Dead Singers Society

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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Baby It’s Cold Outside

Good afternoon folks.

So, another week has passed and I seem to be getting even less done with each week that passes. An excellent feeling, I assure you. I had a really fun week of redoing my entry for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine, with a final number of four attempts and twenty-eight new grey hairs emerging from my head, I managed to get it done just in time for the deadline. If you’re a fan of this particular dead singer’s music then this may be obvious, but here’s a sneaky peek of one of the panels from this musical one-pager..

I still maintain it’s far from the best thing I’ve done and I’d really hoped it’d be a lot better. But, it’s not terrible, and sometimes you just have to put the pens/pencils/paints down and accept that this just wasn’t meant to be anything amazing. Sadly, especially after the numerous binned attempts, I’m glad for it to be over. Hopefully with some time away from it I feel a bit more positive towards it.

In other news, I’m back into the zone of writing the remainder of the short stories I’ll be publishing in a couple of months with Good Comics! I had gotten into the habit of figuring out a story and then writing > drawing > painting > editing it from start to finish all in one go (with food and sleep in between, I promise). But, now I have over half of the total pages mapped out I’m going to change tactics and write all the remaining stories now to fit in around what’s left. Getting the whole collection to flow with individual stories is going to prove challenging, but with half done I have a bit of an easier time to fill in voids now and adapt stories rather than trying to do it all at the end. Does that make sense? I hope that makes sense.

Plotting and Tings.
Short Stories Collection Coming Soon!

In other news, as a follow up to my winning of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award 2016, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier wrote an article detailing my comics journey from 2014 up to now. After a particularly bad week and not being very good at that whole ‘taking a break’ thing, it was really nice to read. You can peruse the full article here!

Finally, on Saturday when I was down in the Big Smoke I dropped off some copies of Njálla and Ø to Gosh! Comics, and Njálla, Ø and Sneaky Business Vol. 2 to Orbital Comics! If you’re around the area you should pop along to Orbital and check out the Moonage Daydreams exhibition, an illustrated tribute to the records of David Bowie. I missed the launch on Friday evening but popped along on Saturday and it’s definitely work a look! You can find out all the details from Orbital’s event page here, and the Moonage Daydreams website here.

Njálla and Ø at Gosh! London

And that’s about it for now! This week will see a lot of writing and plotting, so I’ll be back next week with.. nothing to show for myself. -gulp-

Until next time!

 

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Festivities

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s almost Christmas! With being ill on and off for what feels like weeks, it’s been a little longer between updates than I’d have liked! But with this lingering lurgy and working my new job, this extra week has given me some time to catch up before delighting you all with what I’ve been working on. So, low and behold, I’m back for my yearly pre-Christmas update! Last year I was in the depths of third year university stresses, so I’m definitely feeling more zen this year.. Still, as always I’m longing for my mum’s Christmas dinner skills and eating my body-weight in meat and potato which will be greatly appreciated in three days time.

Still, although my day-job Christmas holiday has started I’m still working away on my comics for the upcoming 2017 collection of short stories I’m releasing with British micro-publisher Good Comics! It’s been challenging to juggle a new full-time work schedule and commute with working on comics, but it’s all an adjustment period that I’m slowly refining. Hopefully, with another week and a half of time off I’ll make a nice dent in the rest of my writing and plotting for my remaining stories so that I have a couple of months to get everything drawn ready for it’s plotted release of mid-late March. The comic I’ve been hinting at for the past few updates has been painted up and is very, very near completion! Have a gander at some snippets:

 

I may or may not have said this before in the last few updates, but I’ve spent a lot, lot longer refining this 4-pager than any comic I’ve worked on before, hopefully making it the best thing I’ve done yet. Now just to keep up the pace with the rest of the short stories!

