gem. I ended up treating myself to John Riordan‘s Capital City and Lando‘s Anthropozine which are both moving reads – If I had endless money I’d have bought it all! Following this I made my way over to Somerset House to the Mapping the City exhibition featuring illustrators and graffiti artists and their interpretations of maps. Interesting stuff!

The British Library’s Lines in the Ice exhibition was my last port of call (get it?), with historic illustrations of the various attempts at discovering what was through the North-West passage. Sad, but interesting, and by this point my calves were ready to get the train home (legs, not baby cows)! Mapping the City is on until 15th Feb, and Sequential City is on until 15th March, so no excuse not to get down there!

 

Goodies!!

More good news, this week has seen the arrival of some new smaller merchandise bits for selling! I had some postcards made up and some promo stickers too for any small events, including a Uni-organised arts and crafts fair I’m doing with some fellow students at the end of this month. Slowly but surely I’ll be clocking up some other items to sell ready for the summer! Because, well, my Etsy store looks a little lonesome with just The Red Road sitting there.

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’d like to read more about my adventures in London, in a more in-depth way, then I have a separate post going up on my university Tumblr blog, which you can read here. I shall be dutifully back in a week with another update, and hopefully this book cover will be done by then! I have lots on at the moment, and I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been up to.. Peace out! x

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February Frolics

Good evening, wise followers!

So, here we are. It’s February, and the days are gradually getting longer and lighter, though it’s still a bit too cold for my liking. I was brought up to put another twelve jumpers on rather than throw money at central heating, so recently my flatmate and I have taken to hugging the oven whilst cooking. Makes sense, no?

Well, either way I am definitely looking forward to the warmer months! So much so, I made a comic about it this week. I’d had the vague idea for something along these lines a while ago, but I decided that Thursday was the day to bring these thoughts to reality and make everyone realise how much of a miserable grouch I am (in winter). Who knew? After I got the idea of the panels down, I spent a happy 4 hours from start to finish drawing up the comic, inking, painting and scanning it in to submit it for OFF LIFE. Now, I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to be featured in OFF LIFE before, and I’m well aware that I’ll probably be unsuccessful again – mainly because rushing a comic and only spending 4 hours on two pages does not make anything of substance and beauty, sadly. But, at least my winter comic amused me to make, and hopefully amuses all of you. Check it out below, and click for a bigger version (PLUS work in progress images, because, why not?);

Not based on myself, honest.

Apart from my new-found hobby of washing up to thaw out my fingers whilst working away, I’ve also made a few improvements and adjustments to my website, hurray! You may have noticed that the banner at the top is now hand-written instead of typed, which is hopefully a bit nicer! Also I spent a couple of hours updating the home page portfolio view, adding in an image for The Red Road. You can now click through to a gallery of several images and further information, without the need to scavenge through my blogs. Let’s face it, I waffle a lot, and I can’t blame people for wanting to selectively read…. Or can I?! There’s still a bit more information that needs placing, and I could definitely do with re-jigging it a lot more frequently to pique important peoples interests.

Also, since last Tuesday I have been making warm-up doodles over on my Instagram account! Now, they’re not exactly Picasso material, but there may or may not be puns used.. Plus they are mighty useful for getting my brain in gear for drawing things. I’m going to try and keep this going for quite a while as it’s nice to draw something that isn’t Uni related (winter comic aside), and if you have Instagram then you can also keep an eye out on my daily doodles. Lucky you!

Last Wednesday's red fox, also not enjoying the weather.. Just saying.
Last Wednesday’s red fox, also not enjoying the weather.. Just saying.

Finally, myself and The Red Road has been featured once more this past week from Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier – in his Small Press Round-Up of January 2015 article! Even this fine blog is mentioned, as “…detailing the book’s evolution from concept to physical reality with all the accompanying feelings of nervousness, apprehension and excitement that comes with that process. Well worth a read-through, especially for newbie creators in a similar position who I am sure will find much of use to take from Rozi’s honest commentary.” – Holy crap, I thought I was just talking to myself? Thanks to Andy for featuring me as one to look out for! His unrelenting belief in The Red Road warms the soul, and I’m excited for what’s coming next! Just need to get the pesky University assignments about the way first…

So, that it for now! This week is back to the grind, and I’m looking forward to a trip down to Laaaandan on Saturday to see a selection of exhibitions, including Anise Gallery’s Sequential City exhibition which looks EXCITING! I also may or may not be taking a trip to Gosh! Comics and trying really hard not to spend money on shiny new comics. Though, they do have a sale on, so I’m not making any promises. I shall endeavour to be back again with my weekly updates next week! I should have some more development on University assignments, and on in particular will be quite interesting to share with you all.. For now, peace out! x

 

 

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