Comiket, Assessment and More!

Good afternoon folks!

So, you’ll have to forgive my tardiness this week in getting the ol’ blog out on time. Yesterday was my final, FINAL ever assessment at University in the form of a 20-minute presentation and unfortunately that took over the entire week. But now, as much as it hasn’t really sunken in yet, my degree is finished. In 2-3 weeks I should find out what classification of a degree I’ve received, then there’s just that pesky business of a Degree Show exhibition to finish preparing for, and then graduation is in July. The sweet feeling of freedom is almost in my tired, sweaty grasp and I can confirm that IT FEELS GOOD.

It slipped my mind to take any pictures of the stacks of project sketchbooks on my desk and images on the wall, but just imagine a few arms full of stuff. And a lavvu in the corner. I’ll write up a better synopsis of my final year of university projects after the degree show, but for now I have PLENTY to keep you entertained with.

First up, Comiket! Last Saturday 14th May I willingly dragged myself away from assessment preparations to spend the day in London with my favourite Editor-in-Chief, Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier on the Small Press ‘Six to Watch‘ table at Comica London’s Comiket! Having never been to a Comica event before I wasn’t quite sure to expect, but situated under the Victorian glass-panelled roof between the Central St. Martin’s College of Art and the House of Illustration it was a quaint little market with a great atmosphere. As I’m on the brink of releasing a new comic, and with Sneaky Business being totally sold out, my section of the table was looking a little anaemic, but in all we had a pretty decent day and sold a lot of Small Press Yearbooks.

Apart from drinking copious amounts of Waitrose coffee to keep warm and manning the Six to Watch table, I was incredibly honoured to be a part of Paul Gravett’s Live Drawing Parade! In 25-minute slots, the Drawing Parade featured a whole host of people including the likes of Paul B. Rainey, Jessica Martin, Sean Azzopardi and JAKe. It’s really great to watch people draw live, with some far more sensible people having a composition ready worked out to ink, and then masochistic people like me who decided to freehand draw a composition right then and there. The Drawing Parade was filmed and also projected onto a screen for an audience to watch (look mum, I’m famous!), and the time-slot also included Paul Gravett doing small interviews with us drawing folk. I opted to work on a drawing of the characters from Njálla – not only as promotion but also as I’m really, really used to drawing lots of foxes at the moment. Big thanks to Andy Oliver for taking some snaps of my serious-work-face whilst drawing and painting away! Yes, yes, sadly I’m one of those people with RBF.

I had such a great day at Comiket. It is always a huge pleasure to spend time with comic folk, catching up with familiar lovely faces and meeting new ones is one of the most rewarding parts of working in comics as everyone is so totally down-to-earth. We’re all just a bunch of tired people who understand what it’s like to spend hours drawing alone at all hours. Best job in the world, mind you. Except maybe the panda-hugger. Sadly due to both personal and degree show commitments I’ll be missing out on DIY Cultures at the end of this month and CECAF/ELCAF in June, so I plonked home after Comiket knowing it’ll be a while until the next one. To read a round-up of both Comiket and other goings-on in the Small Press world check out Broken Frontier’s Small Press Round-Up!

In other exciting news, my humble HQ has seemingly turned into a distribution centre as I am now amid packaging, cellophane envelopes, stickers, prints, colouring books and lots and lots of copies of Njálla. Yay! Three big boxes of comics were the last to arrive yesterday evening, with my new friend the UPS man even carrying them up two flights of stairs for me. Spoilt, I tell you. MASSIVE thanks go out to Rich at Comic Printing UK who not only has made Njálla look supple and wonderful (you just wait till you feel that matte-laminate cover, it’s face-strokeably good) but also has been a source of entertainment and support throughout the whole process. If any of you ever decide to create comics I would encourage you to go and speak to Rich and read all his excellent advice blogs.

So now I’m left with the mammoth task of finishing off original artwork commissions for my 12 generous Kickstarter backers, wait for the money to come in and ship off LOTS of comics to their new forever homes. I start shipping out from next week with all my backers the first to receive their copies, and Njálla launching online on my Etsy store from Thursday 2nd June, with the OFFICIAL launch here in Northampton at the NN Café on Saturday 4th June. Yippee!

In a final snippet of other news, last week I mentioned working on a short one-page comic for Good Comics Dead Singers Society Volume 2. You’ll all be relieved to know that I manage to finish it up and shoot it over to those friendly gents in time, and will be featured in the new Dead Singer’s when it’s released. How exciting! If you want to check out the first volume you can get your hands on a copy through the Good Comics online shop here. But for now, here’s a snippet from my comic in the upcoming volume two..

