So, it’s November! I now look forward to losing the feeling in my toes between getting out of bed in the morning and returning to it that night, that crisp autumn/winter smell that infuses the air, and wrapping myself in several layers to keep toasty whilst I sit down to draw. It’s true, I’m not much of a winter/cold weather person (unless I’m on a snowboard on a mountain), but there are certain positive things that come with the long nights and snuggling up to keep warm.. for one, it seems more than respectable to get into comfy clothes as soon as I fall in through the door.
So, aside from noticing the chill in the air, this past week I’ve been plugging away at #inktober! I did fall behind a little during the month-long challenge, and have to complete two in one day a couple of times, but I still stuck with it and managed to come out with a complete narrative. Check it out!
It’s been a lot of fun to work on something with no pressure, and also fun to do more work created with Kuretake Zig brush pens rather than a solid black lines and painted with gouache. The full tools I used for each day are:
Prismacolor Premier coloured pencils (colours: Cream, Sunburst Yellow, Peacock Blue)
LAMY Safari (colour: Petrol)
The Kuretake pens are the same brand and type that I used to create Self-Care & Vegetables, and have a really nice relaxed feel to them. If you use them nervously it can all go a bit wrong, but to make sweeping and confident lines they are an absolute delight. Yes I could talk about pens for hours. Yes I’m more than comfortable with my ability to do so.
In other news, I’ve been continuing work on the comic I spoke of last week. It’s been slow progress as I’ve been juggling several other things, but I’ve started being able to plot in where some of the story text is going to go, and cutting and pasting parts around to make it look as strong as possible before I start drafting up the final artwork. Have a look:
As I mentioned last week, part of this new story involves trying out some other ways of storytelling. It’s a little more fiddly and means that my streamlined process of working on comics that I spent years perfecting can’t be applied , so it’s probably going to take me a little longer than I’d originally envisioned. But, the good news is that stooping over a desk and paper is a particular loved past-time of mine, so no fear in getting it done!
Finally, in some scarily good news, there are only a few copies left of Cosmos & Other Storiesavailable from Good Comics! I totally sold out of my stock about a month ago, and those gents are down to the final handful of copies – and it’s only been out since late March! The good news is that there will be a reprint in the new year, but for now if you’ve been holding off and want to make sure someone get’s their Christmas copy of Cosmos then act now: http://goodshop.bigcartel.com/
And that just about wraps it up for now! Keep an eye out for what I get up to with my inktober pieces now they’re all done, and I will endeavour to be back soon with more comics news. Until next time, have a good week/weekend everyone! Peace out.
So, it’s with a happy sigh of relief that my comic’s event calendar has closed for the year. It’s been a very busy six weeks; Thought Bubble, moving home, Bristol Comic & Zine Fair, and then Loogabarooga last weekend. It’s always a lot more tiring than you think to sit/stand behind a table all day, and factoring in travelling it can be a very long day indeed. But, I love it, each and every event this year has been fantastic and I’m so grateful to be able to go and show off my comics and talk to nice people all day.
It really was a nice, relaxing and fun day and Drew did an excellent job at making sure all his tabling guests were happy and comfortable. For a first-time show it was a delight, if not a little under promoted by the local council – but, give an extra year of preparation and more of an opportunity to push promotion, and I’ll definitely be heading back next year to join in the fun. Thanks to everyone who swung by my table and had a chat, and big thanks to Drew for squeezing me in last-minute and being such an excellent host!
In other news, we are now nearing the end of Inktober! Can you believe it’s almost November? Terrifying. I’ve been slowly collecting up my doodles of the fox and the butterfly, and with only six days left including today I’ve been having to rough pencil out the final drawings to make sure I can complete the narrative in time. Hard work, this daily drawing thing! Here’s a sneak peek of the progress so far (taken a couple of days ago – 23/24/25 are inked and over on the Twitter)…
By the time I’m next updating you all, it’ll be over! So keep your peepers peeled for the final collection and see what it gets turned into next month..
