Here’s what Page 45 had to say about my story in the Yearbook, Afloat;
Two other escapees are Rozi Hathaway’s young protagonist in ‘Afloat’ and Alice Urbino’s ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, but what they are escaping is very different: abject poverty and loneliness; the sensory overload of society’s non-stop judgementalism. The former is a deeply melancholic affair of isolation, neglect, broken windows and threadbare socks until a vision floods onto the page in oceanic colours which are fresher, more healthy and hopeful. What actually happens is open to interpretation but if there’s a whiff of mortality is still as wondrous and magical as a Studio Ghibli or Tillie Walden affair, with the child’s own origami taking on a life it its own and attracting company to boot.
… It’s followed by Rozi Hathaway’s Afloat, a strikingly beautiful wordless tale of a child’s loneliness and imagination. Her art is terrific here, with wide panels working to place the child in small and large spaces, but always alone, with stunning colouring, sombre except for the sea and the sky.”
So, another week bites the dust and Laydeez do Comics has been and gone! It was possibly one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my feeble existence; standing in front of a room full of eager-eyed people actually wanting to hear what I had to say (or at least pretending to, anyway). Even with my neatly arranged cue cards I’m sure I probably missed something important, but overall it was a really fun evening – more about that shortly. In other news, university projects are getting busier than ever and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be starting to draw up the final pages of The Next Big Thing! I’m keeping my working title under-wraps for now, though the reveal will be coming shortly. I’m also debating at the moment whether to move the blog to a fortnightly effort instead of weekly for the duration of this term, just to give myself an extra bit of time to work on my incredibly long to-do list, BUT I’m still mulling it over. So, I’ll let you all know! Now, down to business..
As you may remember from last week, I spend Sunday 10th creating the window display at Gosh! Comics in readiness for the LDC night this past Monday. Somehow the week between doing the windows and turning up to talk went past like a lightening bolt! I settled onto the warm and cosy train to London on Monday night with an 300-man army of butterflies in my stomach – no, not some strange new recipe, just nerves – and bolted across to Soho to meet with Andy Oliver (Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and Danny Noble (Munday Morning, Ollie & Alan) for a calming beverage before the evening’s fun began. Gosh! Comics were wonderful hosts yet again for the Laydeez do Comics evening, and there were many familiar and friendly faces bobbing about. Andy Oliver took the reins for the evening and spoke first about the wonderful work he does at Broken Frontier, and the small press/independent creator focus they look at compared to the largely mainstream comics industry. Next up was my turn, and armed with my carefully designed presentation I managed to bumble on for probably far less time than I was meant to – aside from shaking like a leaf the whole way through I probably spoke at lightening speed too. Agh! After a short break, the last speaker was Danny Noble who entertained us all with her honest and witty comics, whilst talking about her practice and how she uses panels in a really interesting and diverse way. Inspiring stuff! HUGE thanks to Keara and Wallis for having us, and everyone who came out to see us talk!
One of the main focuses of the evening was Andy Oliver’s announcements.. Sadly, after almost a year, the title of ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ is being filed away and the new Six have been announced! Us 2015 lot are being flung into the wide open world with our belongings in a bindle and are shunted out in to the cold harsh realities of life. Or, something like that. The new Six have been announced at LDC and will be announced officially on Broken Frontier in the coming days. They’re a talented bunch!
In the second batch of wonderful news that was announced by the Patron Saint of Comics, the Broken Frontier Yearbook has been revealed! Here’s a snippet from the press release yesterday on Broken Frontier, which sums it up far more eloquently than I possibly could:
Last night at London’s Gosh! Comics a very special announcement was made to the sell-out audience at the Broken Frontier special edition of the monthly Laydeez do Comics meeting. We’re very excited today to share that news on the site with the extended BF readership.
Currently in pre-production, our inaugural Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook will be available in the early part of this year. A near 100-page publication, it celebrates the work of our ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ – Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian – in both colour and black & white. Each creator has contributed an 8-10 page story on the theme of “breaking frontiers” and interpreted that broad starting point with their own ever distinctive artistic voices.
A natural extension of a year’s worth of dedicated coverage of these six very talented creators, the Yearbook is the ultimate expression of this column’s philosophy of “unearthing the gems of the small press”, and of bringing the work of comickers we have championed to a far wider audience. In due course you will be able to buy the book both online and from certain UK stores. But the prime philosophy of the Yearbook is to provide a promotional showcase for last year’s participants in our ‘Six to Watch’ initiative. To that end we’ll be sending out copies to selected publishers, micropublishers, and comics commentators as we seek to raise the profile of 2015’s half dozen stars-in-the-making across the medium.
