Sneaky Business Comics Zine

Juggling Act

Good afternoon festive followers.

So, it’s now December. It’s also now only two-and-a-half weeks until Christmas Day, and I have also still not bought any presents. This is all very much unlike me, as I’m usually on a mission from mid-October and by now I would be calmly relaxed and have everything ready to go. Apparently, however organised you think you are, things like uprooting and moving to a new place and finding work completely scuppers that up. But regardless, the festive season is a time of laughter, love and lots of food.. And to kick of the season of giving, I give you.. inks!

Despite the adjustment period of sliding back into the 9-5 (or in my case, 8:30-5:30) I have managed to squeeze in some comics work. Hurrah! This third short story I’ve been working on for my Spring 2017 release with Good Comics is around 75% done now, with some final last-minute working out to do on the final page, and then some serious painting to do. It’s been a pretty deep, emotional story to work on, but very much grounded in the everyday rather than my usual backdrop of myth and fantasy. Hopefully it’s a relateable story to many, and I’m really excited for people to read it.. Mainly as I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on this 4-pager and I’m pretty dang proud of it thus far!

With 10 almost-complete comic pages for this collection of short stories so far, there’s a long way to go and a lot more to do before the pencilled in launch date of Spring. And, I still have to figure out and write the rest of the stories! But it’s all great fun, and what would be a better use of my time in the break over Christmas than eating large amounts of food whilst writing and drawing stories.

In other Christmas related news, last posting dates are ebbing closer! My last posting dates to arrive in time for Christmas for all UK comic and card orders is Tuesday 20th December, with last orders for hand-painted made-to-order Njálla t-shirts being Monday 12th December. For international orders I’m going to play it safe and say the last order date for posting is 10th December (as the Royal Mail dates vary per country). I will still continue to post orders out after these dates, but your orders may not arrive in time. Don’t forget I have some excellent stocking filler items for sale on my Etsy store, with Sneaky Business vol. 2 and my latest release Ø for just £3 each, and the Njálla Colouring Book for £2!

Finally, this past weekend saw the Best of the Year on Forbidden Planet with guest writer Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier! A guaranteed passionate read about the best bits of 2016’s comic talents, Andy even has some nice things to say at the end of the article about my work. Check it out via the link here and get some more excellent Christmas shopping ideas..

And that’s it for now! Keen-eyed people will note that I missed my first #colour_collective this past Friday, sadly due to being massively overwhelmed with my new schedule and opting to curl up in a ball rocking back and forth instead of working on drawing things… Or something like that. I shall endeavour to be back with that this coming Friday once I have my routine down, and I will be back with hopefully lots more to show you next Wednesday! Until then, have a good week one and all!

 

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Recovery & Scarves

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, that’s it. The last comics’ festival of the year is well and truly over – and what a festival it was. This year’s Thought Bubble Festival was a most excellent weekend full of wonderful people and more laughs than I’ve had in a long time. Though, I did have a nightmare of a time on Friday evening. And I did happen to lose my favourite scarf. But apart from that, it was the best (plus I already have a ridiculous amount of scarves, so.. I can cope).

Thought Bubble Festival ran from 1st-6th November, with the comic festival running over the weekend of the 5th-6th down in Leeds Docks. I was happily plonked in New Dock Hall, between the charming gents of micro-publishers Good Comics (Dr Paddy Johnston, Samuel C. Williams and Pete Hindle) on my right, and the incredibly talented Anja Uhren (whose Irgendwo im Nirgendwo I recommended back in June for Broken Frontier in the lead up to Small Press Day) to my left. With over 400 exhibitor tables between New Dock Hall, the Royal Armouries building and the ComiXology Marquee it really is a HUGE event, and this year definitely felt busier for me than last year. This year I also attempted to make my table as fun as possible, with my Njálla cut-out, fake snow and snowflakes spread out to help entice people over to my table. Check it out!

