emma raby

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!

x

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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..

 

x

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The End of the Line

Good afternoon lovely folks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

x

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9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

x

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The Half-Way Mark

Good afternoon radiant readers.

So, is it Wednesday again already? It’s been another busy week here at HQ, juggling painting and scanning comics pages, finishing up and painting the frames for animation, and important, final degree things like portfolios and such. In the whirlwind that has been the last 2 and a half years, it’s now only four weeks until my final assessment and somehow everything in falling into place. It’s a busy time, but thanks to my militaryesque organisational skills and copious amounts of camomile tea I’m raging through like a woman on a mission.

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently working away each week painting pages, scanning them in, tweaking and slotting into place ready for printing. At an efficient rate of 10 pages a week, I’m comfortably on track at the half-way mark for the campaign, which has now been funded beyond double my original project goal! Heartfelt thanks to all my wonderful backers, and those new backers who know it’s fully funded, but are still pledging away regardless (Royal Mail are going to absolutely love me come May/June time). If you are a backer, you’ll know that you get exclusive updates and work-in-progress images before anyone else.. If you’re not a backer yet, you can either head over to Kickstarter and pledge now, or keep an eye out on this here blog for all the news a few days later. Here’s what you may have missed:

It’s so exciting to see Njálla come together in its final form, plus spending any spare time I have on the free colouring book for backers I’m getting more and more eager for the launch. Ahhh!

In other news, after all the excitement of the Kickstarter had subdued slightly I have been back to finishing up my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards submission, which I’m doing alongside Njálla as part of my final illustration portfolio for University. Although I was on track for completing this animation for the original deadline of the 7th April, it was a bit of a relief when they extended it to the end of this month so I had more time to spend on it and tweak it. Now, as any dedicated readers will be aware, I haven’t said a huge amount regarding this animation as Njálla has ultimately been the bigger, longer project, and the bearer of my soul for the past 6-7 months. However, this animation has been a huge undertaking for me, not only as it’s been juggled alongside other projects, but also because my experience in animation is pretty small.. Before I’ve only ever created short looping gifs, whereas this is a full 4-frames a second, 20 second animation.

Above is a short preview of the finished animation in part, as all the work is finished and scanned but I just have some finishing touches to work on digitally before submitting. Mainly, it’s a bit jumpier than I’d like it to be, so it needs smoothing out with some sneaky-tweaks. It’s all a learning curve! A steep, jagged, tiring learning curve.

In other very exciting news, after the announcement last week for the launch party of Broken Frontier’s Anthology and Small Press Yearbook, pre-orders for the Yearbook are now open! I am so excited for the release of this incredibly special collection, and as one of the featured comics creators from the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 I’m even more excited for Afloat to see the light of day! Working on that 10-page comic last summer was so much fun, and I really enjoyed stretching my story-writing muscles by tackling a 10-page slice of life tale.

If you’re not in or around London for the launch party at the end of this month (see more details in the Facebook event here), then you can pre-order your copy of the Small Press Yearbook, featuring Afloat, from the online store here. Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver, has had a strong ethos for this book from the start:

“To fully embrace the philosophy of this venture 40% of the Broken Frontier Small Yearbook‘s print run will be distributed as comp copies. This includes Yearbooks sent to comics publishers, commentators, activists and industry figures in order to introduce them to the work of Hathaway, Milton, Noble, Raby, Urbino and Vian.

The remaining number will be priced at as accessible a price point as feasible to ensure as many readers as possible discover the comics of the original Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’. To make that a reality this 100-page book will retail for just £6.00 for 83 colour and black & white story pages!”

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 – Pre-Orders Now Open!

You can read the full article about the Yearbook here, with the details of the additional, supporting contributors here, and the pre-order release post here. In the run up to the aforementioned launch party at Gosh! Comics, Broken Frontier will be running exit interviews for us Six to Watch too, with the first article for Jess Milton coming out earlier this week – definitely worth a read. With copies of the Yearbook available from the end of April and Njálla released in early-June, I hope you’re all ready for some new reading material!

