Japan Illustration

Bristol Round-Up & Inktoker

Greetings friends!

So, another comic event has drawn to a close leaving just one final show before the year is done. Where did 2017 go, huh? Bristol Comic & Zine Fair (BCZF) had an absolutely electric environment this year, with an expanded space and over 100 creators behind 80 tables. I was in the smaller side-section of the venue known as The Kitchen, right next to the food and coffee (useful) and in an immense stroke of luck, the person I was due to be tabling next to had cancelled at short notice, meaning a) I could spread out and b) I didn’t have to sit in a pillar. You wouldn’t believe some of the pillars and chairs you end up getting squished next to at comic fairs over the years… It’s not all glamour, I tell you.

The beauty of Bristol is that it has an eclectic mix of students, local artists and generally interested general public. With the event being free to enter it brought in a lot of people and made the whole event a really exciting place to be. Having my table located off in a side-venue would normally mean a quieter day, but the organisers managed to put a lot of complimentary creators/publishers together, and regardless of my location it was an incredibly busy day! Tabling next to a pillar was a little lonely at times, but I had a lot of interesting conversations with people and had a chance to catch up briefly with Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Alex Thomas from Pipedream Comics. I also met Bryony Attenburrow, who did the Laydeez do Comics blog back in January last year when I spoke alongside Andy Oliver and Danny Noble, who is really nice! The whole day was a bit of a whirlwind, meeting new people and catching up with comics’ chums, but it was a really great day. Huge thanks to the BCZF organisers for doing such a spectacular job, and of course to everyone who swung by my table to say hello!

Off course, it wouldn’t be a good day at a comic fair if I didn’t get the chance to pick up some sweet new zines. Between myself and Sam we managed to pick up a nice haul of new things – some of which I’d been after for a long while. Check it out!

As you can see, I also managed to get my mitts on a copy of the Pull List which included my interview! So shiny! You can pick up your digital copy of the Pull List here. I’d been wanting to pick up the Laydeez do Comics zine Hometown for quite a while, and similarly the Desert Island Discs Fanzine hasn’t been out all that long and I’d always intended to do something for it. There’s a really interesting correlation between comics and music, something you can see in the Dead Singer’s Society zines too – you can’t beat the passion of reading about someone’s connection to a particular song, album or artist. It’s like listening to Professor Brian Cox talk about the solar system or physics; I’m not wholly familiar with those long words he’s using, or totally understand what he means, but damn it’s interesting.

Another cool thing I picked up purely by it taking my fancy, is this really cool fold-out double-sided illustration/poster by Jo Berry! It quite literally caught by eye as I was walking back to my table with £3 burning a hole in my pocket – it’s a really interesting way of working and something I’ve been keen to try out for a while, the folded paper method of narrative and building out to a bigger picture. I can’t find much information on Jo or where to by Zoology, but she has an Instagram page here.

In other news, I’ve been clocking away and doodling away daily for this year’s Inktober! I’ve managed to always miss taking part the past few years, usually due to being busy working on twelve other things. So this year I decided I would truly throw myself into it and have a good go at it. And so far I have just about managed to keep on track, with only a few “I can’t be bothered to clamber into the house for WiFi to post this tonight, I’ll do it tomorrow” moments.

For those of you unaware, Inktober is essentially 31 days of 31 drawings. Every year cartoonists, comic artists, illustrators, creatives, librarians, doodlers and anyone who wants to, picks up a pen and does one ink drawing every day for an entire month. It keeps you drawing even if it’s only 5 minutes a day, and for others who spend longer on their pieces can add real refinement to their drawing. Me, I’m just a doodler, so I’ve spent the last 10 days making one ink drawing with a couple of Kuretake brush pens and some added highlights to make a narrative about a fox and a butterfly. All the drawings are posted up on my Twitter, but keep an eye out on here as at the end of the month you’ll get to see the entire story.

Also, remember me talking about that illustration submission with the bamboo and two other drawings I was making progress on? Well! It was originally for the Collective Arts Brewing Submission, and for those who don’t know what this is, this is how they explain themselves:

Collective Arts Brewing is a grassroots craft brewer based in Ontario that aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists, musicians and filmmakers. Matt Johnston and Bob Russell founded Collective Arts Brewing on two beliefs: The first that creativity fosters creativity. And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints.

Each of our beers is a work of art. On the inside, we proudly brew some of the most well-crafted beers with the help of our brewmaster, Ryan Morrow. On the outside, we feature limited-edition works of art by artists and musicians that change every few months. Added bonus? Through the augmented reality technology of our partner Blippar, all labels come to life through the free Blippar mobile phone app. Simply scan the label to hear the music, see the videos and view artist bios.

– Collective Arts Brewing site

Sadly, due to moving, I just missed the deadline. But, that’s no reason not to finish it up anyway as it’s valuable experience. Have a look at my designs below:

Collective Arts Brewing – Final Mock Ups!

