Snow Business

Good morning happy campers!

So, October is almost upon us as the third year of my degree is taking off. As I cling desperately to any type of work that will not be subjected to in depth critical analysis, I’m opening my diary for commission work! I realise the ‘C’ word is a sensitive matter.. (‘C’ word being Christmas of course, you crude people!), but Christmas on the horizon and what better way to tell someone you couldn’t think of anything else to get them, other than a drawing by yours truly. Mad aunt that you don’t know what to buy for? Cat fanatic that you’ve run out of mugs/t-shirts/coasters to get? Want something a bit different for your Christmas cards? Get in touch via my contact form or through the usual social channels and we can talk business.

Ducks in a row, ha! Get it?

Now that I have all my ducks in a row (ha, get it?), I am free to take on a small amount of extra work for the start of University before things get all rather hectic. I’ve recently given up part-time non-drawing related work for the first time in more years than I’d care to admit *cough* 12 years *cough*, I’m ready(ish) to sink my teeth into University and get cracking with what will be the most confusing and tiring 6-9 months of my existence. Yay! -sob-

In more positive news, this past week I’ve finished working on a second batch commission which follows on from the Japan skiing work I showed you all last week! I’m thankful to have been asked to produce drawings for the upcoming film by Jeffrey Loewe, and as soon as I can show you all the masterpiece in action I will. For now, here’s a nifty preview of the four portraits I created for Jeff.

Drawing four gentlemen’s faces was a little more work than I anticipated, but it was definitely a lot of fun to work on, keeping with the theme of the title shot from last week. So, thanks Jeff!

In other news, the Art Aid Nepal anthology I created an illustration for back in June is now being crowd-funded on Kickstarter! You can go have a look and support the book by clicking here, and make sure to hold onto your hats as there is an impressive list of contributing artists including the zen-inspiring powerhouse Mike Medaglia and the charming brains behind Tempo Lush and Lucy the OctopusRichy K. Chandler. Here’s what the creators have to say about the project..

HOME – an Art Aid Nepal Anthology

The proceeds from the anthology will go towards providing art workshops to children living in tented camps in Kathmandu as a result of losing their home in the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on the 25th of April 2015. The 7.8 magnitude quake created a lot of destruction and loss of life. Even those who survived were not spared the mental trauma and even months later the aftershocks causes our hearts and minds to tremble.

Thousands of adults and children lost their homes and are still displaced. The need to help them remains, for their troubles are far from over.

Art Aid Nepal enable us to use our ability as artists to raise funds. We wanted to do something to help children recover from the trauma that they faced during the earthquake and which resurfaces after every aftershock. There have been nearly 400 aftershocks over 4 magnitudes since the first quake. We reached out to our artistic community and 32 talented artists from multicultural background have come together to explore the concept of HOME. Their illustrations and comics fill more than 90 pages of this anthology in full vibrant colour. Those who have also lost their home and are now living in tented camps. Many of these children had very little access to creative pursuits and now, after the quake, their options are even more limited. The Children’s Art Museum of Nepal have been conducting art workshops in the temporary learning centres in public schools. Together with Art Aid Nepal, we would like to extend these workshops to the more deprived children in the tented camps. There are currently 30 camps for displaced people in Kathmandu valley. We will be conducting the workshops in the largest of these camps in Chuchepati which has more than 8000 families living and 200 children under the age of 12.

Now, I realise a lot of people don’t really ‘do’ charity. Maybe throw some loose change in a bucket or donate a little every few months to a particular charity. As a student and someone who has never been affluent, always below the sadly titled ‘living wage’, I can empathise with reluctance to give away money. However, I strongly believe that as human beings in such a drastically changing world it is important to look beyond ourselves and our problems. I freely created work for Art Aid Nepal because I strongly believe in bringing a smile to a child’s face, distracting them from the fact their world lays in pieces. If you wish to spare as little as £5, support the project here.

