Let’s draw Eurovision 2015!

Hello! I was doing my best to draw along with Eurovision last night. It’s a bit tricky as the songs are all pretty short but here’s what I managed!

Slovenia!

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France!
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Estonia. I think she was really crying?

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U.K, bottom of the pile as per. 4 Armenia, I’m pretty sure I witnessed a cult here.5 Lithuania, these guys were so cute!6 My personal favourite was Serbia.7 Norway singing about monsters or something.8I had a little man crush on this guy from Cyprus.

 

 

 

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Australia were even there!22

Belgium.20Austria, his piano was on fire!23Sweden, the winners! I only really remember this little guy.9Classic Eurovision anthem from Greece.10Montenegro11Germany12Poland13Latvia14I’m sure Romania’s lyrics were beautiful.15Hungary16Georgia went full goth. 17Another one of my favs, Azerbaijan.

18Russia who came a close second. 21And finally Italy.24I’m quite pleased with myself that I managed to do so much in such a short space of time. If you enjoyed these I have a short run of prints of some of my favs in my Etsy store!

Thanks!

 

Travels in Toronto

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all well!

For the past 10 days I’ve been kicking it in Toronto. I was fortunate enough to exhibit my comics at the amazing TCAF! (Toronto comic art festival).

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Without going on too much, this was an incredibly big deal for me. A lot of my favourite comic artists that got me into creating happen to be Canadian so going to Canada was almost like a big pilgrimage for me and getting a place at TCAF was even sweeter. I even got to meet some of those inspiring artists!

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I somehow also managed to get selfie with Lynda Barry after meeting Seth, Jill Tamaki and Adrian Tomine. This was at the Drawn and Quarterly event on the night before the con.

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Lynda is a really inspiring lady, and also a fantastic speaker. I’ve always loved listening along to her talks while I draw and it was great to see she’s just as eccentric and friendly in person.

The convention itself was pretty incredible. It was mainly held in the huge Toronto Reference Library and it was absolutely mobbed.

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I also had the pleasure of being on a panel about international comics talking about Scottish comics, the Glasgow comic scene and conventions in the UK.

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Throughout the rest of the con I had the pleasure of meeting some of my favourite artists and just about sold out of the books I took. So all round a success!

For the rest of my time in Toronto I did a lot of exploring (and a ton of eating). I still can’t quite get my head around how immensely big the city is, at times it was a little overwhelming but I’m glad I got to see even a little bit of it.

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I took this photo from the top the CN tower which for over three decades was the tallest tower in the world. The view from the top was absolutely incredible, there was also a glass floor which honestly made me feel pretty sick. I’m usually okay with heights but something just felt so wrong about stepping on that glass.

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Of course, a trip to Toronto would’t be complete without drive down to Niagara to see the world famous falls.

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A phone photo just doesn’t do justice to how epic it was to be there. I also was totally unprepared for being blown across the boat by so much water, and we weren’t even that close. When I say ‘we’ I was there with Coralie and good pals Chris and MacKenzie.

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And that’s really it! The rest of the holiday was really just me eating loads of rubbish and wandering around museums etc.

Oh yea I also bought a ton of sweet books.

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Maybe once the next Dungeon Fun book’s finished I might make a little travelogue about my trip, we’ll see.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Neil

Lucky Bags!

Good news! After years of hoarding my original art and comic pages I’ve decided it’s time to let them go. Here’s how I’m going to do it, in the form of Lucky Bags!

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Okay what’s a Lucky Bag? Each bag will contain comic pages, original illustrations, sketches and other bits and bobs. Of course, the whole point of Lucky Bags is that the contents are random although typically they will contain 3-4 original comic pages, 1-2 original illustrations and some smaller bits and pieces.

Here are the contents of a typical bag.

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Contents will vary, as you can see there’s a lot of different stuff going into these.

