Barriers Anthology

Welcome, 2019

So, it’s 2019. Happy New Year, everybody!

It’s that undeniably exciting time of year again; the tin of Quality Street is finally dwindling, there’s a new calendar on the wall, and it’s time to look ahead to a new year and everything that could possibly be. Daunting for some, the start of a new year is my very favourite time of the year.

It wouldn’t be a new year without looking back at the previous, so get comfy with a cuppa and join me in some light New Year’s Day reflections.

Moon - self-published in September 2018.
Moon – self-published in September 2018.

This year kicked off in style with Cartoon County in Brighton, hosted by Alex Fitch. Cartoon County is a monthly meet-up of comic creators, and I was honoured to be the January guest. Other guests this year have included Rachael Ball, Julian Hanshaw and Wallis Eates. I’ve been in good company! Cartoon County still hosts its monthly meet-up, and for more information on their gatherings, you can follow them on Twitter.

2018 also saw the re-release of Cosmos & Other Stories, published by Good Comics. Cosmos was originally released in March 2017 but sold out by the end of that year, so we re-released it in an extended format at the beginning of 2018. The new version had a totally brand new story included, which involved some fun Olmec and Aztec research. Sadly, Cosmos is now very-nearly sold out again – act quickly if you’d like to pick one up before it’s gone!

Cosmos & Other Stories, expanded edition. Last few copies available from Good Comics.

Last year also saw me create three more short stories; one which has since been published in BBE Collective’s Barriers anthology, and one for the Good Comics Reader charity anthology (see some of my progress pictures here). The other unpublished story is available for Patreon subscribers.

Speaking of which, 2018 is the year I began a Patreon subscription service! You can read all about my decision here.

Bear, available to Patreon subscribers

I also started working on my long-form story which will be coming out in the next couple of years. The decision to start working on a longer story came naturally and is something that will be slowly plugging away for a while. You can catch up on some of my early sketchbook work here!

Other goings-on included the launch of The Inking Woman book by Myriad Editions, based on The Cartoon Museum exhibition from 2017. Myself and other female creators are published in this first-of-its-kind book, and was truly an incredibly experience.

This past summer also saw my first ever keynote speech at the International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference here in Bournemouth. It was one of the absolute highlights of my comics career, and I am so grateful for the team at ICGNC for welcoming me.

Keynote speech at the IGNCC, June 2018

2018 was also the year of Moon, my newest comic. Successfully funded through Kickstarter (thanks to some wonderful backers!), Moon came to be in time for Thought Bubble 2018 in September. I put everything I had into making Moon, and I’m absolutely thrilled with how it came out. If you’d like to get your hands on a limited copy, they’re available in my shop.

Moon has gone on to be one of Daniel Elkin’s Books We Liked 2018 and one of A Place to Hang Your Cape’s 10 of the Best Indie Comics of 2018!

Whilst Moon may dabble in deities, it’s message is intimate and unassuming. Set against the backdrop of a Chinese shipping docks, Moon tells the story of an inquisitive grandson’s discovery of what his grandfather hides from him in one particular shipping container. More akin to a snapshot than a story, Moon‘s warm colours and dockside setting lends it a detached, melancholic flavour. Printed in a bespoke, mini-tabloid format, Moon is a small, enchanting read.

Fred McNamara, A Place to Hang Your Cape

Finally, 2018 drew to a close with the announcement that I’ve officially joined Good Comics. Keen to support grass-roots creators, establishing and developing themselves in a growing community, Good Comics aims to be a hand-up for a handful of creators. I’ve been working alongside the co-founders of Good Comics a lot this year, and I’m thrilled to be joining them in the Good cause for 2019 and beyond.

And that rounds it up! It’s been a busy year, and I’m so grateful for everything that has come my way. A huge thank you to all of you who support my work and speak to me at shows, who backed my Kickstarter, or who just dig my work. You’re all the best, and here’s to another year of making new stories!

Happy 2019, everyone!

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A New Chapter: Part 1

Good afternoon fellow humans!

It has been a while, no? Last time I posted I was gleefully looking forward to some quiet time post-festival season, though life always finds a way of throwing more challenges at you when you think it’s finally time to relax.

Drawing and creating comics has always been such an organic process, it’s easy to forget that the person behind the drawing has the usual nonsense to deal with; on hold to the electric company, navigating food shopping into a busy week, and the such. And, In mid-September, this was the case more than ever! Things came tumbling down around us in the form of an eviction notice; no no, I hadn’t been drawing too loudly, just a landlord who – fairly enough – wanted his property back.

Apparently such is the life of a private tenant, but short of living in fear month-to-month, nothing can prepare you for having to move on someone else’s terms. So, since my last update, I’ve spent two months with my ever-patient and wonderful partner Sam packing up all of our belongings and moving and unpacking. Again. But, finally, things are settling into place and I’m getting back into some sort of routine. Plus, our new home is so cosy and peaceful.

Still, it’s not all about moving home. Here is some news for you all:

-KLAXON- Cosmos & Other Stories is nearly sold out for the second time!