As you may recall from last week’s update, Thought Bubble saw the release of my newest short story comic Ø, which was kindly mentioned by Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier as one of his picks during the Gosh! Comics Presents ‘The Best Thing I’ve Read All Year’ panel. You’d think I’d have thought about how someone would talk about Ø with no knowledge of the pronunciation, wouldn’t you. I can confirm that no, no that thought didn’t cross my mind.. So I can only eternally apologise to Andy for trying to promote Ø without the foggiest of how to say it! However, it’s probably the most accidentally clever marketing ploy I’ve ever done, shooting it right to the top of the alphabet of Thought Bubble’s debuting books list. But, regardless of my apparent living on another planet, Ø’s debut went fantastically! You can read more about it here on the updated page, and get your copy from my online Etsy store for just £3 plus shipping.

As you can also see above, Alan Henderson of Penned Guins popped by with some original artwork from his submission to Sneaky Business vol. 2, kindly tucking it into the top copy ready for the next purchaser to get free with their sneaky stories – how awesome is that? Also, I have now officially sold out of The Red Road! I took my final copy to Thought Bubble and Andy Oliver passed me back a couple he’d been taking to tabling events – and all three went! First released in January 2015, the starting 100 copies sold out by October, and I’ve since sold through the bumper second edition 100 copies in just over a year. Thank you to everyone who has continually taken interest in The Red Road, it is still my baby and I’m sad to see it go – but it’s time to keep moving forward.

Big, big thanks to everyone who popped by and said hello – and to everyone who took the time to spend their hard earned money on something I made. You’re all wonderful! Also HUGE thanks as always to Thought Bubble organisers and all the volunteers who make it so fantastic to be a part of. It’s now, with my standard post-TB cold, that myself and the other comic creators wait patiently for next year and the next festival.. We sulk back to our desks to hibernate for winter, so please do think of us. And send cake.

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In more cheerful news, last week Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged celebrated it’s 5th birthday! In a very heartwarming day of celebration, a bunch of us small press comics people talked about who we found through the hard work of Andy Oliver and his Small Pressganged efforts and articles – this is the column which first included the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, which gave me endless coverage and interest that I’d never have gotten otherwise, and without it I definitely wouldn’t have the confidence to be where I am today. I made a special piece for the day which features on the article, also seen above. Myself and a few others mention Danny Noble, and if you’re interested in checking out her work, you can do so here and read about her fabulous self here. I was really honoured to be mentioned by Ravi Thornton, so it’s a lovely article to read all-round. Go check it out and feel your soul warmed!

And that’s about it for now! Outside of Thought Bubble and Small Pressganged’s 5th birthday I have plenty to talk about in the coming blogs, so be sure to check back next week for the return to normality. Until then – keep warm! I’m going to go and put another one of my many scarves on…

 

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November Air

Good afternoon lovely readers!

So, I’m back! It doesn’t feel like it’s been all that long since I divulged my creative life, but I have missed it over the past four weeks all the same. It’s been a very exhausting time; moving really is no joke, especially with only a small van and 150 miles of road between the old homes and new. In the end my absolute trooper of a boyfriend and I did 4 trips in 4 days, covering 1033 miles – and one 24.5 hour shift of moving that ended with us collapsing into bed at 6am. Until you’ve cleaned an empty apartment at 2am and moved three heavy reptile vivariums at half 4 in the morning, you just don’t know what misery it is. Best of all, we somehow managed not to fall out, and now we have our beautiful happy home together! We definitely moved at the right time, as now the nights are drawing in, the clocks jumped forward and it’s getting colder – which means the time has almost come.. Thought Bubble weekend is nearly here!

Possibly the biggest comic art festival in the United Kingdom returns to Leeds Royal Armouries this weekend; Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival celebrates it’s tenth anniversary with events running from the 1st-6th November, with the comic festival on the 5th-6th November. I attended my first ever Thought Bubble as a seller last year and had an absolute blast with my table neighbours Van Nim and Richy K. Chandler (you can read all about it here), so I couldn’t wait to apply again for this year – and thankfully I got in! I’ll be in New Dock Hall on table 180b next to those lovely gents at Good Comics.

New Dock Hall @ Thought Bubble Saturday 5th/Sunday 6th November. Come say hi!

