Andy Oliver

Juggling Act

Good afternoon festive followers.

So, it’s now December. It’s also now only two-and-a-half weeks until Christmas Day, and I have also still not bought any presents. This is all very much unlike me, as I’m usually on a mission from mid-October and by now I would be calmly relaxed and have everything ready to go. Apparently, however organised you think you are, things like uprooting and moving to a new place and finding work completely scuppers that up. But regardless, the festive season is a time of laughter, love and lots of food.. And to kick of the season of giving, I give you.. inks!

Despite the adjustment period of sliding back into the 9-5 (or in my case, 8:30-5:30) I have managed to squeeze in some comics work. Hurrah! This third short story I’ve been working on for my Spring 2017 release with Good Comics is around 75% done now, with some final last-minute working out to do on the final page, and then some serious painting to do. It’s been a pretty deep, emotional story to work on, but very much grounded in the everyday rather than my usual backdrop of myth and fantasy. Hopefully it’s a relateable story to many, and I’m really excited for people to read it.. Mainly as I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on this 4-pager and I’m pretty dang proud of it thus far!

With 10 almost-complete comic pages for this collection of short stories so far, there’s a long way to go and a lot more to do before the pencilled in launch date of Spring. And, I still have to figure out and write the rest of the stories! But it’s all great fun, and what would be a better use of my time in the break over Christmas than eating large amounts of food whilst writing and drawing stories.

In other Christmas related news, last posting dates are ebbing closer! My last posting dates to arrive in time for Christmas for all UK comic and card orders is Tuesday 20th December, with last orders for hand-painted made-to-order Njálla t-shirts being Monday 12th December. For international orders I’m going to play it safe and say the last order date for posting is 10th December (as the Royal Mail dates vary per country). I will still continue to post orders out after these dates, but your orders may not arrive in time. Don’t forget I have some excellent stocking filler items for sale on my Etsy store, with Sneaky Business vol. 2 and my latest release Ø for just £3 each, and the Njálla Colouring Book for £2!

Finally, this past weekend saw the Best of the Year on Forbidden Planet with guest writer Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier! A guaranteed passionate read about the best bits of 2016’s comic talents, Andy even has some nice things to say at the end of the article about my work. Check it out via the link here and get some more excellent Christmas shopping ideas..

And that’s it for now! Keen-eyed people will note that I missed my first #colour_collective this past Friday, sadly due to being massively overwhelmed with my new schedule and opting to curl up in a ball rocking back and forth instead of working on drawing things… Or something like that. I shall endeavour to be back with that this coming Friday once I have my routine down, and I will be back with hopefully lots more to show you next Wednesday! Until then, have a good week one and all!

 

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Autumn’s Arrived

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, summer is now a somewhat distant thought and the days are drawing shorter, nights chillier and bed is looking a damn sight cosier. Goodnight! Oh, wait.. Blog.

As I decline into the time of year where all I want to do is sleep, and by realising I already packed all my winter-wear up in boxes for moving I’m desperately hoping that it doesn’t get much colder in the next fortnight, it’s also looming towards the festival season of comics here in the UK. The Lakes International Comic Art Festival pops up in Kendal in the Lake District in mid-October with famous guests galore (I’ll get there one day…) all in the cosy Comics Clock Tower, followed shortly after my the awe-inspiringly massive Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival over the first weekend of November, in Leeds (which I will be at, huzzah!). First up, however, is the long-awaited Bristol Comic & Zine Fair this Saturday, 1st October.

I have been so redonkulously excited for BCZF since table applications opened up, and even more so excited when they let me have a table to host my goodies on. The weekend kicks off for me on Friday evening as my chariot (ie, a National Express bus) arrives in the centre of Bristol and I go find something to eat before falling into my hotel bed. I’ve never been able to get a hotel for a comics festival before – and honestly that’s a huge part of why I’m so excited – so I’ll be able to wake up fresh-faced ready for selling and chatting with folks.

There are a whole host of lovely guests this year including Sneaky Business featured Elizabeth Querstret, along with other folks you might have heard of such as Avery Hill Publishing, Mike Medaglia, the Sad Ghost ClubRebecca Bagley, my good friends at Good Comics and many, many more. As I’m sure you remember from me referencing it so much recently, Saturday will also see the grand launch of Sneaky Business Vol. 2!

