So, another week has passed and I seem to be getting even less done with each week that passes. An excellent feeling, I assure you. I had a really fun week of redoing my entry for the Good Comics Dead Singers Society Vol. 3 zine, with a final number of four attempts and twenty-eight new grey hairs emerging from my head, I managed to get it done just in time for the deadline. If you’re a fan of this particular dead singer’s music then this may be obvious, but here’s a sneaky peek of one of the panels from this musical one-pager..
I still maintain it’s far from the best thing I’ve done and I’d really hoped it’d be a lot better. But, it’s not terrible, and sometimes you just have to put the pens/pencils/paints down and accept that this just wasn’t meant to be anything amazing. Sadly, especially after the numerous binned attempts, I’m glad for it to be over. Hopefully with some time away from it I feel a bit more positive towards it.
In other news, I’m back into the zone of writing the remainder of the short stories I’ll be publishing in a couple of months with Good Comics! I had gotten into the habit of figuring out a story and then writing > drawing > painting > editing it from start to finish all in one go (with food and sleep in between, I promise). But, now I have over half of the total pages mapped out I’m going to change tactics and write all the remaining stories now to fit in around what’s left. Getting the whole collection to flow with individual stories is going to prove challenging, but with half done I have a bit of an easier time to fill in voids now and adapt stories rather than trying to do it all at the end. Does that make sense? I hope that makes sense.
In other news, as a follow up to my winning of the Broken Frontier Breakout Talent Award 2016, Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier wrote an article detailing my comics journey from 2014 up to now. After a particularly bad week and not being very good at that whole ‘taking a break’ thing, it was really nice to read. You can peruse the full article here!
So, that festive time of year involving copious amounts of food is over and done, and 2016 is slowly ebbing away too.. Which means it’s time for the yearly round-up! 2016 has been an incredible year for me work-wise, and although 2015 made me pretty dizzy to look back over I think this year has been busier than ever.
Speaking of which, Njálla was pretty much the focal point of my year. From the ideas conception in August/September 2015, I worked on the comic up until May 2016 including the terrifyingly successful Kickstarter campaign which led me to be able to fund the whole print run without any worry about the financial side of things. With Njálla completed and the rest of my work pinned up to boards, I finished my final year of University and graduated with First Class Honours in Illustration – so I guess all the hard work paid off!
Another big highlight of this year has been the festivals; Comika and Small Press Day starting off the year, with Bristol Comic & Zine Fair and Thought Bubble finishing it up in spectacular fashion. Since spending more time behind a table and meeting more comics people I have the best time, and I can’t wait for what 2017 brings.
Waffling aside, here’s a nice bunch of pictures from my 2016, which say it far better than I can.
Event photos by Eileen Long – http://www.eileenlong.co.uk
And that’s where we’re up to now! With my new release with Good Comics scheduled for Spring 2017 and a couple of other smaller projects in the pipeline there’s not much time to relax in the next few months.. But here’s to another excellent year, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed my ramblings. See you on the other side!
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!
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!
So, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of a week! I think somewhere between staring wide-eyed at my laptop screen in disbelief and taking a casual dance/sprint combo around the living room, I was barely able to comprehend what was going on during Wednesday through to Friday last week. In less than 10 hours (10 hours!) you wonderful people all helped to absolutely smash my project goal of £800 for the printing costs of my upcoming comic Njálla. Apart from confessing my undying gratitude to my backers, I have no idea how to portray exactly how amazed and thankful I am to each and every person who put pennies to their name to help support make this comic a real, physical being. By Thursday I put up a stretch goal which was also smashed by the end of the day, so most of the weekend was spent staring off into the distance trying to comprehend what sort of alternate reality I’ve been placed in. So thank you, THANK YOU, backers, friends and family who have all been real heroes here in helping me to publish this story.
Having covered her work so closely over the last year or so, I’ve observed firsthand Rozi Hathaway’s creative development in that time. Her growing confidence as a storyteller, that assured understanding of the mechanics of her chosen medium, and a willingness to experiment with genre and tone are all hallmarks of a practitioner with a commitment to immersing herself in all aspects of her craft.