I think that’s about it for now! The kettle is calling my name (worrying, I know) and I have plenty to keep me busy for the rest of the day. Rest assured I will be back next week with (hopefully) a finished animation and more previews from Njálla! Until next time.. Have a good week everyone!

x

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The Laydeez Who Comic

Good morning laydeez and gentlemen!

So, another week bites the dust and Laydeez do Comics has been and gone! It was possibly one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my feeble existence; standing in front of a room full of eager-eyed people actually wanting to hear what I had to say (or at least pretending to, anyway). Even with my neatly arranged cue cards I’m sure I probably missed something important, but overall it was a really fun evening – more about that shortly. In other news, university projects are getting busier than ever and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be starting to draw up the final pages of The Next Big Thing! I’m keeping my working title under-wraps for now, though the reveal will be coming shortly. I’m also debating at the moment whether to move the blog to a fortnightly effort instead of weekly for the duration of this term, just to give myself an extra bit of time to work on my incredibly long to-do list, BUT I’m still mulling it over. So, I’ll let you all know! Now, down to business..

As you may remember from last week, I spend Sunday 10th creating the window display at Gosh! Comics in readiness for the LDC night this past Monday. Somehow the week between doing the windows and turning up to talk went past like a lightening bolt! I settled onto the warm and cosy train to London on Monday night with an 300-man army of butterflies in my stomach – no, not some strange new recipe, just nerves – and bolted across to Soho to meet with Andy Oliver (Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and Danny Noble (Munday Morning, Ollie & Alan) for a calming beverage before the evening’s fun began. Gosh! Comics were wonderful hosts yet again for the Laydeez do Comics evening, and there were many familiar and friendly faces bobbing about. Andy Oliver took the reins for the evening and spoke first about the wonderful work he does at Broken Frontier, and the small press/independent creator focus they look at compared to the largely mainstream comics industry. Next up was my turn, and armed with my carefully designed presentation I managed to bumble on for probably far less time than I was meant to – aside from shaking like a leaf the whole way through I probably spoke at lightening speed too. Agh! After a short break, the last speaker was Danny Noble who entertained us all with her honest and witty comics, whilst talking about her practice and how she uses panels in a really interesting and diverse way. Inspiring stuff! HUGE thanks to Keara and Wallis for having us, and everyone who came out to see us talk!

One of the main focuses of the evening was Andy Oliver’s announcements.. Sadly, after almost a year, the title of ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ is being filed away and the new Six have been announced! Us 2015 lot are being flung into the wide open world with our belongings in a bindle and are shunted out in to the cold harsh realities of life. Or, something like that. The new Six have been announced at LDC and will be announced officially on Broken Frontier in the coming days. They’re a talented bunch!

In the second batch of wonderful news that was announced by the Patron Saint of Comics, the Broken Frontier Yearbook has been revealed! Here’s a snippet from the press release yesterday on Broken Frontier, which sums it up far more eloquently than I possibly could:

Last night at London’s Gosh! Comics a very special announcement was made to the sell-out audience at the Broken Frontier special edition of the monthly Laydeez do Comics meeting. We’re very excited today to share that news on the site with the extended BF readership.

Currently in pre-production, our inaugural Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook will be available in the early part of this year. A near 100-page publication, it celebrates the work of our ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ – Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian – in both colour and black & white. Each creator has contributed an 8-10 page story on the theme of “breaking frontiers” and interpreted that broad starting point with their own ever distinctive artistic voices.

A natural extension of a year’s worth of dedicated coverage of these six very talented creators, the Yearbook is the ultimate expression of this column’s philosophy of “unearthing the gems of the small press”, and of bringing the work of comickers we have championed to a far wider audience. In due course you will be able to buy the book both online and from certain UK stores. But the prime philosophy of the Yearbook is to provide a promotional showcase for last year’s participants in our ‘Six to Watch’ initiative. To that end we’ll be sending out copies to selected publishers, micropublishers, and comics commentators as we seek to raise the profile of 2015’s half dozen stars-in-the-making across the medium.

Andy Oliver – Broken Frontier: Announcing the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook – Championing our 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch’ in Print!

