Penguins

Penpals, Penguins & Small Press

Good afternoon kind readers!

So, another week has vanished and it’s now almost December. When did that happen? All these Christmas adverts keep coming out and all I can think about is how I’m pretty sure it was October last time I looked.. Apparently not. It seems to be getting much gloomier day by day, and Manchester is living up to it’s stereotype of raining all the time – which would make you think that I’d managed to buy an umbrella by now instead of getting rained on all the time. Ha. Well. Maybe tomorrow.

A few weeks ago when I first moved up here I was doing some scooting around, looking for different creative endeavours I could get stuck into. Low & behold I re-stumbled across the Salford Zine Libary, who describe themselves as “a unique archive of self published materials, currently housed at Nexus Art Café on Dale Street in Manchester. It seeks to preserve and provide access to zines from around the world, as well as promoting zines and DIY culture through workshops, exhibitions and other events“. They had a call for submissions up for a Penpals themed mail-art exhibition, so in the blues-infested week of getting back from Thought Bubble when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, I wrote a little love story on an envelope and sent it off! I haven’t managed to get down to the Zine Library yet to see if my work has been selected to be up, but I’ll be getting down there as soon as possible to check it out. The exhibition runs until the end of the month, so if you’re in the area you should pop down and check it out!

Next up, I also spent some time in the recent weeks on a guest strip for Alan Henderson’s Penned Guins, which is his daily comic strip full of dad jokes, bad jokes and everything in between. There have been a few guest appearances in the past, most recently from my good friend of Good ComicsSamuel C. Williams. It took a while to single out a particular pun, but in the end I went with this one.. Which went up on Sunday 13th November!

Ha.. Penguins. What lovable oafs. It was an absolute pleasure to be a guest on Alan’s Penned Guins, and if you want to keep up with the comics you can keep up with them on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. There’s a lot to be said for being able to smile at daily gag strips, and I highly recommend you supplement your diet with them.

In other news, if you’ve been on Broken Frontier‘s Facebook or Twitter this week, you may have noticed that a guest piece I wrote for State of the Small Press Nation went up on the site! Andy Oliver kindly asked me whether I wanted to write an article a while back, to which is gratefully agreed and then took way longer than I should’ve done to actually get it back to him. Better late than never, my journey into small press is now up on Broken Frontier’s site, and you can read the article here. It was a bit strange to go back through my old blogs and pick out the highs and lows of my journey into comics, but hopefully my ramblings come of some use to someone.

Probably not, but you never know.

And finally! If you follow me on the array of social media channels then you may have noticed that I’ve released my 2016 Christmas card design! I opted for a more subtle, wintery design this year with the hare and the moon, with the card being available to buy on my Etsy store along with last year’s Christmas robin design, and all the usual comicy suspects. Postage for UK orders runs right up until mid-December, so have a gander and order early to make sure you’re not disappointed!

Anyway, that’s about it for now! I’ll be back as usual next week with more progress on my short stories due for release with Good Comics next year. Until then, I hope you all have a good week – and if you’re in England, keep dry, yeah?

 

x

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Looking Forward

Good afternoon homies,

So, the turkey has run out and the mince pies are slowly vanishing, and Christmas is well and truly over. Next stop, New Year! This strange void between Christmas and New Year seems to be a time of self reflection, and particularly for myself, looking back at the last couple of years brings me to a rather scary cross-roads. 2012 was the year I succeeded in getting accepted into University, 2013 I had my first exhibition in Northampton and spent 6-months working on HOAX: Psychosis Blues, and in 2014 HOAX: Psychosis Blues was launched alongside the theatre show and signings in both Manchester and London. As I sit here looking back, I can’t help but feel a little anxious as to what 2015 will bring. Will I continue to charge ahead and find a way to successfully launch my own comic? Or will I fall at the first hurdle? An analytical and creative career such as illustration has the ability to make you feel constantly on edge. Whilst having a yearly catch up with my dear friend Katie earlier, we discussed the cross-roads of being in our mid-twenties and where to head next. Really, this is a crucial time. Crucial, exciting, and terrifying. Ahhhh!

