Comic Printing UK

Autumn’s Arrived

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, summer is now a somewhat distant thought and the days are drawing shorter, nights chillier and bed is looking a damn sight cosier. Goodnight! Oh, wait.. Blog.

As I decline into the time of year where all I want to do is sleep, and by realising I already packed all my winter-wear up in boxes for moving I’m desperately hoping that it doesn’t get much colder in the next fortnight, it’s also looming towards the festival season of comics here in the UK. The Lakes International Comic Art Festival pops up in Kendal in the Lake District in mid-October with famous guests galore (I’ll get there one day…) all in the cosy Comics Clock Tower, followed shortly after my the awe-inspiringly massive Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival over the first weekend of November, in Leeds (which I will be at, huzzah!). First up, however, is the long-awaited Bristol Comic & Zine Fair this Saturday, 1st October.

I have been so redonkulously excited for BCZF since table applications opened up, and even more so excited when they let me have a table to host my goodies on. The weekend kicks off for me on Friday evening as my chariot (ie, a National Express bus) arrives in the centre of Bristol and I go find something to eat before falling into my hotel bed. I’ve never been able to get a hotel for a comics festival before – and honestly that’s a huge part of why I’m so excited – so I’ll be able to wake up fresh-faced ready for selling and chatting with folks.

There are a whole host of lovely guests this year including Sneaky Business featured Elizabeth Querstret, along with other folks you might have heard of such as Avery Hill Publishing, Mike Medaglia, the Sad Ghost ClubRebecca Bagley, my good friends at Good Comics and many, many more. As I’m sure you remember from me referencing it so much recently, Saturday will also see the grand launch of Sneaky Business Vol. 2!

Reviewed on Monday by Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier, he had this to say:

Sneaky Business #2 is indeed an extremely eclectic compilation of comics and, given that slightly patchwork array of styles and genres, it’s inevitable that each individual reader will gravitate more towards some sections than others. But that selfsame disparate line-up is also part of its charm. As is often the way with anthologies there’s only room here to cover a selection of those who contributed to this volume but at an almost giveaway price of £3.00 there’s really no excuse for not picking up a copy of a book that acts as a communal platform for so many distinctively different forms of practice all tied together by that one unifying theme.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier “Sneaky Business Volume 2 – Danny Noble and Wallis Eates Steal the Show in the Second Issue of Rozi Hathaway’s Anthology Offering”

Sneaky Business arrived on my doorstep on Friday with huge thanks to Rich at Comic Printing UK for all his help and quite literally stopping the press when I found some *cough* small errors *cough*, and will be available to buy from Saturday 1st October from yours truly at Bristol, and shortly after will be available to buy from my Etsy store and at small press friendly comic shops around the UK; Limited to a run of 100, get your copy quick! I’ll cover the launch in more detail from next week, but for now trust me when I say SB2 is looking really, really good.

That’s about it for now! If you’re around in Bristol on Saturday please do pop down and say hello, and if not keep an eye out on Twitter and Facebook for news on when Sneaky Business vol. 2 is online on my Etsy store to buy. Until next time, stay sneaky..

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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!

 

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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..

 

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The End of the Line

Good afternoon lovely folks,

So, we’re now down to less than 24 hours of the Njálla campaign on Kickstarter and things are getting exciting! My palms are slowly getting a bit more clammy as I get that same anxious feeling I had when I launched The Red Road, putting something out into the world that I’ve so lovingly laboured over for months on end. There is something vaguely terrifying about putting new work out to the world, but thankfully(?) with University assessments and final deadlines approaching I don’t really have that much time to sit and think about it, I have a final degree classification to worry about too!

After last week’s long hours I managed to finish up painting the final ten pages of Njálla and get it all scanned in and tweaked, so the story is officially done! This week I’ve been working away on the surrounding pages of the story, the covers, and any hand-lettering that remains. I’m fairly on schedule, with the final pages being sent off to Comic Printing UK tomorrow afternoon. Panic! Also, my lovely backers will have received the schedule for production in their inbox’s this morning, and all is still on track for that..

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to arrange something special, and I’m delighted to announce that the NN Café, part of the NN Contemporary Gallery in Northampton, is hosting a launch party for Njálla! On Saturday 4th June (two days after the online launch) I will be celebrating the success of the Kickstarter campaign as well as the launch of the comic online and in UK small press friendly comic shops, with drinks and good times. Huge thanks to Peter James Norman, contributor to Sneaky Business, who co-runs the NN Café and has helped me to make this launch happen. For more information and to RSVP to the event please visit the dedicated Facebook event page – all are welcome, so come and join in the fun and celebrate independent comics! I’ll be selling copies of Njálla as well as other goodies, and signing on request too – and depending how many beverages I have, my signings could become more and more abstracted as the night goes on!

Speaking of launches, this past Friday saw the long anticipated launch of the Broken Frontier Anthology and the Small Press Yearbook at Gosh! Comics in London! It was a fantastic night, with the six of us UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 being all together for the first time ever. A whole host of back-up contributors for the Yearbook also attended, alongside creators from the Broken Frontier Anthology in a joint event with a wonderful atmosphere and a true showcase of the spectrum that Broken Frontier supports. Thank you so much to Gosh! for hosting the event, everyone who attended and especially those who asked me to scribble in their copies of the Yearbook. I won’t go overboard on the details as Broken Frontier posted excellent coverage including photography of the night from Mauricio Molizane De Souza (included in gallery below), but trust me, if you weren’t there you missed out.

Huge thanks again to Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier for creating the idea for the Small Press Yearbook and putting it together into the wonderful book it is. Also thanks to those who helped along the way, Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Rich of Comic Printing UK, amongst countless support from others. You’re all wonderful! As well as being able to buy the Yearbook from Orbital and Gosh!, you can also purchase your copy online from the dedicated web store! You can read more about my work in the Small Press Yearbook with the search tag ‘Top Secret Project’ or from the dedicated page here. And just above you can see a preview of Afloat in all it’s glory.

I think that’s about it for now! I have rather a lot to do in the way of finishing touches for Njálla before I crawl into bed tonight.. Don’t forget, if you haven’t pledged yet you have until 9am Friday morning to do so, and pledges equal freebies! Check out the Kickstarter for more details. Next week I’ll be back with more Njálla news, plus with one assessment complete and preparing for the next one I’ll be potentially a bit greyer and a bit more tired by then too. Until next week!

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