Small Press Day

Continued City-Hopping

Good afternoon, all!

So it’s been another week of early starts and day-trips, with my Saturday kicking off at 5am getting up and ready for the Birmingham Comic Art Festival. This is its first year running the selling event in the much larger Birmingham Comic Festival, which involved a month long series of talks and events. I managed to grab up a whole table and spread out!

Sadly, it was a little quiet and the foot-traffic through the event wasn’t enough to keep the momentum up. But, it was pleasant enough and the people who did swing by were more than happy to have a chat, which made for a pleasant day! I packed up early to spend some time with my parents, before hopping on the Megabus back up north and getting home in time to shove a microwave meal in just before 9pm. Living the high life!

Leading up to this event and with the possibility of more selling/tabling events over the latter part of summer, I scraped together the pennies to get a reprint of Njálla.

Njálla – Round Two

Somehow, in just over a year, Njálla has sold out of its first print run of 250 copies. Absolutely amazing. Thank you to everyone who supported the initial Kickstarter campaign (which feels so long ago now!) and everyone who has purchased a copy since. I now have another bundle of second edition books up for sale. I haven’t added any additional content this time, so you first edition folks aren’t missing out on anything new. Just a fresh run to keep me going. Ahh… New comic smell.

And finally, remember that Mexican themed piece I was working on a few weeks back? After being a little distracted with other things I have finished tweaking and submitted it to Big Brown Eyes Collective for their Habitat anthology! They’re deadline for submissions was back in April, but they very kindly let me have an extension as they’re planning on releasing the book around autumn this year. Here’s a bit more of a preview:

The anthology is being released at this year’s Thought Bubble Festival on 23rd-24th September, and also features the likes of Peony Gent and Anja Uhren. In the meantime, you can keep up with BBE’s feeds with previews and more on Twitter and Instagram, and check out their previous anthologies on their online shop.

And that just about wraps things up for now. It’s a quiet spell for me with festivals as I didn’t manage to get into MCM Manchester at the end of July, but if you’re around London/south of the country you should definitely check out the South London Comic and Zine Fair on Saturday 15th July, which promises to be a grassroots, DIY fun show hosted by one of the formidable forces in comics, Gareth Brookes. I won’t be able to make it, but it looks set to be fantastic. And, Paddy from Good Comics will be there with his array of published books including Cosmos & Other Stories. Also, the weekend before is the launch of the Small Press Yearbook 2017 from Broken Frontier which features a short story from your truly.. So, lots going on!

And on that note, I’ll be back soon! Have a good week all, and until next time.. peace out.

 

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ELCAF, Editing & Early Starts

Good afternoon all,

So, it’s a bit toasty outside, isn’t it? Even rain-blessed Manchester is rather balmy in the sunshine, and I haven’t had to carry my umbrella around with me for a week. A WHOLE WEEK! That’s almost unheard of around these parts.. But alas, despite the weather there has been a lot going on – so put your feet up with a glass of something refreshing and read on..

Last weekend was the sixth annual ELCAF, the East London Comics & Arts Festival, in the sizzling southern heat. Said heat was particularly enjoyable on the Underground, I assure you.. Now, I applied for ELCAF back when tables were announced but sadly I didn’t make the cut. However it left me with an opportunity to head down to the capital for the day and be on the other side of a table for once; dreamily drift around, catching up with old creator pals and making new ones.

I teamed up with one half of the Good Comics micro-publishing duo Samuel C. Williams to spend the day amongst the comic masses, as well as celebrating the latest Good Comics release – Josh Hicks’ Human Garbage (which is excellent, by the way). ELCAF is a festival where I’m happy I didn’t get in. Not because I wouldn’t love to be a part of it – I really would – but how they curated it this year and true breadth of work on offer was new, exciting and visually overwhelming in the best possible way. It was amazing to walk around and talk to people without having to rush back to a table, too! I had a chance to have a brief catch up with the Avery Hill gents, there with Tillie Walden and Ellice Weaver – whose beautiful new book Something City launched on the day. I also finally put faces to the names of the Dirty Rotten Comics crew Gary and Kirk, met and discussed the business of comics with Sam and Simon Moreton of Smoo/Minor Leagues fame, and had a chance to speak to John Riordan and John Cei Douglas (..and his dog).

