Jagged Little Thrills

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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The Last Alibi Part 1

 

Jagged Little Thrills

Local Northampton band Jagged Little Thrills commissioned me to work on a t-shirt design and poster for their now-released EP The Last Alibi Part 1, released on 26th February 2016. After completion of the design they very kindly asked me to also create their CD artwork.

You can check out Jagged Little Thrills at the following links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Soundcloud
iTunes

Represented by Blow The Roof Records LTD

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Mad March

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

So, it’s been a little while hasn’t it! My apologies for failing to live up to the ‘blog-a-week’ expectations, but unfortunately it’s been rather busy here at HQ and my assistant seems to be hibernating.. Can’t get the staff, I tell you. Regardless of how busy it’s been in the past couple of weeks, there have also been some rather awesome things happening and taking shape! And, as we struggle into March my deadlines are looming closer – which is obviously a bit of a pain, but it means that a large chunk of work will be over soon leaving me to focus on my comic and other fun stuff.

Firstly, and most importantly, this past Friday saw the launch of local Northampton band Jagged Little Thrills new EP ‘The Last Alibi’. AND, what I couldn’t tell you before is that after I designed their t-shirt for them they kindly asked me to design their EP too! I was absolutely over the moon to have the chance to work on a whole CD wraparound cover and inside, and it was such a fun project to work on. The guys gave me an outline of the kind of thing they wanted with some always appreciated creative freedom, and back in January I finished up the design and sent it over. Low and behold, the day finally arrived on the Friday 26th February where I turned up to their launch gig to see people wearing the t-shirt I drew, and a stack of CD’s with the artwork I created. It was surreal! And wonderful. Definitely wonderful. I was kindly given my t-shirt and a copy of the album, and here they are…

How exciting! It really was such a fun night (although I accidentally ate myself into a semi food-coma just before with an impressive burger) and so amazing to see my work printed up and sold. Huge thanks to Jagged Little Thrills for having me involved in their album, and if you’d like to check out the album for yourself you can visit their Facebook page here, with their EP on iTunes here. Also, if you’re after a preview you can listen to previews of some of the tracks for free on Soundcloud too, so be sure to check them out! Here is my tired, happy face grinning like a numpty when I spotted a poster up a few days before the gig.

In other news, amongst all the fun of assignment work I managed to find a smidgen of time to create a short one-page comic for OFF LIFE 13! OFF LIFE is, taken from their website as they say it far better than I could attempt to, “the UK’s only street press comic. We publish a magazine full of indie comics and illustration to help showcase the art form and the incredible talent working within it.” It’s also a huge deal. OFF LIFE features some of the biggest names in comics in the UK and is not only available to read for free online, but also distributed around free-to-read in bars, cafés, and more. Whether my submission gets in or not, I’m not overly confident due to the volume of amazingly talented people who get featured.. But y’know, as always, fingers crossed! And as I always like to give you guys something, here’s a preview;

What else, what else.. Oh right, The Next Big Thing! My comic is still well under way, and today I’m working on drawing up and inking pages 27-30. With the actual story content being at 34 pages, there’s not much more to go now – scary! That being said, the process of colouring such a high volume comic compared to what I’m used to is a whole new mission in itself, and before I even get onto that I’ll be drawing up fill-pages and redrawing up any panels where I’ve made mistakes or want to have another go at something. It’s been a really different experience to work on so many pages (I realise this must sound a bit silly to those who’ve drawn 100 pages + graphic novels), but I’m so excited and nervous to see what people think! The Kickstarter campaign will start in the next few weeks to coincide around the same time of the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook release, so by that point the majority of the book will be done and it’ll just be finishing touches whilst hopefully getting the money together to get it printed!

Anyway, enough of the finer details, here are some more previews!

Phew! Busy busy. Apart from that I’m still working on the animation for the Creative Conscience awards, and my dissertation too, but after a relaxing weekend and birthday celebrations yesterday I’m feeling somewhat refreshed and ready to crack on! I shall be back next week with more progress on The Next Big Thing and more, but until then.. Have a good week all!

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Quickly, quickly!

Good morning ladies and gents,

It’s been another busy week over here at HQ, and the never-ending piles of work mean it’ll just be a short one today! (I can hear you all breathe a sigh of relief from here…)

After last week’s update I’m sure you all because overwhelmed with excitement at the fact that I’ve started drawing up my final pages. Well! I’ve been busy, and over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get ahead of schedule, and successfully so at the moment, in that I’ve now completed over half of my final inks. Woohoo! The painting part will be fairly time consuming in itself, but being safe in the knowledge that I’ve managed 6 pages a week instead of my intended 4 is a nice comfort. Here’s some previews of the pages so far..

My upcoming crowd-funding campaign is in the tentative research stages at the moment, as I’m waiting for a few things to fall in place and the timings to be correct before I set it all up and start pleading for donations towards making this comic a beautiful reality rather than lots and lots of pieces of paper. Next week I’ll be divulging you with more information about The Next Big Thing, so keep an eye out for that one..

In other news, the University Illustration Degree Show planning is in full swing, with all the social media channels up and ready. I’ve tasked myself with taking over the Twitter account as I spend enough time on there anyway trying to promote my own work, so if you’re a Twitter fan and you’d like to follow the Degree Show preparations with my added wit and charm, you can check it out here –

Creative Curiosities Twitter.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr – whichever your preferred method of procrastination is, we have it covered! We’ve also set up a GoFundMe fundraising page to help raise money for the costs of hosting our degree show. The catalogue is the main expense, with printing a high volume to give away for free as well as promo packs, and the actual setting up of the show and making the room look a bit more snazzy than it’s current ageing exterior (yes, still talking about the room, not my ageing exterior). If you can spare any money at all and you’re interested in the work of the future comics creators and illustrators of this course, then please do head over to our fundraising page and help us out. We’ll love you forever! And print your name in the ‘Thanks’ section of the catalogue, if that’s any sort of incentive.