On that serious note, that’s it for this week folks! I shall dutifully be back next week with the beginning of the University projects.. Ooh err, best get cracking. Over and out!

x

 

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Autumn Is in the Air..

Good morning happy campers!

So, it is officially autumn now. The nights are getting longer and the bags under my eyes are getting heavier, and the ‘Christmas’ word is starting to be thrown around. This past week I took some time to travel back to my homelands to get some rest and recuperation before University starts up again next week, and such recuperation included climbing around castle ruins and eating an lot of very nice food; what could be better?

Before I travelled far and wide for my three days of feasting, I began work on a fun piece which is different from the kind of work I’ve been producing this past year. As a single illustration piece centered around a scenic view, I was able to really get my teeth stuck into it, looking at how to make the piece work on its own (rather than with comics work having panels complementing each over and working together). Also, I had a chance to play around with creating my own text, which is something I’ve barely touched for a number of years now, and I really enjoyed getting back into it. Based around the theme of Japan and skiing, this work was a refreshing change and had my brain ticking in all sorts of new ways – and, bonus points, this piece is for video rather than print (ooh err)..

Without sounding too much like a stuffy art person with my strange terms and deep, complex thought trails, the main ideals for the work was a sunset over mountains, with snow and skiers. Using my particular way of seeing the world but merged with historic Japanese black ink washes, I think it’s worked pretty well. I’m a big fan of mountains, as you all may have guessed, but I made sure to draw them in a different way this time to really highlight the harshness and beauty of dawn. Well, tried to, anyway. The text was a lot of fun too; with two working titles to make I looked at stereotypical fonts and kind of took on my own path from there, painting the text with a brush to keep it in the general tone of the drawing. In other words.. I painted words to complement that drawing up there, and I think it went okay.

So, another success story and more things are gradually getting crossed off the ‘things to do before Uni starts up again’ list. I still have a few things up my sleeve, and with starting back for third year on Tuesday rather than Monday I have an extra day to squeeze out as much efficiency as possible before all hell breaks loose. In other news, during my time in the homelands I came back via Birmingham and made sure to visit the owls on the Hoot Trail!

The Big Hoot is a free event in Birmingham that has run from 20th July and finished on 27th September, featuring many, many owl sculptures painted by artists. The owls are dotted around the City Centre, with a few in the surrounding areas towns of the greater Birmingham area. By getting involved, buying items from the online shop and the final stage of the big owls going to auction, it’s all in effort to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I’m always a big supporter of getting art out into the community and getting people involved, especially when it’s for an important cause. Plus, who doesn’t love owls?! If you’re around Birmingham and have a chance to see them in the next few days, you can get a trail map from the website or download an app to follow the trail with your phone. If not, there are an abundance of pictures with the hashtag #thebighoot2015 and the Farewell Weekend is around Millennium Point in Birmingham on the 10th-11th October. Aren’t they pretty!

I had an absolute hoot looking at the owls (sorry, sorry..) and it was a soul-warming experience to see young and old getting up close and excited about the owls around Birmingham. That’s it for now! The sneaky things up my sleeve await, and the kettle is calling my name. Until next week!

x

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I Amster-back.

Good morning Friday fans!

So, although a little later than normal, I am dutifully back with this week’s update on what’s been going on at the HQ. After returning from a short break to Amsterdam yesterday, I barely feel like I’ve been away for one day, let alone three. As my company for the trip were not particularly interested in the art side of things and the weather was a good eclectic mix of tourrential downpours and drizzle, we ended up just having a good ol’ wander around the city and stopping to eat as much incredible food as possible. Not bad, right? Oh, and the pancakes.. Be still, my beating heart.

Down to business, as some of you may or may not have seen, I gave my website a bit of a refresh last weekend. It was rather over-due, and if you waltz on over to my homepage you’ll see it looks a bit more snazzy and full of comic goodness. I changed some of the links and information too, so the Contributions page is a little more streamlined, with more information linked elsewhere. Phew! It was in desperate need of bringing up to date, and yet another thing crossed of my pre-University list.