In other news, I’ve also been working away on a new, vaguely secret comic which will see light of day in the new year! It’s been a bit slower to progress than usual as I’m trying out some different methods of creating part of the story without using panel borders, which makes it a little more complex for me. It’s fun, and exciting, and it gave me the perfect excuse to add another book to my collection of history/artefact/anthropology books –insert heart-eyes emoji here– …check out the progress so far!
Important reading material. Referencing is key!
That face when you can’t find any gnarly Olmec grinds for your skateboard…
Working on some roughs for the new comic – first spread!
More roughs, including some sweet Mesoamerican birds.
More roughs! Can you guess what it is yet?
It’s a really fun comic to work on so far, but I definitely need to speed up a little in getting it moving towards the inking stage.. So, bear with me, you’ll be seeing lots more of this soon.
And that’s about it for now! As I said above, keep an eye out next week for the whole Inktober collection and more fun and games with comics. Until then, have a great week/weekend everyone! Peace out.
So, the last festival of the year (in my calendar, anyway) is coming up this weekend in Loughborough, Leicestershire. The Comics Fair Loogabarooga is not only fun to say, but also the first of it’s kind, teaming up with the Loogabarooga Festival 2017, and can be found in Loughborough Town Hall this Saturday from 10am-5pm. If you’re local and fancy checking it out, it’s free to attend! All the information can be found here.
I’ll also have copies of the BFSPYearbook 2017 with me!
Here’s what they say about the event:
In association with Loogabarooga Book Festival and Loughborough Comic Con, LCF looks to showcase the talent and skills of the Uk’s Small Press and self publishing scene, with panels and workshops showing you how to make and get into comics as well as a big comics market this is the perfect way to find your new favourite creator and support some incredibly talented people. The event is FREE to attend with a nominal charge to attend workshops.
In other news, I’ve still been ticking away with Inktober! I tell you, it’s not so much the challenge of doing a five-minute drawing, it’s the remembering when you’re 2.5 pints into a pub quiz that you haven’t done anything for the day, and probably won’t manage it by the time you’ve poured yourself into bed just before midnight. But alas, it’s also been nice to mix it up a bit – like on Friday when I took a nice yet thigh-achingly difficult cycle out to the beach to also to catch up on inktober. So, if anything, it’s just another good excuse to show off how beautiful it is where I live.
With just under two weeks left until October and Inktober is over, you can catch up on all my drawings over on Twitter or keep an eye out here for the final display of them all together in my blog on 1st November.
In other news, I’ve been working away on a new top secret comic for something in the new year (yes, yes it’s already time to talk about 2018 releases – gasp!) which I’m not going to show you anything about just yet – but I WILL show you how I’ve been brushing up my skills with digital illustration! I’ve never been much for drawing on a screen with shapes, but as an artist and someone who likes to have many strings to my bow, it’s important to look into different methods – whether that’s sewing, lino printing of using purely digital means. A couple of weeks ago I went to a really nice Mexican food place down near here, and it got me thinking about how much I adore Mexican food and how cool it would be if I somehow ended up doing a total Chef and got a street food van. Not that I plan on doing it.. but you never know. So, let’s make a logo. And here it went!
Adventures in vector (would make an excellent title of a book) is something I want to keep working on, and diversify in finding a way that I can use any material possible and still show a unique style. Much like working on the jiggling jellies commission a short while ago, this is another thing I’m keen to keep working on and keep finding new ways to make cool things. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll make a comic that combines digital and traditional? Or fully digital? The world is my pixel and/or vector-based oyster.
And that about sums it up for now! If you’re near to Loughborough then please do pop along to the Loogabarooga Festival and Comics Fair on Saturday and it’s going to be truly ace. If not, you can still get all of my books online through my Etsy store. I’ll be back next week with the Loogabarooga low-down, so until then..
So, another comic event has drawn to a close leaving just one final show before the year is done. Where did 2017 go, huh? Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) had an absolutely electric environment this year, with an expanded space and over 100 creators behind 80 tables. I was in the smaller side-section of the venue known as The Kitchen, right next to the food and coffee (useful) and in an immense stroke of luck, the person I was due to be tabling next to had cancelled at short notice, meaning a) I could spread out and b) I didn’t have to sit in a pillar. You wouldn’t believe some of the pillars and chairs you end up getting squished next to at comic fairs over the years… It’s not all glamour, I tell you.
