Posts Tagged ‘ life

Tamsin and the Deep – and updates!

So, the first half of 2013 was probably the best time I’ve had so far during my 7 years freelance. I had a really great few months and did a lot of new things, and learned a lot of new things. I remember sitting in a Hi Sushi with mates just before my birthday last year when things were going well for all of us and we all held hands and were like “LET’S REMEMBER THIS BECAUSE IT CAN BE THIS GOOD”… which I’m going to remember as hard as I can. The second half of 2013 was the worst freelance time I’ve had since 2008. 2013 was truly a beautiful pie with a base of shit.

I’m working full-time again now thanks to lots of supportive people and a very excellent physio, and I am so grateful for this. Work is everything to me. I live to work! Not being able to do so really drove me into a not-so-great place; I got pretty ill on top of the shoulder problems. Combining not-being-able-to-work with “freelance” is pretty scary – obviously you don’t get sick-pay, it’s a risk you have to take when becoming self-employed – and I’m honestly lucky that the first half of 2013 was so great project-and-money-wise, or my shoulder popping off would have ruined me financially, too :( But it’s okay now… I’m through intensive physio, and I’ve got fine-tuning until June/July, by which time it’s going to be as good as it could possibly be. The bones have more-or-less receded back to where they should be (no more surprise humerus!!), and I can do pretty much everything that’s non-intensive! I’m so happy! ^_^/

Enough about my personal life ^^; I’m working on a project with one of my fave creators!!!!!! Me and Neill Cameron have teamed up to make TAMSIN & THE DEEP – a multi-part series for The Phoenix, written by Neill and arted by me! It’s an urban-fantasy/action tale set in CORNWALL (ONE OF MY FAVOURITE PLACES OMG OMG) and our lead is 10-year-old Tamsin “I won’t take no *&%! from this” Thomas. It’s awesome and I can’t wait for people to read it! Here’s our teaser poster…

It starts April 4th. I’m so excited! I’m still learning to work with scripts, so I hope I can really step up my game by learning new things!!!!!! So far, I’ve been focussing a lot on my naturalistic backgrounds, which I’ve always found quite hard to render in line-and-celshade. I hope they’re improving!

I’m also providing colours for Emma Vieceli and Antony Johnston’s ALEX RIDER:SCORPIA adaptation! We’ve set up a development Tumblr for it, here: http://alexridercomic.tumblr.com/ Check in to see how we’re going with it!

And finally, for those who are aware of the new book I am working on, I’m afraid of course this has had to go on the back-burner even more so than it was. I’m *ALMOST* finished with the thumbnail draft, and it’s looking to be just over 300 pages. Obviously, this is not a paid project, and with the mess my shoulder left me in, I absolutely have to prioritise income right now. The fallout from my shoulder is going to roll over most of everything I do for at least another year, I think. All the money I’d saved to work on my book went into rehabilitation ^^; I’m glad I was able to, you know, of course, but it’s been so, so frustrating to lose that time for so many reasons… I did not comprehend the phrase “time is money” until I went freelance. It’s scary.

I can’t remember now how much I’ve written/spoken about it? It’s called “FAITH SAYS YOU”. Here’s a cheery page from it that sets the tone!

Best wishes to all xxx

Bones and things

I managed to finish off the majority of my pre-order sketches for Thought Bubble! Relief! I’ve been doing little bits of sketching every day, just like 30-60 minutes or so. It’s been going pretty well… though I zoned out yesterday and drew for much longer accidentally, and my shoulder suffered a lot for it, so that was a bit scary ;_; But it’s okay today, and I’ve only got one more sketch to go, so it should be fine!!

The bone is receding back into the shoulder as the muscles slowly build around it and the ligaments relax, which is really good. I’m working now with little weights, which I’m super pleased about given several weeks ago I could not even lift a cup of tea!!!

Hopefully, I should be back to working full-time towards the end of the year or early next year. I’ve still got to be pretty careful, though.

Quick where-I’ve-been post!

