Bristol Comics

Bristol Round-Up & Inktoker

Greetings friends!

So, another comic event has drawn to a close leaving just one final show before the year is done. Where did 2017 go, huh? Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) had an absolutely electric environment this year, with an expanded space and over 100 creators behind 80 tables. I was in the smaller side-section of the venue known as The Kitchen, right next to the food and coffee (useful) and in an immense stroke of luck, the person I was due to be tabling next to had cancelled at short notice, meaning a) I could spread out and b) I didn’t have to sit in a pillar. You wouldn’t believe some of the pillars and chairs you end up getting squished next to at comic fairs over the years… It’s not all glamour, I tell you.

The beauty of Bristol is that it has an eclectic mix of students, local artists and generally interested general public. With the event being free to enter it brought in a lot of people and made the whole event a really exciting place to be. Having my table located off in a side-venue would normally mean a quieter day, but the organisers managed to put a lot of complimentary creators/publishers together, and regardless of my location it was an incredibly busy day! Tabling next to a pillar was a little lonely at times, but I had a lot of interesting conversations with people and had a chance to catch up briefly with Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Alex Thomas from Pipedream Comics. I also met Bryony Attenburrow, who did the Laydeez do Comics blog back in January last year when I spoke alongside Andy Oliver and Danny Noble, who is really nice! The whole day was a bit of a whirlwind, meeting new people and catching up with comics’ chums, but it was a really great day. Huge thanks to the BCZF organisers for doing such a spectacular job, and of course to everyone who swung by my table to say hello!

Off course, it wouldn’t be a good day at a comic fair if I didn’t get the chance to pick up some sweet new zines. Between myself and Sam we managed to pick up a nice haul of new things – some of which I’d been after for a long while. Check it out!

As you can see, I also managed to get my mitts on a copy of the Pull List which included my interview! So shiny! You can pick up your digital copy of the Pull List here. I’d been wanting to pick up the Laydeez do Comics zine Hometown for quite a while, and similarly the Desert Island Discs Fanzine hasn’t been out all that long and I’d always intended to do something for it. There’s a really interesting correlation between comics and music, something you can see in the Dead Singer’s Society zines too – you can’t beat the passion of reading about someone’s connection to a particular song, album or artist. It’s like listening to Professor Brian Cox talk about the solar system or physics; I’m not wholly familiar with those long words he’s using, or totally understand what he means, but damn it’s interesting.

Another cool thing I picked up purely by it taking my fancy, is this really cool fold-out double-sided illustration/poster by Jo Berry! It quite literally caught by eye as I was walking back to my table with £3 burning a hole in my pocket – it’s a really interesting way of working and something I’ve been keen to try out for a while, the folded paper method of narrative and building out to a bigger picture. I can’t find much information on Jo or where to by Zoology, but she has an Instagram page here.

In other news, I’ve been clocking away and doodling away daily for this year’s Inktober! I’ve managed to always miss taking part the past few years, usually due to being busy working on twelve other things. So this year I decided I would truly throw myself into it and have a good go at it. And so far I have just about managed to keep on track, with only a few “I can’t be bothered to clamber into the house for WiFi to post this tonight, I’ll do it tomorrow” moments.

For those of you unaware, Inktober is essentially 31 days of 31 drawings. Every year cartoonists, comic artists, illustrators, creatives, librarians, doodlers and anyone who wants to, picks up a pen and does one ink drawing every day for an entire month. It keeps you drawing even if it’s only 5 minutes a day, and for others who spend longer on their pieces can add real refinement to their drawing. Me, I’m just a doodler, so I’ve spent the last 10 days making one ink drawing with a couple of Kuretake brush pens and some added highlights to make a narrative about a fox and a butterfly. All the drawings are posted up on my Twitter, but keep an eye out on here as at the end of the month you’ll get to see the entire story.

Also, remember me talking about that illustration submission with the bamboo and two other drawings I was making progress on? Well! It was originally for the Collective Arts Brewing Submission, and for those who don’t know what this is, this is how they explain themselves:

Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewer based in Ontario that aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists, musicians and filmmakers. Matt Johnston and Bob Russell founded Collective Arts Brewing on two beliefs: The first that creativity fosters creativity. And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints.

Each of our beers is a work of art. On the inside, we proudly brew some of the most well-crafted beers with the help of our brewmaster, Ryan Morrow. On the outside, we feature limited-edition works of art by artists and musicians that change every few months. Added bonus? Through the augmented reality technology of our partner Blippar, all labels come to life through the free Blippar mobile phone app. Simply scan the label to hear the music, see the videos and view artist bios.

– Collective Arts Brewing site

Sadly, due to moving, I just missed the deadline. But, that’s no reason not to finish it up anyway as it’s valuable experience. Have a look at my designs below:

Collective Arts Brewing – Final Mock Ups!

As you can probably tell, this set was hugely influenced from a couple of months ago when I was watching documentaries on Life in Japan and their arts and culture, prompted by the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum. It was really nice to do something without any people/figures, and also it was good to do something a little more branded and physical, even if I didn’t make the submission deadline. I’ll try again next time – the new call for art is already up with the deadline of April 2018.

