Catch up! Eds, Ads and Drawing for money

Right so, along with being completely and utterly inspired, by the publishing talents, I also did some things this past few months that, dare I say it, actually generated a bit of revenue.

Turns out drawing for money is actually a thing. Weird.

While the publishing and book work is ever ongoing and I’m DYING to share, unfortunately I’ve been sworn to secrecy that end. Luckily, lots of little, much faster jobs have been floating around which I CAN let you in on. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED FOR FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS!

For now though, I popped back into the field of editorial illustration for a bit recently, providing more work for Union Features Magazine. Yet another fab issue is now out in the world and I suggest you have a look.

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This time, I was lucky enough to attend the launch party and actually meet the geniuses behind the mag, of which all thee issues to date have been sublime. I’m chuffed to be their one and only illustrator and am happy to report they are as great in person as their work (I mean that too, it’s definitely not just the crates of Sailor Jerry present at the launch talking.)union3

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It’s nice working on Union, because it offers such a different kind of subject matter from my usual. Ordinarily sitting pretty in the picture book bracket, I love to see my simple, child friendly style tackling the harder matter of a men’s lifestyle magazine! It’s challenging trying to marry the two, but it’s also a lot of fun and I like to think it still works. union

Then, for something quite different, October to November also saw a little flirt with the world of Advertising. I was contacted by the Icehouse, a talented bunch of designer folk who had a campaign to work on for a new pre-prep department that was opening in Monkton School. They needed some illustrations to work with their campaign, which I was more than happy to supply. Quite apart from anything else, their office had a nice garden and they made me really good coffee.

I’ve worked on three images, which are now beginning to surface as the campaign goes live.I’ve found two of them sitting in the pages of magazines (a double page spread in one which was most pleasing!) and I was also shown the flyer design, which I think really makes the most of the drawings.

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I can’t wait to see them all three in situ. Walking around the city has become pretty exciting, just in case I see another ad! Having been so heavily occupied with publishing, I hadn’t considered pursuing advertising illustration but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the whole experience. Working with the design team was a joy, and finding the finished campaign, all dolled up by the designers and nestled in glossies has been a real kick.

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In one day I found TWO local magazines whose recent issues contained the ad!

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Also, and this is mega sad, I LOVE seeing my work printed on different papers. Every magazine has a different stock and it all alters the look of the work.

I should stop now before I admit anything else really lame.

I have no shame.

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Catch up! Zines and things the Bristol way!

Continuing with my mass recap of the past few months, I needed to throw in a holla to the comics world! I’ve been doing lots of things recently, and early October not only kept me busy getting inspired, but also saw me taking a jaunt back into the comics world. I’d fallen out of conventioning and whatnot, concentrating mainly on the publishing shebang BUT when you hear about an indie zine fest pretty much on your doorstep…well I figured why not?

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The standard, late night of a hand made sesh.

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The BCZF was a ball. It was everything I’d enjoyed about conventions to begin with; passionate people from all walks of life getting together and sharing what they make. There were students, seasoned pros, newbies and hobbyists and everyone stopped to have a natter. I met ARMFULS of friendly folk and saw even more jaw dropping artistry.

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The venue was ace. It was an old fire station so I felt like I’d fallen out of Ghostbusters (the original. Let’s not talk about the new one.)

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My Table. It’s always so neat looking right at the start…

A bunch of my old mates from the early days of London zine-ing were kicking about to catch up with (special mentions have to go to the incredibly talented Rozi HathawayRozi Hathaway, Ed Chevertone and Aisling Marray; TEAM EXTOIRDINAIRE and, as ever, the wonderful Andy Oliver of Broken Frontier who has the nose of a frickin’ bloodhound when it comes to new, comic talent!) But I also had the joy of adding more shiny, new names to my ever evolving list of inspiring people I’ve been lucky enough to get to know.

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Huge thanks again to Lee, who not only makes awesome, authentically oldschool zines, but who put up with my mad natterings the whole day like a REAL sport (and they really were quite mad.)fest4

So yeah, my return to the convention scene was ace. My work has transformed a lot since the old days, but people were as welcoming of my new stuff as I could have hoped for.