Speaking of Good Comics, did you know I’m tabling with those charming gents at Cheltenham’s True Believer’s Festival on Saturday 4th February? It’s sometimes hard to forget that the beginning of February is not that long away when it’s not yet Christmas.. But don’t forget that long, dark and cold January does eventually pass and True Believer’s will be here before we know it! You can find out all about the event from the website , or from the Facebook event page and tickets are on sale now! Good Comics did a short interview with True Believers too, and you can read that here.

The third volume of Good Comics Dead Singer’s Society will also be released at True Believers, and there’s still time to submit! What better things could there be to do than to draw your favourite singer of the past over Christmas whilst the family are in a food induced coma on the sofa in front of Shrek? I’ll be mulling over who my next piece will be about after my successful entries of Muddy Waters and Nina Simone in the previous anthologies.

CHECK OUT THE VOL. 3 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS HERE!

In other news, in case you missed it, a piece of mine has been published on the back of the latest Barnstromer Comics Star Jaws Issue #12! Robin kindly asked me if I’d like to get involved earlier this year, to which I jumped at the chance and my Boba Fett piece sits firmly on the back of the newest issue. Star Jaws Issue #12 is available to read for free online. Star Jaws, as you may guess from the title, is based loosely around the Star Wars universe but with some new faces and different stories. It’s an entertaining read, and you can read all of them for free from the very beginning here. A Christmas Carol on again? There you go – new reading material.

Finally, voting has now ended for the Broken Frontier Awards 2016. Thank you to everyone who voted for me for the Breakout Talent Award, and thank you to those who had every intention to but accidentally forgot, because lets face it – it’s a busy time of the year.. Results are announced on 5th January so I will be nervously awaiting to see what happens..

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful festive time whatever you’re celebrating, eat large quantities and be merry! I shall be back next week with the yearly round-up of what I’ve accomplished, and look back at the highs and lows of the year. It won’t be quite as moving as Google’s effort, but hey.. I’ll do my best. Until then, season’s greetings to you all!

 

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Short Days, Short Stories

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, another week has passed and I’m bordering on just about being over my post-Thought Bubble blues. In fairness, it was one of the best weekends of my comic creating existence so I think I’m allowed to mope around for a little longer. But I should probably look at cheering up sometime soon, y’know, for sanity’s sake. I have, however, been a busy little worker bee up here and have plenty of things to catch you all up on, so put your feet up and carry on reading..

In some cheerful news, Ø has been reviewed! Big thanks to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier for saying some really nice things about my work – as always – with the highlight of the review being the opening statement: “You would think – given that she was one of our inaugural Broken Frontier ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch’ – that Rozi Hathaway would have made life easier for me with the name of her new comic. The work in question is called, simply, Ø. A title which made it less than easy to give a shout-out to when I was asked to point out a Thought Bubble debut comic by one of our ‘Six to Watch’ artists on the ‘Gosh! Comics Best Thing I Read this Year’ panel in Leeds last weekend.”

Whoops. Sorry Andy! Read the full review here or click the picture below!

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Ø has been getting some great feedback so far, and I’m so thankful to everyone picking up a copy online! Don’t forget it’s still available over on Etsy, and as we’re getting to that time of year.. *whispers* this and Sneaky Business Vol. 2 would make excellent stocking fillers!

In some other equally cheerful and very awesome news.. I am very excited to announce that the charming gentlemen trio of Good Comics will be publishing my next book! I’m not going to let on too much (you all know by now that I enjoy my shroud of secrecy and sneaky peeks all too much), but it will be a collection of short stories and it’ll be coming out around Springtime.. Ish. I don’t like to leave you all completely hanging in suspense, so here’s a couple of things I’ve been working on towards the final collection, with more to come in the next month or so. It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but I’m really excited on what I have so far, and I can’t wait to work with the guys, push my work to the next level and make something marvellous. Here’s a peek!