That’s right. I am now out of stock of the second print run of Cosmos & Other Stories. First published back in March 2017, the second print run was released in January 2018 and Good Comics hold the remaining few copies on their online store. As it won’t be reprinted you have to be quick if you’re still after a copy – otherwise, you can read a digital copy by subscribing to my Patreon for $5 a month. It’s really sad to see Cosmos go, but who knows, maybe some of the stories will find their way into something else in the future. Farewell Cosmos -sniff-

In more recent comics news, Moon is now up on my website! You can see loads of snapshots of the process of making Moon, complete with details of how to buy it. It feels like forever ago that I made Moon, but it’s only been a couple of months. Check out the designated page on my website here, and get your copy on my Etsy store.

BBE Barriers Anthology

Another piece of good news: the short comic I made for BBE’s Barriers back in May is now available to buy from their online store! It came out in time for Thought Bubble, and I excitedly picked up my contributor copy. It was a really fun comic to make, and the anthology is full of great work.

And that just about wraps it up for now! Rest assured I have been managing to stay creatively active during this move. I have made a Halloween costume for two children and a bearded dragon, I made a treasure map and co-build a bespoke storage drawer-unit for our collective art supplies (I even hand-sawed some front panels, much to the discomfort of my puny upper arm muscles).

Exciting, right? I’ll be back next time with more but until then…

 

x

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Bruxelles and Beyond

Good afternoon all,

It’s May! When did that happen? No, seriously… Answers on postcards, please.

The last month or so has flown by as usual, and it’s been a busy time working on comics ready for submission and projects anew. I’ve also recently changed day-jobs into something far more interesting – in the field of marketing and copywriting, ooh err – so be prepared for my grammar and sentence structures to slowly improve (we hope).

Right! Since we last spoke;

  • The Good Comics Reader has been released with my four-page comic Ræven
  • Leamington Comic-Con has been and gone
  • I finished up another four-pager to be included in the brand-spanking new BBE Collective anthology; Barriers
  • I took a romantic comics’ trip to Brussels for a long weekend, and
  • …I’ve begun preliminary sketchbook work on my first full-length comic book. Agh/eek/woo, etc.

My favourite time of the year is a busy time of the year. The Good Comics Reader was officially launched at Leamington Comic-Con on Saturday 14th April. The festival was a huge hit as always thanks to Dan and Lisa’s tireless work to promote small press comics. The Reader is beautiful; risograph printed on recycled paper, and it is good for the feels as 50% of the profits go to the charity Young Minds. Here are some previews of my comic;

Drawing for risograph printing involves working in layers for colour separation, so it was working in a totally new way for me. Here’s one of the spreads; this was for the red/burgundy layer on pages 1-2:

Ræven Colour Separations
That moment when you realise your nails match the table.

Nifty, huh? If you’d like to read this comic, you can get your copy of the Reader here, priced £6 (alternatively, this is one of the many comics on my Patreon that you can read as part of the $5-and-up subscription).

Next up, last month I finished a comic for BBE Collective on the theme of ‘Barriers’. I created an illustration for their last anthology Habitat (which you can buy here, priced £7) and they’re such nice and encouraging people that I couldn’t resist creating something again. Plus, their anthologies are the some of the most tenderly colourful and beautiful around on the small press scene, so I recommend you check it out. I’m not sure when Barriers will be coming out in print form, but you’ll be the first to know! Here’s a sneak peek of my comic;

Next up, after what felt like a long time of lots of serious adult things and working a lot, Sam and I took a mini-break to Brussels, Belgium to ignore our phones and get some fresh air and fresh ideas (and fresh kriek). We somehow managed to book to go away when the weather was absolutely incredible; normally Brussels is a rain-haven. Alas, with blue skies and warm hearts we ventured around the city taking in the sights and sounds, visited the wonderful Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée and took a trip out to Louvain-le-Neuve to the Musée Hergé. I’m not going to inundate you with tourist photos, but here are a few gems from a wonderful trip away.

I came back from Brussels with a healthy dose of vitamin D and fresh imagination.. that promptly got a little squashed by a few very busy weeks. Regardless, now things have settled down a bit I’ve been studying my photos and the small pile of books* we brought back from Brussels. Slowly but surely I’m working away, both in my head and in sketchbook form, on ideas for my next comic.

I’ve debated for a while now what my next step would be; do I continue creating short work? Do I try to be published by a big-name publisher? Do I carry on self-publishing? I’m still not entirely sure on those last two, but I have decided the time is right to create a much, much longer book. A full length comic, with story arcs and everything. The wonderful thing about short stories and submissions is that I get to try out a new idea and process or medium every single time, and now I’ve had some time exercising different methods of painting, colouring and drawing, I’m ready to put all this knowledge into practice and work out a longer story.

I’m really, really excited.

Though don’t you go getting too excited just yet; we have a long journey ahead of us, you and I. Writing a full-length book is no walk in the park, and it’ll take me well into next year to complete. But the cogs are working away and the sketchbook has started. And here I introduce into the world my newest code-named project; The Biggest One Yet.

I’ll be sharing sketchbook pages on my Patreon a couple of times a week, so if you’re keen to watch the story develop at the same time I do, you know where to go.

And that’s it for now! Keep your peepers peeled for next month’s news, and until then – peace out.

 

x

*It was not a small pile. It was, in fact, pretty large. 

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