Merrick The Sensational Elephantman

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!




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


New Website, New Comic!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

So, I made another comic. Things have been fairly busy once again since I completed my sci-fi themed comic Lost & Found. I will admit that I took a couple of days to wind down and do silly adult things like clean the apartment and tidy the mounds of drawings and paperwork that had taken over my desk. Anywho, I decided to try another test-run comic in a limit of only one page format this time. The aim was to submit my one-pager to Off Life, which is the UK’s only street press comic. You can read all the issues here. And, this is how they describe themselves;

“We publish a magazine that’s full of short comics from today’s best artists, and distribute free-to-read in bars, galleries, coffee shops and online. Our aim is to provide a platform for up-and-coming talent while opening comics to a whole new audience. Over our past nine issues we’ve featured comics from some of today’s best creators, including: Jack Teagle, Kristyna Baczynski, Kyle Platts, Ana Galvan, Warrick Johnson-Cadwell, Robert Ball, Dan Berry and Joe List.

Off Life accept submissions between 1-4 pages, but I’ve been trying to push myself into shorter stories recently and I figured one sole page is definitely a challenge. So, after being somewhat inspired not only by my own thoughts of seeing my friends glued to their phones, and also seeing slightly more diluted qualities in myself, AND from reading the cold-turkey-social-media-quitting-experiment of my friend James (which is a witty and interesting read, I definitely recommend it) I made this comic.


One-page entry for Off Life!
One-page entry for Off Life’s bi-monthly publication

As I was in Manchester this past weekend and I forgot to pack my paints, I had to digitally colour the comic – which is not my favourite way of doing things. I can never quite seem to make it work for comics.. Boba Fett and the snowboard design seemed to work great, but my style of drawing for narrative doesn’t seem to suit digital colouring. Oh well, learning curve strikes again! At some point I will probably colour it in my usual style, but for now, and for the deadline I had it was submitted like so. Feel free to drop me a comment and let me know what you think! In other news, I had an absolutely lovely afternoon on Saturday at MancsterCon! Held in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, MancsterCon is a voluntarily run event bringing together the best of the independant sequential art scene in the North West. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to all the events for the weekend, but I did get to see Pauline Sometime give a presentation of the portrayal of mental health in comics over the past few decades. Although she stated that it was a brief snapshot over the ages, it was still an incredibly interesting talk and has given me comics and names to look at for future reference. I also had a perusal around the stalls of various creatives, the highlights being picking up Girl & Boy by the fiercly talented Andrew Tunney, and Merrick the Sensational Elephantman by the creative team that is writer Tom Ward, artist Luke Parker and letterer Nic J Shaw.


L: Girl & Boy    R: Merrick Comic
L: Girl & Boy R: Merrick Comic

I really enjoyed both of these. Girl & Boy definitely appealed to my love of black and white comics, though I haven’t draw anything purely black and white for a while now it definitely still has a place in my heart. I also really love the way Andrew Tunney made the rain in his images, really beautiful. Nice guy, also! Definitely looking forward to whatever he has coming out next, I had to peel myself away from the stunning prints he was selling. Merrick, The Sensational Elephant Man appealed to me with great colour palette used, and from reading it thoroughly tonight I was cracking up in some parts of it, and feeling empathy for the characters in other places.  Some of the hidden gems in the panels are absolutely brilliant, there’s a particular panel on the first page which isn’t obvious to begin with, but I couldn’t stop laughing at. My hamster must think I’m crazy! I shall be eagerly awaiting issue #2, it’s great work and I definitely recommend it.

You may have also noticed that I now have my own website. Yippee! The website I had previously set up through two months ago was just an epic waste of time. To begin with, their free package is incredibly limited in comparison to what I was used to with Blogspot, and also their blogging set up is absolutely terrible. I came home on Sunday to a message telling me that I’d almost reached my maximum storage, and that was the last straw, so thanks to my computer-whizz partner I’ve set up this site which is MUCH better. Ahh, I can tag blogs again! So, after getting this all set up and the blogs transferred across, I’ve celebrated by ordering new business cards as my previous ones were horrendously out of date. Exciting! I also have a few new projects next on the agenda, so keep an eye out for progress from those.

Oh, and before I forget! If you would like to subscribe to my blogs and have them arrive in a nice shiny package directly to your inbox, you can do so at the bottom of any of the pages on this site, and you can find it on the left hand side. There are also other nifty things there to have a look at, so mooch around and let me know what you think. For now, over and out. x