small press round-up

Comiket, Assessment and More!

Good afternoon folks!

So, you’ll have to forgive my tardiness this week in getting the ol’ blog out on time. Yesterday was my final, FINAL ever assessment at University in the form of a 20-minute presentation and unfortunately that took over the entire week. But now, as much as it hasn’t really sunken in yet, my degree is finished. In 2-3 weeks I should find out what classification of a degree I’ve received, then there’s just that pesky business of a Degree Show exhibition to finish preparing for, and then graduation is in July. The sweet feeling of freedom is almost in my tired, sweaty grasp and I can confirm that IT FEELS GOOD.

It slipped my mind to take any pictures of the stacks of project sketchbooks on my desk and images on the wall, but just imagine a few arms full of stuff. And a lavvu in the corner. I’ll write up a better synopsis of my final year of university projects after the degree show, but for now I have PLENTY to keep you entertained with.

First up, Comiket! Last Saturday 14th May I willingly dragged myself away from assessment preparations to spend the day in London with my favourite Editor-in-Chief, Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier on the Small Press ‘Six to Watch‘ table at Comica London’s Comiket! Having never been to a Comica event before I wasn’t quite sure to expect, but situated under the Victorian glass-panelled roof between the Central St. Martin’s College of Art and the House of Illustration it was a quaint little market with a great atmosphere. As I’m on the brink of releasing a new comic, and with Sneaky Business being totally sold out, my section of the table was looking a little anaemic, but in all we had a pretty decent day and sold a lot of Small Press Yearbooks.

Apart from drinking copious amounts of Waitrose coffee to keep warm and manning the Six to Watch table, I was incredibly honoured to be a part of Paul Gravett’s Live Drawing Parade! In 25-minute slots, the Drawing Parade featured a whole host of people including the likes of Paul B. Rainey, Jessica Martin, Sean Azzopardi and JAKe. It’s really great to watch people draw live, with some far more sensible people having a composition ready worked out to ink, and then masochistic people like me who decided to freehand draw a composition right then and there. The Drawing Parade was filmed and also projected onto a screen for an audience to watch (look mum, I’m famous!), and the time-slot also included Paul Gravett doing small interviews with us drawing folk. I opted to work on a drawing of the characters from Njálla – not only as promotion but also as I’m really, really used to drawing lots of foxes at the moment. Big thanks to Andy Oliver for taking some snaps of my serious-work-face whilst drawing and painting away! Yes, yes, sadly I’m one of those people with RBF.

I had such a great day at Comiket. It is always a huge pleasure to spend time with comic folk, catching up with familiar lovely faces and meeting new ones is one of the most rewarding parts of working in comics as everyone is so totally down-to-earth. We’re all just a bunch of tired people who understand what it’s like to spend hours drawing alone at all hours. Best job in the world, mind you. Except maybe the panda-hugger. Sadly due to both personal and degree show commitments I’ll be missing out on DIY Cultures at the end of this month and CECAF/ELCAF in June, so I plonked home after Comiket knowing it’ll be a while until the next one. To read a round-up of both Comiket and other goings-on in the Small Press world check out Broken Frontier’s Small Press Round-Up!

In other exciting news, my humble HQ has seemingly turned into a distribution centre as I am now amid packaging, cellophane envelopes, stickers, prints, colouring books and lots and lots of copies of Njálla. Yay! Three big boxes of comics were the last to arrive yesterday evening, with my new friend the UPS man even carrying them up two flights of stairs for me. Spoilt, I tell you. MASSIVE thanks go out to Rich at Comic Printing UK who not only has made Njálla look supple and wonderful (you just wait till you feel that matte-laminate cover, it’s face-strokeably good) but also has been a source of entertainment and support throughout the whole process. If any of you ever decide to create comics I would encourage you to go and speak to Rich and read all his excellent advice blogs.

So now I’m left with the mammoth task of finishing off original artwork commissions for my 12 generous Kickstarter backers, wait for the money to come in and ship off LOTS of comics to their new forever homes. I start shipping out from next week with all my backers the first to receive their copies, and Njálla launching online on my Etsy store from Thursday 2nd June, with the OFFICIAL launch here in Northampton at the NN Café on Saturday 4th June. Yippee!

