Book cover design

December Madness and Laydeez do Comics!

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, another week bites the dust and the first round of assessment is looming eerily close by. Although I’m working in a haze which can probably be described as “I’m not really sure what I’m doing anymore”, things are getting ticked off the list and I’m vaguely, quietly confident that I’ll be in good stead by Christmas. Well, as long as I avoid any critique sessions where it’s advised to completely change my work.. Sigh. But anyway, I also decided it would be a marvellous idea to start getting up stupidly early in the week to do some mild exercise or yoga (don’t laugh) before getting to work before 8am, which seems to be helping my productivity somewhat. Though, I’m only on day three so far.. And I ache.

Logos

 

First up, as you may remember from last week, I mentioned that I had something exciting up my sleeve to tell you all. WELL! I am over the moon to announce that I have been asked by the lovely Keara Stewart and Wallis Eates of Laydeez do Comics to speak as a part of the Broken Frontier themed evening, as one of the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015! With the small press champion Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver being the reason for so many people getting a chance of recognition and support, it’ll be a great chance to listen to his worldly comics wisdom. Alongside will be the fiercely talented and entertaining Danny Noble, of Ollie and Alan fame, and myself – probably still a bit love-drunk on brandy butter by that point.

Laydeez do Comics London is held in Gosh! Comics in Soho, who are one of the biggest stores to support small press comics creators. Keara and Wallis have stepped up to take over as London Co-ordinators whilst co-founders Sarah Lightman and Nicola Streeten are taking a break to focus on their respective PhDs. here’s a snippet about Laydeez do Comics (LDC) from their website..

“Launched in July 2009 by artists Nicola Streeten and Sarah Lightman, it is the first women led graphic novel forum in the UK. Artists, academics, publishers and fans from around the world are invited to speak. It is a platform for people to test new works and ideas, where emerging artists present their work alongside more established practitioners. The evenings offer an inspiring experience in a social atmosphere for both those new to comics and those already immersed. Laydeez do Comics now has branches in Glasgow,  Bristol, Leeds, Dublin, San Francisco and Chicago.  Pop up events have also taken place in New York, Toronto, Glasgow and Brighton.”

Exciting stuff! The Broken Frontier LDC night is being held on Monday 18th January, and in MORE exciting news I’ve been working together with Gosh and LDC to create a themed window display for the event! At the moment I’ve just been sketching ideas up, but soon I’ll be getting some final designs to both parties and the work will commence the week before the event. Because I’m feeling overly generous, here’s one character from some preliminary sketchbook work for the window design…

Promo Blog

This coming Monday I’ll be attending my first LDC event as a member of the audience, with guest speakers are Mike Medaglia and Rachael Ball. Both are so excellent at what they do, and I can’t wait to be a part of the audience! And also, it’ll be good to see exactly what to expect a month later when I sit the other side of the table. Tickets for LDC are free, but must be booked and disappear incredibly quickly! If you’re interested in attending the Laydeez night in January, then best to pop over to the Laydeez do Comics website and sign up for their mailing list to be alerted when tickets are available (details are on the home page). So if you want to come and watch me pretend to know what I’m talking about, and see my first attempt at window painting.. Sign up now! But in all seriousness, big thanks to Gosh and LDC for letting my represent their values in the form of a window display and asking me to speak as one of the chosen six – I can’t wait!

In other news, you may recall a few weeks ago me referring to one of my projects being the House of Illustration and Folio Society Book Illustration Competition for War Horse! The competition requirements is to produce a set of three internal illustrations and a binding design, to fit into their minimalist graphic style.The competition ends in January, but with assessment looming and final tutorials this week I’ve been working extra hard to get this ready! It’s been a strange project for me to do given that I didn’t particularly want to approach it in the character-centric style I tend to work in, as the general tone of the cheery children’s book is rather dark. Instead, I wanted to focus on the atmosphere, and use certain scenes and textures to give an effect of how very depressing it all was. I mean, the First World War wasn’t exactly all butterflies and flute music, was it? With that in mind, here’s my work in progress on the project to date..

Layout 1

Spine Text

I’m not entirely happy with the binding (front and back cover spread) just yet, but it’s not too far off I don’t think.. Book covers are not something I ever really did before University and I desperately struggled with the last one for Carrie’s War, so I have been determined to get this one right. As for the internal illustrations, I opted to completely avoid using ink lines for this and painted or printed everything using handmade collagraph plates, using Photoshop to put everything together nicely. Again, these aren’t completely 100% finished yet – but not far off.

Finally, after I had a tremendous sell-out of greetings cards at Thought Bubble last month I’ve gotten round to ordering more and putting them up on my Etsy store! There’s a choice of three at the moment, with this year’s Christmas card design and two others. So, for an extra special card this year, pop on over to my Etsy store and check them out.

Well well well, another busy one. I’ll be back next week after a during stressful assessment period, but hopefully with the Christmassy end in sight! Low and behold I have another week of rather important emails, another commission and further uni work progression. So, with that in mind, and the kettle calling my name.. Over and out.

x

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Fresh Off The Piste

Good evening ladies and gents,

I have returned! And more importantly, I have returned with all my limbs intact! My week of snowboarding with my handsome northerner and a bunch of fun Brummies came abruptly to an end on Saturday evening, and although I’m happy to be back to work at Rozi HQ with some pretty interesting goggle tan-lines, I’m also pretty sad to have had to come back to reality. But on the bright side, I have lots of exciting news!

First up, I managed to squeeze in one more project before I flew off with my trusty snowboard; following the Carrie’s War book cover design award entry I submitted, I decided to give another book cover a go to see what I could do with the knowledge I’ve gained. Now, I did only have about a day to go for it with the piece, but I’d been reading the story of Some Kind of Fairy Tale by the late Graham Joyce and I’d started to get an idea in my head of what I wanted to portray. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to get much further than half way through the book, so I focused on a location mentioned several times near the beginning of the book. Woods with bluebells and a yellow covered rock with glowing bugs is a image, so here’s what I came up with;

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce - Orion  student book cover competition entry.
Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce – Orion student book cover competition entry.

 

The entry requirements didn’t ask for anything more than the front cover – no text or anything, so I just went forth and submitted this. It was a quick ‘un, so it was good practise to work on something short notice. We shall see what happens with the winning entry, I believe it’s announced at the end of the month, so here’s hoping!

In some fantastic news for this summer,  Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier contacted the six of us ‘Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ to let us know that he’s been given table space at CECAF (Crouch End Comics Art Festival) on Saturday 6th June. So I jumped on the opportunity to come along too! I’ll be selling copies of The Red Road alongside some of the other six creators, and it all sounds rather fun! You can read about last year’s CECAF festival review from Andy here. And in more wonderful news, I heard back from Alternative Press last week and I have been offered some space on their First Publications Corner (FPC) at TAKEOVER 2015 on Saturday 9th May in London! I shall be there behind the table with The Red Road, or mooching around the other stalls all day from 12-7 in just under 4 weeks time, so if you’re local to the area be sure to pop along and say hi. And, it’s FREE!

 

So with these two events, plus MancsterCon in August and Thought Bubble in November it’s turning into a busy year! I decided to do a little administration work today and rearranged my website to have some handy important-person-friendly links underneath my about section! So we now have sections for collaborations, commissions and competitions. It still needs a little work, but it’s mostly ready for now! Commissions side looks a little on the light side, so feel free to hit me up for any commission requests from summer onwards.

Finally, I also re-listed two sets of the giclee prints I had made a while ago of two abandoned buildings in Northampton! They’re back listed on my Etsy site alongside The Red Road, so do have a look if you’re interested in owning some of my detailed illustration prints from a couple of years ago. I’ll be getting the Down To Your Skivvied zines sorted by the end of the week, so my Etsy store will be looking nice and full soon enough! Keep any eye out for those in the latter part of the week. Anywho, I think that’s it for now! I shall be cracking on with some Uni work for the remainder of the week ready for final assessments, so needless to say it’s straight back to the grind. Have a good week all, excuse me whilst I look at my holiday pictures and sob into some French chocolate bars. Peace out! x

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It’s not the destination, it’s the ride.