Entrance to Thought Bubble is £29 for the weekend or £18 for a single day (either Saturday or Sunday) with under 12’s free with a ticket-holding adult. Cosplayers also get a discount and tickets can be purchased in advance – head to the Thought Bubble website for all the details.

After my rather awful attempts at clay sculpture table friends last year I decided to make something a bit better, so this year I’ll have a real Njálla with me! Well, not real real, but as close to a real Njálla as I can get. So, if you’re in Leeds and thinking of attending Thought Bubble on Saturday or Sunday, look out for my foam-board frosty fox (he doesn’t bite).

The wild Njálla, currently enjoying my reading chair…

In other Thought Bubbly news, my newest short story Ø will see it’s debut over the weekend! For my key fans, you might remember me talking about Ø before; I created it as a 16-page submission to the recent call for entries from the Latvian comic anthology kuš! for their BFF themed š! #27. Sadly, I didn’t make the final cut. But, this means I’ve been able to quickly whack it together and self-publish it instead! Previewed by Andy Oliver this week at Broken Frontier, Ø has been selected as one of his Small Press Debut Picks! Here’s what he has to say about it:

“Broken Frontier 2015 ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch‘ artist Rozi Hathaway has a new 16-page comic at Thought Bubble with the rather succinct title of Ø. A beautiful story of childhood friendship, affection and loneliness, this magical tale showcases Hathaway’s powerful use of colour to accentuate mood and theme.”

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Thought Bubble Small Press Debut Picks Day 1 – Comics from Rozi Hathaway, Steven Tillotson, Anna Haifisch and More!

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Check out the article and subsequent daily articles to figure out what to add to your shopping list for this weekend! Broken Frontier’s Small Pressganged also sees it’s fifth birthday this week, so be sure to keep an eye on the website and on Facebook/Twitter tomorrow (Thursday 3rd November) to see loads of birthday fun including some exclusive artwork from yours truly. And back to the comic briefly – Ø has now been updated on the front page of my website, so you can check out some of the information there and get the link to all the blog posts detailing its creation – and watch out for next week’s blog update for a full breakdown of the release. I’ll also be selling the usual suspects at Thought Bubble this weekend, including the newest Sneaky Business, this summer’s big release Njálla (snowy landscapes and magical foxes, coming up to the perfect time of year for it!), the few remaining copies of The Red Road I have left, copies of the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and other smaller goodies.

There will be a whole gigantic host of amazing talent at Thought Bubble and I highly recommend making it down if you have the chance. If last year is anything to go by it’s going to be something special…

And that’s about it for now! I have lots to catch you all up on in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for your back-to-normal weekly Wednesday wisdom. Until next week.. have a good one, and hopefully see some of you in Leeds! Peace out.

 

x

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BCZF and the Sneaky Launch

Good afternoon ladies and gents.

So, another week has zoomed by and this here will be my last blog for a little while. From next week I’ll be making the big move up North to Manchester and starting a new job, so there’s some pretty big life adjustments to get my head around! It’s been a tough few weeks making sure everything is done in time for moving, and also finishing up comics work and launching Sneaky Business vol. 2, so I’m looking forward to having everything put to bed so I can focus all my energy on mine and my handsome northerner’s new home together.

But, regardless of the sheer amount of work, Sneaky Business vol. 2 is go! Despite the very nearly irreversible spelling mistakes bring printed, forgetting to tell people they’re included, and then completely forgetting to put it up for sale online, Sneaky Business vol. 2 has been launched; and, in true style! Bristol Comic and Zine Fair this past Saturday was a wonderfully vibrant day, and between the beaming sunshine and rain showers it made for a consistently high volumes of people having a look around, and spending their hard earned money on comic and zine-like goods! Here are some photos from the day, some by me and some respectfully borrowed from the event photographer Eileen Long and Editor in Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver. Check them out below:

I had SUCH a good time at BCZF, and big thanks to everyone who came by my table to say hello! And also to anyone who happened to make the mistake of asking how things are and ended up hearing my life story about how stressful moving home is (I think the Avery Hill gents, Elizabeth Querstret and Rebecca Bagley took the brunt of it) – please forgive me. Overall it was such a fun day, and I really can’t wait to apply again and hopefully be a part of the fun next year too! Though with how crammed my half table was this year I may have to look into a better way of presenting my comics and goods.. Hang them from the ceiling? Stick them to my clothing? Send your suggestions on a postcard.

