Skivvies Launch, Residency, and More.

Good morning ladies and gents!

Crikey, is it really almost February already? January is usually referred to as the long month, and although it has been a bit cold/wet/blowy time doesn’t half fly in the most pinnacle term of the final year of my degree. Nothing like the smell of drying paint and caffeine in the morning! It’s been another hectic week here at HQ, to the point where I can’t quite believe that Laydeez do Comics was only just over a week ago, but low and behold it’s that time of the week again where I grace you all with my wisdom. Or something like that..

First things first, we have a launch date for Down to Your Skivvies Issue #2! After having to keep pushing it back over the past month or so, we’ve managed to coincide the launch with a University-planned residency taking place in Northampton town centre (more about that shortly). As I’ve mentioned before, the first issue of DTYS was released back in April 2015, with a long break between issues unfortunately down to trying to get everyone in one place at the same time. Reviewed by Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver back in September as a part of the Zinewatch feature, the first issue run of Skivvies sold out of current stock at the end of last year. Though, to coincide with the release of issue #2 we will have fresh stock of issue #1 ready for anyone who missed it! Issue #2, themed around WRITERS AND THE ARTS will be released at the NN Contemporary Project Space in Northampton on Saturday 6th February, from 4-6pm with the three of us creators there to talk about the zine and answer any questions, and from Monday 8th the zines will be available to buy from my Etsy store. Issue #2 is a good one.. More details to be announced nearer the time.

As mentioned above, next week will see myself and fellow Illustration students from the University of Northampton embarking on a residency within the NN Contemporary Gallery Project Space, working on experimental projects. Relating to but not directly involving our final major project work, from Wednesday-Sunday we’ll be creating wonderful things, giving talks, workshops and having open discussions in the attic space at NN. You can read all about the project space and our intentions here on the newly set up website/blog, and definitely come on down if you’re local! If you were reading last week and saw me mention making a lávvu, wondering what on earth I was on about.. Well, that would be for this project space!

fabric

I’d had this genius idea before Christmas to create a 3D element to the launch of my comic, and I’ve been organising bits and pieces well in advance so that I can make this idea a reality. Also, as a big-kid in a stressed mid-twenties body I’m really excited to have my own tee-pee structure to crawl inside when I want to escape from adulthood. Sounds amazing, right? The plan is to have my wonderful (I hope) lávvu next to my comic work (The Next Big Thing) in my degree show, giving a tactile and real element to my exploration into Sámi culture. And, a fortnight ago, armed with sketches and sleep-deprivation, I headed to Birmingham to meet my sewing-aficionado mum for an adventure in the famous indoor rag market. Above you can see some lovely fabric-y things just ready and waiting to be used for my tent-like structure, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more details..

Image from Broken Frontier
Image from Broken Frontier

In other news, as the flaming baton is passed from one bunch of creators to the other, Broken Frontier have announced their new Six Small Press Creators to Watch in 2016! They’ve picked some very talented folks this year, and speaking as someone who received a great deal of support and exposure thanks to being one of the Six to Watch in 2015, I can definitely say I’m excited to see what’s coming next from these ladies! Keep an eye out on Andy Oliver’s Small Pressganged if you’re interested in all things Small Press Comics, or even just wonderful artists and stories, because wonderful creators and creations are aplenty!

Finally, I’ve been busy working away on a commission for some awesome folks this week (to be announced soon), but also I’ve been getting stuck into the prelude for The Next Big Thing, as seen above. Work is slowly creeping out and taking over more of the room rather than being confined to the desk, and things are getting really serious now. Crowdfunding for The Next Big thing alongside it’s title will be released in the coming months, and final pages are starting to be drawn. Along with a handful of other projects, by Easter I will most likely be grey-haired and half made of coffee.. With that in mind, that’s about all I have time for this week! I will be back next week with lavvú business and more, so until then – have a good week everyone! Over and out.

x

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The Laydeez Who Comic

Good morning laydeez and gentlemen!

So, another week bites the dust and Laydeez do Comics has been and gone! It was possibly one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my feeble existence; standing in front of a room full of eager-eyed people actually wanting to hear what I had to say (or at least pretending to, anyway). Even with my neatly arranged cue cards I’m sure I probably missed something important, but overall it was a really fun evening – more about that shortly. In other news, university projects are getting busier than ever and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be starting to draw up the final pages of The Next Big Thing! I’m keeping my working title under-wraps for now, though the reveal will be coming shortly. I’m also debating at the moment whether to move the blog to a fortnightly effort instead of weekly for the duration of this term, just to give myself an extra bit of time to work on my incredibly long to-do list, BUT I’m still mulling it over. So, I’ll let you all know! Now, down to business..

As you may remember from last week, I spend Sunday 10th creating the window display at Gosh! Comics in readiness for the LDC night this past Monday. Somehow the week between doing the windows and turning up to talk went past like a lightening bolt! I settled onto the warm and cosy train to London on Monday night with an 300-man army of butterflies in my stomach – no, not some strange new recipe, just nerves – and bolted across to Soho to meet with Andy Oliver (Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and Danny Noble (Munday Morning, Ollie & Alan) for a calming beverage before the evening’s fun began. Gosh! Comics were wonderful hosts yet again for the Laydeez do Comics evening, and there were many familiar and friendly faces bobbing about. Andy Oliver took the reins for the evening and spoke first about the wonderful work he does at Broken Frontier, and the small press/independent creator focus they look at compared to the largely mainstream comics industry. Next up was my turn, and armed with my carefully designed presentation I managed to bumble on for probably far less time than I was meant to – aside from shaking like a leaf the whole way through I probably spoke at lightening speed too. Agh! After a short break, the last speaker was Danny Noble who entertained us all with her honest and witty comics, whilst talking about her practice and how she uses panels in a really interesting and diverse way. Inspiring stuff! HUGE thanks to Keara and Wallis for having us, and everyone who came out to see us talk!

One of the main focuses of the evening was Andy Oliver’s announcements.. Sadly, after almost a year, the title of ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ is being filed away and the new Six have been announced! Us 2015 lot are being flung into the wide open world with our belongings in a bindle and are shunted out in to the cold harsh realities of life. Or, something like that. The new Six have been announced at LDC and will be announced officially on Broken Frontier in the coming days. They’re a talented bunch!

In the second batch of wonderful news that was announced by the Patron Saint of Comics, the Broken Frontier Yearbook has been revealed! Here’s a snippet from the press release yesterday on Broken Frontier, which sums it up far more eloquently than I possibly could:

Last night at London’s Gosh! Comics a very special announcement was made to the sell-out audience at the Broken Frontier special edition of the monthly Laydeez do Comics meeting. We’re very excited today to share that news on the site with the extended BF readership.

Currently in pre-production, our inaugural Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook will be available in the early part of this year. A near 100-page publication, it celebrates the work of our ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ – Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian – in both colour and black & white. Each creator has contributed an 8-10 page story on the theme of “breaking frontiers” and interpreted that broad starting point with their own ever distinctive artistic voices.

A natural extension of a year’s worth of dedicated coverage of these six very talented creators, the Yearbook is the ultimate expression of this column’s philosophy of “unearthing the gems of the small press”, and of bringing the work of comickers we have championed to a far wider audience. In due course you will be able to buy the book both online and from certain UK stores. But the prime philosophy of the Yearbook is to provide a promotional showcase for last year’s participants in our ‘Six to Watch’ initiative. To that end we’ll be sending out copies to selected publishers, micropublishers, and comics commentators as we seek to raise the profile of 2015’s half dozen stars-in-the-making across the medium.

Andy Oliver – Broken Frontier: Announcing the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook – Championing our 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch’ in Print!

Follow the link to read all about it and even see a sample page from each of us! Which now means (for those of you avid readers who remember my ramblings) THE TOP SECRET PROJECT IS NO LONGER SECRET. WOOHOO! From May to September of last year I was working on this project, and although I could hint at it and show some images along the way, I couldn’t really say what it was for or when it’d be released. Low and behold, the 10-page silent comic which Andy kindly spoke of as my ‘best work to date’ will be released in coming months in the bumper Small Press Yearbook alongside the talents of Danny Noble, Emma Raby and more. Alongside the ‘Six’ are other top-name creators who have supplied work to support the project, being announced in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out on Broken Frontier’s Twitter and website for all the details.. Here’s a reminder of some of the work I created, and you can read more about the project from my previous blog post here.

Top Secret Project - announced!
Top Secret Project – announced!

With LDC behind me it’s now full-speed with University work in the run up to Easter (I know, it’s only January.. I have a very busy few months ahead). My dissertation needs finishing, the Next Big Thing needs drawing up, a couple of other competitions need doing, written assignment work needs completing, another commission needs doing, and somewhere between all that some kind of sleep would be marvellous. Oh, and I’m making a lávvu. More about that in a couple of weeks, though! For the meanwhile, here’s another sneaky peek of some development/practice figuring out the best composition before I start on the final pages. Exciting!

