MancsterCon 2015

MancsterCon and Blogiversary!

Good morning faithful followers!

So, we’ve arrived into September in traditional British style; downpours of rain, a chill in the air and darker mornings. Which is different from the British August, which is downpours of rain but with warmer air and lighter mornings. This past week has seen another busy spell at Rozi HQ, with a Top Secret Project in it’s final stages (which I finally finished yesterday, yay!) and the wonderful, welcoming and warm-hearted MancsterCon event in Manchester.

MancsterCon is an entirely volunteer led event showcasing the independent talents in the North-West; everything from comics and zines to game development, and custom-made lighting to kawaii wigs. Some of you may remember that I attended last year as a visitor and loved the atmosphere so much that I asked to be considered as an honorary Northerner to be a part of this year’s event. Thankfully, they said yes! Even better, they asked me to be a part of an interview panel with Andrew Tunney, Tom Ward, Chris Welsh and Debbie Jenkinson called, ‘So you want to get into comics?’. Held at the University of Salford’s Media City campus, the atmosphere was just as warm and fuzzy as last year even with a much larger hosting space compared to last years – something which I don’t imagine is that easy to do, so kudos to Florence and the team for making it work so well! Plus, even with Manchester Pride and a Manchester City home game on, the turn-out was still pretty decent and it made for a fantastic day with many friendly faces.

The interview panel was actually really fun, too! A little daunting at first, but everyone is just so incredibly friendly it just felt like a bunch of strangers watching us have a chat. It’s always really interesting to hear how other people got into the comics field, and even though I saw sat alongside people who are far more successful and further along in their careers than I am, it was genuinely great to hear them speak about their experiences and ideas. Although, probably best not to mention Steampunk to Andrew Tunney any time soon.. Thank you to Florence for being an excellent interviewer, and for the audience for laughing at my joke. That would have been awkward otherwise. I’m not entirely sure if there’s a video of the interview being uploaded to the interwebs, but if there is I shall dutifully share that with you all.

So, in all, it was a great day. Thank you MancsterCon!

In other news, it’s a time for celebration, folks; Monday 31st August was my four-year blogiversary – let there be cake! For those of you who haven’t been with me for the entire long-haul, I started my small blogspot account back in 2011, doing updates of various illustration and arts related things I liked, saw and was doing. Just over a year ago I moved to this site, but the blogspot still exists with all my old drawings I thought were not-so-bad at the time. Now, however, I can sit back and laugh at how awful they are.. So what better way to celebrate than to get you all to laugh with me? Lets have a look at what the ol’ account has to offer..

31st August 2011 - oh dear.
31st August 2011 – oh dear.

Here we have an example I’d like to call.. ‘Why I didn’t get accepted into UWE’. The reason I started my blog was to improve my drawing, so I can’t really look back at my terrible beginnings and hate it, because it got me where I am today. But yes, after I finished art college at the tender age of eighteen I fell into full-time work and got kinda stuck doing important things for not-that-much money. After a while I decided to get back on that proverbial horse and create a portfolio and apply for University. So, with full time work and drawing all evening I slowly created a portfolio of my best work, all from scratch. The selection day involved everyone putting their work out in a room, going off for a tour of the campus, then returning for an interview. Get this; I was politely taken aside and told I would not be interviewed as my work didn’t meet their standards. Ouch! Then I cried on my mum’s shoulder in the middle of Bristol, because I’m level-headed and strong independent woman like that. On the bright side.. After that I umm’ed and aah’d about whether to give up on my dreams of being an illustrator or jack the job, move back home, draw a lot, and try again for university. Thankfully, I chose the latter, so that’s what I did. And this blog was a way for me to track my progress.

As far as I can remember, this was my first time drawing a comic – which actually isn’t terrible! I believe I finished this around September time, so already there is a big improvement from the portfolio work I was making back in the earlier part of the year. After this things steadily improved, with the likes of my Denver Union Station piece being created in January time of the following year.