Hey! Well, I don’t talk much about my non-work life any longer, but I wanted to write a little bit about where I’ve been! I know my blog often goes untouched for a while, but that’s usually because I’ve just been too busy, or am unable to update on what I’m doing for whatever reason. This time, I’ve been off with my shoulder injury :(

I’ve had shoulder problems for a long time, since I was 19, and in uni studying comics. It got worse and worse, though levelled off for a while, until this year, when for the first very very very busy six months, I started to lose movement in it even more and then it just dropped into unbearable pain. Because there was no actual sudden injury involved, it was likely to be repetitive strain. I’ve been to various doctors on an off for years, but I got brushed off a lot and not taken seriously… and I’d just work through the pain and waited to see what would happen with it. Not good! But we’re supposed to trust doctors, so, I would just believe what some of them said – that it would just go away. Well, 9 years of it not going away later, I’m back at the physiotherapist again, to have a concerted push before trying anything more drastic with it!

The issue is… tissue! All my soft tissues in my shoulder are completely fucked! There is rotator cuff damage. And I’ve developed a kinda gross quirk where my humerus pops out of the top of my shoulder… because there’s literally nothing holding it in. I have holes and gaps where my ligaments and muscles are supposed to be. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any actual major tears, and no bone damage.

Anyhew, I really like this physio I’ve been assigned, so I really trust him this time. I hope we’re able to fix my shoulder together! He said expect results in a couple months, so, I should be back at work around end of November/beginning December (it’s been a bit of a work-related nightmare and I don’t wanna bore you with whining about that!)

Some people will have awful postures and terrible work habits and never suffer any consequences… but some people will really suffer. When mine got bad at uni, I’d been working on a flat surface, leaning over my work, sitting on a fairly shitty chair. I expect that, combined with the very long work hours, is what caused it in the first place. I would genuinely like to see posture education, safe work practise, exercises and so on introduced into any type of art/design course! I don’t think I know a full-time comic-book creator (with a few years of practise behind them) who doesn’t suffer from some type of chronic pain :( It’s very important to learn how to treat your body if you’re gonna crunch it into funny positions for hours on end — and that includes just holding a pencil! Prevention is better than cure, because, sometimes, there is no cure.

That’s a bit of a moody note to end on, I’m sorry! In other news, the animation Paul and I were handling is now live in its display area, and hopefully we can talk about it soon! (Contractually the people commissioning it are going to talk it up first, so, we gotta wait for them!)

That’s all! I can’t type for long at the moment ^^; (This is unedited and rushed, so probably sounds worse than usual! Sorry! Just still very tender in the tissues!!!)

Places.

I need to update my list of places you can find me! I keep forgetting to put it into my website… let me put it here, hopefully it’ll make me remember.

Twitter / @autojoy (very active!)
Tumblr / schmautojoy (active)
Flickr / autojoy (very inactive…)
This is My Jam / autojoy (active-ish)
ScentBase / autojoy (active-ish)
Google+ / Kate Brown (very inactive…)
Instagram (or Webstagram) / autojoy (active)

In other news, I’ve just completed a set of illustrations for a Phoenix Tale Feather short. I used a different style, and really enjoyed the chance to exercise my illustration skills. I’d like to do more, but illustration gigs don’t come up for me that frequently (probably because…. I’ve not really pursued them, haha). I’ll post the pictures once they’ve been published — to my knowledge, they are going out in the Hallowe’en issue. The story itself was right up my alley (as well Editor Ben knew!!)… very interesting fairy-tale material. I read it several times ^_^

Last week, I was in Dundee, visiting the Comics module they have going on there at the DJCAD. I was very impressed. I met and spoke with Phil and Chris who are running the Comics Module and the Comics MLitt courses, respectively. They both have a deep love of comics, current and past, and seem to have their heads screwed on in terms of what would be useful to the students. A good deal of their budget is set aside to invite professionals currently working in the field to visit and speak with the students, which I think is so vital… we only had the one guest (Paul Grist! :D) come to our course for the Swindon HND SA, and I felt it was exceptionally beneficial, and a serious shame we were unable to have more guests visit. (Also certain tutors may have spoken over the top of said guest a fair bit…………….) The Dundee courses also work towards compiling an anthology of the students’ comics so they have something definite to work towards, are able to learn about print etc., are able to see their work in real print, and are able to take the book along to events and sell it. So! Yeah, I was very impressed, and I wish them the best… I hope it expands into a full-blown BA! I think that’d be excellent! With what’s achieved in the space of 10 weeks for the Module students, imagine what could be done in three years…! Many thanks to Phil and Chris for taking care of me for my visit, I felt very welcome.