Good Comics already have a really impressive repertoire of work by the founders themselves Samuel C. Williams (At War with Yourself published by Singing Dragon), Paddy Johnston (Long Divisions, Ballgame) and Pete Hindle (Really Pricey Jumpers) as well as a handful of other titles, given they’ve only really been established for the past year. Recent releases have included the highly regarded diary comics collection Every Life I Ever Lived: Volume One by Robin William Scott, Tales From the Nonniverse #1 by Faye Spencer and Chickenboy by James Howard, as well as their regular zine Dead Singer’s Society (featuring both my Muddy Waters illustration and Nina Simone comic). So yes, they’re rather cool aren’t they?

Thankfully they took pity on me and decided to publish my next comic, so it’s all thoughts to paper right now whilst I build up a collection of short, heartfelt and moving stories that sit together both as a continual narrative and their own standalone tales. So, watch this space!

Finally, in a far less thought-provoking and intense venture, for the past few weeks I’ve started taking on the weekly set Twitter challenge of the Colour Collective! Rebecca Bagley first brought this to my attention when I was swooning at her work on Twitter and Instagram, and after talking to her about it at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair I decided it was in my best interests to give it a whirl myself! Just to draw something, anything as long as it’s with a specific colour has definitely been a challenge (with some of them being far better than other week’s attempts..), but it’s good to get the ol’ brain working on something that isn’t a comic. Here they are, the good and the bad! Keep up with the #colour_collective hashtag on Twitter to see everyone’s amazing work, and see mine posted both there and on my Facebook page every Friday evening.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. I shall be back as ever next week with more gossip, so keep your eyes out for that. Until then, have a good week everyone and send me warming and healthy thoughts if you have a moment; the autumn/winter cold has finally arrived.. Peace out.

 

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Dead Singers Society Vol.2

In my second offering to Good Comics comics-anthology-zine Dead Singers Society, I created a one-page comic based on the life of Nina Simone. Other comic artists and illustrators work include:

Tim Bird / Danny Noble / John Riordan / Wallis Eates / Elizabeth Querstret / John G. Swogger
Edited by Samuel C Williams / Paddy Johnston / Pete Hindle
Cover by James Howard

Good Comics débuted Dead Singers Society Vol.2 on Sunday 29th May at the eclectic DIY Cultures Festival at Rich Mix in London. You can purchase your very own copy of Dead Singers from their online store, priced £5.

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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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2015 Reflections

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, the Christmas cake is dwindling and I’ve eaten my bodyweight in turkey.. It must be that limbo between Christmas and New Year where I’m not quite sure what day it is and what I’m supposed to be doing, with what feels like a brain full of cranberry stuffing. With that in mind, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on a successful 2015 (as it doesn’t take much brain-power, thankfully)..

Work-wise, it’s been a fantastic year. Of course we can’t have it all, and this year wasn’t without it’s fair share of difficulties, with a small health issue of my own in the first few months of 2015, a friend’s recurring battle with cancer (fingers crossed, all looking good this time!), and the very quick and unexpected loss of my uncle in August. It’s all too easy to have regrets and feel as if being too work-centric has left me with the loss of valuable time before it was too late, but, all I can do it look back on the positives.. I have learnt a lot about the way I work in the past year, and I can only hope that my storytelling and comics work is going from strength to strength with each piece completed. Also, my work on illustrations without narrative has improved tenfold since this time last year, and I have dedication and tough marking at University to thank for that.

