It’s October! How did that happen? It’s suddenly very rainy and gloomy in my part of the world, and although it’s not quite the weather for thermals yet, I feel vaguely prepared for it to arrive.
It’s been a little longer since my last blog than I’d planned, but that’s due to being INCREDIBLY busy getting ready for…
The Good Comics Kickstarter!
For the past few months, we three of Good Comics have been preparing like mad for our first-ever Kickstarter, and it’s all coming together nicely. The campaign is due to launch on Monday 6th October, featuring brand new books from RAMZEE, Natasha Natarajan, Emre Altındağ and Niki Bañados, as well as a new Good Comics Reader vol.2 featuring some of our Good friends we’ve published or distributed over the years.
Having run a couple of Kickstarters before for Njálla and Moon, I’ve gone into it knowing it’s a lot of work, but launching one for 5 books has been pretty intense! Thankfully Paddy, Sam and I have an excellent working relationship/huge supply of inside jokes, so we’re totally rocking it.
The campaign preview page should be up in a couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled!
In other news, between work and the Good Kickstarter I’ve been working on getting my weekly comics ready for print. Although it’s been a ridonculously busy month, adding in a little panel painting here and there is easy to fit in, and the book itself 90% finished now.
It’s also really satisfying to see it come together. I’m really excited to be able to share it with you all soon! Here’s a sneak peek of what an early spread looks like.
The only obstacle I have left is the release, as it’d be difficult to launch anytime soon without being overshadowed by the Good Comics Kickstarter. So, unfortunately, I will be pushing back the schedule slightly, but I will keep you all updated with when it will be coming out.
Finally, I’m excited to have had my latest paper delivery to start on the Autumn-Winter 2020 sketchbooks! Can you believe it’s that time of the year already?
I think that’s it for now! Make sure you’re following Good Comics via Twitter, Instagram or our newsletter to get first-hand info on the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, and I’ll be back with news soon!
It’s September apparently, and there seems to be some vague sense of normality returning to this very weird world we’re living in. The kids are in school, Zoom meetings are the norm and libraries are open. And as the seasons shift again, the evenings are getting much shorter and the nights cooler here. Autumn is in full swing! (Click here to hang onto summer that little bit longer with the spring-summer 2020 sketchbooks, now on sale)
So, what’s next? I’m glad you asked.
After a very busy month-or-so working with AccessArt on their DrawAble campaign, I’ve been diving head-first into some really exciting projects. One of which is finishing up my Weekly Comics (still yet to be named, d’oh).
I’m just about ready to start painting the extra pages, which is a pretty mammoth task in itself. But, once this is done I’ll be very near to completing the book and getting it ready for print. Woop! Above and below are some of the inks I’ve been working on pre-paints.
In other news, I’ve picked back up on working towards writing my next book. Exciting stuff! I’ve mentioned before about working on a big book, and this one I’m allowing plenty of time to get my ideas down and explore what the story could be. Part of figuring out the story is getting all of my random tangents of ideas down on paper, so this week I’ve started the process of hashing everything out with a pen and trying to build on some of the stronger ideas and see how these various bits could combine together. It’s like dumping the contents of your bag out and trying to decide whether it all needs to really be in there or not.
Part of the figuring out process has been drawing on inspiration in the unknown, and after a few really busy weeks I took some time out to wander around Bristol and recharge my creative batteries. It was so very needed!
Once I have something more substantial I’ll start sharing, but for now it’s all staying very close to my chest.
And finally, big happenings are on the horizon at the collective Good Comics HQ (not to be confused with GCHQ). I can’t reveal any full details yet, but it’s going to be really good… Keep your eyes peeled for announcements in the coming weeks.
How is it late July already? Time flies when you’re arduously hiding indoors from a worldwide pandemic and mass society-engrained, systemic racism.
In other news, it’s been busy here at HQ! I’ve been working away at the extended version of my weekly comics, which will be made into its own standalone story (see the work-in-progress image at the top). At Good Comics we updated our submissions guidelines for creators and have been working towards our late-2020 releases. AND I’ve been working with AccessArts on their upcoming DrawAble project for September.
See – busy! So, lets start from the top.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I’m really excited to be releasing my weekly comics in the form of a brand new printed comic, for sale later this year. I haven’t released a new book since Rocks last year, so it definitely feels overdue.