Anyhow, that’s it for now! Check back next week as I’ll be gearing up for the final show Loogabarooga Comic Fair in Loughborough. Until then, peace out.

 

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One Down, Two to Go

Good afternoon folks!

It’s been a week-and-a-half since Leeds already, huh? Time flies when you’re moving house and have a whopper of a cold. But, lurgy-moaning aside.. Thought Bubble. What a festival! As always it totally lived up to all expectations and I had an absolute blast. I was lucky enough to be tabling next to Sam Williams of Good Comics and his thermos of coffee, so we both ruled the table and a half of comics between us and tried not to spend all our takings on other people’s beautiful printed wares.

Thank you so much to everyone who came by, especially to those who already have some of my comics and came round especially to pick up something new. You guys in particular make my heart melt a little. Check out our Hathaway-Good Comics joined tables below, and a special guest appearance of GC’s Paddy in a frame as he couldn’t be there in person. Yes, I had to explain many times that Paddy is in fact not deceased, and yes, one person was genuinely concerned for his well-being. But it’s fine, we had Good Comics published creators pose with Paddy to make him feel like he was really there!

Saturday was the busiest day of the two in the Cookridge Street Marquee; it seemed to be the first marquee of festival that people stumbled into which definitely helped boost sales. The steady flow of visitors seemingly stayed constant all day, and by the evening it felt like a very quick day indeed! Also, the yearly tradition of the mid-con unofficial karaoke party was in full swing this year, though you’ll all still be pleased to know that I still managed to safely hang back and save everyone from my strangled-feline style melodies. Sunday was a quieter but still fairly busy day, with more tired and bleary-eyed creators bumbling around doing their shopping during the quiet spells… -cough- including me -cough-.

Sunday ended with a nice pint and the traditional Five Guys burger meal, followed by the slow train home through every village of the Pennines back to Manchester. Thankfully there was penty of reading material – check out this sweet haul:

Clockwise from LHS: Alex Automatic by Fraser Campbell, Cindy and Biscuit by Dan White, The Wolf and The Fox by Joe Latham, Haven’t I Read This Somewhere Before? free comic hand-out, Murder Mystery by Emma Reynolds, The Legend Of La Mariposa bundle by James Lawrence, and Habitat by Big Brown Eyes Collective.

The Wolf and The Fox by Joe Latham especially turned me into a melt-in-the-middle dollop behind my table on Sunday afternoon, and La Mariposa by James Lawrence has some amazing facial expressions and a great back story – speaking of which, you can find the full web-comic for free over here, starting right from the beginning. Also, Habitat by Big Brown Eyes Collective, as you can see is now out in the world and ready to be seen! I’ve had my contributor copy handed to me by the sisters of BBE, and you can get yours here on their Etsy store. See a snippet of my illustration for the anthology below!

And that wraps up the TBubz coverage! Huge thanks as always to the Thought Bubble organisers and red-shirt wearing volunteers for making the event such a pleasure to sell at. It really does make all the difference.

Before Thought Bubble kicked off, I went on over to 42nd Street in Manchester, the charity that I’m supporting through sales of my ‘These Mountains Aren’t Yours to Climb Alone’ print currently on sale on my Etsy store. I went along to say hi to the staff and pick up some leaflets to display alongside my Thought Bubble table display, and to use going forward when I’m tabling at events to help sell the prints. Don’t forget, the prints are still available online here, with 50% of the sale going to 42nd Street Manchester, a charity that supports young people aged 11-25 with their emotional well-being and mental health. The work they do is incredibly important, and you can help by getting your hands on some artwork at the same time!

In other news, this weekend is the annual Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) at The Station in Bristol. Originally I didn’t quite get in, but thankfully the Bristolian Comics Gods shined down on me as I managed to nab a reserve spot and this Cinderella will now definitely be going to the ball. Cosmos & Other Stories is now down to only a handful of copies, so if you’re in the area act quick and come pick one up from me, or get your copy online in the Good Comics shop. Plus, I’ll be there with the usual suspects of Njálla, Ø, Self-Care & Vegetables and also some copies of the newest Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook featuring my short comic that came out earlier this year (see below).

And that just about wraps it up for now! Next week I’ll be back with some nice new things I’ve started drawing for Inktober, but if you want to keep up with them in the meantime you can follow my inklings over on Twitter. I will hopefully see some of you at Bristol on Saturday, and if not.. until next time!

 

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Ubiquity, Upcoming, & More

Good afternoon all,

So, these weeks are flying by aren’t they? It only feels like last week that I boarded my chariot (otherwise known as the Manchester to London Virgin train) for the opening of The Cartoon Museum’s exhibition The Inking Woman. Ending on Sunday 23rd, you only have a few days to go and check it out before it moves on! The opening night back in April was heaving, and the atmosphere was electric so I could barely concentrate on having a look around, so this past Saturday I returned to fully absorb the exhibition before it’s too late. Check it out:

It really is an entertaining selection of work from creators’ old and new, with a mix of original artwork and digital prints. It’s always incredibly interesting to see the original artwork, correction fluid and fresh paper placed over mistakes, paint over panel borders and smudges in the corners. If you have the chance to get down there I’d strongly recommended it!

