Good Comics 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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Njálla Launch & More

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, the time has finally come. The majority of Kickstarter pledge rewards are shipped, and Njálla launches for sale online tomorrow with the official launch party at the NN Cáfe here in Northampton on Saturday. I had envisioned that I could have a nice little tag-line about how you can cool down this summer by reading about the snowy, winter-lands of the Scandinavian Arctic Circle, but, well.. It’s 12°C, grey and raining here. Maybe not.

Regardless of the weather, Njálla is my pride and joy, and I’m so excited for it to be out there in the great wide world! I’ve worked really hard to create something special, and if you’re local to Northampton or have nothing better to do this Saturday night (is it usually just me..?) then come on down to NN Contemporary’s Café in Northampton and celebrate with me.

I’ve been remarkably organised due to the hundreds of other things I have to do this week, and all the listings for Njálla and related products are ready to launch on Etsy tomorrow morning from 9am UK time! So, if you missed out on Njálla’s Kickstarter Campaign and you’ve been kicking yourself since, you’ll be able to purchase your copy online tomorrow. Whilst that’s all done and ready to go, I have plenty to keep me occupied in preparations for Saturday’s launch event too, with some surprises under my metaphorical hat.. So come along if you can!

As the UK Kickstarter rewards have started to arrive I’ve been so excited to have people share their parcels with me as they arrive! My Kickstarter pals have all received freebies for helping to make this all happen, including colouring books, stickers, balloons and some sassy wrapping. Thanks so much to everyone whose taken the time to snap a picture and share it; take a look at some of the photos I’ve been tagged in.. How cool is this?

Additionally, huge thanks go out to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier who voted Njálla as his Comic of the Week this week! As many of you will be well aware, Broken Frontier has had exclusive coverage of my work since Hoax Psychosis Blues. From my first self-publishing venture The Red Road, comics zine Sneaky BusinessDown to your Skivvies zine and now Njálla’s Kickstarter campaign, exclusive preview and my work within the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, Andy’s support has made the process of throwing my work out there a bit less scary and a lot more rewarding. Keep an eye out for his review of Njálla coming tomorrow.. I have no idea what will be said, so I’ll be waiting on the edge of my seat!

Keeping an eye out.. hah!

In other news, things became all the more hectic again at University last week in preparation for launching our graduate degree show, showcasing a selection of our work from this final year of studies. Although assessment is officially over and my grades are being mulled over by someone somewhere with a large cup of tea, we still put on a show of our work in an exhibition style at the University itself, for potential future working relationships and clients as well as friends and family to come and see why we’ve all been ignoring them for six months. It’s been a lot of work, and I’ve been juggling a handful of tasks along with a few others.. But the end is in sight! The private launch is from Friday 10th June at 6:30pm, and the show being open to view to the public from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th June. If you’re interested in attending then you can find all the details here.

Finally, Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 2 is now on sale! After the gents at Good Comics launched it this past Sunday at DIY Cultures, it’s now available to buy online along with Vol. 1 and a whole host of other goodies. Check out their online store here! I’ve also updated my website to include my work from Dead Singer’s 2 on the front page, so you can check out all the details and who else is involved by clicking here.

On that note, it’s time I get back to work. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Njálla’s online launch tomorrow and I shall be back next week with all the information and more. Until then, have a good week everybody!

x

 

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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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Postage Party-Time

Good afternoon everyone!

So, it’s been a rather manic week over here at HQ with an alarming amount of packaging and order preparation to do for Njálla. After finishing up that pesky assignment work I’ve still very much been feeling the pressure in the form of 12 pieces of new and original art for Kickstarter backers as well as carefully wrapping up stacks of pledge rewards to ship out this week. Never again will I underestimate just how much of a mammoth task it is to send out so many orders! Far from wanting to sound ungrateful, I am looking forward to throwing the last of these parcels at the nearest postal worker so that I can have a long, long sleep that doesn’t involve dreaming of postage labels and tissue paper. But also I’m looking forward to that moment, because that means everyone’s orders will be on their way, YIPPEE!

In some very exciting news, yesterday saw the exclusive preview of Njálla go live on Broken Frontier! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has been so wonderful to lend his full support to not only my work, but also Njálla. Right from the beginning, through to the Kickstarter launch and yesterday’s preview. I am incredibly thankful! Check out Andy Oliver’s kind words and some sneaky previews from Njálla over on Broken Frontier here.

Since the comics arrived late on Thursday, a lot of my time over the weekend was spent finishing up commissions for the 12 backers that pledged to receive original artwork. Y’know, I thought I’d have so much more time that I did thanks to that university final important assessment nonsense.. Cuh! Anyway, I worked hard into Monday finishing up final artwork, meaning everything is ready to be packed and shipped. That mammoth task in itself is a fun one, but with about 20% of the orders going out so far to those lovely international backers, the hard-part is almost over! I did totally misjudge the postage for UK orders and had to drag myself back to the post office this morning, so UK backers if you’re wondering why there’s a collection of random stamps on your order.. That’s why! Anyway, as I haven’t got much in the way to show you all (given that watching me pack orders is far from exhilarating), here’s a sneaky peek of the commissions I’ve been working on and my very busy desk;

I had a few backer requests for special things in their commissions, which was really fun to do! I just have a few finishing touches to do on the A4 originals and they’ll be off tomorrow morning.

In other news, as you may have seen last week, my one-page comic for Good Comics’ Dead Singers Society Zine Vol. 2 had been submitted, and now the collection is available to pre-order. Yay! If you head on over to the Good Comics online store you can pre-order your copy of Vol. 2 or even grab the first one if you missed out, along with a whole host of other goodies. The excellent cover by James Howard has been released online and you can pick up a copy this weekend at DIY Cultures in London, if you’re in the vicinity!

Anywho, that’s about it for now! These parcels won’t wrap themselves (sadly) and so far I have had zero paper-cuts, so start placing your bets on how long it’ll take. Once I’ve finished my packaging and postage party tomorrow I’ll be back to all-things-go preparing for the University Degree Show exhibition from 10th June and my own Njálla launch at the NN Café on the 4th June. No rest, eh? Have a good rest of your week, everyone! Until next time..

x

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