Broken Frontier Six to Watch

Small Press Celebration

Good afternoon viewers,

So, it’s been another busy week here at HQ – just how we like it. Between finishing off my 4-page comic submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, setting up the call for submissions for Sneaky Business vol. 2 and preparing both for D&AD and Small Press Day, it’s been a fun one! I’ve also been playing around in my sketchbook to expand my illustration portfolio, with more of that later.

First up, as you may recall from last week I was scurrying away to finish up my submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8. It’ll be a year since I first appeared in DRC, with my autobiographical comic Rejsen printed in Issue #5 of the anthology. For those of you who don’t know, Dirty Rotten Comics is a British comics anthology published three times a year and the guys who run it are dedicated to championing small press comic creators, big and small. To continue with my short stories with Danish titles theme, this time around I created Sørgedag, meaning mourning/bereavement (direct translation is sad-day). After finishing Njálla, which not only was a mammoth task but also very much all-ages family-friendly compared to my track record of work, I felt the need to get back to my dark roots and go with something a little more gloomy. I’d had the idea in my head for Sørgedag for a while, but in the end I tweaked the setting and played around a lot with atmosphere and panels and added in a whole new way of colouring; rough acrylic paints.

Sørgedag Preview: 4-page comic submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8

I had a LOT of fun working with acrylic paints, and it brings a whole new kind of texture and feeling to the comic. As for the technical details, I began working in the usual way; plot, script, sketches, rough out pages on layout paper and ink up the line-work on heavyweight cartridge paper. Usually I paint directly onto the cartridge paper with my linework, but this time I used my lightbox to layer over another piece of cartridge paper and get all messy with paint to the lines underneath. The whole thing turned out great, and though DRC is strictly black and white I painted it in colour so I have the option to republish it on my own at a later date in colour. Woohoo! Here are some work-in-progress previews:

Printed purely in black and white with colourful covers, Dirty Rotten Comics anthologies feature around 70 pages of work, 1-4 pages in length for the bargain price of £4; hopefully I find out soon whether I’ve been successful or not – fingers crossed!

In other news, the Sneaky Business Vol.2 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS IS LIVE! After the sell-out success of Sneaky Business Vol. 1 released in August last year, I’m bringing it back for the second issue and it will be bigger and better than ever!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Last year I hand-picked four comics pals to create 1-2 page comics under the theme of ‘stealth’ and ‘sneaky’, as something a bit different and lighthearted from my usual repertoire; Alex Hahn, Pete Hindle, Peter James Norman and Samuel C. Williams happily agreed to create something new for the comics-zine, and I also created a comic too, ’cause, y’know.. I’m the boss. The 12-page comics-zine was sold online and in comic shops around the UK at the lowest price possible to break even on printing costs. This time around I decided to expand on the idea and open up submissions to everyone, and that I have done! Who knows how many pages it’ll end up being? But the ethos remains the same, with Sneaky Business as a community platform for entertaining stories made as accessible to readers as possible.

 

If you’re interested in submitting or want to check out more information, the Call for Submissions page is live and has everything you need to know! Submissions are open for 10 weeks, and close just before midnight on Monday 12th September.. Get your thinking caps on and get involved, it’s going to be snazzy.

Finally, I’m spending a lot of time in London this week, not only for the D&AD New Blood festival in Shoreditch as a graduate of the University of Northampton (got a First, by the way. Boom), but also as this Saturday is the first ever Small Press Day! What is this new, fantastic sounding day, you ask?

A celebration of self-publishing, DIY culture, and grassroots comics across the U.K and Ireland on Saturday 9th July.

An idea born on twitter led to a series of nationwide events in a matter of weeks. The reaction and the support of our aim (to spotlight the possibilities of small press publishing via store-based events and signings, in the first instance, and to bring its practitioners to the far wider audience they deserve) has been absolutely phenomenal. Join us on 9th July for the inaugural Small Press Day at one of the stores listed on the map below and meet the next generation of superstar comic creators, zine makers, and DIY micro publishers.

Small Press Day website

There will be events all over the UK, and I will be signing as part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch‘ crew at Orbital Comics, and you can find a full breakdown of the time slots for the day here. So far Broken Frontier has covered several articles of the events going on, including a guide to events in Londonthe South East and South West and the Midlands, but to see it all head to the Small Press Day website or keep an eye on Broken Frontier over the next few days. It’s going to be a pretty spectacular day!