A very sizeable half table thanks to someone dropping out last minute.
Ready to go!
The beauty of Bristol is that it has an eclectic mix of students, local artists and generally interested general public. With the event being free to enter it brought in a lot of people and made the whole event a really exciting place to be. Having my table located off in a side-venue would normally mean a quieter day, but the organisers managed to put a lot of complimentary creators/publishers together, and regardless of my location it was an incredibly busy day! Tabling next to a pillar was a little lonely at times, but I had a lot of interesting conversations with people and had a chance to catch up briefly with Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Alex Thomas from Pipedream Comics. I also met Bryony Attenburrow, who did the Laydeez do Comics blog back in January last year when I spoke alongside Andy Oliver and Danny Noble, who is really nice! The whole day was a bit of a whirlwind, meeting new people and catching up with comics’ chums, but it was a really great day. Huge thanks to the BCZF organisers for doing such a spectacular job, and of course to everyone who swung by my table to say hello!
Off course, it wouldn’t be a good day at a comic fair if I didn’t get the chance to pick up some sweet new zines. Between myself and Sam we managed to pick up a nice haul of new things – some of which I’d been after for a long while. Check it out!
The haul! L-R: What Happened by Simon Moreton, Desert Island Discs Fanzine edited by Sammy Borras, Laydeez do Comics Hometown Anthology, Glorious Wrestling Alliance: Grappling Road by Josh Hicks, Zoology by Jo Berry, The Fields Beyond Episode 1 by Matthew Pettit and M69 by Nick Soucek
Zoology by Jo Berry
Pipedream Comics Pull List
Pipedream Comics Interview
As you can see, I also managed to get my mitts on a copy of the Pull List which included my interview! So shiny! You can pick up your digital copy of the Pull List here. I’d been wanting to pick up the Laydeez do Comics zine Hometown for quite a while, and similarly the Desert Island Discs Fanzine hasn’t been out all that long and I’d always intended to do something for it. There’s a really interesting correlation between comics and music, something you can see in the Dead Singer’s Society zines too – you can’t beat the passion of reading about someone’s connection to a particular song, album or artist. It’s like listening to Professor Brian Cox talk about the solar system or physics; I’m not wholly familiar with those long words he’s using, or totally understand what he means, but damn it’s interesting.
Another cool thing I picked up purely by it taking my fancy, is this really cool fold-out double-sided illustration/poster by Jo Berry! It quite literally caught by eye as I was walking back to my table with £3 burning a hole in my pocket – it’s a really interesting way of working and something I’ve been keen to try out for a while, the folded paper method of narrative and building out to a bigger picture. I can’t find much information on Jo or where to by Zoology, but she has an Instagram page here.
In other news, I’ve been clocking away and doodling away daily for this year’s Inktober! I’ve managed to always miss taking part the past few years, usually due to being busy working on twelve other things. So this year I decided I would truly throw myself into it and have a good go at it. And so far I have just about managed to keep on track, with only a few “I can’t be bothered to clamber into the house for WiFi to post this tonight, I’ll do it tomorrow” moments.
Travelling Inktober – on the way to BCZF!
Inktober days 8 through 10 – transcending paper special.
For those of you unaware, Inktober is essentially 31 days of 31 drawings. Every year cartoonists, comic artists, illustrators, creatives, librarians, doodlers and anyone who wants to, picks up a pen and does one ink drawing every day for an entire month. It keeps you drawing even if it’s only 5 minutes a day, and for others who spend longer on their pieces can add real refinement to their drawing. Me, I’m just a doodler, so I’ve spent the last 10 days making one ink drawing with a couple of Kuretake brush pens and some added highlights to make a narrative about a fox and a butterfly. All the drawings are posted up on my Twitter, but keep an eye out on here as at the end of the month you’ll get to see the entire story.
Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewer based in Ontario that aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists, musicians and filmmakers. Matt Johnston and Bob Russell founded Collective Arts Brewing on two beliefs: The first that creativity fosters creativity. And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints.
Each of our beers is a work of art. On the inside, we proudly brew some of the most well-crafted beers with the help of our brewmaster, Ryan Morrow. On the outside, we feature limited-edition works of art by artists and musicians that change every few months. Added bonus? Through the augmented reality technology of our partner Blippar, all labels come to life through the free Blippar mobile phone app. Simply scan the label to hear the music, see the videos and view artist bios.
It’s been a week-and-a-half since Leeds already, huh? Time flies when you’re moving house and have a whopper of a cold. But, lurgy-moaning aside.. Thought Bubble. What a festival! As always it totally lived up to all expectations and I had an absolute blast. I was lucky enough to be tabling next to Sam Williams of Good Comics and his thermos of coffee, so we both ruled the table and a half of comics between us and tried not to spend all our takings on other people’s beautiful printed wares.
Thank you so much to everyone who came by, especially to those who already have some of my comics and came round especially to pick up something new. You guys in particular make my heart melt a little. Check out our Hathaway-Good Comics joined tables below, and a special guest appearance of GC’s Paddy in a frame as he couldn’t be there in person. Yes, I had to explain many times that Paddy is in fact not deceased, and yes, one person was genuinely concerned for his well-being. But it’s fine, we had Good Comics published creators pose with Paddy to make him feel like he was really there!
Good Comics Table @ Thought Bubble 2017
Good Comics Table @ Thought Bubble 2017 – Including Paddy
Thought Bubble Table 2017
Thought Bubble Table 2017
Elizabeth Querstret with New York Zine… and Paddy
Saturday was the busiest day of the two in the Cookridge Street Marquee; it seemed to be the first marquee of festival that people stumbled into which definitely helped boost sales. The steady flow of visitors seemingly stayed constant all day, and by the evening it felt like a very quick day indeed! Also, the yearly tradition of the mid-con unofficial karaoke party was in full swing this year, though you’ll all still be pleased to know that I still managed to safely hang back and save everyone from my strangled-feline style melodies. Sunday was a quieter but still fairly busy day, with more tired and bleary-eyed creators bumbling around doing their shopping during the quiet spells… -cough-including me-cough-.
Sunday ended with a nice pint and the traditional Five Guys burger meal, followed by the slow train home through every village of the Pennines back to Manchester. Thankfully there was penty of reading material – check out this sweet haul:
The Wolf and The Fox by Joe Latham especially turned me into a melt-in-the-middle dollop behind my table on Sunday afternoon, and La Mariposa by James Lawrence has some amazing facial expressions and a great back story – speaking of which, you can find the full web-comic for free over here, starting right from the beginning. Also, Habitat by Big Brown Eyes Collective, as you can see is now out in the world and ready to be seen! I’ve had my contributor copy handed to me by the sisters of BBE, and you can get yours here on their Etsy store. See a snippet of my illustration for the anthology below!
And that wraps up the TBubz coverage! Huge thanks as always to the Thought Bubble organisers and red-shirt wearing volunteers for making the event such a pleasure to sell at. It really does make all the difference.
Before Thought Bubble kicked off, I went on over to 42nd Street in Manchester, the charity that I’m supporting through sales of my ‘These Mountains Aren’t Yours to Climb Alone’ print currently on sale on my Etsy store. I went along to say hi to the staff and pick up some leaflets to display alongside my Thought Bubble table display, and to use going forward when I’m tabling at events to help sell the prints. Don’t forget, the prints are still available online here, with 50% of the sale going to 42nd Street Manchester, a charity that supports young people aged 11-25 with their emotional well-being and mental health. The work they do is incredibly important, and you can help by getting your hands on some artwork at the same time!
42nd Street Manchester with some tired looking person standing in front of it
These Mountains Aren’t Yours to Climb Alone Print for 42nd Street Manchester
A panel from my comic, “At the End of the Garden…”
Bristol Comic & Zine Fair 2017
And that just about wraps it up for now! Next week I’ll be back with some nice new things I’ve started drawing for Inktober, but if you want to keep up with them in the meantime you can follow my inklings over on Twitter. I will hopefully see some of you at Bristol on Saturday, and if not.. until next time!
