LDC

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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Hello, 2016

Good morning faithful readers,

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I trust everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve, as I did, though I hope all your New Years Days weren’t spent recovering quite as ungracefully as mine was. Somehow I managed to forget that I spend my life at a desk and barely ever drink, though an unappreciated two-day hangover reminded me.. New years resolution: party more than twice a year?

So, I’ve bobbed up to the surface from the depths of my dissertation to bring you all some wonderfully exciting news.. Down to Your Skivvies is back! At the end of this month, pending any hiccups, us Skivvies ladies – Zara Ward, Kamala Roberts and myself – will be releasing issue two of our illustration/comics/arts zine Down to Your Skivvies. The first issue was released back in April 2015, with an unplanned gap between issues purely down to University workload and summer vanishing before our eyes. However, we’re now back with issue two which will be better than ever! Here’s some of the bits I’ve been working on so far..

I really enjoyed working on Skivvies the last time; there’s something more relaxed and open about creating a DIY zine, printing and stapling it yourself for distribution compared to the highly detailed and often time consuming work of putting a comic book together. We have some great things lined up for Down to Your Skivvies #2, and with our theme of WRITERS, there’s plenty to get stuck into! As you can see from above we have short stories, a comic, bookmarks and even a very special guest interviewee, illustrated poems and lyrics, and more! As us ladies have all been off over the Christmas break we’re yet to have a date of release, but it’ll be around the end of January – as soon as I know, you’ll know! As before, DTYS will be available in person and online via my Etsy store.

Logos

In other news, as you may remember from a month ago with my announcement regarding Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier, on Monday 18th January I’ll be speaking alongside Broken Frontier’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver and Danny Noble of “Was it.. Too Much For You?” fame. Held at Gosh! Comics in London, I touched upon the great work Laydeez do Comics do and my involvement to date in my blog last month and also announced that I’d be painting the Gosh! windows in readiness for the event. That time is almost here! This week I’ll be making my merry way down to the Big Smoke to draw on some windows and try not to eyeball the people of Soho, which is probably easier said than done. I’m really, really excited to have been given the go-ahead for this project – it’ll be my first time drawing on window’s and I’m excited to see the results! Hopefully it’ll draw some extra interest for Laydeez do Comics, and act as something nice to entice more people into Gosh. As I’m working on this as a part of a university assignment I will be documenting it fully, so expect lots of photos next week!

IMG_5504

Speaking of the Laydeez do Comics evening, tickets went on sale on the 30th December and sold out in an incredible 24 hours! I guess that means the pressure is on to pretend that I’m actually interesting. My 15 minute slot is an exciting yet daunting thing..

Finally, in the past week since returning to work alongside Down to Your Skivvies I’ve also been working on more progress for The Next Big Thing. whilst it’s mainly been sketchbook work and character studies, things are moving quickly and I have all my characters sorted, ready to get cracking on some page development.. Woohoo! It feels so great to be working on an intense comics project like this again, with the story sorted and all that needs doing is lots and lots of drawing. Which happens to be my favourite thing to do, thankfully. (Apart from sleep. I really like sleeping. And eating. But apart from that, definitely drawing.) Here’s some sketches from the last week:

I’ve been trying really hard (as my tutors keep telling me to) to break out and try different materials and way of working, so I’m using this time to play about with how I’m working and develop the characters a lot further than I’ve ever developed for comics before. It’s a new and definitely worthwhile practice for me, and I’m so excited to see what comes in the process of working towards the final 40-page work of wonder – hopefully not too many paper-cuts, sweat and tears.

Unfortunately, for now I must return to the joys of dissertation writing. Thankfully my degree is largely practical (you’d hope so, being an Illustration course), which means my dissertation is only 5’000 words – however that doesn’t make it particularly easier. Next week I shall be back with a next-to-finished dissertation, painted windows at Gosh! and looking forward to the Laydeez do Comics evening.. Until next time!

x

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December Madness and Laydeez do Comics!

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, another week bites the dust and the first round of assessment is looming eerily close by. Although I’m working in a haze which can probably be described as “I’m not really sure what I’m doing anymore”, things are getting ticked off the list and I’m vaguely, quietly confident that I’ll be in good stead by Christmas. Well, as long as I avoid any critique sessions where it’s advised to completely change my work.. Sigh. But anyway, I also decided it would be a marvellous idea to start getting up stupidly early in the week to do some mild exercise or yoga (don’t laugh) before getting to work before 8am, which seems to be helping my productivity somewhat. Though, I’m only on day three so far.. And I ache.

