Small Press Celebration

Good afternoon viewers,

So, it’s been another busy week here at HQ – just how we like it. Between finishing off my 4-page comic submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, setting up the call for submissions for Sneaky Business vol. 2 and preparing both for D&AD and Small Press Day, it’s been a fun one! I’ve also been playing around in my sketchbook to expand my illustration portfolio, with more of that later.

First up, as you may recall from last week I was scurrying away to finish up my submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8. It’ll be a year since I first appeared in DRC, with my autobiographical comic Rejsen printed in Issue #5 of the anthology. For those of you who don’t know, Dirty Rotten Comics is a British comics anthology published three times a year and the guys who run it are dedicated to championing small press comic creators, big and small. To continue with my short stories with Danish titles theme, this time around I created Sørgedag, meaning mourning/bereavement (direct translation is sad-day). After finishing Njálla, which not only was a mammoth task but also very much all-ages family-friendly compared to my track record of work, I felt the need to get back to my dark roots and go with something a little more gloomy. I’d had the idea in my head for Sørgedag for a while, but in the end I tweaked the setting and played around a lot with atmosphere and panels and added in a whole new way of colouring; rough acrylic paints.

Sørgedag Preview: 4-page comic submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8

I had a LOT of fun working with acrylic paints, and it brings a whole new kind of texture and feeling to the comic. As for the technical details, I began working in the usual way; plot, script, sketches, rough out pages on layout paper and ink up the line-work on heavyweight cartridge paper. Usually I paint directly onto the cartridge paper with my linework, but this time I used my lightbox to layer over another piece of cartridge paper and get all messy with paint to the lines underneath. The whole thing turned out great, and though DRC is strictly black and white I painted it in colour so I have the option to republish it on my own at a later date in colour. Woohoo! Here are some work-in-progress previews:

Printed purely in black and white with colourful covers, Dirty Rotten Comics anthologies feature around 70 pages of work, 1-4 pages in length for the bargain price of £4; hopefully I find out soon whether I’ve been successful or not – fingers crossed!

In other news, the Sneaky Business Vol.2 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS IS LIVE! After the sell-out success of Sneaky Business Vol. 1 released in August last year, I’m bringing it back for the second issue and it will be bigger and better than ever!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Last year I hand-picked four comics pals to create 1-2 page comics under the theme of ‘stealth’ and ‘sneaky’, as something a bit different and lighthearted from my usual repertoire; Alex Hahn, Pete Hindle, Peter James Norman and Samuel C. Williams happily agreed to create something new for the comics-zine, and I also created a comic too, ’cause, y’know.. I’m the boss. The 12-page comics-zine was sold online and in comic shops around the UK at the lowest price possible to break even on printing costs. This time around I decided to expand on the idea and open up submissions to everyone, and that I have done! Who knows how many pages it’ll end up being? But the ethos remains the same, with Sneaky Business as a community platform for entertaining stories made as accessible to readers as possible.

 

If you’re interested in submitting or want to check out more information, the Call for Submissions page is live and has everything you need to know! Submissions are open for 10 weeks, and close just before midnight on Monday 12th September.. Get your thinking caps on and get involved, it’s going to be snazzy.

Finally, I’m spending a lot of time in London this week, not only for the D&AD New Blood festival in Shoreditch as a graduate of the University of Northampton (got a First, by the way. Boom), but also as this Saturday is the first ever Small Press Day! What is this new, fantastic sounding day, you ask?

A celebration of self-publishing, DIY culture, and grassroots comics across the U.K and Ireland on Saturday 9th July.

An idea born on twitter led to a series of nationwide events in a matter of weeks. The reaction and the support of our aim (to spotlight the possibilities of small press publishing via store-based events and signings, in the first instance, and to bring its practitioners to the far wider audience they deserve) has been absolutely phenomenal. Join us on 9th July for the inaugural Small Press Day at one of the stores listed on the map below and meet the next generation of superstar comic creators, zine makers, and DIY micro publishers.

Small Press Day website

There will be events all over the UK, and I will be signing as part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch‘ crew at Orbital Comics, and you can find a full breakdown of the time slots for the day here. So far Broken Frontier has covered several articles of the events going on, including a guide to events in Londonthe South East and South West and the Midlands, but to see it all head to the Small Press Day website or keep an eye on Broken Frontier over the next few days. It’s going to be a pretty spectacular day!

And that just about rounds it up for this week! The ol’ website has had some new work added to the Illustration side of things, so head over there to check out some new and updated work, or keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram for regular pictures and ramblings. Until next week!

x

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Breathing Space

Good afternoon wonderful readers!