Follow the link to read all about it and even see a sample page from each of us! Which now means (for those of you avid readers who remember my ramblings) THE TOP SECRET PROJECT IS NO LONGER SECRET. WOOHOO! From May to September of last year I was working on this project, and although I could hint at it and show some images along the way, I couldn’t really say what it was for or when it’d be released. Low and behold, the 10-page silent comic which Andy kindly spoke of as my ‘best work to date’ will be released in coming months in the bumper Small Press Yearbook alongside the talents of Danny Noble, Emma Raby and more. Alongside the ‘Six’ are other top-name creators who have supplied work to support the project, being announced in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out on Broken Frontier’s Twitter and website for all the details.. Here’s a reminder of some of the work I created, and you can read more about the project from my previous blog post here.
With LDC behind me it’s now full-speed with University work in the run up to Easter (I know, it’s only January.. I have a very busy few months ahead). My dissertation needs finishing, the Next Big Thing needs drawing up, a couple of other competitions need doing, written assignment work needs completing, another commission needs doing, and somewhere between all that some kind of sleep would be marvellous. Oh, and I’m making a lávvu. More about that in a couple of weeks, though! For the meanwhile, here’s another sneaky peek of some development/practice figuring out the best composition before I start on the final pages. Exciting!
And that wraps it up for this week! Back to the grindstone for another week of fun-times, and I shall be back next week with hopefully some more bits ticked off my very large list and more things to show you. For now, over and out.
So, I haven’t gone mad. Well, I may have done, but this specific reasoning for having not gone mad comes from a midday blog effort. “Oooh”, I hear you all say, as you munch your lunchtime sarnie trying to avoid getting crumbs in the keyboard. Which always happens anyway. Yes! I decided a change was in order this week, before I busy my head in more comics for the remainder of the afternoon.
It’s been a busy week, in fact each week has been becoming steadily busier in the run up to my two-week Scandi adventures; so I have three more afternoons of work to get everything done as much as physically possible so that I can enjoy my fortnight in the fjords. As I revealed last week, my new collaborative zine Sneaky Business has been completed! I received the final artwork, finished the covers up and tomorrow I shall be scurrying along to the local printers to throw my USB their way. HOW EXCITING! Now that it’s all beautifully laid out, I can give you a proper introduction…
Sneaky Business is a comics zine of my creation, featuring two page and one page comics. After producing a one-page comic for Keara Stewart earlier in the year for her comics anthology A Bit of Undigested Potato, I felt deeply inspired to have a go myself! Though, not with quite so many comics as an anthology, as I think my brain would fall out from the stress of doing that amount of organising on top of everything else. Shortly after TAKEOVER back in May, the idea was born and I started contacting friends in the business. Another reason I wanted to do something like this, as I told the other artists involved, is because the majority of my work is quite dark, emotive and serious. How is everybody supposed to know how hilariously funny I am, without me showing them? Thus, Sneaky Business was born.. From the talented hands of (from top-bottom of the image above);
Now for more exciting news! Sneaky Business is being launched on Saturday 29th August 2015 at MancsterCon, so if you’re in the area please do come and say hi and pick up your shiny new copy of Sneaky Business. I will be hosting an internet pre-launch on Monday 24th August, so if you’re unable to get to Manchester (cuh, you’ll be missing out) then I shall make sure you get your copy featuring these wonderful sneaky comic artists for the weekend. A big thanks to my creators Sam, Pete, Alex and Peter, and to anyone who has has helped me out; a special mention to Keara for being an inspiration and Ricky Miller from Avery Hill Publishing for giving me his words of wisdom when I was mid-crisis. So, keep your eyes peeled and be sure to order a copy when it’s released! Because it’s awesome.
In other news, I’ve been clocking up the hours at the ol’ desk producing this Top Secret project that’s due in September, which I mentioned last week. As all you wonderful people asked so nicely, (you didn’t, but I’m guessing you really wanted to..) here are some more snippets of what’s being taking all my time and energy!
Top Secret Project, a 10 page comic reached completion in August, more details announced soon..
Pencil roughs – complete!
I’m really really really really hoping to have all the pages inked by Friday evening, so when I return two-stone heavier from the lands of Danish pastries I can relax and focus on preparing for the colouring aspect, ready for deadline. Yesterday I managed to draw and ink up two in 5 hours, so by that logic I won’t quite get it done.. But I’m going to try my hardest! Page one was a bit of a pain, the rest should be easier. I hope. And pray.
So, yes! Hopefully all this visual stimulation invigorates you all ready for your afternoons, just think of me cramped over my desk drawing pages after pages of comics, and think about how much simpler a desk-job is. I will be back in three weeks time with a full update of my travels, so I hope everybody has a wonderful couple of weeks, and think of me on a boat somewhere between the islands surrounding Oslo.. Or in Stockholm having fika.. Or in Denmark practising my Danish on real, Danish people whilst playing with Lego and eating wienerbrød. Until then – over and out.