So, we now have sections for the Top Secret Project (to be announced in the coming months… And it’s going to be REALLY good, I promise.), Sneaky Business, Rejsen as a part of Dirty Rotten Comics, and Locomotion as a part of A Bit of Undigested Potato. One of the good teaching points of University was that keeping your website alive and rejuvenated is very important.. If the homepage stays the same, it looks like I do nothing for months on end. And I can promise you, from my premature ageing and stress lines, that is most definitely not the case. Anyway, head on over to the home page for a little explore, and tell me what you think! It’s very comic-centred right now which is great, though I’m definitely looking forward to flexing my illustration muscles soon.

website

Speaking of which, I arrived home from rainy Amsterdam to a wonderful message from Eastfield Academy to say that they’ve received my Bullfinch! For those who are unaware, back in June I signed up for the Access Art Share-a-Bird project; the project was aimed at artists to create a bird in any medium, and donate it to the Access Art charity which would then send the birds out to schools in the UK who signed up for the project. As artists, we also got to write an inspirational message to the younger generation about how important art is, and it’s not all about stuffy old textbooks and things that happened centuries ago. It’s about making cool stuff and enjoying it, and a decent arts education helps. As I’ve said before, art in school pretty much bored me to tears; there was nothing engaging about drawing a still life of an apple as an 11-year-old Game Boy fanatic. Though, I’m lucky really, as those afternoons as a very young person drawing things in the garden with my mum taught me how much I wanted to be better (that same stubborn and competitive child is still inside somewhere). Here’s to hoping that my Bullfinch might inspire some small person, if only for a few hours.

 

 

Finally, last week I completed a piece for a friend of mine who is creating his own zine of comics, text and images around the theme of Dead Singers. The zine itself is being released to coincide with Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, from 14th-15th November which I shall be attending with bells and whistles on. After some careful consideration and pondering, and having lists of names sent to me from my better half, I settled on Muddy Waters. Here’s a sneak preview of my finished stand-alone illustration for the project. Thanks to Sam for letting me be involved!

Anyway, that’s it for now! I have an exciting project coming up to get my teeth stuck into, and the third year of university awaits.. Until next week!

x

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Top Secret Project

Good morning you lovely people, you!

So, it appears to be autumn. I’m not quite warm enough, University is looming once more and my list of jobs to do before third year starts is slowing depleting.. Though I keep thinking of things to add to it, which doesn’t help. Thankfully, stress is low and my stocks of camomile tea are high, so here’s to a good few weeks before the teeth-grinding, alcohol comforted, crying into sketchbooks era of Third Year begins.

Amongst the delights of laughing at my own history of terrible drawings last week, and celebrating the wonders of MancsterCon, you may have seen mentions of the Top Secret Project having reached completion. Now, the Top Secret Project started back around May, though it still feels like a blur of thinking and drawing, with the final painting of my 10 pages taking a week to complete. I still can’t divulge any more details about the Top Secret Project (in case you hadn’t already guessed from the title), but if you can all hold onto your hats for just a couple more months, all will be revealed… For now, though, here are some of the final images; from final inks to varying stages of painted completion. I’m still resting in that uncomfortable zone of “is-this-actually-terrible-and-people-will-laugh-at-me-and-I’ll-have-to-change-my-name-and-become-a-hand-model-and-move-to-a-village-and-hide-forever”, but I’ve come to realise that the fears and worries are a good thing. Emotional investment equals fear of other peoples opinions, and emotional investment means I’ve done the best I can. So, let’s just hope it’s not a flop.

