Archives of News

General news and updates about books, conventions and more.

Last night, Kate and I were attending the award ceremony for The Arts Foundation‘s yearly fellowships! She’d already been picked as a shortlister among three other artists from a score or so of nominees, but we had no idea whatsoever who would win. Other shortlisters were Bill Bragg, Karrie Fransman and James McKay, all of whom have fantastic and totally different work. It must have been a nightmare to choose!

However, as the award was about to be announced, a little technical glitch made Kate’s name pop up on the screen, and there was a collective intake of breath from the packed-in audience (most of whom had to stand) and before I’d finished thinking “huh? what does that mean, is she…?” the award had been announced properly and Kate had truly won!

I still don’t think it’s sunk in completely, I’d become so used to thinking about that night in terms of its potential outcomes that I’m still thinking about its potential outcomes after it’s finished! I’m seriously excited to watch Kate’s project, Fish & Chocolate develop further, and now the fellowship will give her even more freedom to do what she wants with it. I read the 1st draft a few weeks ago, and it’s already something special, so watch this space!

=_= Another inexplicable 6am wakeup this morning. Saturn was out again, so I got good look :) I also saw what looked like an edge on spiral galaxy (long faint smudge of light) just near Arcturus, but I couldn’t locate  it on Stellarium. It’s got to be pretty bright for me to see it through my little 2inch scope, so I’m mystified that I can’t figure out what it is. EDIT: It was a smudge on the window. Now I know why you’re not meant to observe through a window.

Work has been really productive lately! I’ve been keeping up to speed with Freakangels, and have even had time for my brain to tick over on a personal project! It’s a (very) short comic that’s been forming in my head late at night for about a month, more of a visual poem with a setting and themes than anything too coherent or story-based. Here are the pages of sketchbook that I’ve filled up with ideas and thumbnails (the last page is the current draft).

The first three books in the DFC Library have been announced and are now available for pre-order on! If you’re a fan of the DFC, please read on for some important and exciting information, if you’ve never heard of the DFC, here’s what it’s all about:

The DFC was a weekly comic for children from David Fickling Books, featuring a number of ongoing strips that ranged from one-off funnies to episodic fantasy stories, with something in there for readers of every taste. Here’s just a selection of the genuinely all-star cast involved: Adam Brockbank, Andrew Wildman, Ben Haggarty, Dave Morris, Dave Shelton, Emma Vieceli, Etherington Brothers, Gary Northfield, James Turner, Jamie Smart, Jason Cobley, Jim Medway, John Aggs, Julian Hanshaw, Kate Brown, Laura Howell, Misako Rocks!, Neill Cameron, Nick Sharratt, Patrice Aggs, Philip Pullman, Robert Deas, Sarah McIntyre, Simone Lia, Ted Dewan, Tony Lee, Zak Simmonds-Hurn.

The Arts Foundation award grants each year in different categories. This year, comics are up for the first time ever which is an exciting prospect, and the winner, picked from four shortlisters during an award ceremony (sounds a bit strange, but they’re presenting this more like an mtv award than a professional grant) will receive £10,000. This is one event among many that reflect a genuine growth in the acceptance of comics as a legitimate and diverse medium in the U.K. and will hopefully be of high enough visibility to help accelerate the process. The moment a comics-based public event can be covered by a variety of newspapers without a single headline reading “POW, BLAM, Comics are Back!” or something of the like, I’ll be happy, but we’re not quite there yet… maybe the grant will change this.

There’ll be a panel at this year’s Comica featuring the four shortlisters and the judges. You can find official details and book tickets to the panel here.

“The event at the ICA will introduce the judges of the award Pat Mills, Posy Simmonds and Paul Gravett who will discuss the graphic novel’s ascendancy in this country and announce the finalists who will each present and discuss their shortlisted ouput.”

With names like that, it should be a great panel! Now to the even more exciting news, one of the shortlisters is Kate! ^_^ This is incredibly exciting, and she’ll be presenting her work at the Comica panel along with an impressively diverse collection of artists. Of course I’m terribly biased, but I think Kate’s work represents genuine quality across the board, from storytelling to style to page flow to accessibility, and I know that she’s got fantastic plans for a self published piece called Fish and Chocolate that would benefit perfectly from the money, so please give your support! At the least, this will be a fantastic opportunity for promotion, which is perhaps the trickiest aspect of self publication.Regardless of who wins, I’m happy that there’s a wide range of aesthetics on display here, and a great level of quality.

MCM Expo has been and gone, and it was most enjoyable! I spent most of my time behind the Avatar booth, which was a novel experience since I’m used to being on the other side of the tables at MCM.  It was lovely to chat with friends and fans alike! It was also interesting seeing the general reaction to Freakangels… I’d say for every one person who came up to either buy a copy, there were two or three who pointed at the stand and obviously recognised it. Many thanks to those who did pick up a copy!

Here’s a random sketch I did on the back of a poster that I ended up taking home. The diamond pattern was done in silver pen, which is why it looks gradiented in the light.

Okay, I got hit by the power-hammer of work getting Freakangels Volume 3 finished, and my blog suffered. Perhaps in hindsight, now rather than back then would have been a better time to start writing, but what the hey, I’m done now and it all worked out fine! (just). Me and Kate did some uber-scheduling and managed to hit the deadline on the dot, which means it’ll definitely be avaialble in plenty at the MCM Expo.

News from the publisher is that it’s been through the printing press now and is looking great! I’m excited to see this one, I’ve learnt a lot about both drawing for the web and for print since starting Freakangels, so I’m hoping this Volume will stand out from the other two in terms of quality.

Only a week to go until Freakangels Volume three is finished. I’ve been working overtime to get it done since I started this blog, so my ability to update regularly has been pretty minimal. I’ve got a bit list of ideas for blog posts, but no time to do them justice!

So, just so there’s something up here, here’s a heads up that at this October’s MCM Expo, my publisher Avatar Press will be making their first appearance at an English convention in order to debut Freakangels Volume 3. The book is being rushed to press to get it ready on time, so I imagine that the con will be the very first time it’s available.

Avatar’s booths are always pretty stunning, so it should be well worth the trip. They’ve got a big selection of books, and all three editions of all three volumes of Freakangels will be available in plenty! I know they’ve been hard to get hold of over here, so this is the best chance for anyone who has been finding it hard. Here are a few pics of Avatar’s booths at American cons, including me pulling a silly face whilst signing stacks and stacks of signature plates for the special edition hardbacks.