Unilever Bright Futures

9 Days and Counting

Good afternoon happy campers,

So, another week has vanished.. Paint has been splashed, brushes have been accidentally dipped in tea, and the bags under my eyes have been growing ever darker. It must be nearing the end! That’s right folks, I’m painting up the last batch of pages for Njálla and my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards is complete and submitted, plus it’s almost May which means my final degree assessments are looming. That said, I don’t have time to panic as there’s too many exciting things going on!

This Friday sees the UK launch of the Kickstarter-funded Broken Frontier Anthology alongside the launch of Broken Frontier’s Small Press Yearbook, at Gosh! Comics in London. From the anthology side of things there will be super-talents Alison Sampson, David Hine, Edie OP, I.N.J Culbard, Jamie Coe, and Mark Stafford signing copies of the mega 250-page hardback book. From the Small Press Yearbook side of things, all of us ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ will be there signing copies; Adam Vian, Alice Urbino, Danny Noble, Emma Raby and Jess Milton, (and yours truly) alongside the man in the hat who made it all happen – Editor in Chief Andy Oliver.

As I mentioned last week, articles are being launched in the run up to the release of the Small Press Yearbook featuring interviews and insights from each of us Six to Watch! With Jess‘ being the first to come out last week, next it was my turn to pretend to sound wise. You can read my interview with Andy Oliver here, the third interview with Danny Noble here, and fresh off the press fourth interview with Emma Raby here! If you’re in or around London and fancy popping along to the signing event, it will be held at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street, Soho from 7-9pm. Which reminds me, I’d best practice my doodles… If you’re unable to attend on Friday evening, Gosh! Comics can arrange for a copy to be put aside for you (mail order available: UK postage £5, International postage available on request) – email info@goshlondon.com to sort it out with them.

So, that’s all rather exciting! In other news, I’ve been continuing to work away on painting the remaining pages of Njálla ready to send to print next week! The Kickstarter campaign is growing ever stronger, and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has contributed to help make Njálla a real, physical comic. Alongside all that painting and scanning business, I’ve been looking into ways of using the extra pledge money to help give back. Although I have some sneaky things up my sleeve, one thing I will say is that I’m looking at better, stronger packaging than what I’ve previously used for shipping, and other exciting things like that. It’s all go! But, I realise the finalities of postage and packaging aren’t really of interest to anyone but me, so here’s some more sneak previews of completed pages:

I also finished up the Njálla-themed colouring book this past weekend, FREE for all physical pledge backers – woohoo! The A5, 12-page colouring book has images and scenes from the comic, but I’ve also created some new work to go in as well, just to make it all the more exciting.That’s another thing crossed off the list and ready to be sent to print after the Kickstarter campaign has come to a close.  The rest of this week is dedicated to finishing up the remaining six pages and working on the non-story pages, which will take me into next week.

Finally, I completed up my animation for the Creative Conscience awards earlier this week. After re-learning how to use Adobe After Effects I managed to do some tweaking and get it ready to convert to film, for submission. It’s certainly been a challenge to create an animation for the first time rather than just a short looping .gif, but it’s certainly been a lot of fun to create. The category it’s for is the Unilever Bright Futures campaign, so fingers crossed..

Phew, it’s been a busy week (month..year..three years)! I think that’s about it for now, I’d best get back to this painting malarky. Remember, there’s 8 days left to pledge for your digital or physical copy of Njálla plus freebies, so if you haven’t already you can pledge here. Have a good Wednesday, everyone. See you next week!

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Bright Futures

As a submission to the Creative Conscience Awards 2016, I created a 24-second animation for the Unilever Bright Future campaign. Although my entry was unsuccessful, this project has been my first longer length animation project and I’ve learnt a lot that can be applied into future projects.

The full length animation can be seen here

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The Half-Way Mark

Good afternoon radiant readers.

So, is it Wednesday again already? It’s been another busy week here at HQ, juggling painting and scanning comics pages, finishing up and painting the frames for animation, and important, final degree things like portfolios and such. In the whirlwind that has been the last 2 and a half years, it’s now only four weeks until my final assessment and somehow everything in falling into place. It’s a busy time, but thanks to my militaryesque organisational skills and copious amounts of camomile tea I’m raging through like a woman on a mission.

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently working away each week painting pages, scanning them in, tweaking and slotting into place ready for printing. At an efficient rate of 10 pages a week, I’m comfortably on track at the half-way mark for the campaign, which has now been funded beyond double my original project goal! Heartfelt thanks to all my wonderful backers, and those new backers who know it’s fully funded, but are still pledging away regardless (Royal Mail are going to absolutely love me come May/June time). If you are a backer, you’ll know that you get exclusive updates and work-in-progress images before anyone else.. If you’re not a backer yet, you can either head over to Kickstarter and pledge now, or keep an eye out on this here blog for all the news a few days later. Here’s what you may have missed:

It’s so exciting to see Njálla come together in its final form, plus spending any spare time I have on the free colouring book for backers I’m getting more and more eager for the launch. Ahhh!

In other news, after all the excitement of the Kickstarter had subdued slightly I have been back to finishing up my animation for the Creative Conscience Awards submission, which I’m doing alongside Njálla as part of my final illustration portfolio for University. Although I was on track for completing this animation for the original deadline of the 7th April, it was a bit of a relief when they extended it to the end of this month so I had more time to spend on it and tweak it. Now, as any dedicated readers will be aware, I haven’t said a huge amount regarding this animation as Njálla has ultimately been the bigger, longer project, and the bearer of my soul for the past 6-7 months. However, this animation has been a huge undertaking for me, not only as it’s been juggled alongside other projects, but also because my experience in animation is pretty small.. Before I’ve only ever created short looping gifs, whereas this is a full 4-frames a second, 20 second animation.

