First of the Season

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, it’s almost February! Which means that even though there’s some sort of ominous freezing fog loitering around parts of England at the moment, and many of us get to partake in the good ol’ icy pavement dance in the mornings, the days ARE getting longer and the very beginning signs of comics festivals is on the horizon..

First festival of the year is going to Cheltenham’s True Believers Comic Festival next weekend, on Saturday 4th February! I’ll be there on a table with two of the micro-publishing mega-team Good Comics, Dr Paddy Johnston and Samuel C. Williams. Propped up on caffeine behind table #L4, Good Comics will be selling an array of their recent publications including Robin William Scott’s beautifully engaging autobiographical Every Life I Ever Lived, and the delicate yet entertaining Tales From the Nonniverse #1 by Faye Spencer. Both of these I picked up shortly after Thought Bubble, and both of these you should get your hands on if you can. I’ll also be there with a my usual suspects  Njálla and Ø, and talking to anyone who’ll listen about the work I’ve been doing for the new comic collection Good Comics are releasing in Spring.

If you’re in or around that area of the world you should definitely pop along and say hello! Adult advance tickets are £10, with child tickets being £5, and you can pick these up from the website here. In case you missed it before, you can find 5 questions with Good Comics from the True Believers team on the website here. Good Comics are also releasing the third volume of their anthology zine Dead Singers Society at True Believers (which I have a one-page comic in, as I mentioned last week), and if you can’t get there to check it out the pre-orders are available on their website here.

I’m really exited to be behind a table again, with the last tabling adventures of Thought Bubble in November feeling like a very long time ago. Equally exciting is a small side project in the form of playing around with a risograph printer (thanks to Hato Press for the handy guide!) for the first time next weekend, so I’ve been able to take a break from some serious writing to draw up a short wordless comic to play about with in this totally new (to me, at least) way of printing. But more on that as it happens.. Here’s a peek of the inks I’ve been working on, for said short wordless comic:

In other news, the night before True Believers is my good friend Naomi has her first private view and exhibition at the Stantonbury Gallery in Milton Keynes! I’ll be going along on Friday night for an exclusive view of her incredibly life-like artwork on show. I’m always blown away at the detail she manages to get into her illustration work, and if you’re a fan of beautiful artwork you should get yourself there whilst her exhibition is on.

The exhibition itself will be open from Monday the 30th January till Sunday the 19th February 2017 (Monday-Friday from 10am – 10pm, Saturday-Sunday from 10am – 6pm) and you can find full details of the private launch on Friday 3rd February on the Facebook event page here.

NRJ Art Solo Exhibition at the Stantonbury Gallery

And that’s about it for now! I’m still writing and drawing away for the next of my short stories along with writing for a top secret project that will be revealed in the coming weeks. It’s all go here at HQ, so I’m looking forward to a break next weekend! Until then, think of me banging my head against a desk whilst I try to get these damn stories finished off.. See you next week!

 

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Baby It’s Cold Outside

Good afternoon folks.

So, another week has passed and I seem to be getting even less done with each week that passes. An excellent feeling, I assure you. I had a really fun week of redoing my entry for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine, with a final number of four attempts and twenty-eight new grey hairs emerging from my head, I managed to get it done just in time for the deadline. If you’re a fan of this particular dead singer’s music then this may be obvious, but here’s a sneaky peek of one of the panels from this musical one-pager..

I still maintain it’s far from the best thing I’ve done and I’d really hoped it’d be a lot better. But, it’s not terrible, and sometimes you just have to put the pens/pencils/paints down and accept that this just wasn’t meant to be anything amazing. Sadly, especially after the numerous binned attempts, I’m glad for it to be over. Hopefully with some time away from it I feel a bit more positive towards it.

In other news, I’m back into the zone of writing the remainder of the short stories I’ll be publishing in a couple of months with Good Comics! I had gotten into the habit of figuring out a story and then writing > drawing > painting > editing it from start to finish all in one go (with food and sleep in between, I promise). But, now I have over half of the total pages mapped out I’m going to change tactics and write all the remaining stories now to fit in around what’s left. Getting the whole collection to flow with individual stories is going to prove challenging, but with half done I have a bit of an easier time to fill in voids now and adapt stories rather than trying to do it all at the end. Does that make sense? I hope that makes sense.

Plotting and Tings.
Short Stories Collection Coming Soon!

In other news, as a follow up to my winning of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award 2016, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier wrote an article detailing my comics journey from 2014 up to now. After a particularly bad week and not being very good at that whole ‘taking a break’ thing, it was really nice to read. You can peruse the full article here!

Finally, on Saturday when I was down in the Big Smoke I dropped off some copies of Njálla and Ø to Gosh! Comics, and Njálla, Ø and Sneaky Business Vol. 2 to Orbital Comics! If you’re around the area you should pop along to Orbital and check out the Moonage Daydreams exhibition, an illustrated tribute to the records of David Bowie. I missed the launch on Friday evening but popped along on Saturday and it’s definitely work a look! You can find out all the details from Orbital’s event page here, and the Moonage Daydreams website here.

Njálla and Ø at Gosh! London

And that’s about it for now! This week will see a lot of writing and plotting, so I’ll be back next week with.. nothing to show for myself. -gulp-

Until next time!

 

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January Blues

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s now practically mid-January, and I’m sure we can all agree that it’s rather grey out there. It barely gets light up here in the Arctic North of Greater Manchester, and most days turn a bit soggy due to a whole bunch of downpours that seem to happen more regularly than the normal Manchester downpours that the North West is so well known for. But y’know, keeps us all on our damp toes.