ALSO DUNDEE HAS A VOLCANO OMG!!!!!!!!

Sexism in Comics

The highly skilled and articulate Paul Duffield has written a large essay regarding his views on the issue of sexism in comics. I think it’s an essential read, actually. It’s here: http://www.paulduffield.blogspot.com/2012/03/sexism-in-comics.html

I’m really keen for people to add to his data collection… there was only so much he could do counting and analysing our personal collection, and the couple of stores in the town centre that sell comics.

You forgot this…

Akio, in all his lilac-mulletted colour-clashing glory. Utena has been one of my favourite things since I was 15? 16? I’m not sure. At any rate, I’m pleased to see Rightstuf has re-mastered and re-released the boxsets.

I’m in a real drawing/creative slump, actually. I’ve picked up pens and put them down again and made sketches and hated them and become more angry over drawing. So, uh, I’ve not been terribly cheerful over the past couple of weeks :( Part of it has been to do with floating/waiting around in-between projects, I think… I never deal very well with this. I find I’m most creative when I’m having to be creative. If you see what I mean. The riots across England have also taken a bit of a toll, as well. Oxford was not really affected, but still… the whole situation was ghastly… and it was ghastly to hear some of the things people said about them, too.

It was great to see all the clear-up efforts from the communities affected, however. Go Riot Wombles \^_^/

Dear Sir, Hello

Apologies for the radio silence! It’s partly due to being very busy, and partly due to not having anything I can show yet! I finished off my Nelson contribution a while back, done a few bits and peices in between (hope to be able to chat about them sometime!) and… also started a new project! Well, I started it a while back, really, but it’s rolling along properly now, especially since Freakangels is coming to a close in a matter of days! I’m having a lot of fun… I hope to be able to show stuff about it soon! (VERY SOON!)

Also! I joined Google+, you can find me here. I’ve not really had much to post on it yet, I’ve just been sharing things… but I like it quite a lot. I am happy there is an alternative to Facebook, which I’ve never really wanted to join, but felt pressured to because EVERYONE is on it and it is a good networking tool. I hope Google+ does well for itself! ^_^

Cake Trousers

Got back from a great MCM Expo on Sunday! It was very tiring, but very fun. Thank you very much to everyone who stopped by our table and chatted or bought copies of our stuff! It’s such a great event to exhibit at and/or go along to… many thanks to the organisers for a smashing MCM once again! ^_^ Paul and I have a hotel booked for October MCM as well, so should be exhibiting there too, if all goes to plan. We will also both be at Thought Bubble, 2011 B.C., and, hopefully Caption as well, in our very own Oxford. I’ll update the front page of my site with those details soon, too ^_^

Everybody has been so nice about Fish + Chocolate! Actually, to be honest it is a little overwhelming. If you know me, you know I’m a little bit insecure… so it’s simultaneously lovely and bewildering to have positive comments about my book! I know it’s terribly unprofessional to say that I’m really very insecure, but eh… it’s the truth.

By the way! You should be able to pick up copies of F+C at the following stores: Page 45 in Nottingham (from next week onwards, most likely), Red Garden Manga in Reading and all Travelling Man stores. If you can’t find the books, please ask the friendly staff ^_^ I’m very happy that these stores are supporting F+C, so if one of them is your local store, please consider purchasing from there! \^_^/

In further F+C news, Let me show you THESE…! :D

Mary & Prisca! Isn’t this just beautiful?! I’m a big fan of Sammy Borras‘ cartooning skill and her comics. I got to meet her at Bristol Comicon a couple weeks back, which was awesome. Thank you so much for this beautiful drawing, Sammy! Your cartooning looks so effortless and beautiful <3

An illustration of Maria, by Fred O’Rourke! I just love it – the soft pencil lines give the illustration a really gentle and peaceful feel. Thank you so much, Fred! Fred is on the same course I went to at university, so we’ve had a good natter about that at recent events ^_~

~*~Trivia time!~*~ The bridge in Matryoshka is based on the bridge near our flat! It’s got lots of unused rusty pipes underneath it, which at the moment houses amorous pigeons. You can hear them cooing away if you walk underneath it.