Above is a short preview of the finished animation in part, as all the work is finished and scanned but I just have some finishing touches to work on digitally before submitting. Mainly, it’s a bit jumpier than I’d like it to be, so it needs smoothing out with some sneaky-tweaks. It’s all a learning curve! A steep, jagged, tiring learning curve.

In other very exciting news, after the announcement last week for the launch party of Broken Frontier’s Anthology and Small Press Yearbook, pre-orders for the Yearbook are now open! I am so excited for the release of this incredibly special collection, and as one of the featured comics creators from the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 I’m even more excited for Afloat to see the light of day! Working on that 10-page comic last summer was so much fun, and I really enjoyed stretching my story-writing muscles by tackling a 10-page slice of life tale.

If you’re not in or around London for the launch party at the end of this month (see more details in the Facebook event here), then you can pre-order your copy of the Small Press Yearbook, featuring Afloat, from the online store here. Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier, Andy Oliver, has had a strong ethos for this book from the start:

“To fully embrace the philosophy of this venture 40% of the Broken Frontier Small Yearbook‘s print run will be distributed as comp copies. This includes Yearbooks sent to comics publishers, commentators, activists and industry figures in order to introduce them to the work of Hathaway, Milton, Noble, Raby, Urbino and Vian.

The remaining number will be priced at as accessible a price point as feasible to ensure as many readers as possible discover the comics of the original Broken Frontier ‘Six to Watch’. To make that a reality this 100-page book will retail for just £6.00 for 83 colour and black & white story pages!”

– Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier – Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2016 – Pre-Orders Now Open!

You can read the full article about the Yearbook here, with the details of the additional, supporting contributors here, and the pre-order release post here. In the run up to the aforementioned launch party at Gosh! Comics, Broken Frontier will be running exit interviews for us Six to Watch too, with the first article for Jess Milton coming out earlier this week – definitely worth a read. With copies of the Yearbook available from the end of April and Njálla released in early-June, I hope you’re all ready for some new reading material!

I think that’s about it for now! The kettle is calling my name (worrying, I know) and I have plenty to keep me busy for the rest of the day. Rest assured I will be back next week with (hopefully) a finished animation and more previews from Njálla! Until next time.. Have a good week everyone!

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Breathing Space

Good afternoon wonderful readers!

So, it’s time to temporarily relax a little. Formative assessment at Uni is over as of yesterday (as in, the important non-marked one before the REALLY important marked one in May), and the long Easter weekend is on the horizon.. A magical time consisting of three days away from my desk in the northern lands of Leeds drinking cider and eating cheese. Wonderful stuff. Although this one assessment is completed, the work is far from over! Having spent two days collating my work for presentation I’m eager to get back to working on The Next Big Thing and finishing up the remainder of my other project work.

This week I’m also getting to work on my Kickstarter campaign! As I mentioned last week, the launch for my Kickstarter will be on 6th April, so I have two weeks to film and edit a charming video persuading you all to back this project, for the good of mankind.

Funding Campaign3

This is the first project I’m trying to raise funds for through crowdfunding, so it’s an interesting experience to have to wave my face in front of a camcorder when I’m not particularly the most camera-friendly person these days. Back in those 2000’s Myspace days, now that was another story! But now, with age comes a resentment with most forms of camera implements being thrust in my face, unless of course I force it just so family members online can remember what I look like whilst hiding away in my drawing cave. But, regardless of this I will be gracing the screen. According to lots of online-people, crowdfunding pages with videos are far more successful than those without, due to people wanting to know who they’re supporting. So there you have it, taking one for the sake of this comic.

Before working on all the assessment business took over for a few days, I spent some time gathering together my work and photocopying and scanning everything. The photocopies of all the pages are for practice painting – getting a feel for the colour palette before I take to the originals, because I’m a sensible soul like that. I also, before even reaching for my paintbrush, worked on some really terrible digital rough colouring with the scanned pages. I’m not going to show you those, because they look awful – they’re just something I use for reference in working out the colours per spread and how they work together as progressing through the book. Below on the right is also an exciting new development; I printed the uncoloured pages that I’d scanned in, to size and in order to make a little booklet with the correct number of pages to work out the remaining, non-story pages. How exiting! This means for the first time I have a readable copy of the comic which I entrusted my loving partner to read to see what he thought now it was all together. I heard a few giggles, so I’m taking that as good news!

In other news, work has progressed on the Unilever Bright Futures Competition I’ve mentioned a few times before. I realise updates on this particular project have been few and far between, but as it’s my first longer-length animation I’ve been working through it in a methodical fashion and finished up all the pencil work last week. It’s not much to show yet, looking primarily like a stack of 64 pieces of A5 paper with a pencil drawing on each.. However, the painting will be the turning point of it all. Here’s a bit of a look at 9 of the 64 frames being used for this animation, and a snapshot of the colour palette I’ll be working with. Creative Conscience have actually extended the deadline from the 7th April to the 28th, so it gives me a bit more breathing space to make the animation work digitally. As it’s all pretty new to me I’m hoping I have some beginners luck and it all comes together nicely. Fingers crossed!

Finally, I spent a little time yesterday afternoon winding down from assessment by making this little Easter Bunny. Or, as I learnt in Danish, Påskeharen. It was fun little animation to work on – so I hope you all enjoy it too! So on that note, I hope those of you who can enjoy a four-day weekend enjoy it, and those of you who will still be working get extra lovely chocolatey treats to make it worthwhile! I’d better hop back to it – until next week!

Easter-Bunny-gif2

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