University of Northampton Illustration

Degree Show Launch

Good afternoon folks!

So, it’s pretty much all over. Yikes. The ‘student’ title I’ve begrudgingly had for the past two and a half years is slowly fading as the Degree Show is nearing close and graduation is only a month away. Putting together the degree show was quite the task, with the private view and launch party on Friday evening drawing in far more of a crowd than expected – always a good sign! Between putting the catalogue together and building a shop out of boxes, lugging heavy boards and painting portfolio stands it was all a bit of a blur.. But it’s done, and open to view every day until it shuts for good this Sunday 19th June.

Huge thanks to fellow graduate Naomi for letting my use her photos (above), and also helping to keep me sane over this past year! The degree show was entirely tutor-led by design, though a few of us took over creating and designing the catalogue. I can’t take any credit for the overall design, but I certainly put my InDesign skills to good use! A few of us also set up our own shop to sit outside of the room itself, selling a range of items; from my comics Njálla and The Red Road, to postcards, prints, and other students books and 3D items.

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Overall the feedback has been positive, and although it’s not exactly what I’d hoped from my degree show when I’ve walked around universities in the past, it’s been nice to have an end-point (and several glasses of wine) to celebrate. Apart from clearing out the show next week and graduation at the end of July, that’s pretty much it! You can find all the information about our Creative Curiosities degree show here on the event page, or the School of the Arts degree shows as a whole through the University of Northampton website here.

As my time has freed up a little between the degree show being completed and leaving the country for a few days I took the opportunity to do my yearly girlfriend duties of doing something for Chris whilst he’s away at Download Festival. Last year I created Rejsen for submission to Dirty Rotten Comics, and the year before that I made a Boba Fett piece for him, which I eventually turned into a poster. As for 2013 I have not the foggiest what I did, if anything, as I managed to accidentally erase my old Blogspot page with my old blogs from 2011-2014 a few months back (gutting, yes.. but on the plus side my old horrendously bad work is no longer available to find online). This year I decided to have a go at daily comics. Journalistic comics is something I’ve wanted to branch into for a while but never had the time, so I felt that this would be a great opportunity to give it a whirl and see how it felt.

To best understand the premise for the comic, here is the intro to be read in the Law & Order narration voice:

In June every year, Chris goes to Download Festival and I sit at home working.
This year, I am recording this exciting time in comic form.
These are my stories.

– DUN DUN –

Seven days. I managed a whole seven days. Go team! I’ll admit, I didn’t get to draw every day and some days had more catch-up than others, but it went pretty smoothly for the most part. I only used pencil, pen and acrylic ink for the whole thing and it’s VERY rough and ready as it was intended just to get my brain thinking rather than creating a masterpiece. Anywho, Chris let out some vague and hopefully not fake giggles when he read it, so I’ll take that as a positive sign. With my next immediate comics project coming up being a fresh submission to Dirty Rotten Comics for their 8th anthology it was a good thing to work in black and white again; it’s been quite a while since working sans colour, so definitely a wise move to practice again before developing a new short story. Plus, with DRC#8 due in just under two weeks I need to get cracking!

On a final note, this coming Saturday is the yearly Crouch End Cartoon Art Festival at Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End, London! I’m so sad to be unable to make it this year after I had such a blast last year, but holding fort on the Broken Frontier Small Press to Watch table this year will be Andy Oliver with a few others, and stacks of Small Press Yearbooks for sale! There are a whole host of other talented and wonderful folks including Richy K. Chandler, Wallis Eates and Avery Hill Publishing; so if you’re in the area pop on down and check out the talents on offer – it’s FREE! Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has written up a release all about the event, which you can peruse over here.

Anyway, that’s about it for now! Now that this student malarkey is almost over I need to spend every waking hour trying not to fail as an illustrator. Talk about pressure.. Happy Wednesday! Until next week, have a good ‘un everyone!

x

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Tales from the Broken Frontier Table

Good evening ladies and gents!

So, it’s been a nice and busy week as usual, and I think I’ve just about recovered from the fun that was CECAF this past weekend. I’ve still been busy on some top secret thingies, but all will be revealed soon…

CECAF (Crouch End Comic Arts Festival) had it’s second outing this Saturday just gone, finely crafted from the hands of Sean Azzopardi and held in Earl Haig Hall, Crouch End. The festival coincided nicely with the Crouch End Festival and a lovely sunny day to lure in the masses, and although it was a bit quiet at times it was a great day! I was kindly invited to be a part of the ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ Broken Frontier table, where I stood alongside Kingpin Andy Oliver, Emma Raby and Danny Noble (who shared a table with Matt Boyce). It really was a fantastic day, and sales-wise it was a vast improvement for me compared to TAKEOVER in early May. And we like sales, don’t we?

I sold six copies of The Red Road, more so than I could’ve hoped for! And the free print for the first four sales didn’t even seem to be a factor, which was pretty awesome. Though, probably confusing for the first four purchasers who I kept handing free stuff to. Huge thanks to Editor in Chief of Broken Frontier Andy Oliver for this fantastic opportunity! As always, Andy’s relentless support of the six of us UK small pressers is incredible, and I’ve been introduced to so many skilled comic’s folk because of it! After 5pm kick-out, we all headed next door to the pub where I filled my face with cheese and bacon fries and wine to end a very happy day with new friends. People have always said how friendly the comics community is, and I can confirm it’s truth.

