Six UK Small Press

Window Scribbles & Other Tales

Good morning happy campers!

So, I have survived! I endured an entire week of dissertation writing and come out the other side of it, albeit slightly greyer and possibly a bit more eloquent, innit. I must admit, by Thursday I was starting to lose the plot a bit and took some time out to refine my sketches for the Gosh! London window display (more about that shortly), but I powered through difficult circumstances and have 85% of my dissertation done, with two months now to finish it off and polish it up a bit. Phew! I don’t think I’d recommend any creative folk to put down their pencils for an entire week, as I did feel like I was gradually losing my soul.. But hey, it’s most likely the last essay I’ll every write. *air punch*

On Sunday I had the fantastic excuse to put down my books and get an early train down to London, ready for the window-painting bonanza of Gosh! and Laydeez do Comics, which I mentioned previously in my blog here. I arrived in London early and plonked myself down in a coffee shop to read the wonderful Save our Souls magazine (which had been patiently awaiting my attention for well over a week, whoops!), and after I was feeling suitably caffeinated and inspired by David Ziggy Greene’s newest venture, I made my way down to Gosh for it’s opening time. Everyone at Gosh is so lovely, and they helped me out with cleaning off the previous window art and supplying me with a big box of paints and pens, and gave me tips along the way. In the end it took around four-and-a-half hours to create the window, with most of the time taken up with creating the Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier text, and getting the proportions correct of the biggest figure. Have a look!

A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
A quick peek from where I was standing inside.
Outside view
Outside view
Another figure just by the door.
Another figure just by the door.

I had a lot of fun working on the windows. It was quite freeing just to be able to draw and colour in something I’d been planning for ages, in public, with a passing audience (and also, it was great entertainment for me to see people looking at what I was doing instead of where they were going, and bumping into other unsuspecting pedestrians). Special thanks to Tom and Nora for helping me out and taking photos!

Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter
Photo credit: Gosh! Comics Twitter

As you may be able to make out in the background on the floor I pre-made some props at home to bring with me, of Danny Noble‘s and my work to jazz the display up a bit – I’ll get some photos of those on the night. Speaking of which, this coming Monday is hurtling towards us at record speed! The Laydeez do Comics evening on Monday 18th is going to be quite the place to be, if I may say so. The Broken Frontier themed special will see talks from Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and champion of all things small-press related, Danny Noble, the creative force to be reckoned with, and myself. As I mentioned last week, tickets are all sold out but you can keep an eye out on Twitter for any last-minute cancellations. And, for those of you who miss the wonderful fun we’re all going to have (sorry), as always there will be a guest blogger to take account of everything, which will go up on the site in the weeks after. Andy Oliver will also be excitedly making two announcements on Monday evening, so keep an eye out for the public announcements in the following days!

Although it feels like I’ve barely had a break, University term started up again yesterday after spending Monday doing more of my dissertation, so I have a list as long as my arm of things to do. This includes my presentation for Laydeez do Comics, so I shall endeavour to get cracking on that shortly! Aside from the windows there isn’t that much I can show you all unfortunately, with that pesky essay getting in the way all of last week. I did spend a bit of time yesterday following my tutorials and research time doing some long-missed work on The Next Big Thing, with more to come next week.. Here’s a sneaky peek of some practice page layouts I’ve been working on:

Finally, in more super news, The Red Road has just this morning been named by Broken Frontier as one of the ‘Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own!’ 2015! Alongside the likes of Tillie Walden, Rachael Smith and more talented individuals, it’s a huge honour to be listed. It’s hard to believe that The Red Road was first released to the world almost a year ago, and with it’s second print run over half-sold it’s great to have such positive reinforcement from Andy Oliver and the Broken Frontier team. Thanks all!! Don’t forget you can pick up your super-second edition bumper copy in-store from Gosh!, Travelling Man Manchester, Orbital Comics and Nostalgia & Comics, plus online from my web-store.

But anyway, as my father enjoys saying so much; time is of the essence! And back to work I go. Next week’s update will have all the gossip from Laydeez do Comics and whether I managed to entertain or send to sleep the audience – place your bets! Have a good week everyone. Over and out!

x

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Rejsen

Good evening happy campers!

So, the Great British Summer has decided to show up for once with temperatures sky-rocketing to 30 degrees celcibob here in Northampton. How lovely! You wouldn’t normally be able to tell from my 10-months a year cadaverous complexion, but I do enjoy some lovely sunny weather. I’ve been able to go sock-less for the whole day, for the first time since about 2012 (not that I’ve worn the one pair for that long, I assure you)! However, it’s all very well for me to enjoy my day of admin business, comic planning and a quick sunbathe-out-the-window on my day off, I’m sure I’ll be complaining along with the rest of Britain by tomorrow morning when I’ve been moving cages of stock for 4 hours.

Anyway! Last week, and the week before that, I’d been working on a two-page comic submission for the Summer Anthology from Dirty Rotten Comics. Taken from their own shiny website, this is what they’re about;

Dirty Rotten Comics is an alternative comics anthology, published four times a year.

We are committed to supporting small press artists from the UK who have something pertinent to say. We believe that artistic merit is founded not just on aesthetic quality, but on high-quality writing, risk-taking and commitment. Weird, funny, satirical, surreal; whatever the angle, we are interested in giving exposure to artists of all kinds, regardless of their status or experience.”

