MancsterCon and Blogiversary!

Good morning faithful followers!

So, we’ve arrived into September in traditional British style; downpours of rain, a chill in the air and darker mornings. Which is different from the British August, which is downpours of rain but with warmer air and lighter mornings. This past week has seen another busy spell at Rozi HQ, with a Top Secret Project in it’s final stages (which I finally finished yesterday, yay!) and the wonderful, welcoming and warm-hearted MancsterCon event in Manchester.

MancsterCon is an entirely volunteer led event showcasing the independent talents in the North-West; everything from comics and zines to game development, and custom-made lighting to kawaii wigs. Some of you may remember that I attended last year as a visitor and loved the atmosphere so much that I asked to be considered as an honorary Northerner to be a part of this year’s event. Thankfully, they said yes! Even better, they asked me to be a part of an interview panel with Andrew Tunney, Tom Ward, Chris Welsh and Debbie Jenkinson called, ‘So you want to get into comics?’. Held at the University of Salford’s Media City campus, the atmosphere was just as warm and fuzzy as last year even with a much larger hosting space compared to last years – something which I don’t imagine is that easy to do, so kudos to Florence and the team for making it work so well! Plus, even with Manchester Pride and a Manchester City home game on, the turn-out was still pretty decent and it made for a fantastic day with many friendly faces.

The interview panel was actually really fun, too! A little daunting at first, but everyone is just so incredibly friendly it just felt like a bunch of strangers watching us have a chat. It’s always really interesting to hear how other people got into the comics field, and even though I saw sat alongside people who are far more successful and further along in their careers than I am, it was genuinely great to hear them speak about their experiences and ideas. Although, probably best not to mention Steampunk to Andrew Tunney any time soon.. Thank you to Florence for being an excellent interviewer, and for the audience for laughing at my joke. That would have been awkward otherwise. I’m not entirely sure if there’s a video of the interview being uploaded to the interwebs, but if there is I shall dutifully share that with you all.

So, in all, it was a great day. Thank you MancsterCon!

In other news, it’s a time for celebration, folks; Monday 31st August was my four-year blogiversary – let there be cake! For those of you who haven’t been with me for the entire long-haul, I started my small blogspot account back in 2011, doing updates of various illustration and arts related things I liked, saw and was doing. Just over a year ago I moved to this site, but the blogspot still exists with all my old drawings I thought were not-so-bad at the time. Now, however, I can sit back and laugh at how awful they are.. So what better way to celebrate than to get you all to laugh with me? Lets have a look at what the ol’ account has to offer..

31st August 2011 - oh dear.
31st August 2011 – oh dear.

Here we have an example I’d like to call.. ‘Why I didn’t get accepted into UWE’. The reason I started my blog was to improve my drawing, so I can’t really look back at my terrible beginnings and hate it, because it got me where I am today. But yes, after I finished art college at the tender age of eighteen I fell into full-time work and got kinda stuck doing important things for not-that-much money. After a while I decided to get back on that proverbial horse and create a portfolio and apply for University. So, with full time work and drawing all evening I slowly created a portfolio of my best work, all from scratch. The selection day involved everyone putting their work out in a room, going off for a tour of the campus, then returning for an interview. Get this; I was politely taken aside and told I would not be interviewed as my work didn’t meet their standards. Ouch! Then I cried on my mum’s shoulder in the middle of Bristol, because I’m level-headed and strong independent woman like that. On the bright side.. After that I umm’ed and aah’d about whether to give up on my dreams of being an illustrator or jack the job, move back home, draw a lot, and try again for university. Thankfully, I chose the latter, so that’s what I did. And this blog was a way for me to track my progress.

As far as I can remember, this was my first time drawing a comic – which actually isn’t terrible! I believe I finished this around September time, so already there is a big improvement from the portfolio work I was making back in the earlier part of the year. After this things steadily improved, with the likes of my Denver Union Station piece being created in January time of the following year.

Of course, how could I forget! Alan Rickman on a pillow. That was quite obviously painted with assistance from a light box, but damn if that isn’t one of the best presents I’ve ever given. Saying that, the gift was for my dearest BFF and flatmate, and I definitely haven’t seen this in a while.. Should I be offended?

Ah yes – now this was my first time making a comic-style set of images which I thought of, wrote and drew myself, back in June-July 2012. Not too shabby either! Whatever I was doing, I was doing something right as by the end of 2012, early 2013 I was asked by Ravi Thornton to illustrate some pages for HOAX: Psychosis Blues – and as they say, the rest is history. I’ve still made some completely awful things since, and I probably will continue to! Hopefully I don’t look back on the work I’ve created in the last year and regret everything, as that would be somewhat awkward.. But yes! That’s a small highlight real of my humble beginnings. If you’d like to see more things I made back when I was just a young ‘un, you can find all the archives on blogspot, here. I warn you, not all of it is pretty. And there’s a good few years on there, it may take a while..

It’s quite funny really, I sometimes think I started getting serious about drawing a lot later than others, and maybe it didn’t serve me well as I’m now a financially crippled twenty-five year old going into my third year of university surrounded by people four years my junior. But then, I have old-lady perspective. Old-lady perspective is very useful indeed! Because.. I did all my awful work BEFORE university, which means that if I went there in my youth I’d probably have messed it up and hated it anyway.

Anyway, enough romanticising, I’d best get back to some actual work otherwise in another four years I’ll be looking back and weeping over what I lost. Thank you to all of you, whether you’re an occasional reader; a dedicated reader (hi mum!); or a new reader, for making me stick with the blogs and have something to show for myself, especially in those early stages where motivation is so hard. Like the well trained puppy that I am, I’ll be back next week with some more sneak previews of the recently finished Top Secret Project, and more.. Peace out!

 

x

 

OH! And don’t forget Sneaky Business is now for sale over on Etsy – you know you want one!

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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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