Take a loaf off

Hi everyone,

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!


In other news, we three wise people at Good Comics have been busy rewriting our submission guidelines for comic creators, updating various areas of the site and releasing our newsletter (which you really should sign-up for, we’re very witty).

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.


And that’s about it for now! Until next time, please make sure you wear a mask when needed, and keep fighting the good fight.

x

Longest day, shortest night, longest fight.

Greetings everyone.

What a crazy few weeks it’s been. In the wake of George Floyd’s harrowing murder in the US, it’s been difficult not to be confused and sickened by what’s going on, and has been going on for years. A catalyst for change has come, and I truly hope things change for the better.

In the UK alone, there are petitions still needing signatures for justice and to improve education. Here are just a handful:

I get frustrated enough at being shouted at by random men in the street for my choice of footwear, I cannot even begin to imagine what life is like for BAME people in this country and the world over. Let’s work together to educate ourselves and push for real change.


Despite the grim reality of racism, I did push through and finish my weekly comics. Here are the final set:

Having not really created anything of great length since Moon, I’m really pleased with how this exercise worked out – both in improving my technical ability and in the self-set deadlines which kept me thinking and working on this week after week. Missed the first 7? You can look back on my blog and see them here.

I’m also excited to announce that I’m planning to print these comics in a collection! There are a few areas of the story that don’t completely flow, so I am now spending the next couple of weeks looking at the pages as a whole narrative, and editing/filling in gaps where needed.

It’s quite nice to be able to come back to these, as in the early weeks I had no idea where the story would be going, and now I can add in panels here and there to add extra depth to the story. Thankfully my handy editors (below) are able to offer quite specific feedback.

A bundle of gerbils

Watch this space for more news on the collection, coming shortly!


In other news, this year’s Spring-Summer sketchbooks are up for sale online! I had a lot of fun making these, and I’m already enjoying using my prototype for plans and ideas. Check out what they look like:

Each sketchbook is hand collated, trimmed and bound by me, with very specific paper choices to make these a nice thing to have in your bag or pocket whilst you’re rambling around. The monstera stamp has also been designed and carved by yours truly, and each stamp print is unique.

The sketchbooks are available in a very limited run, for £4 each. Free shipping in the UK and a flat fee of £2 P&P elsewhere.


And finally, as I’ve nearly wrapped up a couple of projects I will now be delving back into an ongoing project that took the back-burner for a short while. This one will be a big one, so it’ll take me some time. Any guesses what it is about?

Until next time, stay safe and look after each other.

x

Lockdown & leafy plants

Hello world!

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.

GOOD NEWS! I’m now up to week 7 with my weekly comic, and the end is very nearly in sight. What originally started as some self-exploration of what I’d like to achieve is now it’s very own story and a conclusion I have scribbled down in my sketchbook. In my last blog I brought you weeks 4 and 5, so here are 6 and 7!

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.

Here are the rest of the week’s pages so far:


In other news, this season’s Spring-Summer 20 sketchbooks are very nearly ready! As you may remember, last year I released the Autumn-Winter 19 sketchbooks for people to use into the changing seasons. Each sketchbook is made from high-quality paper and hand-collated, trimmed and bound right here by me.

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!


Another bit of exciting news, Two Set Issue 2 has been released! You may remember I created a comic for the zine earlier this year, and the mag launched last weekend to sell-out success. I managed to get my mitts on a copy which includes other creators such as Ed Syder, Ian Johnson and creator of Two Set, Claire Alleaume.

The second issue is already sold out online, but you can still pick up the first issue for half off. Rest assured Issue 2 will be available from a couple of shops including Palomino very soon and there will be a small re-print soon. Watch this space!

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!

x

Spring has sprung

Hello everyone,

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!


In other news, I’m very happy to announce that as last year’s Rocks is very nearly sold out, I have donated 50% of the profits made to Bournemouth’s Natural Science Society.

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.

If you’d like a copy of Rocks before it sells out, you can pick up a copy from my Etsy store for £3.00 + P&P.


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.

Missed the autumn/winter sketchbooks? Take a look at this post to learn more.

Autumn-Winter sketchbook

Until next time!

x

Stay home and make comics

Greetings all,

We’re another few weeks into lockdown and social distancing, and the outside world is getting pretty wild. As is the internet, where people are planking, playing bingo and setting up creative backgrounds for their conference calls. What a time to be alive! Regardless of all the good-spirited humour going around, I do hope you’re all keeping safe in this strange time.

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.

And that’s it for now! Stay safe everyone.

x

Shelf-isolating

Greetings one and all!

Low and behold, I’ve actually managed to get myself behind my computer again and offer my wit and wisdom to the world in the form of yet another blog. Crazy! Apparently COVID-19 is doing wonders for my productivity at least 75% of the time (the other 25% is spent aimlessly being annoyed at everything and avoiding the news).

After my last blog I sat down and spent an hour or two really figuring out what I wanted to achieve this month – and why I haven’t been enjoying working on another comic I started months ago. Instead of dwelling on it, I mixed things up a little and set myself the challenge of a…

Weekly silent comic!

That might seem like a punishment to some, but as most of my comics have very little wording anyway, it’s just a further extension of what I normally do. This time, however, I wanted to do some drawing from real life and what better way to start than the room that I have spent the majority of my waking hours in. The living room.

Working in a similar method to the last couple of comics I’ve done, I sketched out my idea into a sketchbook, refined the pencil drawings, took a picture and loaded it onto my computer to digitally draw all the linework. I then printed off a copy and used my lightbox and some gouache paint on mixed media cartridge paint.

It’s also been a great excuse to pull out some of my favourite small press silent comics from my bookshelves, including comics from the likes of Emma Raby, John Cei Douglas and Lando.

The next instalment is a follow on from last week, and I have the idea and concept sketched out already – so the ‘story’ will continue soon. Keep an eye out!


In other news, I also finished up my Major League Mugs drawing of Pee-Wee Hoss McGraw! (see my last blog if this makes no sense to you).

I painted it on cheap sketchbook paper so it got a little muddy in places, and I didn’t do as good a job on the text as I’d hoped, but as the Flomaton Funyuns would’ve been a pretty gritty minor league team anyway, I figure they wouldn’t have minded.

There’s still time to draw your own Major League Mug, so check out my last blog for all the details and get drawing!


Finally, in hope that this may help out another person stuck at home with a grumpy family, last week’s home art school activity was making papercut illustrations together. I started as I meant to go on, with a whale:

This is now added to my ongoing whale sketchbook inspired by Nick Pyenson’s Spying on Whales and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (I read the full one, but if you’re short on time maybe just go for this one).

Anyway, that’s it for now. Remember to sign up to the Good Comics newsletter as we’ll be sending that out to inboxes next week. And, I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with the next blog!

Until next time!

x

Disclaimer: This week’s blog is NOT sponsored by shades of red and orange, it’s just apparently my hue of the month.