Also, I’m still working away on the animation for the Creative Conscious competitions I mentioned last week – you know, the one where I thought I’d be a fantastic idea to do a 64-panel animation as well as all my other work. Yeah, that one. It’s coming along nicely and I’m sketching up the panels all together to then spend a very long day inking and painting all of them some time at the end of March. Here’s some progress from that..

Finally, remember the t-shirt design I created for Northampton band Jagged Little Thrills? Well, if you’re local to the area, their new EP launch night is coming up fast! Next week, on Friday 26th February at The Charles Bradlaugh and Saturday 27th at The Victoria Inn, Jagged Little Thrills will be launching their new EP and merchandise and I guarantee it’ll be an awesome couple of gigs with some rather snazzy merchandise, if I may say so myself.. You can check out the band here on Facebook, and on Twitter.

The first of two commissions, this one for local band Jagged Little Thrills' merchandise

Right, that’s about all I have time for! Until next time..

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Commission time, studio and whine.

Good morning, faithful readers!

So, it is December. The Christmas month is upon us – and Star Wars, let’s not forget – so I can finally start throwing around the festive terms without being glared at for it being “too early”. Yay! In the days when I worked long hours in retail I really was not Saint Nick’s biggest fan. One day off for Christmas in which I was too tired to appreciate all the deliciousness of the food, and usually ill from some charming member of the general public spreading their germs, so wine was also out of my grasps. However, now I am a one-man-illustrating-band with nothing to fall back on, I can recline into the Christmas spirit with only.. 5 reflective statements that need writing, 4 lecturers confusing me, three incredibly important projects looming, two pounds sterling to my name.. and a partridge in a pear tree!

Onto jollier things, these past few weeks I’ve been communicating back and forth on a couple of exciting commissions. First things first, through a mutual friend I managed to land a job creating a t-shirt design for local Northampton band Jagged Little Thrills, who have recently been signed to Blow The Roof Records! Their debut record ‘The Last Alibi’ will be released on 26th February 2016 through their new record company, and little old me has designed their promo. Lovely stuff!

Band Name (opp)

Final Image 4

I really enjoyed working on this for the gents of Jagged Little Thrills; it’s been a pleasure! From creating a hand-lettered font for the design, to drawing up something for screen-print (which the process involves only printing in block colours with no gradients), it’s been a refreshing challenge and a joy to do. So, thanks to the band for having me create this for them! The record release show events are up already, so if you’re local to the area then please do come down to The Charles Bradlaugh on Friday 26th February, or The Victoria Inn on Saturday 27th February. Plus, if you need any more convincing, it will be my birthday weekend and also two weeks until my dissertation is due.. I’ll need all whiskey I can get!

The second commission I’ve been working on recently is for the Northampton Hope Centre, a charity which focuses on helping people in need such as; the homeless, vulnerably housed, people with alcohol and/or drug related issues, people with physical and mental health issues, refugees and asylum seekers, elderly people experiencing poverty, and anyone who is down on their luck. The Hope Centre offers a warm and safe environment with basic essentials such as hot food and showers, second hand clothing, creative activities and life skills workshops, all the important things to try and help people get back on their feet. I approached the Hope Centre to see if they needed anything doing, and thankfully they got in touch for some meetings and I’ve ended up creating an image for their Christmas Campaign.

Christmas Campaign Final Image 2 v2 RGB

The image, which is to be used in their newest newsletter and hopefully the website too, is working towards appealing to businesses to help out with such an important level of care for vulnerable people in and around the local community. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can get my hands on a hard copy of the newsletter and see my work in editorial print for the first time!

In other news, this past Sunday I attended the local Northampton Comic Mart, the first of it’s kind run by Jeff Chahal; the owner of Northamton’s comic shop Close Encounters (also in Bedford and Peterborough). It was a small and cosy event in the back room of The Racehorse pub on Abington Square, mostly focused on the store selling back issue comics at a discounted rate, though with independent creators and small press also having a couple of tables. I was there with my talented uni friend Alex of How To Buy A Ninja, and Martyn Lorbiecki selling our finest comicy goodness, and on the other side of my companions also happened to be Paul B Rainey who also created work for Samuel C WilliamsDead Singers Society zine. What a small world! It was a chilly but fun afternoon, meeting new people and watching people giggle at Alex’s comic strips.

Mr. How To Buy A Ninja, Alex Tawns @ Northampton Comic Mart

With both the commissions and the event ending up at the same time, it’s been a bit of a stressful week or so making sure I juggle everything in the right order. So, this week my challenge is to get fully stuck back into my university assignments! With less than two weeks until my presentation assessment, I’ll be madly finishing off the work I’ve been doing for the House of Illustration and Folio Society Competition entry for War Horse, which I hinted at last month with some collagraph printing, more dissertation reading, and further progress on The Next Big Thing. Busy busy. Though, I have some more exciting things up my sleeve to tell you all about next week, with an news regarding the lovely Laydeez do Comics in London! So keep an eye out for that.. Though for now, I’d best get back to the grindstone. Coffee calls! Until next time..

 

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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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