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Last minute scoring, folding, packing and swearing aside, zine fairs will always hold a place in my heart and I would ALWAYS encourage curious artists to give them a whirl.

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Catch up! Children’s Literature Festival

So, it’s that time of year again when the winter has silently snuck up on us like a seasonal ninja and we’re caught, rabbit in headlights, totally unprepared for the looming new year. Perhaps it’s the hovering threat of ‘resolutions’ in the back of my mind, or perhaps it’s the fact that I swear it was August less than a month ago, but either way it’s around now I need to take a break, breathe and look over where on EARTH the second half of the year has gone.

The next few posts will be a few snapshots of how my 2016 has developed. I can’t promise I’ve learned loads, but I can promise I drew some things.

September – Children’s Literature Festival

Don’t hate me, but I LOVE Autumn. Yes it cold, yes the days stat getting shorter but I am a sadist and love that I get my city to myself again when the kids go back to school.

Haha suckers, I finished AGES ago.

But September and October are especially lovely because it’s when the Bath Children’s Literature Festival rolls around. Which I love.

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Although I didn’t get to see as much as usual (due to, ironically, having too much work to do in the field of Children’s Literature) I did manage to score two wonderful talks by a couple of heroes from the field.

Those of you familiar with Hamish and the World Stoppers by the unapologetically British author Danny Wallace will be familiar with the creative magic of Jamie Littler. His characters are full of subtle details and nuances that are the perfect visual vehicle for Wallace’s tone and the book, in my opinion, is enriched ten fold by his interpretation of its time altering world.

Not that he’d tell you that. I tell you, a more modest talent you will not find.

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littlertriangleBut humbleness aside, Littler did a stonking job of holding the stage, even without his extrovert counterpart. If his flawless live drawing wasn’t magic enough, the interaction with the audience had every kid grinning to ear to ear. Given the rare opportunity to command the hand of a professional illustrator, the creative, imaginative and frankly weird suggestions of the kids were flying as the audience created their own adventurous character for Littler to illustrate.

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Part drawing, part storytelling, part comedy act and part workshop; this talk was inventive and a lot of fun. So really, pretty much everything kid lit should be.

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But if that wasn’t enough, I was also lucky enough to attend an event by the infamous Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.

I’ll be honest, until fairly recently I didn’t really know what  Laureate was. But I was very excited that Riddell had kindly decided to bring his medal. And it was a very nice medal.

chrisridellticketchrisridellmedalHosted in the festivals most grand venue, it was strange to see the small figure of a single man, his projector and a sketch pad in the middle of such a large stage (even if he does have a medal.) But the second that man’s pen touches paper, he becomes the size of mountains.

It comes as no surprise that the prolific Riddell can live draw like a champ, but his ability to ad lib to questions from the audience, while doing so is a thing to behold. Relaxed, funny and frankly, totally charming, performing apparently comes second nature to this guy. His answers to every question was insightful, elaborating on details of his life and artistic journey and expanding even the most simple of inquiry into an adventure worth drawing about. The added incentive of giving away the drawings he made to the questions he answered had kids jiggling in their seats with anticipation each time he reached for a card. The hall was completely silent, aside from the reactionary giggles. We were in the palm of his hand, and I have no shame in admitting it.

There are reasons some people get famous for what they do.

I think that’s enough said.

 

 

 

New Old Comic for your viewing pleasure!

Me again!

Settle down for story time kids- I have a tale to share!

About a year ago I was gearing up for a convention. I was working full time in the Publishers and literally spending all the hours in between trying to get a zine up and running so I could turn up with some new work. I planned and wrote a bunch of short stories and one off images, all inspired by the Autumn – my absolute favorite time of year.

Anyway, cut a long story short, the convention was cancelled a few weeks before and, as a result, without the push of a heavy deadline, life took over and I never finished the zine.

Sadly, the zine remains unfinished, however a number of the tales in it are still milling about, either in my sketchbook, desktop, or noodle. Unfinished, uncoloured and sad. Aw.

So, I dug one back out this week. I dug it out, I designed it properly and I bloomin’ finished it! (extract below!)

