Saami comic

Announcing… Njálla!

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, today is the day I’ve been working towards for months.. And months, and months. The Next Big Thing is announced, and the Kickstarter funding campaign is live!

It’s been a very hectic couple of weeks getting everything together and preparing to host my comic on Kickstarter. Silly me, I thought it’d only take a couple of days.. Between writing about the project for the page, working out the budgets, drawing up titles/diagrams/bookplate designs/print designs, writing a script, filming my big head, and then staring at my big head for hours on end whilst editing the video, I think I may have lost a little sanity. It also took nearly two weeks, but I managed to get it finished up ahead of time to allow for a couple of days of quiet reflection before timidly releasing Njálla to the world.

Click here to go through to the Kickstarter Campaign for Njálla

Special thanks due to all those who put up with me seeking advice and wisdom for the Kickstarter element of this project. Having never tackled anything like this before I felt pretty lost at times! Thanks to comics friends, friends and family for all their input and help, and my ever patient partner (yes, you can see up his nose in my campaign video) for putting up with me talking about this non-stop.

So, the project! Well, if you’ve been keeping up with The Next Big Thing/Njálla then you know that the story is based around the Sámi. Here’s a bit more in-depth information about Njálla direct from my Kickstarter:

Njálla is an original comic story, based around the myths and legends of the Sámi people, indigenous to northern Europe’s Arctic Circle, which today includes parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Lieđđi, a young Sámi girl, and her reindeer Unni end up on an unexpected adventure after coming face to face with the guovssahasat, the northern lights. Njálla is an atmospheric and magical comic for all ages, unearthing the legends of the Sámi through friendship, mystery and adventure.

A relatively unknown culture, the Sámi ancestral history is believed to span thousands of years. I first discovered the Sámi when my partner Chris and I backpacked through parts of Scandinavia last August, spending a lot of time eating amazing food, walking miles and going to various museums and exhibitions. The more I researched and read about the Sámi, the more I realised how I wanted to bring elements of this culture into a comic – not only to enchant people, but also to give a brief insight into such a historic and interesting culture.

If successfully funded in the 30 day period from today, Njálla will be printed as an A5 (148 x 210 mm), 48-page full colour comic, in a limited run of 250 copies, perfect bound. All Kickstarter orders will be ready to ship around the end of May, with the date of release being in early June (specifics to be confirmed). Perfect for when you’re feeling a little too warm in the balmy humid English summer, you’ll be able to read about vast snow-covered lands.. What could be better? I’ve also tried to include a range of rewards beside the comic that span a range of price points and include some prints and originals. If you happen to be feeling incredibly generous and optimistic about my future popularity, original comic spreads are available as a reward too. I have some other rewards up my sleeves, and some nice stretch campaign ideas if the time comes!

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In comparison to The Red Road, this time around my page count is far longer which has meant that I get a nice shiny perfect bound cover (with a spine, rather than stapled). I’ve spoken at length over the past few months with Rich at Comic Printing UK over what options I have, and how I could make this comic look the best as physically possible. Also, I spent some time last week coming up with designs for a limited edition bookplate which will be printed in a limited run of 100! Bookplates (otherwise known as ex libris) are a fairly historic practice, but more and more comics creators are opting for these small, high quality printed pieces in addition to their comics. Gosh! in London have a section dedicated to bookplates, some even created specifically for the store. So, y’know, I thought it best to join in the bookplate fun! All bookplates will be hand-numbered too, so you can hold your bookplate and envision the hand cramp that came along with lovingly writing each one out.

Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print
Left: Bookplate / Right: A5 Print

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, when you pledge for your reward on the right hand column of the page – whether £3 for a digital PDF copy or £50 for an original with the printed comic, your pledge total (including postage) will not be taken from your bank account unless the project is successfully funded. So, if you pledge today, and the project never reaches its funding goal, not only will I go and weep in a corner never to brave the crowd-funding world again, but also the money will never leave your account. However, if at the end date of 6th May the project is successfully funded, and I run around the flat in a fit of excitement waving pages of comic, the money will come out of your account then. Good, isn’t it?