In all, there’s a lot of people who have helped and supported my work in 2015, and I couldn’t name them all if I tried – but to everyone who has ever bought a piece of my work, a comic, a postcard or even just had a chat at a convention, thank you. Thanks to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier for naming me one of his Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 and for continually supporting and championing my work, helping me with advice when I’ve asked, reviewing my work, and getting us six seen at CECAF. Thanks to Keara Stewart for asking me to be a part of A Bit of Undigested Potato, my first ever anthology comic, and inspiring me to not only take on my own project Sneaky Business, but also for giving my the confidence to apply for Dirty Rotten Comics. Big thanks to my Sneaky Business folks for happily creating work for free, which now sits on comic shelves around the country! Thank you to all those comic shops, Travelling Man Manchester, OK Comics in Leeds, Orbital Comics in London, Gosh! Comics in London, and Nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham for having my work on your lovely shelves. Thanks all the lovely people I’ve met along the way at conventions and selling events, and a special mention to Van Nim and Richy K Chandler for being so wonderfully entertaining at Thought Bubble and keeping me sane. Thank you to my ever patient partner Chris for bring supportive and understanding, to my flatmate for being the best at bouncing ideas off (and supplying me with Jack Daniels), my family, and the supportive bunch of friends I have near and far, so understand when they don’t hear from me for months on end. And, all you readers! You lovely readers, you.. Putting up with my waffling week after week, and making me feel popular. Here’s to 2016 and all the exciting things to come!

I shall be back next week as usual, probably mid-dissertation, in the run up to painting the Laydeez do Comics window display at Gosh! Comics. Woohoo! There is a LOT of exciting things coming up in January and early-February, and my work will be pretty much non-stop. But it’ll be worth it! I’ll have more information on how the year is shaping up next week, but for now I hope you all had wonderful seasonal festivities, and have a Happy New Year! See you next year..!

 

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Thought Bubble Festival Round-Up

Good morning ladies and gents,

So, it’s all over! The exciting blur that was Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds this past weekend has been and gone in a flash, and I’m dealing with some serious post-festival blues. It probably doesn’t help that it’s dark and gloomy outside and I’m a bit sleep deprived, but Thought Bubble was so much fun I didn’t really want it to end. But, alas, I’m back into the throngs of university assignments and real life nonsense, which my brain doesn’t seem to be particularly in gear for. Third year woes.

The Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds was a week-long event with a load of workshops and events, with the pièce de résistance being the comics festival over the weekend. Open both Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm, I was lucky to be plonked next to some absolutely lovely table buddies, Van Nim and Richy K. Chandler over in New Dock Hall, the biggest of the three halls used for the comic festival. There were many, many lovely comic people to see over the weekend, and I even got given some lovely goodies in the form of the Dead Singers Society and the HOME Art Aid Nepal Anthology, plus a comic-swap with Richy for his Tempo Lush Tales of the Tanoox! Here’s the weekend in a nutshell..

Special thanks definitely has to go to Samuel C. Williams for including me in his coffee runs over the weekend; as you can imagine this comic selling business is a rather tiring affair so I spent the weekend entirely propped up on caffeine. Other highlights include bumping into Andrew Tunney, (who I’d met properly at MancsterCon earlier this year) and helping his vigilante mission against faux-steampunk; witnessing some impressive renditions in the comic-karaoke on Saturday evening (yes Paddy, I’m still in awe); and wondering if those crazed sneezes were even real or not, with Danny Noble, Andy Oliver, Elizabeth Querstret and Matt, and Wallis Eates. AND, I finally got to meet Mike Medaglia, whose work is absolutely beautiful. There were so many people I missed seeing just because of how zombie-fied I was by the end, but it was a great weekend and I couldn’t have wished for better company and conversations! A HUGE thank you to everyone who stopped by my table and said hello, purchased goodies and took the time to chat. Also, extra special thanks to Alan Henderson who picked up my The Red Road original artwork in the alternate colours! Finally, big big thanks to the organisers of Thought Bubble for making it absolutely fantastic to be a part of – it was my first Thought Bubble and it definitely won’t be my last.

Phew, what a weekend. I’m looking forward to finding some time in the next few days to curl up in bed with my new reading material, the HOME anthology and Tales of the Tanoox, but for now I’m in dire need of catching up on university assignment work. Fun times! On the bright side, there are some exciting things coming this way soon.. Next week will see normal service resume with a good catch up on what I’ve been working on. So, until then, have a good week everyone! Over and out.

x

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