Toffee Apple Pt 2

It’s only short and it’s barely a story, but it’s oddly personal for me: a memory that seems relevant for every autumn I can remember from my tiddly years. The desire to be spoiled with treats on day outs in the cold air with my parents. I was, clearly, a grumpy, greedy – and potentially not that smart – kid and I remember strangely vividly the frustration of being hoisted by my own petard; when saccharine stickiness from autumn delights  stained my fingers and prevented my ice cold fingers from sinking comfortably back into the warmth of my mittens. The excitement of catching sight of that toffee apple and absolute, incomprehensible adoration for my parents when they caved (as I knew they would) and presented it to me. The irritation at their manhandling me with those old, dry tissues; dug out from the bottom of every mum’s pockets, and ultimately, the relief when my freezing cold, begrudgingly cleaned hands returned into my gloves and my foul mood, outwardly projected onto my parents, would quickly subside as warming circulation returned and I settled into the sweet tang of satisfaction.

God, being a kid is really a roller coaster of emotion isn’t it?

That said, the lesson here is that I really bloody love toffee apples. And I recall so happily that sweet tingle on the sides of my lips that I do equate so solidly with times spent with my parents. Luckily, the tenancy for childish projection of my discomfort as frustration towards them, was (I think) shed with age; but that feeling of gratitude and adoration from their original generosity…that seems a little more resilient.

I sit here in the darkened grey of a British afternoon in late September, watching the drizzle set in, as it will fairly solidly, for the next few months and I know the summer is done. And the knowledge that those short, autumn afternoons that bite at your face are sitting pretty just around the corner…well, I may not see my parents much these days, but I can’t help but sink into memories of gratitude; of that sweet tingle on the side of my lips and, ultimately, that same adoration. I smile now, just thinking it.

So, in conclusion to the longest sales pitch in history, check out the brand-spakin’-new addition of a long-overdue-old-comic on the portfolio now and then book an appointment with your dentist. After this much sweet, we’re all going to need it.

Happy Autumn!

New Work and another Favour…

Two things, firstly I have entered another image into the Creative Safari competition! Treat Time!

If you like this or my other entry, please do share it at the following links. The more exposure it gets, the  better right? So do me a solid yeah fellas? (you COULD SHARE BOTH if you’re feeling really nice!)

New entry!

Bear entry!

In payment for this, I’ve done some new things i though I’d share with you before popping them onto the folio. Here are a few new images for you to gander at:

It's Saturday!

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There’s some more coming this week too, so stay tuned and stay cool.

Peace out Friends!

Well…it’s only fair…

Okay so those of you that remember this one, will remember my sister went and got old in August. What you may not know, is that I also have a big brother who decided to be awkward and go and level up too, just afterwards in September. You think they’d have spread it out a bit more right? Some of us have the decency to have birthdays in January. Sheesh.

Anyway, he’s something of a creative bugger too and is currently heading into the world of indie video games following a masters in Games Design and Development. So I decided to be a good sister and put him together a package of goodies, one of which was, of course a little drawing I thought I’d share with the world. ‘Cause that’s what I do.

We grew up with Nintendo characters. And when I say that, I don’t mean it lightly. I mean we GREW UP WITH NINTENDO CHARACTERS. Seriously. How none of us have ended up following a career in becoming a plumber and/or italian is beyond me. I had my own ocarina.

Anyway I thought I’d do him a wee drawing to inspire him in the last leg of his education and the first step into his career. Take him (and myself) back to the old days of sitting on cushions on the floor to get so close to the screen you could see the colours separate into RGB and the only sound under our held breaths was the relentless tapping of desperate thumbs. The days when money meant nothing more than the chime of disappointment, because really you were desperately hoping for a mushroom. The days when clouds were solid, vines were opportunities and barrels were terrifying. The days when bananas meant so much more than a good source of potassium and even the chesnuts were against you…Actually now that I think about it, that’s all pretty batshit mental.

Anyway I drew him this:

DK-brotherAnd if you don’t know what it is, that’s probably a good thing, for all the reasons discussed.

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Licence To Doodle: My Own, Personal Failings and A Talk I Went To

Inspiration can come from anywhere.

I often find that the smallest, most insignificant occurrence in an ordinary day has the potential to spark whole waves of pulsing creativity inside these little human skulls, that can evolve into ideas, narratives or images that have the potential to turn into something quite special. It’s kind of the beauty of creativity; it’s incredible, organic growth from the midst of drab normality.