Even the passing public were lovely, on a quick break I met some guys who have their own web-comics; Doppelganger web-comic by Thibault Kervarech, plus Kordurroi web-comic and Lonely Skeleton by João Duarte Siva. Web-comics is something I’ve never gotten into before, but seeing how people manage to keep up with these new-fangled things, I may have to give some sort of daily comic a go again!

In other news, this week sees the opening and launch of The University of Northampton’s Illustration degree show! Mixtape opens on Thursday evening from 5pm, where I shall be hovering about with free wine helping out with the degree show shop! I’ll be selling comics, zines and prints at the show, so hopefully my stocks of The Red Road continue to dwindle ready for round two’s re-release.

Also, for anyone interested Thought Bubble Festival tickets are now on general sale! The event runs over two days, 14th-15th November and I will be glued to my seat behind the half table all by myself for both days. So, really people who weren’t planning on coming should just pity-attend. Ticket’s can be purchased here!

Finally, I finished my entry today for AccessArt’s Share-a-Bird Project! The project sees entries from artists around the country, voluntarily sending in original artworks which are then dispersed amongst UK schools which join the programme. This is what the website has to say…

THE SHARE-A-BIRD PROJECT HAS TWO MAIN AIMS:

  • To celebrate and highlight the diversity of artists and makers in the UK today.
  • To demonstrate the importance of visual arts education for all.

I picked the male Bullfinch as it’s an all-year-round UK bird that apparently is pretty quiet and unobtrusive. Like myself! Also the colour of the dudes chests is just beautiful.. So here it is! I posted it off today, so hopefully at some point my Bullfinch will be inspiring generations to come at a UK Schools. The project is open to submissions until the end of August, so any creative friends who believe in the cause should definitely join in! My art education in school was boring to tears and in no way prepared me for college. Which I then just about passed. Thankfully it didn’t put me off, but children shouldn’t be discouraged from creativity. Creativity keeps the mind sane! Ish.

Anywho, that’s it for now. Time to dive my face into some cheesecake and hope that this cold-type-illness passes by tomorrow, as it’s going to be another busy week! Over and out.

 

x

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Machines

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

Ahh.. What’s that I hear? That’s the sweet sound of completed projects, essays, assignments and briefs.. The sound of stress-headaches slowly dissipating and being replaced with long-nights sleep and lessened under-eye bags (well….. here’s hoping). Although it’s not time to completely breathe a sigh of relief just yet, I’m now completely on top of my workload and ahead of the curve for remaining deadlines! It’s a smug and content feeling, I must admit.

One area that I’m happy to have completed is the Machines project, which launched as a part of a University based exhibition last Thursday. Us second year students were handed this brief at the beginning of the term, all we were given was the word ‘machines’, and we could interpret it in any way we envisioned. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I chose to incorporate a back-story narrative with the hope of possibly turning the idea into a comic one day. I’m not entirely sure I’ll take it any further, but it was fun to try out narrative in a different way! Below are some images of the exhibition in it’s finished stages, including some work from my fellow students.

 

01/03/2026

Two years ago, the Kepler 2 Telescope caught sight of an exo-planet displaying similar characteristics to our own planet Earth. Following this discovery, a curiosity rover had been to this new planet, newly named by NASA as the planet ‘Spyryt’. Sent through an open worm-hole, the Spyryt Curiosity Rover shuttle accelerated through time and recently landed on the barren wasteland. Nobody could have expected what images started to be sent back.

The following pictures have been sent from the Spyryt Curiosity Rover, and additionally the use of 3D printing has allowed samples to be sent back digitally, though testing is still incomplete. Spyryt’s desolate, dystopian landscape is being kept quiet from the public for now, but questions are being asked. And we don’t know how to answer them…

I had some interesting feedback from my peers and lecturer, general consensus seems to be that I should have increased the size of the newspaper articles, or made more – which is understandable. It’s hard to envision an exhibition in a space before it goes in, so looking at it on the wall it may have been better to have more/larger satirical articles. On the whole the feedback seemed to be positive (I think??), I knew what I wanted to do and I executed it to a good standard, and I can’t pick fault with any particular part, but I’m definitely feeling the void of having no particular character/protagonist. I approached the brief with a comic in mind, but due to the time constraints involved I couldn’t really focus on any of the story from back on Earth with engaging characters and things like that. But hey, I take is all as valuable experience. We had to incorporate a 3D element into our pieces, so that’s what the interesting pile of dirt, rocks, computer parts and medical supplies is! That was definitely fun, and apparently it counts as ‘art’. Maybe I should smuggle it into the Tate and see if I can sell it for some obscene amount of money to fund my next comic?