Reviewed on Monday by Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier, he had this to say:

Sneaky Business #2 is indeed an extremely eclectic compilation of comics and, given that slightly patchwork array of styles and genres, it’s inevitable that each individual reader will gravitate more towards some sections than others. But that selfsame disparate line-up is also part of its charm. As is often the way with anthologies there’s only room here to cover a selection of those who contributed to this volume but at an almost giveaway price of £3.00 there’s really no excuse for not picking up a copy of a book that acts as a communal platform for so many distinctively different forms of practice all tied together by that one unifying theme.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier “Sneaky Business Volume 2 – Danny Noble and Wallis Eates Steal the Show in the Second Issue of Rozi Hathaway’s Anthology Offering”

Sneaky Business arrived on my doorstep on Friday with huge thanks to Rich at Comic Printing UK for all his help and quite literally stopping the press when I found some *cough* small errors *cough*, and will be available to buy from Saturday 1st October from yours truly at Bristol, and shortly after will be available to buy from my Etsy store and at small press friendly comic shops around the UK; Limited to a run of 100, get your copy quick! I’ll cover the launch in more detail from next week, but for now trust me when I say SB2 is looking really, really good.

That’s about it for now! If you’re around in Bristol on Saturday please do pop down and say hello, and if not keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook for news on when Sneaky Business vol. 2 is online on my Etsy store to buy. Until next time, stay sneaky..

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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!

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Graduates Galore

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, it’s the middle of the week again and I think I’ve just about recovered from a busy week back and forth to London last week. Between D&AD New Blood Festival and Small Press Day it was a pretty active week, though I have made up for it so far this week by realising yesterday evening that the only time I’d left my desk in three days was to eat, wash, sleep, and walk to the post box. Oh, the life of a freelancer.

First up, D&AD! The New Blood Festival acts as a showcase to the best talents coming out of design courses from Universities across the UK, and I went down to Shoreditch for the open evening on Tuesday 5th and the entirety of Thursday 7th to represent my portfolio and work on display. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a design festival, but it was very busy and full of keen graduates; having been used to manning tables of my own work and stock at comics festivals over the past year or so it was very surreal to only have one small area for my work. Although I didn’t manage to get any pictures, here are some from fellow graduate and graphic designer Megan Hughes:

In other news, it was the first ever Small Press Day on Saturday! As I mentioned last week, Small Press Day is an “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.” (From SmallPressDay.co.uk). Broken Frontier have rounded up the day in their expansive article from yesterday and can probably say it all far better than I can, so check that out for the full details. I didn’t get a chance to do much of the circuit, though I was lucky enough to be a part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’ signing table with Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver, and comic artists Emma Raby and Jey Levang at Orbital Comics.

Albeit a short spell behind the table, it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for Small Press Day next year. Long live comics! Thanks SO much to all the lovely staff at Orbital Comics for being awesome and having us join in the signing fun! As a part of the promotion leading up to the event I also wrote a small recommendation piece for Broken Frontier, amongst other creators, championing other small press work. You can read what we all said here.

In a very welcome relief from a particularly low-spell, I was also alerted by my comics buddy Sam that Njálla had been featured in Warren Ellis’ newsletter Orbital Operations! Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis! How amazing is that?!

warrenellis

You can sign up to his newsletter here, or visit his website here. I’m still happy-dancing around to this news, although I should probably keep that to myself.

In other news, in the efforts to continue expanding my illustration portfolio and trying out new things I’ve been working on a new and exciting week-long project. As some of you avid readers may remember, last summer I spent two weeks backpacking across the main cities of Scandinavia with my better half Chris. A whole load of the research from this trip was fed into Njálla, which took around nine months from start to finish including the Kickstarter and launch. However, it wasn’t all just Noadi’s and lavvu’s, there is a whole wealth of experiences and travels locked up in my head that I’ve been wanting to play with. And, given that my three strongest passions in life are, 1) Drawing, 2) Travelling, and 3) Kettle Chips, I figured that I needed to start combining the first two in some form other than comics. So, let there be maps!

