season’s greetings

Season’s Greetings!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

Well well well, it’s almost that time of the year! We are four short days away from the joy of family, feasting, and being propped up in a corner after many glasses of wine. Lovely stuff! Although I always look forward to the Christmas break, it’s felt particularly needed this year.. With a stressful term one of the final year of university down, only two more to go until I graduate. It’s not all tinsel and puddings in the next few weeks, mind you; I’ll most likely be writing the majority of my dissertation over the Christmas break and I have a few other things to do before returning to lectures in the cold and dark reality of January. But, in the spirit of not wishing time away, all that nonsense is in the back corner for now. Phew!

My usual update last Wednesday had to be delayed due to assessment, but that means that I now have even more to tell you all! First up, you may remember the commission I did for the Hope Centre a few weeks ago, for their Christmas appeal. Well, it took a little while but I finally got my hands on a printed copy of the newsletter featuring my illustration. How exciting!

It’s been really nice to see my work in print. I mean, comics-wise I’ve had a pretty dang awesome year and drawing for narrative is my favourite thing to do. However, working on an editorial piece like this and seeing it out there in the world is a rewarding moment and important for my portfolio. Rejoice! The Hope Centre in Northampton, as I mentioned in that previous post is an important charity. If you fancy helping them out at this rather cold time of the year, head over to Just Giving and their Hope for Christmas campaign.

In other news, earlier this month I was interviewed by Tom Mortimer on behalf of Dirty Rotten Comics, following my Rejsen comic being printed in their fifth issue back in August. Thanks to Tom for a genuinely interesting and deep chat about comics, and the guys at Dirty Rotten Comics for having me! Here’s a little extract below.

T : Something I’ve noticed about your work is that, in each case there seems to be a uniting sense of journey. You have a lot of movement through spaces, establishing shots and interactions. There’s also a nice echoed mapping of movement in the visual pacing of the panels and the unfolding nature of it also reflects the way the formation of the narrative itself works. These things surface, and it can be seen as a sign of connection with the medium. How much of this was a conscious decision, was it all planned?

R: I’m very interested in pacing with comics; how movement through a story can be subtly distorted and played with. It’s not really something that can be done in other mediums, so it’s been great to play with it as much as a story allows. It was particularly relevant in The Red Road, as it’s based around the poem which has a similar movement through time, or more lacking any specifics of time. Part of it was definitely a conscious decision, though I’ve learnt a lot more about pacing with every new comic I create.

The Rejsen submission I made for Dirty Rotten Comics was completely incidental, it was more just a reflection on how many different places you end up sitting, standing or waiting on a platform during years of travelling by train to Manchester. The movement in comics and playing with time is still something I’m getting to grips with doing. It’s a constant learning curve!

– To read more, click here to head to the Dirty Rotten Comics interview with yours truly.

Dirty Rotten Comics #6 OUT NOW! Click above for #5

In other news, as I mentioned in my last post, I went to my first ever Laydeez do Comics event held in Gosh! Comics in London last Monday! I didn’t manage to get any photos as I was so enamoured with listened to two such inspiring individuals talking about their work; Rachael Ball and Mike Medaglia. Mike started with talking about his work from the past few years leading up to now, with his success of One Year Wiser – the hugely popular book of 365 illustrated quotes and mantras, the subsequent One Year Wiser the colouring book, and his latest venture of creating comics for the Mindful Life Illustrated on Elephant Journal. Go Mike! Next up speaking was Rachael Ball, the creator of The Inflatable Woman, an einspiring tale of one woman and her life experiences after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ve not had a chance to read The Inflatable Woman yet, but Rachael’s inspiring talk about her own battle with breast cancer and how she took on creating this story from scratch was moving, and how she weighted the graphic novel with dark parts equally balanced with humour really shows her talent. And, I mean, she has arguing penguins in the story. What’s not to love? You can buy Rachael’s The Inflatable Woman from any decent book retailer, and Mike Medaglia’s online shop can be found here (though don’t bother him whilst he’s on holiday!). And of course, the wonderful Gosh! Comics have stock of both their work. And lots of other talented people. You should go pay them a visit.

Thanks to Keara, Wallis and the folks at Gosh for being welcoming as always, and I briefly got to see some ever so friendly faces before dashing through Soho on a one-horse open sleigh.. Err.. I mean.. By foot.. to get my train back home to Northampton. I’m really glad I made time to go to a Laydeez do Comics event before speaking as a part of the Broken Frontier themed event in January! Though now the pressure is on to make people believe that I’m actually interesting. Yikes! Saying that, I do have a fondness for making In Design presentations, so I can spend a happy Christmas dropping in images and making it all look rather fetching. So, as I mentioned last time, the next Laydeez do Comics London is on Monday 18th January – tickets are free but must be booked and sell out fast, so if you’d like to come and hear me stutter make sure you get yourself on the mailing list now!!

Finally, as of Friday afternoon, University is now finished for the year and I am free as a festive bird (although not really, as I mentioned at the start.. But I’m pretending for a few days)! War Horse is finished and progress on The Next Big Thing will be continuing over Christmas, and hopefully in January I might have some good news regarding the latter. For now, I’d like to wish all my readers (Hi mum!) a very merry festive season! I will be back in just over a week with an update before the New Year, potentially a compilation special looking back over 2015 and how snazzy it’s been. For now, though, enjoy!!! See you on the other jolly side!

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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