Dead Singers

January Blues

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s now practically mid-January, and I’m sure we can all agree that it’s rather grey out there. It barely gets light up here in the Arctic North of Greater Manchester, and most days turn a bit soggy due to a whole bunch of downpours that seem to happen more regularly than the normal Manchester downpours that the North West is so well known for. But y’know, keeps us all on our damp toes.

Aside from the excitement of varying temperatures and yet more rain, something pretty incredible happened. I was somehow voted as the winner of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award 2016! I was, and still am, incredibly honoured and blown away that enough of you voted for me to take away such a title, so THANK YOU to everyone who voted. I was absolutely sure Jade would win it, so imagine my surprise! This is what Andy Oliver had to say:

As ever, the Breakout Talent Award took the most public votes and was our fiercest fought category. This one is always a close-run thing but this year it perhaps fittingly went to Rozi Hathaway, one of the artists from our first 2015 ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch‘ coverage. Hathaway had a phenomenal year in 2016, becoming one of the most well-known new faces on the UK small press scene and self-publishing two acclaimed solo books. They included Njálla which gained high praise from no less than Warren Ellis himself who described it as “a remarkably pure piece of fabulist storytelling”.”

Huge congratulations to all the other award winners and to the nominees, it really was a whole bunch of amazingly talented people this year. You’re all the bomb.

Aside from that bomb-shell I’ve been working on a couple of different projects, first up being another comic for my collection of short stories being released with Good Comics in the coming months. I’ve mentioned before how much of a challenge short stories can be, but I’m really enjoying the depth of storytelling I can try and portray in such a short space. It’s super fun. You guys are all missing out, really. Here’s a sneaky-peek of another compete story, this time a two-pager!

I still have the words to do to go into this one, but for the most part that’s another one done. Hurrah! I still haven’t decided how many more stories I’m going to do, but the next one I’m currently still writing is a most likely going to be the longest one of the book, so that should take me a good long while to draw. To bridge the gap I’m continuing work on my entry for the third volume of Good Comics’ Dead Singer’s Society zine. I’ve had a bit of a palaver with this one, with my first efforts going firmly in the bin. But alas, I have picked a different musician and it’s going okay so far…. Have a peek!

I’ve been working a lot with pinks and purples recently, as well as a lot of blues and turquoises in Njálla and Ø, so I decided to go way out there and try some greens instead. I’m currently really enjoying the ‘old photo’ style colour palette with those green/yellow hues and browns thrown in there. So hopefully it works well! The call for submissions finishes up this Sunday, so get your comics in whilst you can! Check out the rules here, and get cracking.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! I have plenty to keep me occupied over the next week or so, and I will be back as always next week.. Now with my ‘Breakout Talent’ crown adorning my noggin, reminding me to keep on trucking even through the “I want to throw this in the bin” moments of life. Until next time, peace out.

 

x

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Hello, 2017.

Happy New Year!

So, it’s 2017. When did that happen? Somewhere between drinking prosecco in my sweatpants and hearing some fireworks going off outside, probably.. Not my most glamorous moment truth be told, but after the year I’ve had I opted to start the year as I mean to go on; no no, not drinking in lounge-wear (though I can definitely get behind that) but taking things a little slower. Maaaaybe.

And 2017 has started with a bang, as Njálla has been voted as one of ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ from 2016 by Broken Frontier! I’m incredibly honoured as 2016 saw a lot of fantastic releases from small press creators, and as Andy Oliver states in the article it is by no means a be-all-and-end-all of small press in the UK. I’m especially moved as the now out-of-print The Red Road was featured as one of the ten in 2015’s end of year review also, meaning I’ve now set a precedence with myself to keep going and keep making more. Oh, well, if you insist..

The release of Njálla back in June feels like a short lifetime ago, and I’m incredibly grateful to be one of the luck ten picked. Go us! You can read the full article here at Broken Frontier, and also check out previous year’s articles from 2015, 2014 and 2013.

