Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Nottingham Comic Con 'Forest Tales'

A few months back I was asked (as an exhibitor to this years Nottingham Comic Con) if I wanted to take part in an anthology book put together by Kev Brett, the organiser of NCC and who I finally had chance to meet at the recent ICE con in September.

Of course I said 'yes' and prompty forgot all about it until very near the deadline!

As it had to be 'all-ages' I originally was going to produce something cartoony, but asked my good friend Mo Ali to write me a story as I wasn't too confident in my own writing abilities.

Mo produced a cracking little tale but sadly it was thought to be a little too dark for the book, which is fine and totally my fault for making it too shadowy and grim :-) Less of the black ink next time I think!

With time of the essence I remembered what I originally planned to do, and jotted down a quick idea, roughed some pages up and I had my 4 pages. In just under 2 weeks I had the full strip done from story to full colours. It was quite tough as I wrote it as I was going along but as the story relied on repetition, I was able to re-use certain panels which obviously helped!

My originals are not the cleanest I've ever done as it was very rough with multiple drawings done, scanned from odd bits of paper and all put together in photoshop, but I'm pretty chuffed with the end result (as is Kev which is great). I was even quite pleased with the first bit of solo writing I've done for years.

It features a character I created years ago (who I always wanted to use again) and it was great fun to do even if the deadline was a very tight one... one of these days I will not leave everything to the last minute!

Next up are two pinup pieces I've been asked to do, then back to my much-delayed project. More on that later.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

ICE Comic Con report

Well, it's been a while since my last update so better late than never I thought it about time I did actually update my blog!

This last Saturday I headed off to Birmingham for my second ICE comic con, once again organised by Shane Chebsey and featured a fabulous guest list, with numerous pros and small press creators alike.

This time I pre-booked my car park so not to be startled by the £20 parking fee I paid last year (this was a more reasonable £4.50!) and with the aid of the sat-nav I found the car park easily and no sooner had I parked up than I saw a familiar face park next to me.

Fantastic artist and all-round nice guy, Chris Imber (you simply must check out his Operation:Boom and Last Sheriff books) arrived about the same time as me, and luckily he knew the way to the venue so it was a stroke of luck we all met at that time and walked there together (which stopped me from no doubt getting lost like last year!).

Setup was easy and I unpacked my new banner (see above) and books and waiting for the show to start.

All in all it was a good con, very busy and I had lots of interest in my books (and artwork) not all of it translated to sales (most did) but I had a good day, didn't sell as much as I liked but did better than the last few cons I did. Met some lovely people, some who even came back to buy books like they said they would... a rarity!

I did manage to get away from my table to meet legendary British comics creators, Simon Furman and Geoff Senior (who many out there will remember from 80's Transformers Comics, Death's Head and of course, Dragon's Claws) and it was my collection of Dragon's Claws comics I had them sign. Made my day that it has to be said, even though Geoff looked though an issue with the look of someone who really didn't remember drawing it! :-)

Had a good chat in the pub afterwards with Chris and the Bretheren Born guys, and then it was time to drive home. On reflection, a good day, about as well as I expected listening to how others did but there's that nagging element that there's simply too much competition (not necessarily a bad thing), too many cons out there vying for buyers money. It's certainly not getting any easier out there, and being a guy on his own, I am wondering whether it's worth all the effort and expense in continuing.

Nottingham Comic Con next month, my last of the year having been unsuccessful in getting a table for Thought Bubble this year (which I'm still sad about) I hear good things about Nottingham, so I'm hoping for a good day and one that might just give me the nudge I need to to carry on.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A new review!

Stevie Robinson who runs the 'Other Worlds Than These' blog has reviewed Midnight Man here so pop over there straight away and read it. In short I think he loved it!

I'm going to do a quick review of the Cardiff Independent Comic Expo that I went to in June.

I live a good distance away from Cardiff, but heard so much good things about it, so I thought 'why not!' I booked a table and waited for the day to arrive.

My good friend John came with me, bringing along his own wares to sell, a very cool and sharp idea, beautifully designed (he's a designer as well himself) and after a good journey there (I think we got there in just over 2.5hrs) we arrived at the venue... well after a few wrong turns as it wasn't the easiest place to spot when you don't know where you're going!

Setup was easy, and made easier by the helpful staff there, and Iz, one of the organisers even dropped off bottles of water to thirsty exhibitors, which was very welcome!

We were sat next to Gavin Mitchell and Emily Owen, both well known in the small press world, and just beyond them was Red Mask from Mars creator and Awesome Comics podcaster Vince Hunt, with his friend, horror writer Daniel Marc Chant.