Page 3-4 PREVIEW2

 

 

Phew. What a tiring experience! Since getting everything in place I’ve just continued working on the comic, mainly on pages surrounding the actual story like acknowledgements and more information, things like that. I’ve also been getting some promotion into motion, and then working out the practice painting so that I’m ready to rock and roll for the next 30 days and complete the painting! Painting a comic of this length will probably take the best part of a good week, week and a half maybe, but also I’m still working on the Unilever Bright Futures project I’ve mentioned previously, as part of the Creative Conscience awards which has had it’s deadline extended (phew!). Juggling these two large projects with the remainder of my uni work is going to be keeping me busy until… The end of June. Who needs rest though, right?

 

I think that’s about it for now! For all the information on the Kickstarter visit the link today, and see my big head bob about the screen as I forget what I’m supposed to be saying about twelve times. HUGE thanks to those lovely people who have backed so far today, including the first backer of the day being my comics buddy Sam! Who, coincidently, has a new comic coming out at the end of this month which you should all check out. Big big thanks also to everyone who has shared the project on social media, you are all super awesome. For now, I shall leave you all to bask in the wonders of Njálla, lavvu-pie-charts and badly edited videos. I shall be back next week with an update on how Kickstarter progress is looking after the first week, more work on Njálla as it reaches completion, and the rest! Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support. See you next week!

x

 

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The Next Big Thing

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, apparently winter has arrived in full force as I sit for long hours at my desk with 5 layers of clothing on with my new best friend, the kettle. Thanks to my father I’m largely anti-central heating, so in true British style I can sit and moan about the weather safe in the knowledge that at least I’m not spending any more money on heating than I need to. Living the dream! On the plus side, when the colour DOES return to my fingers I can continue working on.. -drum roll-.. The Next Big Thing!

Now, as I mentioned a while ago, even though I normally love to keep projects secret until the grand reveal, I’ve decided to do things a little differently this time. The Next Big Thing is a comic I’m creating for my Final Major Project (FMP) at University, which generally has to be to some level of completion by mid-late March, though I will most likely have it finished and to print in May-June ready for my degree show (Ahhh! Panic!). The grand scheme for this project started back in August when I travelled around Scandinavia with my other half. The spectacular views and crisp air left me with many ideas, but after gathering together rather a lot of information I decided that I wanted to create a story around the Sámi.

Norway in August
Norway in August

In a nutshell, the Sámi (also: Sami, Saami) are the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, who first settled at least 5’000 years ago, with ancestral rock carvings dating back to around dating back to around 4’200 BC. Mind-blowing, right? Even more amazing is how the Sámi culture is still present and celebrated today, even after years of heavy exploitative taxation from both Sweden and Norway, the taking of land and many more various types of oppression. Since shuffling around the museums of Norway and Sweden and learning what I could out there, I came home to start exploring the Sámi in more depth with books, documentaries and websites. Although cultural appropriation is a key topic at the moment and something to be wary of, I’ve been doing everything I can to be as respectful and clued-up as possible, because I think it’s important to inform people about other cultures.. Plus, it’s interesting! I should’ve been an anthropologist.. Anyway, I finally finished writing and scripting my story last week so here’s some of the sketchbook work I’ve been doing…

I have the story at 36-pages long, though I’m going to try and trim it down by 1-2 pages to make it 34, so that gives me the covers and 4 extra pages making the book a nice even I-will-feel-this-age-by-the-time-I’ve-finished 40. So, a bit of a challenge! On the bright side, I’m making good progress to have the mock-up done by Christmas and that gives me more time for character development before drawing up 40 pages of wonderfulness. There isn’t anything I’d rather be doing! Well, maybe sitting on an sunny beach having a massage, but apart from that.. There isn’t anything else I’d rather be doing!

In other news, I’ve been busy working on a couple of commissions this past week too. As you may remember I mentioned designing a t-shirt for a local band, which is all going through nicely! The band, Jagged Little Thrills are releasing their album in February next year, so the design will compliment their social media campaign nicely, and hopefully get them a whole load of t-shirt sales on the launch night! I’m drawing up the final design this week, along with an illustration for a local charity newsletter that is going out in time for a Christmas appeal. Here’s a peek at both, t-shirt design on the left, close up progress of the charity illustration on the right!

Anyway, that’s about it for now. My first layer of paint on the charity commission is now dry and I’m on deadline for that, so back to it! I shall be back next week as always with the final images on these two commissions, and hopefully some more progress everywhere else.. Until next time, peace out.

x

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