At The End of August

Goooood afternoon ladies and gents,

So! Another week down and it’s almost September. Yikes, where did 2016 go? Oh yes, comics. As I prepare to pack up my belongings and leave my home of over four years ready for life’s new adventures in Manchester, I’m also getting my head in gear to be working on a handful of submissions at the same time. Life would be boring if I didn’t have a packed schedule, I’m sure.

This past week I’ve been working away on the paints for my submission to kuš! comics, as I’m sure my regular readers have grown all too used to seeing me write about. As it’s a pretty hefty project (16 pages – and yes, I thought it was a good idea at the time) I’m STILL head-down on this one until it’s pretty much done, as my brain doesn’t have room for much else given this new part time job and cycling miles on end. But alas, just because my multitasking is taking a hit, it doesn’t mean my productivity is.. Here’s some painted progress shots from the past week:

This week I’ve set myself the task to have at least two pages finished each afternoon, so time to focus and get this finished! Deadline for kuš! comics is Monday 19th September, and if you’re interested in submitting yourself then check out the BFF themed call for subs here.

In other news, I’ve been receiving more sneaky peeks of people’s sneaky submissions for Sneaky Business Vol. 2! Don’t forget that submissions close on Monday 12th September, so hop to it and create some wonderful sneaky-ness. I’ve had some fantastic entries so far, thus proving that Sneaky Business 2 is going to be the best yet. Here’s a preview from the famed 2015 Broken Frontier Six to Watch-er Danny Noble:

DannyPreview

With only 12 days left to submit, be like Danny and send me something wonderful. You can find out all the information here, and feel free to ask me any questions via here, email or any of the social media channels.

In more wonderful news, I’m over the moon to have been accepted to have a table at Leamington Comic Con in 2017! Although it hurts my brain slightly to start planning my schedule for 7 months time, I’m really thrilled to be a part of the convention which looks to be pretty dang awesome for both small press and larger comics fish. Woohoo! So, you should all also pop that in your diaries too.

Finally, I dragged Chris down to London on Saturday and we popped along to Breakdown Press’ Safari Festival! Held at Protein Studios in Shoreditch, Safari had an eclectic mix of comics and arty goodies including my newest purchase of the BadTwin Presents Krent Able & Julian Hanshaw collaborative fandango. It was a great little set up and really buzzing whilst we were there. For a full breakdown (ha – get it?) of Safari Festival keep your peepers pointed at Broken Frontier, as their coverage is always second-to-none.

I think that’s about it for now! I’m going to make a large cup of coffee and prop myself up with my paintbrushes until next week. See you then!

x

 

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Summer Scorcher

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

So, another week has passed and I’m getting used to my new working schedule – huzzah! I’m even somehow managing to keep productive despite slowly melting in this unexpected English heat. The good news is that as I’m writing this the humidity has actually dropped down to 38% from our usual balmy 80-90%, though I’m sure it won’t last for long.. But this beautiful sunshine today perfect for working on the bright summery colours for my entry to kuš! comics, so I’ll enjoy it whilst I can.

As you may recall from last week I was just finishing up inking the final few pages before working on the colours for my BFF themed submission. Usually I come up with my colour scheme before I even start drawing up the roughs, but this time I threw caution to the wind and figure out the colours as I was going along, and picked the final swatches far later on. Here’s a little taster of the colour palette and progress on how I get the spreads figured out:

All the pages are inked!

Yep, my practice colours look like a child going nuts, but as it only acts as a guide I’m usually safe in the knowledge that no one sees this stage. But y’know, you guys won’t tell anyone.. Right? The next step for me is to put these very rough colours into painterly practice on some photocopies, just to make sure it all flows as I want it to. From there, as long as that all looks good I’ll carry on to the final pages and work my way through those. Long-winded, huh? But it works! Keep an eye out next week for some painting progress..

In a more sneaky kind of news, work has continued on the design of the covers and inner pages for Sneaky Business vol. 2! For the most part I want it to keep the original vibe of Sneaky Business vol. 1, but bigger and better. I’ve also been tagged in a handful of sneaky progress shots for SB from the likes of Alex HahnKLY R and more, and if you want to keep up with it all be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for all the updates as they happen. I already have 4 comics finished and submitted by some awesome small press creators including the infamous Danny Noble, so in case you haven’t quite guessed from this past paragraph: Sneaky Business vol. 2 is going to be seriously good. There is still two and a half weeks to submit your 1-2 page sneaky comics, so come and join in the fun! All the details are available here.

Talking of seriously good stuff, Dirty Rotten Comics #8 launched last Friday, with 60+ pages of comic goodness from over 20 artists and writers including yours truly. My short comic SørgedagYou can get your copy of Issue 8 online, or at Gosh! Comics and Orbital Comics in London.