With this wonderful news and that general new year feeling I’ve been contemplating last year’s achievements, most of which were listed in my reflections blog last week, and I have a good feeling about 2017 and what’s to come. As you can see from this handy diagram below I was RATHER busy with my own publishing endeavours as well as a lovely bunch of successful submissions for some great titles, including the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 and Dirty Rotten Comics #8.

But, 2017.. Well! It’s off to a busy start already. The call for submissions for the third Dead Singer’s Society from Good Comics is still open and will be until Sunday 15th January, so there there is still time to get something in for this third collection of music related comics, illustrations and essays. As stated in their call for submissions, there is a maximum of two pages per contributor, so it’s nothing too daunting. I’ve been scribbling away to make sure I get something done in time, though my first efforts have firmly gone in the bin so I’ll be starting from scratch this week.

Call for Submissions for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine!

Also, I’ve been working away on my fourth short story for the upcoming collection that’s being published through those Good Comics fellows! With this collection of stories taking root (Ha.. get it? Trees? Roots?) from the power of environment alongside feelings of love, loss and loneliness it’s been a far more all-encompassing task than I initially imagined. But, it’s going to be good. Here’s some of what I’ve been working on with exploring panels and borders:

Short stories are definitely challenging in their own right, but there’s something more poetic about them versus longer storytelling – not that I’m exactly an expert on longer form narratives, mind you. With abstract shapes and  a sense of movement through time similar to how I approached The Red Road, it’s an exciting challenge to be working on this and definitely something that a whole lot of my soul is going into. I’ll be sharing sneak peeks and progress as the weeks go on, so do keep an eye out for that and the lead up to this collection’s release in Spring.

And that’s where I leave you at! Until next time, keep finishing off those mince pies and cake, because err.. they don’t keep. And it’s a shame to waste those festive leftovers.

 

x

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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!

 

x

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Drink and Draw, and More!

Good afternoon all!

So, it’s a busy time again. Apologies for the lack of the usual weekly update last week; truth be told I was out of the country for almost a week and had nothing to show on my return.. But I have plenty now! The degree show has ended, and amongst comic submission work and expanding my illustration portfolio I’m also getting ready to head down to London next week for the D&AD New Blood festival, as a near-graduate on the University of Northampton stall. I seem to be spending so much time in London over the next week and a half I might as well be a local!

Down to business, and first on the agenda is last night’s Drink & Draw hosted by Nora of Gosh Comics and Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier! Alongside guest artists Cristian Ortiz and Amber Hsu, I joined in the fun as a fresh-faced first-timer on the drink & draw circuit.

Photos from Nora at Gosh

It was such a fun evening! I mean, the words ‘drink and draw’ kind of give the impression that it’s a fun evening of entertainment, but it really exceeded any expectations I had. Life can get stressful, and just sitting back and drawing random things has such a fun and calming influence. Drawing themes from the night included alter-egos, something or someone you lost as a child, and what if other mammals shaved their legs too. There was also a collaborate comic making its way around the pub, and competitions and prizes for attendees. As a non-Londoner (CUH, right?) I had to shoot off before the end, but huge thanks to Nora and Andy for hosting such a fun evening! Here’s my doodles from the themes listed above..

What fun! Drink & Draw is hosted by Gosh Comics and Broken Frontier once a month, and you can keep up with any new events by liking the Gosh Comics Facebook page, following them on Twitter or keeping an eye on their website blog.

In other news, the submissions deadline for Dirty Rotten Comics #8 is fast approaching! With submissions closing on Thursday 30th (tomorrow, yikes!) and only rough sketches in front of me I have a fair bit of work to do to finish it all off.. But thankfully the gents over at Dirty Rotten Comics are fairly relaxed about the deadline, so if like me you’ve managed to accidentally be incredibly unorganised, you still have a bit of time to submit! See their submissions page for all the details and a link to their FAQ. For now, here’s a very sneaky-peek of a bit of my thought process for this submission; scripting from notes and painting..

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Mountains. Oooo err!

So, you can guess what I’m doing for the rest of today and tomorrow, right?

