Northampton comics

Commission time, studio and whine.

Good morning, faithful readers!

So, it is December. The Christmas month is upon us – and Star Wars, let’s not forget – so I can finally start throwing around the festive terms without being glared at for it being “too early”. Yay! In the days when I worked long hours in retail I really was not Saint Nick’s biggest fan. One day off for Christmas in which I was too tired to appreciate all the deliciousness of the food, and usually ill from some charming member of the general public spreading their germs, so wine was also out of my grasps. However, now I am a one-man-illustrating-band with nothing to fall back on, I can recline into the Christmas spirit with only.. 5 reflective statements that need writing, 4 lecturers confusing me, three incredibly important projects looming, two pounds sterling to my name.. and a partridge in a pear tree!

Onto jollier things, these past few weeks I’ve been communicating back and forth on a couple of exciting commissions. First things first, through a mutual friend I managed to land a job creating a t-shirt design for local Northampton band Jagged Little Thrills, who have recently been signed to Blow The Roof Records! Their debut record ‘The Last Alibi’ will be released on 26th February 2016 through their new record company, and little old me has designed their promo. Lovely stuff!

Band Name (opp)

Final Image 4

I really enjoyed working on this for the gents of Jagged Little Thrills; it’s been a pleasure! From creating a hand-lettered font for the design, to drawing up something for screen-print (which the process involves only printing in block colours with no gradients), it’s been a refreshing challenge and a joy to do. So, thanks to the band for having me create this for them! The record release show events are up already, so if you’re local to the area then please do come down to The Charles Bradlaugh on Friday 26th February, or The Victoria Inn on Saturday 27th February. Plus, if you need any more convincing, it will be my birthday weekend and also two weeks until my dissertation is due.. I’ll need all whiskey I can get!

The second commission I’ve been working on recently is for the Northampton Hope Centre, a charity which focuses on helping people in need such as; the homeless, vulnerably housed, people with alcohol and/or drug related issues, people with physical and mental health issues, refugees and asylum seekers, elderly people experiencing poverty, and anyone who is down on their luck. The Hope Centre offers a warm and safe environment with basic essentials such as hot food and showers, second hand clothing, creative activities and life skills workshops, all the important things to try and help people get back on their feet. I approached the Hope Centre to see if they needed anything doing, and thankfully they got in touch for some meetings and I’ve ended up creating an image for their Christmas Campaign.

Christmas Campaign Final Image 2 v2 RGB

The image, which is to be used in their newest newsletter and hopefully the website too, is working towards appealing to businesses to help out with such an important level of care for vulnerable people in and around the local community. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can get my hands on a hard copy of the newsletter and see my work in editorial print for the first time!

In other news, this past Sunday I attended the local Northampton Comic Mart, the first of it’s kind run by Jeff Chahal; the owner of Northamton’s comic shop Close Encounters (also in Bedford and Peterborough). It was a small and cosy event in the back room of The Racehorse pub on Abington Square, mostly focused on the store selling back issue comics at a discounted rate, though with independent creators and small press also having a couple of tables. I was there with my talented uni friend Alex of How To Buy A Ninja, and Martyn Lorbiecki selling our finest comicy goodness, and on the other side of my companions also happened to be Paul B Rainey who also created work for Samuel C WilliamsDead Singers Society zine. What a small world! It was a chilly but fun afternoon, meeting new people and watching people giggle at Alex’s comic strips.

Mr. How To Buy A Ninja, Alex Tawns @ Northampton Comic Mart

With both the commissions and the event ending up at the same time, it’s been a bit of a stressful week or so making sure I juggle everything in the right order. So, this week my challenge is to get fully stuck back into my university assignments! With less than two weeks until my presentation assessment, I’ll be madly finishing off the work I’ve been doing for the House of Illustration and Folio Society Competition entry for War Horse, which I hinted at last month with some collagraph printing, more dissertation reading, and further progress on The Next Big Thing. Busy busy. Though, I have some more exciting things up my sleeve to tell you all about next week, with an news regarding the lovely Laydeez do Comics in London! So keep an eye out for that.. Though for now, I’d best get back to the grindstone. Coffee calls! Until next time..

 

x

 

Share:

Må Kraften Være Med Dig

Good evening faithful readers!

Well, what a week it’s been. With the new job and extra overtime last week, it feels like I have absolutely nothing to show for myself tonight. Which, is pretty right. Laters!

…..

Nah, I’m only kidding. It was a tough week, but I have been busy thinking and planning away for a few upcoming projects. Unfortunately for now, they have to remain top secret.. But all will be revealed soon!

One thing I can talk about (which I didn’t manage to cover last week), is that mid-month I decided to take it upon myself to force my drawings into people’s homes. How, you ask? Well! My other half’s brother and his wife have brought a new mini Star Wars fan into the world, yay!

Some of my more retro followers may remember a previous birth-announcement style original I made for a friend back in 2012. Well, almost three years later (wow, times flies…) I decided to give it a go Star Wars style;

Pencils into ink…
…and turning ink into paint!