In other news, sales have started to come through for my mental health print, in support of 42nd Street Manchester! It’s really heart-warming to see people moved by and interested in supporting the causes that 42nd Street, and their arts-venue the Horsfall. You can still get the prints online from my store here, with 50% of the proceeds going to the charity.

Also, I have some updates for my comic’s festival schedule! Sadly, as is the case with highly sought-after events, I didn’t manage to get a table at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair this year, held at The Station on Saturday 7th October. Thankfully for me, I can get in on the action and come along with Good Comics to support them, whilst having a few of my other titles on the communal table. Two weeks later, on Saturday 21st October, I’ve managed to squeeze into Loogabarooga Comics Fair in Loughborough with a last minute slot – party on! I will, of course, also be at Thought Bubble Festival now in its earlier calendar-slot of Saturday 23rd-24th September alongside Sam Williams of Good Comics, and a cardboard cut-out of Paddy (who has family commitments, cuh). So, it’s going to be a busy couple of months!

*cough* I will also be bringing out a little(ish) something new in time for Thought Bubble in September, so do watch this space…. *cough*

Finally, I’ve also managed to re-stock in my usual comic haunts, and get some stock in new places! As of this moment in time, you can currently get your hands on my books in Gosh Comics (London), Orbital Comics (London), The Cartoon Museum (London), Gnash Comics (Devon), The Incredible Comic Shop (Swindon), Page 45 (Nottingham) and Travelling Man (Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle & York). There may be some remaining in Nostalgia & Comics Birmingham, though I’m not totally sure what’s left there. Here’s some snaps!

So, as you can see, I’m slowly taking over the World. Or something to that effect.. Huge thanks to all the comics shops and Small Press friendly fans who keep buying my books dotted around the country! Nothing brings me greater joy than a surprise tweet to say someone’s picked up my work in a store or at a festival. It really is the best.

And, that just about rounds things up for now. As I alluded to earlier, I’m working on some top-secret tasks and planning at the moment with more to be revealed soon.. But until then, peace out!

 

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BCZF and the Sneaky Launch

Good afternoon ladies and gents.

So, another week has zoomed by and this here will be my last blog for a little while. From next week I’ll be making the big move up North to Manchester and starting a new job, so there’s some pretty big life adjustments to get my head around! It’s been a tough few weeks making sure everything is done in time for moving, and also finishing up comics work and launching Sneaky Business vol. 2, so I’m looking forward to having everything put to bed so I can focus all my energy on mine and my handsome northerner’s new home together.

But, regardless of the sheer amount of work, Sneaky Business vol. 2 is go! Despite the very nearly irreversible spelling mistakes bring printed, forgetting to tell people they’re included, and then completely forgetting to put it up for sale online, Sneaky Business vol. 2 has been launched; and, in true style! Bristol Comic and Zine Fair this past Saturday was a wonderfully vibrant day, and between the beaming sunshine and rain showers it made for a consistently high volumes of people having a look around, and spending their hard earned money on comic and zine-like goods! Here are some photos from the day, some by me and some respectfully borrowed from the event photographer Eileen Long and Editor in Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver. Check them out below:

I had SUCH a good time at BCZF, and big thanks to everyone who came by my table to say hello! And also to anyone who happened to make the mistake of asking how things are and ended up hearing my life story about how stressful moving home is (I think the Avery Hill gents, Elizabeth Querstret and Rebecca Bagley took the brunt of it) – please forgive me. Overall it was such a fun day, and I really can’t wait to apply again and hopefully be a part of the fun next year too! Though with how crammed my half table was this year I may have to look into a better way of presenting my comics and goods.. Hang them from the ceiling? Stick them to my clothing? Send your suggestions on a postcard.

But, anyway.. Sneaky Business vol. 2 had it’s grand launch complete with googly eyes, and as of yesterday can now be purchased on my Etsy store for the bargain price of £3! Printed in a limited run of 100, SB2 contains 36 pages from 19 creators, so get your hands on a copy pronto. You can read all about the artists and creators included in Sneaky Business from my previous blog here.

Click me!

In other news, I found out that my submission to the Illustrated Women in History zine has been accepted! You may or may not remember, back in July I created a piece on Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, to submit to this zine by Julie Gough of A Pale Landscape, and I’m thrilled to have made it to the final selection. The zine is on sale now for £10 plus shipping, and can be found and ordered here.

So as you can see, it’s been a busy and successful week! I just have a one final piece of work to do before moving which you’ll all be privy to in the coming months, but until then I must love and leave you all for a few weeks. Feel free to send burly moving men my way as I’m not sure how me and a skinny IT guy are going to move all our belongings up and down far too many flights of stairs.. But until next time, see you on the other side!

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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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