But, anyway.. Sneaky Business vol. 2 had it’s grand launch complete with googly eyes, and as of yesterday can now be purchased on my Etsy store for the bargain price of £3! Printed in a limited run of 100, SB2 contains 36 pages from 19 creators, so get your hands on a copy pronto. You can read all about the artists and creators included in Sneaky Business from my previous blog here.

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In other news, I found out that my submission to the Illustrated Women in History zine has been accepted! You may or may not remember, back in July I created a piece on Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, to submit to this zine by Julie Gough of A Pale Landscape, and I’m thrilled to have made it to the final selection. The zine is on sale now for £10 plus shipping, and can be found and ordered here.

So as you can see, it’s been a busy and successful week! I just have a one final piece of work to do before moving which you’ll all be privy to in the coming months, but until then I must love and leave you all for a few weeks. Feel free to send burly moving men my way as I’m not sure how me and a skinny IT guy are going to move all our belongings up and down far too many flights of stairs.. But until next time, see you on the other side!

x

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A Whole New Kind of Busy

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

So, please forgive me for the gap in broadcasts last week; I’m more than accustomed to being busy with various projects, but busy with various projects AND flat hunting, job hunting and giving notice on everything at my current home in favour of my new home 120 miles away has been rather… strenuous. I slept for most of this past weekend and now feel vaguely human again. Hooray!

First up, entries for Sneaky Business vol.2 closed in spectacular style last Monday, with a more submissions than I could’ve ever expected! I want to extend my huge thanks to absolutely every single person who submitted to SB2, you’re all amazing and I was truly overwhelmed with the support and interest in my little creation. Aside from things like Down to Your Skivvies and the university degree show catalogue, it’s the first time I’ve really had to sit down and look at the order of things and who to include, and sadly who to not include. Ultimately SB2 has reached a whopping 36 pages with some incredibly entertaining comics from 18 talented creators, listed below!

Please give a warm welcome to the comic artists of Sneaky Business Vol.2!

Alan Henderson, Alex Hahn, Alex Tawns, Danny Noble, David Robertson, Elias Bevan, Elizabeth Querstret, Evan Stamps, Jason Song Quinn, Jessy Oddie, K. LY R, Lorne Colt, Martyn B. Lorbiecki, Phu Vuong, Isa Enriquez, Jamie Me, Rica March, Wallis Eates, and yours truly.

Sneaky previews of Sneaky Business. Doesn’t it look beautiful? *wipes tear*

Sneaky Business vol.2 is officially launching at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair on Saturday 1st October, with pre-orders going on my Etsy site a few days before and being posted out on Monday 3rd October. This 36-page bundle of joy can be all yours soon, and it is going to be great. Trust me..

In other news, my entry to kuš! is finished and emailed off to await judgement! I’ve really enjoyed this one, although a shorter comic it was still a lot of work at 16 pages total length. From their website, which coincidentally has a week extension on the deadline if anyone’s interested in getting something in before next Monday, I should find out along with everyone else if I’m successful by mid October. You know the drill: fingers and toes crossed, people! Here are a couple of final previews to leave you excited before the comic sees the light of day later in the year:

In some final but equally if-not-more important news, I have an auction live on eBay at the moment raising much needed funds for the local homeless charity, the Northampton Hope Centre. I have a total of seven hand numbered and signed prints available for bidding, with prices starting at just £5.00 for a high quality giclée print sized at 35cm x 26cm. The prints are from two different ink and watercolour illustrations I made when I first moved to Northampton, of two abandoned buildings which have since been renovated; the Henry Harday shoe factory building and the old Neon Signs buildings, both in close proximity to the Hope Centre and town centre. The auctions end on Friday 23rd September at 5pm BST, so please help in supporting the Hope Centre through illustration! 75% of proceeds go towards the charity, and you can see all the prints available to bid for here.