As you can probably tell, this set was hugely influenced from a couple of months ago when I was watching documentaries on Life in Japan and their arts and culture, prompted by the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum. It was really nice to do something without any people/figures, and also it was good to do something a little more branded and physical, even if I didn’t make the submission deadline. I’ll try again next time – the new call for art is already up with the deadline of April 2018.

Anyhow, that’s it for now! Check back next week as I’ll be gearing up for the final show Loogabarooga Comic Fair in Loughborough. Until then, peace out.

 

x

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Collective Arts Submission

Submission for Collective Arts Brewing

As a self-initiated project, I created three labels for submission to the Collective Arts Brewing call for entries. Themed around Japan, I looked at using my style of creating artwork to make something non-narrative for a change, and this is what I came up with; red maple, bamboo, and the iconic Mt. Fuji.

Unfortunately, due to timing and conventions I didn’t get this submitted in time for Series 9, so it’s just been a useful exercise for now!

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Snow Business

Good morning happy campers!

So, October is almost upon us as the third year of my degree is taking off. As I cling desperately to any type of work that will not be subjected to in depth critical analysis, I’m opening my diary for commission work! I realise the ‘C’ word is a sensitive matter.. (‘C’ word being Christmas of course, you crude people!), but Christmas on the horizon and what better way to tell someone you couldn’t think of anything else to get them, other than a drawing by yours truly. Mad aunt that you don’t know what to buy for? Cat fanatic that you’ve run out of mugs/t-shirts/coasters to get? Want something a bit different for your Christmas cards? Get in touch via my contact form or through the usual social channels and we can talk business.

Ducks in a row, ha! Get it?

Now that I have all my ducks in a row (ha, get it?), I am free to take on a small amount of extra work for the start of University before things get all rather hectic. I’ve recently given up part-time non-drawing related work for the first time in more years than I’d care to admit *cough* 12 years *cough*, I’m ready(ish) to sink my teeth into University and get cracking with what will be the most confusing and tiring 6-9 months of my existence. Yay! -sob-

In more positive news, this past week I’ve finished working on a second batch commission which follows on from the Japan skiing work I showed you all last week! I’m thankful to have been asked to produce drawings for the upcoming film by Jeffrey Loewe, and as soon as I can show you all the masterpiece in action I will. For now, here’s a nifty preview of the four portraits I created for Jeff.

Drawing four gentlemen’s faces was a little more work than I anticipated, but it was definitely a lot of fun to work on, keeping with the theme of the title shot from last week. So, thanks Jeff!

In other news, the Art Aid Nepal anthology I created an illustration for back in June is now being crowd-funded on Kickstarter! You can go have a look and support the book by clicking here, and make sure to hold onto your hats as there is an impressive list of contributing artists including the zen-inspiring powerhouse Mike Medaglia and the charming brains behind Tempo Lush and Lucy the OctopusRichy K. Chandler. Here’s what the creators have to say about the project..

HOME – an Art Aid Nepal Anthology

The proceeds from the anthology will go towards providing art workshops to children living in tented camps in Kathmandu as a result of losing their home in the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on the 25th of April 2015. The 7.8 magnitude quake created a lot of destruction and loss of life. Even those who survived were not spared the mental trauma and even months later the aftershocks causes our hearts and minds to tremble.

Thousands of adults and children lost their homes and are still displaced. The need to help them remains, for their troubles are far from over.

Art Aid Nepal enable us to use our ability as artists to raise funds. We wanted to do something to help children recover from the trauma that they faced during the earthquake and which resurfaces after every aftershock. There have been nearly 400 aftershocks over 4 magnitudes since the first quake. We reached out to our artistic community and 32 talented artists from multicultural background have come together to explore the concept of HOME. Their illustrations and comics fill more than 90 pages of this anthology in full vibrant colour. Those who have also lost their home and are now living in tented camps. Many of these children had very little access to creative pursuits and now, after the quake, their options are even more limited. The Children’s Art Museum of Nepal have been conducting art workshops in the temporary learning centres in public schools. Together with Art Aid Nepal, we would like to extend these workshops to the more deprived children in the tented camps. There are currently 30 camps for displaced people in Kathmandu valley. We will be conducting the workshops in the largest of these camps in Chuchepati which has more than 8000 families living and 200 children under the age of 12.

Now, I realise a lot of people don’t really ‘do’ charity. Maybe throw some loose change in a bucket or donate a little every few months to a particular charity. As a student and someone who has never been affluent, always below the sadly titled ‘living wage’, I can empathise with reluctance to give away money. However, I strongly believe that as human beings in such a drastically changing world it is important to look beyond ourselves and our problems. I freely created work for Art Aid Nepal because I strongly believe in bringing a smile to a child’s face, distracting them from the fact their world lays in pieces. If you wish to spare as little as £5, support the project here.

On that serious note, that’s it for this week folks! I shall dutifully be back next week with the beginning of the University projects.. Ooh err, best get cracking. Over and out!

x

 

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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!

x

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