To begin with I’ve picked the three main cities we spent the most time in; Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. From here I’ve designed maps encompassing the main attractions, and I’m just seeing how I can turn these into awesome pieces that could possibly be used as prints, for articles, or more! Above are some of the inks previews, but I’m *almost* finished.. So, keep an eye out next week for the grand reveal. If I never mention it again, it’s because it all went horribly wrong.

Finally, after an enquiry email into Sneaky Business submissions and artists rights I have updated the submissions page! Don’t forget you still have over two months to submit 1-2 page comics to the second volume of Sneaky Business, and I am so excited to see what lands in my inbox between now and then. As I said above, LONG LIVE COMICS! Any-who, that’s about it for now and the kettle is calling me (sadly not the chip variety). Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

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Drink and Draw, and More!

Good afternoon all!

So, it’s a busy time again. Apologies for the lack of the usual weekly update last week; truth be told I was out of the country for almost a week and had nothing to show on my return.. But I have plenty now! The degree show has ended, and amongst comic submission work and expanding my illustration portfolio I’m also getting ready to head down to London next week for the D&AD New Blood festival, as a near-graduate on the University of Northampton stall. I seem to be spending so much time in London over the next week and a half I might as well be a local!

Down to business, and first on the agenda is last night’s Drink & Draw hosted by Nora of Gosh Comics and Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier! Alongside guest artists Cristian Ortiz and Amber Hsu, I joined in the fun as a fresh-faced first-timer on the drink & draw circuit.

Photos from Nora at Gosh

It was such a fun evening! I mean, the words ‘drink and draw’ kind of give the impression that it’s a fun evening of entertainment, but it really exceeded any expectations I had. Life can get stressful, and just sitting back and drawing random things has such a fun and calming influence. Drawing themes from the night included alter-egos, something or someone you lost as a child, and what if other mammals shaved their legs too. There was also a collaborate comic making its way around the pub, and competitions and prizes for attendees. As a non-Londoner (CUH, right?) I had to shoot off before the end, but huge thanks to Nora and Andy for hosting such a fun evening! Here’s my doodles from the themes listed above..

What fun! Drink & Draw is hosted by Gosh Comics and Broken Frontier once a month, and you can keep up with any new events by liking the Gosh Comics Facebook page, following them on Twitter or keeping an eye on their website blog.

In other news, the submissions deadline for Dirty Rotten Comics #8 is fast approaching! With submissions closing on Thursday 30th (tomorrow, yikes!) and only rough sketches in front of me I have a fair bit of work to do to finish it all off.. But thankfully the gents over at Dirty Rotten Comics are fairly relaxed about the deadline, so if like me you’ve managed to accidentally be incredibly unorganised, you still have a bit of time to submit! See their submissions page for all the details and a link to their FAQ. For now, here’s a very sneaky-peek of a bit of my thought process for this submission; scripting from notes and painting..

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Mountains. Oooo err!

So, you can guess what I’m doing for the rest of today and tomorrow, right?

Finally, as some of you may remember me mentioning it, work is commencing on Sneaky Business vol. 2 very, very soon! How soon, you ask? WELL! Monday, to be precise! Sneaky Business vol. 1 was very much a small, unique collection from comics creators that I personally asked to be involved. However, after being inspired by the guys over at Good Comics and what they’re doing with Dead Singer’s Society zine, I’ve decided to approach vol. 2 in a much more open way. Which means, from Monday 4th July I’ll be opening up submissions to all! I’m looking for 1-2 page comics, colour or black and white, under the theme of stealth or sneaky in some way.

The call for submissions with all the details will be posted up on my Twitter and Facebook from Monday, and I’ll have more coverage in next week’s blog – so keep an eye out!

A snippet from my comic in Sneaky Business vol. 1

Finally FINALLY finally, I’ve updated and improved my website! Things have moved a little, and the ‘Collaborations’ and ‘Commissions’ have been removed and merged into new or existing posts in two clear-cut sections; Illustration and Comics. The front page has everything, and with a SHINY NEW ‘infinity scroll’ you can now see all my work in one place, or head to the category links for the specifics. Nice, right?