The next anthology project I’ll be working on is a submission for the newly-announced Dirty Rotten Comics #8. The call for submissions runs up until 30th June so I have time aplenty to work on my next 1-5 page black and white idea. The submission is open to all UK emerging comic artists and after my two-page Rejsen comic was successfully printed in Dirty Rotten Comics #5 I’ve been itching to get into their ace anthology again. After that deadline’s passed I’ll be working on Sneaky Business volume 2, so keep an eye out for news on that coming in the next month or so..

Anyway, I’d best get back to it. I have a whole load of commissions to be working on this weekend so rest safe in the knowledge that I’m upping my caffeine intake accordingly. I’ll be back next week on schedule for Wednesday with more news on Njálla and maybe even some more sneaky peeks.. Ooh err! Until next time, have a good weekend all!

 

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Kickstarter Complete!

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, we’re done! As of Friday morning Njálla’s Kickstarter campaign finished with a whopping £2502 pledged from 139 lovely backers. WE DID IT! Thank you so much to all my wonderful backers, it wouldn’t have been possible without your keen interest in my story. It’s been an overwhelming 30 days and I’m still a little bit in shock from the whole campaign process. But, no time for that dazed nonsense, there is work to be done!

Page 31

I managed to get really organised and sent all the completed pages over to Rich at Comic Printing UK on Thursday of last week, so we’re ahead of schedule for the comic itself. Rich has worked his matte laminate magic and gotten some proof copies over to me at super-speed, so I’m working on some small final amendments before the final 250 copies are ready to fly out of the Comic Printing printer. This week I’ve also sent off my order for colouring books, prints and stickers, so you’ll all be glad to hear that everything is in motion.. Yippee! Organised is my middle name, don’tcha know.

In more exciting news, I’m very happy to reveal to you all… the cover! Kickstarter backers had the grand unveiling last week, so you’ll have to excuse them if they’re sticking their tongues out and going ‘nerr’ at you non-backers from behind their screens. Here it is:

Cover Preview

Exciting, right? Right?! I’m excited. Especially since receiving my matte laminate covered proof copies and seeing this in all it’s physical glory.. Swoon. In the coming weeks I’ll be working on original artwork and finishing up university assessment stuff, and then all physical backer pledges will be sent out the week prior to Njálla’s release. Time is drawing ever closer to Njálla’s release to the world, and that familiar terrified/exciting feeling is going to be a perma-fixture for the foreseeable future. Yikes!

In other news, this weekend is the highly anticipated Comica Comiket in London! On Saturday 14th from 11-6pm Comiket will be held underneath the Victorian glass-roofed shed between the House Of Illustration and the Central St Martins College of Art, not far from Kings Cross St. Pancras. As I’m just a couple of weeks shy of a new book release I didn’t apply for a table myself, however I’m joining in the fun at the Broken Frontier’s Six to Watch table to help promote and sell the Small Press Yearbook as well as selling some copies of The Red Road and Down to Your Skivvies zine! There will also be an array of Six to Watch comics for sale on the table, including the likes of Emma Raby and Rebecca Bagley. So, if you’re in or around London on Saturday pop down and say hi! The whole event is free and there’s loads of things to see and do as well as visit stalls, it’s shaping up to be an excellent event.

You can register your interest on the Facebook event page here or just turn up and have a wander. It’ll be awesome.

In other news, I’ve been taking some time to wind down after working on a couple of such hefty projects (both Njálla and the Unilever animation) to work on a short 1-pager comic for the upcoming volume 2 of Dead Singers Society! After the success of the first issue, of which I created a single page illustration of Muddy Waters, the gents at Good Comics have had their call for submissions out for a while in preparation for the second issue. I’ve only just had a chance to dive into this one, but I’m really excited to be creating a short comic for this particular dead singer. All will be revealed in time, but for now, here’s a sneaky preview of what I’ve been working on…

FullSizeRender (1)

If you fancy submitting for Dead Singers Society vol. 2 and you like to leave it last minute like I have, you still have time! Submissions end at 11pm on Sunday 15th, and for all the information and more from Good Comics you can head over to their Twitter page here.