So, it’s time to temporarily relax a little. Formative assessment at Uni is over as of yesterday (as in, the important non-marked one before the REALLY important marked one in May), and the long Easter weekend is on the horizon.. A magical time consisting of three days away from my desk in the northern lands of Leeds drinking cider and eating cheese. Wonderful stuff. Although this one assessment is completed, the work is far from over! Having spent two days collating my work for presentation I’m eager to get back to working on The Next Big Thing and finishing up the remainder of my other project work.

This week I’m also getting to work on my Kickstarter campaign! As I mentioned last week, the launch for my Kickstarter will be on 6th April, so I have two weeks to film and edit a charming video persuading you all to back this project, for the good of mankind.

Funding Campaign3

This is the first project I’m trying to raise funds for through crowdfunding, so it’s an interesting experience to have to wave my face in front of a camcorder when I’m not particularly the most camera-friendly person these days. Back in those 2000’s Myspace days, now that was another story! But now, with age comes a resentment with most forms of camera implements being thrust in my face, unless of course I force it just so family members online can remember what I look like whilst hiding away in my drawing cave. But, regardless of this I will be gracing the screen. According to lots of online-people, crowdfunding pages with videos are far more successful than those without, due to people wanting to know who they’re supporting. So there you have it, taking one for the sake of this comic.

Before working on all the assessment business took over for a few days, I spent some time gathering together my work and photocopying and scanning everything. The photocopies of all the pages are for practice painting – getting a feel for the colour palette before I take to the originals, because I’m a sensible soul like that. I also, before even reaching for my paintbrush, worked on some really terrible digital rough colouring with the scanned pages. I’m not going to show you those, because they look awful – they’re just something I use for reference in working out the colours per spread and how they work together as progressing through the book. Below on the right is also an exciting new development; I printed the uncoloured pages that I’d scanned in, to size and in order to make a little booklet with the correct number of pages to work out the remaining, non-story pages. How exiting! This means for the first time I have a readable copy of the comic which I entrusted my loving partner to read to see what he thought now it was all together. I heard a few giggles, so I’m taking that as good news!

In other news, work has progressed on the Unilever Bright Futures Competition I’ve mentioned a few times before. I realise updates on this particular project have been few and far between, but as it’s my first longer-length animation I’ve been working through it in a methodical fashion and finished up all the pencil work last week. It’s not much to show yet, looking primarily like a stack of 64 pieces of A5 paper with a pencil drawing on each.. However, the painting will be the turning point of it all. Here’s a bit of a look at 9 of the 64 frames being used for this animation, and a snapshot of the colour palette I’ll be working with. Creative Conscience have actually extended the deadline from the 7th April to the 28th, so it gives me a bit more breathing space to make the animation work digitally. As it’s all pretty new to me I’m hoping I have some beginners luck and it all comes together nicely. Fingers crossed!

Finally, I spent a little time yesterday afternoon winding down from assessment by making this little Easter Bunny. Or, as I learnt in Danish, Påskeharen. It was fun little animation to work on – so I hope you all enjoy it too! So on that note, I hope those of you who can enjoy a four-day weekend enjoy it, and those of you who will still be working get extra lovely chocolatey treats to make it worthwhile! I’d better hop back to it – until next week!

Easter-Bunny-gif2

x

 

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The Final Countdown

Goood afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, I haven’t gone mad. Well, I may have done, but this specific reasoning for having not gone mad comes from a midday blog effort. “Oooh”, I hear you all say, as you munch your lunchtime sarnie trying to avoid getting crumbs in the keyboard. Which always happens anyway. Yes! I decided a change was in order this week, before I busy my head in more comics for the remainder of the afternoon.

It’s been a busy week, in fact each week has been becoming steadily busier in the run up to my two-week Scandi adventures; so I have three more afternoons of work to get everything done as much as physically possible so that I can enjoy my fortnight in the fjords. As I revealed last week, my new collaborative zine Sneaky Business has been completed! I received the final artwork, finished the covers up and tomorrow I shall be scurrying along to the local printers to throw my USB their way. HOW EXCITING! Now that it’s all beautifully laid out, I can give you a proper introduction…

Sneaky Business - A collaborative comics zine full of sneaky.. well.. business.
Sneaky Business – A collaborative comics zine full of sneaky.. well.. business, really.

Sneaky Business is a comics zine of my creation, featuring two page and one page comics. After producing a one-page comic for Keara Stewart earlier in the year for her comics anthology A Bit of Undigested Potato, I felt deeply inspired to have a go myself! Though, not with quite so many comics as an anthology, as I think my brain would fall out from the stress of doing that amount of organising on top of everything else. Shortly after TAKEOVER back in May, the idea was born and I started contacting friends in the business. Another reason I wanted to do something like this, as I told the other artists involved, is because the majority of my work is quite dark, emotive and serious. How is everybody supposed to know how hilariously funny I am, without me showing them? Thus, Sneaky Business was born.. From the talented hands of (from top-bottom of the image above);

Rozi Hathaway – hello! -waves-
Pete Hindle – http://petehindle.com/
Samuel C Williams – http://cargocollective.com/samuelcwilliams
Alex Hahn – http://www.alexhahnillustrator.com/
and…
Peter James Norman – http://www.aplacetoputthings.co.uk/

Now for more exciting news! Sneaky Business is being launched on Saturday 29th August 2015 at MancsterCon, so if you’re in the area please do come and say hi and pick up your shiny new copy of Sneaky Business. I will be hosting an internet pre-launch on Monday 24th August, so if you’re unable to get to Manchester (cuh, you’ll be missing out) then I shall make sure you get your copy featuring these wonderful sneaky comic artists for the weekend. A big thanks to my creators Sam, Pete, Alex and Peter, and to anyone who has has helped me out; a special mention to Keara for being an inspiration and Ricky Miller from Avery Hill Publishing for giving me his words of wisdom when I was mid-crisis. So, keep your eyes peeled and be sure to order a copy when it’s released! Because it’s awesome.

In other news, I’ve been clocking up the hours at the ol’ desk producing this Top Secret project that’s due in September, which I mentioned last week. As all you wonderful people asked so nicely, (you didn’t, but I’m guessing you really wanted to..) here are some more snippets of what’s being taking all my time and energy!

I’m really really really really hoping to have all the pages inked by Friday evening, so when I return two-stone heavier from the lands of Danish pastries I can relax and focus on preparing for the colouring aspect, ready for deadline. Yesterday I managed to draw and ink up two in 5 hours, so by that logic I won’t quite get it done.. But I’m going to try my hardest! Page one was a bit of a pain, the rest should be easier. I hope. And pray.

So, yes! Hopefully all this visual stimulation invigorates you all ready for your afternoons, just think of me cramped over my desk drawing pages after pages of comics, and think about how much simpler a desk-job is. I will be back in three weeks time with a full update of my travels, so I hope everybody has a wonderful couple of weeks, and think of me on a boat somewhere between the islands surrounding Oslo.. Or in Stockholm having fika.. Or in Denmark practising my Danish on real, Danish people whilst playing with Lego and eating wienerbrød. Until then – over and out.

x

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Rejsen

Good evening happy campers!

So, the Great British Summer has decided to show up for once with temperatures sky-rocketing to 30 degrees celcibob here in Northampton. How lovely! You wouldn’t normally be able to tell from my 10-months a year cadaverous complexion, but I do enjoy some lovely sunny weather. I’ve been able to go sock-less for the whole day, for the first time since about 2012 (not that I’ve worn the one pair for that long, I assure you)! However, it’s all very well for me to enjoy my day of admin business, comic planning and a quick sunbathe-out-the-window on my day off, I’m sure I’ll be complaining along with the rest of Britain by tomorrow morning when I’ve been moving cages of stock for 4 hours.

Anyway! Last week, and the week before that, I’d been working on a two-page comic submission for the Summer Anthology from Dirty Rotten Comics. Taken from their own shiny website, this is what they’re about;

Dirty Rotten Comics is an alternative comics anthology, published four times a year.

We are committed to supporting small press artists from the UK who have something pertinent to say. We believe that artistic merit is founded not just on aesthetic quality, but on high-quality writing, risk-taking and commitment. Weird, funny, satirical, surreal; whatever the angle, we are interested in giving exposure to artists of all kinds, regardless of their status or experience.”

Risk-taking? Why, that’s my middle name! She says, sitting in a bubble drawing comics… Anywho, I was pointed in the direction of Dirty Rotten Comics by the Patron Saint of Small Press Andy Oliver from the church of Broken Frontier (interview here). Previous artists to contribute include the athletic table-clamberer Danny Noble, and Jess Milton, both fellow Six UK Small Press Creator’s to Watch in 2015, so I thought I’d best join in the fun! Here it is;

 

Sneak Peek!
Sneak Peek!