Anyway, I’d best get back to this Dirty Rotten Comics submission as it most definitely won’t create itself.. Until next week (for certain this time), have a good Wednesday everyone!

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Postage Party-Time

Good afternoon everyone!

So, it’s been a rather manic week over here at HQ with an alarming amount of packaging and order preparation to do for Njálla. After finishing up that pesky assignment work I’ve still very much been feeling the pressure in the form of 12 pieces of new and original art for Kickstarter backers as well as carefully wrapping up stacks of pledge rewards to ship out this week. Never again will I underestimate just how much of a mammoth task it is to send out so many orders! Far from wanting to sound ungrateful, I am looking forward to throwing the last of these parcels at the nearest postal worker so that I can have a long, long sleep that doesn’t involve dreaming of postage labels and tissue paper. But also I’m looking forward to that moment, because that means everyone’s orders will be on their way, YIPPEE!

In some very exciting news, yesterday saw the exclusive preview of Njálla go live on Broken Frontier! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has been so wonderful to lend his full support to not only my work, but also Njálla. Right from the beginning, through to the Kickstarter launch and yesterday’s preview. I am incredibly thankful! Check out Andy Oliver’s kind words and some sneaky previews from Njálla over on Broken Frontier here.

Since the comics arrived late on Thursday, a lot of my time over the weekend was spent finishing up commissions for the 12 backers that pledged to receive original artwork. Y’know, I thought I’d have so much more time that I did thanks to that university final important assessment nonsense.. Cuh! Anyway, I worked hard into Monday finishing up final artwork, meaning everything is ready to be packed and shipped. That mammoth task in itself is a fun one, but with about 20% of the orders going out so far to those lovely international backers, the hard-part is almost over! I did totally misjudge the postage for UK orders and had to drag myself back to the post office this morning, so UK backers if you’re wondering why there’s a collection of random stamps on your order.. That’s why! Anyway, as I haven’t got much in the way to show you all (given that watching me pack orders is far from exhilarating), here’s a sneaky peek of the commissions I’ve been working on and my very busy desk;

I had a few backer requests for special things in their commissions, which was really fun to do! I just have a few finishing touches to do on the A4 originals and they’ll be off tomorrow morning.

In other news, as you may have seen last week, my one-page comic for Good Comics’ Dead Singers Society Zine Vol. 2 had been submitted, and now the collection is available to pre-order. Yay! If you head on over to the Good Comics online store you can pre-order your copy of Vol. 2 or even grab the first one if you missed out, along with a whole host of other goodies. The excellent cover by James Howard has been released online and you can pick up a copy this weekend at DIY Cultures in London, if you’re in the vicinity!

Anywho, that’s about it for now! These parcels won’t wrap themselves (sadly) and so far I have had zero paper-cuts, so start placing your bets on how long it’ll take. Once I’ve finished my packaging and postage party tomorrow I’ll be back to all-things-go preparing for the University Degree Show exhibition from 10th June and my own Njálla launch at the NN Café on the 4th June. No rest, eh? Have a good rest of your week, everyone! Until next time..

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Comiket, Assessment and More!

Good afternoon folks!

So, you’ll have to forgive my tardiness this week in getting the ol’ blog out on time. Yesterday was my final, FINAL ever assessment at University in the form of a 20-minute presentation and unfortunately that took over the entire week. But now, as much as it hasn’t really sunken in yet, my degree is finished. In 2-3 weeks I should find out what classification of a degree I’ve received, then there’s just that pesky business of a Degree Show exhibition to finish preparing for, and then graduation is in July. The sweet feeling of freedom is almost in my tired, sweaty grasp and I can confirm that IT FEELS GOOD.

It slipped my mind to take any pictures of the stacks of project sketchbooks on my desk and images on the wall, but just imagine a few arms full of stuff. And a lavvu in the corner. I’ll write up a better synopsis of my final year of university projects after the degree show, but for now I have PLENTY to keep you entertained with.

