northampton uk

February Fun

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, it appears February has arrived, as has the week of my NN Residency alongside my fellow students from the University of Northampton. I shall be taking a break from all comic and other projects business to create my tent/lavvu, and then proceed to hide in it when times of extreme stress arise. As of today, we’re collectively gracing Northampton town centre with our talents and wit at the NN contemporary project space and gallery on Guildhall Road. Different things are going on each day, and if you’re local to the area you should definitely pop round and pay us all a visit.

As I’m in all day tomorrow, I’ve taken some time to make sure I get the basics of my structure prepared today to avoid any unsightly setbacks.. As, you know, I’ve never made a Sámi lavvu before. I know what you’re thinking: who HASN’T made a lavvu?! Although I may well be behind the times I’m using my highly refined organisational skills and coloured markers to be able to recreate the structure in situ at the project space tomorrow, and have my measurements and calculations ready to cut out my fabric for the inner and outer shell. Exciting! Although I mentioned it before, thanks to my wonderful parents for collecting sticks out of their garden for me and helping with the fabric, otherwise I may have been arrested by now for chopping off branches at the local park with a bread knife.

As I mentioned last week, this lavvu I’m creating is related to my upcoming comic release, so far with the name under-wraps and being referred to solely as The Next Big Thing (not in an egotistical way, in a ‘this is MY next big thing to come out’ way, just to clarify that I’m not an uppity plonker). Progress has been going well, and with my schedule set for the next two months I’ll be drawing at least 4 pages per week alongside other final projects for my degree. Busy, busy! I completed my six prelude pages last week and later on today I’ll be continuing progress on pages 7-10, with the hope of making a head start on the next four too. Things are really starting to get moving, and in the coming weeks I’ll be announcing my fundraising campaign for the project!

 

I’m not sure how aware people are or not, but smaller print runs are cheaper initially, but in the long term far more expensive than getting a bigger print run to begin with. For The Red Road I tentatively printed 100 and ran out in 9 months, meaning my costs were far more than they needed to be – whoops! This time, I’m learning from my errors and planning to create The Next Big Thing in a print run of 250 copies. Unfortunately for me, it’s going to be a rather expensive venture, and after some umm-ing and ahh-ing I decided my best course of action is to crowd-fund the total online. This means I’ll be offering not only an option for the book, but also prints, originals and other limited edition goodies that won’t be available after the release in Spring/Summer of this year. So, keep an eye out for my announcement on this soooon… On here, on Facebook, Twitter, all the usual channels!

 

Finally, in very exciting news Down to Your Skivvies Issue #2 has been printed and is almost ready to go! In case you missed it last week, DTYS is being launched this coming Saturday 6th February at the NN Project Space from 4-6pm in Northampton, so come on down and say hello if you’re out and about! This issue is all about writing, writers and the arts, and we have some very special work in there including an interview from a lovely talented gentleman and a short story from a skilled friend of mine currently studying in Liverpool. Crossing the north/south divide one zine at a time! Here’s a sneaky view of the pile of paper I have yet to fold and staple, with the front cover and font designed by yours truly. DTYS #2 will be available to purchase online from Monday 8th February from both Zara’s and my online Etsy shops.

 

I think that’s about it for now! I’d best get back to my fabric trimming business, which is quite a nice change from the usual work of being stooped over a desk for hours on end. Now I’m stooped over fabric, huzzah! I shall be back next week with more updates from The Next Big Thing and some lovely launch photos from Saturday afternoon at Skivvies. And hopefully a successful lavvu! Until next time..

x

Share:

The Road to Thought Bubble

Good morning happy campers!

So, another week has vanished and The Red Road second edition has been released out into the big wide world! It’s been really exciting to revisit the book again and make it even better than last time, it feels like just yesterday that I was ingesting large amounts of caffeine to get the pages inked up in time. With copies now at both Orbital Comics and Gosh London, and the second edition’s first public appearance this weekend at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, it’s time to persuade everyone that they really need this comic in their lives. The Red Road second edition is available online through my Etsy store, so off you go!

The Red Road – second edition in Gosh Comics! Alongside Sneaky Business, DRC#5 and A Bit of Undigested Potato..

As you may remember from the last week I’ve been having a crack at clay modelling, making Bear and Coyote for the re-release of The Red Road. Naturally, I got the comparative sizing completely wrong, and after my little creatures had dried they decided to crack. Hmph. HOWEVER, after some useful internet-ing I came across the technique of filling the cracks with fine surface filler before painting them, so off to the local cheap DIY store I pranced. After getting a bit fine surface filler happy, several painting errors and almost throwing a porcelain paint pen out the window, my lumpy, wonky spirit animals are complete!