Here in Northampton the weather has been pretty warm, but the nights are getting longer and the chill is starting to set in. I’m lucky enough to have my health and a home to sleep in every night, but others are not so fortunate. Starting bids at £5 isn’t much, so get your hands on a nice print and feel darn good about it at the same time.

And I think that about wraps it up for now! I shall be back next week with a bundle of copies of Sneaky Business to tempt you all with, and the run up to Bristol Comic & Zine Fair in full swing. Until then, have a great week everyone.

x

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September, Sunsets and Sneaky Business

Good afternoon delightful readers!

So, it’s apparently September and I’m suddenly aware that I have no idea where the days are going. That’s normal, right? Part of my days are spent at the temp-job doing my best phone voice, part of them are spent on my cycle route commute trying not to think about how much my thighs burn whilst avoiding slugs, and the rest is split between speaking to letting agents, looking for work up North, and finishing up comic work.

Yes, I’m a bit wired at the moment.

In some particularly exciting and non-slug related news, my entry to kuš! comics is complete! Well, it’s completed in the fully-painted-and-scanned sense, I still have some final edits to work on before getting that packaged up and sent off to those lovely Latvians with a hope and a prayer that they’ll let me grace the pages of #27. Normally I do like to hide behind that cloak of secrecy, but I’m feeling generous so here’s some non-edited scanned panels for your perusal..

Oooooo – are you all excited yet? I’ll be finishing off my final edits this weekend ready to submit on Monday, leaving me free to finish up working on that little comics-zine/anthology you all may have heard of… Sneaky Business.

With 5 days remaining to submit entries to Sneaky Business Vol. 2, there’s still time to get something in! I’ve had some great work so far – and it just keeps coming! Please keep sending your 1-2 page sneaky comics in. Some of you may be aware that 2015’s vol. 1 edition of Sneaky Business was only 8 pages long, so this time it’s really exciting to have an open page count. This means that I’ll be editing Sneaky Business to pack in as much exciting and interesting content as possible, so the page count will only be known just before I go to print.

I have some more sneaky previews for you all after last week’s snippet from Danny Noble, so check it out..

How exciting! Isn’t this exciting? I have a few confirmed collaborators so far, including (from top-bottom) Alan Henderson of Penned Guins fame, Alex Hahn who is now in both issues of Sneaky Business and Avery Hill published creator Elizabeth Querstret. I’d just like to reiterate from my verbal wanderings on Twitter that if you have submitted and haven’t heard from me yet – do not fear! I will be getting in touch with each and every person to kindly send me their work, so expect to hear from me post-deadline of Monday 12th September. You’re all awesome!

Anyway, that’s about it for now as I *ahem* go and finish up my own Sneaky Business comic entry.. Don’t forget – five days to go! Until next week..

x

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Summer Scorcher

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

So, another week has passed and I’m getting used to my new working schedule – huzzah! I’m even somehow managing to keep productive despite slowly melting in this unexpected English heat. The good news is that as I’m writing this the humidity has actually dropped down to 38% from our usual balmy 80-90%, though I’m sure it won’t last for long.. But this beautiful sunshine today perfect for working on the bright summery colours for my entry to kuš! comics, so I’ll enjoy it whilst I can.

As you may recall from last week I was just finishing up inking the final few pages before working on the colours for my BFF themed submission. Usually I come up with my colour scheme before I even start drawing up the roughs, but this time I threw caution to the wind and figure out the colours as I was going along, and picked the final swatches far later on. Here’s a little taster of the colour palette and progress on how I get the spreads figured out:

All the pages are inked!

Yep, my practice colours look like a child going nuts, but as it only acts as a guide I’m usually safe in the knowledge that no one sees this stage. But y’know, you guys won’t tell anyone.. Right? The next step for me is to put these very rough colours into painterly practice on some photocopies, just to make sure it all flows as I want it to. From there, as long as that all looks good I’ll carry on to the final pages and work my way through those. Long-winded, huh? But it works! Keep an eye out next week for some painting progress..