Similarly to The Red Road, I drew all my pages out in pencil, went over them in fancy ink pen, and painted them in varying shades of gouache. Unlike The Red Road, however, I drew everything 100% larger than it’s due to be printed; it’s something my lecturers at University kept telling me I should do to improve my figure drawing, and I actually listened. I’ve been drawing double the size of print since Rejsen, with my comic in Sneaky Business also being double the size of print too. I’m not sure if it’s making me a better illustrator/artist or not, but it works well enough and doesn’t take any extra time.

The one thing I did do different this time, is that I worked on all the pages from rough form on separate paper first, then once the pencils were done-ish I used the light-box to draw everything up on the final fancy paper in pencil again, tightened it all up and inked. The good thing about doing it like this, is that the paper wasn’t left with a multitude of rubbed-out mistakes, and no pencil indents too. I IS LEARNING, LIKE. But yes, with every new project comes a new set of wisdom, and the completion of the Top Secret Project has left me feeling comfortable in the set of processes I have for my upcoming Final Major Project at University (cue: fear).

Last week also saw the review of Down to Your Skivvies #1, by Broken Frontier in Andy Oliver’s new Zinewatch feature! DTYS#1, created by Kamala Roberts, Zara Ward and myself earlier in the year is about celebrating women in the arts, and though #2 is in the making, it’s great to have a little boost with this review – thanks Andy! You can read his review of DTYS here, and purchase a copy on Etsy, here.

Old school zine-style in presentation, Down to Your Skivvies! is an eclectic mix of material that, nevertheless, retains a consistent thematic approach and voice.
– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier.

Aside from this, the past week has actually been pretty busy with non-work related things, although a couple of lovely new shiny projects have come my way which will give me plenty to do this week, along with that damn pre-uni, ever growing check-list. So, I shall leave you all rest-assured that I am continuing my delicate balance of staying warm, drawing lots, and doing my very best not to go into hibernation mode. I am off on a few day escape to Amsterdam next week so I will be back with my blog on Friday instead of it’s usual mid-week presence, but picture me happily cycling around canals in the rain whilst stuffing my face full of poffertjes and wheels of gouda. Until next week!

x

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MancsterCon and Blogiversary!

Good morning faithful followers!

So, we’ve arrived into September in traditional British style; downpours of rain, a chill in the air and darker mornings. Which is different from the British August, which is downpours of rain but with warmer air and lighter mornings. This past week has seen another busy spell at Rozi HQ, with a Top Secret Project in it’s final stages (which I finally finished yesterday, yay!) and the wonderful, welcoming and warm-hearted MancsterCon event in Manchester.

MancsterCon is an entirely volunteer led event showcasing the independent talents in the North-West; everything from comics and zines to game development, and custom-made lighting to kawaii wigs. Some of you may remember that I attended last year as a visitor and loved the atmosphere so much that I asked to be considered as an honorary Northerner to be a part of this year’s event. Thankfully, they said yes! Even better, they asked me to be a part of an interview panel with Andrew Tunney, Tom Ward, Chris Welsh and Debbie Jenkinson called, ‘So you want to get into comics?’. Held at the University of Salford’s Media City campus, the atmosphere was just as warm and fuzzy as last year even with a much larger hosting space compared to last years – something which I don’t imagine is that easy to do, so kudos to Florence and the team for making it work so well! Plus, even with Manchester Pride and a Manchester City home game on, the turn-out was still pretty decent and it made for a fantastic day with many friendly faces.

The interview panel was actually really fun, too! A little daunting at first, but everyone is just so incredibly friendly it just felt like a bunch of strangers watching us have a chat. It’s always really interesting to hear how other people got into the comics field, and even though I saw sat alongside people who are far more successful and further along in their careers than I am, it was genuinely great to hear them speak about their experiences and ideas. Although, probably best not to mention Steampunk to Andrew Tunney any time soon.. Thank you to Florence for being an excellent interviewer, and for the audience for laughing at my joke. That would have been awkward otherwise. I’m not entirely sure if there’s a video of the interview being uploaded to the interwebs, but if there is I shall dutifully share that with you all.

