LDC London

The Laydeez Who Comic

Good morning laydeez and gentlemen!

So, another week bites the dust and Laydeez do Comics has been and gone! It was possibly one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my feeble existence; standing in front of a room full of eager-eyed people actually wanting to hear what I had to say (or at least pretending to, anyway). Even with my neatly arranged cue cards I’m sure I probably missed something important, but overall it was a really fun evening – more about that shortly. In other news, university projects are getting busier than ever and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be starting to draw up the final pages of The Next Big Thing! I’m keeping my working title under-wraps for now, though the reveal will be coming shortly. I’m also debating at the moment whether to move the blog to a fortnightly effort instead of weekly for the duration of this term, just to give myself an extra bit of time to work on my incredibly long to-do list, BUT I’m still mulling it over. So, I’ll let you all know! Now, down to business..

As you may remember from last week, I spend Sunday 10th creating the window display at Gosh! Comics in readiness for the LDC night this past Monday. Somehow the week between doing the windows and turning up to talk went past like a lightening bolt! I settled onto the warm and cosy train to London on Monday night with an 300-man army of butterflies in my stomach – no, not some strange new recipe, just nerves – and bolted across to Soho to meet with Andy Oliver (Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and Danny Noble (Munday Morning, Ollie & Alan) for a calming beverage before the evening’s fun began. Gosh! Comics were wonderful hosts yet again for the Laydeez do Comics evening, and there were many familiar and friendly faces bobbing about. Andy Oliver took the reins for the evening and spoke first about the wonderful work he does at Broken Frontier, and the small press/independent creator focus they look at compared to the largely mainstream comics industry. Next up was my turn, and armed with my carefully designed presentation I managed to bumble on for probably far less time than I was meant to – aside from shaking like a leaf the whole way through I probably spoke at lightening speed too. Agh! After a short break, the last speaker was Danny Noble who entertained us all with her honest and witty comics, whilst talking about her practice and how she uses panels in a really interesting and diverse way. Inspiring stuff! HUGE thanks to Keara and Wallis for having us, and everyone who came out to see us talk!

One of the main focuses of the evening was Andy Oliver’s announcements.. Sadly, after almost a year, the title of ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ is being filed away and the new Six have been announced! Us 2015 lot are being flung into the wide open world with our belongings in a bindle and are shunted out in to the cold harsh realities of life. Or, something like that. The new Six have been announced at LDC and will be announced officially on Broken Frontier in the coming days. They’re a talented bunch!

In the second batch of wonderful news that was announced by the Patron Saint of Comics, the Broken Frontier Yearbook has been revealed! Here’s a snippet from the press release yesterday on Broken Frontier, which sums it up far more eloquently than I possibly could:

Last night at London’s Gosh! Comics a very special announcement was made to the sell-out audience at the Broken Frontier special edition of the monthly Laydeez do Comics meeting. We’re very excited today to share that news on the site with the extended BF readership.

Currently in pre-production, our inaugural Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook will be available in the early part of this year. A near 100-page publication, it celebrates the work of our ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ – Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian – in both colour and black & white. Each creator has contributed an 8-10 page story on the theme of “breaking frontiers” and interpreted that broad starting point with their own ever distinctive artistic voices.

A natural extension of a year’s worth of dedicated coverage of these six very talented creators, the Yearbook is the ultimate expression of this column’s philosophy of “unearthing the gems of the small press”, and of bringing the work of comickers we have championed to a far wider audience. In due course you will be able to buy the book both online and from certain UK stores. But the prime philosophy of the Yearbook is to provide a promotional showcase for last year’s participants in our ‘Six to Watch’ initiative. To that end we’ll be sending out copies to selected publishers, micropublishers, and comics commentators as we seek to raise the profile of 2015’s half dozen stars-in-the-making across the medium.

Andy Oliver – Broken Frontier: Announcing the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook – Championing our 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch’ in Print!

Follow the link to read all about it and even see a sample page from each of us! Which now means (for those of you avid readers who remember my ramblings) THE TOP SECRET PROJECT IS NO LONGER SECRET. WOOHOO! From May to September of last year I was working on this project, and although I could hint at it and show some images along the way, I couldn’t really say what it was for or when it’d be released. Low and behold, the 10-page silent comic which Andy kindly spoke of as my ‘best work to date’ will be released in coming months in the bumper Small Press Yearbook alongside the talents of Danny Noble, Emma Raby and more. Alongside the ‘Six’ are other top-name creators who have supplied work to support the project, being announced in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out on Broken Frontier’s Twitter and website for all the details.. Here’s a reminder of some of the work I created, and you can read more about the project from my previous blog post here.

Top Secret Project - announced!
Top Secret Project – announced!

