Alex Tawns

A Whole New Kind of Busy

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, please forgive me for the gap in broadcasts last week; I’m more than accustomed to being busy with various projects, but busy with various projects AND flat hunting, job hunting and giving notice on everything at my current home in favour of my new home 120 miles away has been rather… strenuous. I slept for most of this past weekend and now feel vaguely human again. Hooray!

First up, entries for Sneaky Business vol.2 closed in spectacular style last Monday, with a more submissions than I could’ve ever expected! I want to extend my huge thanks to absolutely every single person who submitted to SB2, you’re all amazing and I was truly overwhelmed with the support and interest in my little creation. Aside from things like Down to Your Skivvies and the university degree show catalogue, it’s the first time I’ve really had to sit down and look at the order of things and who to include, and sadly who to not include. Ultimately SB2 has reached a whopping 36 pages with some incredibly entertaining comics from 18 talented creators, listed below!

Please give a warm welcome to the comic artists of Sneaky Business Vol.2!

Alan Henderson, Alex Hahn, Alex Tawns, Danny Noble, David Robertson, Elias Bevan, Elizabeth Querstret, Evan Stamps, Jason Song Quinn, Jessy Oddie, K. LY R, Lorne Colt, Martyn B. Lorbiecki, Phu Vuong, Isa Enriquez, Jamie Me, Rica March, Wallis Eates, and yours truly.

Sneaky previews of Sneaky Business. Doesn’t it look beautiful? *wipes tear*

Sneaky Business vol.2 is officially launching at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair on Saturday 1st October, with pre-orders going on my Etsy site a few days before and being posted out on Monday 3rd October. This 36-page bundle of joy can be all yours soon, and it is going to be great. Trust me..

In other news, my entry to kuš! is finished and emailed off to await judgement! I’ve really enjoyed this one, although a shorter comic it was still a lot of work at 16 pages total length. From their website, which coincidentally has a week extension on the deadline if anyone’s interested in getting something in before next Monday, I should find out along with everyone else if I’m successful by mid October. You know the drill: fingers and toes crossed, people! Here are a couple of final previews to leave you excited before the comic sees the light of day later in the year:

In some final but equally if-not-more important news, I have an auction live on eBay at the moment raising much needed funds for the local homeless charity, the Northampton Hope Centre. I have a total of seven hand numbered and signed prints available for bidding, with prices starting at just £5.00 for a high quality giclée print sized at 35cm x 26cm. The prints are from two different ink and watercolour illustrations I made when I first moved to Northampton, of two abandoned buildings which have since been renovated; the Henry Harday shoe factory building and the old Neon Signs buildings, both in close proximity to the Hope Centre and town centre. The auctions end on Friday 23rd September at 5pm BST, so please help in supporting the Hope Centre through illustration! 75% of proceeds go towards the charity, and you can see all the prints available to bid for here.

Here in Northampton the weather has been pretty warm, but the nights are getting longer and the chill is starting to set in. I’m lucky enough to have my health and a home to sleep in every night, but others are not so fortunate. Starting bids at £5 isn’t much, so get your hands on a nice print and feel darn good about it at the same time.

And I think that about wraps it up for now! I shall be back next week with a bundle of copies of Sneaky Business to tempt you all with, and the run up to Bristol Comic & Zine Fair in full swing. Until then, have a great week everyone.



Commission time, studio and whine.

Good morning, faithful readers!

So, it is December. The Christmas month is upon us – and Star Wars, let’s not forget – so I can finally start throwing around the festive terms without being glared at for it being “too early”. Yay! In the days when I worked long hours in retail I really was not Saint Nick’s biggest fan. One day off for Christmas in which I was too tired to appreciate all the deliciousness of the food, and usually ill from some charming member of the general public spreading their germs, so wine was also out of my grasps. However, now I am a one-man-illustrating-band with nothing to fall back on, I can recline into the Christmas spirit with only.. 5 reflective statements that need writing, 4 lecturers confusing me, three incredibly important projects looming, two pounds sterling to my name.. and a partridge in a pear tree!

Onto jollier things, these past few weeks I’ve been communicating back and forth on a couple of exciting commissions. First things first, through a mutual friend I managed to land a job creating a t-shirt design for local Northampton band Jagged Little Thrills, who have recently been signed to Blow The Roof Records! Their debut record ‘The Last Alibi’ will be released on 26th February 2016 through their new record company, and little old me has designed their promo. Lovely stuff!

Band Name (opp)

Final Image 4

I really enjoyed working on this for the gents of Jagged Little Thrills; it’s been a pleasure! From creating a hand-lettered font for the design, to drawing up something for screen-print (which the process involves only printing in block colours with no gradients), it’s been a refreshing challenge and a joy to do. So, thanks to the band for having me create this for them! The record release show events are up already, so if you’re local to the area then please do come down to The Charles Bradlaugh on Friday 26th February, or The Victoria Inn on Saturday 27th February. Plus, if you need any more convincing, it will be my birthday weekend and also two weeks until my dissertation is due.. I’ll need all whiskey I can get!

The second commission I’ve been working on recently is for the Northampton Hope Centre, a charity which focuses on helping people in need such as; the homeless, vulnerably housed, people with alcohol and/or drug related issues, people with physical and mental health issues, refugees and asylum seekers, elderly people experiencing poverty, and anyone who is down on their luck. The Hope Centre offers a warm and safe environment with basic essentials such as hot food and showers, second hand clothing, creative activities and life skills workshops, all the important things to try and help people get back on their feet. I approached the Hope Centre to see if they needed anything doing, and thankfully they got in touch for some meetings and I’ve ended up creating an image for their Christmas Campaign.

Christmas Campaign Final Image 2 v2 RGB

The image, which is to be used in their newest newsletter and hopefully the website too, is working towards appealing to businesses to help out with such an important level of care for vulnerable people in and around the local community. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can get my hands on a hard copy of the newsletter and see my work in editorial print for the first time!

In other news, this past Sunday I attended the local Northampton Comic Mart, the first of it’s kind run by Jeff Chahal; the owner of Northamton’s comic shop Close Encounters (also in Bedford and Peterborough). It was a small and cosy event in the back room of The Racehorse pub on Abington Square, mostly focused on the store selling back issue comics at a discounted rate, though with independent creators and small press also having a couple of tables. I was there with my talented uni friend Alex of How To Buy A Ninja, and Martyn Lorbiecki selling our finest comicy goodness, and on the other side of my companions also happened to be Paul B Rainey who also created work for Samuel C WilliamsDead Singers Society zine. What a small world! It was a chilly but fun afternoon, meeting new people and watching people giggle at Alex’s comic strips.

Mr. How To Buy A Ninja, Alex Tawns @ Northampton Comic Mart

With both the commissions and the event ending up at the same time, it’s been a bit of a stressful week or so making sure I juggle everything in the right order. So, this week my challenge is to get fully stuck back into my university assignments! With less than two weeks until my presentation assessment, I’ll be madly finishing off the work I’ve been doing for the House of Illustration and Folio Society Competition entry for War Horse, which I hinted at last month with some collagraph printing, more dissertation reading, and further progress on The Next Big Thing. Busy busy. Though, I have some more exciting things up my sleeve to tell you all about next week, with an news regarding the lovely Laydeez do Comics in London! So keep an eye out for that.. Though for now, I’d best get back to the grindstone. Coffee calls! Until next time..