Naomi J Art and Commissions

Degree Show Launch

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s pretty much all over. Yikes. The ‘student’ title I’ve begrudgingly had for the past two and a half years is slowly fading as the Degree Show is nearing close and graduation is only a month away. Putting together the degree show was quite the task, with the private view and launch party on Friday evening drawing in far more of a crowd than expected – always a good sign! Between putting the catalogue together and building a shop out of boxes, lugging heavy boards and painting portfolio stands it was all a bit of a blur.. But it’s done, and open to view every day until it shuts for good this Sunday 19th June.

Huge thanks to fellow graduate Naomi for letting my use her photos (above), and also helping to keep me sane over this past year! The degree show was entirely tutor-led by design, though a few of us took over creating and designing the catalogue. I can’t take any credit for the overall design, but I certainly put my InDesign skills to good use! A few of us also set up our own shop to sit outside of the room itself, selling a range of items; from my comics Njálla and The Red Road, to postcards, prints, and other students books and 3D items.

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Overall the feedback has been positive, and although it’s not exactly what I’d hoped from my degree show when I’ve walked around universities in the past, it’s been nice to have an end-point (and several glasses of wine) to celebrate. Apart from clearing out the show next week and graduation at the end of July, that’s pretty much it! You can find all the information about our Creative Curiosities degree show here on the event page, or the School of the Arts degree shows as a whole through the University of Northampton website here.

As my time has freed up a little between the degree show being completed and leaving the country for a few days I took the opportunity to do my yearly girlfriend duties of doing something for Chris whilst he’s away at Download Festival. Last year I created Rejsen for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, and the year before that I made a Boba Fett piece for him, which I eventually turned into a poster. As for 2013 I have not the foggiest what I did, if anything, as I managed to accidentally erase my old Blogspot page with my old blogs from 2011-2014 a few months back (gutting, yes.. but on the plus side my old horrendously bad work is no longer available to find online). This year I decided to have a go at daily comics. Journalistic comics is something I’ve wanted to branch into for a while but never had the time, so I felt that this would be a great opportunity to give it a whirl and see how it felt.

To best understand the premise for the comic, here is the intro to be read in the Law & Order narration voice:

In June every year, Chris goes to Download Festival and I sit at home working.
This year, I am recording this exciting time in comic form.
These are my stories.

– DUN DUN –

Seven days. I managed a whole seven days. Go team! I’ll admit, I didn’t get to draw every day and some days had more catch-up than others, but it went pretty smoothly for the most part. I only used pencil, pen and acrylic ink for the whole thing and it’s VERY rough and ready as it was intended just to get my brain thinking rather than creating a masterpiece. Anywho, Chris let out some vague and hopefully not fake giggles when he read it, so I’ll take that as a positive sign. With my next immediate comics project coming up being a fresh submission to Dirty Rotten Comics for their 8th anthology it was a good thing to work in black and white again; it’s been quite a while since working sans colour, so definitely a wise move to practice again before developing a new short story. Plus, with DRC#8 due in just under two weeks I need to get cracking!

On a final note, this coming Saturday is the yearly Crouch End Cartoon Art Festival at Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End, London! I’m so sad to be unable to make it this year after I had such a blast last year, but holding fort on the Broken Frontier Small Press to Watch table this year will be Andy Oliver with a few others, and stacks of Small Press Yearbooks for sale! There are a whole host of other talented and wonderful folks including Richy K. Chandler, Wallis Eates and Avery Hill Publishing; so if you’re in the area pop on down and check out the talents on offer – it’s FREE! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has written up a release all about the event, which you can peruse over here.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Now that this student malarkey is almost over I need to spend every waking hour trying not to fail as an illustrator. Talk about pressure.. Happy Wednesday! Until next week, have a good ‘un everyone!

x

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It’s not the destination, it’s the ride.

Good evening my happy followers!

