Storyboarding

Hello, August.

Good afternoon ladies and gents.

So, it’s August! Where did that come from, huh? July seemed to vanish in a flash, with more new comic work (Sørgedag – due out in Dirty Rotten Comics this month) and plenty of skill-expanding illustration work in the form of recipe illustrations and some rather colourful maps. July also included the wonders of Small Press Day, D&AD and towards the end of the month my very own graduation. No wonder I’m tired..

In one final excellent bundle of good news to finish up July, I’ve been offered a half-table at the Bristol Comic & Zine Fair on Saturday 1st October! I originally applied to BCZF months back and was very gutted to be turned down, however some kind soul backed out of their half table and apparently I was at the top of the reserves list – hooray! I’m absolutely THRILLED to be behind a table in Bristol for the first time. I fell in love with the city back in 2010/11 when I (unsuccessfully) applied to study at UWE. Thankfully, they’re letting me back in the city and I will be at BCZF with bells on. Check out all the information on BCZF here, and the Facebook Event Page here.

Seemingly lots of great comics people are all going to be under the one roof for BCZF, so as well as doing my selling thing I’ll be able to catch up with my favourite kind of people; small press comics people. The even better news which leads on from this is that Sneaky Business Vol. 2 will now officially launch at BCZF 2016! Double hooray! You still have just under 6 weeks to submit to Sneaky Business Vol. 2, so go forth and draw young Padawans.

Onto more creative business, last week through to this week I’ve been getting seriously stuck into the next short-story comics project; a creation for submission to Kuš! comics next anthology. Kuš #27 is open to submissions of comics 4-16 pages in length, with the theme of BFFs (for the non-millennials, BFF means “Best Friends Forever”). I’d been mulling over the possibilities of this story for a little while but I’ve finally been able to sink some time into it, and so far I’ve written, scripted, scribbled and mocked-up the comic. Now I’ve reached the point of sketching up the final pages onto draft paper, and at a whopper of 16 pages – the maximum allowed for this particular call for submissions – I have plenty to keep me busy. The downside of working to the maximum page number of a submission like this is that a niggling voice in my head says that it’s less likely to be successful in getting into the anthology.. But what is life, if to not be challenged and overcoming that looming self-doubt and a future of possible “sorry but no thank you”s.

Anyhow, above and below are some progress shots I’ve taken so far; from the very loose thumbnail sketches – used to work out the ultimate page count of the story and looking at areas I can exploit (in terms of surprising page turns and maintaining interest) – to the mock-up book which has more refined composition and speech, to the final draft pages – the over-size A3 pages I draw on, rub out, get angry at and scribble on – which when finished will be laid underneath the final paper on my fancy-pants light box and I free-ink the final images over the top. Now you all know my secret process – don’t tell anyone, yeah?

A6 mock-up comic on the left, with full A4 pages (A3 spread) behind)

I’ve currently finished drawing up just over half of the pencils for this, so I’m hoping with another couple of solid days work and lots of determination I’ll be able to start inking before this week is over. The deadline for Kuš #27 is Monday 19th September and you can find out all the information about it here – yes, yes, I am getting my comic done surprisingly early considering the deadline isn’t for another 6 and a half weeks, but with Sneaky Business’ covers design and my own comic needing doing I thought I’d best get ahead of the curve.

So, that’s about it for today! I shall be back next week as ever, though how much I’ll actually have to show is debatable, given that I’m away from my desk this weekend and start a new job on Monday, but I’ll do my best. Until next time, peace out.

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Light Up My Lavvu

Good morning ladies and gentlemen!

So, another week has passed by already? Working in the project space last week at the NN Contemporary Gallery feels like a very long time ago, and working 7 days a week is slowly making me lose track of what day it actually is anyway. However, if you were reading last week you’ll be thrilled to know that my Sámi-esque lavvu worked excellently, exactly how I envisioned it and even better – it didn’t fall apart. Success! I’ve also been working away on the final pages of The Next Big Thing, working on setting up my funding campaign on Kickstarter, and tackling my final new project of my university degree. Busy, busy!