Aside from the excitement of varying temperatures and yet more rain, something pretty incredible happened. I was somehow voted as the winner of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award 2016! I was, and still am, incredibly honoured and blown away that enough of you voted for me to take away such a title, so THANK YOU to everyone who voted. I was absolutely sure Jade would win it, so imagine my surprise! This is what Andy Oliver had to say:

As ever, the Breakout Talent Award took the most public votes and was our fiercest fought category. This one is always a close-run thing but this year it perhaps fittingly went to Rozi Hathaway, one of the artists from our first 2015 ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch‘ coverage. Hathaway had a phenomenal year in 2016, becoming one of the most well-known new faces on the UK small press scene and self-publishing two acclaimed solo books. They included Njálla which gained high praise from no less than Warren Ellis himself who described it as “a remarkably pure piece of fabulist storytelling”.”

Huge congratulations to all the other award winners and to the nominees, it really was a whole bunch of amazingly talented people this year. You’re all the bomb.

Aside from that bomb-shell I’ve been working on a couple of different projects, first up being another comic for my collection of short stories being released with Good Comics in the coming months. I’ve mentioned before how much of a challenge short stories can be, but I’m really enjoying the depth of storytelling I can try and portray in such a short space. It’s super fun. You guys are all missing out, really. Here’s a sneaky-peek of another compete story, this time a two-pager!

I still have the words to do to go into this one, but for the most part that’s another one done. Hurrah! I still haven’t decided how many more stories I’m going to do, but the next one I’m currently still writing is a most likely going to be the longest one of the book, so that should take me a good long while to draw. To bridge the gap I’m continuing work on my entry for the third volume of Good Comics’ Dead Singer’s Society zine. I’ve had a bit of a palaver with this one, with my first efforts going firmly in the bin. But alas, I have picked a different musician and it’s going okay so far…. Have a peek!

I’ve been working a lot with pinks and purples recently, as well as a lot of blues and turquoises in Njálla and Ø, so I decided to go way out there and try some greens instead. I’m currently really enjoying the ‘old photo’ style colour palette with those green/yellow hues and browns thrown in there. So hopefully it works well! The call for submissions finishes up this Sunday, so get your comics in whilst you can! Check out the rules here, and get cracking.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! I have plenty to keep me occupied over the next week or so, and I will be back as always next week.. Now with my ‘Breakout Talent’ crown adorning my noggin, reminding me to keep on trucking even through the “I want to throw this in the bin” moments of life. Until next time, peace out.

 

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Hello, 2017.

Happy New Year!

So, it’s 2017. When did that happen? Somewhere between drinking prosecco in my sweatpants and hearing some fireworks going off outside, probably.. Not my most glamorous moment truth be told, but after the year I’ve had I opted to start the year as I mean to go on; no no, not drinking in lounge-wear (though I can definitely get behind that) but taking things a little slower. Maaaaybe.

And 2017 has started with a bang, as Njálla has been voted as one of ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ from 2016 by Broken Frontier! I’m incredibly honoured as 2016 saw a lot of fantastic releases from small press creators, and as Andy Oliver states in the article it is by no means a be-all-and-end-all of small press in the UK. I’m especially moved as the now out-of-print The Red Road was featured as one of the ten in 2015’s end of year review also, meaning I’ve now set a precedence with myself to keep going and keep making more. Oh, well, if you insist..

The release of Njálla back in June feels like a short lifetime ago, and I’m incredibly grateful to be one of the luck ten picked. Go us! You can read the full article here at Broken Frontier, and also check out previous year’s articles from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

With this wonderful news and that general new year feeling I’ve been contemplating last year’s achievements, most of which were listed in my reflections blog last week, and I have a good feeling about 2017 and what’s to come. As you can see from this handy diagram below I was RATHER busy with my own publishing endeavours as well as a lovely bunch of successful submissions for some great titles, including the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 and Dirty Rotten Comics #8.

But, 2017.. Well! It’s off to a busy start already. The call for submissions for the third Dead Singer’s Society from Good Comics is still open and will be until Sunday 15th January, so there there is still time to get something in for this third collection of music related comics, illustrations and essays. As stated in their call for submissions, there is a maximum of two pages per contributor, so it’s nothing too daunting. I’ve been scribbling away to make sure I get something done in time, though my first efforts have firmly gone in the bin so I’ll be starting from scratch this week.

Call for Submissions for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine!

Also, I’ve been working away on my fourth short story for the upcoming collection that’s being published through those Good Comics fellows! With this collection of stories taking root (Ha.. get it? Trees? Roots?) from the power of environment alongside feelings of love, loss and loneliness it’s been a far more all-encompassing task than I initially imagined. But, it’s going to be good. Here’s some of what I’ve been working on with exploring panels and borders:

Short stories are definitely challenging in their own right, but there’s something more poetic about them versus longer storytelling – not that I’m exactly an expert on longer form narratives, mind you. With abstract shapes and  a sense of movement through time similar to how I approached The Red Road, it’s an exciting challenge to be working on this and definitely something that a whole lot of my soul is going into. I’ll be sharing sneak peeks and progress as the weeks go on, so do keep an eye out for that and the lead up to this collection’s release in Spring.

And that’s where I leave you at! Until next time, keep finishing off those mince pies and cake, because err.. they don’t keep. And it’s a shame to waste those festive leftovers.

 

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