Anyway, on a lighter note, a promised post with more of an update than my last. This festive season I offered to design my parents Christmas cards based around their passion for the dog breed, English Bull Terriers. They’ve rescued two from unhappy homes in the past, most recently Jack the Dog who seems to be oddly comfortable in almost any sleeping position possible. So, I decided to use a clean line drawing with limited colour, mainly to save on printing costs as I added colour by hand afterwards. They seemed very happy with the cards and I’ve had a few compliments since, so I figure it was a success! And from that, and making my own Christmas cards year sent out to family and friends, I will be looking at selling cards online in the foreseeable future, by summer at the latest and going forward. Yippee! The card designs are pictured below;

Bull Terrier Christmas Cards
Bull Terrier Christmas cards for my parents…
…and my own quick Christmas card design for this year, last-minute thrown out towards unsuspecting friends and family.

 

I think one thing I’m definitely aiming for in the coming 12 months is a larger online presence, point and example being an online shop. In Andy Oliver from Broken Frontier‘s eternal wisdom (in this article – How *Do* I Get Coverage for My Self-Published Comic?), to have reviews you need a website, and a place for people to BUY your work from. So whether I’ll build something through this website or whether I use Etsy, I have some important logistical decisions to make when I return back to Rozi HQ. Another thing I’m considering is how to publish my comic, whether to sit at the uni laser printers for hours on end to keep costs down, or to go to a printers and have my work professionally printed. Though, with that costing an arm and a leg, something like Kickstarter may be my only choice. In other words, I have a lot of thinking to do. Maybe I should have another slice of Christmas cake first, though..

In the past month or so I’ve also been making personalised Christmas gifts for friends, which has included painting on mugs which is something new! Looking at Isabel Greenberg’s ceramics, this is definitely something I could get on board with, as they really do make nice gifts. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the mugs, or the mini-comic pages I made, but I have plenty of ideas for upcoming items to sell. Anywho, I believe that’s it for now. The fire is crackling away and the dog is snoring, how peaceful! To all my marvellous readers, I hope you all had a wonderful festive time and a marvellous New Year! Here’s to 2015! x

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Christmas Wonderland

Well! What a week it’s been.

In my endless wisdom I decided it would be a great idea to work non-stop on my Christmas Tale, because who needs a decent nights sleep, right? Since my last blog post I’ve been drawing gingerbread ladies, reindeer, snowmen, penguins, polar bears and a rather young female lead character from morning until the depths of night, and having a pretty fun time seeing how much coffee I can intake whilst still maintaining hand stability. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from Dan Berry’s Make it Then Tell Everybody podcast, it’s that this is the illustrator life. It’s tiring, but hot damn I love it.

So, moving forward. As of yesterday morning I have managed to complete the main bulk of my book; the majority of my story is told in a magical Christmas wonderland with friendly creatures each doing their bit to support Father Christmas in the hours leading up to the magical day itself. My process with this project has been pretty consistent. Pencils > Inking > Colouring using gouache paint. Then half the job is done, and I digitally place each page over a separate backdrop which completes the page. So far I’ve done 16 pages with another 6-ish to do this week, then the creating stage will be complete! Here are three previews, have a gander;

 

Wheee!
Wheee!
Thud.
Thud.
No one likes a sad reindeer
No one likes a sad reindeer

 

Aside from the originally intended hard-copy, I am very excited to be working with my musically talented pal Adam Satur in the hopes of turning the book into a ‘narrated animatic’. In simple terms, we’re looking at turning my pages into a digital book via YouTube video with soundscapes, music, a narrator, plus voices/noises for the creatures. Bringing this second level to this project is really exciting, hopefully by the time I update you all next I’ll have more news on this secondary project. For more information on Adam and his teachings you can also visit Playing Musically on Facebook.

With the hard graft of this project wrapping up this week, I shall be working next on my script for the next major competition – which truth be told, I intended to start a lot earlier before the Offlife submission and my mutant bunnies got in the way. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to complete two pending projects before university starts up again in a months time – oh how the summer has flown.. Is it time for a holiday yet? Anyway, I shall be hauled up at my desk until Friday afternoon completing the rest of this book, so wish me the best of luck! Over and out x

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