In a final snippet of other news, last week I mentioned working on a short one-page comic for Good Comics Dead Singers Society Volume 2. You’ll all be relieved to know that I manage to finish it up and shoot it over to those friendly gents in time, and will be featured in the new Dead Singer’s when it’s released. How exciting! If you want to check out the first volume you can get your hands on a copy through the Good Comics online shop here. But for now, here’s a snippet from my comic in the upcoming volume two..

The next anthology project I’ll be working on is a submission for the newly-announced Dirty Rotten Comics #8. The call for submissions runs up until 30th June so I have time aplenty to work on my next 1-5 page black and white idea. The submission is open to all UK emerging comic artists and after my two-page Rejsen comic was successfully printed in Dirty Rotten Comics #5 I’ve been itching to get into their ace anthology again. After that deadline’s passed I’ll be working on Sneaky Business volume 2, so keep an eye out for news on that coming in the next month or so..

Anyway, I’d best get back to it. I have a whole load of commissions to be working on this weekend so rest safe in the knowledge that I’m upping my caffeine intake accordingly. I’ll be back next week on schedule for Wednesday with more news on Njálla and maybe even some more sneaky peeks.. Ooh err! Until next time, have a good weekend all!

 

x

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All Systems Are Go!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Crikey, another week has flown by, and the second term university deadlines are growing ever-closer.. Though it’s not quite time to panic yet, I can still feel the familiar tension gradually reduce my back muscles to a rather lumpy brick wall – however I’m super excited to show you all what I’ve been working on the next couple of weeks! You’ll  just have to be patient for a little while longer..

Friday sees the launch of a University-based enterprise event that’s being held at the main campus in Northampton, and though it’s only open to students (who, let’s face it, only like to part with money if it involves alcohol and/or Nando’s), I’m hoping that it might drum up a little more comic business! The slight flaw in the University’s plan is that all us arty types are hidden away and locked in a different campus to all the ‘serious’ degrees, so whether a biochemistry student really wants to buy a comic.. Who knows? But if half way through nothing has sold, I may resort to bribing students with cans of Strongbow or whatever cheap beverage those youths drink these days. Any who, if any of you UoN students are reading, I shall be selling copies of my comic The Red Road, some postcards, and some nice little A5 prints! Here’s a nice banner I didn’t make to sum up the occasion;

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Although it’s a student-only event, I’m definitely using this as a trial-run for the (fingers-crossed!!) events I’ll be attending this year. One I’m waiting on a definite confirmation, the other two I’m applying for, you’ll have to wait and see.. Ooh err!

In similar news of awesome-ness and comics, this afternoon the Small Pressganged feature at Broken Frontier, written by Andy Oliver, highlighted the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 – Spotlighting the Work of Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian‘. Hey look, there I am! You can click-through to read the full article about some very talented comics folk who I’m looking forward to getting hold of their work! As for me, I am greatly honoured to be considered a ‘one to look out for’, and if anything I shall try even harder to impress this year!! So thank you, Andy, for having such faith in my abilities as always. Bring on the next self published comic *cough* before September *cough*, although I have a lot to live up to!

Now, last week I spoke a little about the project I’ve been working on as a University assignment on the theme of ‘machines’, which I turned into a sci-fi style narrative. I finished up typing my blurb for work at the tale end of last week, so I’m happy to announce the story behind it all..;

01/03/2026
Two years ago, the Kepler 2 Telescope caught sight of an exo-planet displaying similar characteristics to our own planet Earth. Following this discovery, a curiosity rover had been sent to this new planet, newly named by our NASA team as the planet ‘Spyryt’. Sent through an open wormhole, the Spyryt curiosity rover shuttle accelerated through time and recently landed on the barren wasteland. Nobody here expected what images started to be sent back…

If this sounds interesting to you, then definitely keep an eye out for my blogs in the coming weeks as I’ll be posting more images as the project takes shape for the deadline of 16th March. How exciting!

