UK indie comics

Mad March

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

So, it’s been a little while hasn’t it! My apologies for failing to live up to the ‘blog-a-week’ expectations, but unfortunately it’s been rather busy here at HQ and my assistant seems to be hibernating.. Can’t get the staff, I tell you. Regardless of how busy it’s been in the past couple of weeks, there have also been some rather awesome things happening and taking shape! And, as we struggle into March my deadlines are looming closer – which is obviously a bit of a pain, but it means that a large chunk of work will be over soon leaving me to focus on my comic and other fun stuff.

Firstly, and most importantly, this past Friday saw the launch of local Northampton band Jagged Little Thrills new EP ‘The Last Alibi’. AND, what I couldn’t tell you before is that after I designed their t-shirt for them they kindly asked me to design their EP too! I was absolutely over the moon to have the chance to work on a whole CD wraparound cover and inside, and it was such a fun project to work on. The guys gave me an outline of the kind of thing they wanted with some always appreciated creative freedom, and back in January I finished up the design and sent it over. Low and behold, the day finally arrived on the Friday 26th February where I turned up to their launch gig to see people wearing the t-shirt I drew, and a stack of CD’s with the artwork I created. It was surreal! And wonderful. Definitely wonderful. I was kindly given my t-shirt and a copy of the album, and here they are…

How exciting! It really was such a fun night (although I accidentally ate myself into a semi food-coma just before with an impressive burger) and so amazing to see my work printed up and sold. Huge thanks to Jagged Little Thrills for having me involved in their album, and if you’d like to check out the album for yourself you can visit their Facebook page here, with their EP on iTunes here. Also, if you’re after a preview you can listen to previews of some of the tracks for free on Soundcloud too, so be sure to check them out! Here is my tired, happy face grinning like a numpty when I spotted a poster up a few days before the gig.

In other news, amongst all the fun of assignment work I managed to find a smidgen of time to create a short one-page comic for OFF LIFE 13! OFF LIFE is, taken from their website as they say it far better than I could attempt to, “the UK’s only street press comic. We publish a magazine full of indie comics and illustration to help showcase the art form and the incredible talent working within it.” It’s also a huge deal. OFF LIFE features some of the biggest names in comics in the UK and is not only available to read for free online, but also distributed around free-to-read in bars, cafés, and more. Whether my submission gets in or not, I’m not overly confident due to the volume of amazingly talented people who get featured.. But y’know, as always, fingers crossed! And as I always like to give you guys something, here’s a preview;

What else, what else.. Oh right, The Next Big Thing! My comic is still well under way, and today I’m working on drawing up and inking pages 27-30. With the actual story content being at 34 pages, there’s not much more to go now – scary! That being said, the process of colouring such a high volume comic compared to what I’m used to is a whole new mission in itself, and before I even get onto that I’ll be drawing up fill-pages and redrawing up any panels where I’ve made mistakes or want to have another go at something. It’s been a really different experience to work on so many pages (I realise this must sound a bit silly to those who’ve drawn 100 pages + graphic novels), but I’m so excited and nervous to see what people think! The Kickstarter campaign will start in the next few weeks to coincide around the same time of the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook release, so by that point the majority of the book will be done and it’ll just be finishing touches whilst hopefully getting the money together to get it printed!

Anyway, enough of the finer details, here are some more previews!

Phew! Busy busy. Apart from that I’m still working on the animation for the Creative Conscience awards, and my dissertation too, but after a relaxing weekend and birthday celebrations yesterday I’m feeling somewhat refreshed and ready to crack on! I shall be back next week with more progress on The Next Big Thing and more, but until then.. Have a good week all!

x

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The Secret Plans Continue..

Good evening faithful readers!

So, another week has vanished and August is ebbing closer. Words cannot express how much of a dire need I am in for a holiday, and in just under three weeks my wish will be granted. Up until that point I’ll be extra busy on my final two top secret projects…

In an excellent turn of events, great news has come my way! My two-page comic Rejsen, mentioned previously in my blog here, has been accepted to appear in Dirty Rotten Comics‘ Summer Anthology! I am absolutely THRILLED to be included, which will be released around mid-August. Happy days! Work hard and good things will come… in short, sporadic bursts, that make this job all the more worthwhile.

So! Back to the hard work malarkey; work has continued on the sneaky and interesting project I mentioned here last week. As I mentioned before, this project has some friendly faces involved, and I’m thrilled to give you a sneak peek of some work! Last week was a preview of my work and also Alex Hahn’s, this week I bring you an exciting snapshot from Samuel C Williams and Peter James Norman!

Samuel C Williams
Samuel C Williams
Peter James Norman
Peter James Norman

This is one secret that will be revealed on next week’s blog.. So, keep your eyes open, it’s something to look forward to! Well, maybe not, but pretend it is, yeah?

Another super thing is that us Ladies of the Zine are in the process of creating issue #2 of Down to Your Skivvies! How exciting, right?! Our first issue is still on sale, so be sure to pick up a copy if you haven’t already. It’s great. And I’m not biased. Honest.

Finally, good news everyone! MancsterCon‘s early bird tickets are available until the end of this month! By purchasing an early ticket you get the extra discount and a free goodie bag! Plus, you get to see my face, which will either help the situation or put you off immensely. Either way, pop on over and pick your ticket up from here for the BEST indie comic-con in the North West, in the lovely Manchester on the Saturday 29th August. Don’t forget I’ll be on the “So you want to get into Comics?” panel with Tom Ward, Chris Welsh, Andrew Tunney, and Debbie Jenkinson where you can watch me pretending to know what I’m talking about. What could be better?

I think that’s it for now, my weekly Wednesday early start looms, so I’d best get into bed and listen to the soothing sounds of children playing and people having fun whilst I try and sleep. Over and out!

x

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Rejsen

Good evening happy campers!

So, the Great British Summer has decided to show up for once with temperatures sky-rocketing to 30 degrees celcibob here in Northampton. How lovely! You wouldn’t normally be able to tell from my 10-months a year cadaverous complexion, but I do enjoy some lovely sunny weather. I’ve been able to go sock-less for the whole day, for the first time since about 2012 (not that I’ve worn the one pair for that long, I assure you)! However, it’s all very well for me to enjoy my day of admin business, comic planning and a quick sunbathe-out-the-window on my day off, I’m sure I’ll be complaining along with the rest of Britain by tomorrow morning when I’ve been moving cages of stock for 4 hours.

Anyway! Last week, and the week before that, I’d been working on a two-page comic submission for the Summer Anthology from Dirty Rotten Comics. Taken from their own shiny website, this is what they’re about;

Dirty Rotten Comics is an alternative comics anthology, published four times a year.

We are committed to supporting small press artists from the UK who have something pertinent to say. We believe that artistic merit is founded not just on aesthetic quality, but on high-quality writing, risk-taking and commitment. Weird, funny, satirical, surreal; whatever the angle, we are interested in giving exposure to artists of all kinds, regardless of their status or experience.”

Risk-taking? Why, that’s my middle name! She says, sitting in a bubble drawing comics… Anywho, I was pointed in the direction of Dirty Rotten Comics by the Patron Saint of Small Press Andy Oliver from the church of Broken Frontier (interview here). Previous artists to contribute include the athletic table-clamberer Danny Noble, and Jess Milton, both fellow Six UK Small Press Creator’s to Watch in 2015, so I thought I’d best join in the fun! Here it is;

 

Sneak Peek!
Sneak Peek!

For this short-story I decided to focus on something a more reality-based; my other half and our long distance relationship. What a cheesy story, I know right? Ew. Well, we were in the midst of a particularly long stretch of not being able to see each other, and with him being somewhat occupied with heavy music and copious amounts of beer I wanted to tell our story from travelling aspect. Mine, to be precise. Because let’s face it, being stuck on the M6 is far less interesting than being surrounded by the sights and sounds of public transportation. Henceforth, Rejsen was created (for those interested, Rejsen means The Journey in Danish)! Initially I’d planned on a four-page story, but after some umm’s and ahh’s I realised it could be nicely compressed and edited down to two pages, probably making it far more interesting and punchy. The submission guidelines for Dirty Rotten Comics insist on black/white/grey, so I didn’t have to worry about a colour scheme in particular, but chose to instead take a very contrasted approach.

I’m not sure yet whether I’ve been successful in my submission, only time will tell! But for now, above you is a preview of part of page one, and some snapshots of the drawing pre-colouring. I opted to lose a lot of the background detail to make way for the storyline, in-keeping with the love n’ stuff. Thankfully my other half likes the comic (or at least said he does), so half the mission is complete, the rest is down to the judgement of the Dirty Rotten Comic guys! All in all, job well done.

In other news, other top secret business has been progressing well, to the point that I’ll be able to reveal some more secrets from under my invisible hat next week. I did however get confirmation from AccessArt that my Bullfinch had appeared in the post, and I got this snazzy badge to show for it, check it out;

 

Share A Bird Project

That’s about it for now! I’m working on another short comic this week, alongside the top secret stuff which I can hopefully start divulging more information in next week’s bundle of fun. Until then, over and out!

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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