All in all it was a fun day, a bit quieter than we would have liked (something to do with the football going on I think!) but we did have busy spells and sold a good number of books, some prints and even some artwork! Lots of nice comments about the books, which is nice and I also did an art-swap with Vince. So I now own a very nifty page of original Red Mask from Mars artwork, which I'm very chuffed with. If you haven't read his book, do yourself a favour and rectify that straight away.

The day went very quickly and before long it was time to pack up and make the long journey home. I have to admit the driving was pretty tiring, nearly 5hrs in one day... but the con itself was good and one, I think, I'd make the journey back to next year.

Monday, 8 August 2016

End of an era...

It's about time I actually posted something on my blog. I need to do a review of the recent Cardiff Con I went to, I will get that posted later this week.

In the meantime, I have decided to leave my position as designer for Accent UK.

I've been with the guys at Accent for nearly 10yrs (well, as of next year it will be the 10yr anniversary of the publication of Zombies and The Wolfmen, the first books we did together) we did a couple of short strips for their earlier anthologies (Twelve and Monsters) but it was with those books that I took over the design fully, and also did the artwork on Wolfmen, the first 'proper' comic that Accent did.

Over the years I firmly believe we raised the bar with regards small press/indie comics, elevating them as close as we could to a professional level.

I'd like to think I've left behind a very solid body of work, with the designs I did for 'Robot Shorts', 'WesterNoir' (which I co-created) and 'Stephenson's Robot' being among my favourites. And the fact that many reviews mentioned my design work is very rewarding indeed, and shows that good design (in comics) is not overlooked.

I'm sure the future of Accent is in good hands, and I will be as keen as anyone to see their new endeavors, I'm sure elements of my designs for them will live on.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Griff Gristle: Here Be Monsters Pinup

I was delighted to be asked to contribute a pinup to the fabulous sounding (and looking) Griff Gristle: Here Be Monsters comic which at the time of writing this is nearly finished its succesful Kickstarter campaign (and completely smashed it!).

The book is from the writing team of Rob Jones and Michael Sambrook, with art by the talented Rory Donald and published by Madius Comics. I met up with the guys at Thought Bubble last year and they're not only very talented and creative guys but they ooze enthusiasm for comics, both their own and those published by others. So with that in mind I was only too happy to help out.

Above is my contribution, where I join other talented sea dogs such as Vince Hunt, Ian Laurie, Neil Ford and Matt Rooke in all doing pinups for the book.

The bar was well and truly raised by those guys, I hope I got somewhere close to them.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Birmingham Comic Festival thoughts...

It's been a while, about time I posted my thoughts on the recent Birmingham Con.

Getting there and setting up was easy, organisation was good as was the venue, sadly the 2 hour 'early bird' idea wasn't and it took a while before anyone bought anything - I don't think it was just us, speaking to others there it seemed very slow!

Luckily it did pick up and we sold some books, not as many as I'd liked. I had periods of being pretty busy then others where it was very quiet. Had lots of nice feedback on the books and my work but all in all the con was a bit of a damb squib for me, and a pretty long day too! I was quite glad to pack up and go home truth be told.

It was nice to meet up with super artist (and all round nice guy) Chris Imber and to catch up with Jason Cobley (making his first con appearance for years with his wonderful 'Amnesia Agents' book) but looking back on it, it wasn't the event I had hoped, and although great to see Mums and Dads bring their kids along (most dressed as superheroes) it does seem that maybe indie comics were not what they were expecting.

For those that did well, I'm pleased for you. If I continue with the self publishing into next year (which I am deciding about) then this is one con I will leave off the list.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Next con: Birmingham Comics Festival!

Welcome back to my sadly neglected blog!

Busy as ever behind the scenes, with some news I hope to share soon about my upcoming projects.

In the meantime, this Saturday I will be exhibiting at the Birmingham Comics Festival. First time I will have done this con as I was on holiday last year when it was on.

I will be selling my usual wares, copies of Midnight Man (now onto the 3rd printing!) plus the limited sketchpacks (which include the book, badge, A5 mini-print and an original sketched card), copies of Andy-Thology, prints and artwork.

My good friend and comics/film enthusiast John will be with me to help lend a hand on the day, which is always good!

I've booked more cons for later in the year as well, so far I'm doing:

Cardiff Independent Comic Con, Cardiff - Saturday June 25th
ICE, Birmingham, Saturday 10th September
Nottingham Comic Con, Nottingham - Saturday 29th October

Sadly I didn't get a table for Thought Bubble, although I've kindly been offered to table share with a comic professional (super nice bloke) but I'm still hoping I get something on the reserve list. Hopefully will have news on that later in the year.

A few other cons I'm looking at too, Bristol is a firm possibility, just looking into it.

Mo (Ali, co-creator of Midnight Man) and I have had some more great feedback on the book too from some unexpected people. Hopefully we can share more on that soon too. That book just continues to find more fans, which we couldn't be happier about.