Finally, I also have an upcoming short-comic for a zine that I’m working on for Keara Stewart! I am absolutely chuffed to have been asked a couple of weeks back, and I started drawing up some thumbnails last night. She’s making a collaborative zine to be sold online and in zine fairs, with a whole load of contributors, and I really can’t wait to start drawing it all up. I also have a short-story comic for the University-based zine I’m creating, so it’s all zine ahoy at the moment, and I couldn’t think of anything better. Oh – and one LAST thing – I heard from the very lovely Steve at Gosh! Comics in London, and The Red Road has been promoted to the table! For those who haven’t been in Gosh! Comics, the table is absolutely huge and contains some of the most popular and intriguing titles, so I’m massively excited to know that my story is sitting there amongst such talent – yay! Anyway, it’s time again to get back to the drawing board, quite literally, so for now – Peace out! x

 

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February Frolics

Good evening, wise followers!

So, here we are. It’s February, and the days are gradually getting longer and lighter, though it’s still a bit too cold for my liking. I was brought up to put another twelve jumpers on rather than throw money at central heating, so recently my flatmate and I have taken to hugging the oven whilst cooking. Makes sense, no?

Well, either way I am definitely looking forward to the warmer months! So much so, I made a comic about it this week. I’d had the vague idea for something along these lines a while ago, but I decided that Thursday was the day to bring these thoughts to reality and make everyone realise how much of a miserable grouch I am (in winter). Who knew? After I got the idea of the panels down, I spent a happy 4 hours from start to finish drawing up the comic, inking, painting and scanning it in to submit it for OFF LIFE. Now, I’ve unsuccessfully attempted to be featured in OFF LIFE before, and I’m well aware that I’ll probably be unsuccessful again – mainly because rushing a comic and only spending 4 hours on two pages does not make anything of substance and beauty, sadly. But, at least my winter comic amused me to make, and hopefully amuses all of you. Check it out below, and click for a bigger version (PLUS work in progress images, because, why not?);

Not based on myself, honest.

Apart from my new-found hobby of washing up to thaw out my fingers whilst working away, I’ve also made a few improvements and adjustments to my website, hurray! You may have noticed that the banner at the top is now hand-written instead of typed, which is hopefully a bit nicer! Also I spent a couple of hours updating the home page portfolio view, adding in an image for The Red Road. You can now click through to a gallery of several images and further information, without the need to scavenge through my blogs. Let’s face it, I waffle a lot, and I can’t blame people for wanting to selectively read…. Or can I?! There’s still a bit more information that needs placing, and I could definitely do with re-jigging it a lot more frequently to pique important peoples interests.

Also, since last Tuesday I have been making warm-up doodles over on my Instagram account! Now, they’re not exactly Picasso material, but there may or may not be puns used.. Plus they are mighty useful for getting my brain in gear for drawing things. I’m going to try and keep this going for quite a while as it’s nice to draw something that isn’t Uni related (winter comic aside), and if you have Instagram then you can also keep an eye out on my daily doodles. Lucky you!

Last Wednesday's red fox, also not enjoying the weather.. Just saying.
Last Wednesday’s red fox, also not enjoying the weather.. Just saying.

Finally, myself and The Red Road has been featured once more this past week from Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier – in his Small Press Round-Up of January 2015 article! Even this fine blog is mentioned, as “…detailing the book’s evolution from concept to physical reality with all the accompanying feelings of nervousness, apprehension and excitement that comes with that process. Well worth a read-through, especially for newbie creators in a similar position who I am sure will find much of use to take from Rozi’s honest commentary.” – Holy crap, I thought I was just talking to myself? Thanks to Andy for featuring me as one to look out for! His unrelenting belief in The Red Road warms the soul, and I’m excited for what’s coming next! Just need to get the pesky University assignments about the way first…

So, that it for now! This week is back to the grind, and I’m looking forward to a trip down to Laaaandan on Saturday to see a selection of exhibitions, including Anise Gallery’s Sequential City exhibition which looks EXCITING! I also may or may not be taking a trip to Gosh! Comics and trying really hard not to spend money on shiny new comics. Though, they do have a sale on, so I’m not making any promises. I shall endeavour to be back again with my weekly updates next week! I should have some more development on University assignments, and on in particular will be quite interesting to share with you all.. For now, peace out! x

 

 

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