So, it’s just over two weeks until Thought Bubble Festival and all hands (i.e. both of mine) are on deck to make sure everything is ready for my table, and it all looks as awesome as it possibly can!
Last weekSelf-Care & Vegetableswent off to print and has had an amazing response, so huge thanks to everyone who has shown support. Pre-orders opened up last Wednesday and are off to a great start – so order yours now to avoid disappointment! You can pre-order Self-Care & Vegetables from my Etsy store here, with a shipping date of Friday 22nd September.
I’ve also been working away on some cool pieces to go with the zine, and so far all pre-orders made through Etsy will get a free mini print! I have another cool giveaway at Thought Bubble Festival itself involving these badges.. so keep an eye out for more news coming soon.
Talking of pre-orders, those gents at Good Comics have also put up their pre-orders for the autumn releases coming out at Thought Bubble – Olivia Sullivan‘s SID, Sarah Crosby‘s Stir Fry and Elizabeth Querstret‘s New York. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Good Comics recently, and I checked out Olivia’s SID and wrote a thing about it for the press release:
Olivia’s newest work is brutally honest and allows you to step inside the unpleasant but candid world of obsessive compulsive disorder. SID opens up to us in a way which you don’t necessarily ask for, but offers another excellent example of honestly talking about mental illness.
(Also, if you pre-order my zine and Sarah Crosby’s comic, you essentially have yourself a Vegetable Stir Fry.)
In other news, in and around all the other things going on, I’ve still been working away on three illustrations for a submission that I alluded to previously. I’ve been pretty short on time with the zine, the day job and all the other things, but they’re coming along nicely – and patiently awaiting me finishing them off on my noticeboard. Check it out:
And finally, I had the pleasure of working on something a bit different the past couple of weeks – a logo commission, with the final outcome created in Adobe Illustrator as a vector image, rather than old pen on paper (pixel) images! For those who aren’t art nerds, the key difference with a vector based image is the ability to resize. If you have a normal image you draw or save off the internet, and you try to make it way bigger, it goes all pixelated and blurry. Vector images can be freely resized and are essentially made up of shapes. Tech-talk aside, here’s a sneak peek of the humble beginnings of scanning the drawing in and working over the top, and the final giggling jellies:
What’s your clearance, Clarence?
What’s your vector, Victor?
And there we have it! As is the usual, life would be quiet if I didn’t have my usual juggling act of projects on the go. Hopefully next week I’ll have my zines back from the printers and some previews will be on the way, so keep your peepers peeled for the next update! Laters.
So, we’re nearing the end of summer already. September is technically autumn, which is practically almost winter, which means that rainy Manchester has given me approximately one week of good sunshine weather this season. At least it’s consistent? This also means it’s nearing the end of the time needed to finish my new zine I mentioned in my last update, which will be launched at Thought Bubble Festival in six and a half weeks!
Progress has been slow on the zine in the past couple of weeks, as I’ve found working on this project to be a bit up and down – not to mention having an incredibly annoying cough and feeling like garbage for two weeks. Not feeling great made it hard to work on this zine, so instead I opted to spend my time on crafty things I could do in bed, like sewing. Yes, I’m turning into my mother. And yes, if you knew her you’d realise that’s a great thing.
The zine, an autobiographical story, is something totally new for me. A different way of working and a different way of writing, and working on something autobiographical is a lot harder than escaping into the realms of magical foxes and stars in a jar. I dabbled in stories relating to my experiences in Cosmos & Other Stories, but this zine is definitely a new challenge – wholly to the point with no abstraction. Luckily for me, time is running out and I work a lot better under pressure, so it’ll be done before I know it! I hope.
Without trying to sound too much like 1960’s newscaster – keep an eye out for more as this develops.