And that just about rounds it up for this week! The ol’ website has had some new work added to the Illustration side of things, so head over there to check out some new and updated work, or keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram for regular pictures and ramblings. Until next week!

x

Share:

Degree Show Launch

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s pretty much all over. Yikes. The ‘student’ title I’ve begrudgingly had for the past two and a half years is slowly fading as the Degree Show is nearing close and graduation is only a month away. Putting together the degree show was quite the task, with the private view and launch party on Friday evening drawing in far more of a crowd than expected – always a good sign! Between putting the catalogue together and building a shop out of boxes, lugging heavy boards and painting portfolio stands it was all a bit of a blur.. But it’s done, and open to view every day until it shuts for good this Sunday 19th June.

Huge thanks to fellow graduate Naomi for letting my use her photos (above), and also helping to keep me sane over this past year! The degree show was entirely tutor-led by design, though a few of us took over creating and designing the catalogue. I can’t take any credit for the overall design, but I certainly put my InDesign skills to good use! A few of us also set up our own shop to sit outside of the room itself, selling a range of items; from my comics Njálla and The Red Road, to postcards, prints, and other students books and 3D items.

Ckmi15HXEAAMSzJ

Overall the feedback has been positive, and although it’s not exactly what I’d hoped from my degree show when I’ve walked around universities in the past, it’s been nice to have an end-point (and several glasses of wine) to celebrate. Apart from clearing out the show next week and graduation at the end of July, that’s pretty much it! You can find all the information about our Creative Curiosities degree show here on the event page, or the School of the Arts degree shows as a whole through the University of Northampton website here.

As my time has freed up a little between the degree show being completed and leaving the country for a few days I took the opportunity to do my yearly girlfriend duties of doing something for Chris whilst he’s away at Download Festival. Last year I created Rejsen for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, and the year before that I made a Boba Fett piece for him, which I eventually turned into a poster. As for 2013 I have not the foggiest what I did, if anything, as I managed to accidentally erase my old Blogspot page with my old blogs from 2011-2014 a few months back (gutting, yes.. but on the plus side my old horrendously bad work is no longer available to find online). This year I decided to have a go at daily comics. Journalistic comics is something I’ve wanted to branch into for a while but never had the time, so I felt that this would be a great opportunity to give it a whirl and see how it felt.

To best understand the premise for the comic, here is the intro to be read in the Law & Order narration voice:

In June every year, Chris goes to Download Festival and I sit at home working.
This year, I am recording this exciting time in comic form.
These are my stories.

– DUN DUN –

Seven days. I managed a whole seven days. Go team! I’ll admit, I didn’t get to draw every day and some days had more catch-up than others, but it went pretty smoothly for the most part. I only used pencil, pen and acrylic ink for the whole thing and it’s VERY rough and ready as it was intended just to get my brain thinking rather than creating a masterpiece. Anywho, Chris let out some vague and hopefully not fake giggles when he read it, so I’ll take that as a positive sign. With my next immediate comics project coming up being a fresh submission to Dirty Rotten Comics for their 8th anthology it was a good thing to work in black and white again; it’s been quite a while since working sans colour, so definitely a wise move to practice again before developing a new short story. Plus, with DRC#8 due in just under two weeks I need to get cracking!

On a final note, this coming Saturday is the yearly Crouch End Cartoon Art Festival at Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End, London! I’m so sad to be unable to make it this year after I had such a blast last year, but holding fort on the Broken Frontier Small Press to Watch table this year will be Andy Oliver with a few others, and stacks of Small Press Yearbooks for sale! There are a whole host of other talented and wonderful folks including Richy K. Chandler, Wallis Eates and Avery Hill Publishing; so if you’re in the area pop on down and check out the talents on offer – it’s FREE! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has written up a release all about the event, which you can peruse over here.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Now that this student malarkey is almost over I need to spend every waking hour trying not to fail as an illustrator. Talk about pressure.. Happy Wednesday! Until next week, have a good ‘un everyone!

x

Share:

Comiket, Assessment and More!

Good afternoon folks!

So, you’ll have to forgive my tardiness this week in getting the ol’ blog out on time. Yesterday was my final, FINAL ever assessment at University in the form of a 20-minute presentation and unfortunately that took over the entire week. But now, as much as it hasn’t really sunken in yet, my degree is finished. In 2-3 weeks I should find out what classification of a degree I’ve received, then there’s just that pesky business of a Degree Show exhibition to finish preparing for, and then graduation is in July. The sweet feeling of freedom is almost in my tired, sweaty grasp and I can confirm that IT FEELS GOOD.

