December Madness and Laydeez do Comics!

Good morning ladies and gents!

So, another week bites the dust and the first round of assessment is looming eerily close by. Although I’m working in a haze which can probably be described as “I’m not really sure what I’m doing anymore”, things are getting ticked off the list and I’m vaguely, quietly confident that I’ll be in good stead by Christmas. Well, as long as I avoid any critique sessions where it’s advised to completely change my work.. Sigh. But anyway, I also decided it would be a marvellous idea to start getting up stupidly early in the week to do some mild exercise or yoga (don’t laugh) before getting to work before 8am, which seems to be helping my productivity somewhat. Though, I’m only on day three so far.. And I ache.

Logos

 

First up, as you may remember from last week, I mentioned that I had something exciting up my sleeve to tell you all. WELL! I am over the moon to announce that I have been asked by the lovely Keara Stewart and Wallis Eates of Laydeez do Comics to speak as a part of the Broken Frontier themed evening, as one of the Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015! With the small press champion Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver being the reason for so many people getting a chance of recognition and support, it’ll be a great chance to listen to his worldly comics wisdom. Alongside will be the fiercely talented and entertaining Danny Noble, of Ollie and Alan fame, and myself – probably still a bit love-drunk on brandy butter by that point.

Laydeez do Comics London is held in Gosh! Comics in Soho, who are one of the biggest stores to support small press comics creators. Keara and Wallis have stepped up to take over as London Co-ordinators whilst co-founders Sarah Lightman and Nicola Streeten are taking a break to focus on their respective PhDs. here’s a snippet about Laydeez do Comics (LDC) from their website..

“Launched in July 2009 by artists Nicola Streeten and Sarah Lightman, it is the first women led graphic novel forum in the UK. Artists, academics, publishers and fans from around the world are invited to speak. It is a platform for people to test new works and ideas, where emerging artists present their work alongside more established practitioners. The evenings offer an inspiring experience in a social atmosphere for both those new to comics and those already immersed. Laydeez do Comics now has branches in Glasgow,  Bristol, Leeds, Dublin, San Francisco and Chicago.  Pop up events have also taken place in New York, Toronto, Glasgow and Brighton.”

Exciting stuff! The Broken Frontier LDC night is being held on Monday 18th January, and in MORE exciting news I’ve been working together with Gosh and LDC to create a themed window display for the event! At the moment I’ve just been sketching ideas up, but soon I’ll be getting some final designs to both parties and the work will commence the week before the event. Because I’m feeling overly generous, here’s one character from some preliminary sketchbook work for the window design…

Promo Blog

This coming Monday I’ll be attending my first LDC event as a member of the audience, with guest speakers are Mike Medaglia and Rachael Ball. Both are so excellent at what they do, and I can’t wait to be a part of the audience! And also, it’ll be good to see exactly what to expect a month later when I sit the other side of the table. Tickets for LDC are free, but must be booked and disappear incredibly quickly! If you’re interested in attending the Laydeez night in January, then best to pop over to the Laydeez do Comics website and sign up for their mailing list to be alerted when tickets are available (details are on the home page). So if you want to come and watch me pretend to know what I’m talking about, and see my first attempt at window painting.. Sign up now! But in all seriousness, big thanks to Gosh and LDC for letting my represent their values in the form of a window display and asking me to speak as one of the chosen six – I can’t wait!

In other news, you may recall a few weeks ago me referring to one of my projects being the House of Illustration and Folio Society Book Illustration Competition for War Horse! The competition requirements is to produce a set of three internal illustrations and a binding design, to fit into their minimalist graphic style.The competition ends in January, but with assessment looming and final tutorials this week I’ve been working extra hard to get this ready! It’s been a strange project for me to do given that I didn’t particularly want to approach it in the character-centric style I tend to work in, as the general tone of the cheery children’s book is rather dark. Instead, I wanted to focus on the atmosphere, and use certain scenes and textures to give an effect of how very depressing it all was. I mean, the First World War wasn’t exactly all butterflies and flute music, was it? With that in mind, here’s my work in progress on the project to date..

Layout 1

Spine Text

I’m not entirely happy with the binding (front and back cover spread) just yet, but it’s not too far off I don’t think.. Book covers are not something I ever really did before University and I desperately struggled with the last one for Carrie’s War, so I have been determined to get this one right. As for the internal illustrations, I opted to completely avoid using ink lines for this and painted or printed everything using handmade collagraph plates, using Photoshop to put everything together nicely. Again, these aren’t completely 100% finished yet – but not far off.