For this short-story I decided to focus on something a more reality-based; my other half and our long distance relationship. What a cheesy story, I know right? Ew. Well, we were in the midst of a particularly long stretch of not being able to see each other, and with him being somewhat occupied with heavy music and copious amounts of beer I wanted to tell our story from travelling aspect. Mine, to be precise. Because let’s face it, being stuck on the M6 is far less interesting than being surrounded by the sights and sounds of public transportation. Henceforth, Rejsen was created (for those interested, Rejsen means The Journey in Danish)! Initially I’d planned on a four-page story, but after some umm’s and ahh’s I realised it could be nicely compressed and edited down to two pages, probably making it far more interesting and punchy. The submission guidelines for Dirty Rotten Comics insist on black/white/grey, so I didn’t have to worry about a colour scheme in particular, but chose to instead take a very contrasted approach.

I’m not sure yet whether I’ve been successful in my submission, only time will tell! But for now, above you is a preview of part of page one, and some snapshots of the drawing pre-colouring. I opted to lose a lot of the background detail to make way for the storyline, in-keeping with the love n’ stuff. Thankfully my other half likes the comic (or at least said he does), so half the mission is complete, the rest is down to the judgement of the Dirty Rotten Comic guys! All in all, job well done.

In other news, other top secret business has been progressing well, to the point that I’ll be able to reveal some more secrets from under my invisible hat next week. I did however get confirmation from AccessArt that my Bullfinch had appeared in the post, and I got this snazzy badge to show for it, check it out;

 

Share A Bird Project

That’s about it for now! I’m working on another short comic this week, alongside the top secret stuff which I can hopefully start divulging more information in next week’s bundle of fun. Until then, over and out!

x

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Takeover and Other Business!

Good evening happy campers!

So, after a brief pause of a week off to catch up on Uni work, I still feel somewhat drowning with a week until final assessment. But I got stuff done! Stuff done is good! Plus, following last weeks news of my interview with Broken Frontier, I bring more good news from the comics universe which I’ll cover later.

Alt. Press TAKEOVER 2015! This Saturday, roll up, roll up.
Alt. Press TAKEOVER 2015! This Saturday, roll up, roll up.

First up, this weekend sees something special, with Alternative Press and The London Radical Bookfair’s  TAKEOVER 2015! With an impressive line-up of attendees and an awesome looking programme of events, it’s definitely going to be something special! As mentioned before, I’ll be on the aptly named First Publications Corner with some very talented folks such as Tiny Noggin, Alexandra Cook and Fang Jui Chang. This is my first of four comics events for this summer, and my first event of this kind of my drawing career so far. I’m really excited to see what the day will bring, and as I’ll only be behind the table on a rota’d basis which will give me plenty of opportunity to wander around and have a look at all the other wonderful creator goods! I need to keep an iron clamp on my purse, mind you..

You can read more about TAKEOVER 2015 in Broken Frontier’s coverage article here

Next up: more zine business! As part of a last project at university before Easter we were asked in a relatively short space of time to create a number of drawings of our thoughts, feelings and observations in every day life. At the time I had a few too many things going on and since this point I’ve been re-working the project to make it shiner and better than before! I present to you.. Mennesker er Underlig:

 

Mennesker er Underlig is a self exploratory zine that looks at things from my perspective of the world, from making breakfast to walking back and forth. It was pretty fun to make in the end, and after lots of re-drawing from different comics I think it’s come together pretty nicely! Let’s hope University agree. The zine itself is a shallow folded box, inside are 15 pages of my inner monologue… Which is more exciting than it sounds. Or is it? Anywho, as it’s something that I won’t be formally introducing to the world for sale, below is a little gallery of the processes that went into making this, and some of the pages too! As always, please let me know if any of you have any thoughts or feelings about it. Oh! And before I forget, mennesker er underlig is Danish for ‘humans are strange’. Why Danish, I hear you ask? WELL! For the past 134 days or there-abouts I’ve been learning Danish ready for an exciting Scandinavian adventure later in the year. Plus, learning a language as my brain starts to deteriorate seems like a good idea, as well as being something completely separate from drawing that I can do to clear my mind. I recommend everyone should learn new languages, it’s a hoot! Plus hopefully I can make friends with some Danish illustrators and spend lots of time there eating rugbrød and rødgrød med fløde. Fremragende!

Finally, today the interwebs told me that Keara Stewart‘s zine anthology about nightmares has arrived into her hands today, for official release this Saturday at TAKEOVER! A Bit of Undigested Potato has been previewed here at Broken Frontier today, with a lovely interview with Keara herself. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and see what everyone else has made for it, as I definitely enjoying doing my page for it. I recommend you all pick one up! Here’s a reminder of a sneaky-preview I gave you all a few weeks back of my submission..

Anywho, that’s it for now! I started my new part time job last week, and tomorrow is the day of the week that I crawl out of bed at 4:25am, so I’d best go and eat cherry pie in the bath before I attempt to get lulled to sleep by the sounds of screaming children playing outside. Until next week.. Over and out! x

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