That’s all! \^_^/

Finished + Chocolate

Well… that’s it! It’s done! (More or less!) I need to settle on a blurb for the back cover, and edit a couple of pages, but really they’re very minor tweaks. I finished on Friday 11th February, at 2am in the morning after an epic final battle that lasted 18 hours, in which time I ate maybe three bowls of cereal and did not go to the toilet. Paul, bless him deeply, stayed up with me until the end. By the time the last page rolled around, we played Chariots of Fire on Spotify, repeatedly, until I saved my files in PS for the last time. Then I had a vimto and gin (Ginto? Anyway, we had no tonic) and a further bowl of cereal, I cried a bit, and then went to sleep. And didn’t really move for the next 24 hours XD

Because I pulled many ridiculous days over the past few weeks, and like, I’ve not even been getting dressed, and just sitting still for hours upon hours on end, I’ve actually given myself chilblains XD Protip: wear socks and make sure you move around when completing your comics, folks.

So anyway, here’s the final cover (minus blurb):

And I thought I’d share the title plates as well for each story:

So how do I feel about it? “Fucking relieved” comes to mind. The Cherry Tree is something I’ve been working on and off with since university, which was a good few years back now… like, 2004 or so? The Piper Man is the most recent, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned somewhere before, but even that’s been sitting around, a half-finished script, some character desgns, etc., for about three or four years. Completing Matryoshka feels like I’ve exorcised something. That story has been through the wringer.

The entire book means a lot to me. I mean, really. Finishing it was extremely emotional, and if you’ve been in contact with me in the last few months or so, I’m likely to have been a bit moody… sorry about that ^^; With finishing those final pages, I feel like I have achieved one of my life’s goals, and I feel very, very lucky to have been able to do so in my twenties.

I also feel like I’ve stuck it to a few people, you know. People who have said I could never make comics for a living, that I should really think about getting a “real” job; people who have laughed in my face when I’ve told them what my passions are and what I do… and, most especially, when I was sick for several years and the doctors told me and my family I should “just give up” the idea of being an artist, as it would never likely happen because I could never lead a normal life and it would be best for me to forget about it all. So fuck you, doc! Not only did I get better, I’m doing what I always told you I would do, and what I told everyone I would do. I didn’t give in. So there!

So now! I need to do those final checks, and get this baby off to the printers. I’m as yet unsure how long it will be before I get my product, but I’m guessing it’ll be around 2 – 5 weeks from now. Fuck knows where I’m going to put 300 of these things. In the office, I guess! You guys gotta help me out by buying them all!! XD

Fish + Chocolate aside, things have actually been going quite well recently. I hope to be able to chime into this blog again soon with some nice news ^_^b And of course, details and purchasing info for the book~!

Lastly – huge, huge, HUGE, HUUUUUGE thanks to everyone who has shown me kindness and support (and given me confidence to continue instead of just collapsing into a self-loathing ball) thoughout this project. If I could try and explain how much it meant to me… but I think I’m too inadequate a writer to attempt an explanation… just thank you, thank you…

NYCC

I have a lot of stuff to catch up on in terms of blogging. I’m very behind ;3; Probably the next few entries will be a bit scrappy, but I want to get stuff down, at least. So!

Typically, I got a cold on the plane back from NYC so that, coupled with the cold I had before leaving for the trip, and the actual trip itself, means I’m about a month behind work ;_; I honestly think my immune system is having a laugh. (And then choking on its own phlegm).

I need to say, quickly, that New York Comicon was awesome. Everyone in NYC was so nice O_O; It made me feel like I wanted to be more polite than usual, haha. Also: I’m a real home-person… I stress if I leave the house for long periods of time, even, but I actually felt sad coming home from NYC. I liked it that much there. I really hope I have the chance to go back again!

Neither Paul or I had much of a chance to look around the convention (or NYC itself), but what we did see was great. We had a tiny amount of time to do like an obstacle course race round the Artist’s Alley… which in itself was staggering. The art there was like being in some kind of sweet-shop. It would be good to go there as a punter one time, so we could just look around.

Talking is less interesting than looking (I think), so here’s some pics under the cut…

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