Finally, thanks to all those who came to visit the NN Table Top Sale this past Saturday at NN Contemporary here in Northampton. I think we were all relieved to find the event moved inside given the gales and rain (it’s August in England, and far too much of a common occurrence). I was sharing a table with the very talented Naomi Rose Johnson, and although it was a pretty quiet afternoon it was still pretty fun! As far as tabling and appearances, that’s it now until 1st October at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair, so time to focus on getting these comics done and Sneaky Business edited and sent off to print! You’ll all be glad to know I have plenty to keep me busy, so keep an eye out next week for further progress on my colourful kuš! comics entry and more. Until next time, peace out.

 

x

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Inking Business

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, another week has zoomed by and the sun is still shining. My week of full-time training for the new real-life job finished up on Friday and I’m onto my far more efficient shifts morning shifts, leaving me with more time to get back to serious comic making business in the afternoons. As well as forcing me out of bed early and flexing my customer service skills, the cycling to work and back is giving me thighs like a viking! So really, if you think about it, sitting and making comics is good for me and my burning leg muscles as WELL as good for the whole planet. Right?

Being cooped up at training all last week left me little time to crack on with my current submission project for kuš! comics. As you may have seen last week I did have a chance to start inking up pages in the evenings, but due to various other commitments I didn’t quite make my half-way mark by the weekend which I was (over-optimistically) hoping for. Though, this week I’ve been working away at 4 pages of inking per afternoon, meaning as of this afternoon I only have 4 more pages to go! I do have the odd arm which has turned out to be a bit too long so there are some panels which need tweaking, but the important thing is that it will all be inked by the end of this week… Which leaves the weekend and next week for painting fun times. Yay!

Don’t talk whilst you eat, kids.

Purely due to my focused and tired state, I haven’t been taking a huge amount of progress photos, so, though accidentally, I’m keeping the mystery alive for a bit longer on this one – oo err. As mentioned before, the theme for submissions to kuš! is BFF’s, so there’s a vague hint. But for the rest, you’ll have to wait and see!

In other news, this weekend I shall be at the NN Contemporary Gallery Courtyard Table-Top Sale; Saturday 20th from 2pm-6pm. If you’re local to Northampton then come along to have a gander at the talents on offer! I’ll be selling copies of The Red Road, Njálla and other small bits and bobs including postcards and greetings cards, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area. You can find out all the information about the event on the Facebook page here.

Finally, as some of you may recall from a few weeks back, my short story submission Sørgedag was been accepted in to the next Dirty Rotten Comics anthology. Yay! And, the next Dirty Rotten Comics anthology, #8, is out on Friday. Double yay! Pre-orders are still open for DRC8 until the book is released this Friday 19th June, so to get your copy ahead of the crowd just head to Dirty Rotten Comics store to pay for your copy now. At £4.00 for 68 pages of talent it’s an absolute bargain, and the guys over at DRC do an amazing job editing this anthology so you definitely get your money’s worth. Alongside my 4-page story Sørgedagyou’ll find the wonderful works of fellow Broken Frontier Small Press Creator to Watch Jey Levang, and others such as Claude TC and Tom Mortimer.

Broken Frontier released the exclusive preview yesterday, with DRC8 also being picked by Andy Oliver for his weekly staff pick on Broken Frontier, saying…

This Autumn edition includes work from BF ‘Small Press Creators to Watch‘ Jey Levang and Rozi Hathaway, as well as Andrew Warwick, Claude TC, Maria Stoian, Josh Hicks. Henry Miller and Tom Mortimer. Hathaway’s poignant contribution is an outstanding entry but look out also for clever use of visual metaphor from Benjamin Leon and the distinctive stylings of Francis M. among a number of gems this time around.

Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier Staff Picks for August 17, 2016 – Cry Havoc, Neat Stuff, Klaus, Dirty Rotten Comics and More!

How nice is that! If you don’t wish to pre-order then you can pick up your copy online from Friday, with DRC8 also being available in selected independent friendly comic shops within the UK.

And that’s about it for now. Don’t forget that submissions are still open for Sneaky Business Vol. 2 though the deadline of Monday 12th September is fast approaching! Until next week, I hope you all have a good rest-of-the-week and I shall be back with more news next week. Over and out!

x

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Real Life Blues

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, another week has vanished and as I rightly predicted last week, I don’t have a huge amount for show and tell this week. The sad reality of finishing university means that the last of my carefully saved student finance has been depleted and I’ve stepped back into the world of work – this time with some temporary work to bridge a gap and give me money to, y’know.. Eat. Keep the roof over my head. Exciting things like that.

Last week I was well underway finishing the roughs up for my submission to kuš! comics, in the form of a 16-page story themed around ‘BFFs’. Low and behold, after an intense all-dayer on Thursday I managed to finish up the last of the roughs even after some last minute story adjustments – what a relief!

I’m not going to tell you all what the story is about because I like to think of myself as super mysterious and interesting, but there are some previews of some more of the roughs I was working on after last week’s blog and also the final array of 16 pages with finished pencils. Huzzah! As much as it pains me to say this, I’m only two pages into inking given that I’ve been in training for a new job -sob-, so the inking and painting is going to take me far longer than it usually does (I could usually crack out 4-6 pages of inks a day if I did nothing else, and around 2-4 pages painted). Real adult life, eh? How FUN. Anyway, here are some of the inks from the first two pages to give you a bit more of a teaser..

