So, Easter has passed us and I have successfully eaten my body-weight in all the good things; Easter eggs, Easter cake, Easter roast dinners and Easter.. cheese? Regardless, I have now lethargically thrown myself into the new week ready to tackle some more serious and important comic business.
As you can see I’ve also been playing around a bit with panel borders in this comic, similar to effects I’ve tried in the concluding pages of Njálla and first back when I made Afloat for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016. It’s been a fun one-shot short comic to make, utilising some of the skills I’ve played around with previously. Hopefully it goes down well!
Also, next week sees the launch of The Cartoon Museum’s new exhibition The Inking Woman on Wednesday 26th April! I’m heading down especially for the event, so if you’re around central London you should definitely check it out. There will be original artwork on display from myself and many other female British creators. There’s not a huge amount on the website about it, but you can keep up with The Cartoon Museum’s progress in the run up to the exhibition on their Facebook Page and Twitter.
So, it’s Spring. The season that leaves everyone reaching for the duster and me reaching for my antihistamines.. What a glorious time to be alive! As long it’s a case of being alive, inside, with the windows shut, away from tree pollen. Magical.
As you can see from above, I’m currently up to the inking stage of my four-page comic for the book. Next, I need to figure out what I’m doing with the colours, and get it all painted and scanned in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out for some previews/peeks of the final comic!
In other news, I’ve also been working on a special comic for those nice gents at Dirty Rotten Comics for their special anniversary issue 10. I’m really excited to have been asked to contribute, and I’m working away on a short two-pager for the issue with the deadline fast approaching.. For now, here’s a small peek of my pencil sketches!
At the end of the month when I’m slightly less deadline-oriented, I have the pleasure of heading over to Liverpool for the Craft Comic Festival at the Craft Taproom, which is part of Smithdown Festival! If you’re in or around Liverpool on the Bank Holiday weekend you should pop down on Saturday 29th from 10-4pm to check it out. And it’s free! For all the details, head over to their designated Facebook Event Page.
Finally, in some more glorious news, I’m absolutely over the moon to be included in the upcoming The Inking Woman: An exhibition of British women cartoon and comic artists at The Cartoon Museum in central London. The exhibition will run from 26th April to 24 July 2017 and will feature work from creators such as Hannah Berry, Emma Vieceli, Karrie Fransman, Edie OP, Danny Noble and more. And me! More confirmed artists are popping up all the time, so be sure to follow The Cartoon Museum on Twitter with the hashtag #InkingWoman to see who will be there.
And that’s about it for now! The rest of this week will be spent maniacally finishing up some comics and then eating my entire body-weight in chocolate this weekend. Maybe some cake, too. Until next time!
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 Roadwas 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..
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.
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.
So, another week has passed and I’m getting used to my new working schedule – huzzah! I’m even somehow managing to keep productive despite slowly melting in this unexpected English heat. The good news is that as I’m writing this the humidity has actually dropped down to 38% from our usual balmy 80-90%, though I’m sure it won’t last for long.. But this beautiful sunshine today perfect for working on the bright summery colours for my entry to kuš! comics, so I’ll enjoy it whilst I can.
As you may recall from last week I was just finishing up inking the final few pages before working on the colours for my BFF themed submission. Usually I come up with my colour scheme before I even start drawing up the roughs, but this time I threw caution to the wind and figure out the colours as I was going along, and picked the final swatches far later on. Here’s a little taster of the colour palette and progress on how I get the spreads figured out:
Mini-spreads galore, with VERY rough digital colours.
Working back into some digital rough colouring.
Yep, my practice colours look like a child going nuts, but as it only acts as a guide I’m usually safe in the knowledge that no one sees this stage. But y’know, you guys won’t tell anyone.. Right? The next step for me is to put these very rough colours into painterly practice on some photocopies, just to make sure it all flows as I want it to. From there, as long as that all looks good I’ll carry on to the final pages and work my way through those. Long-winded, huh? But it works! Keep an eye out next week for some painting progress..
In a more sneaky kind of news, work has continued on the design of the covers and inner pages for Sneaky Business vol. 2! For the most part I want it to keep the original vibe of Sneaky Business vol. 1, but bigger and better. I’ve also been tagged in a handful of sneaky progress shots for SB from the likes of Alex Hahn, KLY R and more, and if you want to keep up with it all be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for all the updates as they happen. I already have 4 comics finished and submitted by some awesome small press creators including the infamous Danny Noble, so in case you haven’t quite guessed from this past paragraph: Sneaky Business vol. 2 is going to be seriously good. There is still two and a half weeks to submit your 1-2 page sneaky comics, so come and join in the fun! All the details are available here.
Finally, thanks to all those who came to visit the NN Table Top Sale this past Saturday at NN Contemporary here in Northampton. I think we were all relieved to find the event moved inside given the gales and rain (it’s August in England, and far too much of a common occurrence). I was sharing a table with the very talented Naomi Rose Johnson, and although it was a pretty quiet afternoon it was still pretty fun! As far as tabling and appearances, that’s it now until 1st October at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair, so time to focus on getting these comics done and Sneaky Business edited and sent off to print! You’ll all be glad to know I have plenty to keep me busy, so keep an eye out next week for further progress on my colourful kuš! comics entry and more. Until next time, peace out.
So, another week has zoomed by and the sun is still shining. My week of full-time training for the new real-life job finished up on Friday and I’m onto my far more efficient shifts morning shifts, leaving me with more time to get back to serious comic making business in the afternoons. As well as forcing me out of bed early and flexing my customer service skills, the cycling to work and back is giving me thighs like a viking! So really, if you think about it, sitting and making comics is good for me and my burning leg muscles as WELL as good for the whole planet. Right?
Being cooped up at training all last week left me little time to crack on with my current submission project for kuš! comics. As you may have seen last week I did have a chance to start inking up pages in the evenings, but due to various other commitments I didn’t quite make my half-way mark by the weekend which I was (over-optimistically) hoping for. Though, this week I’ve been working away at 4 pages of inking per afternoon, meaning as of this afternoon I only have 4 more pages to go! I do have the odd arm which has turned out to be a bit too long so there are some panels which need tweaking, but the important thing is that it will all be inked by the end of this week… Which leaves the weekend and next week for painting fun times. Yay!
Purely due to my focused and tired state, I haven’t been taking a huge amount of progress photos, so, though accidentally, I’m keeping the mystery alive for a bit longer on this one – oo err. As mentioned before, the theme for submissions to kuš! is BFF’s, so there’s a vague hint. But for the rest, you’ll have to wait and see!
In other news, this weekend I shall be at the NN Contemporary Gallery Courtyard Table-Top Sale; Saturday 20th from 2pm-6pm. If you’re local to Northampton then come along to have a gander at the talents on offer! I’ll be selling copies of The Red Road, Njálla and other small bits and bobs including postcards and greetings cards, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area. You can find out all the information about the event on the Facebook page here.
This Autumn edition includes work from BF ‘Small Press Creators to Watch‘ Jey Levang and Rozi Hathaway, as well as Andrew Warwick, Claude TC, Maria Stoian, Josh Hicks. Henry Miller and Tom Mortimer. Hathaway’s poignant contribution is an outstanding entry but look out also for clever use of visual metaphor from Benjamin Leon and the distinctive stylings of Francis M. among a number of gems this time around.
How nice is that! If you don’t wish to pre-order then you can pick up your copy online from Friday, with DRC8 also being available in selected independent friendly comic shops within the UK.
And that’s about it for now. Don’t forget that submissions are still open for Sneaky Business Vol. 2 though the deadline of Monday 12th September is fast approaching! Until next week, I hope you all have a good rest-of-the-week and I shall be back with more news next week. Over and out!
So, it’s officially done and dusted. On Friday I graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Northampton and I have a mass of sketchbooks, folders and one certificate to show for it. Although I’ve pretty much been finished up for a month now, but with the likes of D&AD dividing up the time before graduation it definitely feels over now. Onward and upwards, right?
With some good news to kick off my new career of post-graduate-struggling-illustrator, my short 4-page comic Sørgedag has been accepted in to the next Dirty Rotten Comics anthology! I mentioned my process and work on the comic a few weeks back, and I really enjoyed trying something a bit different. I created the comic in both colour and black and white, so the black and white version will be published in Dirty Rotten Comics #8 around mid-August with the colour version being released as part of a compilation I’m working on later in the year. With almost a year since Rejsenwas published in Dirty Rotten Comics #5, I shall hopefully be part of the furniture in terms of the Dirty Rotten Comics anthology contributors soon..
In other news, as a part of my mass of submissions I’m doing in the next month for various anthologies and collections, I ticked one off the list yesterday in the form of a single page illustration for the Illustrated Woman in History zine. It was a hard choice, with so many interesting stories of women in history, especially with stories like that of Jeanne Baré who is noted as the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, and did so disguised as a man. However, ultimately with my soft-spot for astronomy and space sciences I went with Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in space. Here’s a peek!
As the flight itself lasted three days from 16th June 1963 I went for a bit of a retro vibe, and I painted my first ever space scene which didn’t turn out to look like some slushy mess, which was kinda nice (I won’t tell you how many attempts it took yesterday, but let’s just say I have a pile of paper recycling). Submissions for the Illustrated Women in History zine are open until 31st August, and you can find out all the information from the website.
Finally, last week I also stretched my illustrative muscles into creating a recipe illustration for the first time. Whilst trying to expand my repertoire, it’s also been fun to try out these new things – also making things flow on a page in this way is pretty similar to how I approach comics. For this first attempt I drew up Chicken Tortilla Soup which is one of my firm-favourites; cheap to make, I can throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it for 6 hours, and then freeze vats of the stuff for meals throughout the month. Delicious! You can check out the recipe here if you’re interested, though I kinda tweaked it and made up the measurements (I’m English. Cup measurements make no sense); I obtained my cooking theories from my highly skilled mother – just chuck enough in until it looks about right.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised as to how nice it is to paint a garlic clove. Who knew! So that ticks off another area of illustration that I’ve wanted to try for a while, and I’ll add it to the commissions pile in the hopes of getting some new work from it.
Anyway, that’s about it for now! I think this week is the most jumbled of blog posts I’ve had for a while – from comics, to vintage space, to soup. Next on my list of things to do is a 4-16 page comic story I need to write and script out for another upcoming anthology submission.. How exciting! Have a good week everyone, and I shall be back with all the gossip next week. Until then, over and out.
Created as a submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8, Sørgedag is a four-page comic about loss and mourning. Set in the open countryside of Norway I utilised textured paint to bring a different feel to this comic, and keep pushing how I look at creating narrative. Created in both black and white and in colour, the black and white version is published in DRC #8, with the colour version released as part of a compilation later in the year.
“I was also really impressed with Rozi Hathaway’s Sørgedag, a tale of grief and loss that utilises many of her trademarks whilst still looking different to her other work as a result of the textured paint she used. Striking and sombre in black and white, watch out for a colour version in the future.”
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 Rejsenprinted 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.
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!
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.
Sneaky Business vol.1
Last year’s contributors
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.
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!
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..
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..
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!
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!