John Cei Douglas’ dog, an excellent sales tactic and wonderfully friendly pup.

Also amongst the busy aisles of creators and browsers, we bumped into Pete Redrup of The Quietus, who has kindly just reviewed Cosmos & Other Stories on his most recent column Behold! A Comics Round Up For June. Here’s a snippet:

This book shows how Hathaway is developing as an artist. There’s a clear consistency despite differences in panels, lettering styles and colour. One particularly effective technique is the way she follows a densely panelled double page spread with a single two page image overleaf. This somehow opens up the stories, creating a hopeful, positive tone regardless of what has been established before. Cosmos & Other Stories is a beautiful book by a considerable talent.

Pete Redrup, The Quietus

Don’t forget you can pick up Cosmos & Other Stories online from the Good Shop or my Etsy store.

I was also generally pretty well behaved with my spending at ELCAF, with my small but beautiful haul consisting of (L-R) Bianca Bagnarelli‘s comic Daughters, published by Short BoxIcinori‘s beautifully printed Dessus Dessous and Peony Gent‘s A6 short comic Growth – plus a bonus postcard from everyone’s favourite friendly face, Mike Medaglia.

I had the chance to read Daughters and Growth on my coach journey back home on Saturday evening, and I can confirm that they are both equally wonderful books; Growth is a short, poetic narrative with a reassuring tone of looking after your mental health, told in an abstract form through caring for plants – I can definitely recommend this if you’re into poetic comics with that nice warm after-feeling. And.. who isn’t? You can pick up Growth from Peony’s Etsy store here. Daughters is a more traditional start-to-end story, picking up the proceedings in the middle of a family crisis in a dystopian society. Two stories run parallel, one through narration and one through the characters discussions and body language. It’s a thought-provoking short, beautifully told with clean lines and crisp colours. You can pick up a copy on Short Box’s website here.

Phew, lengthy round-up! But there’s more. Maybe time for a quick interlude to go and top up your drink?

In other news, I was kindly asked to produce a print for Emily B. Owen‘s Kickstarter campaign for Brain Schoodles, a comic about anxiety and depression told through doodles. The campaign recently ended on Kickstarter with Emily smashing her target of £250, and the comic will be launching on Saturday 8th July at Small Press Day at the Cardiff Comic Expo! Here’s some working snaps:

My print was commissioned as an addition to the Printorama pledge. So all backers getting that tier reward will receive their copy of the print with their zine. If you missed out, fear not! I will have some of these prints on sale in the coming months with proceeds going towards a Manchester-based mental health charity of my choosing. Big, big thanks to Emily for asking me to do a piece for her campaign. I’m humbled and very happy to be a part of it! See the final piece below:

Brain Shoodles Print. On sale soon!

Finally, this Saturday the Birmingham Comic Art Festival graces Birmingham City University, with yours truly behind a table selling the likes of Njálla, Ø and Cosmos & Other Stories, as well as an array of other goodies. There isn’t a huge amount of information to find online, but you can see the key details of the event via the Facebook page. If you’re in or around the West Midlands please do come and say hello! It’ll be another early start for me (Up at 4:30am for ELCAF, and up at 5am on Saturday for BCAF) so I’ll appreciate any company I can get – tickets are free, with registration required here.

And that wraps it up for now! Keep cool everyone, and I shall be back with more (but probably not quite as much) news next time. Peace out!

 

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Graduates Galore

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, it’s the middle of the week again and I think I’ve just about recovered from a busy week back and forth to London last week. Between D&AD New Blood Festival and Small Press Day it was a pretty active week, though I have made up for it so far this week by realising yesterday evening that the only time I’d left my desk in three days was to eat, wash, sleep, and walk to the post box. Oh, the life of a freelancer.