 
And then sometimes, it simply comes from seeing super cool, ultra talented people do super cool, ultra talented stuff and appealing to that most disagreeable, competitive part of you that wants to, if not beat them, at least be one of them. The Cool Kid Conundrum.

This is totally what happened to me yesterday.

I went to a talk in London’s St Albans Centre for a Comica organised event where the legendary Quentin Blake (if you don’t know his name you should be shot. And then be shown an image of his so you can go “OOOOoooh. THAT guy, yeah of course I’ve seen THAT guy!” And then, and only then, will I call you a paramedic. For the gunshot wound.) and the phenomenal Shaun Tan, a personal hero of mine and creator of beautiful graphic books like The Arrival and The Red Tree, were having a wee discussion about illustration and things.

It was a pretty awesome way to spend an evening to be honest. It’s wasn’t the most organised event in history, but was a lovely insight into the minds of two truly incredible (albeit very stylistically different) illustrators and their methods and philosophies regarding their work. They took us through a brief history of their careers, bouncing off each other in a mutual interview, before taking questions from the floor, and finally rounding up with a quick, live draw-a-thon and book signing (and Me-Oh-My did I have books so sign.)

I’m proud to say my copy is freshly signed!

And as I sat there, absorbed in the works of both of them as they scrolled through their, deservedly impressive, careers before producing some entirely new and original, flawlessly wonderful, off-the-cuff imagery, I thought to myself:

An example of Shaun Tan’s jaw dropping talent. From The Arrival, his wordless graphic novel about the loneliness and disorientation of immigration.

“Dude, you need to do more drawing.”

And I do. It may not have escaped your notice that there has been a severe lack of it recently. Now, that is, partially due to my broken scanner (BOOOO) and the fact I’ve been tied up in commission work for other people and writing etc, but really, there is no excuse not to bash out a doodle every now and then is there? I mean, it’s not exactly time-consuming. Plus it provides an excellent distraction from things I don’t want to do, like this god-forsaken summer project of mine.

So today I did The Book Look; a phrase I tend to coin whenever I’m feeling a little dry on the creative juices front and need to whack out my rather large collection of graphic novels, fanzines, children’s books and general collection of amazing talent to kick-start my own creative flow.

The result was drawings! Nothing special, nothing truly inspirational, and actually, nothing even remotely good, but drawings nonetheless! And, with my lack of scanner, I even photographed them for you JUST TO PROVE I actually did something. I do apologise for the poor quality, it’s in these times of need you truly appreciate the genius of scanning freedom, but alas. It’s dark times this end, I’m practically medieval.

(Though using photos taken in crappy light does kind of make everything look like it’s from a silent movie, which I kind of like.)

I can draw really, honest I can! But I needed to get back into the swing of things, loosen up you know? That’s what I tell myself anyway, “it’s okay, it’s just a practice…”

I did consider spending more time photoshopping these into better shape, but to be honest, I feel it would have taken away from the wholly organic, slightly shitty and very honest state of my sketchbooks. And what’s the point of even sharing rubbish doodles if I’ve cleaned them all up? Plus it’s pretty late right now and I’m sleepy.

What a gentleman. You can tell from his moustache.
A Raven in a suit. At some point I’ll give him a hat.
This guy is an old hash. When I was working on the research for Tick, I started drawing a lot of these diving helmets and he grew from there, to emerge now, a few years later, with a pet.
A quick fantasy doodle. I find every now and then it’s essential for the soul to draw good looking ladies in obscure situations. What’s she reaching for? You’ll have to wait and see (because I’m not sure yet.)
I’m quite embarrassed to have this on the internet, but this is, unfortunately, how my work begins. This is the first draft of the storyboard for my new comic I’ve been writing. I know it’s shoddy, please have faith. Somebody needs to…

Hopefully this will be the start of something beautiful. Hopefully this will get me back into the swing of things, of doodling for me and not just working on projects in sequence. I’d like to expand on a few of these, and maybe I will, but if they do just fade away, into the oblivion of forgotten sketchbook pages and nonsense spontaneity, I think that’s okay too.

But for now, in the very wise words of Mister Quentin Blake on the last page of Mister Magnolia:

“Goodnight.”

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