Finally, as some of you may remember me mentioning it, work is commencing on Sneaky Business vol. 2 very, very soon! How soon, you ask? WELL! Monday, to be precise! Sneaky Business vol. 1 was very much a small, unique collection from comics creators that I personally asked to be involved. However, after being inspired by the guys over at Good Comics and what they’re doing with Dead Singer’s Society zine, I’ve decided to approach vol. 2 in a much more open way. Which means, from Monday 4th July I’ll be opening up submissions to all! I’m looking for 1-2 page comics, colour or black and white, under the theme of stealth or sneaky in some way.

The call for submissions with all the details will be posted up on my Twitter and Facebook from Monday, and I’ll have more coverage in next week’s blog – so keep an eye out!

A snippet from my comic in Sneaky Business vol. 1

Finally FINALLY finally, I’ve updated and improved my website! Things have moved a little, and the ‘Collaborations’ and ‘Commissions’ have been removed and merged into new or existing posts in two clear-cut sections; Illustration and Comics. The front page has everything, and with a SHINY NEW ‘infinity scroll’ you can now see all my work in one place, or head to the category links for the specifics. Nice, right?

Anyway, I’d best get back to this Dirty Rotten Comics submission as it most definitely won’t create itself.. Until next week (for certain this time), have a good Wednesday everyone!

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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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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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The Road to Thought Bubble

Good morning happy campers!

So, another week has vanished and The Red Road second edition has been released out into the big wide world! It’s been really exciting to revisit the book again and make it even better than last time, it feels like just yesterday that I was ingesting large amounts of caffeine to get the pages inked up in time. With copies now at both Orbital Comics and Gosh London, and the second edition’s first public appearance this weekend at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, it’s time to persuade everyone that they really need this comic in their lives. The Red Road second edition is available online through my Etsy store, so off you go!

The Red Road – second edition in Gosh Comics! Alongside Sneaky Business, DRC#5 and A Bit of Undigested Potato..

As you may remember from the last week I’ve been having a crack at clay modelling, making Bear and Coyote for the re-release of The Red Road. Naturally, I got the comparative sizing completely wrong, and after my little creatures had dried they decided to crack. Hmph. HOWEVER, after some useful internet-ing I came across the technique of filling the cracks with fine surface filler before painting them, so off to the local cheap DIY store I pranced. After getting a bit fine surface filler happy, several painting errors and almost throwing a porcelain paint pen out the window, my lumpy, wonky spirit animals are complete!

Even in their lumpy, wonky forms I spent so long on the little darlings that I’ve become somewhat attached to them (not literally, thankfully), so I’ve decided to carry on and bring them to Thought Bubble Festival with me anyway. Because, well, for all the errors of my clay-ways, at least they actually stand on all fours. Small victories must be celebrated! So, if you’re in Leeds on Saturday for Thought Bubble and fancy seeing what it looks like when clay goes wrong, come swing by my table in New Dock Hall (73b)

Speaking of which, only three days to go until the Thought Bubble excitement commences! This weekend will see Leeds full of comic artists and creators, shifting around and giggling in boozy corners. For the entirety of Saturday and Sunday I will be selling The Red Road, Sneaky Business and a selection of prints, greetings cards and postcards amongst the countries finest, and even creators from overseas! Thought Bubble states that it’s the “largest event of its kind – an annual celebration of sequential art in all its forms, including everything from superhero comics to independent and small-press artists and writers”. With three exhibition spaces and further event rooms, the whole bonanza is taking place at Leeds Docks, in New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries Hall, and the Thought Bubble Marquee between the two. As you can see from this lovely map below, I’m down on the other half of table 73 next to Hello, how are you? and her adorable work, with fellow Art Aid Nepal Home artist Richy K. Chandler next to us on table 72. There is so much to see at Thought Bubble this year, and it’s all started already! I’m really excited to be there for the first time so please swing by and say hello if you’re in the area. Also, launching at Thought Bubble is my pal Samuel C Williams‘ new zine Dead Singers Society, with work from a whole host of people including Tim Bird, Alan Henderson and myself. For a complete breakdown of the new releases at Thought Bubble, there’s an excellent guide here from Broken Frontier, so be sure to check that out.