In some other excellent news, a half-table space opened up at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair on Saturday 7th October, and I was asked if I’d like to exhibit! I will admit, I was kinda upset when I didn’t get into BCZF – but like ELCAF, this event really has an incredible collection of artists so I was more than happy to tag along with the Good Comics gents and take up some space on the communal table. But, luck turned in my favour and I’ll be there. Exciting stuff! Check out the Facebook event page for all the deets.
Bristol Comic & Zine Fair 2017
Event photos by Eileen Long – http://www.eileenlong.co.uk
Bristol Comic & Zine Fair is two weeks after Thought Bubble Festival (23rd-24th September), with Loogabarooga (21st October) two weeks after Bristol – so it’s going to be a busy month-or-so with lots more travelling. It’s a good thing I’m well rehearsed in napping on trains and coaches! Zooming down the M6 catching flies is my best look..
And that’s it for now! I have my work cut out preparing this zine in the next few weeks, but I’ll keep you all updated with what’s going on. Until next time, have a good week/weekend all.
So, these weeks are flying by aren’t they? It only feels like last week that I boarded my chariot (otherwise known as the Manchester to London Virgin train) for the opening of The Cartoon Museum’s exhibition The Inking Woman. Ending on Sunday 23rd, you only have a few days to go and check it out before it moves on! The opening night back in April was heaving, and the atmosphere was electric so I could barely concentrate on having a look around, so this past Saturday I returned to fully absorb the exhibition before it’s too late. Check it out:
It really is an entertaining selection of work from creators’ old and new, with a mix of original artwork and digital prints. It’s always incredibly interesting to see the original artwork, correction fluid and fresh paper placed over mistakes, paint over panel borders and smudges in the corners. If you have the chance to get down there I’d strongly recommended it!
Also, I have some updates for my comic’s festival schedule! Sadly, as is the case with highly sought-after events, I didn’t manage to get a table at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair this year, held at The Station on Saturday 7th October. Thankfully for me, I can get in on the action and come along with Good Comics to support them, whilst having a few of my other titles on the communal table. Two weeks later, on Saturday 21st October, I’ve managed to squeeze into Loogabarooga Comics Fair in Loughborough with a last minute slot – party on! I will, of course, also be at Thought Bubble Festival now in its earlier calendar-slot of Saturday 23rd-24th September alongside Sam Williams of Good Comics, and a cardboard cut-out of Paddy (who has family commitments, cuh). So, it’s going to be a busy couple of months!
*cough*I will also be bringing out a little(ish) something new in time for Thought Bubble in September, so do watch this space….*cough*
So, as you can see, I’m slowly taking over the World. Or something to that effect.. Huge thanks to all the comics shops and Small Press friendly fans who keep buying my books dotted around the country! Nothing brings me greater joy than a surprise tweet to say someone’s picked up my work in a store or at a festival. It really is the best.
And, that just about rounds things up for now. As I alluded to earlier, I’m working on some top-secret tasks and planning at the moment with more to be revealed soon.. But until then, peace out!
So it’s been another week of early starts and day-trips, with my Saturday kicking off at 5am getting up and ready for the Birmingham Comic Art Festival. This is its first year running the selling event in the much larger Birmingham Comic Festival, which involved a month long series of talks and events. I managed to grab up a whole table and spread out!
Sadly, it was a little quiet and the foot-traffic through the event wasn’t enough to keep the momentum up. But, it was pleasant enough and the people who did swing by were more than happy to have a chat, which made for a pleasant day! I packed up early to spend some time with my parents, before hopping on the Megabus back up north and getting home in time to shove a microwave meal in just before 9pm. Living the high life!
Leading up to this event and with the possibility of more selling/tabling events over the latter part of summer, I scraped together the pennies to get a reprint of Njálla.
Somehow, in just over a year, Njálla has sold out of its first print run of 250 copies. Absolutely amazing. Thank you to everyone who supported the initial Kickstarter campaign (which feels so long ago now!) and everyone who has purchased a copy since. I now have another bundle of second edition books up for sale. I haven’t added any additional content this time, so you first edition folks aren’t missing out on anything new. Just a fresh run to keep me going. Ahh… New comic smell.