independent publishing

Top Secret Project

Good morning you lovely people, you!

So, it appears to be autumn. I’m not quite warm enough, University is looming once more and my list of jobs to do before third year starts is slowing depleting.. Though I keep thinking of things to add to it, which doesn’t help. Thankfully, stress is low and my stocks of camomile tea are high, so here’s to a good few weeks before the teeth-grinding, alcohol comforted, crying into sketchbooks era of Third Year begins.

Amongst the delights of laughing at my own history of terrible drawings last week, and celebrating the wonders of MancsterCon, you may have seen mentions of the Top Secret Project having reached completion. Now, the Top Secret Project started back around May, though it still feels like a blur of thinking and drawing, with the final painting of my 10 pages taking a week to complete. I still can’t divulge any more details about the Top Secret Project (in case you hadn’t already guessed from the title), but if you can all hold onto your hats for just a couple more months, all will be revealed… For now, though, here are some of the final images; from final inks to varying stages of painted completion. I’m still resting in that uncomfortable zone of “is-this-actually-terrible-and-people-will-laugh-at-me-and-I’ll-have-to-change-my-name-and-become-a-hand-model-and-move-to-a-village-and-hide-forever”, but I’ve come to realise that the fears and worries are a good thing. Emotional investment equals fear of other peoples opinions, and emotional investment means I’ve done the best I can. So, let’s just hope it’s not a flop.

Similarly to The Red Road, I drew all my pages out in pencil, went over them in fancy ink pen, and painted them in varying shades of gouache. Unlike The Red Road, however, I drew everything 100% larger than it’s due to be printed; it’s something my lecturers at University kept telling me I should do to improve my figure drawing, and I actually listened. I’ve been drawing double the size of print since Rejsen, with my comic in Sneaky Business also being double the size of print too. I’m not sure if it’s making me a better illustrator/artist or not, but it works well enough and doesn’t take any extra time.

The one thing I did do different this time, is that I worked on all the pages from rough form on separate paper first, then once the pencils were done-ish I used the light-box to draw everything up on the final fancy paper in pencil again, tightened it all up and inked. The good thing about doing it like this, is that the paper wasn’t left with a multitude of rubbed-out mistakes, and no pencil indents too. I IS LEARNING, LIKE. But yes, with every new project comes a new set of wisdom, and the completion of the Top Secret Project has left me feeling comfortable in the set of processes I have for my upcoming Final Major Project at University (cue: fear).

Last week also saw the review of Down to Your Skivvies #1, by Broken Frontier in Andy Oliver’s new Zinewatch feature! DTYS#1, created by Kamala Roberts, Zara Ward and myself earlier in the year is about celebrating women in the arts, and though #2 is in the making, it’s great to have a little boost with this review – thanks Andy! You can read his review of DTYS here, and purchase a copy on Etsy, here.

Old school zine-style in presentation, Down to Your Skivvies! is an eclectic mix of material that, nevertheless, retains a consistent thematic approach and voice.
– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier.

Aside from this, the past week has actually been pretty busy with non-work related things, although a couple of lovely new shiny projects have come my way which will give me plenty to do this week, along with that damn pre-uni, ever growing check-list. So, I shall leave you all rest-assured that I am continuing my delicate balance of staying warm, drawing lots, and doing my very best not to go into hibernation mode. I am off on a few day escape to Amsterdam next week so I will be back with my blog on Friday instead of it’s usual mid-week presence, but picture me happily cycling around canals in the rain whilst stuffing my face full of poffertjes and wheels of gouda. Until next week!

x

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Shelf Fame & Other Tales

Good evening ladies and gents,

Well, last week sped by a little too quickly, didn’t it! I seemingly spent most of the week glued to my desk working on a book cover design, only moving for hourly stretches and to boil the kettle – my new love for camomile and honey tea is helping me detox from my usual high caffeine intake and also, it smells like sleep and clouds. What could be better? The wild life of an illustrator is all it’s cracked up to be, and I like to think that my insights make you all realise how bad-ass of a career this is.

Anyway! On Saturday I took a trip down to our fine capital city for a happy day of exploring and absorbing! First stop was to Soho, as Steve at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street has been kind enough to take on copies of The Red Road for sale in the Small Press and Independent area of the store. I think I may have accidentally skipped for joy at one point, but hopefully no one noticed. And, even if no one did indeed notice then I’ve just ruined it for myself on here. I will defend happy-joy-skipping until the bitter end! The last and only time I’d been to Gosh! Comics previously was for the HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing in July of last year – the shop has such a lovely feel and atmosphere, with a huge table in the middle covered in all sorts of wonderful books and graphic novels. There’s even original and print artwork for sale decorating the walls, it really is a wonderful place.

I was excited beyond belief at my book being placed on the shelves, so for any London readers, you envision my excitement and skipping for yourself by picking up your numbered copy of The Red Road down at Gosh! Comics:

After Gosh! I spent the rest of the day visiting a variety of neat exhibitions, and first up was The Cartoon Museum! Somehow, I’d never actually known about the museum until I was researching my trip to Brussels Centre belge de la Bande dessinée (you can read all about my adventures here) and The London Cartoon Museum came up on Google. Oops! Anywho, it’s a small museum but the content really speaks for itself.

Next up was Anise Gallery’s new exhibition Sequential City, featuring original pieces and prints from Owen D. Pomery, Alison Sampson, Lando, Hannah Berry, John Riordan & Tim Bird, looking at the psychology of architecture in contemporary graphic novels. The Anise Gallery is tucked well out the way, just around the corner from the Design Museum past London Bridge. The space is small and homely, and the exhibition is like a hidden gem. I ended up treating myself to John Riordan‘s Capital City and Lando‘s Anthropozine which are both moving reads – If I had endless money I’d have bought it all! Following this I made my way over to Somerset House to the Mapping the City exhibition featuring illustrators and graffiti artists and their interpretations of maps. Interesting stuff!

The British Library’s Lines in the Ice exhibition was my last port of call (get it?), with historic illustrations of the various attempts at discovering what was through the North-West passage. Sad, but interesting, and by this point my calves were ready to get the train home (legs, not baby cows)! Mapping the City is on until 15th Feb, and Sequential City is on until 15th March, so no excuse not to get down there!

 

Goodies!!

More good news, this week has seen the arrival of some new smaller merchandise bits for selling! I had some postcards made up and some promo stickers too for any small events, including a Uni-organised arts and crafts fair I’m doing with some fellow students at the end of this month. Slowly but surely I’ll be clocking up some other items to sell ready for the summer! Because, well, my Etsy store looks a little lonesome with just The Red Road sitting there.

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’d like to read more about my adventures in London, in a more in-depth way, then I have a separate post going up on my university Tumblr blog, which you can read here. I shall be dutifully back in a week with another update, and hopefully this book cover will be done by then! I have lots on at the moment, and I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been up to.. Peace out! x

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