So, in all, it was a great day. Thank you MancsterCon!

In other news, it’s a time for celebration, folks; Monday 31st August was my four-year blogiversary – let there be cake! For those of you who haven’t been with me for the entire long-haul, I started my small blogspot account back in 2011, doing updates of various illustration and arts related things I liked, saw and was doing. Just over a year ago I moved to this site, but the blogspot still exists with all my old drawings I thought were not-so-bad at the time. Now, however, I can sit back and laugh at how awful they are.. So what better way to celebrate than to get you all to laugh with me? Lets have a look at what the ol’ account has to offer..

31st August 2011 - oh dear.
31st August 2011 – oh dear.

Here we have an example I’d like to call.. ‘Why I didn’t get accepted into UWE’. The reason I started my blog was to improve my drawing, so I can’t really look back at my terrible beginnings and hate it, because it got me where I am today. But yes, after I finished art college at the tender age of eighteen I fell into full-time work and got kinda stuck doing important things for not-that-much money. After a while I decided to get back on that proverbial horse and create a portfolio and apply for University. So, with full time work and drawing all evening I slowly created a portfolio of my best work, all from scratch. The selection day involved everyone putting their work out in a room, going off for a tour of the campus, then returning for an interview. Get this; I was politely taken aside and told I would not be interviewed as my work didn’t meet their standards. Ouch! Then I cried on my mum’s shoulder in the middle of Bristol, because I’m level-headed and strong independent woman like that. On the bright side.. After that I umm’ed and aah’d about whether to give up on my dreams of being an illustrator or jack the job, move back home, draw a lot, and try again for university. Thankfully, I chose the latter, so that’s what I did. And this blog was a way for me to track my progress.

As far as I can remember, this was my first time drawing a comic – which actually isn’t terrible! I believe I finished this around September time, so already there is a big improvement from the portfolio work I was making back in the earlier part of the year. After this things steadily improved, with the likes of my Denver Union Station piece being created in January time of the following year.

Of course, how could I forget! Alan Rickman on a pillow. That was quite obviously painted with assistance from a light box, but damn if that isn’t one of the best presents I’ve ever given. Saying that, the gift was for my dearest BFF and flatmate, and I definitely haven’t seen this in a while.. Should I be offended?

Ah yes – now this was my first time making a comic-style set of images which I thought of, wrote and drew myself, back in June-July 2012. Not too shabby either! Whatever I was doing, I was doing something right as by the end of 2012, early 2013 I was asked by Ravi Thornton to illustrate some pages for HOAX: Psychosis Blues – and as they say, the rest is history. I’ve still made some completely awful things since, and I probably will continue to! Hopefully I don’t look back on the work I’ve created in the last year and regret everything, as that would be somewhat awkward.. But yes! That’s a small highlight real of my humble beginnings. If you’d like to see more things I made back when I was just a young ‘un, you can find all the archives on blogspot, here. I warn you, not all of it is pretty. And there’s a good few years on there, it may take a while..

It’s quite funny really, I sometimes think I started getting serious about drawing a lot later than others, and maybe it didn’t serve me well as I’m now a financially crippled twenty-five year old going into my third year of university surrounded by people four years my junior. But then, I have old-lady perspective. Old-lady perspective is very useful indeed! Because.. I did all my awful work BEFORE university, which means that if I went there in my youth I’d probably have messed it up and hated it anyway.

Anyway, enough romanticising, I’d best get back to some actual work otherwise in another four years I’ll be looking back and weeping over what I lost. Thank you to all of you, whether you’re an occasional reader; a dedicated reader (hi mum!); or a new reader, for making me stick with the blogs and have something to show for myself, especially in those early stages where motivation is so hard. Like the well trained puppy that I am, I’ll be back next week with some more sneak previews of the recently finished Top Secret Project, and more.. Peace out!

 

x

 

OH! And don’t forget Sneaky Business is now for sale over on Etsy – you know you want one!

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