But where her work truly stands out is that strand to her practice that concentrates on pensive, very human narratives. She has an astonishing ability to evoke an emotional response in her readership with little or no exposition, pulling her audience into the lives and experiences of her protagonists through both the deftest visual characterisation and that hauntingly empathetic atmosphere to her pages. It’s very much in evidence in The Red Road, in ‘Afloat’ in the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook, and in her slice-of-life tale ‘Rejsen’ in Dirty Rotten Comics #5.
As the goal of £800 has been reached, Njálla is going to print! Woohoo! This means that as the Kickstarter ends on Friday 6th May, I will have sent all the files over to Rich at Comic Printing UK who will be creating a physical proof copy for me to check over, and once that’s all fine and dandy he will be printing the run of 250 books to arrive at my door mid-late May. As my final university assessment is on Thursday 19th May I’ll be scurrying around like a woman on a mission until the following week, when all Kickstarter-backed orders will be posted.
In further exciting news, the online launch date is announced! On Thursday 2nd June Njálla will be available to buy online through my Etsy store, and in selected comic shops around the UK (to be announced nearer the time). So, if you have some long-term rivalry with Kickstarter or if you just fancy waiting, you’ll be able to get a copy of Njálla in just over 7 weeks.. I’d best get to work!
As I mentioned above, after smashing the project target in less than I day, I decided to put up a stretch goal to try and get some extra goodies out of the campaign for all my lovely backers. So, what are stretch goals..? A stretch goal is a funding target set BEYOND the original goal. The project is still very much complete and funded, stretch goals are just some fun extras that I can add in as a way of saying an additional thank you, in the form of physical goods! Those aforementioned physical goods are in the form of a FREE colouring book and sticker for all my backers! The colouring book is something fun; at 12-pages in length it will feature pages of lavvu’s, Arctic foxes, reindeer and more, with some additional Northern Sámi words and phrases in there too. Who doesn’t love a bit of casual colouring, whilst learning? Not to leave my digital PDF pledgers out, they will be sent a few pages that can be printed out and coloured in as well.
You can follow all the updates on the Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook’s online release date via the usual channels of Facebook and Twitter, through the hashtag #BFSPYearbook, if you’re into that kinda thing. #Downwiththekids
I think that’s about it for now! Aside from excitedly running up and down, I have spent the last week painting away on Njálla, scanning in and dropping into the page templates to get it all ready for printing in a few weeks. Panic! I’ve never before had to tackle painting quite so many pages at once, but it’s all good fun and getting exciting to see how the pages will look when they’re printed.. I’d better crack back to it! I will be back as usual next week, so until then, have a good week all!
So, another week bites the dust and Laydeez do Comics has been and gone! It was possibly one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my feeble existence; standing in front of a room full of eager-eyed people actually wanting to hear what I had to say (or at least pretending to, anyway). Even with my neatly arranged cue cards I’m sure I probably missed something important, but overall it was a really fun evening – more about that shortly. In other news, university projects are getting busier than ever and in the next couple of weeks I’ll be starting to draw up the final pages of The Next Big Thing! I’m keeping my working title under-wraps for now, though the reveal will be coming shortly. I’m also debating at the moment whether to move the blog to a fortnightly effort instead of weekly for the duration of this term, just to give myself an extra bit of time to work on my incredibly long to-do list, BUT I’m still mulling it over. So, I’ll let you all know! Now, down to business..
As you may remember from last week, I spend Sunday 10th creating the window display at Gosh! Comics in readiness for the LDC night this past Monday. Somehow the week between doing the windows and turning up to talk went past like a lightening bolt! I settled onto the warm and cosy train to London on Monday night with an 300-man army of butterflies in my stomach – no, not some strange new recipe, just nerves – and bolted across to Soho to meet with Andy Oliver (Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and Danny Noble (Munday Morning, Ollie & Alan) for a calming beverage before the evening’s fun began. Gosh! Comics were wonderful hosts yet again for the Laydeez do Comics evening, and there were many familiar and friendly faces bobbing about. Andy Oliver took the reins for the evening and spoke first about the wonderful work he does at Broken Frontier, and the small press/independent creator focus they look at compared to the largely mainstream comics industry. Next up was my turn, and armed with my carefully designed presentation I managed to bumble on for probably far less time than I was meant to – aside from shaking like a leaf the whole way through I probably spoke at lightening speed too. Agh! After a short break, the last speaker was Danny Noble who entertained us all with her honest and witty comics, whilst talking about her practice and how she uses panels in a really interesting and diverse way. Inspiring stuff! HUGE thanks to Keara and Wallis for having us, and everyone who came out to see us talk!
One of the main focuses of the evening was Andy Oliver’s announcements.. Sadly, after almost a year, the title of ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015‘ is being filed away and the new Six have been announced! Us 2015 lot are being flung into the wide open world with our belongings in a bindle and are shunted out in to the cold harsh realities of life. Or, something like that. The new Six have been announced at LDC and will be announced officially on Broken Frontier in the coming days. They’re a talented bunch!
In the second batch of wonderful news that was announced by the Patron Saint of Comics, the Broken Frontier Yearbook has been revealed! Here’s a snippet from the press release yesterday on Broken Frontier, which sums it up far more eloquently than I possibly could:
Last night at London’s Gosh! Comics a very special announcement was made to the sell-out audience at the Broken Frontier special edition of the monthly Laydeez do Comics meeting. We’re very excited today to share that news on the site with the extended BF readership.
Currently in pre-production, our inaugural Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook will be available in the early part of this year. A near 100-page publication, it celebrates the work of our ‘Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015’ – Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian – in both colour and black & white. Each creator has contributed an 8-10 page story on the theme of “breaking frontiers” and interpreted that broad starting point with their own ever distinctive artistic voices.
A natural extension of a year’s worth of dedicated coverage of these six very talented creators, the Yearbook is the ultimate expression of this column’s philosophy of “unearthing the gems of the small press”, and of bringing the work of comickers we have championed to a far wider audience. In due course you will be able to buy the book both online and from certain UK stores. But the prime philosophy of the Yearbook is to provide a promotional showcase for last year’s participants in our ‘Six to Watch’ initiative. To that end we’ll be sending out copies to selected publishers, micropublishers, and comics commentators as we seek to raise the profile of 2015’s half dozen stars-in-the-making across the medium.
Follow the link to read all about it and even see a sample page from each of us! Which now means (for those of you avid readers who remember my ramblings) THE TOP SECRET PROJECT IS NO LONGER SECRET. WOOHOO! From May to September of last year I was working on this project, and although I could hint at it and show some images along the way, I couldn’t really say what it was for or when it’d be released. Low and behold, the 10-page silent comic which Andy kindly spoke of as my ‘best work to date’ will be released in coming months in the bumper Small Press Yearbook alongside the talents of Danny Noble, Emma Raby and more. Alongside the ‘Six’ are other top-name creators who have supplied work to support the project, being announced in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out on Broken Frontier’s Twitter and website for all the details.. Here’s a reminder of some of the work I created, and you can read more about the project from my previous blog post here.
With LDC behind me it’s now full-speed with University work in the run up to Easter (I know, it’s only January.. I have a very busy few months ahead). My dissertation needs finishing, the Next Big Thing needs drawing up, a couple of other competitions need doing, written assignment work needs completing, another commission needs doing, and somewhere between all that some kind of sleep would be marvellous. Oh, and I’m making a lávvu. More about that in a couple of weeks, though! For the meanwhile, here’s another sneaky peek of some development/practice figuring out the best composition before I start on the final pages. Exciting!
And that wraps it up for this week! Back to the grindstone for another week of fun-times, and I shall be back next week with hopefully some more bits ticked off my very large list and more things to show you. For now, over and out.
