Travelling Man Comics

The Lurgy Arrives

Good afternoon ghosts and ghouls,

So, I’m blessing you with my presence today whilst battling a fearsome autumnal cold. I’ve been awaiting this beast that’s been going round for a while, and I’ve been managing to happily avoid it until now. Marvellous. Don’t colds just have a way of appearing at the most awkward time? It’s not like I have presentations to give, with the need to think about complex educational things, right? Instead, the inside of my brain is made of marshmallows and I look like Beetlejuice. But hey, I’ve been eating vegetables galore so hopefully I will battle this demon lurgy in time for the weekend!

This past week I’ve started making some headway on ideas for a new project, the Folio Society and House of Illustration Book Illustration Competition. The Book Illustration Competition is a yearly jobby that’s been going on since 2011, though this year is the first time I’ll be entering. This year’s book is War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, and I shall be creating three inner illustrations and the book cover design for this, for completion is early January. So it’s quite a big task, but an exciting one nevertheless. Last week I made some collagraph printing plates ready to do some illustration backgrounds to draw back into; unfortunately I’ve felt too awful to stand in the print room at University and get inky, but fingers crossed my human-self returns soon and I can get my print on. Below are my printing plates, textures and all, ready to go! Aren’t they lovely.

Also, in my eternal search for new and interesting textures that I can add into my work, I had a go at some DIY nail varnish marbling! Because I’m too frugal to buy marbling inks, and I have a sizeable collection of nail varnish already, I decided to give this method a go after finding it on Pintrest. Now, I didn’t use anywhere near as much colour as in the tutorial (see previous point about frugality) to do mine, but they turned out pretty interesting all the same. These experiments are all going towards the preparations for The Next Big Thing..

Who says illustration just needs to be drawing, huh? All of these types of things I like to scan in and add as a layer behind an image to give it a bit more of a textured and interesting look sometimes. Plus it’s kind of fun to try these things, apart from the inevitability of being gassed in my living room by nail varnish. It’s all part of the fun!

In other news, I popped into Travelling Man in Manchester on Sunday to drop off some copies of Sneaky Business! They now sit alongside a remaining copy of The Red Road (first edition), and right underneath Keara Stewart‘s nightmare anthology I created a comic for, A Bit of Undigested Potato. How EXCITING! Don’t forget, you can pick up the last remaining copies of The Red Road from Gosh London, Travelling Man Manchester, OK Comics in Leeds! Sneaky Business is still available to buy from my rather shiny Etsy store, as well as in Gosh, Orbital Comics and now Travelling Man.

And with The Red Road re-release getting ever closer, I’m slowly getting prepared for the two-day comic bonanza that will be Thought Bubble Festival! For those of you travelling to Leeds for the occasion, the comics festival at the weekend is looking absolutely spectacular. I’ll be in New Dock Hall on table 73b, with lots of lovely and talented people around as shown on the map! I have some exciting things up my sleeve for the event, so be sure to pop by and say hello if you’re in the area.

Finally, following the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer being released last week, (and subsequently having to sit through it multiple times) I decided my better half’s excitable squealing was too entertaining to pass up on as inspiration, so I put pen to paper and made him this. Pretty spot on, if you ask me! Anywho, that’s it for now. I need to feed myself something magical to run this cold out of town. Until next time, happy Halloween and stay spooky! x

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Spring is in the air! Oh no, wait, that’s rain.

Good evening one and all!

So, my prayers have seemingly been answered and a milder air has positioned itself over the UK, or at least – Northampton. Unfortunately that just brings a lot of rain, but at least I’m not being deafened by the sound of my chattering teeth! This past week has been another busy one, and even included a trip to Siberia! Kinda..

First things first, on Saturday I paid a visit to my favourite Manchester-based comic shop – Travelling Man! The ever-so-kind Haroon has taken on stock of The Red Road in his fine establishment, meaning that all of you Mancunians can pop on in, collect your numbered edition of The Red Road and also part with some more of your hard-earned money to visually stimulate your brain with the wonder that is visual narratives, in all its shapes and forms. Look! See!

The Red Road - on the shelves at Travelling Man Manchester!
The Red Road – on the shelves at Travelling Man Manchester!

Now that’s two places in the UK that stock The Red Road, and, as always, you can pick up a copy online via Etsy too. Whilst on the topic of The Red Road, yesterday marked the occasion of it being exactly one month since launch! In the past month I’ve packed up and sent out orders to many, successfully obtained my first review and managed to get stores to stock it in London at Gosh! Comics, and in Manchester at Travelling Man. As it stands, I have 42 copies left in my happy hands ready to distribute to any awaiting readers! In just under two weeks I’ll be hoping to sell some comics, postcards and other goodies to fellow students at a student market at the University Students Union, so keep your fingers and toes crossed everyone!

In other news, I’ve been making progress on a sci-fi themed narrative that is being shown via selected images and 3D objects, ready for a University exhibition on the 19th March! The exhibition is based on the theme of ‘Machines’, and us Illustration bunch plus some elective graphic design students are hosting our own exhibition on campus with our varying interpretations of the word machines. Naturally, I wanted to do a comic, but given the time constraints and exhibition end-goal, I’ve constructed a story around this theme, and a few key images will be displayed at the exhibition which may then lead onto a short story comic if I decide to take it further! For now, I’ll leave you with this sneak peek.. Can you tell what it is yet?

My biggest fan..
My biggest fan..

Ah yes, I mentioned Siberia at the beginning of this blog, didn’t I? On Saturday, aside from the Travelling Man fun, myself and my other half took a trip to the Manchester Museum to see their special exhibition on Siberia! After diving into Colin Thubron’s In Siberia a few months back I’ve found myself fascinated with this obscure place that’s one and a half times bigger than Europe (WOAH, right?!). Although I realise this is far from illustration-related, the exhibition is really interesting and definitely worth a look – it’s on until Sunday 1st March. I did spend a happy few moments trying to draw taxidermy lemmings at the exhibition too, so maybe keep an eye out for some lemmings creeping into my work at some point.. Alive ones, that is. The one saddening fact is that the Manchester Museum gift shop really lacked, so if anyone knows of any excellent books on the folklore and mythology of Siberia then let me know!

Finally, the creation of a zine amongst two of my fellow illustrator classmates (one of whom you can check out her Tumblr here) is coming along nicely! I mentioned previously that a university project led me to interview Hannah Berry, which will be super exiting to have her answers back in the coming weeks, but tonight I also sent off some questions to Northampton based comics creator and illustrator Melinda Gebbie, husband of the infamous Alan Moore! Fingers crossed these two interviews will be able to fit into our zine/journal nicely, with lots of other ideas up our sleeves. Fun times! Anyway, I think that’s it for now! And as my last piece of advice for this chilly Monday evening.. Don’t listen to what writers for The Guardian have to say, as they clearly don’t know where to look for excellent work. Thankfully, you can always rely on the comics creators picked on in such articles to have an excellent sense of humour. Over and out! x

Scott McCloud, our hero.

 

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