UK Zines

Kickstarter Complete!

Good afternoon happy campers!

So, we’re done! As of Friday morning Njálla’s Kickstarter campaign finished with a whopping £2502 pledged from 139 lovely backers. WE DID IT! Thank you so much to all my wonderful backers, it wouldn’t have been possible without your keen interest in my story. It’s been an overwhelming 30 days and I’m still a little bit in shock from the whole campaign process. But, no time for that dazed nonsense, there is work to be done!

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I managed to get really organised and sent all the completed pages over to Rich at Comic Printing UK on Thursday of last week, so we’re ahead of schedule for the comic itself. Rich has worked his matte laminate magic and gotten some proof copies over to me at super-speed, so I’m working on some small final amendments before the final 250 copies are ready to fly out of the Comic Printing printer. This week I’ve also sent off my order for colouring books, prints and stickers, so you’ll all be glad to hear that everything is in motion.. Yippee! Organised is my middle name, don’tcha know.

In more exciting news, I’m very happy to reveal to you all… the cover! Kickstarter backers had the grand unveiling last week, so you’ll have to excuse them if they’re sticking their tongues out and going ‘nerr’ at you non-backers from behind their screens. Here it is:

Cover Preview

Exciting, right? Right?! I’m excited. Especially since receiving my matte laminate covered proof copies and seeing this in all it’s physical glory.. Swoon. In the coming weeks I’ll be working on original artwork and finishing up university assessment stuff, and then all physical backer pledges will be sent out the week prior to Njálla’s release. Time is drawing ever closer to Njálla’s release to the world, and that familiar terrified/exciting feeling is going to be a perma-fixture for the foreseeable future. Yikes!

In other news, this weekend is the highly anticipated Comica Comiket in London! On Saturday 14th from 11-6pm Comiket will be held underneath the Victorian glass-roofed shed between the House Of Illustration and the Central St Martins College of Art, not far from Kings Cross St. Pancras. As I’m just a couple of weeks shy of a new book release I didn’t apply for a table myself, however I’m joining in the fun at the Broken Frontier’s Six to Watch table to help promote and sell the Small Press Yearbook as well as selling some copies of The Red Road and Down to Your Skivvies zine! There will also be an array of Six to Watch comics for sale on the table, including the likes of Emma Raby and Rebecca Bagley. So, if you’re in or around London on Saturday pop down and say hi! The whole event is free and there’s loads of things to see and do as well as visit stalls, it’s shaping up to be an excellent event.

You can register your interest on the Facebook event page here or just turn up and have a wander. It’ll be awesome.

In other news, I’ve been taking some time to wind down after working on a couple of such hefty projects (both Njálla and the Unilever animation) to work on a short 1-pager comic for the upcoming volume 2 of Dead Singers Society! After the success of the first issue, of which I created a single page illustration of Muddy Waters, the gents at Good Comics have had their call for submissions out for a while in preparation for the second issue. I’ve only just had a chance to dive into this one, but I’m really excited to be creating a short comic for this particular dead singer. All will be revealed in time, but for now, here’s a sneaky preview of what I’ve been working on…

FullSizeRender (1)

If you fancy submitting for Dead Singers Society vol. 2 and you like to leave it last minute like I have, you still have time! Submissions end at 11pm on Sunday 15th, and for all the information and more from Good Comics you can head over to their Twitter page here.

Finally, in the madness of the Kickstarter it completely slipped under my radar, but I have now officially sold out of Sneaky Business! The short comics-zine I created with submissions from Pete Hindle, Samuel C. Williams, Alex Hahn and Peter James Norman last summer has flown the coop, with potential copies left in various stores around the UK (note to self: I should check on that). Now Njálla is reaching completion I’ll be looking into volume 2 of Sneaky Business, so although it won’t be for a little while if you’re interested in potentially contributing then get in touch (I sit alone at a desk all day, I could certainly do with a conversation that isn’t with myself).

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Assessment work needs to be done for next week and the kettle won’t boil itself. Keep an eye out next week for more visual goodness and a run-down on Comiket! Until then..

 

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Skivvies Launch, Residency, and More.

Good morning ladies and gents!

Crikey, is it really almost February already? January is usually referred to as the long month, and although it has been a bit cold/wet/blowy time doesn’t half fly in the most pinnacle term of the final year of my degree. Nothing like the smell of drying paint and caffeine in the morning! It’s been another hectic week here at HQ, to the point where I can’t quite believe that Laydeez do Comics was only just over a week ago, but low and behold it’s that time of the week again where I grace you all with my wisdom. Or something like that..

