So, another week has passed and I seem to be getting even less done with each week that passes. An excellent feeling, I assure you. I had a really fun week of redoing my entry for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine, with a final number of four attempts and twenty-eight new grey hairs emerging from my head, I managed to get it done just in time for the deadline. If you’re a fan of this particular dead singer’s music then this may be obvious, but here’s a sneaky peek of one of the panels from this musical one-pager..
I still maintain it’s far from the best thing I’ve done and I’d really hoped it’d be a lot better. But, it’s not terrible, and sometimes you just have to put the pens/pencils/paints down and accept that this just wasn’t meant to be anything amazing. Sadly, especially after the numerous binned attempts, I’m glad for it to be over. Hopefully with some time away from it I feel a bit more positive towards it.
In other news, I’m back into the zone of writing the remainder of the short stories I’ll be publishing in a couple of months with Good Comics! I had gotten into the habit of figuring out a story and then writing > drawing > painting > editing it from start to finish all in one go (with food and sleep in between, I promise). But, now I have over half of the total pages mapped out I’m going to change tactics and write all the remaining stories now to fit in around what’s left. Getting the whole collection to flow with individual stories is going to prove challenging, but with half done I have a bit of an easier time to fill in voids now and adapt stories rather than trying to do it all at the end. Does that make sense? I hope that makes sense.
In other news, as a follow up to my winning of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award 2016, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier wrote an article detailing my comics journey from 2014 up to now. After a particularly bad week and not being very good at that whole ‘taking a break’ thing, it was really nice to read. You can peruse the full article here!
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:
The Station, Bristol
Event photos by Eileen Long – http://www.eileenlong.co.uk
Event photos by Eileen Long – http://www.eileenlong.co.uk
Photo by Andy Oliver
Andys new Njálla t-shirt! Photo by Andy Oliver
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.
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!
So, summer is now a somewhat distant thought and the days are drawing shorter, nights chillier and bed is looking a damn sight cosier. Goodnight! Oh, wait.. Blog.
As I decline into the time of year where all I want to do is sleep, and by realising I already packed all my winter-wear up in boxes for moving I’m desperately hoping that it doesn’t get much colder in the next fortnight, it’s also looming towards the festival season of comics here in the UK. The Lakes International Comic Art Festival pops up in Kendal in the Lake District in mid-October with famous guests galore (I’ll get there one day…) all in the cosy Comics Clock Tower, followed shortly after my the awe-inspiringly massive Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival over the first weekend of November, in Leeds (which I will be at, huzzah!). First up, however, is the long-awaited Bristol Comic & Zine Fair this Saturday, 1st October.
The Station, Bristol
I have been so redonkulously excited for BCZF since table applications opened up, and even more so excited when they let me have a table to host my goodies on. The weekend kicks off for me on Friday evening as my chariot (ie, a National Express bus) arrives in the centre of Bristol and I go find something to eat before falling into my hotel bed. I’ve never been able to get a hotel for a comics festival before – and honestly that’s a huge part of why I’m so excited – so I’ll be able to wake up fresh-faced ready for selling and chatting with folks.
There are a whole host of lovely guests this year including Sneaky Business featured Elizabeth Querstret, along with other folks you might have heard of such as Avery Hill Publishing, Mike Medaglia, the Sad Ghost Club, Rebecca Bagley, my good friends at Good Comics and many, many more. As I’m sure you remember from me referencing it so much recently, Saturday will also see the grand launch of Sneaky Business Vol. 2!
Work by Elizabeth Querstret
Work by Alex Hahn
Work by Alan Henderson
Work by Danny Noble
Reviewed on Monday by Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier, he had this to say:
Sneaky Business #2 is indeed an extremely eclectic compilation of comics and, given that slightly patchwork array of styles and genres, it’s inevitable that each individual reader will gravitate more towards some sections than others. But that selfsame disparate line-up is also part of its charm. As is often the way with anthologies there’s only room here to cover a selection of those who contributed to this volume but at an almost giveaway price of £3.00 there’s really no excuse for not picking up a copy of a book that acts as a communal platform for so many distinctively different forms of practice all tied together by that one unifying theme.
Sneaky Business arrived on my doorstep on Friday with huge thanks to Rich at Comic Printing UK for all his help and quite literally stopping the press when I found some *cough* small errors *cough*, and will be available to buy from Saturday 1st October from yours truly at Bristol, and shortly after will be available to buy from my Etsy store and at small press friendly comic shops around the UK; Limited to a run of 100, get your copy quick! I’ll cover the launch in more detail from next week, but for now trust me when I say SB2 is looking really, really good.
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!
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 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.
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.
So! Another week down and it’s almost September. Yikes, where did 2016 go? Oh yes, comics. As I prepare to pack up my belongings and leave my home of over four years ready for life’s new adventures in Manchester, I’m also getting my head in gear to be working on a handful of submissions at the same time. Life would be boring if I didn’t have a packed schedule, I’m sure.
This past week I’ve been working away on the paints for my submission to kuš! comics, as I’m sure my regular readers have grown all too used to seeing me write about. As it’s a pretty hefty project (16 pages – and yes, I thought it was a good idea at the time) I’m STILL head-down on this one until it’s pretty much done, as my brain doesn’t have room for much else given this new part time job and cycling miles on end. But alas, just because my multitasking is taking a hit, it doesn’t mean my productivity is.. Here’s some painted progress shots from the past week:
This week I’ve set myself the task to have at least two pages finished each afternoon, so time to focus and get this finished! Deadline for kuš! comics is Monday 19th September, and if you’re interested in submitting yourself then check out the BFF themed call for subs here.
In other news, I’ve been receiving more sneaky peeks of people’s sneaky submissions for Sneaky Business Vol. 2! Don’t forget that submissions close on Monday 12th September, so hop to it and create some wonderful sneaky-ness. I’ve had some fantastic entries so far, thus proving that Sneaky Business 2 is going to be the best yet. Here’s a preview from the famed 2015 Broken Frontier Six to Watch-er Danny Noble:
With only 12 days left to submit, be like Danny and send me something wonderful. You can find out all the information here, and feel free to ask me any questions via here, email or any of the social media channels.
In more wonderful news, I’m over the moon to have been accepted to have a table at Leamington Comic Con in 2017! Although it hurts my brain slightly to start planning my schedule for 7 months time, I’m really thrilled to be a part of the convention which looks to be pretty dang awesome for both small press and larger comics fish. Woohoo! So, you should all also pop that in your diaries too.
Finally, I dragged Chris down to London on Saturday and we popped along to Breakdown Press’Safari Festival! Held at Protein Studios in Shoreditch, Safari had an eclectic mix of comics and arty goodies including my newest purchase of the BadTwin Presents Krent Able & Julian Hanshaw collaborative fandango. It was a great little set up and really buzzing whilst we were there. For a full breakdown (ha – get it?) of Safari Festival keep your peepers pointed at Broken Frontier, as their coverage is always second-to-none.
I think that’s about it for now! I’m going to make a large cup of coffee and prop myself up with my paintbrushes until next week. See you then!
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!
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.
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?!
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!
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 Rejsenprinted 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.
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!
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.
Sneaky Business vol.1
Last year’s contributors
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.