Talking of comics, after seeing the lunar eclipse on Friday I thought of my characters from The Red Road, and how I kind of miss drawing them. Is that weird? I like to think that it’s an understandable sufferance; as comics people spend so many ridiculous hours drawing the same characters over and over again, they kind of feel like dear friends at the end of it all. Maybe I’m just a romantic, but I thought of Bear and Coyote as I accidentally-tried-not-to-blind-myself from the beautiful, surreal sight of an eclipse mid-morning, and felt compelled to catch up with my old friends in this quick drawing/painting;

Image (10)

I didn’t have much time to draw and paint this one, but I’m thinking of maybe doing some limited prints for the festival season (if I’m successful.. I hope you’re all still keeping your fingers, toes and eyes crossed?) if people are interested. We shall see! As the University deadlines fade into history I remember that burning passion for drawing and that I have the whole summer to draw to my little hearts content! Yippee!

Now, as referenced with my excitement last week, the zine I’ve been working on with two fellow students is almost ready to be printed. We came up with a name, just final touches and printing to be done! Now, I’m probably biased, but this zine is going to be really interesting, and you should definitely be excited to see some previews next week before I put some up for sale on my Etsy store. Also, I’ve had to make another small zine in the past week for an assignment that’s being printed tomorrow. AND I have been plotting out a small one-pager comic for another zine I was asked to contribute on from the lovely Keara Stewart, which will be going on sale at zine fairs and selected stores in the coming months.. So lots of zine business bridging the gap before I can get working on the next story!

Anywho, I believe that’s it for now! I can’t relax too much – best get back to some Uni work before I forget something critically important. Keep your eyes peeled for next week, there will be ZINES EVERYWHERE! Peace out! x

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Happy March!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen!

So, it’s March already! I mainly know this as I emerged from my desk for a brief amount of time to celebrate turning 25 with a cocktail in one hand and cake in the other. True story! And yes, it was as good as it sounds.. Though, I’ve been informed that I need to cease smiling or looking surprised as the wrinkles will start to stick soon. On a cheerier note, I have lots to tell you all about this week! Where shall I start..

Ah yes – The Red Road! That pesky book I keep harassing everybody about! WELL, as I mentioned last week in my blog post, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier has featured me as one of Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, alongside Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian. It seems that Andy’s received quite a bit of attention from his article, and it looks like some exciting pieces will be coming up in Spring on the Small Pressganged section of Broken Frontier’s site! So, definitely worth watching out for that one – of course I’ll hold up giant, flashing neon signs to assist you all in the right direction. In also-awesome-news, the very kind Jared of OK Comics in Leeds has just taken on stock of The Red Road, so Leeds – you can now go and caress your very own copy! Although, preferably after purchasing, as I don’t think they allow non-spend-caressing..

okcomics

Further good news, is that on Friday myself and the incredibly talented papercut illustrator Naomi attended a University-led sales event, sharing a stall to sell our stuff! Given that it was a Friday, (and most students tend to be a little less inclined to attend their lectures surrounding the weekend.. Or any days ending with a ‘y’, for that matter) it was a fairly quiet few hours of selling – but the few people that did come round gave some positive feedback and I managed to sell a few more copies of The Red Road, and even some prints! The penguins print seemed to be very popular, so I shall have to make note to do more cartoony stuff for people to ‘aww’ at if they don’t know that they’re interested in comics yet.

Myself on the left, doing my very best sleep-deprived look, and Naomi on the right with her prints and papercut illustrations in the foreground!

 

All in all it was a fun day, and helped spread the word a bit! There should be some more events from October, so I shall get plenty of practise over summer, which leads me to…

Manchester! I am proud to be classed as an honourary-Northerner this year as I’m attending the indie comic event of MancsterCon! They describe themselves as follows…

MancsterCon is a voluntarily run organisation dedicated to bringing together the best of the independent sequential art scene in the North West. We organise seminars, artist meet ups and an annual convention through which we aim to highlight new talent in comics, illustration, animation and games.

MancsterCon 2015 will be held on 29th August at the University of Salford, Media City Campus. Tickets are available to buy here. If you’re interested in being a guest speaker or sponsoring our event, we’d love to hear from you!

I attended MancsterCon for the first time last year as a guest, which I covered in my blog here, and I really enjoyed the cosy feel of the event! I’m absolutely chuffed to be able to return this year selling The Red Road and other goodies, and I can’t wait to start putting together more bits to sell! You can read the announcement on their blog here, and purchase tickets here! I’m also excited to be exhibiting in the same space as the Merrick Comic guys, whose work is fantastic – I’m a bit behind the times as I only have issue one, so I’ll be looking forward to picking up the next few in August.

And finally, as I have been slowly working my way through University assignments, I’m making some decent progress with my Machines project I’ve mentioned a little bit about in the last couple of week! I don’t want to give too much away before the exhibition from the 19th (read all about it here!), so I shall leave you with one of my finished pieces for the project, which I gave you all a sneak-peek of a couple of weeks ago..

Oooh…. Machine-y..

 

For more information or to attend the event – see the Facebook page for more details! Anyway, I think that’s the latest for now.. For the rest of the week you’ll find me manically trying to get as much university project work done as possible, whilst trying not to over-caffeinate myself. Although I’ve had a very productive start to the week, so hopefully we’re all set for an excellent week. Must be the added wisdom of being a year older…. Peace out! x

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