Logos

 

First up, as you may remember from last week, I mentioned that I had something exciting up my sleeve to tell you all. WELL! I am over the moon to announce that I have been asked by the lovely Keara Stewart and Wallis Eates of Laydeez do Comics to speak as a part of the Broken Frontier themed evening, as one of the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015! With the small press champion Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver being the reason for so many people getting a chance of recognition and support, it’ll be a great chance to listen to his worldly comics wisdom. Alongside will be the fiercely talented and entertaining Danny Noble, of Ollie and Alan fame, and myself – probably still a bit love-drunk on brandy butter by that point.

Laydeez do Comics London is held in Gosh! Comics in Soho, who are one of the biggest stores to support small press comics creators. Keara and Wallis have stepped up to take over as London Co-ordinators whilst co-founders Sarah Lightman and Nicola Streeten are taking a break to focus on their respective PhDs. here’s a snippet about Laydeez do Comics (LDC) from their website..

“Launched in July 2009 by artists Nicola Streeten and Sarah Lightman, it is the first women led graphic novel forum in the UK. Artists, academics, publishers and fans from around the world are invited to speak. It is a platform for people to test new works and ideas, where emerging artists present their work alongside more established practitioners. The evenings offer an inspiring experience in a social atmosphere for both those new to comics and those already immersed. Laydeez do Comics now has branches in Glasgow,  Bristol, Leeds, Dublin, San Francisco and Chicago.  Pop up events have also taken place in New York, Toronto, Glasgow and Brighton.”

Exciting stuff! The Broken Frontier LDC night is being held on Monday 18th January, and in MORE exciting news I’ve been working together with Gosh and LDC to create a themed window display for the event! At the moment I’ve just been sketching ideas up, but soon I’ll be getting some final designs to both parties and the work will commence the week before the event. Because I’m feeling overly generous, here’s one character from some preliminary sketchbook work for the window design…

Promo Blog

This coming Monday I’ll be attending my first LDC event as a member of the audience, with guest speakers are Mike Medaglia and Rachael Ball. Both are so excellent at what they do, and I can’t wait to be a part of the audience! And also, it’ll be good to see exactly what to expect a month later when I sit the other side of the table. Tickets for LDC are free, but must be booked and disappear incredibly quickly! If you’re interested in attending the Laydeez night in January, then best to pop over to the Laydeez do Comics website and sign up for their mailing list to be alerted when tickets are available (details are on the home page). So if you want to come and watch me pretend to know what I’m talking about, and see my first attempt at window painting.. Sign up now! But in all seriousness, big thanks to Gosh and LDC for letting my represent their values in the form of a window display and asking me to speak as one of the chosen six – I can’t wait!

In other news, you may recall a few weeks ago me referring to one of my projects being the House of Illustration and Folio Society Book Illustration Competition for War Horse! The competition requirements is to produce a set of three internal illustrations and a binding design, to fit into their minimalist graphic style.The competition ends in January, but with assessment looming and final tutorials this week I’ve been working extra hard to get this ready! It’s been a strange project for me to do given that I didn’t particularly want to approach it in the character-centric style I tend to work in, as the general tone of the cheery children’s book is rather dark. Instead, I wanted to focus on the atmosphere, and use certain scenes and textures to give an effect of how very depressing it all was. I mean, the First World War wasn’t exactly all butterflies and flute music, was it? With that in mind, here’s my work in progress on the project to date..

Layout 1

Spine Text

I’m not entirely happy with the binding (front and back cover spread) just yet, but it’s not too far off I don’t think.. Book covers are not something I ever really did before University and I desperately struggled with the last one for Carrie’s War, so I have been determined to get this one right. As for the internal illustrations, I opted to completely avoid using ink lines for this and painted or printed everything using handmade collagraph plates, using Photoshop to put everything together nicely. Again, these aren’t completely 100% finished yet – but not far off.

Finally, after I had a tremendous sell-out of greetings cards at Thought Bubble last month I’ve gotten round to ordering more and putting them up on my Etsy store! There’s a choice of three at the moment, with this year’s Christmas card design and two others. So, for an extra special card this year, pop on over to my Etsy store and check them out.

Well well well, another busy one. I’ll be back next week after a during stressful assessment period, but hopefully with the Christmassy end in sight! Low and behold I have another week of rather important emails, another commission and further uni work progression. So, with that in mind, and the kettle calling my name.. Over and out.

x

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