BFF Comic

Recovery & Scarves

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, that’s it. The last comics’ festival of the year is well and truly over – and what a festival it was. This year’s Thought Bubble Festival was a most excellent weekend full of wonderful people and more laughs than I’ve had in a long time. Though, I did have a nightmare of a time on Friday evening. And I did happen to lose my favourite scarf. But apart from that, it was the best (plus I already have a ridiculous amount of scarves, so.. I can cope).

Thought Bubble Festival ran from 1st-6th November, with the comic festival running over the weekend of the 5th-6th down in Leeds Docks. I was happily plonked in New Dock Hall, between the charming gents of micro-publishers Good Comics (Dr Paddy Johnston, Samuel C. Williams and Pete Hindle) on my right, and the incredibly talented Anja Uhren (whose Irgendwo im Nirgendwo I recommended back in June for Broken Frontier in the lead up to Small Press Day) to my left. With over 400 exhibitor tables between New Dock Hall, the Royal Armouries building and the ComiXology Marquee it really is a HUGE event, and this year definitely felt busier for me than last year. This year I also attempted to make my table as fun as possible, with my Njálla cut-out, fake snow and snowflakes spread out to help entice people over to my table. Check it out!

As you may recall from last week’s update, Thought Bubble saw the release of my newest short story comic Ø, which was kindly mentioned by Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier as one of his picks during the Gosh! Comics Presents ‘The Best Thing I’ve Read All Year’ panel. You’d think I’d have thought about how someone would talk about Ø with no knowledge of the pronunciation, wouldn’t you. I can confirm that no, no that thought didn’t cross my mind.. So I can only eternally apologise to Andy for trying to promote Ø without the foggiest of how to say it! However, it’s probably the most accidentally clever marketing ploy I’ve ever done, shooting it right to the top of the alphabet of Thought Bubble’s debuting books list. But, regardless of my apparent living on another planet, Ø’s debut went fantastically! You can read more about it here on the updated page, and get your copy from my online Etsy store for just £3 plus shipping.

As you can also see above, Alan Henderson of Penned Guins popped by with some original artwork from his submission to Sneaky Business vol. 2, kindly tucking it into the top copy ready for the next purchaser to get free with their sneaky stories – how awesome is that? Also, I have now officially sold out of The Red Road! I took my final copy to Thought Bubble and Andy Oliver passed me back a couple he’d been taking to tabling events – and all three went! First released in January 2015, the starting 100 copies sold out by October, and I’ve since sold through the bumper second edition 100 copies in just over a year. Thank you to everyone who has continually taken interest in The Red Road, it is still my baby and I’m sad to see it go – but it’s time to keep moving forward.

Big, big thanks to everyone who popped by and said hello – and to everyone who took the time to spend their hard earned money on something I made. You’re all wonderful! Also HUGE thanks as always to Thought Bubble organisers and all the volunteers who make it so fantastic to be a part of. It’s now, with my standard post-TB cold, that myself and the other comic creators wait patiently for next year and the next festival.. We sulk back to our desks to hibernate for winter, so please do think of us. And send cake.

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In more cheerful news, last week Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged celebrated it’s 5th birthday! In a very heartwarming day of celebration, a bunch of us small press comics people talked about who we found through the hard work of Andy Oliver and his Small Pressganged efforts and articles – this is the column which first included the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, which gave me endless coverage and interest that I’d never have gotten otherwise, and without it I definitely wouldn’t have the confidence to be where I am today. I made a special piece for the day which features on the article, also seen above. Myself and a few others mention Danny Noble, and if you’re interested in checking out her work, you can do so here and read about her fabulous self here. I was really honoured to be mentioned by Ravi Thornton, so it’s a lovely article to read all-round. Go check it out and feel your soul warmed!

And that’s about it for now! Outside of Thought Bubble and Small Pressganged’s 5th birthday I have plenty to talk about in the coming blogs, so be sure to check back next week for the return to normality. Until then – keep warm! I’m going to go and put another one of my many scarves on…

 

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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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