With LDC behind me it’s now full-speed with University work in the run up to Easter (I know, it’s only January.. I have a very busy few months ahead). My dissertation needs finishing, the Next Big Thing needs drawing up, a couple of other competitions need doing, written assignment work needs completing, another commission needs doing, and somewhere between all that some kind of sleep would be marvellous. Oh, and I’m making a lávvu. More about that in a couple of weeks, though! For the meanwhile, here’s another sneaky peek of some development/practice figuring out the best composition before I start on the final pages. Exciting!

And that wraps it up for this week! Back to the grindstone for another week of fun-times, and I shall be back next week with hopefully some more bits ticked off my very large list and more things to show you. For now, over and out.

x

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Window Scribbles & Other Tales

Good morning happy campers!

So, I have survived! I endured an entire week of dissertation writing and come out the other side of it, albeit slightly greyer and possibly a bit more eloquent, innit. I must admit, by Thursday I was starting to lose the plot a bit and took some time out to refine my sketches for the Gosh! London window display (more about that shortly), but I powered through difficult circumstances and have 85% of my dissertation done, with two months now to finish it off and polish it up a bit. Phew! I don’t think I’d recommend any creative folk to put down their pencils for an entire week, as I did feel like I was gradually losing my soul.. But hey, it’s most likely the last essay I’ll every write. *air punch*

On Sunday I had the fantastic excuse to put down my books and get an early train down to London, ready for the window-painting bonanza of Gosh! and Laydeez do Comics, which I mentioned previously in my blog here. I arrived in London early and plonked myself down in a coffee shop to read the wonderful Save our Souls magazine (which had been patiently awaiting my attention for well over a week, whoops!), and after I was feeling suitably caffeinated and inspired by David Ziggy Greene’s newest venture, I made my way down to Gosh for it’s opening time. Everyone at Gosh is so lovely, and they helped me out with cleaning off the previous window art and supplying me with a big box of paints and pens, and gave me tips along the way. In the end it took around four-and-a-half hours to create the window, with most of the time taken up with creating the Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier text, and getting the proportions correct of the biggest figure. Have a look!

A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
Outside view
Outside view
Another figure just by the door.
Another figure just by the door.

I had a lot of fun working on the windows. It was quite freeing just to be able to draw and colour in something I’d been planning for ages, in public, with a passing audience (and also, it was great entertainment for me to see people looking at what I was doing instead of where they were going, and bumping into other unsuspecting pedestrians). Special thanks to Tom and Nora for helping me out and taking photos!

Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter
Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter

As you may be able to make out in the background on the floor I pre-made some props at home to bring with me, of Danny Noble‘s and my work to jazz the display up a bit – I’ll get some photos of those on the night. Speaking of which, this coming Monday is hurtling towards us at record speed! The Laydeez do Comics evening on Monday 18th is going to be quite the place to be, if I may say so. The Broken Frontier themed special will see talks from Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and champion of all things small-press related, Danny Noble, the creative force to be reckoned with, and myself. As I mentioned last week, tickets are all sold out but you can keep an eye out on Twitter for any last-minute cancellations. And, for those of you who miss the wonderful fun we’re all going to have (sorry), as always there will be a guest blogger to take account of everything, which will go up on the site in the weeks after. Andy Oliver will also be excitedly making two announcements on Monday evening, so keep an eye out for the public announcements in the following days!

Although it feels like I’ve barely had a break, University term started up again yesterday after spending Monday doing more of my dissertation, so I have a list as long as my arm of things to do. This includes my presentation for Laydeez do Comics, so I shall endeavour to get cracking on that shortly! Aside from the windows there isn’t that much I can show you all unfortunately, with that pesky essay getting in the way all of last week. I did spend a bit of time yesterday following my tutorials and research time doing some long-missed work on The Next Big Thing, with more to come next week.. Here’s a sneaky peek of some practice page layouts I’ve been working on:

Finally, in more super news, The Red Road has just this morning been named by Broken Frontier as one of the ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ 2015! Alongside the likes of Tillie Walden, Rachael Smith and more talented individuals, it’s a huge honour to be listed. It’s hard to believe that The Red Road was first released to the world almost a year ago, and with it’s second print run over half-sold it’s great to have such positive reinforcement from Andy Oliver and the Broken Frontier team. Thanks all!! Don’t forget you can pick up your super-second edition bumper copy in-store from Gosh!, Travelling Man Manchester, Orbital Comics and Nostalgia & Comics, plus online from my web-store.

But anyway, as my father enjoys saying so much; time is of the essence! And back to work I go. Next week’s update will have all the gossip from Laydeez do Comics and whether I managed to entertain or send to sleep the audience – place your bets! Have a good week everyone. Over and out!

x

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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..

 

x

 

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