It slipped my mind to take any pictures of the stacks of project sketchbooks on my desk and images on the wall, but just imagine a few arms full of stuff. And a lavvu in the corner. I’ll write up a better synopsis of my final year of university projects after the degree show, but for now I have PLENTY to keep you entertained with.

First up, Comiket! Last Saturday 14th May I willingly dragged myself away from assessment preparations to spend the day in London with my favourite Editor-in-Chief, Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier on the Small Press ‘Six to Watch‘ table at Comica London’s Comiket! Having never been to a Comica event before I wasn’t quite sure to expect, but situated under the Victorian glass-panelled roof between the Central St. Martin’s College of Art and the House of Illustration it was a quaint little market with a great atmosphere. As I’m on the brink of releasing a new comic, and with Sneaky Business being totally sold out, my section of the table was looking a little anaemic, but in all we had a pretty decent day and sold a lot of Small Press Yearbooks.

Apart from drinking copious amounts of Waitrose coffee to keep warm and manning the Six to Watch table, I was incredibly honoured to be a part of Paul Gravett’s Live Drawing Parade! In 25-minute slots, the Drawing Parade featured a whole host of people including the likes of Paul B. Rainey, Jessica Martin, Sean Azzopardi and JAKe. It’s really great to watch people draw live, with some far more sensible people having a composition ready worked out to ink, and then masochistic people like me who decided to freehand draw a composition right then and there. The Drawing Parade was filmed and also projected onto a screen for an audience to watch (look mum, I’m famous!), and the time-slot also included Paul Gravett doing small interviews with us drawing folk. I opted to work on a drawing of the characters from Njálla – not only as promotion but also as I’m really, really used to drawing lots of foxes at the moment. Big thanks to Andy Oliver for taking some snaps of my serious-work-face whilst drawing and painting away! Yes, yes, sadly I’m one of those people with RBF.

I had such a great day at Comiket. It is always a huge pleasure to spend time with comic folk, catching up with familiar lovely faces and meeting new ones is one of the most rewarding parts of working in comics as everyone is so totally down-to-earth. We’re all just a bunch of tired people who understand what it’s like to spend hours drawing alone at all hours. Best job in the world, mind you. Except maybe the panda-hugger. Sadly due to both personal and degree show commitments I’ll be missing out on DIY Cultures at the end of this month and CECAF/ELCAF in June, so I plonked home after Comiket knowing it’ll be a while until the next one. To read a round-up of both Comiket and other goings-on in the Small Press world check out Broken Frontier’s Small Press Round-Up!

In other exciting news, my humble HQ has seemingly turned into a distribution centre as I am now amid packaging, cellophane envelopes, stickers, prints, colouring books and lots and lots of copies of Njálla. Yay! Three big boxes of comics were the last to arrive yesterday evening, with my new friend the UPS man even carrying them up two flights of stairs for me. Spoilt, I tell you. MASSIVE thanks go out to Rich at Comic Printing UK who not only has made Njálla look supple and wonderful (you just wait till you feel that matte-laminate cover, it’s face-strokeably good) but also has been a source of entertainment and support throughout the whole process. If any of you ever decide to create comics I would encourage you to go and speak to Rich and read all his excellent advice blogs.

So now I’m left with the mammoth task of finishing off original artwork commissions for my 12 generous Kickstarter backers, wait for the money to come in and ship off LOTS of comics to their new forever homes. I start shipping out from next week with all my backers the first to receive their copies, and Njálla launching online on my Etsy store from Thursday 2nd June, with the OFFICIAL launch here in Northampton at the NN Café on Saturday 4th June. Yippee!

In a final snippet of other news, last week I mentioned working on a short one-page comic for Good Comics Dead Singers Society Volume 2. You’ll all be relieved to know that I manage to finish it up and shoot it over to those friendly gents in time, and will be featured in the new Dead Singer’s when it’s released. How exciting! If you want to check out the first volume you can get your hands on a copy through the Good Comics online shop here. But for now, here’s a snippet from my comic in the upcoming volume two..

The next anthology project I’ll be working on is a submission for the newly-announced Dirty Rotten Comics #8. The call for submissions runs up until 30th June so I have time aplenty to work on my next 1-5 page black and white idea. The submission is open to all UK emerging comic artists and after my two-page Rejsen comic was successfully printed in Dirty Rotten Comics #5 I’ve been itching to get into their ace anthology again. After that deadline’s passed I’ll be working on Sneaky Business volume 2, so keep an eye out for news on that coming in the next month or so..