 

Having my other half as a huge Star Wars fan, and his family too, I didn’t have to do too much research into this piece – which is always nice! Plus, it was a lot of fun for me to draw, as who doesn’t love Star Wars, right? The theory behind it is that Tatooine makes sense as the background setting, as that’s where Luke Skywalker grew up. Without going into too much background detail I still needed it to be obvious, so the two suns made that nice and easy. Out of all the characters to interact with I didn’t want to do anything cheesey like a Death Star toy, or heaven forbid Jar Jar Binks, so I went with R2-D2. I may be a little bit biased, as y’know, R2-D2 is the best character, but my reasoning is that all of the droids are age-less so the piece doesn’t conflict with anything (the in-depth workings of huge fans is not something to be messed with). So, yes! I’m really happy with the piece, and as it was a surprise it was really nice to see how happy it made the new parents to young Luke! I believe Luke’s older sister Isabel is a huge Frozen fan, so I may see Olaf and carrot noses in my future..

Anywho, a short and brief update is it for now, I’m afraid! I’m hoping I can start to reveal my secret plans soon, if not I’ll find something to start talking about.. I promise! Oh, and Må kraften være med dig (May the force be with you)!

 

Share:

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

Share:

All Systems Are Go!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Crikey, another week has flown by, and the second term university deadlines are growing ever-closer.. Though it’s not quite time to panic yet, I can still feel the familiar tension gradually reduce my back muscles to a rather lumpy brick wall – however I’m super excited to show you all what I’ve been working on the next couple of weeks! You’ll  just have to be patient for a little while longer..

Friday sees the launch of a University-based enterprise event that’s being held at the main campus in Northampton, and though it’s only open to students (who, let’s face it, only like to part with money if it involves alcohol and/or Nando’s), I’m hoping that it might drum up a little more comic business! The slight flaw in the University’s plan is that all us arty types are hidden away and locked in a different campus to all the ‘serious’ degrees, so whether a biochemistry student really wants to buy a comic.. Who knows? But if half way through nothing has sold, I may resort to bribing students with cans of Strongbow or whatever cheap beverage those youths drink these days. Any who, if any of you UoN students are reading, I shall be selling copies of my comic The Red Road, some postcards, and some nice little A5 prints! Here’s a nice banner I didn’t make to sum up the occasion;

10974494_1383970041917553_5247653455738011688_o

IMG_3882

 

Although it’s a student-only event, I’m definitely using this as a trial-run for the (fingers-crossed!!) events I’ll be attending this year. One I’m waiting on a definite confirmation, the other two I’m applying for, you’ll have to wait and see.. Ooh err!

In similar news of awesome-ness and comics, this afternoon the Small Pressganged feature at Broken Frontier, written by Andy Oliver, highlighted the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 – Spotlighting the Work of Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian‘. Hey look, there I am! You can click-through to read the full article about some very talented comics folk who I’m looking forward to getting hold of their work! As for me, I am greatly honoured to be considered a ‘one to look out for’, and if anything I shall try even harder to impress this year!! So thank you, Andy, for having such faith in my abilities as always. Bring on the next self published comic *cough* before September *cough*, although I have a lot to live up to!

Now, last week I spoke a little about the project I’ve been working on as a University assignment on the theme of ‘machines’, which I turned into a sci-fi style narrative. I finished up typing my blurb for work at the tale end of last week, so I’m happy to announce the story behind it all..;

01/03/2026
Two years ago, the Kepler 2 Telescope caught sight of an exo-planet displaying similar characteristics to our own planet Earth. Following this discovery, a curiosity rover had been sent to this new planet, newly named by our NASA team as the planet ‘Spyryt’. Sent through an open wormhole, the Spyryt curiosity rover shuttle accelerated through time and recently landed on the barren wasteland. Nobody here expected what images started to be sent back…

If this sounds interesting to you, then definitely keep an eye out for my blogs in the coming weeks as I’ll be posting more images as the project takes shape for the deadline of 16th March. How exciting!

Finally, I also have an upcoming short-comic for a zine that I’m working on for Keara Stewart! I am absolutely chuffed to have been asked a couple of weeks back, and I started drawing up some thumbnails last night. She’s making a collaborative zine to be sold online and in zine fairs, with a whole load of contributors, and I really can’t wait to start drawing it all up. I also have a short-story comic for the University-based zine I’m creating, so it’s all zine ahoy at the moment, and I couldn’t think of anything better. Oh – and one LAST thing – I heard from the very lovely Steve at Gosh! Comics in London, and The Red Road has been promoted to the table! For those who haven’t been in Gosh! Comics, the table is absolutely huge and contains some of the most popular and intriguing titles, so I’m massively excited to know that my story is sitting there amongst such talent – yay! Anyway, it’s time again to get back to the drawing board, quite literally, so for now – Peace out! x

 

Share: