So, that festive time of year involving copious amounts of food is over and done, and 2016 is slowly ebbing away too.. Which means it’s time for the yearly round-up! 2016 has been an incredible year for me work-wise, and although 2015 made me pretty dizzy to look back over I think this year has been busier than ever.
Speaking of which, Njálla was pretty much the focal point of my year. From the ideas conception in August/September 2015, I worked on the comic up until May 2016 including the terrifyingly successful Kickstarter campaign which led me to be able to fund the whole print run without any worry about the financial side of things. With Njálla completed and the rest of my work pinned up to boards, I finished my final year of University and graduated with First Class Honours in Illustration – so I guess all the hard work paid off!
Another big highlight of this year has been the festivals; Comika and Small Press Day starting off the year, with Bristol Comic & Zine Fair and Thought Bubble finishing it up in spectacular fashion. Since spending more time behind a table and meeting more comics people I have the best time, and I can’t wait for what 2017 brings.
Waffling aside, here’s a nice bunch of pictures from my 2016, which say it far better than I can.
Event photos by Eileen Long – http://www.eileenlong.co.uk
And that’s where we’re up to now! With my new release with Good Comics scheduled for Spring 2017 and a couple of other smaller projects in the pipeline there’s not much time to relax in the next few months.. But here’s to another excellent year, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed my ramblings. See you on the other side!
So, another week has zoomed by and the sun is still shining. My week of full-time training for the new real-life job finished up on Friday and I’m onto my far more efficient shifts morning shifts, leaving me with more time to get back to serious comic making business in the afternoons. As well as forcing me out of bed early and flexing my customer service skills, the cycling to work and back is giving me thighs like a viking! So really, if you think about it, sitting and making comics is good for me and my burning leg muscles as WELL as good for the whole planet. Right?
Being cooped up at training all last week left me little time to crack on with my current submission project for kuš! comics. As you may have seen last week I did have a chance to start inking up pages in the evenings, but due to various other commitments I didn’t quite make my half-way mark by the weekend which I was (over-optimistically) hoping for. Though, this week I’ve been working away at 4 pages of inking per afternoon, meaning as of this afternoon I only have 4 more pages to go! I do have the odd arm which has turned out to be a bit too long so there are some panels which need tweaking, but the important thing is that it will all be inked by the end of this week… Which leaves the weekend and next week for painting fun times. Yay!
Purely due to my focused and tired state, I haven’t been taking a huge amount of progress photos, so, though accidentally, I’m keeping the mystery alive for a bit longer on this one – oo err. As mentioned before, the theme for submissions to kuš! is BFF’s, so there’s a vague hint. But for the rest, you’ll have to wait and see!
In other news, this weekend I shall be at the NN Contemporary Gallery Courtyard Table-Top Sale; Saturday 20th from 2pm-6pm. If you’re local to Northampton then come along to have a gander at the talents on offer! I’ll be selling copies of The Red Road, Njálla and other small bits and bobs including postcards and greetings cards, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area. You can find out all the information about the event on the Facebook page here.
This Autumn edition includes work from BF ‘Small Press Creators to Watch‘ Jey Levang and Rozi Hathaway, as well as Andrew Warwick, Claude TC, Maria Stoian, Josh Hicks. Henry Miller and Tom Mortimer. Hathaway’s poignant contribution is an outstanding entry but look out also for clever use of visual metaphor from Benjamin Leon and the distinctive stylings of Francis M. among a number of gems this time around.
How nice is that! If you don’t wish to pre-order then you can pick up your copy online from Friday, with DRC8 also being available in selected independent friendly comic shops within the UK.
And that’s about it for now. Don’t forget that submissions are still open for Sneaky Business Vol. 2 though the deadline of Monday 12th September is fast approaching! Until next week, I hope you all have a good rest-of-the-week and I shall be back with more news next week. Over and out!
So, it’s officially done and dusted. On Friday I graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Northampton and I have a mass of sketchbooks, folders and one certificate to show for it. Although I’ve pretty much been finished up for a month now, but with the likes of D&AD dividing up the time before graduation it definitely feels over now. Onward and upwards, right?
With some good news to kick off my new career of post-graduate-struggling-illustrator, my short 4-page comic Sørgedag has been accepted in to the next Dirty Rotten Comics anthology! I mentioned my process and work on the comic a few weeks back, and I really enjoyed trying something a bit different. I created the comic in both colour and black and white, so the black and white version will be published in Dirty Rotten Comics #8 around mid-August with the colour version being released as part of a compilation I’m working on later in the year. With almost a year since Rejsenwas published in Dirty Rotten Comics #5, I shall hopefully be part of the furniture in terms of the Dirty Rotten Comics anthology contributors soon..
In other news, as a part of my mass of submissions I’m doing in the next month for various anthologies and collections, I ticked one off the list yesterday in the form of a single page illustration for the Illustrated Woman in History zine. It was a hard choice, with so many interesting stories of women in history, especially with stories like that of Jeanne Baré who is noted as the first woman to circumnavigate the globe, and did so disguised as a man. However, ultimately with my soft-spot for astronomy and space sciences I went with Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in space. Here’s a peek!
As the flight itself lasted three days from 16th June 1963 I went for a bit of a retro vibe, and I painted my first ever space scene which didn’t turn out to look like some slushy mess, which was kinda nice (I won’t tell you how many attempts it took yesterday, but let’s just say I have a pile of paper recycling). Submissions for the Illustrated Women in History zine are open until 31st August, and you can find out all the information from the website.
Finally, last week I also stretched my illustrative muscles into creating a recipe illustration for the first time. Whilst trying to expand my repertoire, it’s also been fun to try out these new things – also making things flow on a page in this way is pretty similar to how I approach comics. For this first attempt I drew up Chicken Tortilla Soup which is one of my firm-favourites; cheap to make, I can throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it for 6 hours, and then freeze vats of the stuff for meals throughout the month. Delicious! You can check out the recipe here if you’re interested, though I kinda tweaked it and made up the measurements (I’m English. Cup measurements make no sense); I obtained my cooking theories from my highly skilled mother – just chuck enough in until it looks about right.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised as to how nice it is to paint a garlic clove. Who knew! So that ticks off another area of illustration that I’ve wanted to try for a while, and I’ll add it to the commissions pile in the hopes of getting some new work from it.
Anyway, that’s about it for now! I think this week is the most jumbled of blog posts I’ve had for a while – from comics, to vintage space, to soup. Next on my list of things to do is a 4-16 page comic story I need to write and script out for another upcoming anthology submission.. How exciting! Have a good week everyone, and I shall be back with all the gossip next week. Until then, over and out.
Created as a submission to Dirty Rotten Comics #8, Sørgedag is a four-page comic about loss and mourning. Set in the open countryside of Norway I utilised textured paint to bring a different feel to this comic, and keep pushing how I look at creating narrative. Created in both black and white and in colour, the black and white version is published in DRC #8, with the colour version released as part of a compilation later in the year.
“I was also really impressed with Rozi Hathaway’s Sørgedag, a tale of grief and loss that utilises many of her trademarks whilst still looking different to her other work as a result of the textured paint she used. Striking and sombre in black and white, watch out for a colour version in the future.”
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.