Anyway, I’d best get back to it. I have a whole load of commissions to be working on this weekend so rest safe in the knowledge that I’m upping my caffeine intake accordingly. I’ll be back next week on schedule for Wednesday with more news on Njálla and maybe even some more sneaky peeks.. Ooh err! Until next time, have a good weekend all!

 

x

Share:

Kickstarter Complete!

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, we’re done! As of Friday morning Njálla’s Kickstarter campaign finished with a whopping £2502 pledged from 139 lovely backers. WE DID IT! Thank you so much to all my wonderful backers, it wouldn’t have been possible without your keen interest in my story. It’s been an overwhelming 30 days and I’m still a little bit in shock from the whole campaign process. But, no time for that dazed nonsense, there is work to be done!

Page 31

I managed to get really organised and sent all the completed pages over to Rich at Comic Printing UK on Thursday of last week, so we’re ahead of schedule for the comic itself. Rich has worked his matte laminate magic and gotten some proof copies over to me at super-speed, so I’m working on some small final amendments before the final 250 copies are ready to fly out of the Comic Printing printer. This week I’ve also sent off my order for colouring books, prints and stickers, so you’ll all be glad to hear that everything is in motion.. Yippee! Organised is my middle name, don’tcha know.

In more exciting news, I’m very happy to reveal to you all… the cover! Kickstarter backers had the grand unveiling last week, so you’ll have to excuse them if they’re sticking their tongues out and going ‘nerr’ at you non-backers from behind their screens. Here it is:

Cover Preview

Exciting, right? Right?! I’m excited. Especially since receiving my matte laminate covered proof copies and seeing this in all it’s physical glory.. Swoon. In the coming weeks I’ll be working on original artwork and finishing up university assessment stuff, and then all physical backer pledges will be sent out the week prior to Njálla’s release. Time is drawing ever closer to Njálla’s release to the world, and that familiar terrified/exciting feeling is going to be a perma-fixture for the foreseeable future. Yikes!

In other news, this weekend is the highly anticipated Comica Comiket in London! On Saturday 14th from 11-6pm Comiket will be held underneath the Victorian glass-roofed shed between the House Of Illustration and the Central St Martins College of Art, not far from Kings Cross St. Pancras. As I’m just a couple of weeks shy of a new book release I didn’t apply for a table myself, however I’m joining in the fun at the Broken Frontier’s Six to Watch table to help promote and sell the Small Press Yearbook as well as selling some copies of The Red Road and Down to Your Skivvies zine! There will also be an array of Six to Watch comics for sale on the table, including the likes of Emma Raby and Rebecca Bagley. So, if you’re in or around London on Saturday pop down and say hi! The whole event is free and there’s loads of things to see and do as well as visit stalls, it’s shaping up to be an excellent event.

You can register your interest on the Facebook event page here or just turn up and have a wander. It’ll be awesome.

In other news, I’ve been taking some time to wind down after working on a couple of such hefty projects (both Njálla and the Unilever animation) to work on a short 1-pager comic for the upcoming volume 2 of Dead Singers Society! After the success of the first issue, of which I created a single page illustration of Muddy Waters, the gents at Good Comics have had their call for submissions out for a while in preparation for the second issue. I’ve only just had a chance to dive into this one, but I’m really excited to be creating a short comic for this particular dead singer. All will be revealed in time, but for now, here’s a sneaky preview of what I’ve been working on…

FullSizeRender (1)

If you fancy submitting for Dead Singers Society vol. 2 and you like to leave it last minute like I have, you still have time! Submissions end at 11pm on Sunday 15th, and for all the information and more from Good Comics you can head over to their Twitter page here.

Finally, in the madness of the Kickstarter it completely slipped under my radar, but I have now officially sold out of Sneaky Business! The short comics-zine I created with submissions from Pete Hindle, Samuel C. Williams, Alex Hahn and Peter James Norman last summer has flown the coop, with potential copies left in various stores around the UK (note to self: I should check on that). Now Njálla is reaching completion I’ll be looking into volume 2 of Sneaky Business, so although it won’t be for a little while if you’re interested in potentially contributing then get in touch (I sit alone at a desk all day, I could certainly do with a conversation that isn’t with myself).

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Assessment work needs to be done for next week and the kettle won’t boil itself. Keep an eye out next week for more visual goodness and a run-down on Comiket! Until then..

 

x

Share: