Kickstarter UK Comics

Njálla

 

Previously alluded to as The Next Big Thing, Njálla (pronounced nyaah-lah) is my latest self-published comic released online on Thursday 2nd June. The printing of Njálla was made entirely possible to to a successful Kickstarter Campaign. What’s it about? Well..

Njálla is an original comic story, based around the myths and legends of the Sámi people, indigenous to northern Europe’s Arctic Circle; which today includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Lieđđi, a young Sámi girl, and her reindeer Unni end up on an unexpected adventure after coming face to face with the guovssahasat, the northern lights. Njálla is an atmospheric and magical comic for all ages, unearthing the legends of the Sámi through friendship, mystery and adventure.

Njálla is an A5 (148 x 210 mm), 48-page full colour comic, in a limited run of 250 copies, perfect bound. See the successful campaign for Njálla on the Kickstarter page here, and read previous posts about my work leading up to this point using the tag ‘The Next Big Thing’, or follow this link.

Read the blog announcement of Njálla here.

Read Andy Oliver’s announcement on Broken Frontier here.

Read the exclusive preview of Njálla from Broken Frontier here.

Read the review of Njálla from Broken Frontier here.

Njálla is an obvious labour of love, respectfully crafted and diligently researched. It also embodies everything I have come to admire and enjoy about Rozi Hathaway’s comics over the last couple of years – their humanity, their empathy and their pure visual splendour. A stunning synthesis of unearthly mystery and endearing innocence, Njálla underlines once again the subtle potency at the heart of Hathaway’s craft.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Njálla – Rozi Hathaway Brings the Legends of the Sámi to Magical Life in a Spectacular All-Ages Offering

Read the review of Njálla from The Quietus.

There’s an image early on of two people sitting around a stove in a lavvu, the tents used by the Sámi, and the way Hathaway’s watercolours cast light and shadow is so effective. A heavily repeated motif is the use of circles. They are everywhere – in the lighting, the movement, the sky, the land, the interiors. They convey so many different things – the excitable energy of a child, the rough forces of nature, the Northern Lights, the enclosed space of a lavvu. It’s this natural, restrained quality that really stands out here – the minimal dialogue allows the images to tell the story, about a child, myths of the Sámi and the Northern Lights. Njálla is a confident, assured book, well worth tracking down.

– Pete Redrup, The Quietus – Behold! July’s Quietus Comics Round Up Column 

Available to buy online now!

Huge thanks to all of my wonderful Kickstarter backers who made this happen:

Claire Parmley / Anastasia Hiorns / Alan Henderson / Bridget / Andy Oliver / Chris Bates / Cecily Kennemore / James McLaughlin / Dave White / Ricky Miller / Mike Medaglia / YoMma / Zara / Alex Smith / Richard Redfern / Sueleen McQueen / MarineMonstress / Christina / David Ogley / Simon Wallis / Malcolm / Sandra Bates / Emma Raby / Sarah Crosby / Tim Wiltshire / Mattias Vermeersch / Martin Cooper / NB / Nor Azman / Len Ahgeak / Pippa Bailey / Nicola Edwards / Marlon Mapstone / Paddy Johnston / Rafael  / Chris Welsh / Chiara Montresor / Conori Bell-Bhuiyan / Comichaus.com / Michael Huntley / Annie / Selina / Matthieu Boussard / Jordan Franklin / Amy Crawford / lyrik / Andrew Walsh / Tora Stridh / Thomas Henn / Joanna Turner / Billy Dayton / Te Hao Boon / xphiler06 / Lucy McLoughlin / Jordan / Dries Dewulf / Megan Smith / Rebecca / Chantel Beaven / Craig Galloway / Bo Rosén / Alex McNelis / Dimitri Mavroudis / Brittney / Ellen Power / Kim Schwanhaeusser / Rhiannon / iamshirtacus / Sonny Gibson / Jill / Cheryl Fisher / Johanna Wedin / Jasmin / Jennifer Sheer / Derek Freeman / Paul Jordin / Bernadette Siddall / Diane Fox / Milou / Beth Ray / Martyn B. Lorbiecki / Matthew Kuzio / Anje van der Veen / Maaike van Eekelen / Luke Marquart / Froze / Andrew Lee / zombiejojo / Rachel Harris / Douglas Harrower / Amber / JM / Bennett / Jessica Poppke / Peter Evans / Jonne / Carole Fletcher / Lily / Petra Pavlikova / Blake Sykes / Charlotte / Katie Whittle / Ben Dunn / Dave Green / Gius / Peter Hartman / Aninia Schwan / Lucy / Martin / Naomi Rose Johnson / Barbara Gabrys / Lara N / Alexander Gudenau / Ignasi Pizarro / Heidi Elliott / Tze-Wen Chao / Andrew Belding / Mike Meltzer / Markisan Naso / Tamara Slaten / Stephanie Wischhusen / Sam Chi Cken Evans / Vincent Laine / Kasele Deitz / Azucena Cauich / Mer / SecretBaroness / Kamila Tyran / Jeanette Wennerstrand / Chris Banser / Holly Brown / Caitlin Jane Hughes

For more information about the research that went into this project, please visit my dedicated page here: rozihathaway.com/njalla-research/

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The End of the Line

Good afternoon lovely folks,

So, we’re now down to less than 24 hours of the Njálla campaign on Kickstarter and things are getting exciting! My palms are slowly getting a bit more clammy as I get that same anxious feeling I had when I launched The Red Road, putting something out into the world that I’ve so lovingly laboured over for months on end. There is something vaguely terrifying about putting new work out to the world, but thankfully(?) with University assessments and final deadlines approaching I don’t really have that much time to sit and think about it, I have a final degree classification to worry about too!

After last week’s long hours I managed to finish up painting the final ten pages of Njálla and get it all scanned in and tweaked, so the story is officially done! This week I’ve been working away on the surrounding pages of the story, the covers, and any hand-lettering that remains. I’m fairly on schedule, with the final pages being sent off to Comic Printing UK tomorrow afternoon. Panic! Also, my lovely backers will have received the schedule for production in their inbox’s this morning, and all is still on track for that..

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to arrange something special, and I’m delighted to announce that the NN Café, part of the NN Contemporary Gallery in Northampton, is hosting a launch party for Njálla! On Saturday 4th June (two days after the online launch) I will be celebrating the success of the Kickstarter campaign as well as the launch of the comic online and in UK small press friendly comic shops, with drinks and good times. Huge thanks to Peter James Norman, contributor to Sneaky Business, who co-runs the NN Café and has helped me to make this launch happen. For more information and to RSVP to the event please visit the dedicated Facebook event page – all are welcome, so come and join in the fun and celebrate independent comics! I’ll be selling copies of Njálla as well as other goodies, and signing on request too – and depending how many beverages I have, my signings could become more and more abstracted as the night goes on!

Speaking of launches, this past Friday saw the long anticipated launch of the Broken Frontier Anthology and the Small Press Yearbook at Gosh! Comics in London! It was a fantastic night, with the six of us UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 being all together for the first time ever. A whole host of back-up contributors for the Yearbook also attended, alongside creators from the Broken Frontier Anthology in a joint event with a wonderful atmosphere and a true showcase of the spectrum that Broken Frontier supports. Thank you so much to Gosh! for hosting the event, everyone who attended and especially those who asked me to scribble in their copies of the Yearbook. I won’t go overboard on the details as Broken Frontier posted excellent coverage including photography of the night from Mauricio Molizane De Souza (included in gallery below), but trust me, if you weren’t there you missed out.

Huge thanks again to Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier for creating the idea for the Small Press Yearbook and putting it together into the wonderful book it is. Also thanks to those who helped along the way, Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Rich of Comic Printing UK, amongst countless support from others. You’re all wonderful! As well as being able to buy the Yearbook from Orbital and Gosh!, you can also purchase your copy online from the dedicated web store! You can read more about my work in the Small Press Yearbook with the search tag ‘Top Secret Project’ or from the dedicated page here. And just above you can see a preview of Afloat in all it’s glory.

I think that’s about it for now! I have rather a lot to do in the way of finishing touches for Njálla before I crawl into bed tonight.. Don’t forget, if you haven’t pledged yet you have until 9am Friday morning to do so, and pledges equal freebies! Check out the Kickstarter for more details. Next week I’ll be back with more Njálla news, plus with one assessment complete and preparing for the next one I’ll be potentially a bit greyer and a bit more tired by then too. Until next week!

x

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9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

x

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Success! Njálla is Funded!

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a week! I think somewhere between staring wide-eyed at my laptop screen in disbelief and taking a casual dance/sprint combo around the living room, I was barely able to comprehend what was going on during Wednesday through to Friday last week. In less than 10 hours (10 hours!) you wonderful people all helped to absolutely smash my project goal of £800 for the printing costs of my upcoming comic Njálla. Apart from confessing my undying gratitude to my backers, I have no idea how to portray exactly how amazed and thankful I am to each and every person who put pennies to their name to help support make this comic a real, physical being. By Thursday I put up a stretch goal which was also smashed by the end of the day, so most of the weekend was spent staring off into the distance trying to comprehend what sort of alternate reality I’ve been placed in. So thank you, THANK YOU, backers, friends and family who have all been real heroes here in helping me to publish this story.

After launching the Kickstarter Project Campaign last week and announcing it here on the blog, I was lucky enough to also have a glowing announcement from Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier too. Here’s some rather nice things he had to say:

Having covered her work so closely over the last year or so, I’ve observed firsthand Rozi Hathaway’s creative development in that time. Her growing confidence as a storyteller, that assured understanding of the mechanics of her chosen medium, and a willingness to experiment with genre and tone are all hallmarks of a practitioner with a commitment to immersing herself in all aspects of her craft.

But where her work truly stands out is that strand to her practice that concentrates on pensive, very human narratives. She has an astonishing ability to evoke an emotional response in her readership with little or no exposition, pulling her audience into the lives and experiences of her protagonists through both the deftest visual characterisation and that hauntingly empathetic atmosphere to her pages. It’s very much in evidence in The Red Road, in ‘Afloat’ in the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and in her slice-of-life tale ‘Rejsen’ in Dirty Rotten Comics #5.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Back Rozi Hathaway’s New Comic ‘Njálla’ on Kickstarter – Broken Frontier ‘Small Press Creator to Watch’ Launches Her First Crowdfunding Campaign

As the goal of £800 has been reached, Njálla is going to print! Woohoo! This means that as the Kickstarter ends on Friday 6th May, I will have sent all the files over to Rich at Comic Printing UK who will be creating a physical proof copy for me to check over, and once that’s all fine and dandy he will be printing the run of 250 books to arrive at my door mid-late May. As my final university assessment is on Thursday 19th May I’ll be scurrying around like a woman on a mission until the following week, when all Kickstarter-backed orders will be posted.

In further exciting news, the online launch date is announced! On Thursday 2nd June Njálla will be available to buy online through my Etsy store, and in selected comic shops around the UK (to be announced nearer the time). So, if you have some long-term rivalry with Kickstarter or if you just fancy waiting, you’ll be able to get a copy of Njálla in just over 7 weeks.. I’d best get to work!

Colouring book, now free to all backers!
Colouring book, now free to all backers!

As I mentioned above, after smashing the project target in less than I day, I decided to put up a stretch goal to try and get some extra goodies out of the campaign for all my lovely backers. So, what are stretch goals..? A stretch goal is a funding target set BEYOND the original goal. The project is still very much complete and funded, stretch goals are just some fun extras that I can add in as a way of saying an additional thank you, in the form of physical goods! Those aforementioned physical goods are in the form of a FREE colouring book and sticker for all my backers! The colouring book is something fun; at 12-pages in length it will feature pages of lavvu’s, Arctic foxes, reindeer and more, with some additional Northern Sámi words and phrases in there too. Who doesn’t love a bit of casual colouring, whilst learning? Not to leave my digital PDF pledgers out, they will be sent a few pages that can be printed out and coloured in as well.

In other exciting news, Gosh! Comics have announced the launch party for the eagerly awaited Broken Frontier Anthology and the Small Press Yearbook! As you long-term readers will know, I worked on a ten-page featured comic for the Small Press Yearbook last summer, as a part of the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015! The launch party is on Friday 29th April at Gosh! on Berwick Street, from 7-9pm where there will be a joint celebration between us Small Pressers and some of the creators from the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology, with full details over on the Facebook event page. Amongst a whole host of wonderful creators, I shall be there signing away copies of the anthology – so if you’re local, please come along!

You can follow all the updates on the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook’s online release date via the usual channels of Facebook and Twitter, through the hashtag #BFSPYearbook, if you’re into that kinda thing. #Downwiththekids

I think that’s about it for now! Aside from excitedly running up and down, I have spent the last week painting away on Njálla, scanning in and dropping into the page templates to get it all ready for printing in a few weeks. Panic! I’ve never before had to tackle painting quite so many pages at once, but it’s all good fun and getting exciting to see how the pages will look when they’re printed.. I’d better crack back to it! I will be back as usual next week, so until then, have a good week all!

x

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Announcing… Njálla!

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, today is the day I’ve been working towards for months.. And months, and months. The Next Big Thing is announced, and the Kickstarter funding campaign is live!

It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks getting everything together and preparing to host my comic on Kickstarter. Silly me, I thought it’d only take a couple of days.. Between writing about the project for the page, working out the budgets, drawing up titles/diagrams/bookplate designs/print designs, writing a script, filming my big head, and then staring at my big head for hours on end whilst editing the video, I think I may have lost a little sanity. It also took nearly two weeks, but I managed to get it finished up ahead of time to allow for a couple of days of quiet reflection before timidly releasing Njálla to the world.

Click here to go through to the Kickstarter Campaign for Njálla

Special thanks due to all those who put up with me seeking advice and wisdom for the Kickstarter element of this project. Having never tackled anything like this before I felt pretty lost at times! Thanks to comics friends, friends and family for all their input and help, and my ever patient partner (yes, you can see up his nose in my campaign video) for putting up with me talking about this non-stop.

So, the project! Well, if you’ve been keeping up with The Next Big Thing/Njálla then you know that the story is based around the Sámi. Here’s a bit more in-depth information about Njálla direct from my Kickstarter:

Njálla is an original comic story, based around the myths and legends of the Sámi people, indigenous to northern Europe’s Arctic Circle, which today includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Lieđđi, a young Sámi girl, and her reindeer Unni end up on an unexpected adventure after coming face to face with the guovssahasat, the northern lights. Njálla is an atmospheric and magical comic for all ages, unearthing the legends of the Sámi through friendship, mystery and adventure.

A relatively unknown culture, the Sámi ancestral history is believed to span thousands of years. I first discovered the Sámi when my partner Chris and I backpacked through parts of Scandinavia last August, spending a lot of time eating amazing food, walking miles and going to various museums and exhibitions. The more I researched and read about the Sámi, the more I realised how I wanted to bring elements of this culture into a comic – not only to enchant people, but also to give a brief insight into such a historic and interesting culture.

If successfully funded in the 30 day period from today, Njálla will be printed as an A5 (148 x 210 mm), 48-page full colour comic, in a limited run of 250 copies, perfect bound. All Kickstarter orders will be ready to ship around the end of May, with the date of release being in early June (specifics to be confirmed). Perfect for when you’re feeling a little too warm in the balmy humid English summer, you’ll be able to read about vast snow-covered lands.. What could be better? I’ve also tried to include a range of rewards beside the comic that span a range of price points and include some prints and originals. If you happen to be feeling incredibly generous and optimistic about my future popularity, original comic spreads are available as a reward too. I have some other rewards up my sleeves, and some nice stretch campaign ideas if the time comes!

16

In comparison to The Red Road, this time around my page count is far longer which has meant that I get a nice shiny perfect bound cover (with a spine, rather than stapled). I’ve spoken at length over the past few months with Rich at Comic Printing UK over what options I have, and how I could make this comic look the best as physically possible. Also, I spent some time last week coming up with designs for a limited edition bookplate which will be printed in a limited run of 100! Bookplates (otherwise known as ex libris) are a fairly historic practice, but more and more comics creators are opting for these small, high quality printed pieces in addition to their comics. Gosh! in London have a section dedicated to bookplates, some even created specifically for the store. So, y’know, I thought it best to join in the bookplate fun! All bookplates will be hand-numbered too, so you can hold your bookplate and envision the hand cramp that came along with lovingly writing each one out.

Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print
Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, when you pledge for your reward on the right hand column of the page – whether £3 for a digital PDF copy or £50 for an original with the printed comic, your pledge total (including postage) will not be taken from your bank account unless the project is successfully funded. So, if you pledge today, and the project never reaches its funding goal, not only will I go and weep in a corner never to brave the crowd-funding world again, but also the money will never leave your account. However, if at the end date of 6th May the project is successfully funded, and I run around the flat in a fit of excitement waving pages of comic, the money will come out of your account then. Good, isn’t it?