Finally, in amongst the craziness of preparing for the biggest comics event of my career to date (no pressure, of course..) I’ve also been working on all that university malarky. In amongst the essays and the presentations, the tutorials and the seminars and lots of emails I’ve been working on drawing up some designs for a Northampton based band. So far I’ve just been working on some roughs, but hopefully with some feedback I’ll be working towards one final design to be screen-printed onto a batch of t-shirts for the band to sell. How exciting! So far here’s just a peek of what I’ve been coming up with..

So, that’s it for now! As always I have a large pile of work beside me whispering at me and taunting me (not literally… yet) so hi ho and off to work I go. If you’re in Leeds for Thought Bubble this weekend then I’ll see you there! Until next week.

x

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I Amster-back.

Good morning Friday fans!

So, although a little later than normal, I am dutifully back with this week’s update on what’s been going on at the HQ. After returning from a short break to Amsterdam yesterday, I barely feel like I’ve been away for one day, let alone three. As my company for the trip were not particularly interested in the art side of things and the weather was a good eclectic mix of tourrential downpours and drizzle, we ended up just having a good ol’ wander around the city and stopping to eat as much incredible food as possible. Not bad, right? Oh, and the pancakes.. Be still, my beating heart.

Down to business, as some of you may or may not have seen, I gave my website a bit of a refresh last weekend. It was rather over-due, and if you waltz on over to my homepage you’ll see it looks a bit more snazzy and full of comic goodness. I changed some of the links and information too, so the Contributions page is a little more streamlined, with more information linked elsewhere. Phew! It was in desperate need of bringing up to date, and yet another thing crossed of my pre-University list.

So, we now have sections for the Top Secret Project (to be announced in the coming months… And it’s going to be REALLY good, I promise.), Sneaky Business, Rejsen as a part of Dirty Rotten Comics, and Locomotion as a part of A Bit of Undigested Potato. One of the good teaching points of University was that keeping your website alive and rejuvenated is very important.. If the homepage stays the same, it looks like I do nothing for months on end. And I can promise you, from my premature ageing and stress lines, that is most definitely not the case. Anyway, head on over to the home page for a little explore, and tell me what you think! It’s very comic-centred right now which is great, though I’m definitely looking forward to flexing my illustration muscles soon.

website

Speaking of which, I arrived home from rainy Amsterdam to a wonderful message from Eastfield Academy to say that they’ve received my Bullfinch! For those who are unaware, back in June I signed up for the Access Art Share-a-Bird project; the project was aimed at artists to create a bird in any medium, and donate it to the Access Art charity which would then send the birds out to schools in the UK who signed up for the project. As artists, we also got to write an inspirational message to the younger generation about how important art is, and it’s not all about stuffy old textbooks and things that happened centuries ago. It’s about making cool stuff and enjoying it, and a decent arts education helps. As I’ve said before, art in school pretty much bored me to tears; there was nothing engaging about drawing a still life of an apple as an 11-year-old Game Boy fanatic. Though, I’m lucky really, as those afternoons as a very young person drawing things in the garden with my mum taught me how much I wanted to be better (that same stubborn and competitive child is still inside somewhere). Here’s to hoping that my Bullfinch might inspire some small person, if only for a few hours.

 

 

Finally, last week I completed a piece for a friend of mine who is creating his own zine of comics, text and images around the theme of Dead Singers. The zine itself is being released to coincide with Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, from 14th-15th November which I shall be attending with bells and whistles on. After some careful consideration and pondering, and having lists of names sent to me from my better half, I settled on Muddy Waters. Here’s a sneak preview of my finished stand-alone illustration for the project. Thanks to Sam for letting me be involved!

Anyway, that’s it for now! I have an exciting project coming up to get my teeth stuck into, and the third year of university awaits.. Until next week!

x

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