I wrote a blog about my techniques and methods behind the weekly silent comics project over on the Good Blog – you can read it here!
The collection is yet to be named, but whilst I’m working away on extra pages and panels to pull the story together, I’m also conscious that most of my previous printed releases are monosyllabic… Maybe it’s time to get a bit more creative? Watch this space!
It was a little complicated to find our submission guidelines before, so we’ve streamlined the process. Generally speaking, we’re looking for great stories by creators who have a distinct art style, and a distinct voice that we’re able to nurture. If you’re making comics and don’t have the funds to release your first book, or you’re needing support in making the leap to self-publishing, talk to us!
Last but definitely not least, I’m currently working with AccessArt on their latest project for young people; DrawAble. I took part in their Draw-A-Bird project years ago, submitting art to be sent to Primary Schools around the UK, so I’m thrilled to be working with them again.
DrawAble, in their words, is “a series of resources to help primary schools deliver an inspiring and appropriate curriculum for pupils working at home and in classroom bubbles due to the Coronavirus.” By working with them, I’m creating my own resources to help kids create artwork and comics in the new “normal”, and these resources will all be available online for free from September.
I won’t give too much away just yet, but I did end up making a dumb comic about bread as an example of how comics can be anything you want them to be:
Maybe there’s a new subsection of my work that will include pun-based comics? Who knows.
We’ve made it. We’re 349’650 days into lockdown and I am struggling to know what day it is. I have however, set up a structure for me to go for a run every 3 days as it coincides with needing to wash my hair, so that’s something.
I’m still having a lot of fun with these comics, and I genuinely am so glad I started them. With another 3 week’s pages planned until the finale, I will then be looking at printing the final collection in a small run for sale later this year. Sound good? Excellent.
This season’s colour scheme is green and gold, with a nice neutral paper throughout scattered with some low-opacity paper, lightweight speckled paper and a beautiful glistening paper. As with AW19, I’ve designed and hand-carved a stamp for the books, modelled on my monstera plant.
Sketchbooks will be going up for sale tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to see when you can grab a copy. These are a very limited run, so if you’d like one, be quick!
And that’s about it for now! Head over to the Good Comics blog for some fun Quarantine Q&A interviews with our creators Claire Spiller and Gareth A Hopkins, as well as a handful of other things to keep you occupied. Until next time!
We made it to May! I hope everyone is safe and well despite the obvious coronavirus-shaped elephant in the room. The longer our lockdown goes on, the harder it is to have anything new or positive to say. Nevertheless, remember to look after yourselves the best way you can, whether that’s marathoning box sets on tv or training for a marathon.
I’m still maintaining my goal of one comic a week, which I’m glad for! This last week I finished it a few days earlier (harder than it sounds…) and released it through the Good Comics blog. and shared all the comics in order this far.
Here are week’s 4 and 5 below, to get you up to speed:
After week 4, I decided to make a dumb poll on Twitter to see what everyone wanted to see included next. Thankfully the people voted for clearly the best option!
I’m starting to get into a good routine with these weekly comics, and I have the rest of the ‘story’ mostly mapped out. It’s still a useful challenge for me, and I’m looking forward to showing you all week 6 (when it’s done). Watch this space!
Rocks was very much a project of discovery and realisation about the way I make comics. Between finishing Moon and starting Rocks (note to self: consider more than just one-word titles for future books) I’d hit a wall with creating, and pushing myself through to the end of Rocks was tough yet rewarding. I’m very grateful for the information I gained from the BNSS, and Rocks will always be the one which helped me learn to pick up a pen again and restart my journey, releasing some of that pain I was feeling in Sparenting.
Lastly, you’ll be glad to know that I’ve started work on my next seasonal sketchbook! The remaining autumn/winter books have now fully sold out, and I will be finishing up spring/summer in the coming week or so.
Low and behold, I’ve managed to keep up my weekly comics! I completed my third week comic at 22:45 on Sunday night, so it wasn’t completely down to the last minute… but near enough. Take a look at week’s 2 and 3:
It’s been a fun challenge to work on, and in a similar mindset to Rocks last year, I didn’t initially write a storyline for this. I drew the living room, the bedroom, and in the third week, the entrance to my flat building. Oh, and my beat-up old Vans. The epitome of lockdown drawing.
BUT! I have been working on telling a story through the transition of colour more so than my usual approach, which uses one solid colour palette for the whole project. For example, Moon was peaches, blues and neutral tones, whereas Njálla was blues and greens with a touch of neutral, and Ø was bright pinks, yellows and turquoise. Cosmos & Other Stories is the exception to the rule as it was a collection of shorts, but there was an underlying general palette running throughout.
As it stands, each of the weeks have been pretty different so far, so keep an eye out for number 4 coming out this week (possibly around 11pm on Sunday again, if I don’t get started soon…)!
In other news, I’m currently running a sale over on my online Etsy store! As lockdown continues people are starting to feel their mental and physical health decline as a result of being stuck inside, and the temptation to go outside seems to be pretty overwhelming. So, stay home and read comics! Or make them. Or both.
Everything in my store is 15% off until Sunday 3rd May, including sale items. Use coupon code STAYHOME15 and treat yourself to something. Go check it out! I’m down to the last few copies of Njálla, the Njálla colouring book and Rocks, so be quick.
To put your minds at ease, all my packaging is done safely at home, and postage is purchased online and printed here too. All my comics fit in letterboxes, so I am able to socially distance fully to get orders to you. Safety first!
Finally, I just wanted to have a quick shout about the incredible Raze by Claire Spiller, published by Good Comics. It’s a beautiful comic about old Gods and our role in looking after nature and the environment. We were delayed by the coronavirus, but Raze has now arrived and all orders are being sent out sharpish. I can’t recommend it enough, and if you’d like to get your hands on a copy please visit the Good Shop.
Welcome back! The calendar has ticked over to April and we’re in the midst of a worldwide pandemic (in case you weren’t already aware). I hope you’re all safe and well wherever you are.
Now we’re all settling to a new normal of being inside, it’s really time for me to get back into writing. So here it goes! Here’s what I have for you today:
Start of spring sketchbooks
Quarantine drawing challenge & free comics
1. Spring sketchbooks
Remember a few months ago I made some autumn-winter sketchbooks? Well, they’re soon to be back with the next season: Spring-Summer 2020! Back in late-February, I picked up some new papers from the magical Shepherds fine papers in London especially for the next set of sketchbooks. My new prized papers have been sitting quietly waiting to be collated, and it’s on my list to do.
It goes without saying that it’s a really stressful and scary time for everyone. However, one of the most heartwarming side effects of the COVID crisis has been people’s response to opening up their skills and creativity for all.
Good Sam has also announced the quarantine drawing challenge of designing your own old-timey baseball player! It all started with a ‘find your 1800’s baseball player name and evolved into something more:
As Pee-Wee “Hoss” McGraw, I’ve started designing mine up already. We’ll post a gallery of as many as possible over on the Good Comics website. Here are some tips/guidelines!
Try and make the designs to 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.
Baseball has a long and rich history including some amazing women and people of colour players, so be creative!
If you don’t like your ‘name’ from the challenge above, feel free to make up your own.
If 1800’s America unnerves you (i.e. the slave trade) , feel free to make it a modern-day vintage style card.
In February we launched the brand-spankin’ new Good Comics newsletter. It’s monthly at this point, but we also send out random news as and when we can, like about our upcoming release from Claire Spiller! (more on that below)
I’ve been pretty lax towards keeping my site up to date, so I have a couple of more recent projects to share with you! Firstly, earlier this year I was commissioned to create another back cover for Star Jaws issue 31!
As it was the February issue I went for a valentine’s theme, with a love letter from Senator Bail Organa to his wife Breha Organa – the adoptive parents of Princess Leia before Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed being enthralled in the Star Wars universe. Yes, I researched a lot about Alderaan’s most iconic landmarks and foliage. No regrets. Click here to see the full back cover in action!
Secondly, I also worked on a submission for Two Set Mag: ‘a zine focused on writing, with a healthy dose of art and photography – all by skateboarders‘, as described on their site.
I’ve also been busy with the Good Comics team preparing for our latest release, Raze by Claire Spiller. Claire’s work is beautiful and she’s well rehersed in printing comics so she’s been an absolute dream to work with – check out her latest work and pre-order your copy of Raze today. If you like my comics, this will be up your street! Treat yo’self.