Finally, after I had a tremendous sell-out of greetings cards at Thought Bubble last month I’ve gotten round to ordering more and putting them up on my Etsy store! There’s a choice of three at the moment, with this year’s Christmas card design and two others. So, for an extra special card this year, pop on over to my Etsy store and check them out.

Well well well, another busy one. I’ll be back next week after a during stressful assessment period, but hopefully with the Christmassy end in sight! Low and behold I have another week of rather important emails, another commission and further uni work progression. So, with that in mind, and the kettle calling my name.. Over and out.

x

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Hello, October

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

So, with a sweep of windy and rainy weather we are now knee-deep in October. University has thrown me into the cold, harsh realities of becoming a final-year student, and with an entire eight months of work laying in front of me it’s all to easy to be intimidated. However! Now I have unshackled the responsibilities of part-time paid shelf-stacking work I am feeling somewhat stressed but also somewhat Zen. I will survive this year. I will. (I hope) -sob-

After a small editorial brief which will conclude next week, most of the work I’ll be producing is long-term projects. With that in mind, I will shortly be taking off my top secret cape! Meaning, you can expect a lot more of the work-in-progress kind of posts from me, along with quiet-yet-public-mental-breakdown posts and drunk-on-camomile-tea posts. Although I have to give a fair amount of concentration to all projects and briefs this year, the main focus of the next eight months is The Next Big Thing. My yet-to-be-named longer length comic will be the final push, incorporating everything I’ve learnt over the past two and a half years since I really started my comics career with HOAX: Psychosis Blues, up until the Top Secret Project which is due to be revealed next month.

First things first, this past rainy Monday I headed on down to The Big Smoke for half a day to visit the bees knees of comics shops! Sneaky Business is now available at both Orbital Comics and Gosh! Comics in London – yay! Don’t forget that Sneaky Business is still available from my online Etsy shop for just £2, perfect for those people who have everything, yet you still need to get them something for Christmas. Cuh, you know, THOSE people. Awkward souls.. Anyway, whilst I was in Gosh I dropped off the final five copies of The Red Road in a proud yet slightly sad moment. My children have flown the nest, and are all out there in the great wide world! So, that’s it folks. All one hundred copies are gone, with a few remaining at Gosh!, Travelling Man in Manchester (and last time I checked, there was one copy left at Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham).

Final Page Image

Do not fear, though; Bear, Coyote and Lark are far too special to disappear forever. Keep an eye out on my social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) over the next couple of weeks for some exciting news, and of course here on the blog you’ll get all the insider gossip too!

November is turning out to be a pretty exciting month, with Thought Bubble on the horizon and Top Secret Project’s grand reveal.. and now some The Red Road news? Well, who needs Christmas! On that note, time to get back to the grind! Don’t forget to back the Nepal Art Aid Anthology if you haven’t already – the clock is ticking. For now, as always, over and out.

x

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Shelf Fame & Other Tales

Good evening ladies and gents,

Well, last week sped by a little too quickly, didn’t it! I seemingly spent most of the week glued to my desk working on a book cover design, only moving for hourly stretches and to boil the kettle – my new love for camomile and honey tea is helping me detox from my usual high caffeine intake and also, it smells like sleep and clouds. What could be better? The wild life of an illustrator is all it’s cracked up to be, and I like to think that my insights make you all realise how bad-ass of a career this is.

Anyway! On Saturday I took a trip down to our fine capital city for a happy day of exploring and absorbing! First stop was to Soho, as Steve at Gosh! Comics on Berwick Street has been kind enough to take on copies of The Red Road for sale in the Small Press and Independent area of the store. I think I may have accidentally skipped for joy at one point, but hopefully no one noticed. And, even if no one did indeed notice then I’ve just ruined it for myself on here. I will defend happy-joy-skipping until the bitter end! The last and only time I’d been to Gosh! Comics previously was for the HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing in July of last year – the shop has such a lovely feel and atmosphere, with a huge table in the middle covered in all sorts of wonderful books and graphic novels. There’s even original and print artwork for sale decorating the walls, it really is a wonderful place.

I was excited beyond belief at my book being placed on the shelves, so for any London readers, you envision my excitement and skipping for yourself by picking up your numbered copy of The Red Road down at Gosh! Comics:

After Gosh! I spent the rest of the day visiting a variety of neat exhibitions, and first up was The Cartoon Museum! Somehow, I’d never actually known about the museum until I was researching my trip to Brussels Centre belge de la Bande dessinée (you can read all about my adventures here) and The London Cartoon Museum came up on Google. Oops! Anywho, it’s a small museum but the content really speaks for itself.