Having been so spoilt with time to make comics in previous months/years, this may well feel like it’s taking years to complete.. But do not fear! If I have to resort back to my previous levels of caffeine from the Hoax: Psychosis Blues days to get this done then I most certainly will, ready for the kuš! deadline of 19th September. Even if I go loopy in the process.

In other news, it’s now less than five weeks to go until the deadline of Sneaky Business! I’ve been hearing from more people who are creating stuff and I can promise that it’s going to be a good ‘un.. Next on my list is writing a new short comic for SB myself, so if I can juggle all this and still design and edit an anthology then you can most certainly fit a little 1-2  page comic in.. Right? Don’t forget that all the details are over here – and if you have any questions just get in touch!

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Finally, table applications opened up for Leamington Spa Comic Con on Sunday evening and yours truly has applied for a Small Press Table! Leamington Comic Con isn’t for a while yet (Saturday 25th March 2017 to be precise), but if you’re interested in checking it out you can find all the details over at the Facebook event page. Seeming as I was born in Leamington Spa and I originally hail from Warwickshire, spending many a weekend in Leamington in my youth – yes, I can just about remember that far back – I’m really hoping that I’m accepted! So keep your fingers and toes crossed for me, because that would just be plain awesome.

Anyway, that’s about it for this week’s short and sweet update! Hopefully I have a bit more to show you next week, though you’ll all have to bear with me whilst I adjust to having far less time to work on things; for example, if I cut my blogs shorter for a while, it gives me more time to do the good stuff i.e. make comics and draw nice looking stuff. Until next time, over and out.

x

 

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Hello, August.

Good afternoon ladies and gents.

So, it’s August! Where did that come from, huh? July seemed to vanish in a flash, with more new comic work (Sørgedag – due out in Dirty Rotten Comics this month) and plenty of skill-expanding illustration work in the form of recipe illustrations and some rather colourful maps. July also included the wonders of Small Press Day, D&AD and towards the end of the month my very own graduation. No wonder I’m tired..

In one final excellent bundle of good news to finish up July, I’ve been offered a half-table at the Bristol Comic & Zine Fair on Saturday 1st October! I originally applied to BCZF months back and was very gutted to be turned down, however some kind soul backed out of their half table and apparently I was at the top of the reserves list – hooray! I’m absolutely THRILLED to be behind a table in Bristol for the first time. I fell in love with the city back in 2010/11 when I (unsuccessfully) applied to study at UWE. Thankfully, they’re letting me back in the city and I will be at BCZF with bells on. Check out all the information on BCZF here, and the Facebook Event Page here.

Seemingly lots of great comics people are all going to be under the one roof for BCZF, so as well as doing my selling thing I’ll be able to catch up with my favourite kind of people; small press comics people. The even better news which leads on from this is that Sneaky Business Vol. 2 will now officially launch at BCZF 2016! Double hooray! You still have just under 6 weeks to submit to Sneaky Business Vol. 2, so go forth and draw young Padawans.

Onto more creative business, last week through to this week I’ve been getting seriously stuck into the next short-story comics project; a creation for submission to Kuš! comics next anthology. Kuš #27 is open to submissions of comics 4-16 pages in length, with the theme of BFFs (for the non-millennials, BFF means “Best Friends Forever”). I’d been mulling over the possibilities of this story for a little while but I’ve finally been able to sink some time into it, and so far I’ve written, scripted, scribbled and mocked-up the comic. Now I’ve reached the point of sketching up the final pages onto draft paper, and at a whopper of 16 pages – the maximum allowed for this particular call for submissions – I have plenty to keep me busy. The downside of working to the maximum page number of a submission like this is that a niggling voice in my head says that it’s less likely to be successful in getting into the anthology.. But what is life, if to not be challenged and overcoming that looming self-doubt and a future of possible “sorry but no thank you”s.

Anyhow, above and below are some progress shots I’ve taken so far; from the very loose thumbnail sketches – used to work out the ultimate page count of the story and looking at areas I can exploit (in terms of surprising page turns and maintaining interest) – to the mock-up book which has more refined composition and speech, to the final draft pages – the over-size A3 pages I draw on, rub out, get angry at and scribble on – which when finished will be laid underneath the final paper on my fancy-pants light box and I free-ink the final images over the top. Now you all know my secret process – don’t tell anyone, yeah?

A6 mock-up comic on the left, with full A4 pages (A3 spread) behind)

I’ve currently finished drawing up just over half of the pencils for this, so I’m hoping with another couple of solid days work and lots of determination I’ll be able to start inking before this week is over. The deadline for Kuš #27 is Monday 19th September and you can find out all the information about it here – yes, yes, I am getting my comic done surprisingly early considering the deadline isn’t for another 6 and a half weeks, but with Sneaky Business’ covers design and my own comic needing doing I thought I’d best get ahead of the curve.

So, that’s about it for today! I shall be back next week as ever, though how much I’ll actually have to show is debatable, given that I’m away from my desk this weekend and start a new job on Monday, but I’ll do my best. Until next time, peace out.

x

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