Finally, in the madness of the Kickstarter it completely slipped under my radar, but I have now officially sold out of Sneaky Business! The short comics-zine I created with submissions from Pete Hindle, Samuel C. Williams, Alex Hahn and Peter James Norman last summer has flown the coop, with potential copies left in various stores around the UK (note to self: I should check on that). Now Njálla is reaching completion I’ll be looking into volume 2 of Sneaky Business, so although it won’t be for a little while if you’re interested in potentially contributing then get in touch (I sit alone at a desk all day, I could certainly do with a conversation that isn’t with myself).

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Assessment work needs to be done for next week and the kettle won’t boil itself. Keep an eye out next week for more visual goodness and a run-down on Comiket! Until then..

 

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The End of the Line

Good afternoon lovely folks,

So, we’re now down to less than 24 hours of the Njálla campaign on Kickstarter and things are getting exciting! My palms are slowly getting a bit more clammy as I get that same anxious feeling I had when I launched The Red Road, putting something out into the world that I’ve so lovingly laboured over for months on end. There is something vaguely terrifying about putting new work out to the world, but thankfully(?) with University assessments and final deadlines approaching I don’t really have that much time to sit and think about it, I have a final degree classification to worry about too!

After last week’s long hours I managed to finish up painting the final ten pages of Njálla and get it all scanned in and tweaked, so the story is officially done! This week I’ve been working away on the surrounding pages of the story, the covers, and any hand-lettering that remains. I’m fairly on schedule, with the final pages being sent off to Comic Printing UK tomorrow afternoon. Panic! Also, my lovely backers will have received the schedule for production in their inbox’s this morning, and all is still on track for that..

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to arrange something special, and I’m delighted to announce that the NN Café, part of the NN Contemporary Gallery in Northampton, is hosting a launch party for Njálla! On Saturday 4th June (two days after the online launch) I will be celebrating the success of the Kickstarter campaign as well as the launch of the comic online and in UK small press friendly comic shops, with drinks and good times. Huge thanks to Peter James Norman, contributor to Sneaky Business, who co-runs the NN Café and has helped me to make this launch happen. For more information and to RSVP to the event please visit the dedicated Facebook event page – all are welcome, so come and join in the fun and celebrate independent comics! I’ll be selling copies of Njálla as well as other goodies, and signing on request too – and depending how many beverages I have, my signings could become more and more abstracted as the night goes on!

Speaking of launches, this past Friday saw the long anticipated launch of the Broken Frontier Anthology and the Small Press Yearbook at Gosh! Comics in London! It was a fantastic night, with the six of us UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 being all together for the first time ever. A whole host of back-up contributors for the Yearbook also attended, alongside creators from the Broken Frontier Anthology in a joint event with a wonderful atmosphere and a true showcase of the spectrum that Broken Frontier supports. Thank you so much to Gosh! for hosting the event, everyone who attended and especially those who asked me to scribble in their copies of the Yearbook. I won’t go overboard on the details as Broken Frontier posted excellent coverage including photography of the night from Mauricio Molizane De Souza (included in gallery below), but trust me, if you weren’t there you missed out.

Huge thanks again to Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier for creating the idea for the Small Press Yearbook and putting it together into the wonderful book it is. Also thanks to those who helped along the way, Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Rich of Comic Printing UK, amongst countless support from others. You’re all wonderful! As well as being able to buy the Yearbook from Orbital and Gosh!, you can also purchase your copy online from the dedicated web store! You can read more about my work in the Small Press Yearbook with the search tag ‘Top Secret Project’ or from the dedicated page here. And just above you can see a preview of Afloat in all it’s glory.

I think that’s about it for now! I have rather a lot to do in the way of finishing touches for Njálla before I crawl into bed tonight.. Don’t forget, if you haven’t pledged yet you have until 9am Friday morning to do so, and pledges equal freebies! Check out the Kickstarter for more details. Next week I’ll be back with more Njálla news, plus with one assessment complete and preparing for the next one I’ll be potentially a bit greyer and a bit more tired by then too. Until next week!

x

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9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

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The Half-Way Mark

Good afternoon radiant readers.

So, is it Wednesday again already? It’s been another busy week here at HQ, juggling painting and scanning comics pages, finishing up and painting the frames for animation, and important, final degree things like portfolios and such. In the whirlwind that has been the last 2 and a half years, it’s now only four weeks until my final assessment and somehow everything in falling into place. It’s a busy time, but thanks to my militaryesque organisational skills and copious amounts of camomile tea I’m raging through like a woman on a mission.

