Blimey, July? Anyone care to enlighten me as to where the year has gone?
It’s been a funny one. A bit of a preparatory year for me, where a lot of work has been done but, as of yet, I don’t feel like I’ve got masses to show for it. Rest assured, there’s work in the pipeline, but I think it’s going to be a few more months of frustrating waiting before those ever elusive publishing dates in 2018. Watch this space for more announcements on this front, but forgive me while, for now, I play those cards close to my chest,
What HAS occurred so far this year though, while the book illustration thing tonks along quietly in the background, is my annual jaunt back into the small press UK comic scene.
In late 2015, the clever comic prophets at the comic community website Broken Frontier announced the start of their ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch’ scheme, brought together in the form of one, marvelously affordable anthology; The Small Press Yearbook.
As well as longer comics, provided by the 2016 six names deemed worthy by BF, they also called on other small press artists to contribute short narratives to the cause. Enter your truly, who was more than happy to pen a little something for the guys at BF, given how supportive they’ve always been of my work right from the start back in 2011.
The 2016 Yearbook was a great success and the project continued into 2017. The new batch of names was announced…and guess who was one?
So I got to work again, penning a longer story for the 2017 anthology. At 10 pages, I think it’s actually the longest short (ha) I’ve ever made!
It was pretty nice getting back to comics again, after submerging myself in children’s books for so long. I do try to keep my work in the two fields pretty complimentary of each other, but I do find that the process is different. I dance between the two which, hopefully keeps the work in both parties pretty fresh.
In lieu of the release of the 2017 year book, I was then asked by the London comic store Gosh! to take part in their 2017 Free Comic Book Day events in May. They had a kid friendly, family day of activities planned, and had asked a number of artists from across the comic world to adorn their (rather large) glass windows with artwork for the day.
I’ve never painted a window before. I had no idea what it would be like to work vertically on a transparent surface. Especially when there was a queue of comic fans and their kids right the way round the store, watching you doing it!
So I went with the blobbiest, simplest shape I could think of, while still staying within the boundaries of the ‘Reinterpreting children’s book characters’ brief. (A brief I approved of greatly, by the way.)
It was a great day, and the image came out well too. Each character brought a unique flavour to the display and it really embodied the spirit of the day, and comic scene generally. I met some great people and can finally scratch ‘window drawing’ off of the artist bucket list.
I was happy to see, in early July, that the Moomin was still strutting his stuff when I returned to Gosh! for the launch of the 2017 yearbook, appropriately held on Small Press day.
Disclaimer: I stole all these pictures from the Gosh! Facebook page. Don’t judge me.
Broken Frontier summed up the event perfectly here, so I won’t go on too much about it, only to say what a visual FEAST the yearbook is and how strongly I would urge you to nab a copy if you can. It’s full of vibrancy and really is a testament to the strength of the UK comics scene. I’m damn proud to be apart of it, actually!
Pick up both 2016 and 2017 year books here, and be sure to watch out for next years offering. It’s undoubtedly going to be incredible.
And finally, my other small victory from 2017 so far, is my ongoing voyage into the deep, dark depths of social media. I’m glad to say it’s actually going okay!
This year saw me amass my first 1000 followers on both instagram AND twitter! So I held some giveaways of greetings cards, zines and comics to thank everyone accordingly.
I’d like to make giveaways more of a regular thing (they made me feel warm and fuzzy inside) so please to follow me on my various social media outlets to get the low down on how you can bag future prizes.
Right oh, I think that more or less sums up things this end. Can’t wait to share what’s next in my list of things.