So, I have survived! I endured an entire week of dissertation writing and come out the other side of it, albeit slightly greyer and possibly a bit more eloquent, innit. I must admit, by Thursday I was starting to lose the plot a bit and took some time out to refine my sketches for the Gosh! London window display (more about that shortly), but I powered through difficult circumstances and have 85% of my dissertation done, with two months now to finish it off and polish it up a bit. Phew! I don’t think I’d recommend any creative folk to put down their pencils for an entire week, as I did feel like I was gradually losing my soul.. But hey, it’s most likely the last essay I’ll every write. *air punch*
On Sunday I had the fantastic excuse to put down my books and get an early train down to London, ready for the window-painting bonanza of Gosh! and Laydeez do Comics, which I mentioned previously in my blog here. I arrived in London early and plonked myself down in a coffee shop to read the wonderful Save our Souls magazine (which had been patiently awaiting my attention for well over a week, whoops!), and after I was feeling suitably caffeinated and inspired by David Ziggy Greene’s newest venture, I made my way down to Gosh for it’s opening time. Everyone at Gosh is so lovely, and they helped me out with cleaning off the previous window art and supplying me with a big box of paints and pens, and gave me tips along the way. In the end it took around four-and-a-half hours to create the window, with most of the time taken up with creating the Laydeez do Comics and Broken Frontier text, and getting the proportions correct of the biggest figure. Have a look!
I had a lot of fun working on the windows. It was quite freeing just to be able to draw and colour in something I’d been planning for ages, in public, with a passing audience (and also, it was great entertainment for me to see people looking at what I was doing instead of where they were going, and bumping into other unsuspecting pedestrians). Special thanks to Tom and Nora for helping me out and taking photos!
As you may be able to make out in the background on the floor I pre-made some props at home to bring with me, of Danny Noble‘s and my work to jazz the display up a bit – I’ll get some photos of those on the night. Speaking of which, this coming Monday is hurtling towards us at record speed! The Laydeez do Comics evening on Monday 18th is going to be quite the place to be, if I may say so. The Broken Frontier themed special will see talks from Andy Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Broken Frontier and champion of all things small-press related, Danny Noble, the creative force to be reckoned with, and myself. As I mentioned last week, tickets are all sold out but you can keep an eye out on Twitter for any last-minute cancellations. And, for those of you who miss the wonderful fun we’re all going to have (sorry), as always there will be a guest blogger to take account of everything, which will go up on the site in the weeks after. Andy Oliver will also be excitedly making two announcements on Monday evening, so keep an eye out for the public announcements in the following days!
Although it feels like I’ve barely had a break, University term started up again yesterday after spending Monday doing more of my dissertation, so I have a list as long as my arm of things to do. This includes my presentation for Laydeez do Comics, so I shall endeavour to get cracking on that shortly! Aside from the windows there isn’t that much I can show you all unfortunately, with that pesky essay getting in the way all of last week. I did spend a bit of time yesterday following my tutorials and research time doing some long-missed work on The Next Big Thing, with more to come next week.. Here’s a sneaky peek of some practice page layouts I’ve been working on:
But anyway, as my father enjoys saying so much; time is of the essence! And back to work I go. Next week’s update will have all the gossip from Laydeez do Comics and whether I managed to entertain or send to sleep the audience – place your bets! Have a good week everyone. Over and out!
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..
Skivvies is back!
Sample from my comic entry on writer’s block
Coloured pencil illustration for a submitted short story
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.
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!
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!
So, the Christmas cake is dwindling and I’ve eaten my bodyweight in turkey.. It must be that limbo between Christmas and New Year where I’m not quite sure what day it is and what I’m supposed to be doing, with what feels like a brain full of cranberry stuffing. With that in mind, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on a successful 2015 (as it doesn’t take much brain-power, thankfully)..
The Red Road! My first solo comics project was released on the 15th January 2015!
With three positive reviews, I couldn’t be happier or prouder of my first plunge into self publishing.
The Red Road – on the shelves now!!
The Red Road – on the shelves at Travelling Man Manchester!
The Red Road made it’s way up to Leeds!
And into Birmingham
Down to Your Skivvies zine
.. including a comic!
‘Machines’ university exhibition
‘Mennesker er Underlig’, playing around with zine shapes and forms.
A Bit of Undigested Potato edited by Keara Stewart..