And that wraps it up for this week! Back to the grindstone for another week of fun-times, and I shall be back next week with hopefully some more bits ticked off my very large list and more things to show you. For now, over and out.

x

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Gosh/Laydeez do Comics Window Display

Back in January 2016 I was invited to speak as part of the Broken Frontier themed Laydeez do Comics evening at Gosh! Comics in London. As one of the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’, I spoke about my work alongside another of the Six to Watch Danny Noble, and Broken Frontier Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver.

To coincide with the event I approached Gosh! Comics and Laydeez do Comics to create a promotional window display for the event, which encompassed flying comics in the chilly winter breeze, complete with ladies reading comics.

You can read all about the experience here, and the subsequent evening of talks here.

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Window Scribbles & Other Tales

Good morning happy campers!

So, I have survived! I endured an entire week of dissertation writing and come out the other side of it, albeit slightly greyer and possibly a bit more eloquent, innit. I must admit, by Thursday I was starting to lose the plot a bit and took some time out to refine my sketches for the Gosh! London window display (more about that shortly), but I powered through difficult circumstances and have 85% of my dissertation done, with two months now to finish it off and polish it up a bit. Phew! I don’t think I’d recommend any creative folk to put down their pencils for an entire week, as I did feel like I was gradually losing my soul.. But hey, it’s most likely the last essay I’ll every write. *air punch*

On Sunday I had the fantastic excuse to put down my books and get an early train down to London, ready for the window-painting bonanza of Gosh! and Laydeez do Comics, which I mentioned previously in my blog here. I arrived in London early and plonked myself down in a coffee shop to read the wonderful Save our Souls magazine (which had been patiently awaiting my attention for well over a week, whoops!), and after I was feeling suitably caffeinated and inspired by David Ziggy Greene’s newest venture, I made my way down to Gosh for it’s opening time. Everyone at Gosh is so lovely, and they helped me out with cleaning off the previous window art and supplying me with a big box of paints and pens, and gave me tips along the way. In the end it took around four-and-a-half hours to create the window, with most of the time taken up with creating the Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier text, and getting the proportions correct of the biggest figure. Have a look!

A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
Outside view
Outside view
Another figure just by the door.
Another figure just by the door.

I had a lot of fun working on the windows. It was quite freeing just to be able to draw and colour in something I’d been planning for ages, in public, with a passing audience (and also, it was great entertainment for me to see people looking at what I was doing instead of where they were going, and bumping into other unsuspecting pedestrians). Special thanks to Tom and Nora for helping me out and taking photos!

Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter
Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter

As you may be able to make out in the background on the floor I pre-made some props at home to bring with me, of Danny Noble‘s and my work to jazz the display up a bit – I’ll get some photos of those on the night. Speaking of which, this coming Monday is hurtling towards us at record speed! The Laydeez do Comics evening on Monday 18th is going to be quite the place to be, if I may say so. The Broken Frontier themed special will see talks from Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and champion of all things small-press related, Danny Noble, the creative force to be reckoned with, and myself. As I mentioned last week, tickets are all sold out but you can keep an eye out on Twitter for any last-minute cancellations. And, for those of you who miss the wonderful fun we’re all going to have (sorry), as always there will be a guest blogger to take account of everything, which will go up on the site in the weeks after. Andy Oliver will also be excitedly making two announcements on Monday evening, so keep an eye out for the public announcements in the following days!

Although it feels like I’ve barely had a break, University term started up again yesterday after spending Monday doing more of my dissertation, so I have a list as long as my arm of things to do. This includes my presentation for Laydeez do Comics, so I shall endeavour to get cracking on that shortly! Aside from the windows there isn’t that much I can show you all unfortunately, with that pesky essay getting in the way all of last week. I did spend a bit of time yesterday following my tutorials and research time doing some long-missed work on The Next Big Thing, with more to come next week.. Here’s a sneaky peek of some practice page layouts I’ve been working on:

Finally, in more super news, The Red Road has just this morning been named by Broken Frontier as one of the ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ 2015! Alongside the likes of Tillie Walden, Rachael Smith and more talented individuals, it’s a huge honour to be listed. It’s hard to believe that The Red Road was first released to the world almost a year ago, and with it’s second print run over half-sold it’s great to have such positive reinforcement from Andy Oliver and the Broken Frontier team. Thanks all!! Don’t forget you can pick up your super-second edition bumper copy in-store from Gosh!, Travelling Man Manchester, Orbital Comics and Nostalgia & Comics, plus online from my web-store.

But anyway, as my father enjoys saying so much; time is of the essence! And back to work I go. Next week’s update will have all the gossip from Laydeez do Comics and whether I managed to entertain or send to sleep the audience – place your bets! Have a good week everyone. Over and out!

x

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Hello, 2016

Good morning faithful readers,

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I trust everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve, as I did, though I hope all your New Years Days weren’t spent recovering quite as ungracefully as mine was. Somehow I managed to forget that I spend my life at a desk and barely ever drink, though an unappreciated two-day hangover reminded me.. New years resolution: party more than twice a year?

So, I’ve bobbed up to the surface from the depths of my dissertation to bring you all some wonderfully exciting news.. Down to Your Skivvies is back! At the end of this month, pending any hiccups, us Skivvies ladies – Zara Ward, Kamala Roberts and myself – will be releasing issue two of our illustration/comics/arts zine Down to Your Skivvies. The first issue was released back in April 2015, with an unplanned gap between issues purely down to University workload and summer vanishing before our eyes. However, we’re now back with issue two which will be better than ever! Here’s some of the bits I’ve been working on so far..

I really enjoyed working on Skivvies the last time; there’s something more relaxed and open about creating a DIY zine, printing and stapling it yourself for distribution compared to the highly detailed and often time consuming work of putting a comic book together. We have some great things lined up for Down to Your Skivvies #2, and with our theme of WRITERS, there’s plenty to get stuck into! As you can see from above we have short stories, a comic, bookmarks and even a very special guest interviewee, illustrated poems and lyrics, and more! As us ladies have all been off over the Christmas break we’re yet to have a date of release, but it’ll be around the end of January – as soon as I know, you’ll know! As before, DTYS will be available in person and online via my Etsy store.

Logos

In other news, as you may remember from a month ago with my announcement regarding Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier, on Monday 18th January I’ll be speaking alongside Broken Frontier’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver and Danny Noble of “Was it.. Too Much For You?” fame. Held at Gosh! Comics in London, I touched upon the great work Laydeez do Comics do and my involvement to date in my blog last month and also announced that I’d be painting the Gosh! windows in readiness for the event. That time is almost here! This week I’ll be making my merry way down to the Big Smoke to draw on some windows and try not to eyeball the people of Soho, which is probably easier said than done. I’m really, really excited to have been given the go-ahead for this project – it’ll be my first time drawing on window’s and I’m excited to see the results! Hopefully it’ll draw some extra interest for Laydeez do Comics, and act as something nice to entice more people into Gosh. As I’m working on this as a part of a university assignment I will be documenting it fully, so expect lots of photos next week!

IMG_5504

Speaking of the Laydeez do Comics evening, tickets went on sale on the 30th December and sold out in an incredible 24 hours! I guess that means the pressure is on to pretend that I’m actually interesting. My 15 minute slot is an exciting yet daunting thing..

Finally, in the past week since returning to work alongside Down to Your Skivvies I’ve also been working on more progress for The Next Big Thing. whilst it’s mainly been sketchbook work and character studies, things are moving quickly and I have all my characters sorted, ready to get cracking on some page development.. Woohoo! It feels so great to be working on an intense comics project like this again, with the story sorted and all that needs doing is lots and lots of drawing. Which happens to be my favourite thing to do, thankfully. (Apart from sleep. I really like sleeping. And eating. But apart from that, definitely drawing.) Here’s some sketches from the last week:

I’ve been trying really hard (as my tutors keep telling me to) to break out and try different materials and way of working, so I’m using this time to play about with how I’m working and develop the characters a lot further than I’ve ever developed for comics before. It’s a new and definitely worthwhile practice for me, and I’m so excited to see what comes in the process of working towards the final 40-page work of wonder – hopefully not too many paper-cuts, sweat and tears.

Unfortunately, for now I must return to the joys of dissertation writing. Thankfully my degree is largely practical (you’d hope so, being an Illustration course), which means my dissertation is only 5’000 words – however that doesn’t make it particularly easier. Next week I shall be back with a next-to-finished dissertation, painted windows at Gosh! and looking forward to the Laydeez do Comics evening.. Until next time!

x

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