Even in their lumpy, wonky forms I spent so long on the little darlings that I’ve become somewhat attached to them (not literally, thankfully), so I’ve decided to carry on and bring them to Thought Bubble Festival with me anyway. Because, well, for all the errors of my clay-ways, at least they actually stand on all fours. Small victories must be celebrated! So, if you’re in Leeds on Saturday for Thought Bubble and fancy seeing what it looks like when clay goes wrong, come swing by my table in New Dock Hall (73b)

Speaking of which, only three days to go until the Thought Bubble excitement commences! This weekend will see Leeds full of comic artists and creators, shifting around and giggling in boozy corners. For the entirety of Saturday and Sunday I will be selling The Red Road, Sneaky Business and a selection of prints, greetings cards and postcards amongst the countries finest, and even creators from overseas! Thought Bubble states that it’s the “largest event of its kind – an annual celebration of sequential art in all its forms, including everything from superhero comics to independent and small-press artists and writers”. With three exhibition spaces and further event rooms, the whole bonanza is taking place at Leeds Docks, in New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries Hall, and the Thought Bubble Marquee between the two. As you can see from this lovely map below, I’m down on the other half of table 73 next to Hello, how are you? and her adorable work, with fellow Art Aid Nepal Home artist Richy K. Chandler next to us on table 72. There is so much to see at Thought Bubble this year, and it’s all started already! I’m really excited to be there for the first time so please swing by and say hello if you’re in the area. Also, launching at Thought Bubble is my pal Samuel C Williams‘ new zine Dead Singers Society, with work from a whole host of people including Tim Bird, Alan Henderson and myself. For a complete breakdown of the new releases at Thought Bubble, there’s an excellent guide here from Broken Frontier, so be sure to check that out.

Finally, in amongst the craziness of preparing for the biggest comics event of my career to date (no pressure, of course..) I’ve also been working on all that university malarky. In amongst the essays and the presentations, the tutorials and the seminars and lots of emails I’ve been working on drawing up some designs for a Northampton based band. So far I’ve just been working on some roughs, but hopefully with some feedback I’ll be working towards one final design to be screen-printed onto a batch of t-shirts for the band to sell. How exciting! So far here’s just a peek of what I’ve been coming up with..

So, that’s it for now! As always I have a large pile of work beside me whispering at me and taunting me (not literally… yet) so hi ho and off to work I go. If you’re in Leeds for Thought Bubble this weekend then I’ll see you there! Until next week.

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:

Second Year Round-Up

Good evening happy campers!

So, after my first week of semi-freedom I’m feeling somewhat rested and ready for the next row of challenges. It’s looking to be a pretty busy summer, so I’m enjoying some breathing space whilst I can. Saying that, I’m really excited to get started. As mentioned last week, I shall cover some of the projects from the last 6 months which I haven’t previously covered. Here we go..

First up is four pieces from a brief that was focused on the Anomalous Psychological Processes department at University. Although contact was limited with the department aside from an initial tour, I created these as a reflection of the studies they research. The first image of a hand holding a brain is a general reflection, secondly the female face is a representation of the Ganzfeld experiment. Thirdly is the telephone telepathy experiments and finally the fourth image is of twin synchronicity.

As with most University assignments, I don’t really know where I stand (useful, right?) but I’m hoping the overseer of the grades is kind to me! Also, I spent some time before last week recreating an editorial illustration brief I’d previously completed back in October/November time. Editorial briefs (one-off illustrations for magazines, newspapers, that kinda thing) are not something I’m overly good at currently. My brain seems to always work in narrative and give names and faces to the characters, with life stories and emotions. But, y’know.. Editorial will pay the bills when the time comes, so re-working this project was important to me.

First attempt – The Wisdom of Crowds
Final, re-worked piece.

My feedback for the original piece was that the crowd was too defined, not dense enough and not really reflective of the tone of the article (which is just one seriously in-depth analysis of the smaller people standing up to the bigger people). So, I think I’ve corrected all that! I’ve slowly been collecting free magazines to look at the way other people (who actually make money from drawing) do their editorial pieces, so my self-set homework for this summer is to work on improving my skills.

Apart from that, most of the other work for this year at University has already been covered! Mennesker er Underlig, the folding self-reflective zine as covered here, Down to Your Skivvies zine which is on sale via Etsy, the Machines exhibition as covered here and of course, the biggun’ of The Red Road. Although I had to re-do some work and projects before assessment I feel pretty positive about my final work for the year. Well, I’ll see how positive I still feel when I get my grades back..! I think I have around a month until the grades are in, so I shall live in my blissful happy bubble for a while yet.

Speaking of The Red Road, I took a wander through Manchester’s Northern Quarter on Saturday with my better half, and we went past Travelling Man so I could spy on how many copies of The Red Road are left in stock.. And low and behold, I’m in the window! Ta-da!

Anywho, I think that’s enough for now. In the next week or so things will be taking shape for my summer of secret plans, so I may be able to reveal the odd one or two next week! Oh! And before I forget, as mentioned last week Keara Stewart’s zine anthology A Bit of Undigested Potato is out now, and it’s for sale online! To get your hands on a copy, click through here. Over and out!

x

Share: