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

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