BCZF 2016

2016 Reflections

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, that festive time of year involving copious amounts of food is over and done, and 2016 is slowly ebbing away too.. Which means it’s time for the yearly round-up! 2016 has been an incredible year for me work-wise, and although 2015 made me pretty dizzy to look back over I think this year has been busier than ever.

From CD artwork to competitions, the Small Press Yearbook to Sneaky Business, and all the way from graduating from University in the East Midlands to ending up in the North West. It’s been a busy one. The highlights of this year definitely include being so involved with Broken Frontier as one of the Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015. From creating my short story last year, the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 was announced right at the beginning of the year at the Laydeez do Comics event at Gosh! Comics, where I sweated my way through talking in front of an audience about my work, with Danny Noble and Andy Oliver doing a far better job. The launch in April was an incredible experience, with Gosh! Comics being filled to the brim with people here to look at Andy Oliver’s pride and joy, and the buzz remained well into helping out at Comiket and being asked to join in the Drawing Parade. Gosh! Comics has also been a stable feature of 2016 with the June Drink & Draw, and it’s neighbour Orbital Comics having some of us Six to Watch folks behind the table on Small Press Day, where Warren Ellis picked up a copy of Njálla and wrote about it in his newsletter.

Speaking of which, Njálla was pretty much the focal point of my year. From the ideas conception in August/September 2015, I worked on the comic up until May 2016 including the terrifyingly successful Kickstarter campaign which led me to be able to fund the whole print run without any worry about the financial side of things. With Njálla completed and the rest of my work pinned up to boards, I finished my final year of University and graduated with First Class Honours in Illustration – so I guess all the hard work paid off!

Another big highlight of this year has been the festivals; Comika and Small Press Day starting off the year, with Bristol Comic & Zine Fair and Thought Bubble finishing it up in spectacular fashion. Since spending more time behind a table and meeting more comics people I have the best time, and I can’t wait for what 2017 brings.

Waffling aside, here’s a nice bunch of pictures from my 2016, which say it far better than I can.

And that’s where we’re up to now! With my new release with Good Comics scheduled for Spring 2017 and a couple of other smaller projects in the pipeline there’s not much time to relax in the next few months.. But here’s to another excellent year, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed my ramblings. See you on the other side!

 

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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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Hello, August.

Good afternoon ladies and gents.

So, it’s August! Where did that come from, huh? July seemed to vanish in a flash, with more new comic work (Sørgedag – due out in Dirty Rotten Comics this month) and plenty of skill-expanding illustration work in the form of recipe illustrations and some rather colourful maps. July also included the wonders of Small Press Day, D&AD and towards the end of the month my very own graduation. No wonder I’m tired..

In one final excellent bundle of good news to finish up July, I’ve been offered a half-table at the Bristol Comic & Zine Fair on Saturday 1st October! I originally applied to BCZF months back and was very gutted to be turned down, however some kind soul backed out of their half table and apparently I was at the top of the reserves list – hooray! I’m absolutely THRILLED to be behind a table in Bristol for the first time. I fell in love with the city back in 2010/11 when I (unsuccessfully) applied to study at UWE. Thankfully, they’re letting me back in the city and I will be at BCZF with bells on. Check out all the information on BCZF here, and the Facebook Event Page here.

Seemingly lots of great comics people are all going to be under the one roof for BCZF, so as well as doing my selling thing I’ll be able to catch up with my favourite kind of people; small press comics people. The even better news which leads on from this is that Sneaky Business Vol. 2 will now officially launch at BCZF 2016! Double hooray! You still have just under 6 weeks to submit to Sneaky Business Vol. 2, so go forth and draw young Padawans.

Onto more creative business, last week through to this week I’ve been getting seriously stuck into the next short-story comics project; a creation for submission to Kuš! comics next anthology. Kuš #27 is open to submissions of comics 4-16 pages in length, with the theme of BFFs (for the non-millennials, BFF means “Best Friends Forever”). I’d been mulling over the possibilities of this story for a little while but I’ve finally been able to sink some time into it, and so far I’ve written, scripted, scribbled and mocked-up the comic. Now I’ve reached the point of sketching up the final pages onto draft paper, and at a whopper of 16 pages – the maximum allowed for this particular call for submissions – I have plenty to keep me busy. The downside of working to the maximum page number of a submission like this is that a niggling voice in my head says that it’s less likely to be successful in getting into the anthology.. But what is life, if to not be challenged and overcoming that looming self-doubt and a future of possible “sorry but no thank you”s.

Anyhow, above and below are some progress shots I’ve taken so far; from the very loose thumbnail sketches – used to work out the ultimate page count of the story and looking at areas I can exploit (in terms of surprising page turns and maintaining interest) – to the mock-up book which has more refined composition and speech, to the final draft pages – the over-size A3 pages I draw on, rub out, get angry at and scribble on – which when finished will be laid underneath the final paper on my fancy-pants light box and I free-ink the final images over the top. Now you all know my secret process – don’t tell anyone, yeah?

A6 mock-up comic on the left, with full A4 pages (A3 spread) behind)

I’ve currently finished drawing up just over half of the pencils for this, so I’m hoping with another couple of solid days work and lots of determination I’ll be able to start inking before this week is over. The deadline for Kuš #27 is Monday 19th September and you can find out all the information about it here – yes, yes, I am getting my comic done surprisingly early considering the deadline isn’t for another 6 and a half weeks, but with Sneaky Business’ covers design and my own comic needing doing I thought I’d best get ahead of the curve.

So, that’s about it for today! I shall be back next week as ever, though how much I’ll actually have to show is debatable, given that I’m away from my desk this weekend and start a new job on Monday, but I’ll do my best. Until next time, peace out.

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