Of course, how could I forget! Alan Rickman on a pillow. That was quite obviously painted with assistance from a light box, but damn if that isn’t one of the best presents I’ve ever given. Saying that, the gift was for my dearest BFF and flatmate, and I definitely haven’t seen this in a while.. Should I be offended?

Ah yes – now this was my first time making a comic-style set of images which I thought of, wrote and drew myself, back in June-July 2012. Not too shabby either! Whatever I was doing, I was doing something right as by the end of 2012, early 2013 I was asked by Ravi Thornton to illustrate some pages for HOAX: Psychosis Blues – and as they say, the rest is history. I’ve still made some completely awful things since, and I probably will continue to! Hopefully I don’t look back on the work I’ve created in the last year and regret everything, as that would be somewhat awkward.. But yes! That’s a small highlight real of my humble beginnings. If you’d like to see more things I made back when I was just a young ‘un, you can find all the archives on blogspot, here. I warn you, not all of it is pretty. And there’s a good few years on there, it may take a while..

It’s quite funny really, I sometimes think I started getting serious about drawing a lot later than others, and maybe it didn’t serve me well as I’m now a financially crippled twenty-five year old going into my third year of university surrounded by people four years my junior. But then, I have old-lady perspective. Old-lady perspective is very useful indeed! Because.. I did all my awful work BEFORE university, which means that if I went there in my youth I’d probably have messed it up and hated it anyway.

Anyway, enough romanticising, I’d best get back to some actual work otherwise in another four years I’ll be looking back and weeping over what I lost. Thank you to all of you, whether you’re an occasional reader; a dedicated reader (hi mum!); or a new reader, for making me stick with the blogs and have something to show for myself, especially in those early stages where motivation is so hard. Like the well trained puppy that I am, I’ll be back next week with some more sneak previews of the recently finished Top Secret Project, and more.. Peace out!

 

x

 

OH! And don’t forget Sneaky Business is now for sale over on Etsy – you know you want one!

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The Final Countdown

Goood afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, I haven’t gone mad. Well, I may have done, but this specific reasoning for having not gone mad comes from a midday blog effort. “Oooh”, I hear you all say, as you munch your lunchtime sarnie trying to avoid getting crumbs in the keyboard. Which always happens anyway. Yes! I decided a change was in order this week, before I busy my head in more comics for the remainder of the afternoon.

It’s been a busy week, in fact each week has been becoming steadily busier in the run up to my two-week Scandi adventures; so I have three more afternoons of work to get everything done as much as physically possible so that I can enjoy my fortnight in the fjords. As I revealed last week, my new collaborative zine Sneaky Business has been completed! I received the final artwork, finished the covers up and tomorrow I shall be scurrying along to the local printers to throw my USB their way. HOW EXCITING! Now that it’s all beautifully laid out, I can give you a proper introduction…

Sneaky Business - A collaborative comics zine full of sneaky.. well.. business.
Sneaky Business – A collaborative comics zine full of sneaky.. well.. business, really.

Sneaky Business is a comics zine of my creation, featuring two page and one page comics. After producing a one-page comic for Keara Stewart earlier in the year for her comics anthology A Bit of Undigested Potato, I felt deeply inspired to have a go myself! Though, not with quite so many comics as an anthology, as I think my brain would fall out from the stress of doing that amount of organising on top of everything else. Shortly after TAKEOVER back in May, the idea was born and I started contacting friends in the business. Another reason I wanted to do something like this, as I told the other artists involved, is because the majority of my work is quite dark, emotive and serious. How is everybody supposed to know how hilariously funny I am, without me showing them? Thus, Sneaky Business was born.. From the talented hands of (from top-bottom of the image above);

Rozi Hathaway – hello! -waves-
Pete Hindle – http://petehindle.com/
Samuel C Williams – http://cargocollective.com/samuelcwilliams
Alex Hahn – http://www.alexhahnillustrator.com/
and…
Peter James Norman – http://www.aplacetoputthings.co.uk/