First up, Comiket! Last Saturday 14th May I willingly dragged myself away from assessment preparations to spend the day in London with my favourite Editor-in-Chief, Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier on the Small Press ‘Six to Watch‘ table at Comica London’s Comiket! Having never been to a Comica event before I wasn’t quite sure to expect, but situated under the Victorian glass-panelled roof between the Central St. Martin’s College of Art and the House of Illustration it was a quaint little market with a great atmosphere. As I’m on the brink of releasing a new comic, and with Sneaky Business being totally sold out, my section of the table was looking a little anaemic, but in all we had a pretty decent day and sold a lot of Small Press Yearbooks.

Apart from drinking copious amounts of Waitrose coffee to keep warm and manning the Six to Watch table, I was incredibly honoured to be a part of Paul Gravett’s Live Drawing Parade! In 25-minute slots, the Drawing Parade featured a whole host of people including the likes of Paul B. Rainey, Jessica Martin, Sean Azzopardi and JAKe. It’s really great to watch people draw live, with some far more sensible people having a composition ready worked out to ink, and then masochistic people like me who decided to freehand draw a composition right then and there. The Drawing Parade was filmed and also projected onto a screen for an audience to watch (look mum, I’m famous!), and the time-slot also included Paul Gravett doing small interviews with us drawing folk. I opted to work on a drawing of the characters from Njálla – not only as promotion but also as I’m really, really used to drawing lots of foxes at the moment. Big thanks to Andy Oliver for taking some snaps of my serious-work-face whilst drawing and painting away! Yes, yes, sadly I’m one of those people with RBF.

I had such a great day at Comiket. It is always a huge pleasure to spend time with comic folk, catching up with familiar lovely faces and meeting new ones is one of the most rewarding parts of working in comics as everyone is so totally down-to-earth. We’re all just a bunch of tired people who understand what it’s like to spend hours drawing alone at all hours. Best job in the world, mind you. Except maybe the panda-hugger. Sadly due to both personal and degree show commitments I’ll be missing out on DIY Cultures at the end of this month and CECAF/ELCAF in June, so I plonked home after Comiket knowing it’ll be a while until the next one. To read a round-up of both Comiket and other goings-on in the Small Press world check out Broken Frontier’s Small Press Round-Up!

In other exciting news, my humble HQ has seemingly turned into a distribution centre as I am now amid packaging, cellophane envelopes, stickers, prints, colouring books and lots and lots of copies of Njálla. Yay! Three big boxes of comics were the last to arrive yesterday evening, with my new friend the UPS man even carrying them up two flights of stairs for me. Spoilt, I tell you. MASSIVE thanks go out to Rich at Comic Printing UK who not only has made Njálla look supple and wonderful (you just wait till you feel that matte-laminate cover, it’s face-strokeably good) but also has been a source of entertainment and support throughout the whole process. If any of you ever decide to create comics I would encourage you to go and speak to Rich and read all his excellent advice blogs.

So now I’m left with the mammoth task of finishing off original artwork commissions for my 12 generous Kickstarter backers, wait for the money to come in and ship off LOTS of comics to their new forever homes. I start shipping out from next week with all my backers the first to receive their copies, and Njálla launching online on my Etsy store from Thursday 2nd June, with the OFFICIAL launch here in Northampton at the NN Café on Saturday 4th June. Yippee!

In a final snippet of other news, last week I mentioned working on a short one-page comic for Good Comics Dead Singers Society Volume 2. You’ll all be relieved to know that I manage to finish it up and shoot it over to those friendly gents in time, and will be featured in the new Dead Singer’s when it’s released. How exciting! If you want to check out the first volume you can get your hands on a copy through the Good Comics online shop here. But for now, here’s a snippet from my comic in the upcoming volume two..

The next anthology project I’ll be working on is a submission for the newly-announced Dirty Rotten Comics #8. The call for submissions runs up until 30th June so I have time aplenty to work on my next 1-5 page black and white idea. The submission is open to all UK emerging comic artists and after my two-page Rejsen comic was successfully printed in Dirty Rotten Comics #5 I’ve been itching to get into their ace anthology again. After that deadline’s passed I’ll be working on Sneaky Business volume 2, so keep an eye out for news on that coming in the next month or so..

