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.
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.
Welcome to the shiny new-look for my site! I realised a month-or-so ago that I’d had my existing website theme for nearly 5 years (ways to feel old list, number 6) so it’d been long overdue for a refresher.
It took a while, but here it is! What do you think? Have a browse around and let me know how easy it is to use. Send your answers on a self-addressed envelope to the comments section below.
So, on with the blog! Firstly, let me talk to you about what’s been going on in my head. Aside from this.
I’ve been in a period of reflection recently, in which I’ve looked at how I want to move forward professionally. For one, I’ve been super busy on Good Comics projects – it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience and is changing the way I want to approach my own work. The community spirit and engaging with people is what makes the comics community so great to be a part of, and for me personally, that shouldn’t be hampered by charging for content.
This led me to the decision to end my Patreon creator page and go back to posting work freely on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and here. For some people, it may work really well, but Patreon never quite worked for me. And, the idea of sheltering my work from people unless they paid left me in a morally weird area for a while.
Patreon cancelled and website refreshed, I feel revitalised and ready for future challenges, projects and experiences. Bring it on!
Onto more physical creations, I’ve been carefully editing the large layout sheets I drew and painted my rocks comic onto, and have been setting them up to print. Check these panels out:
Now I’ve cut out each individual panel it’s made it easier to smooth out some of the paper buckling/ridges that occurred from putting watercolour on paper not suited for wet media. It’s still definitely more of a rough-and-ready comic, which is why I’m thinking of printing it DIY style at home instead of through a professional printer. Whatever the method, I’m going to bring it out in time for Swindon Zine Fest at the end of July. Rock on!
In other news, Sam and I had a really fun commission recently from comics scholar Dr Harriet Earle who is writing a book for Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series on comics. She got in touch for a couple of diagrams to go alongside specific areas of the book, and we got to draw up some fun pieces for it! Check out my umbrella of comics:
It may not be the most water-resistant piece of kit, but I’m happy with how it turned out!
And that’s about it for now! I’ve been testing the waters on some digital drawing tools so keep an eye on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) for some previews, and check back here again soon for some progress shots.
Welcome to May (though, we’re a chunk of the way through already…) and the latest update from HQ. It’s been a busy couple of months as always, but I have plenty to get you up to speed with. So, get comfy and enjoy another creative journey through the workings of my brain.
After my panel-a-day started, I managed to vaguely keep it to a panel-a-day for two-or-so weeks until life came and sat right on my lap, demanding all of my attention. I’d already progressed with a chunk of the text, and in the end, I pushed life aside and sat down to write the remainder of the content. I sketched it all out, inked it, and then painted it in batches. In short, whilst it started as a panel-a-day it definitely ended in a more “normal” way of batch drawing, inking and painting.
Here are some pictures of the process:
As it stands, in true juggling style, I finished the comic and scanned it, but then it took around 2 weeks until I had a chance to piece it all together. However, I put it up on Patreon last week for my subscribers to finally see!
From the very beginning I wanted to create something that was more factual but still keeping that ethereal feel that I like to have in my stories., I also wanted to throw myself out of my comfort zone by avoiding thumbnailing or extensive planning, and drawing everything on the one piece of paper from scratch – even without rubbing out the pencil marks!
It was definitely a different tactic, and at times I really enjoyed it (when I wasn’t worried about finding time TO do it). I’d love to turn it into a DIY zine to get people interested about rocks and just how fascinating natural history is, so my task now is to see if I can take my scans and make them look cleaner for printing; the cheap paper I drew on buckled when I applied watercolour, and it’s left lots of ridges in the scanned artwork which need cleaning up, if possible.
After that, I’ll source for quotes on printing to see how cheap I can make the zine, as ideally, I’d like to have some in schools and libraries as well as sending some to the geology expert at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society (BNSS) for his expertise on the local rock formations. Maybe it would be a good idea to sell them with the profits supporting the BNSS or other local charity? What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, and watch this space for updates!
In other news, the skate poster my gnarly step-daughter and I created is now out in the world! Assembly Press did an amazing job printing it for us on their risograph printer. Check it out!
There were a couple of colour options we could’ve gone for, but we decided to go for the black, yellow and fluro orange inks.
I’m so, so pleased with how’s it’s turned out, and it’s definitely something I wish I could’ve helped with when I was 9. I wasn’t even brave enough to go to a skate park until I was 28, so feeling like I can maybe help future generations of girly-girls, quiet-girls, bookish-girls, loud-girls and any type of girls grab a board and give it a go gives me all the warm feelsies inside. If you’re in the area, come skate with us!!
What else? Well, back on 31st March Good Comics and I tabled and presented at the Laydeez do Comics Festival at Free Word in London. Paddy and I had the opportunity to talk about Good Comics and how it’s evolved in the last few months, and where we’re going moving forward. I’m incredibly excited to be working in a hands-on editing role for one of our next releases, Mohar Kalra‘s Novelty. We released a preview back in March which was beautifully risograph printed, and the whole book will be out soon!
Finally, at the tail end of last month, I put forward my application to take part in a Japanese creative residency as advertised by the British Council. Now, I’ve not tried applying for any residencies before as I’ve always been waiting for the right one… And this, my friends, is it. I’m incredibly excited at the thought, but I’m also well aware that it’s a slim chance I’ll be chosen as there are so many incredibly talented creators out there who deserve to go too. If you could all keep your fingers and toes crossed for me that’d be lovely.
And that rounds it up! You can still keep an eye on my Instagram for vaguely more regular updates than on here (I’m trying to be better!) and subscribe to my Patreon for full access of everything I’m up to. You can also check out Good Comics on Twitter for what we’re up to there.