First up, D&AD! The New Blood Festival acts as a showcase to the best talents coming out of design courses from Universities across the UK, and I went down to Shoreditch for the open evening on Tuesday 5th and the entirety of Thursday 7th to represent my portfolio and work on display. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a design festival, but it was very busy and full of keen graduates; having been used to manning tables of my own work and stock at comics festivals over the past year or so it was very surreal to only have one small area for my work. Although I didn’t manage to get any pictures, here are some from fellow graduate and graphic designer Megan Hughes:

In other news, it was the first ever Small Press Day on Saturday! As I mentioned last week, Small Press Day is an “An idea born on twitter led to a series of nationwide events in a matter of weeks. The reaction and the support of our aim (to spotlight the possibilities of small press publishing via store-based events and signings, in the first instance, and to bring its practitioners to the far wider audience they deserve) has been absolutely phenomenal. Join us on 9th July for the inaugural Small Press Day at one of the stores listed on the map below and meet the next generation of superstar comic creators, zine makers, and DIY micro publishers.” (From SmallPressDay.co.uk). Broken Frontier have rounded up the day in their expansive article from yesterday and can probably say it all far better than I can, so check that out for the full details. I didn’t get a chance to do much of the circuit, though I was lucky enough to be a part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’ signing table with Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver, and comic artists Emma Raby and Jey Levang at Orbital Comics.

Albeit a short spell behind the table, it was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for Small Press Day next year. Long live comics! Thanks SO much to all the lovely staff at Orbital Comics for being awesome and having us join in the signing fun! As a part of the promotion leading up to the event I also wrote a small recommendation piece for Broken Frontier, amongst other creators, championing other small press work. You can read what we all said here.

In a very welcome relief from a particularly low-spell, I was also alerted by my comics buddy Sam that Njálla had been featured in Warren Ellis’ newsletter Orbital Operations! Warren Ellis. Warren Ellis! How amazing is that?!

warrenellis

You can sign up to his newsletter here, or visit his website here. I’m still happy-dancing around to this news, although I should probably keep that to myself.

In other news, in the efforts to continue expanding my illustration portfolio and trying out new things I’ve been working on a new and exciting week-long project. As some of you avid readers may remember, last summer I spent two weeks backpacking across the main cities of Scandinavia with my better half Chris. A whole load of the research from this trip was fed into Njálla, which took around nine months from start to finish including the Kickstarter and launch. However, it wasn’t all just Noadi’s and lavvu’s, there is a whole wealth of experiences and travels locked up in my head that I’ve been wanting to play with. And, given that my three strongest passions in life are, 1) Drawing, 2) Travelling, and 3) Kettle Chips, I figured that I needed to start combining the first two in some form other than comics. So, let there be maps!

To begin with I’ve picked the three main cities we spent the most time in; Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. From here I’ve designed maps encompassing the main attractions, and I’m just seeing how I can turn these into awesome pieces that could possibly be used as prints, for articles, or more! Above are some of the inks previews, but I’m *almost* finished.. So, keep an eye out next week for the grand reveal. If I never mention it again, it’s because it all went horribly wrong.

Finally, after an enquiry email into Sneaky Business submissions and artists rights I have updated the submissions page! Don’t forget you still have over two months to submit 1-2 page comics to the second volume of Sneaky Business, and I am so excited to see what lands in my inbox between now and then. As I said above, LONG LIVE COMICS! Any-who, that’s about it for now and the kettle is calling me (sadly not the chip variety). Have a good rest of the week, everyone!

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Small Press Celebration

Good afternoon viewers,

So, it’s been another busy week here at HQ – just how we like it. Between finishing off my 4-page comic submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, setting up the call for submissions for Sneaky Business vol. 2 and preparing both for D&AD and Small Press Day, it’s been a fun one! I’ve also been playing around in my sketchbook to expand my illustration portfolio, with more of that later.