First things first, we have a launch date for Down to Your Skivvies Issue #2! After having to keep pushing it back over the past month or so, we’ve managed to coincide the launch with a University-planned residency taking place in Northampton town centre (more about that shortly). As I’ve mentioned before, the first issue of DTYS was released back in April 2015, with a long break between issues unfortunately down to trying to get everyone in one place at the same time. Reviewed by Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver back in September as a part of the Zinewatch feature, the first issue run of Skivvies sold out of current stock at the end of last year. Though, to coincide with the release of issue #2 we will have fresh stock of issue #1 ready for anyone who missed it! Issue #2, themed around WRITERS AND THE ARTS will be released at the NN Contemporary Project Space in Northampton on Saturday 6th February, from 4-6pm with the three of us creators there to talk about the zine and answer any questions, and from Monday 8th the zines will be available to buy from my Etsy store. Issue #2 is a good one.. More details to be announced nearer the time.

As mentioned above, next week will see myself and fellow Illustration students from the University of Northampton embarking on a residency within the NN Contemporary Gallery Project Space, working on experimental projects. Relating to but not directly involving our final major project work, from Wednesday-Sunday we’ll be creating wonderful things, giving talks, workshops and having open discussions in the attic space at NN. You can read all about the project space and our intentions here on the newly set up website/blog, and definitely come on down if you’re local! If you were reading last week and saw me mention making a lávvu, wondering what on earth I was on about.. Well, that would be for this project space!

fabric

I’d had this genius idea before Christmas to create a 3D element to the launch of my comic, and I’ve been organising bits and pieces well in advance so that I can make this idea a reality. Also, as a big-kid in a stressed mid-twenties body I’m really excited to have my own tee-pee structure to crawl inside when I want to escape from adulthood. Sounds amazing, right? The plan is to have my wonderful (I hope) lávvu next to my comic work (The Next Big Thing) in my degree show, giving a tactile and real element to my exploration into Sámi culture. And, a fortnight ago, armed with sketches and sleep-deprivation, I headed to Birmingham to meet my sewing-aficionado mum for an adventure in the famous indoor rag market. Above you can see some lovely fabric-y things just ready and waiting to be used for my tent-like structure, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more details..

Image from Broken Frontier
Image from Broken Frontier

In other news, as the flaming baton is passed from one bunch of creators to the other, Broken Frontier have announced their new Six Small Press Creators to Watch in 2016! They’ve picked some very talented folks this year, and speaking as someone who received a great deal of support and exposure thanks to being one of the Six to Watch in 2015, I can definitely say I’m excited to see what’s coming next from these ladies! Keep an eye out on Andy Oliver’s Small Pressganged if you’re interested in all things Small Press Comics, or even just wonderful artists and stories, because wonderful creators and creations are aplenty!

Finally, I’ve been busy working away on a commission for some awesome folks this week (to be announced soon), but also I’ve been getting stuck into the prelude for The Next Big Thing, as seen above. Work is slowly creeping out and taking over more of the room rather than being confined to the desk, and things are getting really serious now. Crowdfunding for The Next Big thing alongside it’s title will be released in the coming months, and final pages are starting to be drawn. Along with a handful of other projects, by Easter I will most likely be grey-haired and half made of coffee.. With that in mind, that’s about all I have time for this week! I will be back next week with lavvú business and more, so until then – have a good week everyone! Over and out.

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Hello, 2016

Good morning faithful readers,

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I trust everyone had a wonderful New Years Eve, as I did, though I hope all your New Years Days weren’t spent recovering quite as ungracefully as mine was. Somehow I managed to forget that I spend my life at a desk and barely ever drink, though an unappreciated two-day hangover reminded me.. New years resolution: party more than twice a year?

So, I’ve bobbed up to the surface from the depths of my dissertation to bring you all some wonderfully exciting news.. Down to Your Skivvies is back! At the end of this month, pending any hiccups, us Skivvies ladies – Zara Ward, Kamala Roberts and myself – will be releasing issue two of our illustration/comics/arts zine Down to Your Skivvies. The first issue was released back in April 2015, with an unplanned gap between issues purely down to University workload and summer vanishing before our eyes. However, we’re now back with issue two which will be better than ever! Here’s some of the bits I’ve been working on so far..

I really enjoyed working on Skivvies the last time; there’s something more relaxed and open about creating a DIY zine, printing and stapling it yourself for distribution compared to the highly detailed and often time consuming work of putting a comic book together. We have some great things lined up for Down to Your Skivvies #2, and with our theme of WRITERS, there’s plenty to get stuck into! As you can see from above we have short stories, a comic, bookmarks and even a very special guest interviewee, illustrated poems and lyrics, and more! As us ladies have all been off over the Christmas break we’re yet to have a date of release, but it’ll be around the end of January – as soon as I know, you’ll know! As before, DTYS will be available in person and online via my Etsy store.