Now for more exciting news! Sneaky Business is being launched on Saturday 29th August 2015 at MancsterCon, so if you’re in the area please do come and say hi and pick up your shiny new copy of Sneaky Business. I will be hosting an internet pre-launch on Monday 24th August, so if you’re unable to get to Manchester (cuh, you’ll be missing out) then I shall make sure you get your copy featuring these wonderful sneaky comic artists for the weekend. A big thanks to my creators Sam, Pete, Alex and Peter, and to anyone who has has helped me out; a special mention to Keara for being an inspiration and Ricky Miller from Avery Hill Publishing for giving me his words of wisdom when I was mid-crisis. So, keep your eyes peeled and be sure to order a copy when it’s released! Because it’s awesome.

In other news, I’ve been clocking up the hours at the ol’ desk producing this Top Secret project that’s due in September, which I mentioned last week. As all you wonderful people asked so nicely, (you didn’t, but I’m guessing you really wanted to..) here are some more snippets of what’s being taking all my time and energy!

I’m really really really really hoping to have all the pages inked by Friday evening, so when I return two-stone heavier from the lands of Danish pastries I can relax and focus on preparing for the colouring aspect, ready for deadline. Yesterday I managed to draw and ink up two in 5 hours, so by that logic I won’t quite get it done.. But I’m going to try my hardest! Page one was a bit of a pain, the rest should be easier. I hope. And pray.

So, yes! Hopefully all this visual stimulation invigorates you all ready for your afternoons, just think of me cramped over my desk drawing pages after pages of comics, and think about how much simpler a desk-job is. I will be back in three weeks time with a full update of my travels, so I hope everybody has a wonderful couple of weeks, and think of me on a boat somewhere between the islands surrounding Oslo.. Or in Stockholm having fika.. Or in Denmark practising my Danish on real, Danish people whilst playing with Lego and eating wienerbrød. Until then – over and out.

x

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The Secret Plans Continue..

Good evening faithful readers!

So, another week has vanished and August is ebbing closer. Words cannot express how much of a dire need I am in for a holiday, and in just under three weeks my wish will be granted. Up until that point I’ll be extra busy on my final two top secret projects…

In an excellent turn of events, great news has come my way! My two-page comic Rejsen, mentioned previously in my blog here, has been accepted to appear in Dirty Rotten Comics‘ Summer Anthology! I am absolutely THRILLED to be included, which will be released around mid-August. Happy days! Work hard and good things will come… in short, sporadic bursts, that make this job all the more worthwhile.

So! Back to the hard work malarkey; work has continued on the sneaky and interesting project I mentioned here last week. As I mentioned before, this project has some friendly faces involved, and I’m thrilled to give you a sneak peek of some work! Last week was a preview of my work and also Alex Hahn’s, this week I bring you an exciting snapshot from Samuel C Williams and Peter James Norman!

Samuel C Williams
Samuel C Williams
Peter James Norman
Peter James Norman

This is one secret that will be revealed on next week’s blog.. So, keep your eyes open, it’s something to look forward to! Well, maybe not, but pretend it is, yeah?

Another super thing is that us Ladies of the Zine are in the process of creating issue #2 of Down to Your Skivvies! How exciting, right?! Our first issue is still on sale, so be sure to pick up a copy if you haven’t already. It’s great. And I’m not biased. Honest.

Finally, good news everyone! MancsterCon‘s early bird tickets are available until the end of this month! By purchasing an early ticket you get the extra discount and a free goodie bag! Plus, you get to see my face, which will either help the situation or put you off immensely. Either way, pop on over and pick your ticket up from here for the BEST indie comic-con in the North West, in the lovely Manchester on the Saturday 29th August. Don’t forget I’ll be on the “So you want to get into Comics?” panel with Tom Ward, Chris Welsh, Andrew Tunney, and Debbie Jenkinson where you can watch me pretending to know what I’m talking about. What could be better?