First up, as you may recall from last week I was scurrying away to finish up my submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8. It’ll be a year since I first appeared in DRC, with my autobiographical comic Rejsen printed in Issue #5 of the anthology. For those of you who don’t know, Dirty Rotten Comics is a British comics anthology published three times a year and the guys who run it are dedicated to championing small press comic creators, big and small. To continue with my short stories with Danish titles theme, this time around I created Sørgedag, meaning mourning/bereavement (direct translation is sad-day). After finishing Njálla, which not only was a mammoth task but also very much all-ages family-friendly compared to my track record of work, I felt the need to get back to my dark roots and go with something a little more gloomy. I’d had the idea in my head for Sørgedag for a while, but in the end I tweaked the setting and played around a lot with atmosphere and panels and added in a whole new way of colouring; rough acrylic paints.

Sørgedag Preview: 4-page comic submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8

I had a LOT of fun working with acrylic paints, and it brings a whole new kind of texture and feeling to the comic. As for the technical details, I began working in the usual way; plot, script, sketches, rough out pages on layout paper and ink up the line-work on heavyweight cartridge paper. Usually I paint directly onto the cartridge paper with my linework, but this time I used my lightbox to layer over another piece of cartridge paper and get all messy with paint to the lines underneath. The whole thing turned out great, and though DRC is strictly black and white I painted it in colour so I have the option to republish it on my own at a later date in colour. Woohoo! Here are some work-in-progress previews:

Printed purely in black and white with colourful covers, Dirty Rotten Comics anthologies feature around 70 pages of work, 1-4 pages in length for the bargain price of £4; hopefully I find out soon whether I’ve been successful or not – fingers crossed!

In other news, the Sneaky Business Vol.2 CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS IS LIVE! After the sell-out success of Sneaky Business Vol. 1 released in August last year, I’m bringing it back for the second issue and it will be bigger and better than ever!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Last year I hand-picked four comics pals to create 1-2 page comics under the theme of ‘stealth’ and ‘sneaky’, as something a bit different and lighthearted from my usual repertoire; Alex Hahn, Pete Hindle, Peter James Norman and Samuel C. Williams happily agreed to create something new for the comics-zine, and I also created a comic too, ’cause, y’know.. I’m the boss. The 12-page comics-zine was sold online and in comic shops around the UK at the lowest price possible to break even on printing costs. This time around I decided to expand on the idea and open up submissions to everyone, and that I have done! Who knows how many pages it’ll end up being? But the ethos remains the same, with Sneaky Business as a community platform for entertaining stories made as accessible to readers as possible.

 

If you’re interested in submitting or want to check out more information, the Call for Submissions page is live and has everything you need to know! Submissions are open for 10 weeks, and close just before midnight on Monday 12th September.. Get your thinking caps on and get involved, it’s going to be snazzy.

Finally, I’m spending a lot of time in London this week, not only for the D&AD New Blood festival in Shoreditch as a graduate of the University of Northampton (got a First, by the way. Boom), but also as this Saturday is the first ever Small Press Day! What is this new, fantastic sounding day, you ask?

A celebration of self-publishing, DIY culture, and grassroots comics across the U.K and Ireland on Saturday 9th July.

An idea born on twitter led to a series of nationwide events in a matter of weeks. The reaction and the support of our aim (to spotlight the possibilities of small press publishing via store-based events and signings, in the first instance, and to bring its practitioners to the far wider audience they deserve) has been absolutely phenomenal. Join us on 9th July for the inaugural Small Press Day at one of the stores listed on the map below and meet the next generation of superstar comic creators, zine makers, and DIY micro publishers.

Small Press Day website

There will be events all over the UK, and I will be signing as part of the Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch‘ crew at Orbital Comics, and you can find a full breakdown of the time slots for the day here. So far Broken Frontier has covered several articles of the events going on, including a guide to events in Londonthe South East and South West and the Midlands, but to see it all head to the Small Press Day website or keep an eye on Broken Frontier over the next few days. It’s going to be a pretty spectacular day!

And that just about rounds it up for this week! The ol’ website has had some new work added to the Illustration side of things, so head over there to check out some new and updated work, or keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram for regular pictures and ramblings. Until next week!

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