Big Brown Eyes Habitat

The Comics Break

Good afternoon all!

I’m writing this in the clutches of the latest cold that’s going round, which has me coughing for hours on end, so please send cake and medicine to me whilst splutter out this update…

So, I hope you’re all up for something a bit different today, as I’m going to tell you a story. Make yourselves comfortable! Once upon a time, after Cosmos & Other Stories came out, and after I finished up pieces for Dirty Rotten Comics #10 and The Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017, I decided to take a short break from comics. I think, doing this kind of work, it’s all too easy to feel like you have to keep churning out work so people don’t lose faith or forget you exist. But after a tough personal spell and using work as a crutch to keep me going, it was time to let my mind go and deal with life, and try to regain my health.

The break from comics didn’t come naturally, and I still worked on commissions both for private clients and other more illustrative work (the Kickstarter print with Emily B. Owen’s Brain Shoodles, and a piece for the Habitat anthology). But, the break from direct comic work was there all the same, and it gave me valuable time to promote the work I’ve already done and work out where best to move next. And, play with some different materials and techniques. Check it out:

Having time to play around with new processes and materials has been golden, and given me a chance just to draw or create for the sake of drawing again. I’ve played with creating stamps from soft lino,drawing with Kuretake Zig Brush pens, the Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen and some Graphitint pencils, as well as other experiments in fabric and dying, clay and wood. Taking that pause really did help to clear my mind and work on new concepts, and it gave me new skills and new challenges to hone in on to keep improving.

And that leads us to my new project! Due to be released in September in time for Thought Bubble Festival, I’ve been working on a small comic which I’ve gone thorough the scripting and layouts of already, when the inking coming next. Have a look at some sketches:

One thing I’ve been taking note of is how my painting accounts for the majority of the atmosphere in my work. So, remove the painting, do I still give that effect? This new project I’m working on is not only vastly different and physical application, but also different from my usual storytelling too, being totally autobiographical rather than based in imagination. It’s been challenging, and new, and exciting all at the same time. And I really hope people like it!

I do miss splashing about with gouache and I’ll definitely keep evolving the way I paint, but for now, get ready for something new and exciting and totally paint-free! -gulp-

And that’s where I leave you for now! I’ll be back soon with more news, but until next time have a good week/weekend everyone. I’m off to visit family and get plied with food to mend this illness once and for all. Laters!

 

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Habitat Anthology

Submission to the Big Brown Eyes Collective anthology HABITAT, coming out next month. More info coming soon!

You can see my blog posts about this project here, and follow BBE on Twitter here.

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Continued City-Hopping

Good afternoon, all!

So it’s been another week of early starts and day-trips, with my Saturday kicking off at 5am getting up and ready for the Birmingham Comic Art Festival. This is its first year running the selling event in the much larger Birmingham Comic Festival, which involved a month long series of talks and events. I managed to grab up a whole table and spread out!

Sadly, it was a little quiet and the foot-traffic through the event wasn’t enough to keep the momentum up. But, it was pleasant enough and the people who did swing by were more than happy to have a chat, which made for a pleasant day! I packed up early to spend some time with my parents, before hopping on the Megabus back up north and getting home in time to shove a microwave meal in just before 9pm. Living the high life!

Leading up to this event and with the possibility of more selling/tabling events over the latter part of summer, I scraped together the pennies to get a reprint of Njálla.

Njálla – Round Two

Somehow, in just over a year, Njálla has sold out of its first print run of 250 copies. Absolutely amazing. Thank you to everyone who supported the initial Kickstarter campaign (which feels so long ago now!) and everyone who has purchased a copy since. I now have another bundle of second edition books up for sale. I haven’t added any additional content this time, so you first edition folks aren’t missing out on anything new. Just a fresh run to keep me going. Ahh… New comic smell.

And finally, remember that Mexican themed piece I was working on a few weeks back? After being a little distracted with other things I have finished tweaking and submitted it to Big Brown Eyes Collective for their Habitat anthology! They’re deadline for submissions was back in April, but they very kindly let me have an extension as they’re planning on releasing the book around autumn this year. Here’s a bit more of a preview:

The anthology is being released at this year’s Thought Bubble Festival on 23rd-24th September, and also features the likes of Peony Gent and Anja Uhren. In the meantime, you can keep up with BBE’s feeds with previews and more on Twitter and Instagram, and check out their previous anthologies on their online shop.

And that just about wraps things up for now. It’s a quiet spell for me with festivals as I didn’t manage to get into MCM Manchester at the end of July, but if you’re around London/south of the country you should definitely check out the South London Comic and Zine Fair on Saturday 15th July, which promises to be a grassroots, DIY fun show hosted by one of the formidable forces in comics, Gareth Brookes. I won’t be able to make it, but it looks set to be fantastic. And, Paddy from Good Comics will be there with his array of published books including Cosmos & Other Stories. Also, the weekend before is the launch of the Small Press Yearbook 2017 from Broken Frontier which features a short story from your truly.. So, lots going on!

And on that note, I’ll be back soon! Have a good week all, and until next time.. peace out.

 

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