Illustration Commission

Commission Control

Good afternoon folks,

So it’s June, and I don’t know about anywhere else but Manchester is dealing with torrential downpours and gale-force winds. Delightful. Really puts you on the mood for summer, right? Thankfully, my work is based inside and with adequate shelter..

As I showed you all last week, I’ve been working on a one-page illustration for a submission to a cool project coming out later in the year. I was hoping to have it finished now but I’ve had some minor setbacks in finishing it up (those setbacks include being too tired to know what looks good anymore, and not being able to track down any on-offer Kettle Chips). But alas, of the progress I’ve made so far, here’s a sneaky preview:

In other news, I had the pleasure of working on a couple of commissions for a regular client, as gifts for his family. It’s a pretty interesting process to take someone else’s idea and turn it into a physical object, so I thought it might be cool to share it with you all.

On the left is the sketch I was sent via email, with what the client wanted for one of the pieces. In the middle is my initial pencil sketch at full size on layout paper, and on the far right is the final, painted illustration. Check it out:

The majority of my work is turning my own thoughts into comics and illustrations, so it’s really a pleasure to work on another person’s ideas. It’s especially satisfying working from something like a biro sketch! This was one of two pieces I worked on this weekend, with more plotted for later in the summer. If you’re interested in having you’re own ideas commissioned you can contact me via email, or put in a custom order request on Etsy.

Finally, if you’re keeping up with the up-and-coming creators on the small press comics scene, you’ll know that the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017 cover has been announced!

Ellice Weaver’s cover for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017, out next month.

So colourful! Being released at Small Press Day next month, the Small Press Yearbook 2017 has work from Emily Rose Lambert, Rebecca Bagley, Kim Clements and many more.. including yours truly. And it’s going to be a good ‘un!

Aaand, that wraps it up for now. Until next time.. let’s all stay dry and if you’re UK-based, don’t forget to vote!

 

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The Next Big Thing

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, apparently winter has arrived in full force as I sit for long hours at my desk with 5 layers of clothing on with my new best friend, the kettle. Thanks to my father I’m largely anti-central heating, so in true British style I can sit and moan about the weather safe in the knowledge that at least I’m not spending any more money on heating than I need to. Living the dream! On the plus side, when the colour DOES return to my fingers I can continue working on.. -drum roll-.. The Next Big Thing!

Now, as I mentioned a while ago, even though I normally love to keep projects secret until the grand reveal, I’ve decided to do things a little differently this time. The Next Big Thing is a comic I’m creating for my Final Major Project (FMP) at University, which generally has to be to some level of completion by mid-late March, though I will most likely have it finished and to print in May-June ready for my degree show (Ahhh! Panic!). The grand scheme for this project started back in August when I travelled around Scandinavia with my other half. The spectacular views and crisp air left me with many ideas, but after gathering together rather a lot of information I decided that I wanted to create a story around the Sámi.

Norway in August
Norway in August

In a nutshell, the Sámi (also: Sami, Saami) are the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, who first settled at least 5’000 years ago, with ancestral rock carvings dating back to around dating back to around 4’200 BC. Mind-blowing, right? Even more amazing is how the Sámi culture is still present and celebrated today, even after years of heavy exploitative taxation from both Sweden and Norway, the taking of land and many more various types of oppression. Since shuffling around the museums of Norway and Sweden and learning what I could out there, I came home to start exploring the Sámi in more depth with books, documentaries and websites. Although cultural appropriation is a key topic at the moment and something to be wary of, I’ve been doing everything I can to be as respectful and clued-up as possible, because I think it’s important to inform people about other cultures.. Plus, it’s interesting! I should’ve been an anthropologist.. Anyway, I finally finished writing and scripting my story last week so here’s some of the sketchbook work I’ve been doing…

I have the story at 36-pages long, though I’m going to try and trim it down by 1-2 pages to make it 34, so that gives me the covers and 4 extra pages making the book a nice even I-will-feel-this-age-by-the-time-I’ve-finished 40. So, a bit of a challenge! On the bright side, I’m making good progress to have the mock-up done by Christmas and that gives me more time for character development before drawing up 40 pages of wonderfulness. There isn’t anything I’d rather be doing! Well, maybe sitting on an sunny beach having a massage, but apart from that.. There isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing!