In a more sneaky kind of news, work has continued on the design of the covers and inner pages for Sneaky Business vol. 2! For the most part I want it to keep the original vibe of Sneaky Business vol. 1, but bigger and better. I’ve also been tagged in a handful of sneaky progress shots for SB from the likes of Alex HahnKLY R and more, and if you want to keep up with it all be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for all the updates as they happen. I already have 4 comics finished and submitted by some awesome small press creators including the infamous Danny Noble, so in case you haven’t quite guessed from this past paragraph: Sneaky Business vol. 2 is going to be seriously good. There is still two and a half weeks to submit your 1-2 page sneaky comics, so come and join in the fun! All the details are available here.

Talking of seriously good stuff, Dirty Rotten Comics #8 launched last Friday, with 60+ pages of comic goodness from over 20 artists and writers including yours truly. My short comic SørgedagYou can get your copy of Issue 8 online, or at Gosh! Comics and Orbital Comics in London.

Finally, thanks to all those who came to visit the NN Table Top Sale this past Saturday at NN Contemporary here in Northampton. I think we were all relieved to find the event moved inside given the gales and rain (it’s August in England, and far too much of a common occurrence). I was sharing a table with the very talented Naomi Rose Johnson, and although it was a pretty quiet afternoon it was still pretty fun! As far as tabling and appearances, that’s it now until 1st October at Bristol Comic & Zine Fair, so time to focus on getting these comics done and Sneaky Business edited and sent off to print! You’ll all be glad to know I have plenty to keep me busy, so keep an eye out next week for further progress on my colourful kuš! comics entry and more. Until next time, peace out.

 

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Real Life Blues

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, another week has vanished and as I rightly predicted last week, I don’t have a huge amount for show and tell this week. The sad reality of finishing university means that the last of my carefully saved student finance has been depleted and I’ve stepped back into the world of work – this time with some temporary work to bridge a gap and give me money to, y’know.. Eat. Keep the roof over my head. Exciting things like that.

Last week I was well underway finishing the roughs up for my submission to kuš! comics, in the form of a 16-page story themed around ‘BFFs’. Low and behold, after an intense all-dayer on Thursday I managed to finish up the last of the roughs even after some last minute story adjustments – what a relief!

I’m not going to tell you all what the story is about because I like to think of myself as super mysterious and interesting, but there are some previews of some more of the roughs I was working on after last week’s blog and also the final array of 16 pages with finished pencils. Huzzah! As much as it pains me to say this, I’m only two pages into inking given that I’ve been in training for a new job -sob-, so the inking and painting is going to take me far longer than it usually does (I could usually crack out 4-6 pages of inks a day if I did nothing else, and around 2-4 pages painted). Real adult life, eh? How FUN. Anyway, here are some of the inks from the first two pages to give you a bit more of a teaser..

Having been so spoilt with time to make comics in previous months/years, this may well feel like it’s taking years to complete.. But do not fear! If I have to resort back to my previous levels of caffeine from the Hoax: Psychosis Blues days to get this done then I most certainly will, ready for the kuš! deadline of 19th September. Even if I go loopy in the process.

In other news, it’s now less than five weeks to go until the deadline of Sneaky Business! I’ve been hearing from more people who are creating stuff and I can promise that it’s going to be a good ‘un.. Next on my list is writing a new short comic for SB myself, so if I can juggle all this and still design and edit an anthology then you can most certainly fit a little 1-2  page comic in.. Right? Don’t forget that all the details are over here – and if you have any questions just get in touch!

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Finally, table applications opened up for Leamington Spa Comic Con on Sunday evening and yours truly has applied for a Small Press Table! Leamington Comic Con isn’t for a while yet (Saturday 25th March 2017 to be precise), but if you’re interested in checking it out you can find all the details over at the Facebook event page. Seeming as I was born in Leamington Spa and I originally hail from Warwickshire, spending many a weekend in Leamington in my youth – yes, I can just about remember that far back – I’m really hoping that I’m accepted! So keep your fingers and toes crossed for me, because that would just be plain awesome.

Anyway, that’s about it for this week’s short and sweet update! Hopefully I have a bit more to show you next week, though you’ll all have to bear with me whilst I adjust to having far less time to work on things; for example, if I cut my blogs shorter for a while, it gives me more time to do the good stuff i.e. make comics and draw nice looking stuff. Until next time, over and out.

x

 

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