Looking rather windswept in Manchester in front of Travelling Man’s window!
A gift for a new family member
Top Secret Project, a 10 page comic reached completion in August, more details announced soon..
Last year’s contributors
Sneaky Business now at Orbital Comics
My ‘Rejsen’ comic is published in Dirty Rotten Comics #5
My ‘Share a Bird’ project landed at Eastfield Academy!
.. for a Purple Journal article/essay Toward Portland
Second Edition of The Red Road released November 2015!
I was asked to be a part of the first Dead.. Singers Society
.. and I created this piece of Muddy Waters
73b never looked so good.
Thought Bubble 2015
Work-wise, it’s been a fantastic year. Of course we can’t have it all, and this year wasn’t without it’s fair share of difficulties, with a small health issue of my own in the first few months of 2015, a friend’s recurring battle with cancer (fingers crossed, all looking good this time!), and the very quick and unexpected loss of my uncle in August. It’s all too easy to have regrets and feel as if being too work-centric has left me with the loss of valuable time before it was too late, but, all I can do it look back on the positives.. I have learnt a lot about the way I work in the past year, and I can only hope that my storytelling and comics work is going from strength to strength with each piece completed. Also, my work on illustrations without narrative has improved tenfold since this time last year, and I have dedication and tough marking at University to thank for that.
In all, there’s a lot of people who have helped and supported my work in 2015, and I couldn’t name them all if I tried – but to everyone who has ever bought a piece of my work, a comic, a postcard or even just had a chat at a convention, thank you. Thanks to Andy Oliver at Broken Frontier for naming me one of his Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015 and for continually supporting and championing my work, helping me with advice when I’ve asked, reviewing my work, and getting us six seen at CECAF. Thanks to Keara Stewart for asking me to be a part of A Bit of Undigested Potato, my first ever anthology comic, and inspiring me to not only take on my own project Sneaky Business, but also for giving my the confidence to apply for Dirty Rotten Comics. Big thanks to my Sneaky Business folks for happily creating work for free, which now sits on comic shelves around the country! Thank you to all those comic shops, Travelling Man Manchester, OK Comics in Leeds, Orbital Comics in London, Gosh! Comics in London, and Nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham for having my work on your lovely shelves. Thanks all the lovely people I’ve met along the way at conventions and selling events, and a special mention to Van Nim and Richy K Chandler for being so wonderfully entertaining at Thought Bubble and keeping me sane. Thank you to my ever patient partner Chris for bring supportive and understanding, to my flatmate for being the best at bouncing ideas off (and supplying me with Jack Daniels), my family, and the supportive bunch of friends I have near and far, so understand when they don’t hear from me for months on end. And, all you readers! You lovely readers, you.. Putting up with my waffling week after week, and making me feel popular. Here’s to 2016 and all the exciting things to come!
I shall be back next week as usual, probably mid-dissertation, in the run up to painting the Laydeez do Comics window display at Gosh! Comics. Woohoo! There is a LOT of exciting things coming up in January and early-February, and my work will be pretty much non-stop. But it’ll be worth it! I’ll have more information on how the year is shaping up next week, but for now I hope you all had wonderful seasonal festivities, and have a Happy New Year! See you next year..!
Well well well, it’s almost that time of the year! We are four short days away from the joy of family, feasting, and being propped up in a corner after many glasses of wine. Lovely stuff! Although I always look forward to the Christmas break, it’s felt particularly needed this year.. With a stressful term one of the final year of university down, only two more to go until I graduate. It’s not all tinsel and puddings in the next few weeks, mind you; I’ll most likely be writing the majority of my dissertation over the Christmas break and I have a few other things to do before returning to lectures in the cold and dark reality of January. But, in the spirit of not wishing time away, all that nonsense is in the back corner for now. Phew!
My usual update last Wednesday had to be delayed due to assessment, but that means that I now have even more to tell you all! First up, you may remember the commission I did for the Hope Centre a few weeks ago, for their Christmas appeal. Well, it took a little while but I finally got my hands on a printed copy of the newsletter featuring my illustration. How exciting!