Anyway, I’d best get back to it. I have a whole load of commissions to be working on this weekend so rest safe in the knowledge that I’m upping my caffeine intake accordingly. I’ll be back next week on schedule for Wednesday with more news on Njálla and maybe even some more sneaky peeks.. Ooh err! Until next time, have a good weekend all!

 

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9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

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Skivvies Launch, Residency, and More.

Good morning ladies and gents!

Crikey, is it really almost February already? January is usually referred to as the long month, and although it has been a bit cold/wet/blowy time doesn’t half fly in the most pinnacle term of the final year of my degree. Nothing like the smell of drying paint and caffeine in the morning! It’s been another hectic week here at HQ, to the point where I can’t quite believe that Laydeez do Comics was only just over a week ago, but low and behold it’s that time of the week again where I grace you all with my wisdom. Or something like that..

First things first, we have a launch date for Down to Your Skivvies Issue #2! After having to keep pushing it back over the past month or so, we’ve managed to coincide the launch with a University-planned residency taking place in Northampton town centre (more about that shortly). As I’ve mentioned before, the first issue of DTYS was released back in April 2015, with a long break between issues unfortunately down to trying to get everyone in one place at the same time. Reviewed by Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver back in September as a part of the Zinewatch feature, the first issue run of Skivvies sold out of current stock at the end of last year. Though, to coincide with the release of issue #2 we will have fresh stock of issue #1 ready for anyone who missed it! Issue #2, themed around WRITERS AND THE ARTS will be released at the NN Contemporary Project Space in Northampton on Saturday 6th February, from 4-6pm with the three of us creators there to talk about the zine and answer any questions, and from Monday 8th the zines will be available to buy from my Etsy store. Issue #2 is a good one.. More details to be announced nearer the time.

As mentioned above, next week will see myself and fellow Illustration students from the University of Northampton embarking on a residency within the NN Contemporary Gallery Project Space, working on experimental projects. Relating to but not directly involving our final major project work, from Wednesday-Sunday we’ll be creating wonderful things, giving talks, workshops and having open discussions in the attic space at NN. You can read all about the project space and our intentions here on the newly set up website/blog, and definitely come on down if you’re local! If you were reading last week and saw me mention making a lávvu, wondering what on earth I was on about.. Well, that would be for this project space!

fabric

I’d had this genius idea before Christmas to create a 3D element to the launch of my comic, and I’ve been organising bits and pieces well in advance so that I can make this idea a reality. Also, as a big-kid in a stressed mid-twenties body I’m really excited to have my own tee-pee structure to crawl inside when I want to escape from adulthood. Sounds amazing, right? The plan is to have my wonderful (I hope) lávvu next to my comic work (The Next Big Thing) in my degree show, giving a tactile and real element to my exploration into Sámi culture. And, a fortnight ago, armed with sketches and sleep-deprivation, I headed to Birmingham to meet my sewing-aficionado mum for an adventure in the famous indoor rag market. Above you can see some lovely fabric-y things just ready and waiting to be used for my tent-like structure, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more details..

Image from Broken Frontier
Image from Broken Frontier

In other news, as the flaming baton is passed from one bunch of creators to the other, Broken Frontier have announced their new Six Small Press Creators to Watch in 2016! They’ve picked some very talented folks this year, and speaking as someone who received a great deal of support and exposure thanks to being one of the Six to Watch in 2015, I can definitely say I’m excited to see what’s coming next from these ladies! Keep an eye out on Andy Oliver’s Small Pressganged if you’re interested in all things Small Press Comics, or even just wonderful artists and stories, because wonderful creators and creations are aplenty!

Finally, I’ve been busy working away on a commission for some awesome folks this week (to be announced soon), but also I’ve been getting stuck into the prelude for The Next Big Thing, as seen above. Work is slowly creeping out and taking over more of the room rather than being confined to the desk, and things are getting really serious now. Crowdfunding for The Next Big thing alongside it’s title will be released in the coming months, and final pages are starting to be drawn. Along with a handful of other projects, by Easter I will most likely be grey-haired and half made of coffee.. With that in mind, that’s about all I have time for this week! I will be back next week with lavvú business and more, so until then – have a good week everyone! Over and out.

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