Next up was Anise Gallery’s new exhibition Sequential City, featuring original pieces and prints from Owen D. Pomery, Alison Sampson, Lando, Hannah Berry, John Riordan & Tim Bird, looking at the psychology of architecture in contemporary graphic novels. The Anise Gallery is tucked well out the way, just around the corner from the Design Museum past London Bridge. The space is small and homely, and the exhibition is like a hidden gem. I ended up treating myself to John Riordan‘s Capital City and Lando‘s Anthropozine which are both moving reads – If I had endless money I’d have bought it all! Following this I made my way over to Somerset House to the Mapping the City exhibition featuring illustrators and graffiti artists and their interpretations of maps. Interesting stuff!

The British Library’s Lines in the Ice exhibition was my last port of call (get it?), with historic illustrations of the various attempts at discovering what was through the North-West passage. Sad, but interesting, and by this point my calves were ready to get the train home (legs, not baby cows)! Mapping the City is on until 15th Feb, and Sequential City is on until 15th March, so no excuse not to get down there!

 

Goodies!!

More good news, this week has seen the arrival of some new smaller merchandise bits for selling! I had some postcards made up and some promo stickers too for any small events, including a Uni-organised arts and crafts fair I’m doing with some fellow students at the end of this month. Slowly but surely I’ll be clocking up some other items to sell ready for the summer! Because, well, my Etsy store looks a little lonesome with just The Red Road sitting there.

Anyway, that’s it for now. If you’d like to read more about my adventures in London, in a more in-depth way, then I have a separate post going up on my university Tumblr blog, which you can read here. I shall be dutifully back in a week with another update, and hopefully this book cover will be done by then! I have lots on at the moment, and I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been up to.. Peace out! x

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Hayfever, I’m sick of your shit. Plus, Gosh! Comics HOAX signing!

Urgh,

Hay-fever season.

Those two dreaded words that make myself and countless others flinch, wince and generally run indoors and hide. Every night I get to slowly cook in my bedroom whilst the windows are sealed shut to try and avoid the 4am wake-up involving trying to attack my itchy throat and eyes with a toothbrush. And then, it doesn’t really matter anyway! Pollen still manages to find a way in. HOW DOES IT DO THAT? God forbid I have anything important to do, as soon as I enter the great outdoors my complexion gives off that lovely pale-faced red-nosed glow. I do appreciate that trees, grass and flowers need to get their frisky business on, but I’d rather they didn’t get their frisky business on up my nose.

And then I read this; Telegraph – “Hay-fever Experts Forecast Worse Case Scenario For Suffers

So, I’ve decided to resort to any means necessary to protect myself from the invisible air pirates otherwise known as pollen, with a creation illustrated below;

Hay-fever season is upon us..
Hay-fever season is upon us..

Anyway, that’s my rant over for now. Onto other news!

The lovely folks over at Gosh! Comics London have organised a nice HOAX: Psychosis Blues signing! You can read all about it on Gosh! Comics website here. I’m sure all you busy folks are more than happy to clear your diaries to pop down to London on the 19th July, and come say hi between 2-3pm! Not only do I get to see the ever so lovely Ravi Thornton, Hannah Berry, Julian Hanshaw and Ian Jones again, I’m pretty damn excited to meet Karrie Fransman (who has recently been a part of the British Red Cross’s Refugee Week – read her free comic online about the harrowing true story of a young Kurdish-Iranian refugee Ebrahim), Mark Stafford (whose incredible pages in HOAX have left me lingereing in a state of awe ever since) and Rian Hughes (Soho Divas especially, beautiful work). Which ALSO means I have approximately 3 weeks to figure out what on earth I’m going to draw in HOAX if someone requests doodles from us all again.. Invisible air pirate pollen, maybe?

Gosh! Comics Signing - Saturday 19th July 2-3pm
Gosh! Comics Signing – Saturday 19th July 2-3pm

If you can’t travel down to London, or you just ‘damn well don’t want to be told what to do’ by me, you can still buy HOAX: Psychosis Blues HEEEREEEE or from any of the lovely independent retailers selling it, like Travelling Man or Page45.

Anywho, I have more to report on in the next week or so. For a University summer project our class have been told that we need to start a blog over on Tumblr, so I shall be posting my updates in BOTH places now, and potentially waffling on a lot more over there. So, if you are indeed a Tumblrlrlrlr, you can now ‘follow’ me. Not in a stalking way, mind. I’m really not interesting enough for that.

Right, I’m off to stick my face in a bucket of ice water and try to ease my facial suffering. For now.. Bye! x

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