It’s been really nice to see my work in print. I mean, comics-wise I’ve had a pretty dang awesome year and drawing for narrative is my favourite thing to do. However, working on an editorial piece like this and seeing it out there in the world is a rewarding moment and important for my portfolio. Rejoice! The Hope Centre in Northampton, as I mentioned in that previous post is an important charity. If you fancy helping them out at this rather cold time of the year, head over to Just Giving and their Hope for Christmas campaign.
T : Something I’ve noticed about your work is that, in each case there seems to be a uniting sense of journey. You have a lot of movement through spaces, establishing shots and interactions. There’s also a nice echoed mapping of movement in the visual pacing of the panels and the unfolding nature of it also reflects the way the formation of the narrative itself works. These things surface, and it can be seen as a sign of connection with the medium. How much of this was a conscious decision, was it all planned?
R: I’m very interested in pacing with comics; how movement through a story can be subtly distorted and played with. It’s not really something that can be done in other mediums, so it’s been great to play with it as much as a story allows. It was particularly relevant in The Red Road, as it’s based around the poem which has a similar movement through time, or more lacking any specifics of time. Part of it was definitely a conscious decision, though I’ve learnt a lot more about pacing with every new comic I create.
The Rejsen submission I made for Dirty Rotten Comics was completely incidental, it was more just a reflection on how many different places you end up sitting, standing or waiting on a platform during years of travelling by train to Manchester. The movement in comics and playing with time is still something I’m getting to grips with doing. It’s a constant learning curve!
In other news, as I mentioned in my last post, I went to my first ever Laydeez do Comics event held in Gosh! Comics in London last Monday! I didn’t manage to get any photos as I was so enamoured with listened to two such inspiring individuals talking about their work; Rachael Ball and Mike Medaglia. Mike started with talking about his work from the past few years leading up to now, with his success of One Year Wiser – the hugely popular book of 365 illustrated quotes and mantras, the subsequent One Year Wiser the colouring book, and his latest venture of creating comics for the Mindful Life Illustrated on Elephant Journal. Go Mike! Next up speaking was Rachael Ball, the creator of The Inflatable Woman, an einspiring tale of one woman and her life experiences after being diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ve not had a chance to read The Inflatable Woman yet, but Rachael’s inspiring talk about her own battle with breast cancer and how she took on creating this story from scratch was moving, and how she weighted the graphic novel with dark parts equally balanced with humour really shows her talent. And, I mean, she has arguing penguins in the story. What’s not to love? You can buy Rachael’s The Inflatable Woman from any decent book retailer, and Mike Medaglia’s online shop can be found here (though don’t bother him whilst he’s on holiday!). And of course, the wonderful Gosh! Comics have stock of both their work. And lots of other talented people. You should go pay them a visit.
Thanks to Keara, Wallis and the folks at Gosh for being welcoming as always, and I briefly got to see some ever so friendly faces before dashing through Soho on a one-horse open sleigh.. Err.. I mean.. By foot.. to get my train back home to Northampton. I’m really glad I made time to go to a Laydeez do Comics event before speaking as a part of the Broken Frontier themed event in January! Though now the pressure is on to make people believe that I’m actually interesting. Yikes! Saying that, I do have a fondness for making In Design presentations, so I can spend a happy Christmas dropping in images and making it all look rather fetching. So, as I mentioned last time, the next Laydeez do Comics London is on Monday 18th January – tickets are free but must be booked and sell out fast, so if you’d like to come and hear me stutter make sure you get yourself on the mailing list now!!
Finally, as of Friday afternoon, University is now finished for the year and I am free as a festive bird (although not really, as I mentioned at the start.. But I’m pretending for a few days)! War Horse is finished and progress on The Next Big Thing will be continuing over Christmas, and hopefully in January I might have some good news regarding the latter. For now, I’d like to wish all my readers (Hi mum!) a very merry festive season! I will be back in just over a week with an update before the New Year, potentially a compilation special looking back over 2015 and how snazzy it’s been. For now, though, enjoy!!! See you on the other jolly side!