northampton illustration

The Next Big Shake-Up

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, it’s mid-March already. When did that happen? You’ll have to forgive my lack of an update last week as I came down with a rather nasty cold/flu type thing which had me floored for the most part of a week. I don’t think I’ve been that ill for so long in quite a few years, but I can assure you being healthy again feels amazing! It actually forced me to have at least four days of doing no work as I could barely see straight let alone do anything else, so I’ve had the joy of coming back to everything vaguely fresh-eyed and brimming with animal knowledge from being propped up in front of David Attenborough documentaries.

One large part of work off my plate is my dissertation, which I finished up and submitted on Monday. Woohoo! I had a pretty good time with my dissertation; it was an interesting subject and I planned and researched a lot of it early on in September/October time. Themed on mental illness as portrayed in contemporary graphic novels, it’s right up my alley and hopefully it gets me a good grade. Now that dissertation business is out the way I’m down to just two main projects, the Creative Conscience awards which I’ll post about when it’s a bit more finished, and.. The Next Big Thing!

As of Monday evening I finished drawing up and inking all 34 pages of story for The Next Big Thing, which is super exciting news – Yay! Although the hard work is far from over, with the next tasks on my list being to scan all the pages in to practice my colour scheme within Photoshop, and at the same time photocopy all the pages so that I can practice colours with paint, and then only when both tasks are complete and I’m happy then I paint my originals. All in all I estimate that this task will take me up to after Easter, into early-mid April. It’s a lot of paint!

I’ve also drawn up and inked the outside cover, but things like the inside pages which don’t contain the story but may have bits of information and title pages, those also need doing. Having never worked on a book of this length before it’s been a pretty long process, especially with having to only work on this for 1-2 days a week whilst working on a load of other projects and preparing for the upcoming Degree Show in June, but it’s starting to feel like the end is in sight!. Especially as I’ve picked the date for my funding..

I can happily announce that my Kickstarter campaign for funding the printing costs of this will begin on Wednesday 6th April! Mark it in your diaries ladies and gents, as for 30-days I will be offering incentives including prints, originals and possibly even my first born to raise the much needed funds to print 250 copies of this project, which has been an integral part of my life since the beginning of the idea’s conception in August 2015. I have poured my heart, soul and everything else I have into making this, and I’ll be excitedly announcing the title along with the launch of the Kickstarter in April. For now, here is the opening two pages of the prelude, uncoloured, because you guys deserve it.

It was incredibly important to me to be able to give some insight into the Sámi people from everything I learnt whilst travelling through Scandinavia, and from books and internet sources, so the prelude (pages 1-2 pictured above) runs over six pages. Think of it like the introduction to a museum exhibit.. But with comics! This part, as you can see, is drawn in a more primeval, rune-like style compared to the rest of the comic which is in my usual way of drawing things. Because I’m feeling generous, here’s some a sneak preview of one of the uncoloured pages mid-way through the comic:

See, don’t say I never give you guys anything! Colour and painting is playing a huge role in this story, so it’s kind of hard to see how it’s going to turn out from scans with no colour, but if you’ve been following my blog for a while when you’ll have seen some hints at what’s coming.

So my life is pretty much being taken over by paint for the coming weeks, although I still have a fair bit of drawing to get through for the Bright Futures Creative Conscience Brief, which I’ve mentioned before. We’re still fundraising for our degree show at UoN too, so if you’re interested in helping to support us pay for the printing of our catalogue and postcard packs then please head over to our GoFundMe page, and check out more of the information on our refreshed website.

AND, before I forget, some exciting news was announced last week! The nine back-up creators for the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook were announced to the world, with such super-duper talents as Mike MedagliaGareth Brookes, Owen D. Pomery and Jessica Martin. Things are hotting up with the Small Press Yearbook, and more details are on the way to being announced soon. It’s really exciting to be a part of something so important, and I can’t wait to get hold of my copy. To keep up with Yearbook, you can follow the #BFSPYearbook hashtag on Twitter, and keep an eye out on Broken Frontier.com.

Anyway, I think that’s about it for now! I’d best get back to work otherwise the boss will moan at me. Oh wait… That’s me. Until next time!

x

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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;

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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

 

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