Illustrated Women in History Zine

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.

 

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2016 Reflections

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, that festive time of year involving copious amounts of food is over and done, and 2016 is slowly ebbing away too.. Which means it’s time for the yearly round-up! 2016 has been an incredible year for me work-wise, and although 2015 made me pretty dizzy to look back over I think this year has been busier than ever.

From CD artwork to competitions, the Small Press Yearbook to Sneaky Business, and all the way from graduating from University in the East Midlands to ending up in the North West. It’s been a busy one. The highlights of this year definitely include being so involved with Broken Frontier as one of the Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015. From creating my short story last year, the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 was announced right at the beginning of the year at the Laydeez do Comics event at Gosh! Comics, where I sweated my way through talking in front of an audience about my work, with Danny Noble and Andy Oliver doing a far better job. The launch in April was an incredible experience, with Gosh! Comics being filled to the brim with people here to look at Andy Oliver’s pride and joy, and the buzz remained well into helping out at Comiket and being asked to join in the Drawing Parade. Gosh! Comics has also been a stable feature of 2016 with the June Drink & Draw, and it’s neighbour Orbital Comics having some of us Six to Watch folks behind the table on Small Press Day, where Warren Ellis picked up a copy of Njálla and wrote about it in his newsletter.

Speaking of which, Njálla was pretty much the focal point of my year. From the ideas conception in August/September 2015, I worked on the comic up until May 2016 including the terrifyingly successful Kickstarter campaign which led me to be able to fund the whole print run without any worry about the financial side of things. With Njálla completed and the rest of my work pinned up to boards, I finished my final year of University and graduated with First Class Honours in Illustration – so I guess all the hard work paid off!

Another big highlight of this year has been the festivals; Comika and Small Press Day starting off the year, with Bristol Comic & Zine Fair and Thought Bubble finishing it up in spectacular fashion. Since spending more time behind a table and meeting more comics people I have the best time, and I can’t wait for what 2017 brings.

Waffling aside, here’s a nice bunch of pictures from my 2016, which say it far better than I can.

And that’s where we’re up to now! With my new release with Good Comics scheduled for Spring 2017 and a couple of other smaller projects in the pipeline there’s not much time to relax in the next few months.. But here’s to another excellent year, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed my ramblings. See you on the other side!

 

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BCZF and the Sneaky Launch

Good afternoon ladies and gents.

So, another week has zoomed by and this here will be my last blog for a little while. From next week I’ll be making the big move up North to Manchester and starting a new job, so there’s some pretty big life adjustments to get my head around! It’s been a tough few weeks making sure everything is done in time for moving, and also finishing up comics work and launching Sneaky Business vol. 2, so I’m looking forward to having everything put to bed so I can focus all my energy on mine and my handsome northerner’s new home together.

But, regardless of the sheer amount of work, Sneaky Business vol. 2 is go! Despite the very nearly irreversible spelling mistakes bring printed, forgetting to tell people they’re included, and then completely forgetting to put it up for sale online, Sneaky Business vol. 2 has been launched; and, in true style! Bristol Comic and Zine Fair this past Saturday was a wonderfully vibrant day, and between the beaming sunshine and rain showers it made for a consistently high volumes of people having a look around, and spending their hard earned money on comic and zine-like goods! Here are some photos from the day, some by me and some respectfully borrowed from the event photographer Eileen Long and Editor in Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver. Check them out below:

I had SUCH a good time at BCZF, and big thanks to everyone who came by my table to say hello! And also to anyone who happened to make the mistake of asking how things are and ended up hearing my life story about how stressful moving home is (I think the Avery Hill gents, Elizabeth Querstret and Rebecca Bagley took the brunt of it) – please forgive me. Overall it was such a fun day, and I really can’t wait to apply again and hopefully be a part of the fun next year too! Though with how crammed my half table was this year I may have to look into a better way of presenting my comics and goods.. Hang them from the ceiling? Stick them to my clothing? Send your suggestions on a postcard.

But, anyway.. Sneaky Business vol. 2 had it’s grand launch complete with googly eyes, and as of yesterday can now be purchased on my Etsy store for the bargain price of £3! Printed in a limited run of 100, SB2 contains 36 pages from 19 creators, so get your hands on a copy pronto. You can read all about the artists and creators included in Sneaky Business from my previous blog here.

Click me!

In other news, I found out that my submission to the Illustrated Women in History zine has been accepted! You may or may not remember, back in July I created a piece on Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, to submit to this zine by Julie Gough of A Pale Landscape, and I’m thrilled to have made it to the final selection. The zine is on sale now for £10 plus shipping, and can be found and ordered here.

So as you can see, it’s been a busy and successful week! I just have a one final piece of work to do before moving which you’ll all be privy to in the coming months, but until then I must love and leave you all for a few weeks. Feel free to send burly moving men my way as I’m not sure how me and a skinny IT guy are going to move all our belongings up and down far too many flights of stairs.. But until next time, see you on the other side!

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All or Nothing

Good morning ladies and gents!

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 Rejsen was published in Dirty Rotten Comics #5, I shall hopefully be part of the furniture in terms of the Dirty Rotten Comics anthology contributors soon..

Success! Sørgedag will be in Dirty Rotten Comics #8

Pre-orders for Dirty Rotten Comics will open within the next few weeks and I’ll be sure to let you delightful readers know when so you can go and support such a fantastic anthology. Read the Broken Frontier Small Press Spotlight on Dirty Rotten Comics from last year to find out all about the DRC philosophy and what makes it so special, and read all about Sørgedag on my portfolio page.

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!

Illustrated Women in History – Valentina Tereshkova

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.

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