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Bags will be a mere £15 each with FREE UK SHIPPING (!!) and can be bought from my ETSY STORE. I only have a limited amount so best be nippy! All the proceeds will help me in going to TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) next month.   I’m going to do a short FAQ now, but if you have any other questions please get in touch! (hit the ‘info’ tab for me details.

I would like a specific illustration, can you put that in my bag?

I’m sorry, although I try to include a good amount of originals and comic pages, bags have random contents and I don’t think it would be fair to give anyone special treatment. It would also ruin the surprise!

I live outside the UK, can I get free shipping? 

I’m very sorry, at the moment it’s just not viable although I have tried to be reasonable with my overseas shipping rates.

What’s this TCAF thing? Do you need funding? 

TCAF is a massive comic festival in Toronto I was lucky enough to be invited to. I’ll get to display my work to a completely new audience as well as meet some of my favourite comic artists and creators. More info on their site.

As for money, no I don’t need funding. I know a lot of creators do kick-starters or go fund me’s etc for this kind of thing which is great but it’s not me. I have credit carded the whole trip so I’m sorted although if I can get some money together for spending money/food etc that would be great but don’t feel like you have to.

As most of you know I very rarely part with originals so this is a great chance to snap some up cheap and it also helps me on my little trip.

Thank you!

****ALL SOLD OUT SORRY***

Neil

 

 

 

Hourly Comic Day 2015

Hey Everyone, hope you’re all good!

Yesterday was Hourly Comic Day, where artists do their best to make a comic for every hour they’re awake. It’s a bit of a challenge as I guess it just shows you how much work you can do in a day. Anyways I did my best and managed 13 (plus one bonus!)  Enjoy!

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(and I did this one the day after because I couldn’t resist.)
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Hope you enjoyed them! It was pretty tough nearer the end, I know making a strip once an hour does sound fairly simple but the challenge is really finding something worthy of making a comic about every hour.

Anyways, be sure to check my shop as I’m doing a sweet deal on my travelogues, all three for £7!

Okay take care!

Neil

10 of the Sweetest Comics I read in 2014!

I tried, I really did. I wanted to do top 10 counting down the 10 best comics I read in 2014. The truth is I couldn’t rank them in order simply because it was too hard for me, so what follows is a list of 10 comics (and a couple more) that make a big impression on me in 2014. Some are fairly well known and about half are small press/self published, either way each of these books are worth checking out. Also keep in mind this is just a tiny spec of all the amazing work that came out in 2014. Okay let’s get a move on! In no particular order:

TOMBOY by Liz Prince

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I’ve always been a huge fan journal comics, anything from Jeffrey Brown was a huge influence on my travelogue series. I guess maybe in the same way some people love to read biographies itgives you a window into someone else’s life and experiences and you leave feeling you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes. This is especially true for Liz Prince’s TOMBOY in which the book details what it was like for Liz growing up, going to school, forming friendships and relationships all whilst going against gender norms.  I found this book greatly entertaining, relatable and at the same time informative and inspirational at points. Available via Amazon. 

 

 THE LAST DAYS OF NOBODYS: WHEATFIELDS AFTER THE RAIN  by Mike Medaglia

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I remember reading a short preview of this earlier in the year and being totally taken by the flow, the dialogue and the whole ‘vibe’ of it. Mike Medaglia’s book details the last days of Vincent Van Gogh. It’s funny, although it is about the last days of someone’s life it never felt sombre to me. It does have a haunting quality to it but mostly, to me, it felt bright and poetic, even dreamy. Available via Avery Hill site.

THIS ONE SUMMER by Jill and Mariko Tamaki

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Back when I was in college I first came across ‘Skim’ by the same creators and it totally sucked me in. Something to do with the beautiful and graceful artwork and the breezy, floaty words made the perfect match. This story about 2 families sharing a summer holiday was wonderful and brought that all back. It does deal with some fairly adult issues and at bits is heartbreaking but on the whole is hopeful and perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being out for a summer holiday in your early teens.  Also I feel I need the emphasise exactly how amazing the artwork in this book is. Available via Amazon.