Page 3-4 PREVIEW2

 

 

Phew. What a tiring experience! Since getting everything in place I’ve just continued working on the comic, mainly on pages surrounding the actual story like acknowledgements and more information, things like that. I’ve also been getting some promotion into motion, and then working out the practice painting so that I’m ready to rock and roll for the next 30 days and complete the painting! Painting a comic of this length will probably take the best part of a good week, week and a half maybe, but also I’m still working on the Unilever Bright Futures project I’ve mentioned previously, as part of the Creative Conscience awards which has had it’s deadline extended (phew!). Juggling these two large projects with the remainder of my uni work is going to be keeping me busy until… The end of June. Who needs rest though, right?

 

I think that’s about it for now! For all the information on the Kickstarter visit the link today, and see my big head bob about the screen as I forget what I’m supposed to be saying about twelve times. HUGE thanks to those lovely people who have backed so far today, including the first backer of the day being my comics buddy Sam! Who, coincidently, has a new comic coming out at the end of this month which you should all check out. Big big thanks also to everyone who has shared the project on social media, you are all super awesome. For now, I shall leave you all to bask in the wonders of Njálla, lavvu-pie-charts and badly edited videos. I shall be back next week with an update on how Kickstarter progress is looking after the first week, more work on Njálla as it reaches completion, and the rest! Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. See you next week!

x

 

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Campaign Countdown

Good afternoon folks and folkettes,

So, another week has vanished and somehow it’s already Wednesday. When did that happen? The weekend away was definitely needed to recharge my batteries a bit, but doesn’t half make a dent in my working week. Anyway, Kickstarter-induced panic aside, I hope everyone had a lovely bank holiday weekend whatever you were all up to. Personally, I ate too much of everything and am now debating whether I’ll be able to fit into my clothes next week or not.

Since last week’s update I’ve been working pretty solidly on my Kickstarter campaign, ready for launch next week. When I started working on it I had no idea just how much work it takes to do – blimey! Not only is there the whole glaring-into-a-camera thing and getting a script ready for that, but there’s also selling the project as best as possible in the main body of the campaign page. Whilst I’ve been busy working out budgets and pie charts, drawing sub-header titles and reworking my campaign details twenty times, my actual comic and remaining uni work has taken a temporary sideline. Though, I think I’ve almost cracked this whole Kickstarter thing, so as soon as I’ve filmed my work of cinematic genius as a campaign video, I’ll be ready to go!

 

Coming 6th April! Ish.
Coming 6th April! Ish.

 

I’d hoped to launch the campaign on Wednesday 6th, though it looks like once submitted the campaign is up for review which can take up to 3 business days. Because of this, I’ll submit on Monday and hopefully it’ll have launched by Wednesday, if not before. Phew! Saying that, I think I may be worrying about the finer details a little too much, and I’m sure no one really cares if it’s uploaded a day early – I tell you what, this whole crowd-funding thing is a stressful business, although if I ever have to do it again I’ll be far wiser on how to approach it. I hope.

So yes, because of this whole fandango I don’t have a huge amount of work to show you, as staring into my laptop and calculator, scribbling notes on paper and checking emails for the 4 working days between the last update and now isn’t particularly interesting for anyone else but me. I have, however had a chance this morning to start working on photocopies of The Next Big Thing with paint!

IMG_6036

Now, painting onto cheap photocopier paper does hurt my soul quite a bit. It’s smushy, you can’t really blend well, and it’s just a bit pants. But, instead of launching into painting my final, original pages it means I can make mistakes and change my mind on colours and it doesn’t really matter, as I can just make another copy and try again. Above is a sneaky preview of the practice painting photocopy pages I’ve worked on so far. I’m DEFINITELY looking forward to getting stuck into the final paints, I just have to work through the practice bits and the Kickstarter admin bits and then I can sit back, relax and paint to my hearts content.

In some rather excellent news, The Next Big Thing aside, I have been accepted into Thought Bubble 2016! After a very anxious Friday evening where everyone had received their emails and my inbox was still unnervingly empty, I needed not worry. I had SO much fun at Thought Bubble last year, and I can’t wait to be back in Leeds come November to carry on promoting The Next Big Thing, the upcoming Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and watch comic-pals do karaoke (I’m not sure what it is about comic artists and karaoke, but apparently it’s a thing).

Thought Bubble Festival 2016! Banner by Emmeline Pidgen, (from thoughtbubble.com)

As I sadly didn’t make it into the Lakes Comic Art Festival in Kendal, Thought Bubble is now my biggest event of the year and my optimum opportunity to get copies of soon-to-be-revealed The Next Big Thing to a new audience. More events are popping up for later in the year all the time, and I have my eye on a couple more events as long as funds can stretch that far. However, with Thought Bubble being one of the biggest comic events in the UK, I’m over the moon to be able to have a half table there again.

So, that’s that! Next week will see the launch of The Next Big Thing Kickstarter campaign, with the big reveal of the title (yes, that’s right, it’s not ACTUALLY called The Next Big Thing) and live pledges available for you to put towards in helping to make this comic a real, physical reality. How exciting! Until then I have a lot of work to do on some finishing touches, so until next week.. Over and out!

x

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Breathing Space

Good afternoon wonderful readers!

So, it’s time to temporarily relax a little. Formative assessment at Uni is over as of yesterday (as in, the important non-marked one before the REALLY important marked one in May), and the long Easter weekend is on the horizon.. A magical time consisting of three days away from my desk in the northern lands of Leeds drinking cider and eating cheese. Wonderful stuff. Although this one assessment is completed, the work is far from over! Having spent two days collating my work for presentation I’m eager to get back to working on The Next Big Thing and finishing up the remainder of my other project work.

This week I’m also getting to work on my Kickstarter campaign! As I mentioned last week, the launch for my Kickstarter will be on 6th April, so I have two weeks to film and edit a charming video persuading you all to back this project, for the good of mankind.

Funding Campaign3

This is the first project I’m trying to raise funds for through crowdfunding, so it’s an interesting experience to have to wave my face in front of a camcorder when I’m not particularly the most camera-friendly person these days. Back in those 2000’s Myspace days, now that was another story! But now, with age comes a resentment with most forms of camera implements being thrust in my face, unless of course I force it just so family members online can remember what I look like whilst hiding away in my drawing cave. But, regardless of this I will be gracing the screen. According to lots of online-people, crowdfunding pages with videos are far more successful than those without, due to people wanting to know who they’re supporting. So there you have it, taking one for the sake of this comic.

Before working on all the assessment business took over for a few days, I spent some time gathering together my work and photocopying and scanning everything. The photocopies of all the pages are for practice painting – getting a feel for the colour palette before I take to the originals, because I’m a sensible soul like that. I also, before even reaching for my paintbrush, worked on some really terrible digital rough colouring with the scanned pages. I’m not going to show you those, because they look awful – they’re just something I use for reference in working out the colours per spread and how they work together as progressing through the book. Below on the right is also an exciting new development; I printed the uncoloured pages that I’d scanned in, to size and in order to make a little booklet with the correct number of pages to work out the remaining, non-story pages. How exiting! This means for the first time I have a readable copy of the comic which I entrusted my loving partner to read to see what he thought now it was all together. I heard a few giggles, so I’m taking that as good news!

In other news, work has progressed on the Unilever Bright Futures Competition I’ve mentioned a few times before. I realise updates on this particular project have been few and far between, but as it’s my first longer-length animation I’ve been working through it in a methodical fashion and finished up all the pencil work last week. It’s not much to show yet, looking primarily like a stack of 64 pieces of A5 paper with a pencil drawing on each.. However, the painting will be the turning point of it all. Here’s a bit of a look at 9 of the 64 frames being used for this animation, and a snapshot of the colour palette I’ll be working with. Creative Conscience have actually extended the deadline from the 7th April to the 28th, so it gives me a bit more breathing space to make the animation work digitally. As it’s all pretty new to me I’m hoping I have some beginners luck and it all comes together nicely. Fingers crossed!

Finally, I spent a little time yesterday afternoon winding down from assessment by making this little Easter Bunny. Or, as I learnt in Danish, Påskeharen. It was fun little animation to work on – so I hope you all enjoy it too! So on that note, I hope those of you who can enjoy a four-day weekend enjoy it, and those of you who will still be working get extra lovely chocolatey treats to make it worthwhile! I’d better hop back to it – until next week!

Easter-Bunny-gif2

x

 

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The Next Big Shake-Up

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, it’s mid-March already. When did that happen? You’ll have to forgive my lack of an update last week as I came down with a rather nasty cold/flu type thing which had me floored for the most part of a week. I don’t think I’ve been that ill for so long in quite a few years, but I can assure you being healthy again feels amazing! It actually forced me to have at least four days of doing no work as I could barely see straight let alone do anything else, so I’ve had the joy of coming back to everything vaguely fresh-eyed and brimming with animal knowledge from being propped up in front of David Attenborough documentaries.

One large part of work off my plate is my dissertation, which I finished up and submitted on Monday. Woohoo! I had a pretty good time with my dissertation; it was an interesting subject and I planned and researched a lot of it early on in September/October time. Themed on mental illness as portrayed in contemporary graphic novels, it’s right up my alley and hopefully it gets me a good grade. Now that dissertation business is out the way I’m down to just two main projects, the Creative Conscience awards which I’ll post about when it’s a bit more finished, and.. The Next Big Thing!

As of Monday evening I finished drawing up and inking all 34 pages of story for The Next Big Thing, which is super exciting news – Yay! Although the hard work is far from over, with the next tasks on my list being to scan all the pages in to practice my colour scheme within Photoshop, and at the same time photocopy all the pages so that I can practice colours with paint, and then only when both tasks are complete and I’m happy then I paint my originals. All in all I estimate that this task will take me up to after Easter, into early-mid April. It’s a lot of paint!

I’ve also drawn up and inked the outside cover, but things like the inside pages which don’t contain the story but may have bits of information and title pages, those also need doing. Having never worked on a book of this length before it’s been a pretty long process, especially with having to only work on this for 1-2 days a week whilst working on a load of other projects and preparing for the upcoming Degree Show in June, but it’s starting to feel like the end is in sight!. Especially as I’ve picked the date for my funding..

I can happily announce that my Kickstarter campaign for funding the printing costs of this will begin on Wednesday 6th April! Mark it in your diaries ladies and gents, as for 30-days I will be offering incentives including prints, originals and possibly even my first born to raise the much needed funds to print 250 copies of this project, which has been an integral part of my life since the beginning of the idea’s conception in August 2015. I have poured my heart, soul and everything else I have into making this, and I’ll be excitedly announcing the title along with the launch of the Kickstarter in April. For now, here is the opening two pages of the prelude, uncoloured, because you guys deserve it.

It was incredibly important to me to be able to give some insight into the Sámi people from everything I learnt whilst travelling through Scandinavia, and from books and internet sources, so the prelude (pages 1-2 pictured above) runs over six pages. Think of it like the introduction to a museum exhibit.. But with comics! This part, as you can see, is drawn in a more primeval, rune-like style compared to the rest of the comic which is in my usual way of drawing things. Because I’m feeling generous, here’s some a sneak preview of one of the uncoloured pages mid-way through the comic:

See, don’t say I never give you guys anything! Colour and painting is playing a huge role in this story, so it’s kind of hard to see how it’s going to turn out from scans with no colour, but if you’ve been following my blog for a while when you’ll have seen some hints at what’s coming.

So my life is pretty much being taken over by paint for the coming weeks, although I still have a fair bit of drawing to get through for the Bright Futures Creative Conscience Brief, which I’ve mentioned before. We’re still fundraising for our degree show at UoN too, so if you’re interested in helping to support us pay for the printing of our catalogue and postcard packs then please head over to our GoFundMe page, and check out more of the information on our refreshed website.

AND, before I forget, some exciting news was announced last week! The nine back-up creators for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook were announced to the world, with such super-duper talents as Mike MedagliaGareth Brookes, Owen D. Pomery and Jessica Martin. Things are hotting up with the Small Press Yearbook, and more details are on the way to being announced soon. It’s really exciting to be a part of something so important, and I can’t wait to get hold of my copy. To keep up with Yearbook, you can follow the #BFSPYearbook hashtag on Twitter, and keep an eye out on Broken Frontier.com.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now! I’d best get back to work otherwise the boss will moan at me. Oh wait… That’s me. Until next time!

x

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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!

x

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