Good evening my happy followers!

So, another week gone, and a fresh week full of challenges and piles of work await my undivided attention.. It’s getting to that key time where all of my university deadlines fall around the same week of each other, so I’m manically trying to get everything done to the highest possible level that I can do whilst still juggling a few other things and whatever is left of my sanity. On the plus side, I had an incredibly efficient week last week, and although that doesn’t make things that much easier in the run-up to the deadline mine field, it does help a little. One thing I’m really happy to have completed is as follows..

In early February I was approached via Facebook by a charity called Ride for Willen; They have organised a 800 mile charity bike ride from Paris to Nice, over both Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux, with the aim of raising much needed funds for the Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes. Alongside the sponsored bike ride, they have an additional site called Ride.Eat.Drink set up to further support the Willen Hospice by selling illustrated gifts and prints. Naomi, a good friend of mine from Uni, had also been approached to create a piece and she made this incredibly detailed paper-cut original illustration for sale. Now, I was a little late to the party as I needed to get some uni work out of the way first, but thanks to my other good friend known as The Mohawk, cycling king, I finally came up with this piece which I finished on Thursday evening! Check it out;

Donated illustration to charity; Ride for Willen
Donated illustration to charity; Ride for Willen

According to my previously mentioned friend, The Mohawk, the secret behind the enjoyment of cycling is the views – and this really stuck with me. Although I’m not a cyclist myself, I am definitely an appreciator of good views, and after some research and presenting The Mohawk with some ideas, he helped me narrow down my concepts which I then sketched up and refined further. And then, well.. There it is! I tried to really capture the essence of the peace and tranquillity from riding (not the leg-burning pain I was blessed with the last time I used a bike machine at the gym..). I also didn’t want to focus too much on who, or what bike it is, so it’s open to the imagination a little more. Anyway, the Ride.Eat.Drink team seemed to really like the piece, so I’m happy to be able to help! Prints of the piece should be going up for sale in the next couple of days, and you can further support the sponsored bike ride by visiting their donation page here or buying illustrated goodies here. Success!

Talking of finished pieces, I finally finished my submission for The Penguin Random House Design Award last week. As a brief also for a university assignment, I re-designed the book cover for the Puffin book Carrie’s War. It took a lot of critical analysis, re-drawing and re-jigging to get this piece as good as I could get it, and it was an insanely hard piece of work for some reason.. I think my brain is hardwired into narrative, so trying to give an essence of a whole book in one cover, whilst gaining viewer interest and maintaining that hold on the casual browser into picking it up and reading over.. Phew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it again! Props to people who can do it all (book covers, editorial, narrative, gifts, e.t.c), hopefully this book cover has taught me a lot and makes the next attempt a lot easier, but it was definitely a big challenge for me.

Carrie's War
Carrie’s War

I’m not entirely optimistic that it’s a winning entry, there are so many applicants for the competition it’s like being a very small student entry fish in a very large tank of other highly talented student fish. Anyway, regardless of the competition it’s been a healthy change for me to do something different, though I miss comics!

Finally, this past week I submitted my applications for ELCAF (East London Comics and Art Festival) being held on June 20th-21st, and also Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds on the weekend of 14th-15th November. In the world of comic art festivals (rather than the more well-known Comic-Con’s, which are more aimed towards the mass-market) Thought Bubble is one of the huge hitters. It’s been going since 2006, and rises in popularity every year. Along with the Comic Arts Festival in the Lake District, these two are the kings of festivals in the North of England. ELCAF in London is a fairly new festival, run by the publishers Nobrow. Both of these I would be hugely honoured to be able to attend, and I should find out by the end of the month whether I’ve been successful or not! Teamed with the more independently run MancsterCon that I’ve been confirmed for in August, I’m really hopeful that this year just keeps on getting more awesome! Fingers and toes crossed, everybody!

Right, I shall leave it at that for now. I shall be back with you all like clock-work in the next week for more updates on all the gossip from Rozi-HQ. Over and out! x

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