Risk-taking? Why, that’s my middle name! She says, sitting in a bubble drawing comics… Anywho, I was pointed in the direction of Dirty Rotten Comics by the Patron Saint of Small Press Andy Oliver from the church of Broken Frontier (interview here). Previous artists to contribute include the athletic table-clamberer Danny Noble, and Jess Milton, both fellow Six UK Small Press Creator’s to Watch in 2015, so I thought I’d best join in the fun! Here it is;

 

Sneak Peek!
Sneak Peek!

For this short-story I decided to focus on something a more reality-based; my other half and our long distance relationship. What a cheesy story, I know right? Ew. Well, we were in the midst of a particularly long stretch of not being able to see each other, and with him being somewhat occupied with heavy music and copious amounts of beer I wanted to tell our story from travelling aspect. Mine, to be precise. Because let’s face it, being stuck on the M6 is far less interesting than being surrounded by the sights and sounds of public transportation. Henceforth, Rejsen was created (for those interested, Rejsen means The Journey in Danish)! Initially I’d planned on a four-page story, but after some umm’s and ahh’s I realised it could be nicely compressed and edited down to two pages, probably making it far more interesting and punchy. The submission guidelines for Dirty Rotten Comics insist on black/white/grey, so I didn’t have to worry about a colour scheme in particular, but chose to instead take a very contrasted approach.

I’m not sure yet whether I’ve been successful in my submission, only time will tell! But for now, above you is a preview of part of page one, and some snapshots of the drawing pre-colouring. I opted to lose a lot of the background detail to make way for the storyline, in-keeping with the love n’ stuff. Thankfully my other half likes the comic (or at least said he does), so half the mission is complete, the rest is down to the judgement of the Dirty Rotten Comic guys! All in all, job well done.

In other news, other top secret business has been progressing well, to the point that I’ll be able to reveal some more secrets from under my invisible hat next week. I did however get confirmation from AccessArt that my Bullfinch had appeared in the post, and I got this snazzy badge to show for it, check it out;

 

Share A Bird Project

That’s about it for now! I’m working on another short comic this week, alongside the top secret stuff which I can hopefully start divulging more information in next week’s bundle of fun. Until then, over and out!

x

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Tales from the Broken Frontier Table

Good evening ladies and gents!

So, it’s been a nice and busy week as usual, and I think I’ve just about recovered from the fun that was CECAF this past weekend. I’ve still been busy on some top secret thingies, but all will be revealed soon…

CECAF (Crouch End Comic Arts Festival) had it’s second outing this Saturday just gone, finely crafted from the hands of Sean Azzopardi and held in Earl Haig Hall, Crouch End. The festival coincided nicely with the Crouch End Festival and a lovely sunny day to lure in the masses, and although it was a bit quiet at times it was a great day! I was kindly invited to be a part of the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ Broken Frontier table, where I stood alongside Kingpin Andy Oliver, Emma Raby and Danny Noble (who shared a table with Matt Boyce). It really was a fantastic day, and sales-wise it was a vast improvement for me compared to TAKEOVER in early May. And we like sales, don’t we?

I sold six copies of The Red Road, more so than I could’ve hoped for! And the free print for the first four sales didn’t even seem to be a factor, which was pretty awesome. Though, probably confusing for the first four purchasers who I kept handing free stuff to. Huge thanks to Editor in Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver for this fantastic opportunity! As always, Andy’s relentless support of the six of us UK small pressers is incredible, and I’ve been introduced to so many skilled comic’s folk because of it! After 5pm kick-out, we all headed next door to the pub where I filled my face with cheese and bacon fries and wine to end a very happy day with new friends. People have always said how friendly the comics community is, and I can confirm it’s truth.

Even the passing public were lovely, on a quick break I met some guys who have their own web-comics; Doppelganger web-comic by Thibault Kervarech, plus Kordurroi web-comic and Lonely Skeleton by João Duarte Siva. Web-comics is something I’ve never gotten into before, but seeing how people manage to keep up with these new-fangled things, I may have to give some sort of daily comic a go again!

In other news, this week sees the opening and launch of The University of Northampton’s Illustration degree show! Mixtape opens on Thursday evening from 5pm, where I shall be hovering about with free wine helping out with the degree show shop! I’ll be selling comics, zines and prints at the show, so hopefully my stocks of The Red Road continue to dwindle ready for round two’s re-release.

Also, for anyone interested Thought Bubble Festival tickets are now on general sale! The event runs over two days, 14th-15th November and I will be glued to my seat behind the half table all by myself for both days. So, really people who weren’t planning on coming should just pity-attend. Ticket’s can be purchased here!

Finally, I finished my entry today for AccessArt’s Share-a-Bird Project! The project sees entries from artists around the country, voluntarily sending in original artworks which are then dispersed amongst UK schools which join the programme. This is what the website has to say…

THE SHARE-A-BIRD PROJECT HAS TWO MAIN AIMS:

  • To celebrate and highlight the diversity of artists and makers in the UK today.
  • To demonstrate the importance of visual arts education for all.

I picked the male Bullfinch as it’s an all-year-round UK bird that apparently is pretty quiet and unobtrusive. Like myself! Also the colour of the dudes chests is just beautiful.. So here it is! I posted it off today, so hopefully at some point my Bullfinch will be inspiring generations to come at a UK Schools. The project is open to submissions until the end of August, so any creative friends who believe in the cause should definitely join in! My art education in school was boring to tears and in no way prepared me for college. Which I then just about passed. Thankfully it didn’t put me off, but children shouldn’t be discouraged from creativity. Creativity keeps the mind sane! Ish.

Anywho, that’s it for now. Time to dive my face into some cheesecake and hope that this cold-type-illness passes by tomorrow, as it’s going to be another busy week! Over and out.

 

x

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