In other news, I’ve been busy working on a couple of commissions this past week too. As you may remember I mentioned designing a t-shirt for a local band, which is all going through nicely! The band, Jagged Little Thrills are releasing their album in February next year, so the design will compliment their social media campaign nicely, and hopefully get them a whole load of t-shirt sales on the launch night! I’m drawing up the final design this week, along with an illustration for a local charity newsletter that is going out in time for a Christmas appeal. Here’s a peek at both, t-shirt design on the left, close up progress of the charity illustration on the right!

Anyway, that’s about it for now. My first layer of paint on the charity commission is now dry and I’m on deadline for that, so back to it! I shall be back next week as always with the final images on these two commissions, and hopefully some more progress everywhere else.. Until next time, peace out.

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Autumn Is in the Air..

Good morning happy campers!

So, it is officially autumn now. The nights are getting longer and the bags under my eyes are getting heavier, and the ‘Christmas’ word is starting to be thrown around. This past week I took some time to travel back to my homelands to get some rest and recuperation before University starts up again next week, and such recuperation included climbing around castle ruins and eating an lot of very nice food; what could be better?

Before I travelled far and wide for my three days of feasting, I began work on a fun piece which is different from the kind of work I’ve been producing this past year. As a single illustration piece centered around a scenic view, I was able to really get my teeth stuck into it, looking at how to make the piece work on its own (rather than with comics work having panels complementing each over and working together). Also, I had a chance to play around with creating my own text, which is something I’ve barely touched for a number of years now, and I really enjoyed getting back into it. Based around the theme of Japan and skiing, this work was a refreshing change and had my brain ticking in all sorts of new ways – and, bonus points, this piece is for video rather than print (ooh err)..

Without sounding too much like a stuffy art person with my strange terms and deep, complex thought trails, the main ideals for the work was a sunset over mountains, with snow and skiers. Using my particular way of seeing the world but merged with historic Japanese black ink washes, I think it’s worked pretty well. I’m a big fan of mountains, as you all may have guessed, but I made sure to draw them in a different way this time to really highlight the harshness and beauty of dawn. Well, tried to, anyway. The text was a lot of fun too; with two working titles to make I looked at stereotypical fonts and kind of took on my own path from there, painting the text with a brush to keep it in the general tone of the drawing. In other words.. I painted words to complement that drawing up there, and I think it went okay.

So, another success story and more things are gradually getting crossed off the ‘things to do before Uni starts up again’ list. I still have a few things up my sleeve, and with starting back for third year on Tuesday rather than Monday I have an extra day to squeeze out as much efficiency as possible before all hell breaks loose. In other news, during my time in the homelands I came back via Birmingham and made sure to visit the owls on the Hoot Trail!

The Big Hoot is a free event in Birmingham that has run from 20th July and finished on 27th September, featuring many, many owl sculptures painted by artists. The owls are dotted around the City Centre, with a few in the surrounding areas towns of the greater Birmingham area. By getting involved, buying items from the online shop and the final stage of the big owls going to auction, it’s all in effort to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I’m always a big supporter of getting art out into the community and getting people involved, especially when it’s for an important cause. Plus, who doesn’t love owls?! If you’re around Birmingham and have a chance to see them in the next few days, you can get a trail map from the website or download an app to follow the trail with your phone. If not, there are an abundance of pictures with the hashtag #thebighoot2015 and the Farewell Weekend is around Millennium Point in Birmingham on the 10th-11th October. Aren’t they pretty!

I had an absolute hoot looking at the owls (sorry, sorry..) and it was a soul-warming experience to see young and old getting up close and excited about the owls around Birmingham. That’s it for now! The sneaky things up my sleeve await, and the kettle is calling my name. Until next week!

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