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently working away each week painting pages, scanning them in, tweaking and slotting into place ready for printing. At an efficient rate of 10 pages a week, I’m comfortably on track at the half-way mark for the campaign, which has now been funded beyond double my original project goal! Heartfelt thanks to all my wonderful backers, and those new backers who know it’s fully funded, but are still pledging away regardless (Royal Mail are going to absolutely love me come May/June time). If you are a backer, you’ll know that you get exclusive updates and work-in-progress images before anyone else.. If you’re not a backer yet, you can either head over to Kickstarter and pledge now, or keep an eye out on this here blog for all the news a few days later. Here’s what you may have missed:

It’s so exciting to see Njálla come together in its final form, plus spending any spare time I have on the free colouring book for backers I’m getting more and more eager for the launch. Ahhh!

In other news, after all the excitement of the Kickstarter had subdued slightly I have been back to finishing up my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards submission, which I’m doing alongside Njálla as part of my final illustration portfolio for University. Although I was on track for completing this animation for the original deadline of the 7th April, it was a bit of a relief when they extended it to the end of this month so I had more time to spend on it and tweak it. Now, as any dedicated readers will be aware, I haven’t said a huge amount regarding this animation as Njálla has ultimately been the bigger, longer project, and the bearer of my soul for the past 6-7 months. However, this animation has been a huge undertaking for me, not only as it’s been juggled alongside other projects, but also because my experience in animation is pretty small.. Before I’ve only ever created short looping gifs, whereas this is a full 4-frames a second, 20 second animation.

Above is a short preview of the finished animation in part, as all the work is finished and scanned but I just have some finishing touches to work on digitally before submitting. Mainly, it’s a bit jumpier than I’d like it to be, so it needs smoothing out with some sneaky-tweaks. It’s all a learning curve! A steep, jagged, tiring learning curve.

In other very exciting news, after the announcement last week for the launch party of Broken Frontier’s Anthology and Small Press Yearbook, pre-orders for the Yearbook are now open! I am so excited for the release of this incredibly special collection, and as one of the featured comics creators from the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 I’m even more excited for Afloat to see the light of day! Working on that 10-page comic last summer was so much fun, and I really enjoyed stretching my story-writing muscles by tackling a 10-page slice of life tale.

If you’re not in or around London for the launch party at the end of this month (see more details in the Facebook event here), then you can pre-order your copy of the Small Press Yearbook, featuring Afloat, from the online store here. Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver, has had a strong ethos for this book from the start:

“To fully embrace the philosophy of this venture 40% of the Broken Frontier Small Yearbook‘s print run will be distributed as comp copies. This includes Yearbooks sent to comics publishers, commentators, activists and industry figures in order to introduce them to the work of Hathaway, Milton, Noble, Raby, Urbino and Vian.

The remaining number will be priced at as accessible a price point as feasible to ensure as many readers as possible discover the comics of the original Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’. To make that a reality this 100-page book will retail for just £6.00 for 83 colour and black & white story pages!”

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 – Pre-Orders Now Open!

You can read the full article about the Yearbook here, with the details of the additional, supporting contributors here, and the pre-order release post here. In the run up to the aforementioned launch party at Gosh! Comics, Broken Frontier will be running exit interviews for us Six to Watch too, with the first article for Jess Milton coming out earlier this week – definitely worth a read. With copies of the Yearbook available from the end of April and Njálla released in early-June, I hope you’re all ready for some new reading material!

I think that’s about it for now! The kettle is calling my name (worrying, I know) and I have plenty to keep me busy for the rest of the day. Rest assured I will be back next week with (hopefully) a finished animation and more previews from Njálla! Until next time.. Have a good week everyone!

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Success! Njálla is Funded!

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a week! I think somewhere between staring wide-eyed at my laptop screen in disbelief and taking a casual dance/sprint combo around the living room, I was barely able to comprehend what was going on during Wednesday through to Friday last week. In less than 10 hours (10 hours!) you wonderful people all helped to absolutely smash my project goal of £800 for the printing costs of my upcoming comic Njálla. Apart from confessing my undying gratitude to my backers, I have no idea how to portray exactly how amazed and thankful I am to each and every person who put pennies to their name to help support make this comic a real, physical being. By Thursday I put up a stretch goal which was also smashed by the end of the day, so most of the weekend was spent staring off into the distance trying to comprehend what sort of alternate reality I’ve been placed in. So thank you, THANK YOU, backers, friends and family who have all been real heroes here in helping me to publish this story.

