Comics Creators

Graduates Galore

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, it’s the middle of the week again and I think I’ve just about recovered from a busy week back and forth to London last week. Between D&AD New Blood Festival and Small Press Day it was a pretty active week, though I have made up for it so far this week by realising yesterday evening that the only time I’d left my desk in three days was to eat, wash, sleep, and walk to the post box. Oh, the life of a freelancer.

First up, D&AD! The New Blood Festival acts as a showcase to the best talents coming out of design courses from Universities across the UK, and I went down to Shoreditch for the open evening on Tuesday 5th and the entirety of Thursday 7th to represent my portfolio and work on display. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a design festival, but it was very busy and full of keen graduates; having been used to manning tables of my own work and stock at comics festivals over the past year or so it was very surreal to only have one small area for my work. Although I didn’t manage to get any pictures, here are some from fellow graduate and graphic designer Megan Hughes:

In other news, it was the first ever Small Press Day on Saturday! As I mentioned last week, Small Press Day is an “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.” (From SmallPressDay.co.uk). Broken Frontier have rounded up the day in their expansive article from yesterday and can probably say it all far better than I can, so check that out for the full details. I didn’t get a chance to do much of the circuit, though I was lucky enough to be a part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’ signing table with Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver, and comic artists Emma Raby and Jey Levang at Orbital Comics.

Albeit a short spell behind the table, it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for Small Press Day next year. Long live comics! Thanks SO much to all the lovely staff at Orbital Comics for being awesome and having us join in the signing fun! As a part of the promotion leading up to the event I also wrote a small recommendation piece for Broken Frontier, amongst other creators, championing other small press work. You can read what we all said here.

In a very welcome relief from a particularly low-spell, I was also alerted by my comics buddy Sam that Njálla had been featured in Warren Ellis’ newsletter Orbital Operations! Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis! How amazing is that?!

warrenellis

You can sign up to his newsletter here, or visit his website here. I’m still happy-dancing around to this news, although I should probably keep that to myself.

In other news, in the efforts to continue expanding my illustration portfolio and trying out new things I’ve been working on a new and exciting week-long project. As some of you avid readers may remember, last summer I spent two weeks backpacking across the main cities of Scandinavia with my better half Chris. A whole load of the research from this trip was fed into Njálla, which took around nine months from start to finish including the Kickstarter and launch. However, it wasn’t all just Noadi’s and lavvu’s, there is a whole wealth of experiences and travels locked up in my head that I’ve been wanting to play with. And, given that my three strongest passions in life are, 1) Drawing, 2) Travelling, and 3) Kettle Chips, I figured that I needed to start combining the first two in some form other than comics. So, let there be maps!

To begin with I’ve picked the three main cities we spent the most time in; Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. From here I’ve designed maps encompassing the main attractions, and I’m just seeing how I can turn these into awesome pieces that could possibly be used as prints, for articles, or more! Above are some of the inks previews, but I’m *almost* finished.. So, keep an eye out next week for the grand reveal. If I never mention it again, it’s because it all went horribly wrong.

Finally, after an enquiry email into Sneaky Business submissions and artists rights I have updated the submissions page! Don’t forget you still have over two months to submit 1-2 page comics to the second volume of Sneaky Business, and I am so excited to see what lands in my inbox between now and then. As I said above, LONG LIVE COMICS! Any-who, that’s about it for now and the kettle is calling me (sadly not the chip variety). Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

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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!

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