Drink and Draw, and More!

Good afternoon all!

So, it’s a busy time again. Apologies for the lack of the usual weekly update last week; truth be told I was out of the country for almost a week and had nothing to show on my return.. But I have plenty now! The degree show has ended, and amongst comic submission work and expanding my illustration portfolio I’m also getting ready to head down to London next week for the D&AD New Blood festival, as a near-graduate on the University of Northampton stall. I seem to be spending so much time in London over the next week and a half I might as well be a local!

Down to business, and first on the agenda is last night’s Drink & Draw hosted by Nora of Gosh Comics and Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier! Alongside guest artists Cristian Ortiz and Amber Hsu, I joined in the fun as a fresh-faced first-timer on the drink & draw circuit.

Photos from Nora at Gosh

It was such a fun evening! I mean, the words ‘drink and draw’ kind of give the impression that it’s a fun evening of entertainment, but it really exceeded any expectations I had. Life can get stressful, and just sitting back and drawing random things has such a fun and calming influence. Drawing themes from the night included alter-egos, something or someone you lost as a child, and what if other mammals shaved their legs too. There was also a collaborate comic making its way around the pub, and competitions and prizes for attendees. As a non-Londoner (CUH, right?) I had to shoot off before the end, but huge thanks to Nora and Andy for hosting such a fun evening! Here’s my doodles from the themes listed above..

What fun! Drink & Draw is hosted by Gosh Comics and Broken Frontier once a month, and you can keep up with any new events by liking the Gosh Comics Facebook page, following them on Twitter or keeping an eye on their website blog.

In other news, the submissions deadline for Dirty Rotten Comics #8 is fast approaching! With submissions closing on Thursday 30th (tomorrow, yikes!) and only rough sketches in front of me I have a fair bit of work to do to finish it all off.. But thankfully the gents over at Dirty Rotten Comics are fairly relaxed about the deadline, so if like me you’ve managed to accidentally be incredibly unorganised, you still have a bit of time to submit! See their submissions page for all the details and a link to their FAQ. For now, here’s a very sneaky-peek of a bit of my thought process for this submission; scripting from notes and painting..

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Mountains. Oooo err!

So, you can guess what I’m doing for the rest of today and tomorrow, right?

Finally, as some of you may remember me mentioning it, work is commencing on Sneaky Business vol. 2 very, very soon! How soon, you ask? WELL! Monday, to be precise! Sneaky Business vol. 1 was very much a small, unique collection from comics creators that I personally asked to be involved. However, after being inspired by the guys over at Good Comics and what they’re doing with Dead Singer’s Society zine, I’ve decided to approach vol. 2 in a much more open way. Which means, from Monday 4th July I’ll be opening up submissions to all! I’m looking for 1-2 page comics, colour or black and white, under the theme of stealth or sneaky in some way.

The call for submissions with all the details will be posted up on my Twitter and Facebook from Monday, and I’ll have more coverage in next week’s blog – so keep an eye out!

A snippet from my comic in Sneaky Business vol. 1

Finally FINALLY finally, I’ve updated and improved my website! Things have moved a little, and the ‘Collaborations’ and ‘Commissions’ have been removed and merged into new or existing posts in two clear-cut sections; Illustration and Comics. The front page has everything, and with a SHINY NEW ‘infinity scroll’ you can now see all my work in one place, or head to the category links for the specifics. Nice, right?

Anyway, I’d best get back to this Dirty Rotten Comics submission as it most definitely won’t create itself.. Until next week (for certain this time), have a good Wednesday everyone!

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Degree Show Launch

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s pretty much all over. Yikes. The ‘student’ title I’ve begrudgingly had for the past two and a half years is slowly fading as the Degree Show is nearing close and graduation is only a month away. Putting together the degree show was quite the task, with the private view and launch party on Friday evening drawing in far more of a crowd than expected – always a good sign! Between putting the catalogue together and building a shop out of boxes, lugging heavy boards and painting portfolio stands it was all a bit of a blur.. But it’s done, and open to view every day until it shuts for good this Sunday 19th June.

Huge thanks to fellow graduate Naomi for letting my use her photos (above), and also helping to keep me sane over this past year! The degree show was entirely tutor-led by design, though a few of us took over creating and designing the catalogue. I can’t take any credit for the overall design, but I certainly put my InDesign skills to good use! A few of us also set up our own shop to sit outside of the room itself, selling a range of items; from my comics Njálla and The Red Road, to postcards, prints, and other students books and 3D items.

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Overall the feedback has been positive, and although it’s not exactly what I’d hoped from my degree show when I’ve walked around universities in the past, it’s been nice to have an end-point (and several glasses of wine) to celebrate. Apart from clearing out the show next week and graduation at the end of July, that’s pretty much it! You can find all the information about our Creative Curiosities degree show here on the event page, or the School of the Arts degree shows as a whole through the University of Northampton website here.

As my time has freed up a little between the degree show being completed and leaving the country for a few days I took the opportunity to do my yearly girlfriend duties of doing something for Chris whilst he’s away at Download Festival. Last year I created Rejsen for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, and the year before that I made a Boba Fett piece for him, which I eventually turned into a poster. As for 2013 I have not the foggiest what I did, if anything, as I managed to accidentally erase my old Blogspot page with my old blogs from 2011-2014 a few months back (gutting, yes.. but on the plus side my old horrendously bad work is no longer available to find online). This year I decided to have a go at daily comics. Journalistic comics is something I’ve wanted to branch into for a while but never had the time, so I felt that this would be a great opportunity to give it a whirl and see how it felt.

To best understand the premise for the comic, here is the intro to be read in the Law & Order narration voice:

In June every year, Chris goes to Download Festival and I sit at home working.
This year, I am recording this exciting time in comic form.
These are my stories.

– DUN DUN –

Seven days. I managed a whole seven days. Go team! I’ll admit, I didn’t get to draw every day and some days had more catch-up than others, but it went pretty smoothly for the most part. I only used pencil, pen and acrylic ink for the whole thing and it’s VERY rough and ready as it was intended just to get my brain thinking rather than creating a masterpiece. Anywho, Chris let out some vague and hopefully not fake giggles when he read it, so I’ll take that as a positive sign. With my next immediate comics project coming up being a fresh submission to Dirty Rotten Comics for their 8th anthology it was a good thing to work in black and white again; it’s been quite a while since working sans colour, so definitely a wise move to practice again before developing a new short story. Plus, with DRC#8 due in just under two weeks I need to get cracking!

On a final note, this coming Saturday is the yearly Crouch End Cartoon Art Festival at Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End, London! I’m so sad to be unable to make it this year after I had such a blast last year, but holding fort on the Broken Frontier Small Press to Watch table this year will be Andy Oliver with a few others, and stacks of Small Press Yearbooks for sale! There are a whole host of other talented and wonderful folks including Richy K. Chandler, Wallis Eates and Avery Hill Publishing; so if you’re in the area pop on down and check out the talents on offer – it’s FREE! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has written up a release all about the event, which you can peruse over here.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Now that this student malarkey is almost over I need to spend every waking hour trying not to fail as an illustrator. Talk about pressure.. Happy Wednesday! Until next week, have a good ‘un everyone!

x

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Launch Success! Cake and Comics.

Good afternoon faithful followers!

So, what a week it’s been! Crashing towards the finish-line of University looking bedraggled, full of hay-fever and lacking sleep, it’s clear that hosting a launch party for Njálla at the same time as finishing up my degree was quite a brave choice.. The whole of last week has been mostly a blur of comics, catalogue designs and getting my fingers stuck to objects with superglue. BUT, three years of further education is almost over and Njálla is out there in the world, so the lack of sleep is totally worth it.

This past Saturday night saw the launch of Njálla here in Northampton at the NN Café, with a whole host of family and friends coming down to join in the fun and help me celebrate my latest comic-ing venture! I have to admit, it’s very strange to host an event centred around my work, given that I usually spend my time hiding in my drawing cave. I’ve never much been one for drawing attention to myself (well, apart from when I had a purple mohawk), but that being said, it’s important to throw yourself into these situations every once and a while, right? After working on Njálla start to finish over 8 months I definitely needed to have a large beverage and end the biggest project of my career so far on a high note! Here are some photos from the night, borrowed from a number of people (thank you, photo people!):

Huge thanks to my handsome assistant Chris who donned a Njálla t-shirt with me and helped to calm my nerves, and my mum who brought a Northern Lights themed cake for us all to share around! Of course, big thanks also go to everyone who travelled near and far to come along and show their support, including Broken Frontier‘s Andy Oliver who finally got his copy of Njálla! Finally, thank you to the NN Café for hosting, it was a perfect venue and a great time was had by all! (I hope)

In other news, my next appearance on the comics circuit was announced the other day; I’ll be part of the Gosh! Comics and Broken Frontier Drink and Draw at the end of June! I’m honoured to have been asked to attend alongside Amber Hsu and Christian Ortiz, as well as my Six to Watch 2015 companion Danny Noble, the artist in residence for Drink and Draw. You can read all about the Drink and Draw from Gosh! here, and register your interest here! I dropped off some signed copies of Njálla at Gosh! Comics yesterday too so you can head down to pick up your copy ahead of time for the grand total of £8.

 

Whilst I was in London yesterday dropping off comics to lovely comics people to put on their shelves, I made time to scoot on over to the British Museum to see their Sunken Cities exhibition. Following the recent rediscovery of the two port cities Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus near Alexandria in Egypt that sank into the sea around 1’300 years ago, Sunken Cities looks at the relationship between Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece and the careful removal and restoration of a whole host of incredibly preserved artefacts. You’ve probably all guessed by now that I’m really interested in historic cultures (The Red Road, Njálla) and I’d been waiting to see this exhibition since they first announced it last year! Armed with a sketchbook, I ended up spending two hours in the exhibition drawing and making notes; it was just so nice to take an afternoon off from all the madness and stress and to just immerse myself in history. It really was a fantastic exhibition, and I urge you to go and see it if you can. You can find all the information about the exhibition here.

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My short-lived freedoms in the British Museum didn’t last long, and these next few days are back to the grind in finishing up the University of Northampton Illustration Degree Show, ready to launch on Friday evening. After what feels like a massively long slog, it’s almost over and our work from the final year will be up on display for all to see! The private launch starts this Friday early-evening, and then the show runs from Saturday to the following Sunday 19th. If you’re interested in attending head on over to our Facebook event page here. I will have a full breakdown of the Degree Show launch next week, so until then I’d best get back to work.. Have a good week everyone!

x

 

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Njálla Launch & More

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, the time has finally come. The majority of Kickstarter pledge rewards are shipped, and Njálla launches for sale online tomorrow with the official launch party at the NN Cáfe here in Northampton on Saturday. I had envisioned that I could have a nice little tag-line about how you can cool down this summer by reading about the snowy, winter-lands of the Scandinavian Arctic Circle, but, well.. It’s 12°C, grey and raining here. Maybe not.

Regardless of the weather, Njálla is my pride and joy, and I’m so excited for it to be out there in the great wide world! I’ve worked really hard to create something special, and if you’re local to Northampton or have nothing better to do this Saturday night (is it usually just me..?) then come on down to NN Contemporary’s Café in Northampton and celebrate with me.

I’ve been remarkably organised due to the hundreds of other things I have to do this week, and all the listings for Njálla and related products are ready to launch on Etsy tomorrow morning from 9am UK time! So, if you missed out on Njálla’s Kickstarter Campaign and you’ve been kicking yourself since, you’ll be able to purchase your copy online tomorrow. Whilst that’s all done and ready to go, I have plenty to keep me occupied in preparations for Saturday’s launch event too, with some surprises under my metaphorical hat.. So come along if you can!

As the UK Kickstarter rewards have started to arrive I’ve been so excited to have people share their parcels with me as they arrive! My Kickstarter pals have all received freebies for helping to make this all happen, including colouring books, stickers, balloons and some sassy wrapping. Thanks so much to everyone whose taken the time to snap a picture and share it; take a look at some of the photos I’ve been tagged in.. How cool is this?

Additionally, huge thanks go out to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier who voted Njálla as his Comic of the Week this week! As many of you will be well aware, Broken Frontier has had exclusive coverage of my work since Hoax Psychosis Blues. From my first self-publishing venture The Red Road, comics zine Sneaky BusinessDown to your Skivvies zine and now Njálla’s Kickstarter campaign, exclusive preview and my work within the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Andy’s support has made the process of throwing my work out there a bit less scary and a lot more rewarding. Keep an eye out for his review of Njálla coming tomorrow.. I have no idea what will be said, so I’ll be waiting on the edge of my seat!

Keeping an eye out.. hah!

In other news, things became all the more hectic again at University last week in preparation for launching our graduate degree show, showcasing a selection of our work from this final year of studies. Although assessment is officially over and my grades are being mulled over by someone somewhere with a large cup of tea, we still put on a show of our work in an exhibition style at the University itself, for potential future working relationships and clients as well as friends and family to come and see why we’ve all been ignoring them for six months. It’s been a lot of work, and I’ve been juggling a handful of tasks along with a few others.. But the end is in sight! The private launch is from Friday 10th June at 6:30pm, and the show being open to view to the public from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th June. If you’re interested in attending then you can find all the details here.

Finally, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 is now on sale! After the gents at Good Comics launched it this past Sunday at DIY Cultures, it’s now available to buy online along with Vol. 1 and a whole host of other goodies. Check out their online store here! I’ve also updated my website to include my work from Dead Singer’s 2 on the front page, so you can check out all the details and who else is involved by clicking here.

On that note, it’s time I get back to work. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Njálla’s online launch tomorrow and I shall be back next week with all the information and more. Until then, have a good week everybody!

x

 

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