Friday 11 November 2016

Thought Bubble 2016

Last weekend saw the Royal Armouries Museum site in Leeds flood with comics and illustration lovers for this year's Thought Bubble Comics Festival.

I've been looking forward to Thought Bubble all year, especially after my first time tabling there last November. I'll admit that after Thought Bubble commissioned me to illustrate their official festival image back in February, the prospect of seeing my illustration on a huge scale (above!) or plastered on all the leaflets and posters made everything extra exciting.

Thought Bubble is such a gorgeous festival. Everyone is ridiculously lovely and enthusiastic; you really get a sense that we're all there because we absolutely love comics and visual art. It's such an amazing atmosphere, and the mid-con party and pre-con reception were brilliant.

I had a table in the Royal Armouries Hall, nestled amongst so many talented artists and writers. I was selling lots of brand new prints, cards, comics, magnets and my very special 'Guide to creative freelancing' - the table was absolutely crammed this year! I spent far too long trying to tessellate it all.

So, we had a bit of a hiccup on Saturday morning after our car broke down on the way to set up. What's the worst possible time for a car to break down? Well...yep. I had to abandon Andrew, the car, a whole box of books and my banner stand; then grab everything I could possibly haul strongman style, dump it in the back of a taxi, and race to the convention. 

I managed to stay surprisingly calm considering we were rapidly approaching the opening hour, and I'd had to leave so much behind. Huge apologies to those of you who were asking after my book with Aidan Moffat: The Lavender Blue Dress! I really couldn't carry them, but send me an email if you'd like me to sort you out with a copy. Also a big RIP to the car, which was towed back to Lancashire on Saturday and officially cannot be saved (and a huge thank you to Heather and Lee for giving us a lift home!)

I met so many amazing people this weekend, the whole convention was brimming with the kindest and most talented artists, publishers and comic-lovers. It was ridiculously humbling to hear so much love for my work and in particular the festival banner, not least from some of my very favourite illustrators who were also at the festival. 

I managed to get a mini-haul of prints and comics on my one quick dash around the festival. I'm absolutely in love with this angelic print from Hannah Christenson, as well as this super cute black and white drawing from Genevieve FT, beautiful red and black illustration from Enoki, a comic from Cinebook, brooches from Isaac Lenkiewicz and Kristyna Baczynski, and it was such an honour for Babs Tarr (last year's festival image illustrator!) to send me home with this gorgeous lady & cat lamp print! 💛

One of my favourite things about conventions is drawing live portraits and commissions. It was interesting that this year was far more commission-heavy than last year where I illustrated about twenty-five portraits! It was really fun to be approached with blank cover requests as well as being asked to draw my favourite X-men character, Ben Whishaw from James Bond, and Doctor Strange, as well as the live portraits! 

So, we're about a week on from Thought Bubble now, but I'm still reeling from it. The whole weekend was so inspiring and emotional for me, it honestly meant the world to see my illustration promoting such an amazing event; and I'm always one to take the chance to break out of the studio and spend time with people who are as passionate as I am about the creative industries!

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting up a behind-the-scenes look at my illustration for the Thought Bubble festival image, including a few of the sketches and alternate versions we had before settling on the final illustration. I'm also starting work on brand new comics ideas! Keep an eye out for them!

Thanks again to everyone who came to say hello! See you again next year x

Thursday 3 November 2016

What Emmeline Wore In October - The Full Series

So here we are! The full 31 days of outfit illustrations for my 'What Emmeline Wore In October' series (click for full resolution). I'm not going to lie, it's felt quite luxurious to not have to draw my outfit for the past couple of days, but that said, this project has been an absolute blast.

The year's series is an Autumnal edition of my 'What Emmeline Wore In July' project from last Summer: the challenge to create an illustration of my outfit each day for the entire month as an illustrated twist on blogger's 'What I Wore' fashion photographs. 

I started this project as a creative challenge, and I'll admit it has been trying at times (especially on weekends where getting up early to do work isn't exactly lovely!). But all in all, this project has been amazing at spear-heading my motivation in all areas of my creative work, encouraging me to learn new techniques, honing my skills, and giving me a bit of an extra insight into what I actually enjoy illustrating.

A lot of people have commented saying (and I quote), they'd have 'the wardrobe variety of a cartoon character' if they'd have done the project! I have to admit, a lot of the time, my default is black skinny jeans and some kind of jumper. I start work quite early in the morning, so it's a kind of roll out of bed into the first thing I find kind of method (aside from the days where I stay in pjs for a little too long...). But that's another one of the huge benefits of doing this project, it encouraged me to mix things up a little with my wardrobe, and dust off a few of the outfits that are a little more 'statement' for day to day wear and really embrace a bit of variety. Running the project in Autumn also gave me the chance to truly run with my passion for scarves, mustard yellow, and cosy coats. I'm definitely an Autumn girl at heart!

I also want to say a huge thank you to the companies that collaborated with me on the series: Fat Face, People Tree, White Stuff, Joanie, Oasis, Lowie & The London Fashion Agency, Joy The Store, Yumi and Joules. Honestly, they're some of my favourite (and the nicest!) brands ever, and they've been absolutely amazing. It's also meant so much to me to have had such incredible support from you guys! Having a snoop on the analytics this morning, I've seen that the project has had over 100,000 views this month, tens of thousands of likes and shares across social media, as well as features on the likes of Design Week, Uppercase and Amelia's Magazine. It's just floored me! Thank you so much.

If you're an illustrator, I can't recommend daily drawing enough. It can be really hard work, but it's so worth it for what you get out of it. Taking on a 'What I Wore' illustration series adds its own challenges, as obviously it's going to be a self-portrait each day (which are notoriously difficult!) as well as that emphasis on a variety of poses, and with character consistency, which is a hugely important thing in illustrating for books and comics. Shared publicly, or in a secret sketchbook, there's nothing more important than taking the time to practice and discover what it is that you love to draw - because in the end that's what makes your illustration unique, and your creative passion will show through your work. 

If you fancy a look at each of the illustrations in detail, the full series (and a kind of diary for each day and outfit choice) is available on my blog here. You can also see the illustrations using the hashtag #wewio on TwitterTumblrFacebook and Instagram, or over on Bloglovin'.

Now for a well earned break!