After launching the Kickstarter Project Campaign last week and announcing it here on the blog, I was lucky enough to also have a glowing announcement from Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier too. Here’s some rather nice things he had to say:

Having covered her work so closely over the last year or so, I’ve observed firsthand Rozi Hathaway’s creative development in that time. Her growing confidence as a storyteller, that assured understanding of the mechanics of her chosen medium, and a willingness to experiment with genre and tone are all hallmarks of a practitioner with a commitment to immersing herself in all aspects of her craft.

But where her work truly stands out is that strand to her practice that concentrates on pensive, very human narratives. She has an astonishing ability to evoke an emotional response in her readership with little or no exposition, pulling her audience into the lives and experiences of her protagonists through both the deftest visual characterisation and that hauntingly empathetic atmosphere to her pages. It’s very much in evidence in The Red Road, in ‘Afloat’ in the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and in her slice-of-life tale ‘Rejsen’ in Dirty Rotten Comics #5.

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Back Rozi Hathaway’s New Comic ‘Njálla’ on Kickstarter – Broken Frontier ‘Small Press Creator to Watch’ Launches Her First Crowdfunding Campaign

As the goal of £800 has been reached, Njálla is going to print! Woohoo! This means that as the Kickstarter ends on Friday 6th May, I will have sent all the files over to Rich at Comic Printing UK who will be creating a physical proof copy for me to check over, and once that’s all fine and dandy he will be printing the run of 250 books to arrive at my door mid-late May. As my final university assessment is on Thursday 19th May I’ll be scurrying around like a woman on a mission until the following week, when all Kickstarter-backed orders will be posted.

In further exciting news, the online launch date is announced! On Thursday 2nd June Njálla will be available to buy online through my Etsy store, and in selected comic shops around the UK (to be announced nearer the time). So, if you have some long-term rivalry with Kickstarter or if you just fancy waiting, you’ll be able to get a copy of Njálla in just over 7 weeks.. I’d best get to work!

Colouring book, now free to all backers!
Colouring book, now free to all backers!

As I mentioned above, after smashing the project target in less than I day, I decided to put up a stretch goal to try and get some extra goodies out of the campaign for all my lovely backers. So, what are stretch goals..? A stretch goal is a funding target set BEYOND the original goal. The project is still very much complete and funded, stretch goals are just some fun extras that I can add in as a way of saying an additional thank you, in the form of physical goods! Those aforementioned physical goods are in the form of a FREE colouring book and sticker for all my backers! The colouring book is something fun; at 12-pages in length it will feature pages of lavvu’s, Arctic foxes, reindeer and more, with some additional Northern Sámi words and phrases in there too. Who doesn’t love a bit of casual colouring, whilst learning? Not to leave my digital PDF pledgers out, they will be sent a few pages that can be printed out and coloured in as well.

In other exciting news, Gosh! Comics have announced the launch party for the eagerly awaited Broken Frontier Anthology and the Small Press Yearbook! As you long-term readers will know, I worked on a ten-page featured comic for the Small Press Yearbook last summer, as a part of the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015! The launch party is on Friday 29th April at Gosh! on Berwick Street, from 7-9pm where there will be a joint celebration between us Small Pressers and some of the creators from the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology, with full details over on the Facebook event page. Amongst a whole host of wonderful creators, I shall be there signing away copies of the anthology – so if you’re local, please come along!

You can follow all the updates on the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook’s online release date via the usual channels of Facebook and Twitter, through the hashtag #BFSPYearbook, if you’re into that kinda thing. #Downwiththekids

I think that’s about it for now! Aside from excitedly running up and down, I have spent the last week painting away on Njálla, scanning in and dropping into the page templates to get it all ready for printing in a few weeks. Panic! I’ve never before had to tackle painting quite so many pages at once, but it’s all good fun and getting exciting to see how the pages will look when they’re printed.. I’d better crack back to it! I will be back as usual next week, so until then, have a good week all!

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Announcing… Njálla!

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, today is the day I’ve been working towards for months.. And months, and months. The Next Big Thing is announced, and the Kickstarter funding campaign is live!

It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks getting everything together and preparing to host my comic on Kickstarter. Silly me, I thought it’d only take a couple of days.. Between writing about the project for the page, working out the budgets, drawing up titles/diagrams/bookplate designs/print designs, writing a script, filming my big head, and then staring at my big head for hours on end whilst editing the video, I think I may have lost a little sanity. It also took nearly two weeks, but I managed to get it finished up ahead of time to allow for a couple of days of quiet reflection before timidly releasing Njálla to the world.