LONG LOST LEMPI by Adam Vian

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I first came across this at this years Lakes Comic Art Festival in Kendal and wondered how this managed to slip my radar beforehand. Long Lost Lempi is a series that mixes fantasy adventure, comedy and a somewhat daydream quality. It’s a fairly warmhearted and gentle read about a little girl going on adventures with her friends. If you liked Dungeon Fun I have no doubt you’ll enjoy these books. (p.s please keep reading Dungeon Fun) Available via the Lempi site.

NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN by Ryan Andrews

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I have a little confession to make. ‘The Amateur Astronomer’s Journal’ was massively influenced by Ryan’s work. Although I technically would never be able to match it, I aimed for that dark, richly textured feel of the artwork. NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN is a collection of Ryan’s short stories, some are dark, some are a bit weird and funny but they’re all as memorable as each other. The stories here also really play around with the comic format. For example one story is completely wordless (see below) and others have some of the most inventive panel layouts I’ve ever seen.  Definitely worth checking out! (a digital copy from his store is only $5). Available via Ryan’s shop.

TUK TUK by William Kirkby 

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This is a prime example of why you should take a punt when going past stalls at comic cons/marts. You might just find a total gem like I did with TUK TUK. This is the story of two merchant brothers Slade and Kingston as they get into some mishaps due to their wheeling and dealing. The book is outright fun, a standout feature is just how well Kirkby has built the world around his characters. The cities and backgrounds as almost like living characters themselves and as you can see the artwork is insane (in a good way). Available via emailing Will (chamonkee@aol.com).

AXOLOTL #2 by Jack Fallows

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Like I said before, I am a big fan of journal comics and Jack Fallows’ AXOLOTL books have that right balance of brutal honestly, self-deprication and humour that I just can’t help but find captivating. You can probably already tell by the condition of it that I took it around with me quite a bit. As well as some short stories Jacks book centres around diary comics about love, growing up and dealing with asexuality, which up until now I hadn’t read about before. This is totally and literally (in) my bag. Available via Etsy.

A MEASURE OF SPACE by Kristyna Baczynski

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Just look at it! This is a beautiful little story of an introvert during a post apocalyptic catastrophe. It reads very sweetly and the art both intriguing and pretty mesmerising, all down to Kristyna’s unique style. It’s also worth mentioning that the book is very beautifully printed (possibly risograph?) Available via Etsy. 

POKEMON ONLINE by Jake Lava

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Much like TUK TUK this was a book I picked up at con (I buy tons) not really knowing much about it or it’s creator but ended up totally loving it.  POKEMON ONLINE is the story of what happens when Nintendo releases an online Pokemon game which ends up getting billions of people hooked to the point of addiction. As a big Nintendo fan I found this book absolutely hilarious, and without spoiling anything it totally hits home on why I fell in love with video games in the first place. Available via Jake’s Shop.

BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Fabien Kehlmann and Kerascoet

IMG_0177IMG_0178The title really sums it up. Beautiful and Dark. The first thing you’ll notice about this book is how beautiful the artwork in this book is, the watercolours are just incredible. This is also a very dark book, it is pretty gorey, deals with a lot of grim themes based around survival. Think something between a Ghibli film and Lord of the Flies. Definitely worth checking out.

Well that wraps up my 10 sweetest comics of 2014, I hope you enjoyed it and ,if you haven’t already, check out some of these books. If you agree/disagree let me know in the comments or give me a tweet at @osmart and likewise if you know of any books that might be up my street. Available via Amazon.

Also as a wee footnote, aside from those 10 comics, below are a handful you should also definitely get onto if you haven’t read them already.

IMG_0200AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE by John Lees and Iain Laurie

RANDOM TRIALS by Dean Beattie

MULP by Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton

REEL LOVE by Owen Johnson

CORPSE TALK by Adam Murphy

SPACE CAPTAIN by Chris Baldie

Hope everyone has a great new year!

Neil