So, Christmas is busy huh? I guess I shouldn’t be quite so brazenly surprised that I’m struggling to find time to work on comics projects – after all we moved into our new home less than a month ago, and most of my spare time has been happily rediscovering the fun of a sewing machine whilst running up cushions and curtains galore. Only yesterday evening was I crawling around the floor with a roll of calico cutting out boot shapes for a set of Christmas stockings. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love working with my hands and some fabric, but my list of to-do’s for Christmas make me a little sad for the lack of drawing time I get. However, there will be time, and soon I need to hot-tail it to finish up the reprint of Cosmos & Other Stories coming in early 2018 – so that’ll stop me missing comics when I’m working to deadline!
I did get a chance to brush off my brushes this weekend and paint something up just for the sake of it:
I’ve missed working with paint, and I’d almost thought I’d forgotten how to do it (which would’ve been super awkward, considering most of my work relies on some intense paintwork). Thankfully it all came flowing back – and it’s always nice to make something from the heart! Christmas and getting ready for the season has the tendency to make us all reflect on those who aren’t here to share it with us. So, I wanted to make something to reflect that feeling of knowing a loved one may not be around anymore, but is still with us in spirit. Slap my knee and call soppy, it was still nice to do regardless of the sads involved.
In other more happy/panicked news, last posting dates are ebbing closer for my Etsy store! Have a look:
UK: Wednesday 20th December
Most of Europe: Thursday 14th December
Most of the rest of the World: Saturday 9th December (already passed, yikes!)
I will still be posting out orders as quickly as I can when they come in, so get in quick if you want to grab a copy in time for the holiday! Visit my store on Etsy here.
Anyhow, I’d better get back to my beautiful machine and that stack of material and curtain tape I have looming in the corner. Hard to resist, huh? I shall be back soon with more when everything settles down – I promise! Until next time, peace out.
First up, as you may recall from last week I was scurrying away to finish up my submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8. It’ll be a year since I first appeared in DRC, with my autobiographical comic Rejsenprinted in Issue #5 of the anthology. For those of you who don’t know, Dirty Rotten Comics is a British comics anthology published three times a year and the guys who run it are dedicated to championing small press comic creators, big and small. To continue with my short stories with Danish titles theme, this time around I created Sørgedag, meaning mourning/bereavement (direct translation is sad-day). After finishing Njálla, which not only was a mammoth task but also very much all-ages family-friendly compared to my track record of work, I felt the need to get back to my dark roots and go with something a little more gloomy. I’d had the idea in my head for Sørgedag for a while, but in the end I tweaked the setting and played around a lot with atmosphere and panels and added in a whole new way of colouring; rough acrylic paints.
I had a LOT of fun working with acrylic paints, and it brings a whole new kind of texture and feeling to the comic. As for the technical details, I began working in the usual way; plot, script, sketches, rough out pages on layout paper and ink up the line-work on heavyweight cartridge paper. Usually I paint directly onto the cartridge paper with my linework, but this time I used my lightbox to layer over another piece of cartridge paper and get all messy with paint to the lines underneath. The whole thing turned out great, and though DRC is strictly black and white I painted it in colour so I have the option to republish it on my own at a later date in colour. Woohoo! Here are some work-in-progress previews:
Printed purely in black and white with colourful covers, Dirty Rotten Comics anthologies feature around 70 pages of work, 1-4 pages in length for the bargain price of £4; hopefully I find out soon whether I’ve been successful or not – fingers crossed!
Last year I hand-picked four comics pals to create 1-2 page comics under the theme of ‘stealth’ and ‘sneaky’, as something a bit different and lighthearted from my usual repertoire; Alex Hahn, Pete Hindle, Peter James Norman and Samuel C. Williams happily agreed to create something new for the comics-zine, and I also created a comic too, ’cause, y’know.. I’m the boss. The 12-page comics-zine was sold online and in comic shops around the UK at the lowest price possible to break even on printing costs. This time around I decided to expand on the idea and open up submissions to everyone, and that I have done! Who knows how many pages it’ll end up being? But the ethos remains the same, with Sneaky Business as a community platform for entertaining stories made as accessible to readers as possible.
Sneaky Business vol.1
Last year’s contributors
If you’re interested in submitting or want to check out more information, the Call for Submissions page is live and has everything you need to know! Submissions are open for 10 weeks, and close just before midnight on Monday 12th September.. Get your thinking caps on and get involved, it’s going to be snazzy.
Finally, I’m spending a lot of time in London this week, not only for the D&AD New Blood festival in Shoreditch as a graduate of the University of Northampton (got a First, by the way. Boom), but also as this Saturday is the first ever Small Press Day! What is this new, fantastic sounding day, you ask?
A celebration of self-publishing, DIY culture, and grassroots comics across the U.K and Ireland on Saturday 9th July.
An idea born on twitter led to a series of nationwide events in a matter of weeks. The reaction and the support of our aim (to spotlight the possibilities of small press publishing via store-based events and signings, in the first instance, and to bring its practitioners to the far wider audience they deserve) has been absolutely phenomenal. Join us on 9th July for the inaugural Small Press Day at one of the stores listed on the map below and meet the next generation of superstar comic creators, zine makers, and DIY micro publishers.