Logos

In other news, as you may remember from a month ago with my announcement regarding Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier, on Monday 18th January I’ll be speaking alongside Broken Frontier’s Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver and Danny Noble of “Was it.. Too Much For You?” fame. Held at Gosh! Comics in London, I touched upon the great work Laydeez do Comics do and my involvement to date in my blog last month and also announced that I’d be painting the Gosh! windows in readiness for the event. That time is almost here! This week I’ll be making my merry way down to the Big Smoke to draw on some windows and try not to eyeball the people of Soho, which is probably easier said than done. I’m really, really excited to have been given the go-ahead for this project – it’ll be my first time drawing on window’s and I’m excited to see the results! Hopefully it’ll draw some extra interest for Laydeez do Comics, and act as something nice to entice more people into Gosh. As I’m working on this as a part of a university assignment I will be documenting it fully, so expect lots of photos next week!

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Speaking of the Laydeez do Comics evening, tickets went on sale on the 30th December and sold out in an incredible 24 hours! I guess that means the pressure is on to pretend that I’m actually interesting. My 15 minute slot is an exciting yet daunting thing..

Finally, in the past week since returning to work alongside Down to Your Skivvies I’ve also been working on more progress for The Next Big Thing. whilst it’s mainly been sketchbook work and character studies, things are moving quickly and I have all my characters sorted, ready to get cracking on some page development.. Woohoo! It feels so great to be working on an intense comics project like this again, with the story sorted and all that needs doing is lots and lots of drawing. Which happens to be my favourite thing to do, thankfully. (Apart from sleep. I really like sleeping. And eating. But apart from that, definitely drawing.) Here’s some sketches from the last week:

I’ve been trying really hard (as my tutors keep telling me to) to break out and try different materials and way of working, so I’m using this time to play about with how I’m working and develop the characters a lot further than I’ve ever developed for comics before. It’s a new and definitely worthwhile practice for me, and I’m so excited to see what comes in the process of working towards the final 40-page work of wonder – hopefully not too many paper-cuts, sweat and tears.

Unfortunately, for now I must return to the joys of dissertation writing. Thankfully my degree is largely practical (you’d hope so, being an Illustration course), which means my dissertation is only 5’000 words – however that doesn’t make it particularly easier. Next week I shall be back with a next-to-finished dissertation, painted windows at Gosh! and looking forward to the Laydeez do Comics evening.. Until next time!

x

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The Road to Thought Bubble

Good morning happy campers!

So, another week has vanished and The Red Road second edition has been released out into the big wide world! It’s been really exciting to revisit the book again and make it even better than last time, it feels like just yesterday that I was ingesting large amounts of caffeine to get the pages inked up in time. With copies now at both Orbital Comics and Gosh London, and the second edition’s first public appearance this weekend at Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, it’s time to persuade everyone that they really need this comic in their lives. The Red Road second edition is available online through my Etsy store, so off you go!

The Red Road – second edition in Gosh Comics! Alongside Sneaky Business, DRC#5 and A Bit of Undigested Potato..

As you may remember from the last week I’ve been having a crack at clay modelling, making Bear and Coyote for the re-release of The Red Road. Naturally, I got the comparative sizing completely wrong, and after my little creatures had dried they decided to crack. Hmph. HOWEVER, after some useful internet-ing I came across the technique of filling the cracks with fine surface filler before painting them, so off to the local cheap DIY store I pranced. After getting a bit fine surface filler happy, several painting errors and almost throwing a porcelain paint pen out the window, my lumpy, wonky spirit animals are complete!

Even in their lumpy, wonky forms I spent so long on the little darlings that I’ve become somewhat attached to them (not literally, thankfully), so I’ve decided to carry on and bring them to Thought Bubble Festival with me anyway. Because, well, for all the errors of my clay-ways, at least they actually stand on all fours. Small victories must be celebrated! So, if you’re in Leeds on Saturday for Thought Bubble and fancy seeing what it looks like when clay goes wrong, come swing by my table in New Dock Hall (73b)

Speaking of which, only three days to go until the Thought Bubble excitement commences! This weekend will see Leeds full of comic artists and creators, shifting around and giggling in boozy corners. For the entirety of Saturday and Sunday I will be selling The Red Road, Sneaky Business and a selection of prints, greetings cards and postcards amongst the countries finest, and even creators from overseas! Thought Bubble states that it’s the “largest event of its kind – an annual celebration of sequential art in all its forms, including everything from superhero comics to independent and small-press artists and writers”. With three exhibition spaces and further event rooms, the whole bonanza is taking place at Leeds Docks, in New Dock Hall, Royal Armouries Hall, and the Thought Bubble Marquee between the two. As you can see from this lovely map below, I’m down on the other half of table 73 next to Hello, how are you? and her adorable work, with fellow Art Aid Nepal Home artist Richy K. Chandler next to us on table 72. There is so much to see at Thought Bubble this year, and it’s all started already! I’m really excited to be there for the first time so please swing by and say hello if you’re in the area. Also, launching at Thought Bubble is my pal Samuel C Williams‘ new zine Dead Singers Society, with work from a whole host of people including Tim Bird, Alan Henderson and myself. For a complete breakdown of the new releases at Thought Bubble, there’s an excellent guide here from Broken Frontier, so be sure to check that out.

Finally, in amongst the craziness of preparing for the biggest comics event of my career to date (no pressure, of course..) I’ve also been working on all that university malarky. In amongst the essays and the presentations, the tutorials and the seminars and lots of emails I’ve been working on drawing up some designs for a Northampton based band. So far I’ve just been working on some roughs, but hopefully with some feedback I’ll be working towards one final design to be screen-printed onto a batch of t-shirts for the band to sell. How exciting! So far here’s just a peek of what I’ve been coming up with..

So, that’s it for now! As always I have a large pile of work beside me whispering at me and taunting me (not literally… yet) so hi ho and off to work I go. If you’re in Leeds for Thought Bubble this weekend then I’ll see you there! Until next week.

x

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I Amster-back.

Good morning Friday fans!

So, although a little later than normal, I am dutifully back with this week’s update on what’s been going on at the HQ. After returning from a short break to Amsterdam yesterday, I barely feel like I’ve been away for one day, let alone three. As my company for the trip were not particularly interested in the art side of things and the weather was a good eclectic mix of tourrential downpours and drizzle, we ended up just having a good ol’ wander around the city and stopping to eat as much incredible food as possible. Not bad, right? Oh, and the pancakes.. Be still, my beating heart.

Down to business, as some of you may or may not have seen, I gave my website a bit of a refresh last weekend. It was rather over-due, and if you waltz on over to my homepage you’ll see it looks a bit more snazzy and full of comic goodness. I changed some of the links and information too, so the Contributions page is a little more streamlined, with more information linked elsewhere. Phew! It was in desperate need of bringing up to date, and yet another thing crossed of my pre-University list.

So, we now have sections for the Top Secret Project (to be announced in the coming months… And it’s going to be REALLY good, I promise.), Sneaky Business, Rejsen as a part of Dirty Rotten Comics, and Locomotion as a part of A Bit of Undigested Potato. One of the good teaching points of University was that keeping your website alive and rejuvenated is very important.. If the homepage stays the same, it looks like I do nothing for months on end. And I can promise you, from my premature ageing and stress lines, that is most definitely not the case. Anyway, head on over to the home page for a little explore, and tell me what you think! It’s very comic-centred right now which is great, though I’m definitely looking forward to flexing my illustration muscles soon.

website

Speaking of which, I arrived home from rainy Amsterdam to a wonderful message from Eastfield Academy to say that they’ve received my Bullfinch! For those who are unaware, back in June I signed up for the Access Art Share-a-Bird project; the project was aimed at artists to create a bird in any medium, and donate it to the Access Art charity which would then send the birds out to schools in the UK who signed up for the project. As artists, we also got to write an inspirational message to the younger generation about how important art is, and it’s not all about stuffy old textbooks and things that happened centuries ago. It’s about making cool stuff and enjoying it, and a decent arts education helps. As I’ve said before, art in school pretty much bored me to tears; there was nothing engaging about drawing a still life of an apple as an 11-year-old Game Boy fanatic. Though, I’m lucky really, as those afternoons as a very young person drawing things in the garden with my mum taught me how much I wanted to be better (that same stubborn and competitive child is still inside somewhere). Here’s to hoping that my Bullfinch might inspire some small person, if only for a few hours.

 

 

Finally, last week I completed a piece for a friend of mine who is creating his own zine of comics, text and images around the theme of Dead Singers. The zine itself is being released to coincide with Thought Bubble Festival in Leeds, from 14th-15th November which I shall be attending with bells and whistles on. After some careful consideration and pondering, and having lists of names sent to me from my better half, I settled on Muddy Waters. Here’s a sneak preview of my finished stand-alone illustration for the project. Thanks to Sam for letting me be involved!

Anyway, that’s it for now! I have an exciting project coming up to get my teeth stuck into, and the third year of university awaits.. Until next week!

x

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