So, another week gone, and a fresh week full of challenges and piles of work await my undivided attention.. It’s getting to that key time where all of my university deadlines fall around the same week of each other, so I’m manically trying to get everything done to the highest possible level that I can do whilst still juggling a few other things and whatever is left of my sanity. On the plus side, I had an incredibly efficient week last week, and although that doesn’t make things that much easier in the run-up to the deadline mine field, it does help a little. One thing I’m really happy to have completed is as follows..

In early February I was approached via Facebook by a charity called Ride for Willen; They have organised a 800 mile charity bike ride from Paris to Nice, over both Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux, with the aim of raising much needed funds for the Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes. Alongside the sponsored bike ride, they have an additional site called Ride.Eat.Drink set up to further support the Willen Hospice by selling illustrated gifts and prints. Naomi, a good friend of mine from Uni, had also been approached to create a piece and she made this incredibly detailed paper-cut original illustration for sale. Now, I was a little late to the party as I needed to get some uni work out of the way first, but thanks to my other good friend known as The Mohawk, cycling king, I finally came up with this piece which I finished on Thursday evening! Check it out;

Donated illustration to charity; Ride for Willen
Donated illustration to charity; Ride for Willen

According to my previously mentioned friend, The Mohawk, the secret behind the enjoyment of cycling is the views – and this really stuck with me. Although I’m not a cyclist myself, I am definitely an appreciator of good views, and after some research and presenting The Mohawk with some ideas, he helped me narrow down my concepts which I then sketched up and refined further. And then, well.. There it is! I tried to really capture the essence of the peace and tranquillity from riding (not the leg-burning pain I was blessed with the last time I used a bike machine at the gym..). I also didn’t want to focus too much on who, or what bike it is, so it’s open to the imagination a little more. Anyway, the Ride.Eat.Drink team seemed to really like the piece, so I’m happy to be able to help! Prints of the piece should be going up for sale in the next couple of days, and you can further support the sponsored bike ride by visiting their donation page here or buying illustrated goodies here. Success!

Talking of finished pieces, I finally finished my submission for The Penguin Random House Design Award last week. As a brief also for a university assignment, I re-designed the book cover for the Puffin book Carrie’s War. It took a lot of critical analysis, re-drawing and re-jigging to get this piece as good as I could get it, and it was an insanely hard piece of work for some reason.. I think my brain is hardwired into narrative, so trying to give an essence of a whole book in one cover, whilst gaining viewer interest and maintaining that hold on the casual browser into picking it up and reading over.. Phew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it again! Props to people who can do it all (book covers, editorial, narrative, gifts, e.t.c), hopefully this book cover has taught me a lot and makes the next attempt a lot easier, but it was definitely a big challenge for me.

Carrie's War
Carrie’s War

I’m not entirely optimistic that it’s a winning entry, there are so many applicants for the competition it’s like being a very small student entry fish in a very large tank of other highly talented student fish. Anyway, regardless of the competition it’s been a healthy change for me to do something different, though I miss comics!

Finally, this past week I submitted my applications for ELCAF (East London Comics and Art Festival) being held on June 20th-21st, and also Thought Bubble Festival held in Leeds on the weekend of 14th-15th November. In the world of comic art festivals (rather than the more well-known Comic-Con’s, which are more aimed towards the mass-market) Thought Bubble is one of the huge hitters. It’s been going since 2006, and rises in popularity every year. Along with the Comic Arts Festival in the Lake District, these two are the kings of festivals in the North of England. ELCAF in London is a fairly new festival, run by the publishers Nobrow. Both of these I would be hugely honoured to be able to attend, and I should find out by the end of the month whether I’ve been successful or not! Teamed with the more independently run MancsterCon that I’ve been confirmed for in August, I’m really hopeful that this year just keeps on getting more awesome! Fingers and toes crossed, everybody!

Right, I shall leave it at that for now. I shall be back with you all like clock-work in the next week for more updates on all the gossip from Rozi-HQ. Over and out! x

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