Touching Base

Happy New Years Eve-Eve!

Another year is almost over, with another fresh on the horizon. We made it!

In the midst of the grey area between Christmas and New Year where few brave souls really know what day it is, I thought I’d take the opportunity to celebrate 2019 and look at what it’s brought for me.

First off, I’m really late to talk about this, but still excited to tell you all about my friend and co-founder of Good Comics Paddy Johnston’s new book Stealing Home: Rookie Season. See the excitement on my face? See it??

Stealing Home a collection of newsletters published weekly throughout the baseball season – not to be confused with hardcore baseball writing, the collection is about life and the game, with a delicate array of anecdotes and thoughts on America’s greatest sport. Each newsletter is also beautifully illustrated by my bae Samuel C. Williams, with bonus comics by him too. I was also lucky enough to be involved too, with my comic about Justin Smoak gracing the final pages of the book. Check out a preview below:

Having come directly after finishing Sparenting, it was another emotionally raw story to tell, and I’m truly honoured to be part of the Stealing Home collection. And check me out – I finally have some baseball knowledge! It’s only taken a year and several Big Boys Don’t Bunt podcast episodes, but I’m a seasoned expert now!

You can pick up Stealing Home: Rookie Season from the Good Comics online bookstore, and you can sign up for the Stealing Home newsletter by clicking here, ready for spring training in a couple of months.


So, with Stealing Home rounding out my year, what else have I been up to? Well, at Good Comics HQ we were fairly busy, launching our new website and podcast, plus attending shows far and wide. I also made my editorial debut, working with Mohar Kalra on his newest book Novelty, released in June. We also welcome Paddy’s son Eric to the world, who will be an excellent Creative Director of Good in a few years. We also spoke at the Laydeez do Comics festival earlier this year, talking potential creators through our submission criteria and our ethos, which was a really proud moment for us. And we even managed a Christmas party!

For my personal work, I took the year to really slow down and practise what I’ve learnt over the last few years in newer and interesting ways. Firstly I worked on Rocks, which began as a panel-a-day experiment, musing on rocks which turned into a self-published comic. Paring back my preparation and writing on the go was a new experience for me, and it taught me a lot about how little I really need to prepare for a comic.

In summer I began working digitally for the first time, using new software to draw directly onto the screen – removing the need for thumbnail sketches, roughs, pencils and inks on multitudes of paper and instead working on one digital file with multiple layers. I experimented with some ‘sketchbook’ pages and a short comic called Ebbs & Flows, before spending a couple of months working on Sparenting.

Aside from that, I’ve spent more time learning how to woodwork, whittle and create sourdough. I’ve read 30 books this year (which is an all-time record for me, usually totalling around 5 a year before now…), I’ve practised my sewing skills and made more of an effort to look after my body and mind. I’ve also undone some of the efforts of looking after my body by fracturing my hand and spraining my ankle whilst skateboarding (but had the most fun in doing so). I’ve also been lucky enough to travel to two beautiful cities, spending time with those I love.


Here’s to what 2020 will bring!

Happy New Year everyone.

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Welcome, 2018!

Dear readers…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Did you know that New Year is my favourite time of the year? I mean, Christmas has it’s perks.. homely feelings and spending time with family, friends and loved ones; being able to treat the ones you love; eating way too much delicious food and having a great excuse to. But can also be a lot of pressure, and it can be tough if you miss your nearest and dearest, and all around us there are harrowing reminders that there are a lot of people who are cold and alone on a day that is meant to evoke the opposite. New Year’s Eve, however, is a beacon of hope.

2017 was an incredibly and challenging year for a lot of people, myself included. I moved home twice and relocated yet again, and produced some of the most honest work of my career so far. So, let’s have a look back:

Last year saw the release of my fourth standalone comic book Cosmos & Other Stories, released in March by micro-publishers and all-round-excellent-gents Good Comics. Cosmos is really a collection of stories from the soul, and I was thrilled and relieved to see it flourish. So much so, that it came out and sold out within 9 months! The reprint of Cosmos will his shelves this year, so keep an eye out..

Speaking of reprints, in summer Njálla sold out of 250 copies in just over a year and another run went to print! Thank you so much to everyone who has bought my books, read my stories and kept the magic alive.

2017 also kicked off with my third successful piece to be a part of Good Comics Dead Singer’s Society Vol. 3! I was cursing trying to get that piece right whilst working on Cosmos & Other Stories, and oh I remember it well. Other anthologies I’ve been a part of this year include BBE Collective’s Habitat Anthology, Dirty Rotten Comics’ first full-colour Issue 10 and the groundbreaking Broken Frontier Small Press Yearbook 2017. I’m continually so thankful to be included in anthologies great and small, and I’m hoping to carry on working on even more group and anthology projects in 2018!

It hasn’t all been joy and butterflies, though. 2017 saw pain in my personal life and the birth of Self-Care & Vegetables, a zine about the aftermath of a break-up in real terms. It was a difficult project to work on, mainly from opening up in such an honest way, but the zine has done really well and I’m glad to have put it out there. That Comic Smell have recently put up a podcast talking about Self-Care & Vegetables and discussing it’s honesty. Check it out here, about 45 minutes in. Other shout-outs to campaigners of small press go to Pipedream Comics who featured me in their Pull List, A Place to Hang Your Cape for interviewing me, and of course, Broken Frontier for their continued support – including this time last year winning the Breakout Talent Award for 2016.

Another huge honour this year was being included in The Cartoon Museum‘s Inking Woman Exhibition, featuring past and present women comic artists and cartoonists in the first exhibition of it’s kind. It was a superb exhibition and a huge honour to be a part of. I also created a print for Emily B Owen’s Brain Shoodles launch, which has gone on to sell independently to raise funds for 42nd Street Manchester, a charity which works with young people experiencing mental health difficulties.

Finally, I sold work at seven comic shows around the UK last year. Seven! No wonder I’ve been feeling tired.. I even went to a comic art show as a punter for the first time in longer than I care to admit, and a pretty fantastic show it was.

2017 was also a year of experimenting with my work, from digital illustration to lino printing I had fun with it all, and it’s set me up for another year of creating things in new and interesting ways. I learnt a lot in ’17, and although it was definitely challenging and character-building at times, I feel stronger and more passionately about things than I have for a long time. And a lot of that is down to you – you, who reads my blogs, purchases my comics and listens to my words. Without an audience I’d have nothing, so here is a gigantic thank you and Happy New Year to each and every one of you who has ever taken the time to look at my books and/or art. You’re all marvellous.

And on that note, I wish you a farewell for now. I’m going to continue to reflect on this all whilst examining the inside of my eyelids, and be back with you soon to see how 2018’s shaping up. Until next time!

 

x

 

p.s. Happy Birthday mum!

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