Follow the link to read all about it and even see a sample page from each of us! Which now means (for those of you avid readers who remember my ramblings) THE TOP SECRET PROJECT IS NO LONGER SECRET. WOOHOO! From May to September of last year I was working on this project, and although I could hint at it and show some images along the way, I couldn’t really say what it was for or when it’d be released. Low and behold, the 10-page silent comic which Andy kindly spoke of as my ‘best work to date’ will be released in coming months in the bumper Small Press Yearbook alongside the talents of Danny Noble, Emma Raby and more. Alongside the ‘Six’ are other top-name creators who have supplied work to support the project, being announced in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out on Broken Frontier’s Twitter and website for all the details.. Here’s a reminder of some of the work I created, and you can read more about the project from my previous blog post here.

Top Secret Project - announced!
Top Secret Project – announced!

With LDC behind me it’s now full-speed with University work in the run up to Easter (I know, it’s only January.. I have a very busy few months ahead). My dissertation needs finishing, the Next Big Thing needs drawing up, a couple of other competitions need doing, written assignment work needs completing, another commission needs doing, and somewhere between all that some kind of sleep would be marvellous. Oh, and I’m making a lávvu. More about that in a couple of weeks, though! For the meanwhile, here’s another sneaky peek of some development/practice figuring out the best composition before I start on the final pages. Exciting!

And that wraps it up for this week! Back to the grindstone for another week of fun-times, and I shall be back next week with hopefully some more bits ticked off my very large list and more things to show you. For now, over and out.

x

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Tales from the Broken Frontier Table

Good evening ladies and gents!

So, it’s been a nice and busy week as usual, and I think I’ve just about recovered from the fun that was CECAF this past weekend. I’ve still been busy on some top secret thingies, but all will be revealed soon…

CECAF (Crouch End Comic Arts Festival) had it’s second outing this Saturday just gone, finely crafted from the hands of Sean Azzopardi and held in Earl Haig Hall, Crouch End. The festival coincided nicely with the Crouch End Festival and a lovely sunny day to lure in the masses, and although it was a bit quiet at times it was a great day! I was kindly invited to be a part of the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ Broken Frontier table, where I stood alongside Kingpin Andy Oliver, Emma Raby and Danny Noble (who shared a table with Matt Boyce). It really was a fantastic day, and sales-wise it was a vast improvement for me compared to TAKEOVER in early May. And we like sales, don’t we?

I sold six copies of The Red Road, more so than I could’ve hoped for! And the free print for the first four sales didn’t even seem to be a factor, which was pretty awesome. Though, probably confusing for the first four purchasers who I kept handing free stuff to. Huge thanks to Editor in Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver for this fantastic opportunity! As always, Andy’s relentless support of the six of us UK small pressers is incredible, and I’ve been introduced to so many skilled comic’s folk because of it! After 5pm kick-out, we all headed next door to the pub where I filled my face with cheese and bacon fries and wine to end a very happy day with new friends. People have always said how friendly the comics community is, and I can confirm it’s truth.

Even the passing public were lovely, on a quick break I met some guys who have their own web-comics; Doppelganger web-comic by Thibault Kervarech, plus Kordurroi web-comic and Lonely Skeleton by João Duarte Siva. Web-comics is something I’ve never gotten into before, but seeing how people manage to keep up with these new-fangled things, I may have to give some sort of daily comic a go again!

In other news, this week sees the opening and launch of The University of Northampton’s Illustration degree show! Mixtape opens on Thursday evening from 5pm, where I shall be hovering about with free wine helping out with the degree show shop! I’ll be selling comics, zines and prints at the show, so hopefully my stocks of The Red Road continue to dwindle ready for round two’s re-release.

Also, for anyone interested Thought Bubble Festival tickets are now on general sale! The event runs over two days, 14th-15th November and I will be glued to my seat behind the half table all by myself for both days. So, really people who weren’t planning on coming should just pity-attend. Ticket’s can be purchased here!

Finally, I finished my entry today for AccessArt’s Share-a-Bird Project! The project sees entries from artists around the country, voluntarily sending in original artworks which are then dispersed amongst UK schools which join the programme. This is what the website has to say…

THE SHARE-A-BIRD PROJECT HAS TWO MAIN AIMS:

  • To celebrate and highlight the diversity of artists and makers in the UK today.
  • To demonstrate the importance of visual arts education for all.

I picked the male Bullfinch as it’s an all-year-round UK bird that apparently is pretty quiet and unobtrusive. Like myself! Also the colour of the dudes chests is just beautiful.. So here it is! I posted it off today, so hopefully at some point my Bullfinch will be inspiring generations to come at a UK Schools. The project is open to submissions until the end of August, so any creative friends who believe in the cause should definitely join in! My art education in school was boring to tears and in no way prepared me for college. Which I then just about passed. Thankfully it didn’t put me off, but children shouldn’t be discouraged from creativity. Creativity keeps the mind sane! Ish.

Anywho, that’s it for now. Time to dive my face into some cheesecake and hope that this cold-type-illness passes by tomorrow, as it’s going to be another busy week! Over and out.

 

x

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The Road to CECAF

Good evening happy campers.

Well, here are are in a rather blustery June. I don’t know about elsewhere, but I’m looking forward to stepping out the door and not being greeting by a mass of fresh air all up in my face and hair. Although I’m sure the dragged-through-a-hedge look has it’s perks*, I don’t think it suits me.

*Perks include: Avoiding eye-contact with odd looking strangers, avoiding eye-contact with people you used to know, avoiding eye contact with people you do know but would rather not, correcting one’s appearance with a Mariah Carey-esque hair swoosh, potentially good excuse for running late (as even if you walk slowly, you still look like you’ve run a marathon), and it’s probably a fashion statement I’ve missed out on because I’m old and sensible.

Anyway! As we enter June we come upon round 2 of my summer of comics festivals – CECAF! Otherwise known as Crouch End Comic Arts Festival, this Saturday 6th June sees a whole load of comics creators pile into Earl Haig in Crouch End. The comics festival runs alongside the community arts led Crouch End Festival, which has a whole host of events running from this Friday 5th June through to Sunday 14th June. I have been incredibly lucky to be included on the Broken Frontier table, which is championing the work of us troublemakers – the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ – along with a couple of other talented small-pressers! I jumped at the chance to come along and join in the fun, so you can find me there on Saturday, 11am-5pm with copies of everything! That’s right, everything. I shall be joining Andy Oliver, Patron Saint of UK Small Press and *newly appointed* Editor and Chief in Broken Frontier behind the table, along with Keara Stewart and Emma Raby. You’ll also be able to find fellow Six Small Presser Danny Noble nearby with her recently published book, Was it… Too Much for You?. Keara will be selling her anthology I joined in on, A Bit of Undigested Potato so be sure to pick up a copy of that whilst you’re around. Plus, y’know, the aforementioned ‘everything’.

So, roll up! Come on down! Say hello! Join in the fun! All info below!

CECAF
CECAF
..Part of The Crouch End Festival of events!

I have a special offer on just for this splendid event, too!

The first four people to purchase a copy of The Red Road at CECAF this Saturday, will get a FREE A6 high quality print.

How good is that?! There are a choice of two prints available, and it’s first come first served and adored by me forever for buying my work basis. And I’m pretty sure adoration goes for a high price these days, so enjoy it. I will also be selling my usual gaggle of items, plus free stickers with every purchase. Unless I’m mistakenly piling far too much onto this envisioned table (in which case, this may be edited out in due course), I will also be selling remaining issues of Down to Your Skivvies #1 zine by myself and the Skivvies ladies, so watch out for that too. Yay!

Saturday should be a fantastic day, at least, it will be once I’ve navigated the bus system of London to try and find out how to get to Crouch End. And also once I manage to fall on a bus to get home again after a few drinks, but I’ll worry about that nearer the time! If you happen to be in London this weekend and fancy an eye-popping day of awesome comics creators selling their wares, come along. You’ll love it.

In other news, the past week has been another rather busy one, but I still have my big secret hat on for now whilst I figure out and finalise several ongoing plans. I did however gain some inspiration from my new early-morning routine, as re-created in this quick cartoon below. I have decided, in my infinite wisdom, that 4:30am is a tiring time to get up in the morning. However, at least it’s now light around then. And, also I’m greeted by the Great British dawn chorus, from the local Northamptonshire birds. It’s better than radio, I tell you.

Thanks to Toto. No Copyright Violations here!
Thanks to Toto for getting this song in my head, yet again.

Anyway, that’s it from me tonight! I expect to see you ALL on Saturday at CECAF, so have a good week until then. Peace out!

x

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Happy March!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

So, it’s March already! I mainly know this as I emerged from my desk for a brief amount of time to celebrate turning 25 with a cocktail in one hand and cake in the other. True story! And yes, it was as good as it sounds.. Though, I’ve been informed that I need to cease smiling or looking surprised as the wrinkles will start to stick soon. On a cheerier note, I have lots to tell you all about this week! Where shall I start..

Ah yes – The Red Road! That pesky book I keep harassing everybody about! WELL, as I mentioned last week in my blog post, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has featured me as one of Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, alongside Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian. It seems that Andy’s received quite a bit of attention from his article, and it looks like some exciting pieces will be coming up in Spring on the Small Pressganged section of Broken Frontier’s site! So, definitely worth watching out for that one – of course I’ll hold up giant, flashing neon signs to assist you all in the right direction. In also-awesome-news, the very kind Jared of OK Comics in Leeds has just taken on stock of The Red Road, so Leeds – you can now go and caress your very own copy! Although, preferably after purchasing, as I don’t think they allow non-spend-caressing..

okcomics

Further good news, is that on Friday myself and the incredibly talented papercut illustrator Naomi attended a University-led sales event, sharing a stall to sell our stuff! Given that it was a Friday, (and most students tend to be a little less inclined to attend their lectures surrounding the weekend.. Or any days ending with a ‘y’, for that matter) it was a fairly quiet few hours of selling – but the few people that did come round gave some positive feedback and I managed to sell a few more copies of The Red Road, and even some prints! The penguins print seemed to be very popular, so I shall have to make note to do more cartoony stuff for people to ‘aww’ at if they don’t know that they’re interested in comics yet.

Myself on the left, doing my very best sleep-deprived look, and Naomi on the right with her prints and papercut illustrations in the foreground!

 

All in all it was a fun day, and helped spread the word a bit! There should be some more events from October, so I shall get plenty of practise over summer, which leads me to…

Manchester! I am proud to be classed as an honourary-Northerner this year as I’m attending the indie comic event of MancsterCon! They describe themselves as follows…

MancsterCon is a voluntarily run organisation dedicated to bringing together the best of the independent sequential art scene in the North West. We organise seminars, artist meet ups and an annual convention through which we aim to highlight new talent in comics, illustration, animation and games.

MancsterCon 2015 will be held on 29th August at the University of Salford, Media City Campus. Tickets are available to buy here. If you’re interested in being a guest speaker or sponsoring our event, we’d love to hear from you!

I attended MancsterCon for the first time last year as a guest, which I covered in my blog here, and I really enjoyed the cosy feel of the event! I’m absolutely chuffed to be able to return this year selling The Red Road and other goodies, and I can’t wait to start putting together more bits to sell! You can read the announcement on their blog here, and purchase tickets here! I’m also excited to be exhibiting in the same space as the Merrick Comic guys, whose work is fantastic – I’m a bit behind the times as I only have issue one, so I’ll be looking forward to picking up the next few in August.

And finally, as I have been slowly working my way through University assignments, I’m making some decent progress with my Machines project I’ve mentioned a little bit about in the last couple of week! I don’t want to give too much away before the exhibition from the 19th (read all about it here!), so I shall leave you with one of my finished pieces for the project, which I gave you all a sneak-peek of a couple of weeks ago..

Oooh…. Machine-y..

 

For more information or to attend the event – see the Facebook page for more details! Anyway, I think that’s the latest for now.. For the rest of the week you’ll find me manically trying to get as much university project work done as possible, whilst trying not to over-caffeinate myself. Although I’ve had a very productive start to the week, so hopefully we’re all set for an excellent week. Must be the added wisdom of being a year older…. Peace out! x

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