And that just about rounds it up for now! A few other things have happened, like turning 30, having my feet tattooed, having an incredible pre-birthday celebration with Sam in London and learning how to homeschool a 10-year-old. But hey, better save something for the next blog!
It seems to be fully-loaded cold and flu season in my neck of the woods, and everyone is sniffling and coughing near constantly. Including me. I’m not sure whether mine is down to autumnal hayfever, a low-lying cold that’s waiting to emerge or my entire head being taken over by a goop monster. Who knows?
Anyway, it’s a busy time of year in the run-up to that yet-to-be-mentioned gift-giving holiday that occurs at the end of the year. I’m finishing up a web-comic, launching a top-secret community-based project and tending to general life tasks which now also include catering for my three new gerbil assistants: Peach, Nugget and White-Knuckle Rog (more on them another time). But still, I have things to show you all!
Firstly, the autumn-winter sketchbooks I announced a couple of weeks ago are selling fast! There aren’t many left, so if you’d like to join the club of seasonal strugglers, you can pick up your sketchbook here. Each order is lovingly wrapped in brown wrapping paper and posted in a card envelope so it reaches you safely and can be recycled easily.
If yours arrives and you want to share some of your autumn doodles, please do email me as I’m planning on setting up a gallery to share our autumnal feelings. You can contact me here.
Did you know it’s August next week? I did not. Where is this year going and what am I doing with myself?
All of these questions and more sponsor this week’s blog, seeming as the panel-a-day comic I started back in LATE-FEBRUARY is finally going to print. Sheesh! Autumn is only a stones-throw away. Wouldn’t it be gneiss to have a new comic out? It’s all too easy to take these long days of summer for granite. Granted. Geddit?
Okay, I’ll stop.
So, as I mentioned, my panel-a-day experiment comic-zine Rocks is finally going to print! It took me a while to figure out exactly how I wanted to print this (mainly because of my ‘art n’ comic stuff’ cash fund being dangerously low…), and in the end I opted to lay the spreads out by hand and have a local printer print the pages onto A3 sheets for me to trim and bind myself.
I went to check out a proof copy last week, check it out:
I’m really excited to have another zine coming out into the world. Self Care & Vegetables feels like so long ago now (and it was: it came out in 2017!) and it’s really nice to have another more handmade book to add to my collection. The final layouts are still hush-hush for now, and I have some other tricks up my sleeve… so watch this space for the big reveal! Of quartz, you’ll be the first to know. Ahahaha. Haha.
Okay fine, you can stop rolling your collective eyes.
In other news, this weekend is the hotly anticipated Swindon Zine Fest! On Saturday 27th July from 12pm-4pm the Central Community Centre in Swindon will be overrun by zinesters and comic creators… and Good Comics.
Sam and I will be there with our newest title Novelty by Mohar Kalra (check out our interview with Mohar here), as well as some newer distribution titles like Storm Clouds and Ghost Beach by Australian creator Ben Mitchell (who also chatted with us on the latest episode of the Good Comics Podcast). Take a look at our blog to see what we’ve been up to and get a flavour of what amazing stuff is happening in comics – and, if you’re in Swindon on Saturday, come by and say hello!
Lastly, I’d just like to point you in the direction of our Paddy’s new baseball-and-life themed weekly newsletter, Stealing Home. Here’s one of my favourites. Paddy, ⅓ of Good Comics, is an incredibly gifted writer and even if you’re not that into baseball, his newsletters are insightful and interesting. Plus, Sam, the ⅔ of Good Comics does the beautiful illustrations for it. And I, as the third-third (apparently there’s not a keyboard shortcut for that one) of Good Comics feel like it’s my duty to tell you all how fantastic it is. You can sign up for his newsletter here.
And that’s about it for now! Keep your eyes peeled for Rocks being out in the open, and keep tuned for what’s coming next… (hopefully this one won’t take 5 months to finish)
This week I’ve been reading:Spying on Whales by Nick Pyenson. It’s really good. This week I’ve been listening to: my newest favourite podcast, Sh*gged, Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey. The married couple talk about life, relationships, arguments, annoyances, parenting, growing up and everything in between. It’s hilarious. This week I’ve been watching: my muscles grow. Went and got a gym membership didn’t I! Healthy body = healthy mind.