First up, prior to heading to the NN Project Space to work as an artist in residence, I decided to do the maths and set up the framework to my lavvu first. In order to measure what size the outer fabric shell needed to be, I used masking tape to mark the base on the carpet and lots of string to hold the frame together. I worked out the top and bottom circumference then divided by four to create my triangular panels, and used graph paper to create my panel template. Using this, I cut out the outer hessian/burlap pieces ahead of time at home, saving me time. I also tagged my branches as per what position they sit best in, just for that extra level of organisational madness. This meant that the technical stuff was all out the way and I could pretend to know what I was doing whilst at the NN! On Thursday in the project space I started by cutting up an old flat bed sheet to use as a semi-blackout lining for the lavvu, and then stitched the four panels together leaving a gap at the front for an opening. After this I used the same template with some beautifully coloured organza to create my northern lights effect inside, and hooked up some LED white Christmas tree lights to make stars. And, here it is!

Sadly it’s not quite big enough to sit in, but if you lay with your head inside looking up it makes for a very pleasant and relaxing experience which I will probably re-set up at home for intense times of stress. I wouldn’t recommend sticking your head in it if you’ve had a few drinks, though. My lavvu sat in the NN Project Space until Sunday, but will be reinstated for the degree show from 9th June. So, if you’d like your own Northampton experience of the aurora borealis I would definitely suggest a trip here for the occasion. To see more of the work that other students created through their own practice and workshops, have a look at the Diverge website here.

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To coincide with the residency we three ladies of the Skivvies also held a small launch of Down to Your Skivvies #2 on Saturday afternoon! And, as of Monday issue 2 is now available to buy online from Etsy! A small run of the first issue is also back in stock, and to celebrate the launch of Skivvies #2 I’m offering FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING on all orders on my online store with the code “SHIPMEFORFREE”. Available until Sunday, pick up your new copy of Skivvies #2 now!

In other news, work is progressing on The Next Big Thing and I’ve moved onto drafting up the final pages! It’s quite a hefty process, going from a small roughly sketched mock-up book to a draft true-to-size copy, and then transferring that through to final durable paper for inking – and once all the pages are drawn up, painting. My schedule for university assessments has me working on four A4 pages a week, or two double spreads. Some are obviously more fiddly than others, but my hope is to be working ahead of my planned four so that if I suddenly come down with some lurgy I won’t be dragging myself to the desk to make sure I don’t get behind. It’s hard work, but really, really fun. I haven’t drawn any new comics since last summer with the Top Secret Project – recently announced to appear in the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook. Here’s some sneaky previews of my work from last week, including my wonderful new light box which is making my job 10x easier.

More on The Next Big Thing in the weeks to come! As I mentioned earlier, I’ve also started my last new project of my degree – yikes! This final project is going to be an animation, which makes it even more scary. Along with the window display for Gosh! and Laydeez do Comics, and my secret submission for Secret 7″, the final chapter of my illustration projects module is an entry for the Creative Conscience awards. If you’re familiar with my work rather than a passing visitor, you’ll know that a large percentage of my work covers emotional themes and because of this, although the workload is terrifying, I thought I could really make something special which appeals to the values of the Creative Conscience as well as my own. It’s a mammoth task with around 64 frames to do in 8 weeks, but hopefully it will be completely worth it.

Here’s a picture of my storyboard roughs from last week – which are most likely completely incomprehensible to anyone apart from me – and I’ve been moving onto my eight images for the week this week, though as with The Next Big Thing, I’m trying to get ahead of my weekly quota just in case cows start falling from the sky and I need to take a week off to remove one from the roof, or something.

As is expected with the most pinnacle term of my degree course, it’s rather busy over here but it’s all going as smoothly as I could hope for. Phew. I shall endeavour to be back next week with more updates from The Next Big Thing and the Creative Conscience animation plans, but until then I’d best get back to work. See you at the same time, next week! Over and out.

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