Click here to go through to the Kickstarter Campaign for Njálla

Special thanks due to all those who put up with me seeking advice and wisdom for the Kickstarter element of this project. Having never tackled anything like this before I felt pretty lost at times! Thanks to comics friends, friends and family for all their input and help, and my ever patient partner (yes, you can see up his nose in my campaign video) for putting up with me talking about this non-stop.

So, the project! Well, if you’ve been keeping up with The Next Big Thing/Njálla then you know that the story is based around the Sámi. Here’s a bit more in-depth information about Njálla direct from my Kickstarter:

Njálla is an original comic story, based around the myths and legends of the Sámi people, indigenous to northern Europe’s Arctic Circle, which today includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Lieđđi, a young Sámi girl, and her reindeer Unni end up on an unexpected adventure after coming face to face with the guovssahasat, the northern lights. Njálla is an atmospheric and magical comic for all ages, unearthing the legends of the Sámi through friendship, mystery and adventure.

A relatively unknown culture, the Sámi ancestral history is believed to span thousands of years. I first discovered the Sámi when my partner Chris and I backpacked through parts of Scandinavia last August, spending a lot of time eating amazing food, walking miles and going to various museums and exhibitions. The more I researched and read about the Sámi, the more I realised how I wanted to bring elements of this culture into a comic – not only to enchant people, but also to give a brief insight into such a historic and interesting culture.

If successfully funded in the 30 day period from today, Njálla will be printed as an A5 (148 x 210 mm), 48-page full colour comic, in a limited run of 250 copies, perfect bound. All Kickstarter orders will be ready to ship around the end of May, with the date of release being in early June (specifics to be confirmed). Perfect for when you’re feeling a little too warm in the balmy humid English summer, you’ll be able to read about vast snow-covered lands.. What could be better? I’ve also tried to include a range of rewards beside the comic that span a range of price points and include some prints and originals. If you happen to be feeling incredibly generous and optimistic about my future popularity, original comic spreads are available as a reward too. I have some other rewards up my sleeves, and some nice stretch campaign ideas if the time comes!

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In comparison to The Red Road, this time around my page count is far longer which has meant that I get a nice shiny perfect bound cover (with a spine, rather than stapled). I’ve spoken at length over the past few months with Rich at Comic Printing UK over what options I have, and how I could make this comic look the best as physically possible. Also, I spent some time last week coming up with designs for a limited edition bookplate which will be printed in a limited run of 100! Bookplates (otherwise known as ex libris) are a fairly historic practice, but more and more comics creators are opting for these small, high quality printed pieces in addition to their comics. Gosh! in London have a section dedicated to bookplates, some even created specifically for the store. So, y’know, I thought it best to join in the bookplate fun! All bookplates will be hand-numbered too, so you can hold your bookplate and envision the hand cramp that came along with lovingly writing each one out.

Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print
Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, when you pledge for your reward on the right hand column of the page – whether £3 for a digital PDF copy or £50 for an original with the printed comic, your pledge total (including postage) will not be taken from your bank account unless the project is successfully funded. So, if you pledge today, and the project never reaches its funding goal, not only will I go and weep in a corner never to brave the crowd-funding world again, but also the money will never leave your account. However, if at the end date of 6th May the project is successfully funded, and I run around the flat in a fit of excitement waving pages of comic, the money will come out of your account then. Good, isn’t it?

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Phew. What a tiring experience! Since getting everything in place I’ve just continued working on the comic, mainly on pages surrounding the actual story like acknowledgements and more information, things like that. I’ve also been getting some promotion into motion, and then working out the practice painting so that I’m ready to rock and roll for the next 30 days and complete the painting! Painting a comic of this length will probably take the best part of a good week, week and a half maybe, but also I’m still working on the Unilever Bright Futures project I’ve mentioned previously, as part of the Creative Conscience awards which has had it’s deadline extended (phew!). Juggling these two large projects with the remainder of my uni work is going to be keeping me busy until… The end of June. Who needs rest though, right?

 

I think that’s about it for now! For all the information on the Kickstarter visit the link today, and see my big head bob about the screen as I forget what I’m supposed to be saying about twelve times. HUGE thanks to those lovely people who have backed so far today, including the first backer of the day being my comics buddy Sam! Who, coincidently, has a new comic coming out at the end of this month which you should all check out. Big big thanks also to everyone who has shared the project on social media, you are all super awesome. For now, I shall leave you all to bask in the wonders of Njálla, lavvu-pie-charts and badly edited videos. I shall be back next week with an update on how Kickstarter progress is looking after the first week, more work on Njálla as it reaches completion, and the rest! Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. See you next week!

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