Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015

Spring Has Sprung

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s Spring. The season that leaves everyone reaching for the duster and me reaching for my antihistamines.. What a glorious time to be alive! As long it’s a case of being alive, inside, with the windows shut, away from tree pollen. Magical.

Now that Cosmos & Other Stories is finished up and out in the world, AND I’ve moved home just over a week ago, it’s been a time of catching up on comics I’ve promised for submissions. First up, I’ve been working on a four-page comic for this year’s Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook! Last year’s Yearbook was a platform for the Broken Frontier’s 2015 ‘Six to Watch’ artists to be published as a focal point whilst still sat next to more established artists. Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Jess Milton, Alice Urbino, Adam Vian and myself all contributed to the Yearbook, with my comic Afloat gaining praise in reviews from Page 45, The Quietus and more. This year, the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017 is focusing on the 2016 ‘Six to Watch’ creators Rebecca Bagley, Kim Clements, Brigid Deacon, Emily Rose Lambert, Jey Levang and Ellice Weaver – with myself and others creating shorter back-up stories to support these fabulous six comics ladies.

As you can see from above, I’m currently up to the inking stage of my four-page comic for the book. Next, I need to figure out what I’m doing with the colours, and get it all painted and scanned in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out for some previews/peeks of the final comic!

In other news, I’ve also been working on a special comic for those nice gents at Dirty Rotten Comics for their special anniversary issue 10. I’m really excited to have been asked to contribute, and I’m working away on a short two-pager for the issue with the deadline fast approaching.. For now, here’s a small peek of my pencil sketches!

Whalin’ around in DRC10!

At the end of the month when I’m slightly less deadline-oriented, I have the pleasure of heading over to Liverpool for the Craft Comic Festival at the Craft Taproom, which is part of Smithdown Festival! If you’re in or around Liverpool on the Bank Holiday weekend you should pop down on Saturday 29th from 10-4pm to check it out. And it’s free! For all the details, head over to their designated Facebook Event Page.

Finally, in some more glorious news, I’m absolutely over the moon to be included in the upcoming The Inking Woman: An exhibition of British women cartoon and comic artists at The Cartoon Museum in central London. The exhibition will run from 26th April to 24 July 2017 and will feature work from creators such as Hannah Berry, Emma Vieceli, Karrie Fransman, Edie OP, Danny Noble and more. And me! More confirmed artists are popping up all the time, so be sure to follow The Cartoon Museum on Twitter with the hashtag #InkingWoman to see who will be there.

And that’s about it for now! The rest of this week will be spent maniacally finishing up some comics and then eating my entire body-weight in chocolate this weekend. Maybe some cake, too. Until next time!

 

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The End of the Line

Good afternoon lovely folks,

So, we’re now down to less than 24 hours of the Njálla campaign on Kickstarter and things are getting exciting! My palms are slowly getting a bit more clammy as I get that same anxious feeling I had when I launched The Red Road, putting something out into the world that I’ve so lovingly laboured over for months on end. There is something vaguely terrifying about putting new work out to the world, but thankfully(?) with University assessments and final deadlines approaching I don’t really have that much time to sit and think about it, I have a final degree classification to worry about too!

After last week’s long hours I managed to finish up painting the final ten pages of Njálla and get it all scanned in and tweaked, so the story is officially done! This week I’ve been working away on the surrounding pages of the story, the covers, and any hand-lettering that remains. I’m fairly on schedule, with the final pages being sent off to Comic Printing UK tomorrow afternoon. Panic! Also, my lovely backers will have received the schedule for production in their inbox’s this morning, and all is still on track for that..

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to arrange something special, and I’m delighted to announce that the NN Café, part of the NN Contemporary Gallery in Northampton, is hosting a launch party for Njálla! On Saturday 4th June (two days after the online launch) I will be celebrating the success of the Kickstarter campaign as well as the launch of the comic online and in UK small press friendly comic shops, with drinks and good times. Huge thanks to Peter James Norman, contributor to Sneaky Business, who co-runs the NN Café and has helped me to make this launch happen. For more information and to RSVP to the event please visit the dedicated Facebook event page – all are welcome, so come and join in the fun and celebrate independent comics! I’ll be selling copies of Njálla as well as other goodies, and signing on request too – and depending how many beverages I have, my signings could become more and more abstracted as the night goes on!

Speaking of launches, this past Friday saw the long anticipated launch of the Broken Frontier Anthology and the Small Press Yearbook at Gosh! Comics in London! It was a fantastic night, with the six of us UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 being all together for the first time ever. A whole host of back-up contributors for the Yearbook also attended, alongside creators from the Broken Frontier Anthology in a joint event with a wonderful atmosphere and a true showcase of the spectrum that Broken Frontier supports. Thank you so much to Gosh! for hosting the event, everyone who attended and especially those who asked me to scribble in their copies of the Yearbook. I won’t go overboard on the details as Broken Frontier posted excellent coverage including photography of the night from Mauricio Molizane De Souza (included in gallery below), but trust me, if you weren’t there you missed out.

Huge thanks again to Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier for creating the idea for the Small Press Yearbook and putting it together into the wonderful book it is. Also thanks to those who helped along the way, Dave of Avery Hill Publishing and Rich of Comic Printing UK, amongst countless support from others. You’re all wonderful! As well as being able to buy the Yearbook from Orbital and Gosh!, you can also purchase your copy online from the dedicated web store! You can read more about my work in the Small Press Yearbook with the search tag ‘Top Secret Project’ or from the dedicated page here. And just above you can see a preview of Afloat in all it’s glory.

I think that’s about it for now! I have rather a lot to do in the way of finishing touches for Njálla before I crawl into bed tonight.. Don’t forget, if you haven’t pledged yet you have until 9am Friday morning to do so, and pledges equal freebies! Check out the Kickstarter for more details. Next week I’ll be back with more Njálla news, plus with one assessment complete and preparing for the next one I’ll be potentially a bit greyer and a bit more tired by then too. Until next week!

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9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

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