I think that’s it for now, my weekly Wednesday early start looms, so I’d best get into bed and listen to the soothing sounds of children playing and people having fun whilst I try and sleep. Over and out!

x

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The End is in Sight!

Good evening happy campers,

Well, it felt as if this week would never come, but here it is! Just one more presentation at University to go, and the second year of lectures will be over. Sure, there will be some work to do over Easter to improve some assignment work, but no more caffeine-chugging sessions of working 12 hours a day! Well. For a little while, anyway.

This past week has seen the completion of the first ever zine I’ve worked on! Zara Ward, Kamala Roberts and myself created Down to your Skivvies as a part of a University assignment that we’re hoping can be carried forward and continued over summer and into next year! This first issue we’ve looked at celebrating women in illustration and the arts, and touched upon areas of feminism and understanding what it is to be feminist. We have interviews, an article, our own work and also our first submission coming from a first year illustration student. Below is a picture of the zine, and also of the interview I did with Hannah Berry – unfortunately my interview with Hannah was conducted over email so I had to rely on my imagination of how our interview would look if we were face to face. We both agreed that there would be balloons.

The zine will be available for sale shortly via my Etsy site, for three whole Great British pounds sterling. Which, when you think about it, is pretty good for 28 pages of content printed with love*. I shall keep you all posted with when the zine goes up for sale online.

* more like, with increased anger at how the University printers are absolutely, ridiculously awful and drive me insane.

In more zine related news, I’m very happy to have finished my one-page black and white comic for Keara Stewart! I’ve been referring to this project as a zine for a little while as my heads been buried in projects galore, but due to all the interest Keara is making it an anthology – how EXCITING! I’m absolutely honoured to have been asked to contribute, and I had a lot of fun creating my piece for Keara. I believe there will be some Broken Frontier coverage coming up before the anthology is released, so keep your peepers open! Naturally, I’ll allow a little sneak preview….

Sneaky preview... Keara's anthology - coming soon!
Sneaky preview… Keara’s anthology – coming soon!

 

Also, in the world of fairness, I found out last week that I was unfortunately unsuccessful for my application for ELCAF, the East London Comics Arts Festival in June. You can’t win them all, sadly, and although I was really looking forward to this one, they received over 400 applications and only had about 70 tables, so I’m not taking it personally! This morning, however, I received an email from Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds in November saying I’ve been successful. YAAAAY!! Thought Bubble has to be one of the biggest of the comic art festivals in the UK, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to have a nice half table selling my work! This makes for MancsterCon in August, and Leeds in November, so I’m just waiting to hear back about Alternative Press TAKEOVER 2015 in London, in May! Busy busy busy. I’m really excited to meet some of my idols and acquaintances I’ve made over the past few months, so once I’m back off holiday I’ll be making up my Game Plan for summer 2015. Work Hard / Eat Biscuits Hard. Am I right?

Speaking of holiday, this time next week I’ll be sliding down the French Alps face-first with my snowboard in the air (woooohoo!), so I will be unable to grace you all with my presence. Rest assured, I will be waffling away on my return, and I’ve taken extra precautions this time and have invested in some uncomfortable wrist guards to fit under my snowboard gloves so I don’t damage my hands in any way whilst falling on my bum every 5 minutes. I’m confident that some fresh mountain air and some Jägermeister will rejuvenate the ol’ brain cells, plus people keep saying that relaxing is.. good? What is this ‘relaxing’, thing.. PFFT. I’ll give it a whirl, anyway!

For now, I wish you all a happy Easter! I hope you all manage to have successful egg hunts in the garden whilst trying to chase the dog. Oh wait, that’s just my family?

See you all in two weeks!! Peace out! x

Sometimes I pretend to be cool.

 

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